In tech, the onboarding process refers to the experience new users go through before they start using an app or piece of software. Sometimes it’s a valuable, intuitive series of steps that’s clearly had a lot of time and effort put into it. Other times, it’s one poorly worded popup that just feels like an afterthought.
Like in tech, onboarding is something that some landlords are very good at doing while others are just terrible. Here are a few tips that could help those in the second category:
Put Things Down In Writing
If you only take one tip from this guide, make it this one.
Trust me when I say that if, several months into a tenancy, the boiler breaks down or the alarm starts making a strange beeping sound a tenant will not remember things you told them in passing on move-in day.
This can cause real problems if the situation is an emergency and they start to panic. They’ll probably start frantically trying to call you but might end up doing the wrong thing or calling the wrong person if they can’t reach you, which could potentially cost you money as a result.
Writing a detailed guide to all the quirks of your property, ideally broken down room by room, may not be your idea of a fun Saturday night but it can help you save money (and hassle) in the long run.
Explain Whose Responsibility Things Are
Driving past your buy-to-let property and notice that the lawn still hasn’t been mowed? Or that the window frames are so dirty they’re practically rotting? Unless you’ve made it clear that it’s the duty of tenants to look after the garden and exterior of the house, it’s difficult to blame them for that.
The reaction might be unfavourable if you push tenants to do too much – I can’t imagine them being thrilled at spending every weekend cleaning out your gutters… – but establishing what the landlord and tenant each need to do can help to avoid friction down the line.
Make The Effort To Check In From Time To Time
This gets trickier the more tenants you have, but it’s a possibility for anyone with between one and a handful of buy-to-let properties. Gather contact details for tenants when they move in and, every couple of months or so, drop them a message to see how everything is going.
True, you might be inviting requests to get someone out to fix a broken socket or something similar, but it’s probably better that such things get dealt with as they come along rather than leaving them all to mount up until the tenant leaves.
Repeat The Most Important Rule(s)
What’s the one thing you really don’t want tenants to do in your buy-to-let? You know the one I mean. Can’t bear the thought of the smell of smoke getting into the walls? Thought of a forbidden dog scratching your new wood floors make you shudder?
It’s not unreasonable to make sure that tenants understand that this is a hard and fast rule. The other tips featured here should make you come across as a friendly and organised landlord, so you’re more than entitled to ask that tenants respect your boundaries and rules!