Tips on Being a Good Landlord
Conduct a Thorough Background Check
Before renting to any new tenant you should properly screen for any past issues from; defaulting on the rent, damage caused to the premises or keeping undesirable company within their rental property. A rental application, credit check, and references will help to determine whether the applicant is a desirable tenant and one whom you would trust to properly take care of the property.
Rental Agreements Go a Long Way
The best way to ensure that both the landlord and tenant feel secure in their rental agreement is to use a written lease that will outline all of the details of the rental agreement. Be sure to include the procedures and processes for repairs, tenant complaints, move in and out notices and of course notice needed to enter the tenant’s unit. Both parties should agree and sign the rental agreement upon receiving damage deposit and first month’s rent.
Design a Security Deposit Process
Ensure that the rental property is in upstanding condition before the renter moves in. Walk through the unit with the new renter and make note of any damage as to avoid any disputes upon the tenant vacating the rental property that may result in withholding some or all of the security/damage deposit. By setting up a fair system for collecting, holding and dispersing any and all security deposits will help the process to flow smoothly and avoid any complications.
Most importantly it is helpful for all landlords to review the Residential Tenancies Act before renting to any tenant. Knowing specific information will prepare you, or help to avoid any legal disputes with potential renters.
Appropriate Property Maintenance
Ensuring that all of the maintenance and repairs needed for the rental unit are kept up to date is essential when owning a rental property. Not only will it detour potential renters or force out current ones, if the property and unit do not remain in good repair it can give your renters grounds to; withhold rent, deduct costs of repairs from rent, sue for resulted injuries or even possibly move out without providing notice.
Help to reduce the possibility of break-ins and provide a safe living environment for your tenants by providing proper security measures. It can be as simple and inexpensive as ensuring that the premises is properly lit and sustains an appearance of a properly maintained property and kept in good repair. A little landscaping and maintaining the exterior paint can go a long way. You can really go the extra mile and install surveillance cameras to help further detour any criminals.
Entering the Premises Notices
By law, you must give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice that you will be entering the premises. By helping to maintain your tenants’ rights and privacy you will help to build a trust-based relationship that will result in much better communication and the ability to provide a great place to live. Your tenants want to feel safe and secure in their rental properties; by respecting their rights and privacies will help to ensure that your tenants are in turn taking good care of the rental unit.
Keep Your Tenants Informed
Fully disclosing any hazards such as mold, lead or even a potential sewer back-up will help to maintain a level of trust with your tenants. Not only are you liable for your tenant’s health problems resulting from exposure to dangerous toxins within the rental property, getting ahead of any potential problems will help to avoid any actual exposure or legal disputes. Make sure you are providing adequate notice of water shut-offs or disruptions in electrical service.
Hire Reliable Staff
Choosing someone to manage and/or supervise your rental property can be a tricky business. As with your tenants, you should properly screen any potential employees to ensure they are competent and reliable. Make sure to clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations your property manager will have; you don’t want your rental property falling into disrepair or drive away any current or potential tenants. Most importantly make sure that you are checking in with these managers/supervisors to ensure that they are doing a good job.
Better Safe than Sorry…
As with anything in life, stuff happens. So make sure you are prepared for any unforeseen costs, damages and any lawsuits that may result from tenant injuries or vandalism. Properly protect yourself by purchasing a decent liability and property insurance policy that will cover everything from fire to slipping on some ice.
Properly Handle Disputes
Before consulting with lawyers try to resolve any tenant disputes on your own first. Getting lawyers involved will immediately escalate any situations or conflicts you may have with your tenants. Make sure that you have done everything possible to settle rent disputes, noise complaints and any suspected intentional damage to the property before contacting your lawyer. Even try a neutral third party to help with disputes. Using a lawyer should be a last resort!
Disputes where money is involved and all attempts to resolve outside of court have failed, take it to small claims court first. You will be able to represent yourself and collecting unpaid rent or monies owed from property damage will be a little easier on you and your bank account. Although the process can be a bit lengthy, it will be worth it in the end.