As you think about vetting potential tenants and worry about getting reliable ones, it can be easy to forget that a good landlord goes a long way toward attracting and keeping good tenants. “Do unto others” may be a bit clichéd, but it’s true nevertheless. Here’s how you can be the great landlord that great tenants want to rent from.
View your tenants as people
This one should go without saying, but too often it’s tempting to think of tenants solely in terms of either money or problems. It’s crucial to see renters as people just like you: people with bills to pay, family worries, job stress, preferences, fears, and delights. What exactly does that mean?
Let it start with respect. Respect your tenant’s privacy. When you get your free rental application online set up, don’t ask for information you don’t actually need. Be as careful with the information you do get as if it were your own private financial and social history.
Respect your tenant’s privacy at home, too. You hate it when they call at odd hours demanding things. Why wouldn’t they hate if you show up at odd hours demanding things? Let them know when you’re coming, limit your visits only to what is necessary, and only come during regular hours.
Compassion could pay off in the end
When tenants are late on a payment, the temptation is to suspect the worst: They’re worthless with money, untrustworthy, or maybe lazy. If you have an otherwise good tenant who suddenly is a little late, consider showing some well-placed compassion.
Don’t go overboard, though. You don’t want to be taken advantage of. Within certain limits, though, listen to the story and see whether it rings true. If they’ve had a sick kid every week for a month or haven’t been able to pick up overtime shifts at work as they normally do, consider giving them a little grace period.
If you’ve got good tenants, you can bet they’ll remember this and think well of you for it. A tenant with a great landlord will be more willing to consider a rent increase to keep that relationship. And if they have to move away they might even help you find another solid tenant and put in a good word for your place.
Be completely reliable
This doesn’t mean you have to be at the beck and call of your tenants 24/7. What it means is that they can always rely on you to keep your word. If you say things will get fixed by a certain date, they will be.
If something is in the lease, your tenants should be 100 percent sure that you’ll keep to it. In fact, they should be sure that you’ll keep to it just as strictly whether it’s in their favor as if it’s in yours.
This also means knowing the law and keeping to that, too. Tenants have rights, and so do landlords. You should know all those rights and respect them in a professional and kind way. Never use the law as an excuse to get what you need. Instead, you need to know it, quote it, and act on it as a set of rules that keeps both parties safe.
In the end, you and your tenants have a business relationship. You need their money; they need your property. It’s not that different from buying something at a store or hiring someone to perform a service. You need your business to be profitable, and they need to get genuine value for their dollar. Keep all this in mind, and you’ll be set up to keep great tenants.