Most of the people who hold housing units for lease have no idea what it’s like to be a landlord, some people do not really care about their duties as a landlord as long as they are raking in good money, or on the other hand some think being a landlord only involves banging on your tenants door every end month to demand rent. There have been cases where some landlords have units that end up unoccupied for a very long time and we also have those who end up reporting bad debts and end up selling their units.
To be a successful landlord you have to look at it from the angles explained below
Well Drafted Lease
The first thing that a land lord should have is a clear cut lease. It should clearly state the parties involved (landlord and tenant) with all the contacts stated. The rent details: indicating where the housing unit is located, the physical address, the house number; the leasing fee and account numbers for deposits. The leasing term is it a yearly or a monthly term and what happens once the term expires. Rules regarding the property itself and its environs e.g. always keep the gate locked after 11pm, maintenance responsibility that is who makes payments for repairs. A well drafted lease helps to avoid friction between a landlord and a tenant any time an issue crops up. Make sure that your tenant signs and keeps a copy of the lease.
Get Everything in Writing
Documentation is highly recommended in any business type, get everything on paper and on clearly labeled files. These documents can provide future evidence in any case an issue crops up .For a well managed housing unit keep a list of all your tenants names and when they moved in, a list of all the payments made, any repairs made in a unit and when it was done. If possible also get your tenants’ to put everything in writing e.g. a tenant wants a leaking roof to repaired tell her to put it in writing in form of a request. And record payments made, expenses accumulated.
Property management is a business like any other; it requires the right professionals to manage it. However there are some units that are relatively small and the landlord can manage it on his own, but others will require multiple hands. As a landlord holding several housing units it is not possible to play several roles at once e.g. the accountant, the caretaker, and the manager, and you will certainly fall short in one area. Nevertheless it is good to hire people who are professionals in that field, when it comes to someone managing your rental income get an accountant to do it, he will effectively manage the accounts, allocate budgets, pay expanses and give a financial report every month or year. Similarly get someone who has been in the property business, who knows how to deal with tenants to be your caretaker.
Property insurance is not a popular topic but it is important. A successful landlord is the one who takes proactive measures against his property. Protect your investment by getting the right cover for it. It will help you recover damages accrued from any unforeseen event.
Most landlords rarely get along with their tenants, but as a landlord you have no choice but to learn to keep your cool and smile at that tenant who would call at 3am in the morning because she lost her keys, try to create a working relationship, your tenants are the backbone of the business, because if there are no tenants then the business would cease to exist.
Respect the Privacy of your Tenants.
Okay so you own the property yes but that does not mean you get to bang on the tenants door demanding for rent in the middle of the night, or show up anytime at odd hours because you want to inspect the property. It’s not wrong for a tenant to invite you for lunch but that does not mean you hang around his/her front door anytime for you hear dishes rattling, give them their space.
Do Not Discriminate
Treat your tenants fairly and equally, do not discriminate in terms of tribe, race, religion or belief, you may drive some of them out, and what if they tell other people about your character, do you think you will get tenants that easily? No.
Listen to your Tenants Concern
As a property owner you know what is good for your property and what is not, but at times the tenants to know what works and what does not, if a tenant raises concern about the electricity faults that they are facing, it is your duty to check into it.
It makes them feel welcome, at times you might be forced to tap into your compassionate side when dealing with tenants, perhaps a tenant has just lost a brother, and she is not able to pay this month rent, put yourself in her shoes, empathize, try to understand.
Clean and Secure Residence
No one likes to leave in an area that is an eye sore it’s not welcoming and no one likes to live in area where they feel jeopardized, it is your house yes but then it is your tenants home, the property should look and feel like a home. You can achieve this by the services of a cleaning company to do some cleaning, get rid of any sewage nearby and get security at the gate. Cleanliness and safety is a collective issue, therefore include your tenants in your safety and cleanliness policy. There are some irresponsible tenants who leave gate open at 1am in the night, or that tenant who always dump their trash right outside the gate, make them understand that it is an inclusive thing and that they also contribute to cleaner and safer environs by being responsible tenants themselves.
Make Repairs Promptly
Tenants love a well maintained property, if a client calls to report a leaking roof, tell them when the repairs will be done and try to do so by then; it is annoying to make a tenant wait for months for something that is making their lives miserable.
Get more property insights from Pam Golding.