Crucial Tips for Managing Your First Rental Property
As any longtime landlord can confirm, rental property management involves a lot more than collecting rent checks every month. In order to keep your tenants happy and your property in prime condition, effective property management should be among your foremost priorities. Unsurprisingly, first-time landlords with no management experience often struggle in this endeavor. Furthermore, depending on the scale of your management missteps, you may see your renter retention rate plummet. Fledgling landlords looking for ways to satisfy tenants and efficiently maintain their respective properties can benefit from the following tips.
Don’t Ignore Maintenance Requests
Keeping a property in livable condition is one of a landlord’s most important duties. Unfortunately, some landlords have zero qualms about placing maintenance requests on the backburner or disregarding them altogether. While this approach to maintenance may provide you with short-term relief, it’s practically guaranteed to facilitate undesirable consequences in the long run.
For starters, landlords essentially ignore maintenance requests at their own peril. The longer a problem is unaddressed, the more likely it is to cause significant damage to the property. Needless to say, the cost of repairing this damage is likely to pale in comparison to the cost of fixing the initial problem. Secondly, ignoring maintenance requests often results in affected tenants withholding rent payments until such time as their problems are fixed. Thirdly, if you develop a reputation for regarding maintenance requests as afterthoughts, you’re liable to have trouble retaining your existing tenants and attracting new ones.
So, regardless of how much you dread dealing with certain maintenance issues, you’d do well to treat every maintenance request that comes your way as a priority. Any tenant that reports a maintenance issue during regular business hours should receive a response before the end of the workday. Furthermore, tenants should be able to easily reach you and/or dedicated maintenance personnel whenever maintenance emergencies take place after-hours.
You should also acquaint yourself with dependable local contractors, as these individuals will be able to tackle specialized maintenance requests that you and your maintenance staff are unable to handle. Reliable contractor license management software can prove incredibly useful to landlords who regularly enlist the services of contractors.
Make Yourself Accessible to Tenants
Actively avoiding your tenants is unlikely to endear you to them. Even if you’re not keen on dealing with requests, concerns and questions, it’s important to realize that this is a vital part of your job. So, in addition to providing tenants with your work phone and email, take care to respond to their communiques in a timely and professional manner. Taking forever to respond to tenants or outright ignoring their communication attempts will give off the impression that your renters aren’t important.
Unsurprisingly, people generally aren’t amenable to living in places with absent, unresponsive landlords. So, if your accessibility leaves something to be desired, make sure to nip this in the bud. As stated above, your renters should easily be able to reach you via phone or email. Adding to that, if you have an office on the property, consider devoting certain hours to meeting with tenants who have questions for you.
Avoid Becoming Too Friendly with Tenants
While it’s recommended that you try to maintain friendly relationships with tenants, you should stop short of actually becoming friends. Since this is a business relationship, pursuing friendships with tenants stands to complicate matters and facilitate a number of awkward situations. For example, if a tenant with whom you’ve become friends is suddenly unable to pay their rent, things are liable to get extremely uncomfortable. Furthermore, if other tenants become aware of the friendship, they may accuse you of providing your friend with special treatment. So, regardless of how much you may like certain tenants, it’s generally best to keep the relationships with renters professional.
Although there’s no shortage of landlords who consistently skirt their responsibilities, effectively managing a rental property requires a fair amount of effort. As great as it would be to simply sit back and let rent money flow in, this isn’t the reality of rental property ownership. In the absence of proper management, rental properties fall into disrepair, tenants are perpetually unsatisfied and renter retention rates fall precipitously. In the interest of avoiding these outcomes, put the pointers discussed above to good use.