10 Time-Saving Tips for Landlords

by Chris on April 10, 2017

Efficiency rules when it comes to managing your rental property and increasing your income. The less time wasted, the more time spent where it really matters — finding good tenants. A few simple tweaks can make all the difference when it comes to saving time:

1. Answer applicant questions in the rental ad rather than individually over the phone. Nothing drains more time than a cryptic, online ad that forces all prospects — including the unqualified ones — to call in for more information. This also hampers tenant screening because it’s cumbersome to keep track of all the different callers. Include enough info in the ad so that applicants can determine whether they are interested and qualified for the property. They won’t want to waste their time, either.

2. Prequalify renters over the phone. Another colossal waste of time is providing property tours to unqualified applicants. Interview prospects over the phone to determine threshold qualifications such as income and compliance with rules like non-smoking. Also, find out when applicants plan to move, and why they are looking for a new home. Save this info. It is useful as a cross-check during tenant screening should you decide to move forward with this prospect. An applicant’s story should remain consistent throughout the leasing process.

3. Read the rental application before running a tenant background check. When it comes to tenant screening, order matters. Many applicants can be eliminated on the merits of the application itself. Don’t bother running a tenant background check on an applicant who has not completed all items on the rental application, has failed to sign the application, or who does not qualify based on the information in the application.

4. Answer your phone. When a tenant calls, do your best to answer the phone and discuss the problem then and there. It is a waste of time to play phone tag with the tenant who likely won’t be available hours later. Tenant disputes, like noise complaints, are more efficiently solved in real time. Being ignored can escalate a tenant’s stress level. The longer it takes for you to respond, the longer it will take to resolve the problem.

5. Choose better appliances. Self-cleaning ovens and washers that don’t break down every other month are time-savers. Often, landlords look at cost comparisons when shopping appliances. Don’t forget to factor in time spent dealing with multiple repairs of substandard appliances. New is not always the answer, but durability and ease of repairs should come into play.

6. Consider keyless entry locks. Tenant lock-outs are a common and time-consuming aspect of property management. Tenants are not likely to forget an entry code. If they do, keyless options allow for more than one code to be entered, so each unit can be programmed with a unique backup code that easily can be conveyed over the phone if the tenant is locked out. That saves time wasted driving across town to rescue tenants who’ve lost their keys.

7. Sign up to Report Tenant Pay Habits. Chasing down a tenant for the rent not only is annoying, it’s a waste of time. By signing up to report tenants’ monthly rent payments, you provide a consequence for late payments. TVS compiles a database of rent payment history at LandlordCreditBureau.com. TVS is in discussions with Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, to share that information on tenant credit reports. That provides major incentive for tenants to pay on time every month. Good tenants benefit from this service by building better credit.

8. Conduct a pre-move inspection. Offer to walk through the property with the tenant about a month before the actual move-out and point out what specifically has to happen for the tenant to get the full security deposit back. Don’t threaten to take deductions from the security deposit, or this walk-through will have the opposite affect. The advantage: the unit will be returned in good condition, and you save time cleaning and restoring the property.

9. Swap old carpeting for hard floors. Carpet is a pain for landlords. It makes restoring units more time-consuming. Tenants tend to wait until the last minute to clean it, and then it takes forever to dry, while the new tenant is scheduled to move in. Then, it can take days for any untreated spots to reappear. Carpet is difficult to keep clean,  and that causes an increase in security deposit disputes. What’s more, the carpet doesn’t hold up for long, and that makes showing the property — and attracting good tenants — progressively more difficult. Hard surface flooring is easier to clean, and can be accented by rugs at the tenants’ expense if they choose that cozy carpet feel. Those rugs leave along with the tenant, so any mess is not your problem.

10. Go smoke-free. It is a fact that smokers’ units are more time-consuming to restore. It can take days to tame the residual smell that is left behind. Prohibiting smoking allows for quicker turnaround, and less time wasted swamping the unit with vinegar or air-freshening bombs. Even better, smoke-free units are in high demand and appeal to the majority of renters, including the very best ones. That cuts down on the time it takes to find new renters.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marv Steier April 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

Good article Chris. I’ve been reading a few articles lately on this subject. A particular one yesterday on renting to millennials. Good Tenants in general however want a clean rental unit with up to date appliances etc. Makes sense.

Pre-qualifying tenants at the rental AD stage might cost a bit more for additional words, but will save you a ton of time and money in the long run by eliminating applicants you don’t want.
Pre-qualifying them over the telephone is another time and money saver. Develop a list of questions you want to ask over the phone. Ask them in each instance, less chance of being seen as discriminatory and you will come across more professional when prepared.
Be smart about they type of questions you ask and the answers you give. EG oh you have 4 kids? sorry can’t rent to you. Choose your words and denials wisely. There are other reasons to deny rent if you want to.
Reporting rent payments to http://www.landlordcreditbureau.com is good for landlords and tenants who pay rent on time. Rent payments are reported to Trans Union Credit Bureau, and we’re attempting to report to all 3. Reporting rent payments mitigates risk of rental income loss.

Costello Realty & Management May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

Great post! It is important to plan everything after all saving time relates to potential income. By the way, those keyless entry locks are very practical.

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