Did you hear the one about the Melbourne landlord who installed a pay-per-flush toilet in his rental property? When the story hit the social media headlines, it attracted a lot of attention and, even though the story was rumoured to be a fake, the fact that it resonated with so many tenants across Australia highlighted the reality that many tenants do have difficult relationships with their landlords – and far too many people have stories about truly dodgy landlords.
On the flip-side, establishing a reputation as a great landlord is a much smarter way to go – especially because it leads to happier tenants that are more likely to be loyal and satisfied, which saves you money and stress in re-advertising to re-let your investment property and multiple weeks in lost rental income.
Fact? Better landlords attract better tenants.
To help you become a better landlord and protect your investment property, try these practical tips:
7 Ways to Make Your Tenants Feel Welcome
1. Settle them into the neighbourhood
Your tenant may be new to the neighbourhood, so making them feel at home can make a huge difference. A welcome pack with information about the local supermarket, milk bar, café, bakery and local park is a lovely way to introduce them to their new life in your investment property. Finding and printing a list of local traders from the online world is easy.
2. Write them a welcome note
A brief note to welcome them to the property, including details about any unique features, plus information about rubbish bin night, is an easy way to welcome them to your property. Let them know how happy you are that they are calling your house home for a while.
3. Leave some toilet paper in the bathroom
We’ve all been there – it’s the end of a stressful moving day, you’ve finally loaded the last box off the truck and you’re keen to settle in to your new house for the very first night and…there’s no toilet paper and the thought of a trip to the local shop seems too hard. Imagine how friendly supplying a small pack of toilet paper would seem…
4. Food at their fingertips (leave some take-away menus on the kitchen bench)
Not everybody orders from take-away restaurants regularly but on the first night in a new rental, before the pots and pans are even unpacked, imagine how nice it would be to find a pile of menus from local take-away/delivery places nearby.
5. Be responsive
Maintenance issues do occur and, if you stretch your mind back to your own life as someone else’s tenant, you’ll remember how awful it is to be stuck in limbo, while your real estate agent awaits approval to fix that broken cupboard door handle from your hard-to-reach landlord. Don’t be the landlord who’s always unavailable. By responding quickly to maintenance issues, you’ll show that you care about your property – and them – and that might make them care more too.
6. Follow the rules
You have professional responsibilities as a landlord, and there are things you should and should not do. The rules exist for a reason and, just like the way you want your tenant to abide by them, you need to follow them as well. If your property is being professionally-managed by a real estate agent (always recommended), they will make it clear to you about what you need to do – and what you need to let them handle. Your tenant is your customer, so all dealings with them should be professional. The last thing you want is to be the next viral social media sensation – for all the wrong reasons.
7. Be respectful
Yes, it’s your house (or apartment or unit) but it’s their home. Just because you have time to attend to something at a particular time, it might not suit them so remember to respect their time and tenancy – and be flexible for them, rather than rigidly demanding.
Remember – For your own peace of mind and record-keeping, make sure you keep electronic copies of all correspondence between yourself/tenant/real estate agent – your accountant will thank you for it and it will be there in case you need it, should any potential problems occur down the track. Being a great landlord doesn’t have to be tricky – put simply, it’s all about common courtesy, kindness and good manners. For more information on the legalities of being a great landlord, look online for the relevant regulatory body in your state – or ask your real estate agent for up-to-date information about your rights and responsibilities.
If you need advice for a home loan, business or commercial loan, self-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.