There are many ways to learn lessons as a landlord. The hardest can be from your own mistakes, and this is how many people learn. They go into the business with wide eyes and all the hopes for snagging the perfect tenants and padding their retirement to wake up one day and find that nothing is like they expected. Their tenants are nothing like they had envisioned. They don't pay their rent on time, they don't take care of the property, and they complain. A lot. At 3AM. It's enough to make anyone want to pull at their own hair in frustration. How did it get this way? Likely the tenants do not hold any respect for the landlord and that is usually (not always) due to the fact that the landlord hasn't stuck by their policies that they set up when they decided to dive into the business. Or worse, the landlord doesn't have any policies to speak of, they simply handle things as they come and hope for the best. When a tenant moves in, hopefully you both sat down and signed a lease. This is a legal agreement that both sides will abide by it. They will pay rent by such-and-such day each month, you will make sure that repairs are taken care of in a timely manner, they will not destroy the property, etc etc. There will be certain policies that you work in that you've found that you need for your property. If you allow for pets, you'll note the money expected as a depot for that pet. If you require that the tenant does not smoke inside the home, that is a policy that should be noted and attention brought to. A welcome packet is a great way to list out these policies in an easy-to-follow fashion that gives both you and the new tenant something to look back on if something comes up later. Check out these Top Ten Tips for Managing Tenants from BiggerPockets to get an idea for some of the best policies you can list.
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