Starting a property management company is a tough business, plain and simple. Landlords deal with the problems of tenants who call to complain constantly, tenants who don’t pay their rent, and what can seem like endless, high dollar property repairs. Buying rental property and becoming a landlordcomes with a lot of stress and responsibilities, and all of these things can turn a well-meaning property owner into a jaded landlord.
Oftentimes, as a landlord, it’s easy to start viewing tenants as dollar signs, instead of building a lasting landlord/tenant relationship. But creating a good connection with your tenants and marketing yourself as a great landlord has numerous benefits. It will make working with your tenant on fixing repairs and showing the property to prospective new tenants at the end of a lease go smoother, and your tenants are more likely to renew – possibly even with a rent increase.
Here are seven tips you can utilize to be a great landlord.
1. Customize the Lease
You can get a standard lease form at any office supply store. This will cover basic things like rent, security deposit costs and any legal tenant rights in your state. Use these basic documents as the framework for your own lease. Add in any special rules you have for the property, such as a weight limit on pets. Use as much detail as possible and include everything from late payment fees to maintenance responsibility and tenant’s behavior. A clear cut lease will reduce friction between you and your tenant in the future.
2. Know the Laws
Each state has a landlord and tenant act that covers rent, security deposits, landlord and tenant obligations, tenant’s rights, and evictions. You can get a copy from the Department of Housing office in your area, or online at the Department of Housing website for your state. Get to know these laws well. Violating a tenant’s rights will, at the very least, lead to an unhappy tenant, and at worst, land you in civil court.