Everyone likes the idea of generating 35 checks that come in the mail box, or these days direct deposit, on a monthly basis. However, the reality of making this happens means that you will become something that most people don’t want to become – a landlord.
The business of landlording should be taken seriously as it can make or break your success as a real estate investor. You have to know how to manage tenants properly, attract the best tenants possible, and fulfill your obligations to build profitable long-term landlord/tenant relationships.
At the end of the day, the business of real estate investing is just like every other business on the planet, a business of relationships with real people.
Perhaps you’d like an introduction to the expectations landlords and tenants.
Looking at some of the fundamental laws that landlords and tenants must follow provide a great place to start understanding what it takes to build profitable long-term relationships as a landlord.
Let’s start by looking at the duties of the landlord.
Deliver the premises at the beginning of the lease term – Quiet simply, when the lease term begins, hand over the keys for the property unit for the tenant to start living. I thought it would be a good idea to start with the most fundamental aspect of good landlording possible.
Maintain the premises in a habitable condition
This is where some relationships go sideways quickly.
Some landlords have a less than desirable view of what it’s habitable, while others overdo it. Likewise, tenants have their perspective of what is livable and what is not acceptable for the money.
That’s why it’s important to set clear expectations of what the landlord will cover and what the tenant must cover by way of maintenance, fixes and improvements to the rental property.
It’s generally essential to have a working roof, functioning utilities, proper functioning pluming, and a property that’s been treated for pests.
Provide for the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the premises
if you own apartment units, for instance, this may include things such as quiet hours. Particularly, there is a playground, swimming pool or recreational facility on the premises, you may need to ensure that there are clear rules about appropriate and inappropriate behavior as well as operational hours.
Supply essential services, including heat and hot water
You have to decide as a landlord what essential services you will and will not pay for, included with rent. This may vary from property to property and from landlord to landlord.
However, all properties should have heating, AC, hot running water, and electricity available. These essentials make a property habitable. Most landlords, particularly in middle to upper income rental properties, require tenants to cover their own utilities.
Give proper notice of changes to rules and regulations or a change of ownership
Good communication and fair communication are essential to any relationship. The same holds true in the relationship between landlord and tenant.
If there are any changes that will affect the tenant and the property they live in, you should give appropriate notice of any changes.
Generally speaking, more communication is better than less. So, if there are changes that will significantly impact the tenant, you should give multiple points of communication, including e-mail, phone call, text message and snail mail.
Notify the tenant of any changes to the terms of the lease (including rent increases)
As a landlord must also provide clear communication regarding any changes to the lease agreement, renting increases and other important information.
The tenant should not find out after the fact that their rent is increase. That is a good way to lose a tenant quickly!
Notify the tenant before lease expiration
When it’s 90 days out from the lease term being completed, this is a good time to send notification of pending decision regarding the lease.
Return the security deposit within the prescribed period after a tenancy ends
Please do not become one of those landlords who finds any and every reason to deny a tenant their security deposit.
You should have clearly spelled out terms regarding the types of things you look at when determining how much of their security deposit is due back.
As with every relationship, there are two parties involved in a profitable relationship between landlord and tenant.
Comply with the terms of the lease
When you provide clearly spelled out terms of lease to tenants, is easy to enforce them. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at a few different lease agreements.
This way you can ensure that your terms include absolutely everything that you would include it. However, be mindful not to exacerbate tenants, as no one wants to live in a glass house.
Maintain the dwelling unit properly
When spelling out terms of maintenance that the tenant should follow, consider including factors such as cleanliness, safety conditions, condition of the fixtures and in other aspects of the property.
Respect the privacy and right to quiet enjoyment of other tenants
A great feature that easily increases the quality of life in a property is a peaceful and quiet environment.
When you are considering where and which units to purchase for rental, you may want to take in consideration the surrounding environment your properties is in.
For instance, you may not want a property that sits on the second floor over a pool hall, loud bar or club.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to it attract college students, this may be the ideal environment. Just be sure to take this into consideration.
Should have a line in the terms of your lease that addresses how the tenant should act concerning quiet time.
Welfare of all tenants and property use
center putting a statement in your lease agreement that says something regarding the welfare of all tenants in property abuse.
It is important to speak directly to abiding by the rules and regulations of the premises, provided their purpose is to promote the welfare of all the tenants and preserve the property from abuse.
Use of landlord of property
there are times when the landlord will need to gain access to the property while the tenant is renting. Maintenance requests, repairs, showing the unit to prospective renters, purchasers and/or lenders are all reasons landlords need to have access to the property.
So you should have a line in your lease agreement that says something about granting the landlord reasonable access to the dwelling unit to make repairs or show the unit to prospective renters, purchasers, or lenders.
Use the dwelling unit only as a residence, unless otherwise agreed
Give proper notice before vacating the premises
Sometimes tenants get into spots where they just cannot pay rent anymore. At the end of the day since you’re in the people business deal with the ups and downs of the messy lives of people.
So then, lastly, you should include language about vacating the property for the end of the lease or before.
These are good rules of thumb you should take into consideration when putting together your lease agreement for tenants.
Landlording is a challenging business, which is why you should consider hiring a property management company to help you. If you’d like to learn more about how you can build your real estate empire, learn more here.