Buying and renting out a property is a business and, like any business, it comes with challenges and obligations.
The relationship you have with your tenants is a business relationship and works best if there is respect on both sides. It is also less stressful for you if everything is ticking over well.
Every day that your property is vacant costs you money, so the ideal is to attract good tenants and keep them. It is a lot more expensive to find new tenants than it is to keep the ones you have.
Keep your property in good condition
Good tenants are attracted to good homes. It’s a smart move to make sure the property is in tip top shape for viewing and that you have attractive photographs taken for any advertising material and listings.
Maintain proper paperwork
Stick to the letter of the law in all your dealings with tenants, get everything in writing, and keep accurate records. The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989 will fill you in on the legalities involved.
It’s a good idea to talk the tenants through the rental agreement rather than just assume that they understand it. Good communication at this early stage will put you both on the same page and set the right tone for the future.
Ensure the tenants have copies of the lease and any other documentation they might need. It’s a good idea to send these electronically as papers can so easily go missing. If you are using an estate agent, check that this has been done.
When new tenants are moving in, it’s a helpful gesture to leave information regarding bin night, council rubbish collections and any services such as gardening related to the home.
Respond promptly to concerns
Differences of opinion about the state of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy are very common. Have the tenant sign off on any damages to the property before they move in and shoot video of the property before they move in and when they vacate.
The best landlords attend to repairs promptly and this goes double if there is any sort of safety element involved. Nobody wants to wait weeks for the heating to be repaired in the middle of winter, or the leak in the laundry. Again, if repairs are done through an agent, check that they are attended to promptly and effectively.
Putting aside a certain amount of the rental income to cover repairs makes good business sense, as does putting a system in place to manage maintenance requests when you are on holiday.
Reward good behaviour
You will earn a lot of brownie points if you show good tenants that you appreciate them. After a scheduled inspection, for example, write a note of appreciation for the way they are looking after the property and maybe enclose movie tickets or a gift voucher. After all, it’s your investment that they are taking care of. It won’t cost you much and the result is a perfectly maintained property and a good tenant who sticks around.
If you do find great tenants who pay on time and take care of your property, consider a longer rental term at a fixed rate. It’s worth it to protect your investment.
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