Landlords have a bad rep. Most tenants will happily tell you about their experience with a previous tyrant they rented from. Unfortunately, this isn’t always justified. There’s an inherent contempt for the profession which is hard to evade. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to show you’re actually a professional who’s both fair and respectful. Here are a few tips on how to be a good landlord.
Treat It Like a Business
Your property is your business. If your tenants don’t pay, you have to cover your mortgage. If something goes wrong, you’ve got to find the solution. The truth is, you have to go one step further. Put systems in place to cover all possibilities. When you let to someone, there should be an organised and systematic approach. For instance, what plans do you have in place for when you go on holiday? You should inform your tenants and give them an associate’s contact details should they need you.
Don’t Let to Bad Tenants
All landlords are desperate not to fall into a void period. This doesn’t mean you should jump for the first tenant who comes your way. You should always follow a thorough screening process to ensure you’re only letting in the good guys. The last thing you want is to be a babysitter, chasing after overdue payments and cleaning up after people’s mess. This will give you trust issues and could cause you to be unfairly strict to tenants in the future.
Meet Safety Standards
All landlords have obligations to fulfil. One of these is to adhere to correct safety standards. Have a checklist of these and ensure your property meets the expected criteria. Gas and electrical equipment needs to be installed and checked every year by a registered engineer. Fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted and checked regularly. Record any such activities and make them available for all to see.
Create a Personalised Tenancy Agreement
Most landlords use a standard tenancy agreement which usually covers all bases. The trick is to create a more personalised agreement. It’s certainly best to seek legal advice on this. By giving your agreement a personal touch, you can dispel any ambiguity and irrelevant clauses. Be sure to make it clear who’s responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property. This will prevent any future misunderstandings. We know this goes without saying but be sure to protect your tenant’s deposit in a secured scheme.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? It is however one of the most neglected characteristics a landlord must possess. When your tenant moves in, show your face. Take the time to ensure they’re happy. It’s often comforting for a tenant to be shown how the heating and hot water work. Give your phone number and email address. Let them know they can contact you at any point with their concerns.
Get Things Done
There’ll come a time when tenants contact you with an issue that needs your attention. Never ignore this or overlook it. If you can’t fix it immediately, let the tenant know. Communication is key. There are going to be things which you can’t deal with yourself – it’s worth having a good relationship with tradesmen of all types. Don’t skimp when it comes to getting a job done. A botched job will cost you more in the long run.
Keep Your Distance
This can be tough for fresh faced landlords. You might want to be sure your property is being properly maintained but you can’t just pop round for a visit. Don’t hassle your tenants, let them feel comfortable in your property – after all, you want them to treat it like their home. By all means schedule an inspection after 6 months but don’t forget to follow the correct procedure for this.
Small touches are the most effective way of battling the bad rep landlords get. This is the perfect way of leaving a lasting positive impression. We’ve heard many stories of landlords going the extra mile to make the tenant feel comfortable. Our favourite has to come from a London based landlord who arrives at every moving day with cups of tea or coffee bought for the tenants from his local café. It’s not much but this small gesture goes a long way. Here are a few other small touches, that’ll help you:
Write a welcome letter – some landlords like to write their tenant a welcome letter wishing them an enjoyable time in their property.
- Give a tour of the area – if your tenant’s new to the area, it’s a pleasant gesture to offer a few insights into where the best restaurants are, what amenities are around and where to find the closest bus stop. Some landlords even offer a walking tour to their tenants.
- Stock up on the essentials – we’re not saying you should spend lots of money on this but it’s bound to be noticed. Try adding a roll of toilet paper and a bar of soap to each bathroom. This removes the immediate need for a supermarket shop and will make your tenants feel comfortable from the start. Leaving a bottle of all-purpose cleaner and a cloth also helps to encourage cleanliness.
- Dress neatly – if you dress like a professional, you’ll be treated like one. We’re not saying you should always wear a suit but a neat appearance will help your credibility.
- Stay calm – if a tenant calls about an issue that ruins your day, don’t let them know you’re annoyed. Deal with every issue in a professional manner, like a business would.
- Join an accreditation scheme – Being a member of a landlord accreditation scheme isn’t required by law though it will go in your favour. Joining one shows a commitment to professionalism and quality in your industry.
An inventory can seem like a tedious task though it’s a vital one. Without it, a tenant can treat your property with complete disregard and face no backlash. If you don’t have an inventory, you face the possibility of losing any dispute. Why not make the whole process stress free with No Letting Go’s inventory services? Find out more information here.
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