How can I attract good tenants and keep them in my investment property?
By Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager, Terri Scheer Insurance
Finding good tenants and keeping them happy is one of the best investments a landlord can make.
Tenants can make or break a landlord’s experience of owning a rental property, which makes sourcing good tenants one of the most important tasks for landlords who self-manage their own investment properties.
Ensuring tenants have a positive experience while living at your property means they may be more likely to pay their rent on time, stay in your property longer and treat it as if it were their own.
• Think about the type of tenant you want to attract
Keeping a good tenant happy begins before you’ve even purchased your rental property.
Properties that are close to good schools, shops and public transport are likely to be well sought after and may give you a larger pool of prospective tenants from which to choose.
• Make a good first impression
No one wants to live in a property that has stained carpets and marked walls so it’s important to make sure it looks its best when being viewed by prospective tenants.
A home that is poorly presented by the landlord may deter good tenants from applying to rent your property in the first instance, and be poorly cared for by the successful tenant.
Presenting a clean, tidy, low maintenance and well cared for property sets the standard and will encourage tenants to keep the property in good condition.
• Generate interest
In order to generate interest in the lease of your property, landlords may be required to place advertisements in newspapers, on various real estate websites and online noticeboards.
The advertisement should include information about the property, when open inspections are scheduled and the lease application deadline.
It’s a good idea to arrange open inspections at times that would be convenient to the type of tenant you want to attract. For example, if you would like to attract young professionals, arrange the open inspection after working hours or on weekends so it is easy for people to attend.
At the open inspection, ensure you talk with as many potential tenants as possible so you can put faces to names when processing lease applications later on.
• Screen tenants
After the lease application deadline has closed, landlords will be required to screen potential tenants.
It’s also important to contact their previous landlord to discuss any issues that arose during their last tenancy, as well as the personal referees listed in their application.
If you are a member of a specific real estate industry association, you may have access to a tenant database to search the names of your shortlisted potential tenants to identify any recorded issues
with previous leases.
• Attend to maintenance issues promptly
Once your selected tenant has moved into the property, ensure you make every effort to attend to any maintenance issues promptly.
It can be quite frustrating for tenants if their requests for repairs go unanswered.
Responding to maintenance issues in a timely manner signals to your tenant that you care about the property and value their concern for its condition. This can contribute to creating a positive renting
experience for your tenant.
Injury or loss resulting from a safety hazard that has not been attended to might also result in a costly legal liability claim.
• Protect your asset
Even when finding good tenants, it’s important to not take them for granted or assume nothing will go wrong as even the best tenant can accidentally damage a property or come up against financial circumstance leaving them unable to pay rent.
Every landlord should have a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers them for both malicious and accidental damage, their legal liability and loss of rental income.
Landlords can also enhance risk management by appointing a property manager. The time and effort that property managers can save landlords, as well as the experience and knowledge they provide, can be well worth the investment for their services.
A property manager can also help to find tenants, ensure the correct paperwork is in place, assist landlords to form a professional relationship with their tenant, collect the rent, conduct property inspections and liaise with the tenant on behalf of the landlord.
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