How to be a Successful Landlord: Part One
In a nation that is obsessed with the property market, it’s a sorry sight that it is now becoming harder than ever to step onto the housing ladder. First time buyers are facing a power struggle in making the move into their first home and many are left with no choice but to rent.
Renting can be a great alternative and while there is nothing quite like owning your own home, it still allows individuals, couples and families to have their own space and own accommodation. If you’re a landlord, you’re going to want to make life as easy as possible for both you and tenants. Nobody wants to be a nightmare landlord and with these simple tips on how to be a successful landlord, you can make sure that you’re the best landlord you can be.
In regards to leasing, be sure to use the tactic of lease targeting. This can be done by scheduling the majority of your lease end dates for times when the market is going to be offering the most prospective tenant traffic. June the 1st is often a great target move-in date so try to work around this. And when a lease is in place, hire a lawyer to review the lease. Many common provisions placed in lease contracts are surprisingly illegal, a body with experience regarding landlord-tenant laws can quickly identify lease errors and provide you with a court tested document.
Treatment of tenants
When you do secure tenants, be sure to keep them happy, not east because it is far cheaper to retain a tenant than it is to find a new one. Simply fix repairs immediately and keep the property in good shape whilst treating your tenants with respect. This will equate to less turnover and more cash flow. Of course, good tenants are great and keeping them happy is important but don’t be afraid to screen out any bad tenants. Before accepting a tenant, check that their income is at least three times the cost of monthly rent and if possible, run a credit and background check whilst complying with Fair Housing laws. You can also ask for referrals from previous landlords and should always avoid tenants with past evictions at all costs.
Rewards and punishments
If your tenants are always on-time with their payments, or even pay in advance, or refer new tenants, reward them with small gifts, whether this be cinema tickets, vouchers, chocolates, a bottle of wine etc. A little bit of kindness goes a long way and they’re sure to spread the word about what a fantastic landlord you are. Unfortunately, not every tenant is going to make on-time or advanced payments, thus, make it clear from day one that you will enforce a late fee for any overdue rent. Be strict with this policy as the extra income from the overdue fee will compensate for the stress caused by not receiving payment on time.
You may want to try and do everything yourself and may believe that you have construction experience or whatever, but don’t go and try to do all maintenance jobs by yourself. You may make a plumbing problem worse if you start messing with the taps or can even cause a structural problem if you start breaking up concrete.