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What are Your Responsibilities as a Landlord?
Establish Clear Expectations and Good Relations
Setting clear expectations with your tenants demonstrates that you value your home and that you want to maintain a respectful relationship with the tenants. For example, your lease agreement should plainly state your requirements for rent payment and explain, in a direct and non-punishing way, the consequences for missing payments. Likewise, the lease must explain your rights as a landlord to enter the property within reason, yet still respect the tenants’ right to reside, undisturbed, within the property during their tenancy. This usually means that you must provide proper notice as required by the laws of your locality of a entering the property for maintenance or property assessment. Your adherence to these basic agreements and your insistence that the tenants do the same, will quickly establish a good relationship with them.
You have a responsibility, by law, for keeping the property in a habitable condition. But beyond the legal requirements, it is a good practice to keep all household systems in top condition and efficiencies. This saves money by keeping the energy consumption down and lets the tenants know that you are serious about their comfort and safety. These maintenance efforts will pay you back in making your property more desirable and easier to market.
Your continued attention to these details will prompt the tenants to call you if there are problems with the property rather than an “Oh, by the way …” at the end of the lease.
Tenants are usually responsible for looking after interior fixtures such as replacing light bulbs, cleaning flooring and appliances, and causing no intentional damage to the property. As landlord, you are responsible for maintaining the structure of the building, the roof, and foundation, excluding tenant damages.
Managing a Vacancy
A period of vacancy is an opportunity for you to improve the property, to make it more appealing to new tenants and a more pleasant and reliable place to call home. The more intrusive repairs or modifications can now happen without disturbing the tenants or worrying about liabilities during the construction phase of your work.
Set Realistic Rents
Even if the rental property market is strong in your location, there is no guarantee of continuous tenant occupancies. Setting competitive rates will help your property gain attention and be the easy choice over similar properties.
Keep in mind that the average daily LOSS for a vacant property is about $40. Keeping your property vacant in hopes of finding the right tenant at a higher price can have diminishing returns and can quickly outweigh any gain made in waiting. It is fundamental to set a sensible rent that that will make the property rent faster.
Hire a Professional Property Manager
A professional property manager can actually save you money over the term of the lease; they know the local housing laws, they know the local market fluctuations and can determine exactly what your home should rent for. A good manager can easily navigate the complexities and challenges of being a landlord, especially when it comes to finding and qualifying prospective tenants.
A professional property manager from Real Property Management will strictly follow and abide by a Code of Ethics and all applicable local, city, state, and federal laws.