Everyone focuses on making personal and professional resolutions aimed at looking at the past and applying those lessons toward a better future. As a landlord, it’s a good opportunity for you to make some changes to improve how you run your business. Property management, even on the smallest scale, is a role that entails learning a few skills. If you’re new to being a landlord, it’s easy to focus on the rental income you will receive while assuming that your own tasks will fall easily into place. Now is the time we look ahead at the coming year with all the best intentions. Leaders
Leaders have compiled a list of the top five resolutions that should be on every landlord’s list:
#1. Understand the Lease Agreement.
A well-written lease is your most important tool. Policies regarding rent payment, pets, security deposits, tenant responsibilities, and more should all be outlined clearly in the lease. Most landlords don’t write the leases themselves. If you do, make having a written, lawyer-approved lease your first resolution. To avoid that, take the time to read and fully understand both parts of the lease. That way, you won’t face any legal hassles or a disgruntled tenant and if you have to enforce something later, you can say, “It’s our policy,” and sidestep the potential for uncomfortable arguments.
#2. Stop Accepting Bad Tenants.
Tenant screening is one of the most effective ways to filter out troublesome renters. Appropriate tenant screening can cover the applicant’s rental and financial history, without violating the Fair Housing Act’s anti-discrimination laws; stop letting partying, rent skimming, damaging, loud, rude tenants into your apartment complex. You owe yourself the respect of enacting a tenant screening process that will kick bad tenants to the curb and set you up for a great year. It’s very helpful to screen out people who have criminal records or a trail of past evictions.
#3. Keep Up with Small Repairs.
You’ve probably built up an impressive list of maintenance work that needs to be completed on your rental properties. If not, start that list and begin checking off each item. If you handle your own maintenance and repair jobs, it’s easy to procrastinate. When the tenant reports a chronic low-level problem such as a dripping faucet or a sticky door lock, you may push it lower on your list of things to do. Your renters will be much happier and more likely to stay long term if the property is well-maintained. A slow response, however, may lead your tenants to feel as if you don’t care about the property.
#4. Maintain Open Communication.
This is the very first rule in any human relationship, and it definitely applies to landlords and tenants. You’ll want to personally check in on your tenants and it helps to build a strong, trustworthy relationship. Tenants will feel more relaxed if they know you are reachable. If you have a small property, it’s easy to knock on the door and have a quick chat. If you have a larger property, it’s as simple as sending an email asking how things are going with the property and if there are any needs, comments, or complaints from the tenant.