Well, surely that’s an easy one. Don’t charge much rent and stay out of the way, right? Actually, there’s a little more to being a good landlord than that. And much of it involves walking a very fine line between being too eager and not doing enough.
And here you thought this landlord lark was going to be easy…
“Just dropping by” unannounced not only suggests to tenants that a rented property isn’t really their home but is probably a violation of the tenancy agreement, which usually requires 24 hours notice before a visit.
As a general rule, it’s fair to say that if your tenant wants something then they’ll ask for it. There are some who’ll suffer in silence, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they won’t sit on their hands for long if the boiler has broken down or there’s some other serious issue.
…But Make Sure You’re Available
If, or more likely when, something does go wrong it’s always a good thing if you can demonstrate that you take the issue seriously and will do your best to get things sorted as quickly as possible.
No, that doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything you’re doing to wait on your tenants hand and foot (as some very soft landlords I know do), only that you’ll address things in due course.
Keep An Open Dialogue
There’s no need to pop round for coffee every week – we’ve already seen above how that might be a violation of the tenancy agreement! – but the benefits of maintaining a friendly relationship with tenants are obvious.
Savill’s suggested in 2013 that it’s tenants who end tenancy agreements 80% of the time, which means that most landlords are at the mercy of their tenants when it comes to the vacation properties.
Since most tenancy agreements dictate that a tenant only has to give one month’s notice if they plan to move out, while landlords usually have to give two, being on good terms with a tenant(s) who will give you advance warning before they’re legally required to is always a plus.
Do Things By The Book
Using a TDP (tenancy deposit scheme) doesn’t just help to protect both landlords and tenants involved in a lease, it’s also the law.
Landlords might think they’re being helpful by offering to take a lower deposit in cash, but they may also unknowingly be making their tenants very uncomfortable.
Cutting corners like this can save a few pounds here and there but, ultimately, it’s rarely worth the associated hassle.
Wait, really? There’s an argument to be made that the best landlords set rents at a level that takes into account routine maintenance and renovations, as well as emergency repairs.
It’s no guarantee that landlords who set their rents very low are neglectful, or vice versa, but it’s often a pretty good indication of the level of attention that renters can expect when they move in.