Having a rental property can be lucrative, but if you don’t take care of the property and the tenants, it can end up being an expensive hassle. The following are some tips you can use to make sure you’re managing your tenant-occupied properties the right way.
Screen Your Tenants
The type of tenants you have plays a large part in the maintenance of your tenant-occupied properties. That’s why it’s important to screen your tenants before you let them into your building. You want reliable, long-term tenants that will pay their rent on time and respect the property. Properly screening will help you eliminate potentially problematic tenants from your search and narrow in on the ones that will be a good fit.
When screening applicants, treat every applicant the same and have them each go through the same process. You want to focus on things like decent credit and good rental history. Verify the information provided on the rental application by running credit checks and contacting references to make sure the prospective tenant is honest in their answers.
Regularly Inspect the Property
Being proactive is the best way to make sure a property stays in good condition and won’t need major renovations when your tenants leave or you decide to sell. You’ll want to make sure the building and land are properly cared for, and make sure there are no dangerous conditions within the unit. If a tenant is injured on the property, the landlord could be held responsible.
Make Repairs Promptly
This tip should be common sense, but you’d be amazed how many landlords let repairs linger. A landlord is required by law to repair and maintain a rental property so it is fit for occupancy, including basic necessities such as heating or plumbing. If you’re not making repairs, tenants can withhold the rent, or make the repair themselves and deduct the cost from the rent.
The best way to manage this is to put in a system so tenants can report necessary repairs. The system should include a way for tenants to track complaints or requests and to be notified when they’re fulfilled. Having this tracking system can be useful to see which units are having frequent problems and to prove a repair has been made should a dispute ever occur.
Notify Tenant Before Entering Unit
There are different guidelines depending on the country or state about when a landlord can enter a property, and it’s important to be familiar with those in your area. These laws are usually based around a tenant’s right to privacy.
A landlord may enter a unit for specific reasons, such as making repairs, inspecting the property, or during an emergency. With the exception of emergencies, landlords usually have to give 24-hour verbal or written notice to enter the unit. Make sure that when you’re carrying out necessary maintenance on the building you’re not violating your tenant’s right to privacy.
Consider Hiring a Property Manager
If you have multiple properties to take care of, or find that your other responsibilities are getting in the way of you fulfilling your landlord duties, it may be time to hire a property manager. Property managers can take care of finding prospective tenants, showing them rental units, and making sure the unit is well-maintained once you do have tenants in place. It can save you a lot of time and stress, especially if you have more than one property to maintain.
Open communication with tenants through every stage of the rental process will ensure that your properties stay well-maintained and that you and your tenants stay happy. It can be a lot of work, but if you stay on top of the maintenance, rental properties can be lucrative. Have any other tips for maintaining a tenant-occupied property? Leave a comment and let us know!