Being a good landlord is an excellent way to earn more with your investment property. Good landlords retain tenants for longer periods of time, avoid vacancies, and have a more successful investment experience. Whether you’re a new landlord or an experienced landlord who has faced some challenges in the past, we have some advice about how to improve your work as a landlord and create a simple, successful lease for you and your tenants.
Have a Good Lease Agreement in Place
Your lease is where all questions should ultimately be answered if a tenant isn’t sure about a process or a requirement. Before your renters move into your property, go over the lease in detail. Make sure it’s legal, compliant, and fair. You should know the basic laws pertaining to rental property, and if you don’t – consult Tenancy Services (tenancy.govt.nz) or a professional Wellington property manager.
When your tenants know what you expect, they will usually be responsive to your needs. Your lease must reflect the agreed rent, when it should be paid and how it should be paid. There should be information about how to look after the property and set up the utility accounts. Don’t leave tenants wondering what they’re supposed to do or where they’re supposed to turn for help. Have a sensible, easy-to-read lease agreement in place before any keys are exchanged.
Be Consistent and Accountable
Your tenants will expect you to provide a safe and habitable home and to respond to their needs and concerns. Part of being a good landlord is holding your tenants accountable, but you must be accountable too. Answer their questions, provide resources, and be willing to help them when they have a complaint or an issue that needs resolution. Don’t show up at the property unannounced; if you need to stop by, schedule a time in advance with your tenants, legally you must provide a minimum of 48 hours-notice. Don’t leave personal belongings in the property, and don’t make them feel like they don’t have any privacy. You might own the property, but it is now their home. Leave them alone unless they need you.
Respond to Maintenance and Repairs
One of the things that causes the most frustration for tenants is when their landlords don’t respond to rental property maintenance or take their repair requests seriously. When a tenant submits a repair request, you need to respond. Even if you feel it’s a cosmetic upgrade that isn’t really required, let them know what your decision is and why you won’t be taking care of it. Invite them to discuss it further. When it’s a repair that you do need to make, schedule the appropriate vendors and contractors and make the repair as convenient for your tenants as possible. Follow up once the work is done and make sure your tenant is satisfied.
Communicate Openly and Be Available
Communicating with your tenants is critical. You have to be accessible to them by phone and by email. Check in with them if you haven’t heard from them in a few months. You want to show that you care and that you’re invested in them having a good rental experience.
When you’re a good landlord, you maximise your investment by retaining excellent tenants in place. If you’d like help ensuring you’re the best landlord you can be, contact us at Comprende. It all starts with a conversation.