Since landlords are always fixing up properties, developing buy-to-lets or working on loft conversions, we wanted to provide a useful guide on how to be a good landlord. Whether you are a seasoned pro or this is your first time looking after tenants, we provide some great tips below.
It is no surprise that all landlords want to provide the best service possible to their tenants. Being a good landlord builds your reputation positively in the community of local landlords and amongst people who are wanting to rent a property – a recommendation from a current tenant could mean a quicker let on one of your properties in the future.
In short, being a good land lord requires time, effort and money to invest into your properties. All of it will be worth it however, a happy tenant is a happy landlord, and vice versa.
Help the tenant feel at home
The likelihood of a new tenant moving from a different place and into your property is quite high, so help them adjust to the area. Perhaps provide them with a guide of the area, draw out directions to the local shops and grocery stores – you can be sure to find such lists on any online map service.
Upon their arrival, if you are not going to be present, you should leave them a welcome letter. It only has to be a brief note welcoming them to your property, with some contact details, and any special instructions such as when the bins are each week and some good utility providers in the area. Also don’t be scared to spring for some flowers or a small fruit basket – this can be your first impression after all.
You could also include a little section stating that if anything goes wrong in the property, i.e the boiler breaks, they can always call you to sort the problem. This will hopefully put your tenant’s minds at ease and create a great relationship with you from the offset.
Buy a few items for the property
As a sort of welcome gift, consider buying a few household essential products such as bleach, toilet roll, all-purpose cleaner, washing up liquid, sponges and tea towels etc. This does not have to be expensive, but it will be worth it for sure. Often when people are moving they forget the most basic things to pick up, so this is a gesture that will be appreciated by your new tenants.
Furthermore, this could be a very subtle way to encourage them to keep the place clean – they have no excuse if all the cleaning supplies are there, ready to be used.
However, this is not an excuse to not have the property professionally cleaned! The household basics are gifts that can just help the tenants out just that little bit.
Follow the guidelines
You must always make sure to follow the guidelines set out in the lease or tenancy agreement since that is what has been agreed and signed by everyone involved. If there is a problem in the property, don’t just take it in to your own hands, always refer to what is says in the lease.
If there is a problem that has not been addressed in the lease, you should refer to your city’s local ordinances, or you could also check out any local landlord forums for tips on what to do in a given situation.
If you simply take things into your own hands, you cannot point out that what you have done is within your rights and the things you are doing are consistent with other landlords, if they have any objections to your approach.
It is extremely important for you do be accessible for your tenants. When your tenants need to speak to you, you must be there as much as possible. From day one, you should have given your contact details, such as a phone number and an email address by which they can contact you. Even a backup number for emergency use only.
In the case of emergency, you should also be available during the night. However, you should make sure that the tenants do not feel as though they have the right to abuse your availability and ask for you some small things whenever they feel like it – there needs to be some guidelines.
Furthermore, if a tenant emails or calls you, you should aim to respond promptly. Keep it in mind that any interaction with your tenant is a business interaction and therefore, you should reply as you would to a business email or call with etiquette.
If you know you will be away for a certain amount of time, you should let all your tenants know in advance with plenty of time. Make sure they know whether they can or cannot expect a response from you during this time.