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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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