A happy tenant makes for a stress-free landlord experience. Here are some simple ways to make a lasting impression on new renters:
1. Welcome note.You want the tenants to treat your property like a home, not just another unit. They will respect your property more if you respect them. Send a welcome letter or postcard after they moved in, telling them how happy you are that they are your new tenants. Provide your contact details on the card, letting them know they can contact you should a problem arise.
2. Provide a welcome pack.Stand out from the crowd by having a welcome pack, including details of local amenities and change of address booklets, which you can get at the post office. This also provides you with an opportunity to add important information, such as rules and payment information, but in a pleasant and welcoming manner.
3. Settling in.Contact your tenants one month after they move in. Ask them if everything is in working order and if they are happy. Arrange a visit in the second month so you can meet again in person and see how they are maintaining the property. It is easier to correct any bad habits or issues at the initial stages.
4. Respect their privacy.Give proper and clear notice to your tenant when you want to arrange a site visit. If possible, arrange the visit at a time that suits their schedule and not yours. Most tenants would prefer to be in the property when landlords visit, and are more open to inspections in this way.
5. Reward system.If you are happy with your tenant and need to let another unit, offer a reward for a referral, such as a monetary rebate. Offer a carpet cleaning or new furnishings if they sign for another one-year lease term.
6. Deal with repairs.Nothing infuriates a tenant more than waiting for repairs to be completed. Try to deal with all repairs within a 24-hour period. If that is not possible, provide an update and send a note apologizing for the inconvenience.
7. Communication. Ask the tenant how they would like to connect with you, whether by telephone, email or text. If you are unavailable, make sure to have someone else that can deal with all communication.
8. Be professional, not personal.You want your tenants to respect you and your property so you need to maintain a friendly but professional experience. Do not indulge in building gossip, for example. Be polite and courteous and listen to what they have to say and respond in a professional manner.
9. Safety matters. If and when you know of any repairs that may affect a tenant's well-being, communicate it right away, whether it is a change to a building or repairs on a street. They will appreciate the efforts that you are making to ensure their safety.
10. Show appreciation.Let your tenants know that you appreciate them. A special gesture might be a note or card on their birthday, Christmas or another special occasion. If they pay their rent on time every month, send a small token, such as a $25 gift card.
This feature was originally published in the August 2014 issue ofCREW.