Becoming A Successful Landlord
Being a successful landlord is not as easy as it sounds and it doesn’t happen by accident.
When you decide to invest in rental property, there are a number of issues that can come up. Some of these problems are a result of tenants that do not take care of the property, which leads to another whole set of problems.
You, as a landlord, are responsible for maintaining your properties.
- Want a lot of headaches?
- Like dealing with unhappy tenants?
- Love tenants who will stop paying the rent?
When a tenant stops caring, unhappy code officials will begin to levy fines against your property. The best advice I can give to landlords is to always keep your property in good shape. You will attract and keep better quality tenants if your properties are well maintained.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”ZU6cz” via=”no” ]Nobody ever said that being a landlord was easy. [/ctt]
Also, you should not underestimate the value of curb appeal! Plant bushes, maybe some flowers, add mulch or anything else that will make the home look more appealing.
Check On Your Rentals
Once you rent your house, don’t just shrug your shoulders and hope for the best. You may be in for an awful surprise when you show up to do some maintenance or the tenant moves out. Be sure that you get in the home at least once a year to check it out. It is your house and you have the right to enter it with the proper advanced notice.
Many leases say with 24 or 48 hours’ notice, you can enter the home. Check the laws in your area. Some landlords personally change the furnace filters in every home every 3 to 6 months. This give you an excuse to get inside the home to see if there is any major damage.
If you notice anything alarming, you can talk to the tenant while you are there, follow up with a phone call and send a Cease and Desist letter that gives them a specific time frame to clean up the mess.
You should list a follow up date in the letter so that you can go back and make sure they have done what you asked them to do.
Problem tenants need to be addressed consistently and according to the laws in your area. In many areas you will find that local laws support tenants more than landlords so be sure you follow the law.
A successful landlord will know how important it is to document everything and to treat every tenant the same way. This allows you to build a solid eviction case if it comes down to that.
All successful landlords collect a security or damage deposit when the lease is signed.
The damage deposit tends to be a common source of problems because the tenant doesn’t understand how it is to be used. At the end of the lease, the vast majority of tenants believe they can use this as the last month’s rental payment. When you tell them they can’t, it causes a lot of anger when you explain why.
Be sure that you explain at the lease signing, that this is a “damage deposit”. I recommend not using the word “security” deposit at all.
Tenants seem to understand the word “damage” better. In my experience at least, this simple word change has led to far fewer problems at the end of the lease.
Not Last Month’s Rent
Always explain that it is NOT to be used as the last month’s rent! Its sole purpose is to help pay too repair for any damage that the tenant has done to the rental at the end of the lease term.
Be sure you spell this out in the lease! You also need to explain the process to the tenant when he signs the lease.
Before you can refund the damage deposit, you have to complete a walk through, preferably with the tenant present.
I recommend having a move-out check list that you fill out when you walk through the house.
You should note any damage that is not considered normal wear and tear:
- Holes in the walls
- Holes or stains in the carpet
- Burn marks on the counter tops
- Missing cabinet doors
- Missing doors in the home, etc.
These are some of the common things we deduct for.
[ctt template=”11″ link=”1uxLJ” via=”no” ]Problem tenants need to be addressed consistently and according to the laws in your area.[/ctt]
A successful landlord has a well maintained property. It is very important to check on your properties consistently and that you fully understand how the damage deposit can and cannot be used.
Hopefully, if your keep the house up, you make sure your tenant maintains it, you will be in a position to give the damage deposit back at the end of the lease.
This will mean that you had a great tenant and you won’t have much to do in order to get a new tenant in the house.