Landlords are often portrayed negatively, with unnecessary demands and lack of empathy for their tenants. While this may be true of some, it certainly doesn't tell the whole story. A little innovation and free thinking could propel you to the top of the landlord chain. And where there's a good landlord, good tenants are likely to follow. Here are some novel ideas to help you transform into an exceptional landlord.
- Customize the Lease - While a standard lease is readily available to cover basic elements such as security deposit, rent, and duration, you should only use it as a framework for preparing your own lease document that covers details related to your investment property. Yours may include any special rules with respect to furniture, sound limits, and pets. Set certain rules not just for the tenants, but also for yourself as the property owner, then follow them. Your lease should include details such as repair responsiveness and paying attention to tenant needs. By using as many details as possible, there will be no room for ambiguity − resulting in a much better tenant-landlord relationship.
- Respect Privacy - Everybody wants to be treated with respect, especially when it comes to privacy. No tenant wants to a landlord who shows up at odd hours to inspect the property. As a landlord, you certainly have the right to conduct property inspections, but be sure to give your tenant advance notice and agree on a mutually beneficial time − not just one that is convenient for you. Remember, every business relationship needs mutual respect to function properly.
- Open Communications - While you don’t want your tenant pestering you at all hours, you still need to offer an open communication line to address any problems quickly. Tenants feel more comfortable when they know that you’re easy to get in touch with. Give them your business number and include an email address. An email helps to reduce after-hour calls and records the written communication between you two. While some tenants can be annoying, most tenants won’t get in touch with you unless they have to. Make sure the tenant knows that you have heard the request and plan on addressing it − this will reduce any friction and distrust between you and the tenant.
- Satisfy Your Side of the Contract - You expect your tenants to follow the rules, and you must, too. When you receive a call or email, listen to your tenant’s grievance and do your best to address it as quickly as possible. If a tenant brings up an issue with the building or burst pipe repair needs, make sure you tend to it as soon as you can. Remember that a good working relationship can only be sustained when both parties do their part.
- Have Win-Win Negotiations - The aim of any negotiation is a win-win solution for both parties. The same applies when dealing with your tenants. For example, if a tenant finds the place too hot, offer to install an air conditioning system at a nominal rent increase. You could also offer to buy certain equipment, if the tenant is willing to pay for the installation. Negotiate a rental increase at the end of every lease term that benefits both you and the tenant, without being too heavy-handed in your expectations. These win-win tactics go a long way in building good relationships − making you a good landlord with good tenants.
While the business side of being a landlord is important, remember that small thoughtful gestures can also make a big impact. A small gift on your tenant’s birthday or for the holidays will go a long way in developing a good relationship. Happy tenants are likely to better care for your property and are a lot easier to deal with than disgruntled tenants. Set the stage for a good landlord-tenant relationship at the beginning to assure tenants that their decision to move into your rental was the right one.