1. Respond quickly to complaints about noise or reports of criminal activity, such as drug dealing.
Always enforce rules on noise. If you are aware of any crimes taking place at the rental property, take action immediately. Consult an attorney, or consider hiring a property management company that includes evictions in its services.
2. Schedule maintenance and repairs at times convenient for the tenants, and let them know in advance.
Minimize the impact of repairs and maintenance by scheduling them at the times the renters are least likely to be around, typically between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday. Let the tenants know in advance when repair work is being done, and why.
3. Provide designated parking spots and enforce parking rules.
Having a parking spot with a short walking distance to home is very important for many tenants. Assign parking spots and enforce parking rules. Send warning letters to tenants who break the rules and have their cars towed if they ignore your warning. Also, make sure the parking is well-marked and sufficient guest parking.
4. Follow through on repair requests and other commitments.
It’s simple: do what you say you’ll do. Recognize that all tenants want their repairs handled promptly, efficiently, and predictably. Remember that many tenants are “renters by choice“. They prefer to rent rather than own partly because they want someone else to be responsible for repairs. Have a repair and maintenance process that helps to consistently meet or exceed tenant expectations.
5. Give the tenants advance notice of upcoming inconveniences that you’re aware of.
If you’re aware of upcoming road closures or a planned power outage, consider sending out a newsletter, email, or a Facebook update to inform the tenants.
6. Understand that tenants want to feel safe at home.
Make sure that any outdoor areas used by tenants at night, such as a parking areas, paths, and entries, are well-lit. Keep on top of preventative maintenance and repairs.
7. Make sure all tenants follow the House Rules.
Good tenants are good neighbors. In return, they want the same consideration. They will follow reasonable rules for the property, outlined in the lease. All of your tenants should read and sign a copy of your rules when they execute the lease. Let the tenants know that rules will be enforced, and eviction can be used if necessary.
8. If you are allowing pets, make sure owners clean up after them!
Tenant retention has been shown to improve if pets are allowed, and certainly there are some great tenants out there who are also animal lovers. If tenants are allowed to keep pets, make sure the lease outlines that the tenant is responsible for all pet damages and for cleaning up after the pets. It is normal to require an additional pet deposit or additional rent.
9. Be polite, courteous, and professional.
Recognize that being a landlord requires great customer service skills. When the phone rings and the call is from a tenant who is paying thousands of dollars a year, speak politely and be helpful.
10. Create opportunities to appreciate the good tenants.
Take time to say “thank you” or send thank-you cards when appropriate. Gestures such as these go a long way in making your good tenants feel welcome and appreciated.
Good tenants know they are good tenants, and they expect to be treated that way. It’s worth the extra effort to keep them. Especially when the rent is paid on time and the property is well maintained.