Our guide to being a good landlord

They say property is the best investment, but for your property to generate profits there has to be someone paying you rent, right? So, you need a tenant to occupy the property, which would make you the landlord.

Now, the relationship between landlord and tenant isn’t exactly a sacred bond built on unconditional love, but it doesn’t need to be a constant source of conflict either. Movies and TV shows often portray the relationship as an endless battle between a heroic, downtrodden protagonist and a reclusive, rent-demanding arch-villain who rules his property with an iron fist; in reality most landlords and their tenants get along just fine, provided they both hold true to the principals laid out in the tenancy agreement.

Which brings us to the next point: the tenancy agreement stipulates obligations on both sides of the agreement. So taking your landlord responsibilities to heart is obviously the first step to being a good landlord.

But aside from studying the tenancy agreement, here are a few simple practices that will have your tenants referring to you in positive terms, rather than foul oaths, in no time.

Remember, you're a businessman

According to Brandon Turner, VP of Marketing and Communications at BiggerPockets.com, many landlords do a terrible job of running their business because they fail to recognize that it is, in fact, a business. Once you begin treating it as a business rather than a retirement plan, your relationships with your tenants are invested with the same sense of mutual respect and responsibility you would assign to any business partnership.

If you were the CEO of a big marketing firm looking to snag a high-profile client, you would give their needs your utmost attention and treat them like the potential source of precious income that they are. As a landlord, your tenants are your clients; as tempted as you may be to think of them as your subjects. Lose them and you lose income. So treat your investment as a business and your relationship with your tenants as a business partnership, and you're halfway there already.

Keep your properties in good condition

This goes hand-in-hand with treating your investment like a business, but it's worth a special mention. Keeping your properties in tip-top shape is essential if you hope to be a successful landlord. If a tenant reports any damage to the property, be as cooperative as you can even if you're not actually legally required by the tenancy agreement to fix it. A good landlord goes above and beyond the call of duty, and should view their properties as an extension of their own ego.

Give your tenant their space

It may be your property, but once you and the tenant have signed the agreement, you should be prepared to give them leeway and respect their privacy. If you intend to conduct inspections, let your tenant know well ahead of time, and work out a schedule that is convenient for you both.

Be a mediator

As a landlord, you may find yourself using skill sets that you never thought would be required. It's not just about managing properties; you may have to put your communication skills to the test as well. If you have a number of tenants living in close proximity to each other, you'll have to step in to help resolve any disputes between them. If one of your tenants is complaining about someone who doesn't fall within your jurisdiction; it may be tempting to play the old “none of my business” card; but you should at least make an attempt to act on behalf of your tenant, and find a compromise that suits both parties.

Seek advice

Even landlords get lonely sometimes. But instead of brooding about it, seek professional advice. There are many others like you, trying to establish themselves as successful landlords; you can find them in online communities where you can exchange helpful tips. Furthermore, online estate agencies such as Tepilo can provide invaluable assistance to those looking to invest in the property market and attract tenants.

So keep these tips in mind and don't hesitate to seek out allies, and it will only be a matter of time before you begin to reap the benefits of your investments.

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