Rental Properties – Being a Good Landlord

There are many ways to earn money from your rental property. You can, for example, purchase a multi-unit property and live in one of the units while renting out the other to pay or help pay for the mortgage. Yet, whether you live on your rental property, you need to learn how to be a good landlord. As you work with your local real estate agent to decide among rental properties, you should begin to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of a good landlord.

What is a Good Landlord

A good landlord:

  • Is familiar with the regulations related to owning a rental property. He or she will understand building codes, rules of evictions, housing codes and health and safety regulations.
  • Chooses a property where people will want to live, taking into consideration proximity to schools, shopping areas and quality of the neighborhood.
  • Decides on a competitive, fair rental rate. While you should not try to take advantage of your tenants, you should ensure what you are charging will cover the costs of the property mortgage, plus make a profit.
  • Provides excellent maintenance to tenants. This includes electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning and structural problems. While it is perfectly acceptable and common to hire a handyman to take care of the upkeep of your rental property, the best landlord knows how to handle some maintenance repairs without hired help; knowing how to fix clogged plumbing, for example, could save you a plumber’s substantial repair fee.
  • Ensures the safety and well being of his or her tenants. Good landlords provide new locks and deadbolts for each tenant, sufficient outdoor lighting and parking, and fire, carbon monoxide and security alarms. If LEED commissioning services are required for the buildings, they are up to the latest standards.
  • Does all of his or her business in writing. Contracts and policies should not be verbal; this will ensure both your protection and the protection of your tenants.
  • Is organized and does not haphazardly collect rent payments and security deposits. Instead, you should keep a record system of payments made and those overdue.
  • Respects the privacy of all tenants. You should always give your tenants notice before entering their unit; this rule should be followed in all but the most extreme of cases.
  • Does not expect a fast return on his or her real estate investment. Rental properties, unlike money market or stock options that often yield high returns, are typically slower in paying for themselves. Yet while you should not expect a quick return on your investment, a good landlord understands the value of his or her real estate asset and waits patiently for profits.

Adding a rental property to your investment portfolio is an exciting decision, and is likely to prove profitable to you in the future. While looking at rental properties, it is never too early to learn how to be an excellent landlord. If you’re curious in learning more about rules for tenants, take a look at this Golden rules for tenants post put together by Money Web. If you’re interested in other articles we’ve posted here, I’d recommend looking through the 2012 Must Have Pool Supplies post. It’s 2013 I know, but I like looking at things in review.

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