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Being a landlord is quite an interesting position to be in. It pays you quite well, but the risks that you are getting into are also something that should never be taken lightly. One major problem you are prone to encountering once you decide to rent your place out, is dealing with problem tenants. The first major decision a landlord makes once he buys his ‘to let’ property is choosing the most appropriate tenant. This step is a very vital one since failing to pick a suitable tenant would only give you so much stress and headache. If you’re unsure about the steps that you should take to ensure that your tenants aren’t and won’t be ‘problem renters’, here are some tips for you:
Consider renter referencing.
Instead of just judging the potential tenants by what they tell you, by the documents they provide you, and by how they look, it’s better to just go ahead and get a complete reference and background check. There are agencies who can provide you with tenant referencing services or you can also do the background check yourself. Just make sure that you do not breach into any confidential information. If you can find a way to do a credit check, that would be great. Otherwise, you can also settle with simply confirming that the tenant is currently employed. If you can check his/her past employments, that would also help you determine whether the potential tenant can last long in one job or does he/she get unemployed quite often. If you can access his/her past landlords, that would be great too. You’d want to know how that person is as a tenant before you let him/her rent your place.
Once you pick a tenant, put your agreement into writing.
To make sure that you protect your business from tenant abuse in the future, never neglect the part where you write all the agreements up. This will not only protect your rights as the landlord, this will also avoid future arguments with the tenant. What should be stated in the contract should include, but not limited to: the amount of monthly rent; the amount of deposit; the conditions that come with the deposit; the responsibilities of the tenant; the obligations and rights of the landlord, the policies regarding ‘sub-letting’; and the exact end date of the tenancy.
Get a landlord insurance.
Getting a regular home insurance is not enough. This will only protect the property. If you want to avoid losses as a landlord, you’ll need extra insurance coverage for that. Some of the most important coverage of the landlord insurance includes: protection from nonpayment of renters; protection from property damage acquired by the tenant’s party; protection for injuries acquired inside the rented home; and protection from losing tenants due to insured incidents.
If you have a landlord insurance, you are also gonna get the same protection that a regular home insurance comes with. However, the landlord insurance will also give you all the specific protections that you need in your business. Do keep in mind though that insurance providers may differ in the coverage that they offer. Just do some research and compare different insurance providers so you can pick one that caters to all that you need at the most reasonable price.
Regular inspections must always be done.
As a landlord, you can never have a passive attitude. You can forego caring for your tenants if you are not fond of meddling with people’s businesses, but you can never miss out on checking how your property is doing and how your tenants are doing. Using business reference, your tenants are your clients, so you might as well check on them if they are having the time of their life at your home or do they have complaints that you should know about. Regular inspections would allow you to check on possible repairs too, at least before they turn into a worse case.
Your tenants may not care about your property as much as you do, besides, they don’t own it, and they’ll simply rely on you for repairs. If you constantly show up for a checking up, your tenants would be pressured to keep everything in order and avoid damages to the property. So if you can, carry out regular inspections. If you can’t, have someone you trust do the job for you. If you have an assistant, that’ll be great too. The point is, you should never let so much time pass by without taking a look at your property and their dwellers.
Build rapport and keep in touch with the renters.
Make yourself approachable and accessible. You don’t have to go ‘BFF’ over them if you’re not into that kind of thing. Just make sure that you have an open line for them if they need anything. As what has been mentioned above, tenants are customers too, and you need to keep them happy if you want to maintain business with them, and if you want to get good recommendations in the future. Building a relationship with your tenants does not only make you a good landlord, it also helps your tenant respect you more. In return, they will take care of your property as properly as you would. This means you’ll have a lower chance of facing ‘problem tenants’. You don’t have to be extra clingy and give them a phone call on a weekly basis. A call, text, or email done once a month is probably enough. This would imply that you value their business and that you are just one call away. If you show them that you value them, they will return the favor by always paying on time and by treating your property appropriately.
If you and your tenants do not have a relationship at all, it would be harder to let them consider your reminders to them as a landlord. It would be harder for you to ask them to trim the shrubs or scrub the kitchen tiles. Small property based issues can gradually turn into big problems if your communication with the tenants isn’t that good. So if you can, do check in on them even just through texts. That way, you can avoid further issues. –iLetproperties