How to Avoid Being THAT Landlord.

So you’ve decided to take the plunge into passive income. You bought a rental property. You vetted tenants (including a credit and background check), and found someone reliable. After the lease is signed, and your tenant moves in…then what? Is this the part where you kick back and let the money roll in?

When I was renting, I had both good experiences and bad. Rental properties inherently have a certain amount of risk for both landlord and renter. As a landlord, you want your property taken care of and the rent to come in on-time. From the renter’s POV, we want a comfortable place to live that removes stress from our lives, instead of adding it.

Nobody wants to get burned, especially when there’s paperwork involved.

You know you have legal obligations toward your tenant. Ensuring the place is habitable, for example. Not to mention keeping up with maintenance! Safe and clean are the magic words.

You have met all those obligations. But how can you be sure you’re not becoming one of those nightmare landlords everyone has a story about? Instead of giving you a (thinly veiled rant) list of DON’Ts, I want to lay out what matters most to me as a tenant.

Be Responsive!

If you do anything, do this. I’m not asking you to be on-call 24/7. After all, you surely wouldn’t expect the same from me. But if I send an email, it’s good to know you received it. Or supposing I call, it’s disheartening to only get voicemail and no calls back.

Let’s work together, and keep each other in the know. Avoiding nasty surprises is something we can both get behind, no?

Limit Visits (especially unannounced ones).

I get it, it’s your place. No contest there. You want to check up on things and make sure I’m not getting into any shenanigans. But here’s the thing: unless you have good reason to believe things are untoward, keep visits to an “occasional” basis. Otherwise, you’ll start interfering with my quiet enjoyment of your property.

Worse, you’re starting to seem like my mother.

Be True to Your Word.

If you said you would arrange to have the unit sprayed for bugs, please actually do this.

Too many landlords blow off their responsibilities, and neglect their property. Then they try to stick it to the tenant after their lease is up. It makes us sad. It’s the primary reason most of us don’t stay on after our contract finishes.

It’s more advantageous for you (and us!) for us to stay for the long haul. Be a good business owner, and you’ll get repeat business.

Keep It Classy.

Don’t rush me through the lease and try to sneak a clause or two through the back door. Don’t try to blame me for a pre-existing issue you didn’t feel like dealing with. Treat me with respect. We’re in business together. I want this to work out seamlessly, just like you, but it takes a little effort from both of us. I’m willing to do my part. Are you?