5 Ways to Be a Better Landlord

5 Ways to Be a Better Landlord

One of the first things you’ll learn as a landlord is that it is much cheaper to keep a tenant than it is to find a new one.

A happy tenant is one who feels heard, validated and understood. They feel like you want them there and that their comfort and happiness are a top priority for you. This doesn’t mean you need to bend over backward for tenants who abuse you, and sometimes parting ways IS the best solution, but before it gets that far, consider these five easy tips to be a better landlord.

1. Give Them All the Information

If you don’t tell your new tenants that your property is strictly non-smoking, how will they know to light up somewhere else? How will they know not to bring Fido unless you let them know the house doesn’t accept pets? Make sure they know all of the rules beforehand, because they can’t follow the rules if they don’t know them, and you can’t hold them accountable. This will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

2. Have Your Property Ready For Them

When it’s time to do the final walkthrough, have your property in tip-top shape. If they walk through a home that is cleaned, well maintained and running smoothly, they will make an effort to keep it that way. Remember: The state of the home determines the quality of the renter.

3. Fix Things Fast

When it comes to repairs and general maintenance, actions speak louder than words. If you respond to their issues or requests in a timely manner, it shows that you are listening to them and that you want them to be comfortable. Showing up late, not responding to calls or texts, or worst of all, not showing up at all, tells the tenant exactly what you think of them. If they don’t feel taken care of, why should they take care of your property?

This doesn’t mean that you’re at their beck and call. This simply means that you have systems in place to collect, prioritize and follow up on these issues, while giving the tenant insight into their issue.

If you can’t fix the issues yourself, hire someone to do it. Keep the tenants in the loop about dates and times things will be done, and try your best to make it convenient for their schedule. Whether you own a luxury property on Pine Tree Drive in Miami or a cozy bungalow in the mountains, your response time to issues says a lot about what you think of your property and your tenants.

4. Reach Out and Follow Up

After the moving vans are gone and boxes are unpacked, reach out to the tenant to see how their first few weeks are going. By reminding them that you’re just a phone call away if they have issues, your tenants will feel secure right off the bat.

5. Go Above and Beyond

Doing a few, small, inexpensive yet thoughtful gestures for your new tenants can set you up for a successful landlord/tenant relationship:

  • Have a roll of address stickers made for them and include them in their rental packet. This is easy, inexpensive and very thoughtful, and will be appreciated by new renters. You can even make a sticker with your name and address on it so sending the check to you is easy!
  • Implement a rewards program. Give tenants the opportunity to pick their own paint color for the walls, a deep cleaning carpet treatment, their choice of upgraded kitchen appliances, or other extras as a reward for referring a new tenant, keeping the property maintained or re-signing the lease
  • Give small gifts that make a big difference. A birthday card, a gift card for groceries around the holidays, a gift certificate for a house cleaning service, or some baked goods are easy ways to really make the tenant feel appreciated
  • A welcome package on move-in day is a great way to get the relationship off on the right foot. Consider a basket of basic necessities like toilet paper, paper towels or gift card for pizza for dinner for the first night in their new home

Being a successful landlord is about knowing how to combine professional and business sense with character, thoughtfulness and honesty. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of your property.

Diana McCarthy

Diana McCarthy is a professional freelance writer with extensive experience in property management and vacation rentals. When she is not writing about vacations, travel and real estate, she is traveling with her family and studying to become a licensed real estate agent.