When you own rental property, you need to manage both tenants and your units. While managing physical units might be easy, managing tenants requires professionalism and finesse.
When you maintain good relations with your tenants, they’re more likely to be respectful and pay rent on time. They’re also more likely to let you know when there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
For most real estate investors, being a landlord is out of the question. Instead of handling things themselves, they hire a property management company to do the job. For example, many investors in Texas hire Houston property management company Green Residential to manage their investments.
The benefits of outsourcing your landlord tasks are huge. Nothing beats having a team of professionals doing all the work. However, if you’re intent on managing your own properties, you can increase your effectiveness by adopting the following habits.
Maintain clear and consistent communication
Consistency is the key to everything, including being an effective landlord. Tenants, like anyone, need consistency in order to feel like they can trust you.
Many tenants come from a place where their landlord was awful to them. You never know what you’re getting into with new tenants, even when they pass your screening standards.
Maintaining clear and consistent communication will help you establish trust with your tenants. Set your expectations from the start and let your tenants know what they can expect from you. For example, when you first meet a prospective tenant, tell them you expect rent on time and a late fee will be assessed after the third day (or however you work your late fees). Also, let them know you expect them to inform you of any necessary repairs, and that you will also let them know of any changes to their lease and you’ll let them know ahead of time when inspections will occur.
Make sure that your tenant knows communication goes both ways, and that they can count on you to communicate clearly. Don’t spring anything on them unexpectedly and you’ll earn their trust.
Consult with an attorney regularly
Landlord-tenant laws frequently change at the local level, and it’s important to stay updated with those changes through an attorney. You probably know that making a legal mistake can be costly if a tenant decides to sue you. Staying on top of local landlord-tenant laws is easiest when you consult with an attorney periodically to find out what has changed.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many landlords weren’t sure of the laws. In the U.S., the federal government issued an eviction moratorium that applied to government-funded housing, but many renters mistakenly believed it applied to everyone.
Some landlords whose properties weren’t covered by the federal moratorium weren’t aware of local eviction moratoriums and ended up in hot water for evicting tenants.
Those landlords could have prevented their situations by staying in touch with a lawyer who would have explained the local laws in detail.
Be your word
You expect your tenants to honor their lease agreement, so it makes sense that you should honor your agreements as well. The best and most respected landlords honor their word. Your word is your integrity and when you honor your word, you show your tenants that you respect them and they matter. For example, if you tell a tenant you’ll fix a broken screen door by a certain date, make sure you schedule that repair and follow through. Your tenants will always pay attention to the relationship you have to your word.
If you make promises you don’t keep, your tenants will start to lose trust in you. Too many broken promises will make some tenants feel bitter toward you and they might even take that one step further and ignore issues around your property. In their mind, if you don’t care about them, they don’t care about you.
Sometimes broken promises aren’t intentional. Everyone gets busy and forgets things, so the best way to prevent this issue is to write down your promises and schedule them into your calendar immediately. Right after telling a tenant you’ll fix something or call someone for them, write it down and put it in your schedule so you don’t forget.
Your management style will determine your effectiveness : Above all, your management style will determine how effective you are as a landlord. If all of your landlord tasks feel overwhelming, you can always opt to hire a property management company to take over for you. Otherwise, develop the habits outlined in this article to be more effective with your tenants.