Every landlord in the world would love to have that one perfect tenant who does no wrong and makes your life a dream. Ensuring a good landlord-tenant relationship is a two way street, you both have to put in an equal amount of effort to allow everything to run smoothly. Today’s blog post will give you 5 tips on how to become a good landlord to make your life easier.
Referral Check your tenant
Before giving a tenant the keys to your investment property. Do some checks on them. Speak with past property managers, speak to whom they are employed with and if possible check if they are on the national TICA database which is a nation wide bad tenant database.
A licensed property manager will do more checks than this but if you plan to self manage the above would be the very minimum you’d want to do.
Sign a Lease
If you are self managing its tempting to just do a handshake deal. Most tenants seem super nice and promise to do the right thing and pay rent on time. To protect yourself and your investment its best practice to have an official lease signed. This also ensures that the tenant knows exactly where they stand. You can access a Form 18 the department of fair tradings official residential tenancy agreement here.
Communicate Early and Often
Before you sign a lease, make sure to tell your tenant all your expectations. Maybe you have a no pet policy and the new tenant has a dog, or they may want to “sublet” a room and they may think that’s OK. But also have these documented in the lease so there’s no confusion, at the same time ensuring that you are within the RTA guidelines
Always make yourself come across as approachable, and give your tenants more than one-way to contact you in case of a house emergency. You need to be fair, but firm and work within the guidelines of the RTA.
When a tenant knows what’s expected of them it makes for a much easier relationship.
Respect your Tenants Privacy
While its your property, it’s the tenants home and they have the right to peace & privacy. You can’t just rock up unannounced, at a time that works for you. You can’t even attend the property with a verbal phone call or email. It’s very important that you follow the legislation giving the tenant an entry notice called a Form 9 , with the correct time frame. You can access the Form 9 here and also read about the various notice time frames you need too.
Make Regular Inspections
We call these routine inspections. Legally you can do a maximum of 4 a year. It’s a good idea to carry out the first one within the first 6 weeks of the tenants moving into your investment property, which will allow to to check they are looking after it.
The tenants are responsible to keep the property clean and tidy. When you do an inspection it’s important that you are able to “inspect it” the floors, the walls, the doors, so if the tenant has a lot of stuff or if the property is messy this may not be possible. You may need to have a word to them and do a re inspection a week later.
These inspections can be an ideal for checking on any maintenance as the landlord you are responsible to ensure your investment property is correctly maintained.
Fix that Leak
Talking about maintenance, I mentioned above the routine inspection is the ideal time to check on maintenance. But between inspection if any other maintenance arises its best to deal with it immediately. A happy tenant is a good tenant, and fixing a small leak now may save you money in the long run, as it could become a bigger problem in the future. Put yourself in the tenant’s shoes, would you be happy if all repairs went unnoticed or it took several weeks to fix?
Fans, Aircon, Preventative Maintenance
Today, most tenants expect at least fans in every room. But you may like to consider the installation of one or two air conditioners. One of my investment properties has a large air conditioner in the main living area. We have some great tenants, who were about to have their first baby in Jan so as a surprise we organised a second air conditioner to be installed in the second living zone, which will service the kitchen and other bedrooms. As you can imagine those tenants were totally shocked and delighted.
Air cons are surprisingly affordable these days and come with good warranties, plus they will increase the value of your investment property, and help get better tenants who may pay a bit more & stay longer.
In addition to small things like this, check for preventative maintenance. A good example are decks. It’s very affordable to have external decks re stained every year. It protects the wood and makes the home look considerable better adding to the tenants enjoyment
We deal with a pest agency that has a 12 month guarantee that once they spray you will not see a spider or cockroach for 12 months. At the same time they do a termite check. An annual termite inspection keeps you happy and the 12 month spider guarantee keeps your tenants happy too. You can even mention this when advertising.
It’s the tenants responsibility to maintain the lawns and gardens. But there is a bit of a grey area around this. So we now mostly build garden and lawn care into the weekly rent. Tenants pay a little more but never have to mow and it keeps our landlords happy because they know the gardens are taken cared of.
Get a Property Manager
Being a landlord is not a hobby, it’s a business. If you have a job, family, and responsibilities you might not have the time or learn the skills to be a great landlord. Sometimes hiring an experienced property manager who can do all the hard work for you, while you get on with your life is better. From finding tenants to handling all complaints, a property manager is the perfect option for a landlord who doesn’t have the time or feels they’re under skilled.
Being a good landlord is critical if you want your property constantly occupied and money coming in. It’s very common today for tenants to move out of property’s due to bad experiences with a landlord, which can end up costly on your part. Property management fees are tax deductible, plus considering everything they do the fee is fairly small. If you have a property that you’d like to rent out but are not sure how to go about it and need some advice, drop us an email or give us a call today.