Tips for Landlords

Published 08/06/2019


Use high quality photos to advertise available properties

These days, most renters are using apps to find available properties. Having clear, high resolution photos of your properties can significantly boost interest from perspective renters. The photos should be free of clutter and should showcase the unique facets of your rental property.

Make rent the priority

Rent money is your main form of income when it comes to being a landlord. It is vital to be clear with your tenants about when rent is due, and the consequences of when it is late. Additionally, it is beneficial to both you as the landlord and your tenant when you are transparent about the price of the rent. 

Screen your tenants

Screening tenants will make your life a lot easier. The screening process should include a credit check, background check, and a brief conversation about their lifestyle habits, such as do they smoke and how often do they plan on having large get-togethers in the property. Here is a breakdown of credit scoring

Excellent credit: 750+

Good credit: 700-749

Fair credit: 650-699

Poor credit: 650-699

Bad credit: Below 600

Only renovate items that will increase the property value

Focusing on renovations that will increase the property value will help your wallet in the long run. Things like upgrading counter tops, adding in-unit laundry machines, and creating more closet space can help to increase the property's rental rates and attract more perspective renters.

Allow pets

Pets do not always make a mess in rent properties. Allowing pets opens the door to so many more perspective renters, since pet-friendly rentals are hard to come by. If you are worried about the potential damage of pets, add an additional pet fee to the monthly rental rate, or add a fee into the security deposit to cover damages. 

Make your property more attractive with landscaping

Landscaping your rental property is a win-win. It makes potential renters want to live there, and it gives the property more curb appeal. Thus, beautiful landscaping can increase the rental rate and put more money in your pocket.

Be prompt when addressing tenant concerns

Quickly responding to tenant's concerns about the state of the property can help to build rapport with your tenants and create a sense of great trust. By promptly responding to these concerns, and repairing them as soon as possible, it makes your tenants more comfortable, while also making them more understanding about when certain repairs may take longer than expected.

Winterize property plumbing when it’s vacant

It is so important to winterize a property when it is vacant. This can reduce the chance of pipes freezing/bursting, and other plumbing/flooding issues during harsh weather or power outages. A full winterization includes the water turned off, a complete drain down of the water system, and antifreeze in the drains and toilets.

Conduct a walk through with tenants before prior to move in

A walk through with tenants is important in terms of protecting your investment. Have a checklist and complete the walk through with the tenant to ensure that you are on the same page when it comes to the condition of the property. The expectation should be that the property will be in similar condition when the renter moves out. Have the tenant sign the checklist to acknowledge that they understand this expectation. 

Create a comprehensive landlord-tenant agreement

"Fail to prepare, and prepare to fail." Creating a landlord-tenant agreement with a real estate attorney can save you many headaches in the long run. This agreement can include rental rates, policies about how many cars can be parked at the property, storage at the property and more.

Maintain the property properly to avoid rent escrow

Rent escrow occurs when a renter informs the court that the property is not being properly maintained, so then the tenant pays rent to the court, not the landlord, and this rent is usually significantly lower than the usual rental rate, as it is reduced based on what is wrong with the property. This situation can be a real nightmare for landlords. By complying with local housing codes and periodically checking in with tenants about the condition of the property, this unfortunate situation can be easily avoided. 

Keep security deposits separate from rent money

Certain municipalities have specific regulations about what to do with renters' security deposits, but overall it is important to keep the security deposits separate from rent received. In many places, landlords are liable if security deposits are misused. It is important to remember that security deposits are not part of landlord income, but are the property of the renter. 

Require renters to have renters insurance

It is smart to require renters to purchase renters insurance. This covers situations where the security deposit is not enough to repair the damages caused by the renter. Even landlord insurance may not cover damages to the rental property, but renters insurance helps to give you peace of mind in addition to giving comfort to renters that their personal property is covered.