Landlords, by and large, get a bad rap. The popular press is filled with horror stories about neglected property, merciless rent-chasing, and general unpleasantness. And in many cases, it’s deserved. Tenants are much more likely to be vocal about a landlord’s failures than their successes, but that doesn’t mean that the successes aren’t appreciated, and effective.
An good landlord will keep tenants onside, reduce turnover, and help to keep the property in profit. Maintaining good relations with the tenant, in turn, will mean that you learn more quickly about problems – before they have a chance to seriously deteriorate.
Most of the time, when a tenant needs something from the landlord, it’s because something’s gone wrong with the property. That covers repairs to water, gas and electricity, as well as structural problems, and malfunctioning appliances. By having a network of skilled professionals available for contact, you’ll be able to react to these problems that much more quickly.
As well as responding when things go wrong, you’ll also want to make sure that preventative maintenance is regularly scheduled. Boilers are a common point of failure; they should be looked at once a year. Being proactive might not help you to generate goodwill with your tenants (it might actually annoy them, as they’ll have engineers visiting to fix the boiler), but it will make problems less likely, and thereby reduce the frequency of housing disrepair claims.
When a tenant needs to speak with you, ghosting them is a sure-fire way to generate antipathy. Make sure that they have your number available, and that they can get in touch when an issue arises. Your tenants won’t expect you to drop everything the minute they pick up the phone, but it’s reasonable to expect you to return their calls within a few hours.
As well as being contactable, landlords should be approachable. This means being friendly, while still being professional. You don’t want to make friends with your tenants, but you do want them to feel that they can contact you without having to deal with standoffishness and animosity.
Go above and beyond
If you go out of your way to make life easy for your tenants, then you’re almost certain to experience lower levels of turnover. That might mean sending them a welcome package when they first arrive, or a Christmas card every year. But it might equally mean a little bit of flexibility when it comes to things like the deposit, and whether pets are allowed in the building. It’s worth considering the merits of every case. Bear in mind that younger cats will scratch furniture, and that some dogs are more vocal than others.