According to statistics, more than 44 million households in the USA are renters. It’s easy to see why so many renters have contentious relationships with their landlords. After all, if the person to whom you pay a sizable chunk of your monthly income is uncommunicative, unobliging or outright rude, it’s only natural that you’d feel some degree of resentment towards them. Unsurprisingly, landlords who embody these traits tend to have trouble with renter retention, which often leads to a loss in rental income.
4 Invaluable Tips for Being a Good Landlord
As such, landlords who are looking to hold on to tenants and continue generating passive income should start being mindful of poor behavior on their part and heed the following pointers.
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Invest in Profitable Areas
To help ensure that your first rental property investment is a profitable venture, make sure to engage in location research before getting started on any paperwork. Areas that have large populations, robust population growth, healthy property values and high rental rates generally have abundant demand for housing, making them ideal for landlords. So, before committing to purchase your first rental, look into the best cities to invest in real estate.
Don’t Play Favorites with Your Tenants
It’s in every landlord’s best interest to maintain a friendly, professional relationship with their tenants. Having adversarial relationships with renters doesn’t serve anyone well and stands to create a tremendously uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. With this in mind, make a point of exuding courtesy and professionalism in all of your interactions with tenants, be they phone-based, email-based or in-person. Even if a tenant is late with rent or proving problematic in other ways, try to conduct yourself with politeness.
However, this isn’t to say that you should pursue actual friendships with tenants. While becoming friends with tenants is far from taboo, it stands to blur the lines of your relationship. For example, if a tenant with whom you’ve become friends is suddenly unable to afford their rent, this is liable to place both of you in an extremely awkward situation. After all, what kind of friend would you be if you were to insist that they pay their rent or face the same penalties any other tenant would under the same circumstances?
Furthermore, even if you don’t show preferential treatment to tenants whom you consider friends, you’re liable to be accused of doing so by renters who are outside of your circle of friendship. This isn’t to say that you should avoid cultivating friendships with tenants at all costs, but should you choose to become friends with any of your renters, make sure you have a solid understanding of the risks.
Never Ignore Maintenance Requests
There’s no big mystery as to why some landlords consistently place maintenance requests on the back burner or ignore them outright. Addressing maintenance requests requires time, effort and money, and certain landlords simply can’t be bothered. However, while shrugging off a maintenance request may seem like a good idea at the moment, such negligence can prove extremely consequential.
For starters, regarding maintenance requests as an afterthought will justifiably draw the ire of tenants, who are likely to drag your approach to property management online, thus doing damage to your professional reputation and limiting interest from prospective tenants. Secondly, if you habitually ignore maintenance requests, your renter retention numbers are likely to experience a sharp decline. Ignoring maintenance issues also stands to land you in legal trouble, particularly if the problems being ignored are compromising tenants’ safety or the property’s livability.
Furthermore, it’s generally more cost-effective to tackle maintenance issues in an expedient fashion than allow them to linger. The longer certain problems are left alone, the larger they’re likely to become – and the more damage they’re likely to cause to your property. Needless to say, more damage means higher repair costs, so this is absolutely no benefit to turning a blind eye to maintenance issues. Consider this the most crucial of all the landlord tips for success.
Don’t Sleep on Renovations
If your rental property requires important renovations, you should make undertaking them a priority. In the interest of completing renovations in a timely and cost-effective manner, enlist the services of fully licensed and insured contractors. Licensed contractors are able to pull permits for various renovations, which can help ensure that work proceeds smoothly and at an even clip.
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It seems like everyone has at least one horror story to tell about an unaccommodating landlord. While ignoring the needs of your tenants and waiting for rent checks to come rolling in may seem like an easy way to make money, this approach to rental property ownership can have a host of undesirable consequences – including abysmal renter retention, lawsuits and legal jeopardy. That being the case, anyone looking to become a landlord should make a point of adhering to these new landlord tips outlined above.