Being a successful Maryland landlord involves so much more than simply collecting a rent check.
You’ve got to advertise, show your properties, review applications, keep track of paperwork and more.
But you can’t just be concerned with the business side of being a landlord – to achieve success with property management in areas like Anne Arundel County or Montgomery County, you also need to focus on building healthy relationships with your tenants.
By doing so, you’ll find yourself more able to consistently get and keep high quality tenants in your properties.
Ready to learn how to make it happen?
Here are a few helpful tips for co-existing happily with your tenants:
1. Make a good first impression
When you meet a tenant for the first time, dress neatly and speak professionally so you can build trust and set the tone for a good relationship. You’ll also need to make sure your property is clean and in good shape when you show it.
2. Enforce clear rules
Create strict rules and stick to them to demand respect and reliability from your tenants from the moment they move in.
Educate your tenants on what is expected of them and explain their lease to them in detail so they understand your rules and terms clearly.
It may be tempting to let your emotions come into play and cut them some slack, but remember that you’re running a business. As the saying goes, “Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile.” Stick to your rules to avoid more of a hassle later on.
3. Keep a healthy distance
While being a landlord means you should form positive business relationships with your tenants, don’t get so close that you become intrusive. No matter how comfortable you feel with your tenant, it’s important to give them at least a 24-hour notice before you plan to enter their home.
If you fail to do so, your tenant could become annoyed with you or even take legal action against you for invasion of privacy.
Keep in mind that some areas in Maryland, like Prince George’s County, legally require landlords to provide tenants with a 24-hour notice before they enter the property. Check the laws in your specific area to find out when you can enter the property.
4. Address problems quickly
Think about it – if you were a tenant, what things would you value most about a landlord?
Chances are, one of your answers is prompt problem resolution.
So be available when your tenants need you.
If you miss their phone call, get back to them as quickly as possible.
Make sure you keep a list of trusted service providers handy in case you need to call in some help to resolve an issue at the property. Doing so will show your tenants that you care about keeping them happy and safe.
5. Go the extra mile
Why settle for being a good landlord when you can be a great landlord? There are a several ways you can take extra steps to show your tenants that you care about them and value their business. Here are a few ideas:
- Gifts – If you have a tenant who always pays rent on time and/or pays in advance frequently, show them that you appreciate their reliability by rewarding them with something simple like movie tickets or a gift card to a local Maryland restaurant.
- Welcome packages – Moving into a new home can be stressful, but you can help ease a tenant’s stress by surprising them with a welcome package. Consider including essentials like toilet paper, soap, a map of the area, and water. You can also include a handwritten note for an added personal touch.
- Friendliness – While it isn’t your job to become your tenant’s best friend, you should still try to create a positive relationship with your tenants by being friendly every time you talk to them.
Remember, by keeping your tenants happy, you can make them more motivated to pay rent on time and take good care of your property, so you should make it a top priority.
6. Offer online rent collection
Most businesses offer online payments because they are typically much more convenient for customers than phone calls or in-person payments.
If possible, make paying rent easier on your tenants by offering them the option to pay online. When you provide this convenient service, you may even find that they pay rent on time (or even early) more frequently.
7. Set a fair rent
Overcharging tenants may cause them to feel resentful toward you and look for a new place to live. On the other hand, undercharging tenants can be frustrating for you as a landlord. If you aren’t sure what to charge, consider whether or not your property has value-adding amenities, like:
- Garage parking
- Recent updates (especially in the kitchen or bathroom)
- Stainless steel appliances
- Hardwood floors
These are just a few of the many amenities that will typically allow you to charge more for rent. Do some research to check for popular amenities and average rent rates in your area.
8. Keep electronic copies of paperwork
To avoid frustration down the road if important paperwork gets lost, keep an electronic copy of everything related to your landlord business. That way, if your tenant asks for a copy of something, you can simply email it over instead of shuffling through a file cabinet to find it and physically delivering it to their location.
9. Screen all potential tenants properly
Don’t let a charismatic tenant charm you into handing over the keys to your property without thoroughly screening them first.
Here are a few things you’ll want to do as a part of your screening process:
- Have your tenant fill out an application.
- Ask your tenant for references and proof of income.
- Analyze your tenant’s credit history.
If you’re not sure how to properly screen your tenants to weed out the ones who are likely to damage your property or get evicted, the professionals at Bay Property Management Group can help.
From Baltimore City to Anne Arundel County, our property management experts have experience working with hundreds of rentals throughout Maryland. Our screening process is so effective that less than 1% of the tenants we place end up getting evicted!
We also offer other services, like rent collection, maintenance, inspections, and more to make your role as a landlord less stressful.
Interested in learning more about our property management services? Contact our team today.