If there’s an apt catchphrase for landlords, it’s don’t take anything for granted, especially when it comes to tenants understanding their responsibilities.
There is so much advice out there about dealing with bad tenants, yet the vast majority of renters are good people who are willing to please — they just don’t know how.
Educating tenants is one of the easiest ways to keep rentals running smoothly and to avoid the common conflicts that drain profits and time. What’s more, tenants actually appreciate the leadership.
Here are some suggestions for teaching your tenants what is expected:
Always remember that you are teaching by example. Keeping the property well-maintained and honouring your own responsibilities, like making repairs quickly, motivates tenants to do a good job.
Many — if not most — people need to hear things more than once. If a person can hear, read and see something, they are even more likely to remember it. So, go over basic rules during prequalification, provide a hard copy of the rules or a website link, and point out specifics while at the property.
The lease is a crucial tool. It should never be so full of technical language that tenants can’t understand it, and it should never be regarded as some meaningless stack of paper that is stuck in a file and forgotten. The tenancy agreement should address the most common tenant responsibilities along with anything particular to the property. Provide tenants with a copy of the lease and encourage them to read it before they sign it. Sit down and go over the lease with the tenants when they are ready to sign it, and then provide an orientation around the time the tenant moves in.
At a minimum, make sure tenants understand these points before they sign the lease:
Rent: When is it due? What are the options for paying it? What happens if it’s late?
Repairs and Maintenance: What happens if something breaks? Who replaces batteries? Light bulbs? Who shovels snow?
Day-to-Day Living: What is too much noise? Where do I walk my dog?
Limitations: Can I paint, install shelves, remodel the property? Can I run a business? Is smoking permitted?
Guests: Address long-term occupants, and short-term guests including vacation sublets.
Parking: Where do I park? Where do my friends park?
Security Issues: Explain the Crime-Free certification if applicable, or underscore the consequences of committing crimes on the property. Tenants should understand that they are responsible for guests. Explain how to report problems. Tenants must understand what to do in the event of an emergency.
Landlords and tenants don’t need to be friends, but they can still enjoy a solid relationship – if it’s built on mutual respect.
This post is provided by Landlord Tenant Rights to help landlords and property managers reduce the risks of rental income loss. Landlord Tenant Rights provides articles on Reporting Tenant Rent Pay and Tenant Screening to ensure the necessary information is readily available to all Landlord & Tenants.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.