Happy Long-Term Tenants
How to make sure you have
Happy, Long-Term Tenants
The only thing a landlord ever wish for, is to have happy long-term tenants who are respectful to the property and pay on time. It is not so easy to find tenants who are respectful, cautious and who want to stay in the property a long period of time.
By being a bit more creative in your approach to managing your investment property, you may ensure that your tenants are happy and comfortable in their rental home. Remember, a happy tenant usually is a tenant who pays on time. And that makes a landlord very happy as well.
Keep the Property Maintained
Your property may be an investment to you, but for the tenants, it is their home. This is where they come home to after work to relax and this is where they spend most of their time with their family.
That is why it is important to keep the property maintained. Before any new tenants move in, go through the property to see if the walls need to be re-painted or if any other repairs need to be done. This is also the time to decide on any updates or renovations that may make the property more desirable.
Just because you are not the person living there, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be mindful of the enjoyment of the property.
What about Incentives?
Everyone loves a good deal, and tenants are no exception. You can make the tenant feel as if you are rewarding them or giving them a break by offering small incentives. Incentives can include:
- A fee for utilities. While you should make sure that you won’t be losing out financially by setting a single amount for utilities year-round, it makes it easier for the tenant to know exactly what they will be paying each month.
- Have Solar Panels installed. The latest trend is to have solar panels installed and have it connected to the grid and get paid for the power. Your tenant, on the other hand, get discounted on their power bill.
- Offering a small discount if the tenant provides post-dated checks for a year at a time. Rewarding your tenant for essentially providing a year’s worth of rent at a time is a great way to ensure that there are no payment issues, and your tenant will feel like they happened on some good luck.
- Giving the first month free. It can be hard for some tenants to provide a damage deposit as well as the first month’s rent. By giving a tenant the first month free, they only have to come up with a damage deposit, which allows them to budget for the next month’s rent payment. You’ll lose out on a rent payment, but it increases the chances of filling your property more quickly.
Have a Lease Agreement in Place
Create a clear Lease Agreement in which it is stipulated what is included in the lease. The General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a) can be downloaded from the RTA and there is a section on how to complete the form as well.
Don’t just hand it to your tenant and except them to read it—go over it with them carefully. Make sure that they understand the allowances and restrictions of the property, as well as what is required of them.
By discussing the lease and what it includes, you can avoid future problems. Your tenant will appreciate that you took the time to explain the lease, and they will have a clear understanding of what they may or may not do while renting the property.
Be kind and answer any questions that they may have. Although you may understand all of the terms and conditions, someone who has never rented property before, may not.
The more helpful that you are, the more comfortable they will feel in renting from you. At the same time, you are building a good relationship with your tenant which usually, will result in having good tenants.
Respond on Time
There’s almost nothing worse than having a household emergency when you can’t get in touch with your landlord. Remember….you want your tenant to pay on time, every time… The tenant is responsible for contacting you in the event of an emergency, no matter what time it is or if you are on vacation.
Make sure that you answer or return their calls as soon as possible and that you offer solutions quickly and easily. If you can’t be available yourself, consider hiring a property manager to handle property-related issues for you. Remember to inform the tenant that another person will respond.
Make sure to have go-to contractors that you can rely on for certain issues, such as plumbing or heating problems, small repairs, etc. Since you may not have the time or the skills to fix whatever is broken, having trustworthy, timely, and efficient contractors will save both you and your tenant time and money.
Be Accommodating and Understanding
If you have a tenant that consistently pays their rent on time, and who is respectful towards both you and the property, don’t be too hard on them if they come to you and say that the rent may be late at a certain time.
Of course, it’s not something that you would want to make a habit of… But hey, if you’ve got a great tenant, who is responsible and financially trustworthy, don’t ruin the relationship by punishing them for what was likely an unforeseen or complicated circumstance.
We’ve all had bad days, or unexpected bills, so try to be understanding when you can. Chances are, your tenant will appreciate you more and will do their utmost best to always make their payments on time.
Appreciation goes a long way
In reality, while you are giving your tenant a place to live, they are paying your mortgage or putting money in your pocket. Landlord-tenant relationships are still business relationships, and just like a business may show customer appreciation, landlords should too.
Around the holidays, give your tenant a gift basket or a card. Showing them that you are a person (not just someone who cashes their checks) and that you are happy to have them around will make them feel positive about renting from you.
Help with seasonal costs, such as gardens, by offering to pay some of the bills for landscaping. The tenant should feel like the rental is their home, and having it look nice and well-maintained is positive for you. That way, when the property goes up for rent, it will already have a reputation as an appealing home in the area.
Renting with Pets
For many Queenslanders, pets are an important part of their lives. Often, pets are viewed as part of the family and provide companionship, safety, physical benefits, and even mental health benefits.
For more information regarding the reformed Tenancy Laws in Queensland, that covers “Renting with Pets” Click HERE.
Always be respectful
Although according to the RTA, landlords are required to give notice before entering a property in writing on a specific form, it may just boost the relationship if you call in advance to ask which date and time will suit them best. That is if they agreed that you may call them from time to time.
After working out an appointment that works for you both, drop by and leave a formal notice, or email it to them if you know that they have access to the internet.
It’s better to make your tenants feel like they are in control of who enters their home and when. Instead of just leaving a notice on the door for them to find (or not) the next time they leave the house, communicate with them by phone or by email to let them have a say.
You’ll be entering the home, either way, treating your tenant with respect and courtesy can go a long way.
The basic idea behind retaining happy and long-term tenants is to treat them the same way you would want to be treated. Try to make it so that they are not only attached to the home that they have created, but to the excellent renting situation that you, the landlord, have created.
Make your presence a bonus in the tenant-landlord relationship, instead of an irritation. Tenants who have good experiences are more likely to stay in the property long-term, as well as recommend you to friends and family.