Successfully managing a rental property requires knowing how to be a good landlord. But if you’re still new to the rental process, then it may not be clear what qualities you should have as a DIY landlord.
To help you confidently manage your property, we’ve outlined 15 things you can do right away to make your tenants feel welcomed while also protecting your investment.
How to Be a Good Landlord
Becoming a good landlord means being able to properly manage your rental property, while also considering the needs of your tenants. Here are 15 things you can start doing to become your tenant’s favorite landlord.
1. Help the Tenant Get Adjusted to the Area
Your tenant will most likely be new to the area, meaning they’ll need helpful resources to get situated in their new home. Some landlords provide new tenants with a printout that gives directions to local grocery stores, pharmacies, and other facilities nearby to make the overall process less overwhelming.
Although this step is not required, any help from local natives ensures your tenants feel comfortable in their new home right away.
2. Write Them a Welcome Letter
Leaving your tenant a brief note welcoming them to the unit, as well as reiterating how happy you are to have them sets the right tone for a positive renting experience.
Provide any special instructions for the apartment (when trash pickup/recycling is, contact information for cable and utility services, etc.) and your contact information to let them know where to reach you.
3. Stock the Bathrooms
When the tenant is first moving in, the last thing on their mind is picking up some toilet paper. If you stock each bathroom in the unit with a roll of toilet paper and hand soap, your tenants will feel welcomed and appreciate the gesture.
4. Holiday Card / Thank You Card
A thank you card or holiday card can go a long way in keeping a long strong landlord-tenant relationship. Showing your tenant your appreciation for their business and paying their rent on time.
Avoid giving any type of monetary gifts, such as gift cards or lottery tickets, or other gifts, as these may be expected and used against you in future tribunals.
5. Help Them Change Address
By including either address labels for their unit or change-of-address packets from the post office with your welcome letter, this can show the tenants that you think of the little things. They’ll also think of you as a responsible and detail-oriented person, which are two excellent qualities to find in a landlord. If you provide change-of-address instructions when they move out, this will help prevent unwanted mail from still being delivered that you won’t have to forward or throw away.
6. Follow the Guidelines in Your Rental Lease
Whenever there is an issue with a tenant, always follow the guidelines outlined in your rental lease to avoid additional problems. If there are issues that come up that weren’t addressed in the lease, you can always refer back to your city’s local ordinances or check on local landlord forums for tips and best practices. This way, should they have any objections, you can make it clear that you are within your rights and are also doing what is consistent among other landlords.
7. Remain Calm When Handling Problems
The renting process may include hiccups that can prevent a tenant from paying rent on time, like a global pandemic. While it’s normal to get frustrated when handling major problems, it’s important to remain professional and calm as a landlord.
There are also local laws that prevent landlords from threatening tenants or infringing on their renter rights. To reduce the chances of landing in a legal situation, you can refer to your rental lease for guidance or ask a question in the Community Forum to get feedback from other landlords in similar situations.
8. Keep the Relationship Professional
Having a friendly, professional relationship with your tenant is great, but it’s important to set boundaries in case you have to evict them or meet them in court. You don’t want to get caught up at the expense of the health of your rental business.
9. Be Consistent
Always follow the rental lease guidelines you’ve set with your tenants. Whether that’s responding to maintenance requests in a given time frame or collecting rent online, whatever you’ve included in your rental lease should be carried out.
10. Be Accessible
In order to establish a strong business relationship with a tenant, you’ll want to be easily accessible in case an emergency arises. Tenants should always be provided with multiple means by which to contact you, such as a phone number, email, or through a property management software platform.
When you manage your rental property on Avail, your tenants can escalate any maintenance requests or issues with their rent payments directly through their accounts Instead of having to worry about handling issues through different forms of communication, it can all stay in one place for less back-and-forth.
11. Walk Them Through the Lease
You can establish yourself as a high-quality landlord even before the tenant has moved in. When it comes time for the tenant to sign the lease, you should be willing to walk them through it as they review the different clauses. Communicate about the rights and responsibilities that both parties have so everyone is aligned on the guidelines. This will get everything out in the open from the start, and show your tenant that you’re someone to trust.
12. Respond Promptly
Whenever a tenant calls or emails you, be sure to respond to them as soon as possible. It’s always important to remember that any interaction with your tenant is a business interaction, no matter how well you know them, and business etiquette calls for quick responses. If you know you are going to be away or on vacation, then inform the tenant in advance and provide them with an alternate contact to reach out to in case of emergency.
13. Be Aware of Your Online Profile
There are a number of sites, like Yelp or ReviewMyLandlord, that allow tenants to post reviews of your services and your units. Both sites allow you to respond and address good and bad reviews. If you come across something that requires your attention, it’s best to address them right away to ensure your reputation as a landlord remains positive.
On the contrary, if you don’t have any reviews online, it might be a good idea to request reviews or testimonials from previous tenants. This is how many future tenants confirm their impressions of you or form impressions before even meeting you.
14. Electronically Store Documents
All important paperwork related to your rental business should be stored electronically to keep everything in one place. Documents such as the rental lease agreement, maintenance tickets, and payment tracking will need to be accessed throughout the lease period. To avoid losing any important information, you can keep it online on a platform to ensure everything is stored in a secured location.
Your tenants can also access the rental lease agreement from their account, which will come in handy if an issue or question arises. Offering your tenant these electronic copies, all attached in one email with documents they can easily download, will definitely be appreciated.
15. Tenant Insurance
Ensure your tenants have a tenant or renters insurance policy in place, by requesting it at the time they move in. This will protect them and their belongings in the event of a flood or fire. This coverage will also help relocate your tenant well you make repairs to your dwelling