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5 Characteristics of a Great Landlord

A great landlord looks after their tenants and encourages them to renew year after year. 

On the other hand, an unreasonable or unfair landlord is unlikely to succeed in the long term. Poor tenant relationships will only lead to vacancies, evictions, and frequent tenant turnover. 

If you build a reputation for being an unusually strict or stubborn landlord, word will spread fast. You could lose applicants to your competitors and quickly find that owning and upkeeping properties is no longer financially plausible.

However, rule-bending or carelessness could frustrate your tenants even more or lead to an IRS tax audit.

If you’re looking to avoid these situations and become the best landlord you can be, you need the right balance of relationship building and business management. You’ll also need time to build habits and determine which strategies work for your unique situation.

Here are five characteristics of a great landlord and how you can adopt them.

  1. Organized

From maintenance and tenant communication to property taxes and rent collection, every rental business has a dozen moving parts. It pays to be organized as you juggle them all.

Organization is especially important come tax season. There are many advantageous deductions you can claim as a landlord simply by proving that you qualify for them. This means keeping careful, organized records of all payments, invoices, expenses, travel, and work hours. If the IRS audits you, you’ll already have the proof to justify your choices.

Property Manager or Property Management Software?

With so many rental responsibilities, you have two options. You can either hire a property manager to oversee your business, or you can use rental management software to manage it yourself.

The software route is especially advantageous for small to mid-sized landlords looking to save money while building their portfolios. Instead of hiring outside help, manage your own business with online rent collection, document signing, tenant communication, maintenance management, and tenant screening tools.

  1. Digitally Literate

The real estate industry is changing every day. Technological innovations like automation, virtual tours, cloud storage, artificial intelligence, eSignatures, and smart home technology are revolutionizing property management.

An excellent landlord recognizes and tracks these changes. You don’t have to be an expert, but staying aware of recent trends and adapting to change can only advantage you. 

The best landlords are open-minded about fresh ideas and willing to try something new to benefit their tenants.

  1. Responsive

When it comes to managing tenants, time matters. Neglecting tenant messages or delaying them more than a few days will quickly deteriorate your relationships with your tenants.

Instead, respond to all tenant questions in a timely manner, and make sure the appropriate personnel (maintenance staff, property manager, etc.) gets the information they need to address concerns.

Responsiveness is also a valuable trait during emergencies. If an emergency should occur (e.g., a flood during dangerous weather, a gas leak, etc.), be prepared to act quickly and calmly. Your confidence in emergencies determines whether your tenants and properties remain safe. 

  1. Fair 

A good landlord is a fair one. Landlords who value fairness adhere to the Federal Fair Housing Act and all local landlord laws, especially those for tenant screening. 

This means following the same procedures and steps each time you screen an applicant to ensure everyone receives equal treatment.

Another critical law for landlords is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law requires you to provide reasonable accommodations to renters with disabilities to deliver them a fair housing experience.

Transparency is key to being a fair landlord. If you are fulfilling your legal obligations and enforcing equality, you should have nothing to hide. Always be as honest as possible with your tenants.

  1. Respectful

Lastly, great landlords are always respectful. While you own your properties, you must recognize that they are your tenants’ homes. Be sensitive to your tenants’ wants and needs during the move-in process and throughout their tenancy.

Respectful landlords also adhere to all laws designed to protect tenants. For example, you are required by law to give your tenants adequate privacy and provide at least 24 hours’ notice if you need to enter their units.

Tenants who see that you respect them by following the law are more likely to respect you as well.

Conclusion

Managing rental properties is no easy undertaking. However, being a great landlord to your tenants doesn’t have to be. By following the law, staying open-minded, and employing basic respect, you can be an outstanding landlord to your tenants while running a successful business at the same time.

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