How to be a great landlord – what not to do

Don't Be THAT Landlord

When you see injustices in the world, you have two choices. You can either sit back and become part of the problem, or you can do something and be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t worry; we’re not getting political on you. But, throughout life, you may find yourself in a position to right the wrongs you’ve experienced along the way. It may be that you find yourself in a management position after having been trampled upon for years. It’s down to you to be the boss you’ve never had. And, the same can be said for many other situations, including what we’re going to be looking at here. If you’ve made the transition from tenant to landlord, then you owe it to your past self not to make the mistakes of the landlords you’ve dealt with through the years.

To ensure that happens, hold on to a little of your anger. It’s not advice you’ll hear often, but in this instance, that rage will encourage you to be the best landlord you can. Before anything, of course, you need to invest in the property you want to rent. While not easy, this is the most straightforward process of your landlord career. There are plenty of tips to get started in property investing. All you need to do is read them. The real work starts once you have a property under your belt, and tenants within. To ensure you don’t become the landlord of your nightmares, think back on these bad experiences. Then, avoid making the same mistakes.

 403/100 Glover Street, Mosman NSW 2088
403/100 Glover Street, Mosman NSW 2088 for lease via Ray White Lower North Shore

Impossible to get hold of

The first thing on most disgruntled tenants’ lists is the fact that their landlord is impossible to get hold of. While this is a passive job, for the most part, a landlord should never be more than a phone call away. But, there’s a distinct chance that you’ve had an experience with at least one elusive landlord in your time. We all have, and nothing’s more frustrating. For the most part, you only contact your landlord during an emergency, so fast response is a must if you want to keep tenants happy. Don’t play the disappearing game whenever it suits

Of course, you likely have work and other commitments, and your tenants will understand that. But, there’s no excuse for not getting back to them on the same day. You can’t work THAT many hours. Even if you don’t spot their missed call until late, send them a message and ask if it’s still okay to ring them. They’ll appreciate the effort. It’s also worth letting them know when you work so that they’ll know when they’re likely to hear from you.

Not approachable

Worse than being a nightmare to get hold of is not being approachable. No one likes being shouted at, and we’ve all had that landlord who we’d just rather not contact. Each time we do, they’re accusatory, confrontational, and frankly unpleasant. Before long, we try to fix issues ourselves or leave them until there’s no way we can ignore them. As a landlord, you want to avoid this for a few different reasons. For one; happy tenants are good tenants and having a good relationship with you will go a long towards ensuring that. For another, small issues can become significant problems if you aren’t made aware of them straight away. A tiny bit of damp in the bedroom could turn into a full-blown problem over time. A slight crack in the ceiling could lead to significant structural repairs if you aren’t told about it. In short; you need to be as approachable as possible. It’s the only way you can rest easy that your tenants will come to you with each niggle.

But, how can you make yourself approachable? In many ways, this is common sense stuff. Never sound annoyed or irritated to hear from tenants. Also, answer calls with interest, and ask questions rather than shouting. Oh, and never accuse them of damage. This is an instant red flag which will put them off coming to you again. Instead, merely tackle the issue. Worry about what happened later on.

 403/100 Glover Street, Mosman NSW 2088 for lease via Ray White Lower North Shore
403/100 Glover Street, Mosman NSW 2088 for lease via Ray White Lower North Shore

Repairs take years

Many of us have also experienced a living situation in which repairs took years to come to fruition. Getting hold of your landlord might not have been an issue, but actually getting them to do anything was another matter entirely. You may have had to go without heating for days or wait for up to six months for a broken door to be replaced. It’s no way to live, and you should never do this to your tenants. All repairs they approach you with should be dealt with promptly. If there is a delay while you wait for a professional, you should keep them in the loop. Give them estimated dates as soon as you got them.

Of course, sometimes, repairs are going to be expensive. As it stands, you may not be prepared to deal with them straight away. But, that needs to change. To make sure you can afford anything which crops up, it’s worth setting aside the first few months rent you receive. That way, you have a nest egg which you can put directly back into the property. As well as keeping your tenants happy, this will help to protect your investment. After all, the more damage you don’t repair, the worse condition the house will be in eventually.

A final word

There’s a distinct chance that your blood was boiling at some points as you remembered instances where you had to deal with all these things. Good. As mentioned at the start, a little anger can be useful in situations like these. Now, you’re in a better position to be the landlord you always wished you could have.

Equally, it’s worth sparing a thought to the best landlords you’ve rented with. As you did above, consider what made them particularly good. Then, take those practices into your own landlord experience.

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