If you want to be an effective landlord, there are some specifics you need to consider. Here are 6 tips to help you do a better job and feel more comfortable in your role.
1. Put it in writing
Make sure you put everything to do with your rental in writing. Don’t rent to someone with a verbal agreement, because it’s far too easy to get into a “he said – she said” type of argument that can be very hard to sort out. Emails and texts count as “in writing,” but make sure your lease is actually on paper, and that it’s signed by both parties. Having an attorney review it is also a good idea.
2. Don’t bend your rules
Even if you want to help out one of your tenants, don’t help them in a way that requires to you bend (or completely break) a rule you have for your rentals. If you do that, and word gets around, other tenants will be wanting you to bend and break rules for them, as well. Since you don’t want to play favorites, it’s best to say no to any request that would go against your rules.
3. Reward the best tenants
Not bending the rules doesn’t mean you can’t show your appreciation for good tenants. A small gift card during the holidays, or another small way of letting them know you think they’re great is certainly acceptable. Just make sure you don’t chose a reward that breaks or bends any rules you have.
4. Be present but not overbearing
You want to make your presence known, and you want to be sure your tenants are aware how to reach you. At the same time, though, your tenants should feel as though they have privacy in the place they’ve rented. If you’re always around, they’re going to feel too much like you’re checking up on them – and that can make them uncomfortable. Check in only when you need to, and only for valid reasons, but be accessible when tenants need you.
5. Remember who you are
Regardless of how nice your tenants are or any other factors surrounding your interaction with them, you are the landlord, which means you’re in charge. Staying within the law and within the confines of the lease agreement that you signed with your tenants, but be bold about setting and enforcing the rules. Tenants should know they can’t get away with things that you don’t approve of, and that you’ve prohibited in the lease.
6. Be open to learning as you go
Being a landlord isn’t a completely static job. Things are always changing. That can include the laws and regulations for having rental properties where you live, and the types of tenants you have in those rental apartments, too. The more open you are to learning new things as you go along, the better you’ll do at working as a landlord and making sure your tenants stay happy.
This article originally appeared on American Apartment Owners Association.