Celebrated leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell famously said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” And if the landlord is the leader in the landlord-tenant relationship, they are responsible for creating an environment where both sides can thrive. There is nothing more stressful than a contentious or tense relationship between landlord and tenant, so landlords need to do all they can to set the pace and establish a good connection with their tenants.
Managing a property or being a landlord is not easy, but when done right, it can create a harmonious and stress-free environment for everybody. Here are some important relationship and management tips every landlord needs to remember.
At the end of the day, there is a power imbalance in the dynamic because, as the landlord, you own the property, and your tenants are renting it out. At your word, they can instantly find themselves without shelter, although they do have rights that protect them from unlawful eviction. You have the upper hand in the transaction, so you need to be mindful of that and take the lead in how the working relationship will go.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly or sociable, but it does mean that it is up to you to keep the integrity of the relationship and that you won’t ever take advantage of the “power” that you have over your tenants, so to say.
Moreover, you need to think of it as a business relationship—one where you are the seller, and they are the customers that are buying, or in this case, renting your product. This means you need to be cordial, formal, and on top of things. You need to initiate inspections for property maintenance, get items repaired properly and promptly as soon as you receive a request, and start the eviction process if rules are broken, or payments are not made.
Keep everything above board
Keeping everything above board means ensuring that you are always following laws. Make sure to consult with an eviction lawyer to ensure that your contracts are always per your state’s policies and laws on landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities. Having legal counsel on your side will ensure that you are not violating your tenants’ rights and that you are not being taken advantage of either. The law exists to protect both sides, so don’t hesitate to ask for help from a legal professional.
Establish a rigorous screening process
It’s hard for people to look for new places to live, but it’s also challenging for landlords to find the best tenants possible. Think of it in the same way as finding a romantic partner or spouse: It doesn’t matter how ready you are or how well you do your part—if the other side is not prepared or unwilling to compromise, then it will never work. You choose much of your stress as a landlord by the people you choose as tenants.
Here are some ways to ensure that you find the best possible tenants for your property:
- When you meet with potential tenants, confirm their history. This means you need to check with their previous landlords to know if the rental history they shared with you is accurate. You might also need to review their income, especially if your rental fee is on the higher side. As a rule of thumb, make sure that their income is at least three times the amount of your monthly rental fee. In your desire to find a tenant, do not forego a rigorous credit check and background check.
- Here are some tenant red flags you need to watch out for: A bad credit score, criminal history, eviction history, scattered employment history, and dishonesty.
When you meet with potential tenants, be polite and open, but do not give off the impression that you are the type of landlord who will let just anyone live in your property or building. You need to establish that your property is a safe place to live in, and that begins with finding the right people to rent out the property. Work hard to keep your property a safe space for all your tenants.
Being a real estate owner may be the dream for many people, but when it comes, it will take a lot of hard work, patience, and wisdom. So be professional and think of it as a business. Remember to consult with legal experts and work hard to keep the property safe in every way possible. Good luck!