Journalists, lawyers, landlords. They are up there with some of the most automatically despised people in society. Yet, there are some incredible investigative journalists who help solve crimes. There are human rights lawyers who work for free. Yes, there are also wonderful homeowners that treat tenants like gold. The funny thing is, these homeowners benefit from doing the right thing; happy tenants stay longer, meaning less time, lost rent and hassle finding new people to move in. People who treat their rental like a true home also make sure everything is looked after too. So, knowing that happy tenants are better tenants, here are some top tips on how to be a good landlord.
1. Be a personable landlord
Those who rent from you are people. You’re a person too. Show it. Meet them face to face and show them around the property. Say thanks by buying a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine to celebrate moving in. Be willing to chat through any concerns or questions your tenants have. Simple courtesy has a great way of coming back to you when you give it out. Respect your tenants and they’re more likely to respect you and your property in return.
2. Set fair rent, just below market rates.
Wait. Below market rates? In this economy? Hear us out. If you set rent at €10 per week below the going rate, you’ll be able to select the very best tenants from the available pool and rent things out sooner. More importantly, if your current tenants know they’ve got a reasonable deal, they’re more likely to be happy where they are and less likely to shop around for somewhere new. Given the average rent in Ireland is over €1,200 per month, that measly €10 discount is covered in just 2 weeks and a lot of hassle is averted. Thanks, maths.
3. Stay on top of maintenance
According to studies, around 50% of tenants experience poor communication or slow reaction to property issues from landlords. It’s the number one frustration for renters and something we’ve all experienced when dealing with poor customer service. If there’s ever an issue with the home you rent out, fix it right away. Be proactive with potential problems as well by patching them up regularly and making sure the tenants are happy with any adjustments. If you want to go the extra mile, ask the tenants if there are any niggling things they don’t like about the place. If they’re easy to fix, just do it. Again, someone that loves where they are is more likely to treat the home better and stay longer.
4. Offer rental renewal early
Feeling secure in your home is something that reduces anxiety and helps foster wellbeing. There’s nothing worse than having a lease expiration looming and waiting to see if the homeowner is willing to renew for another year. If you are that homeowner, get on the front foot and let your tenants know 2-3 months beforehand that you’re happy to keep the agreement going. If you’re both willing, even look at extended terms. Less paperwork and hassle for both of you. A sense of security for everyone.
5. Find the right tenant in the first place
It might be easy just to take the first tenant you know will pay the rent each month. While getting paid on time is obviously important, it’s far from the only factor. Better to think long term and match up your home with someone you know will be truly happy there. Look for someone who works nearby. See if there are sports facilities, restaurants or other good things you think will be a draw for the tenant. Speak with them about their needs. If things match up and they are a good fit then ensure paying rent won’t be an issue. It might sound like a bit of hard work, but really it comes back to being a person. A little thought, some listening and attentive questions, and you’ll find a great tenant who will treat your place like it’s their sanctuary.
To make finding the right tenant a little easier, HomeHak has set up a community of people looking for their dream home in Ireland. They’ve prepared comprehensive tenant CV’s and their details and references are available in advance. They have outlined the key things they’re looking for in a home, and are easily searchable “meaning you will never make a wrong decision again when it comes to finding a like-minded tenant that you know will stay for longer”. It’s all here at the click of a link.