As a landlord, there’s a lot of responsibility riding on your shoulders, both personally and financially: Making a single major mistake might cost you thousands of dollars, or worse, cost you your reputation as an effective property owner and manager. It’s therefore extremely important to verse yourself on the most common serious errors landlords make and implement the preventative strategies outlined below:
- Failing to have properties thoroughly inspected both before and after a new tenant takes up residence.
According to research done by Online Letting Agents, 58% of landlords surveyed reported that damage done to their properties was the leading cause of disputes between themselves and their tenants—and one of the greatest causes of lost revenue. To avoid such disputes, landlords must be sure to conduct thorough property inspections both before and after a tenant’s tenure in a given residence. During each inspection, make sure to take pictures of the property (both inside and out) so that you have visual evidence to back up your claims should a dispute arise.
- Growing lax about rent collection.
In order to avoid seeming overbearing or uncaring and possibly losing tenants, many landlords let rental payments slide into arrears; unfortunately, once you own multiple properties, this can quickly lead to financial issues as it’s difficult to keep track of how many tenants are in arrears (while at the same time, operating costs are running high. The best approach to this issue is to hire a property manager and have him or her proactively engage in rent collection; he or she should give tenants advance notice of when the rent will be collected and work with you and your tenants to establish an acceptable protocol for handling late payments.
- Being hasty when filling out paperwork.
Paperwork is usually something of a dreaded task for landlords as they tend to have to do a lot of it—but that can’t become an excuse to get lazy or rush through it. According to recent research, a staggering 62% of landlords make errors while filling out important documents, and these mistakes often cost them dearly. For example, it typically takes at least a month to evict a bad tenant, so delivering an incorrect notice to such tenants can easily delay this already-lengthy process even more, with the amount of unpaid rent climbing all the while.
- Communicating poorly (or not enough) with tenants.
All successful business relationships hinge on good communication, and the relationship between landlords and their tenants is no different. If communication is inadequate or handled poorly, your tenants may become frustrated by issues that arise and seek legal recourse—a costly situation for the landlord involved. If you lack the time or communication skills needed to engage in effective one-on-one discourse with your tenants (and therefore resolve conflicts before they get blown out of proportion), hire an experienced property manager to navigate these negotiations instead. His or her expertise will more than pay for itself in the form of tenant retention and fewer legal headache. Ideally, the landlord or property manager who is handling tenant communications should be seen as available and thorough, but not pushy or interfering. He or she should take a caring interest in tenants’ quality of life in addition to simply responding to queries and dispensing notices.In summation, it’s essential to understand that once a property has been rented, landlords and tenants alike have engaged in an agreement where there are duties and responsibilities present on both sides. As such, to have the best relationship possible, both parties should have a clear understanding of what these duties and responsibilities are, how they will be enacted, and what kind of protocol needs to be followed in the event that either side temporarily cannot fulfill their responsibilities.