8 Ways to Look After Your Tenants
- Author:by Neil Dempsey
Category: Real Estate Investing
If you are a property investor, you are probably in the business to make money. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also have your tenants’ best interests at heart. Not only do you want to make a profit on your investment, but you also want to make sure your building is warm, dry and comfortable for those who decide to call it home.
If you’ve recently purchased an investment property and want to be the best landlord you can be, consider doing some of the following things.
Table of Contents:
1. Prioritize Heating and Cooling
There are few things as frustrating for tenants and homeowners as a home you can’t heat or cool effectively.
To protect your investment and ensure your tenants have complete control over their comfort, consider purchasing a new air conditioner.New fixtures such as heating and cooling units can increase the value of a home and may also go a long way toward retaining reliable long-term tenants who are comfortable in your property.
Alongside installing new HVAC systems, you might also like to look at options such as improved insulation and underfloor heating.
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2. Keep It Well Maintained
Many people find being a tenant a frustrating experience sometimes. If something breaks, they might have to wait weeks or months for it to be fixed, or they might have to put up with it not being fixed at all. It’s enough to make some tenants long to become a homeowners so they can take care of maintenance issues as they arise.
Regular maintenance keeps tenants happy but it might also help you maintain a consistent property value over your period of ownership. No matter how big or small the issue is, take action as soon as you’re able to. When tenants know you care about them and their home, they may also be more likely to care about it as if it were their own.
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3. Be Willing to Compromise
Many landlords take a hard line against any form of alteration. Something as minor as a TV bracket being installed on the wall can be enough for a tenant to lose their security deposit. While the goal is to keep the property in excellent condition, it can be at the loss of reliable, careful tenants.
When you assume the role of landlord, think about the type of property owner you want to be. One who’s willing to compromise might be fortunate enough to have caring, responsible tenants who add value and provide a consistent income stream.
Consider meeting with your tenants to determine their goals rather than saying no to a wall being painted or the gardens being altered. Find out why they want to make changes, and you might end up seeing value in their ideas.
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4. Understand Their Rights
There can be a lot to learn when you enter the world of real estate investment. The financial aspect plays a significant part, but tenant rights are also crucial. All tenants have the right to live in a habitable space with heat, electricity and plumbing. They also have the rights to receive their security deposit in a timely manner and to fight eviction notices.
Rules and regulations differ for each state, so familiarize yourself with those in your area to understand your tenants’ fundamental rights and how to avoid breaching them.
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5. Make Communication a Priority
Being a landlord requires you to be easy to contact. If your tenant has a problem, they should have a phone number or email address they can reach you at to alert you to the issue.
There are few things as frustrating for tenants as contacting their landlord for an urgent issue, such as a damaged roof, and not receiving a response or a solution to their problem. Sometimes, looking after your tenants can be as easy as making them feel like they can contact you without fear of feeling like a burden or of having their rent increased.
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6. Outline Your Expectations
Most landlords aspire to have a mutually beneficial relationship with a tenant. Ideally, the tenant looks after your property as if it were their own, and you benefit from the rental proceeds.
However, it doesn’t hurt to outline your expectations before your tenants take occupancy; otherwise, they may not know exactly what’s expected of them while living on your property. Generally, these expectations are documented in a tenancy agreement, which should list basic requirements, such as:
- Paying rent on time
- Keeping the property clean and tidy
- Alerting the landlord to damage or repairs
- Not making alterations without written consent from the landlord
- Not using the property for unlawful purposes
- Not exceeding the maximum number of occupants outlined in the agreement
The more detailed the tenancy agreement, the fewer assumptions your tenants might need to make about what they can and can’t do.
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7. Assign a Property Manager
Some property owners like to take a hands-off approach to real estate investment. If that’s your preference, consider hiring a property manager. Not only can they handle the financial side of your investment by collecting rent and organizing security deposits, but they can also take care of your tenants and make sure their needs are met.
Rather than you having to organize plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople for repairs, your manager can handle everything.
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You’re curled up inside your charming historic home on a winter night when suddenly the air turns cold. It’s a ghost! Actually, it’s just a draft. Heat from inside is leaking to the outside, and the air around you is dropping in temperature. Old houses, and plenty of new ones, tend to be leaky. But there’s something you can do about it: add insulation.
8. Treat Them
While treating your tenants is not a necessity, it can be a nice way to strengthen your relationship with them and potentially increase your chances of having valuable long-term tenants. Fortunately, you can get creative with how you reward your tenants for taking such good care of your property.
You might opt for a simple gift basket during the holiday season, which is sure to be well received. Alternatively, your gift might be more generous, such as a rent-free month over Christmas when many families struggle with their finances.
Looking after your property is important when you’re a real estate investor so that the property can hold its value in the market, but looking after your tenants can be equally important. A tenant who feels cared for, appreciated and looked after may return the favor by looking after your property as if it were truly their own.
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