Be A Good Landlord And Have Rules
When you have rental properties, there are certain rules that your tenants are expected to follow. Rules are great but they only work if you enforce them. For me, this process actually starts in the pre-screening phase. I look for a prospect who can follow directions and provide the information that I ask for. Prospects who cannot follow simple rules do not make it past the pre-screening stage.
Once you convert an applicant to a tenant, it becomes even more important to have tenant rules. Tenants have the right to know exactly what to expect and what they can and cannot do. Your lease should outline their rights and responsibilities as well as what happens when the rules are broken. Treat them like employees. When you start a new job, there is typically an onboarding process. You should give your tenant the same experience.
Common Tenant Rules
There are some common tenant rules that you need to explain and enforce. A good lease will save you a lot of trouble. Just be sure that you go over the lease with your new tenant. Anytime the rules are broken, refer your tenant back to the lease.
- Rent due date.
- Date late fees start to accrue.
- Date the eviction process starts.
- No smoking.
- Pet policy.
- Move out policy
- Conditions that will cause the security deposit to be forfeited.
- Keep the grass cut.
- Take care of the property.
These are just a few of the common rules you need to address in the lease. For example, if you give a grace period on the rent due date, be sure that you always send the appropriate notice when the rent is not received on time. Here, it is a 7 day letter that starts the eviction process. The tenants receive a certified letter and are told that they have 7 days to pay the rent. When they don’t pay the rent within that time frame, I can send this to the eviction attorney to start the process of removing this tenant. Your tenants must know that there are repercussions when they don’t do what they are supposed to do.
Enforcing Tenant Rules
This is a business and when your tenant doesn’t follow the rules you, as the landlord, need to be prepared to follow through. If you are not consistent and fair with every tenant, you will start to run into problems. Have procedures and follow them every time. Once you start making exceptions, your tenants will notice immediately and your problems will only multiply.
When you start feeling sorry for a tenant, remember that your rental property is an asset and this is your business.
Your tenants have been given rules and you need to demonstrate that you expect them to be followed every single time. Tenants who will not or cannot follow the rules need to understand what will happen. For example, when rent is paid late, there is a late fee and it must be paid. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to continually waive late fees. They learn that it is ok to pay late.
Start off the way you intend to continue. Failing to enforce your rules sets a bad example and will they will never learn to be great tenants.
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