1. manage the property like a professional
Even if you don’t have a large number of apartments, you should still deal with your tenants and manage your rental property as if you were a professional property management company. Communication with a tenant should be clear, cordial, and professional.
The tenant needs to know that the person managing the property should be taken seriously. Adhere to the terms of the lease, including collecting rent arrears, inspecting the property to make sure it is maintained, repairing items promptly after a request, and, if necessary, initiating eviction immediately if payment is not made.
2. be rigorous in your selection
One of the biggest challenges for a landlord is selecting a good tenant. Screening tenants is difficult. If your rental property is priced competitively in the market and is in good condition, it is likely that you will receive a lot of interest from potential tenants. A well-designed screening process with established tenant requirements will help weed out tenants who are ineligible due to evictions, low income, or other factors such as owning a pet.
Then have the tenant complete a written rental application. Confirm past rental history and verify the tenant’s income. Many landlords adhere to the “3 times monthly rent” rule, which means the tenant must earn at least three times the monthly rent. A credit and background check is standard when renting property, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
3. A thorough, well-written lease agreement.
Your lease is the be-all and end-all for you as a landlord. It’s a binding contract that explains what the landlord and tenants can and cannot do, and spells out what happens if the lease is broken. A two-page lease may be enough to get you started, but eventually, something not properly addressed in the lease will become a problem.
Your lease should include basic terms, clauses, and wording that comply with your state’s laws and can be drafted by a real estate attorney. Your lease should also address items such as the following:
- Lawn care: this includes who is responsible for maintaining the lawn and what must be done as part of that maintenance.
- Parking: This includes where tenants can park and how many cars are allowed in the parking lot.
- Changes to the property, such as painting the walls. If you allow changes to the property, do you have to require that the property be painted back to the original color when tenants move out? Do tenants have to approve the color before they can paint? Also explain what happens if the tenant doesn’t follow these rules, such as a deduction from the rent deposit.
- Pet Clause.
- Use of Property: If you are renting a residential property, you want the unit to be used for living and not for operating a business. Specifically state what the property can and cannot be used for.
- Subletting: is subletting allowed? If so, do tenants need pre-approval before they can sublet?
4. Use real estate software for management
In today’s tech-savvy world, you’re doing yourself and your tenants a disservice if you don’t allow online rent payments. When you collect rent online, the rent can be deposited directly into your bank account. You don’t have to worry about bad checks or checks getting “lost” in the mail. Most online rental management programs allow tenants to pay for free via automatic bank transfer or charge them a small processing fee for using a debit card.
Hominext is a perfect tool for this, helping you both advertise your apartments and manage them afterward.
5. send reminders for routine maintenance work
Your lease may say that the tenant is responsible for routine maintenance like changing the air filter or checking the smoke detector – but a friendly reminder never hurts.
You can easily contact your tenant via Hominext through the Direct Message feature and send appointment suggestions, for example.
6. retain good tenants through incentives.
Good tenants aren’t found every day. So once you find a good tenant, you want to keep them. One way to motivate the tenant to stay, even if you raise the rent, is to offer them an incentive to renew. Each year when you renew the lease, offer to replace or improve one thing in the apartment up to a certain value. Maybe install a new fan or flooring, paint or add a backsplash. It doesn’t have to be expensive upgrades, and a little can go a long way.
It’s important to let the tenant choose what they want to replace or upgrade because it gives them a sense of ownership and shows them that their voice is heard and valued.
7. require renter’s insurance.
Although you purchase homeowner’s insurance, it is advisable to require the renter to purchase their own insurance. This will protect their property and provide you, the landlord, with additional liability protection, especially if pets are kept in the apartment.
Soon also bookable directly via Hominext!