Being in control of a building, finding tenants and collecting rent from them does make you a landlord, but there is much more work and a lot more thought that needs to be devoted to your property and the business of being a landlord if you want to be a successful one. Here are a few "How-to" tips from your friends at RoomMatchers:
Screen your tenants vigorously:
Yes, you rule over your property (the word “lord” is in your title) and if someone wants to live there they have to pay you for the privilege. Thus, on the surface, it might look as though you have the upper hand in any conflict you might encounter with a tenant. After all, everyone needs a place to live. This sentiment is not exactly a good one to hold on to.
Have a lease on paper and signed by your tenants:
Have documentation outlining the agreement you have with your tenants. This is for your protection, but don’t look at it strictly in that way. Instead, view it as a form of communication between you and your tenant. A lease assures you that your tenants understand what to expect from you as a landlord and that they know their boundaries. But it also gives them an understanding of what you demand of them as tenants.
This entry on the list piggybacks off the last a bit, and, as we wrote in the introduction paragraph, it’s important to view your rental property as a business. In a way, your tenants are your customers. Think about it: when you go to any store, you purchase goods and services with money. It’s not terribly different then from being a renter. They’re just purchasing goods (the right to a living space and, perhaps, furniture, appliances, etc.) and services (your assurance that the premises will be safe, healthy, and in general working order) from you. We’re not going to pull out the old saying “The customer is always right” here. There can and will be times where a tenant just doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain. But, chances are, the renter might be less inclined to be devious and troublesome if you give them respect in the first place. Respect, in all of its forms, is always earned, not guaranteed.
You’re in possession of the property in the rental agreement and transaction, so, again, you are the service and product provider. You wouldn’t want to go to a store for any good and get something shabby in return for your money. Charge a fair amount, keep the property secure, healthy and in good repair. When upkeep is needed, try and save money by doing it yourself, but, if the job is just too big and you want to avoid the problem worsening down the road, hire a professional to take care of it effectively, efficiently, and in just one appointment. If you need help overseeing the buildings you’re in control of, hire trustworthy managers too. They can deal with maintenance and concerns within the building for you, while perhaps being more readily available to your residents.
Obtain property insurance:
If you take all of the precautions in the world and follow all of the tips we’ve provided, things might still go wrong; nothing is a sure thing and you can still manage to have an unruly tenant who may cause damage to your property. Your building is an investment and insurance is one of the costs worth having so that if damage were to be incurred, your investment will remain secure.