The role of the landlord is varied, and the responsibilities placed on you could affect your life, your livelihood, and the lives and businesses of others. Some of the most important secrets to being successful include having measures in place to protect yourself, being able to choose tenants wisely, and knowing and following through with your duties. With that in mind, here are five great tips you can use to be successful at managing a duplex or multifamily unit as a landlord.
1. Know What to Expect
Being a landlord may seem like a simple task, but it requires dedication, knowledge, and organization. Above all else, however, it’s integral that you approach the role in a professional manner, because being a landlord is a job, and your rental is your business. There are many ways to ensure professionalism, and they include:
- Have a separate phone line where tenants can reach you
- Keep an office and have designated hours during which tenants can access you easily
- Make arrangements to have somebody else manage your duties if you go on holiday or fall ill
- Set aside portions of your income to invest back into the property
- Hire professionals to address any repairs or maintenance that are above your skill level
2. Get the Law on Your Side
Being a landlord or a tenant requires a contractual relationship with the other party, and this is why it’s important to retain the services of a lawyer. The lawyer’s job will be to make sure that your commercial rental agreement is legal, binding, free of errors, and able to protect your rights and your property. The rental agreement will also outline the responsibilities of the tenants, highlight any conditions of the rental, and explain the consequences if either party fails to live up to their end of the agreement.
3. Have a Good Screening Process in Place
The wrong tenants can ruin your property and your livelihood, and they can cost you a great deal of money. There are some simple measures you can put into place to help guarantee you end up with responsible tenants. Some of the most effective methods include doing a credit check, asking for referrals or references from previous landlords (and following up on them), and requesting financial information to ensure the prospective tenant can cover the cost of rent.
4. Keep Up Your End of the Bargain
Keeping good tenants is much easier and more affordable than having to seek out new ones, so once you find good tenants, do what you can to keep them happy. As a responsible landlord, this will include things like addressing repair requests promptly, maintaining the interior and exterior of the property, keeping the property secure, respecting your tenants’ privacy, being fair, and being accessible and approachable.
5. Make Sure All Your Policy Ducks Are in a Row
Being a landlord takes plenty of preparation and organization, and it will be easier for you and your tenants if you have important policies in place before you start renting. This includes calculating an appropriate rental fee, having the right insurance in place, writing up a fair but protective lease, having a late payment policy in place, and performing inspections every time a tenant moves in or out.
Being a landlord takes work and dedication, but success is possible. Especially with the help of these five tips, you'll protect yourself and your property, be able to locate responsible tenants and keep good tenants around. To learn more about an investment property loan for your venture, check out our blog for a full range of topics about multifamily lending options and tips.