It’s a simple fact that well-managed rental properties attract the best tenants, while casual or “accidental” landlords attract more problem tenants.
And, there’s a simple reason for this: accidental landlords are not “all-in” when if comes to running their new rental property business.
Because the caliber of the tenants over the long-term will dictate the overall profitability of a rental property, it’s good to keep these winning strategies in mind:
Promote the Rental Property to Tenants and Applicants
When landlords think of marketing a property, that effort usually begins and ends with the rental ad. But effective marketing extends far beyond filling the current vacancy.
Tenants want to get excited about a property, and to believe that others are, too. There’s no harm in letting an applicant know that you have others lining up — assuming that’s true.
How do you get applicants to line up?
First, you need to pay attention to the appearance of the property, inside and out. Focus on security features like lighting, peepholes, easy-release window bars, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be finicky when choosing appliances and finishes.
Then, show some enthusiasm when marketing the vacancy, and highlight these best features. But don’t stop there!
Continue to oversee the property with an eye toward the next tenant, and the next. Hold each tenant’s feet to the fire in order to keep the property in good condition. Don’t abandon the job once you have filled a vacancy or scored a long-term tenant.
The best way to advertise your property to a new tenant is to show that the last tenant set the bar high.
Pay Attention to Your Tenants, Especially the Good Ones
A very common mistake is giving all your attention to the bad tenants, the ones that may end up in dispute resolution, and won’t like you no matter what you do. Unfortunately, that practice creates collateral damage — the good tenants feel ignored, and may grow intolerant.
In some cases, a good tenant will act out because it appears to be the only way to get attention.
It’s true that good tenants are obligated to follow the rules, but there is no harm in acknowlegding — and praising — their efforts. Thank them for pointing out needed repairs because that saved you money, and shows they are watching out for your property. Praise them for paying rent on time, even if it’s just a note of thanks written on the rent receipt.
Good tenants are your best asset, and a little appreciation will help you retain them, and attract more of the same.
Don’t Cut Corners on Maintenance Costs
Simple math proves that reducing costs will bolster rental profits. However, there is a limit to the equation.
By cutting too deeply into the maintenance budget, you may lower the overall value of the property. In addition, you will quickly see that poor maintenance attracts only one class of tenants: the bad ones.
In fact, professional tenants — those with a bad rental history or criminal intent — most often target properties with signs of neglect or an inexperienced landlord. That’s where they have the best chance of getting into a property with little or no tenant background check.
Today, the Internet provides multiple opportunities for former tenants and rental applicants to trash the reputation of the property by posting complaints about substandard repairs online to an unlimited number of prospective renters.
Say, for example, you have the opportunity to hire a maintenance worker for peanuts because the person has little experience. The shoddy repairs and potential conflicts with tenants will far outweigh the costs of hiring someone with more skill.
The same is true of appliances. Let’s say that the laundry facilities in your unit are failing sooner than anticipated. The choice is to either replace the machines or limp by for a couple more years. Meanwhile, disgruntled tenants who are inconvenienced by the loss of this crucial amenity will fail to renew or refuse to refer their friends to the property. That alone requires added advertising costs and income is lost while the property is out of service.
If the tenant decides to take the complaint online, ratings websites and social media may alert prospective renters to the maintenance problems. In the best case scenario, you will need to go online and explain your side of the story. In the worst case scenario, you will never know how many excellent rental prospects decided not to respond to your ads.
Rental repairs and upkeep are part of the landlord’s responsibility under the lease agreement. If repair costs are cut too sharply, the tenant may be able to argue that the lease has been breached. This can end in a rent abatement, as well as an unplanned vacancy, which leads to more income loss.
So, when looking at your maintenance budget, consider the bigger picture, not just the immediate savings. After all, you would not want to purchase a rental property that had been neglected. Likewise, good tenants don’t want to live in one.
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).
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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.