While there’s no denying that owning a rental property can be a great way to generate passive income, not all property investments are equally profitable – and not all property owners are equally dependable.
When acting as a landlord for the first time, many people believe that the job entails nothing more than sitting back and allowing rent checks to roll in. Needless to say, this approach to property ownership is not going to endear you to tenants.
Furthermore, if you develop a reputation for being an inattentive, indifferent, or generally unfit landlord, you’re liable to have trouble attracting future renters. Fledgling landlords who want to do right by their tenants should exhibit the following traits.
Meticulous Property Maintenance
As the landlord, the responsibility of maintaining your various rental properties falls squarely on you. When it comes to smaller properties, you may be able to perform the bulk of all maintenance responsibilities with little to no assistance.
However, with apartment buildings and condo complexes, you’ll more than likely need to enlist the services of full-time maintenance personnel. For example, if one property houses hundreds of units, there’s no way you’ll be able to personally take care of every maintenance request you receive.
You should also make a point of responding to maintenance requests in a timely and courteous manner.
One of the biggest complaints people have about positive landlords is a lack of responsiveness to maintenance issues. The sooner you or your maintenance crew take care of the problems your renters report, the more likely you are to retain tenants and garner favorable feedback online.
Willingness to Screen Renter Applications
When it comes to reviewing applications from prospective tenants, a good landlord never goes with their gut. After all, just because someone is able to talk a big game in person or over the phone doesn’t mean that the information you’re receiving is truthful.
This isn’t to say that applicant screening is guaranteed to weed out every problematic tenant, but it will significantly reduce your chances of winding up with renters who cause problems for their neighbors, take poor care of the property, or refuse to pay rent.
So, regardless of how well a prospective tenant presents themselves during your initial meeting, make a point of going over their application with a fine-toothed comb.
Among other things, this entails running a credit check, requesting a record of previous rentals and contacting any references they provide. Depending on the property in question, you’re liable to receive a fair number of applications. For example, houses for rent in Houston are likely to generate interest from scores of prospective renters.
No tenant relishes not being able to get a hold of their landlord. As such, it’s important that renters know how to get in touch with you. For instance, if a tenant is having a maintenance problem, an issue with a neighbor, or trouble with rent, it’s only natural that they’d want a direct line to you.
With this in mind, provide every tenant with your work phone and email. Furthermore, if you maintain an office at any of your rental properties, consider making yourself directly available to tenants during certain hours.
While you may think that making yourself inaccessible to renters will save you a fair amount of trouble, such behavior will only serve to create more problems.
If they’re given the impression that their landlord couldn’t care less about their needs, some tenants won’t hesitate to find new rental residences and trash you and your properties online.
If you manage multiple properties or have a day job outside of being a landlord, you may want to consider hiring a dependable property manager. This person will essentially act as your proxy.
In addition to collecting rent and dealing with tenant concerns, they’ll consult with maintenance staff and screen applications from potential renters. However, even if you go this route, make a point of checking in on a daily basis and staying abreast of what’s happening on your properties.
It isn’t hard to see why landlords are often cast in less-than-ideal light. After all, many property owners have no qualms about ignoring tenant concerns and allowing serious problems to go unaddressed for extended periods. So, if you’re looking to do right by your renters and your property, make an effort to embody the characteristics discussed above.