By Jennifer McCready
As a property manager, you may have also taken on the role of landlord. These two jobs are not interchangeable and as such, many property management professionals struggle to shift between the two while being effective at both. If your landlord duties have you feeling a little bit challenged, or you’re new to this role, here are a few things to keep in mind. These tips will help you master the art of fully managing your properties, keeping tenants happy and profits up.
Remember your role
As the landlord, you set the rules of the property. You decide what you will and will not allow your tenants to do. Figure out what’s important to you and work with your legal representative to make sure all of your requirements are properly noted in your leases and rental agreements as well as well communicated with your tenants.
Establish yourself but don’t be overbearing
It’s important that your tenants know who you are, how to get ahold of you and that you’re a regular presence at the property. This can help to ensure that your rules are being followed. It will also foster a sense of trust amongst your residents. That being said, try not to overdo it. Being at the property constantly can feel as though you’re being oppressive.
Make sure everything is always in writing
Communication is critical, but if it’s not done in writing it could come back to bite you. For instance, if you’ve notified a tenant that their on notice for breaking a rule, but you’ve only done so over the phone, there is no way to take action if they fail to comply. All they’d have to do is claim they’d never been told. Having a paper trail is an absolute must.
Don’t bend the rules
Even if it’s a tenant you really like, straying from your own rules and regulations can be a slippery slope. What happens if and when another renter finds out you made an exception for his or her neighbor and demands the same treatment? You could end up with a mutiny on your hands. No matter how much you want to, don’t bend the rules for anyone. It’s just not worth it.
Reward good tenants
You don’t have to play hardball all the time. If you’ve got loyal, responsible tenants, reward them in any way you can – even if it’s just a small gift card at the holidays. Sometimes just taking the time to thank them for being so great can go a long way. When you have problem tenants, you’ll address it, right? Make sure the same goes for good ones.
Learn and adapt as you go
As time goes by, you may find that certain things have changed or new issues crop up. Your original lease may not account for these things, but as you encounter them, be sure to make the appropriate changes and updates. The more you do, the easier the job will become over the years.
Being a landlord isn’t an easy job. Actually, it’s quite a challenging one. By applying the tips above, however, you can make it a little bit easier on yourself. Before you know it, you’ll have your properties running like well-oiled machines.
What tips, tricks and advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out as a landlord? Please share – we’d love to hear them!