If you’re a property investor, getting the best rental return from your property is a smart way to make your life as a landlord a financial success.

From decisions about choosing the right managing agent, to how to streamline your ongoing maintenance costs, to advice around tax implications and what you can claim as a landlord – your life as a landlord doesn’t need to be stressful with the right advice and planning.

With so many Australians keen to invest in property, a growing number of us are becoming landlords without really understanding the role and its responsibilities.

While property investment is definitely a smart way to create a positive financial future, the fact is that being a good landlord is about more than just collecting rent each month.

Here are some top tips to help you make the most from your rental property by being a great landlord.

6 Tips for How to Be a Better Landlord

1. Find a professional property manager

You can go it alone as a landlord but with so many rules and regulations, the peace of mind you gain by hiring an experienced property manager will save you a lot of stress.

Yes, they charge you a percentage of your rent but they also act as the middleman to help handle any potential disputes – as well as take care of organising ongoing maintenance and other things that come up. By letting them handle all the paperwork and inspections, your time is better spent doing other things in your own job, business, or family life. Ask property investor friends you may know about who they use to manage their properties. Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing and can help you track down a professional property manager who suits your needs.

2. Understand your legal responsibilities

Even with an experienced property manager looking after the regular needs of your property, it is sensible to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities under current Australian law.

The relationship between landlord and tenant is governed by the Residential Tenancy Act of each state and territory. Make sure you look up the laws for your area.

One thing that is common across all parts of Australia is the fact that landlords must guarantee the safety of any rented property – including its fixed appliances and contents. This includes maintenance and health. Making a decision to skimp on safety could see you end up in court with hefty fines.

3. Put It in Writing

Make sure all tenancy agreements are documented in writing as a professional lease agreement to ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities.

4. Manage the bond

Bonds – to be used as protection against potential damage – cannot be held by landlords. Bonds must be lodged with the residential tenancies bond authority in each state or territory.

The bond can be held against any damage to the property, but this does not include “fair wear and tear”.

5. Be kind to your tenants

Your ideal tenant? One who treats it like their own home.

To help you attract a great calibre of tenant, present your property in a professional and clean way and, once you have secured a quality tenant, make sure you deal with any maintenance issues promptly and efficiently to help them stay happy in your house.

Going back a step, reference checks are critical. If they have rented before, your property management team should be talking to previous property managers to make sure they paid their rent on time and left the property in good condition.

6. Get landlord insurance

Yes, the bond can cover basic things but the added protection of landlord insurance can protect you against rental arrears and other damage. Shop around for a policy to suit and make sure you understand all the clauses to ensure you are actually covered for al the important things.

7. Boost your earnings

Smart landlords have great accountants who help them maximise their rental income and claim all possible expenses.

Make sure your accountant understands issues around property investment to ensure you are claiming everything you are entitled to claim to help boost your rental return.

Of course, being a great landlord begins with finding a good property that people want to rent. For advice about solidly performing areas for property investment, talk to your trusted mortgage broker or real estate specialist and make sure you do your own research to buy wisely.

If you need advice for a personal loanhome 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.