When thinking about investment properties, we tend to think of the investment as the house itself – the bricks, mortar and land. But in reality, unless you have the right tenant in your property, it is a liability, not an asset!
Finding the right tenant – and keeping them there – is the only way to ensure you see a return on your investment, and keeping a good tenant happy is one of the best investments a landlord can make.
Below are some suggestions to help you hold onto great tenants:
- Think of the tenant as an asset
Some property owners may feel as though a tenant is a necessary evil – the bad that comes with the good of property investing. This is not the case! Think of your tenant as your on-site property manager and investment partner who has a vested interest in ensuring your property retains its value.
- Keep the tenant on-side
Everyone wants to feel valued, listened to and be treated with dignity. Take the “firm but fair” approach to any tenant-based issues. If a tenant has built a relationship of trust, don’t be afraid to be flexible within reason. If you speak to or correspond with the tenant, be friendly. Your tenant is a person, and wants to be treated as such.
- Respect the tenants rights
Unannounced drop-ins or face-to-face demands for rent arrears are not acceptable. Even though you own the property, the tenant is still entitled to live free from harassment or unsolicited intrusion, so if you need to attend the property for any reason, alert the tenant beforehand. If an inspection is scheduled, make sure you stick to the schedule. Respect the rental agreement in terms of lease period, planned vacancies and terminations. Adhere to the rules regarding timeframes and notices for evictions or lease terminations. The tenant has the right to reasonable time to seek alternative accommodation.
- Keep up appearances
Landlords should give their tenants a reason to take pride in their property. A home that is poorly presented by the landlord may be poorly cared for by the tenant. Presenting a clean, tidy and well cared for property will encourage tenants to treat the property as if it were their own.
- Lower the maintenance and attend to issues promptly
A property that requires as little maintenance as possible will make life much easier for both tenants and landlords as it will minimise the effort and cost involved in the upkeep of the home. A tenant who isn’t getting the attention they deserve might begin to question their commitment to the property and become more careless with it. Injury or loss resulting from a safety hazard that has not been attended to might also give rise to a costly legal liability claim.
- Pay for a gardener
Landlords with gardens should ensure that they are free from construction rubble, landscaped and as low maintenance as possible. Hiring a professional gardener to attend to the property every few months is likely to be a welcome gesture that can assist the tenant to keep the gardens under control.
- Don’t take good tenants for granted – insurance is a must
You can check a tenant’s past but you can’t predict their future. Even the best tenant can accidentally damage a property or lose their job and be unable to pay their rent. For your own peace of mind, make sure you take out a suitable insurance policy on your investment.
All of the above measures will ensure a long and profitable relationship with the right tenant. But everyone has heard the stories and seen the current affairs segments on “nightmare tenants”. Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, some tenants will not be reasonable and you cannot afford to extend trust their way.
Therefore, getting “the right tenant” for your property is paramount.
- The right tenant will treat your property with respect. They will see the lease agreement as a privilege and will do everything they can to ensure your property is well-maintained.
- The right tenant will be financially viable – they will pay their rent on time and be able to attend to the maintenance issues they are responsible for.
- The right tenant will have a clean previous tenancy record. They will not have been evicted for rent arrears or had tribunal action against them for damaged property.
Of course there is no such thing as the perfect tenant, but how do you go about finding one that will not become the “nightmare”?
Hands-down, the best way to ensure you find the right tenant is by enlisting the services of a licensed property manager.
It may be tempting to save money by “going it alone”, but agency fees represent a very small outlay that are far outweighed by the added value!
A good licenced property manager will:
- screen all potential tenants for their financial viability and tenancy record, check their references to ensure their personal character, and meet with them face-to-face to form their own impression,
- ensure the terms of the lease are suitable, meet all legislative requirements and secure your interests,
- ensure that rent is paid on time and diligently follow up on any arrears,
- conduct regular inspections to ensure the property is maintained in good repair,
- manage and oversee the supply of labour on any maintenance work, as well as controlling costs and ensuring the work is completed to standard,
- maintain clear lines of communication between you, the tenant and themselves,
- deal with any issues that do not require your involvement, and
- handle all end-of-lease aspects, including final inspections, refund of bond, and vacation.
Lands Real Estate has been successfully managing properties for over thirty years. Their expert team of property managers will expect nothing but the best from tenants, service providers, and themselves. You can be confident that when your property is managed by Lands Real Estate, your investment is in the best of hands.
For more information on Lands’ comprehensive property management service, please contact us.