10 million Americans earn income from rental housing. That’s 7.1% of the population.
Rental properties may be a common source of income, but managing them requires a long list of daily duties. 40% rated their stress levels from landlord jobs at a 3 out of 5. 80% said that it was worth it because of the money they earned from their effort.
Read on for 5 landlord tips to help you turn your properties into a long, strong investment opportunity.
1. Screen Tenants and Help Them Get Adjusted
Credit and income checks help reassure you that your client will pay rent on time. You can use pay stubs, bank statements, or stipends for college work.
Background checks such as criminal history and drug testing make sure you have a safe tenant. You should always perform them, but make sure to do them in a way that follows local fair housing laws.
Good landlords perform background checks; great landlords help their tenants get adjusted to the area.
Print out maps of the local area. Include directions to important local businesses such as pharmacies and grocery stores.
A welcome letter is one of the best ways to make tenants feel comfortable as soon as they walk onto the property. Start by expressing how glad you are to have them on the property. Remind them of any special instructions such as when to take the trash out. End by providing your contact information.
Changing your address is one of the most difficult parts of moving to a new home. Your tenants will appreciate any help you can provide with this step.
2. Create and Follow a Lease
Becoming a landlord involves going over mountains of paperwork, including outlines of local laws and insurance papers. One of the most important is the official lease. It should clearly outline your policies on:
- Security deposits
- Noise limits
- Visitor limits
Go over the requirements of the document with your tenants. You can also allow them to make suggestions for any necessary changes. They’ll feel like part of the process and that both sides of the agreement know what’s expected of them.
Make sure to store the lease with your other rental documents so that it’s easy to access. Give your tenants a copy so that they can find it when they need it.
3. Clean Up Your Communication
Landlord careers require strong interpersonal skills. Be prepared to talk through issues with the property at any time. Make sure you’re always accessible through the phone or by email.
Use the lease to settle any disagreements with your tenants. Be understanding if they have a situation that keeps them from paying rent such as a family emergency or losing their job. Talk it out with them without getting angry.
You should always be available for your tenants, but you also have to remember to give them privacy. The lease agreement should indicate when you’ll visit the property for inspections or to check in. That way, they’ll always have enough time to prepare.
4. Keep Up With Repairs and Maintenance
61% of landlords say maintenance requests are the most difficult issue to deal with on their properties. They can creep up at any time and drain your time and money.
You’re not legally required to fix every issue, only those that relate to habitability. That means making sure that the property always has basic electricity, water, and heat. You don’t have to fix other issues such as squeaky floors or leaky showers, but it could help keep your tenants happier.
78.2% of renters call their landlords whenever they have a maintenance issue. The landlord also pays the bill 10.8% of the time when they call in a professional instead.
Part of figuring out how to be a good landlord is deciding how often and when to address maintenance issues. Make sure that your tenants know what you can fix for them and when they should expect each job to be finished.
Outsourcing your maintenance needs can be one of the best things you do for your tenants. Your tenants will enjoy better, faster results, and your maintenance burden won’t be so heavy.
5. Hire a Property Manager
Landlords focus on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the property. They manage and enforce the lease, make sure that everything is legally compliant, and conduct necessary renovations.
A property manager’s list of duties is even longer. It includes screening tenants, advertising properties, managing employees, and storing records. They also collect rent, prepare units, and handle groundskeeping.
Landlords have to work with their tenants directly. This is why they tend to create more flexible leases to keep them from leaving.
Property managers have enough resources to screen tenants and be more strict in the agreements. This makes sure that you have reliable tenants, and the property manager will make sure that they’ll pay on time.
A landlord needs to complete all maintenance requests on their own. They’ll also have to work to find professionals such as plumbers, electricians, contractors, and movers to help them.
A property management company already has most of the necessary staff. They can handle maintenance requests for your property and get them done sooner.
Knowing these important differences helps you decide whether or not you need to hire a property management company. They make it easier to find, maintain, and market your rental properties. They can even provide tips on how to be a good landlord.
More Tips on How to Be a Good Landlord
Learning how to be a good landlord starts before your tenants move in. You should screen them to make sure they’re safe and responsible. Take steps to make them feel welcome once they move in.
Involve your tenants in the creation of the lease so they know what to expect. Maintain clear, compassionate communication and pay attention to their maintenance requests. Hire a property management company to help make your job easier.
Reedy & Company can help turn you into a great landlord by taking the most overwhelming duties off your shoulders. Contact us today for our property management services.