You don’t have to do much searching online to find horror stories about overbearing, unfair landlords and how they mistreat their tenants.
It’s a common problem and many landlords act that way as a result of constantly dealing with difficult tenants, tenants who never pay rent on time, and tenants who damage their property.
Being a good landlord is no easy task because of these stressors you have to deal with regularly.
However, if you can pull it off and build healthy tenant/landlord relationships, it’s likely that your job will be much easier. You’ll probably even attract better tenants and reduce your tenant turnover rate, which can save you a lot of time and money!
Here are 9 tips that can help you be a good landlord to your tenant
1. Know the Laws in Your State
Not only will breaking the law lead to issues with your tenant – it could mean that you’ll end up in court defending yourself.
Of course, you can’t adhere to the laws if you don’t know them! To learn about what Maryland landlords can and can’t do legally, check out the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development website. Also, whether you’re in Woodstock, Dayton, Savage, or another Howard County city, be sure to check the laws in your local area.
2. Communicate Effectively With Tenants
Almost nothing is as frustrating to a Howard County tenant as an unresponsive landlord. Think about it – problems with a property could happen any time – day or night. So, you need to be available to help with those problems when they arise, even if it’s an inconvenient time.
If your tenants start abusing their access to your phone number, come up with set office hours and let them know to only call you during that time frame unless they are dealing with an emergency. That way, your tenants can be kept happy and you can avoid receiving unnecessary, bothersome calls.
3. Respect Your Tenants’ Privacy
A tenant will be able to sense when you don’t trust them, so try to avoid interrogating them about anything unless you have solid proof that they are lying to you. If you wrongly mistrust them, you could severely damage your tenant/landlord relationship, which could cause awkwardness and even worse problems in the future.
Also, keep in mind that it’s unlikely that your tenants will appreciate random visits from you, even if you’re on friendly terms with them. Be sure to give your tenants appropriate advance notice when you plan to stop by the property so they can enjoy living in their property peacefully without worrying about the next surprise drop-in from their landlord.
4. Listen and Be Compassionate
Even the most responsible tenant could fall on hard times and become unable to pay rent as a result. People lose their jobs unfairly all of the time, so if this or something similar happens to one of your best tenants, show some compassion. You may want to give them some extra time to pay rent or work with them to find a different solution. While it’s not the ideal situation, it’s likely a much better (and cheaper!) route than evicting the tenant and trying to find a new one.
However, this does not mean that you should let all of your tenants take advantage of your kindness. If a tenant is repeatedly late paying rent, you might need to begin the Maryland eviction process.
5. Keep Your Property Well-Maintained
No one wants to live in a property that is in bad condition. So, keep a list of maintenance providers handy and fix all issues as quickly as possible. That way, your tenants can remain safe and happy with their living situation.
If you don’t live close enough to the property to address repair needs quickly, consider professional property management services so you don’t have to worry about maintenance.
6. Make a Good Impression at the First Walk-Through
When you first meet up with your tenant at the property, make sure that you are dressed professionally and avoid asking them intrusive questions.
You’ll also want to immediately address any of their concerns with the property so they’ll feel confident knowing that you will fix problems quickly in the future.
To go the extra mile, provide your tenant with a welcoming gift basket. Consider including a list of the best local restaurants, your contact information, and some water/snacks to help make the move-in process a bit easier for them.
7. Make Sure Your Rent Rate and Deposit Requirements Are Fair
You wouldn’t want to be ripped off, right? Of course not – so avoid ripping off your tenants when it comes to their rent/deposit requirements. Consider the Howard County housing market, the condition and location of your property, and the economy when calculating your rate.
Also, make it as easy as possible for your tenants to pay rent. Many landlords don’t require a paper check and instead allow tenants to conveniently pay online. Offer this service, and you might just notice more timely rent payments from your tenants – especially if you offer an auto-pay option and reward them for using it!
8. Explain Your Rules/Terms to Tenants in Detail
Let’s face it – your tenants can’t possibly be expected to respect rules that they aren’t aware of! So, be sure you go over all of your rules/terms in as much detail as possible. That way, there is no confusion when it comes to what is allowed and what is not. This will help you avoid unnecessary conflict with your tenants in the future so you can keep your tenant/landlord relationships in good shape.
9. Choose High-Quality Tenants from the Start
Some tenants are never satisfied with their landlord, no matter how hard the landlord tries to address their concerns and keep them happy. To avoid this situation, weed out the difficult tenants from the start by screening every tenant thoroughly. Make sure you check references, perform credit and background checks, and have your prospective tenants fill out a detailed rental application completely.
If you’re looking to improve your experience as a landlord, consider choosing professional property management services in Howard County from Bay Management Group.
Our team can help you with many different tasks, including rent collection, maintenance, and tenant screening. That way, you can save time, reduce costly tenant turnover, and gain all the other benefits of professional property management.
We’d love to chat about your needs – if you’re interested in working with us or learning more about how we can help you, contact us today!