Whether you are managing a single-family home, condo, multi-family home or apartment complex, managing rental properties is not easy. Dealing with tenants can be especially challenging for property managers. However, good tenant management is key to keeping your property management clients happy and running a successful property management company.
Good property management will help you maintain a good relationship with tenants and reduce the tenant turnover rate significantly. To help you become a successful property manager, we’ve put together some of the best tenant management tips for you to try out today.
Related: Being a Property Manager: 7 Ways to Reduce Risk
10 Best Tenant Management Tips
1. Take the tenant screening process seriously
Success in tenant management begins with choosing the right tenant. A good property manager should have a strict tenant screening process before leasing out the rental property. Screening begins with asking your potential tenants to fill out a rental application. The details provided will show you whether the applicant qualifies as a tenant or not. Here are some questions you should ask in the rental application:
- Are you currently renting a house? If so, where?
- What do you do for a living?
- How much do you earn monthly?
- When do you want to move in?
- How many people will be residing in the house?
- How many pets do you have?
- Have you ever been evicted?
- Are you ready to sign a 1-year lease agreement?
Be sure to verify these responses by contacting their employer and previous landlords. A credit check and criminal background check are also very important in the screening process.
2. Have a detailed lease agreement
When it comes to tenant management, the lease agreement is very important. It is a legal document that explains what the tenants and landlord can and cannot do, and what will happen if the terms of the lease are violated. The lease should be written in simple language that anyone can understand. It should cover items such as parking, lawn maintenance, property alterations, pest control, property use, pet clause, and subletting. The agreement should also mention the consequences for the tenant not paying rent.
Related: 9 Things Every Tenancy Agreement Should Include
3. Manage the rental property professionally
As a residential property manager, you need to interact with your tenants as professionally as possible. Communication with tenants, whether through email, phone or face-to-face, should be professional, cordial, and clear. From the onset, the renter needs to know that the property manager should be taken seriously. Be sure to enforce all the terms of the lease including rental property maintenance, collecting rent on time, and pursuing eviction when necessary.
4. Have a clear procedure for collecting rent
To make the collection of rent easier, you need to have a clear procedure from the onset. Give your tenants clear instructions about when rent is due and how they can pay. Payment options could be bank deposit, mobile payment or online rent payments. Send out automated reminders 5 days before the due date mentioning the exact date when rent is expected.
5. Retain good tenants with incentives
Good tenants are not very common. When you come across a great renter, you need to find a way of retaining them. You can boost resident retention by upgrading something in the rental property. For example, you could add a coat of paint, change the flooring, build a children’s play area or put in new lighting fixtures. Allow the tenant to decide what they want to upgrade or replace since this will give them a sense of ownership.
6. Require renters insurance
Even if you have property insurance, it is advisable to ask your tenants to get their own renters insurance. This will ensure that their belongings are protected and will offer extra liability protection for the property owner.
7. Respect the tenant’s privacy
Once a tenant moves into your rental property, he/she has a right to privacy. You should not access the rental house or compound without permission. If you want to conduct an inspection or make repairs, be sure to give notice of at least two weeks. The only time you should access the property without permission is during an emergency. Be sure to check local rental laws that dictate when a landlord can enter and how much notice must be given.
8. Have a strategy for increasing rent that won’t cost you tenants
Increasing rent is a normal part of running rental properties. You might decide to charge higher rents due to factors such as increased property taxes, maintenance costs, and insurance costs. However, before hiking your rent, find out if there are any rent control laws in your state. For example, some states don’t allow you to increase the rent within the first year.
In terms of tenant management, you want to try to do what you can to retain tenants after a rent increase. You need to inform your tenant early enough about your plans to increase rent and be sure to explain the reasons behind the higher rent.
9. Deal with bad tenants quickly
Even after a thorough vetting process, you might still end up with a troublesome tenant in your rental property. This could be someone that plays loud music late at night, gets drunk and disorderly in the neighborhood or sells illegal drugs. If you don’t deal with such a person quickly, they will end up driving away other tenants. Criminal activities should be reported to the police, and troublesome tenants evicted as soon as possible.
10. Handle evictions properly
While evictions are not the most fun part of tenant management, they must be enforced when a tenant violates the lease terms. The first thing you need to do is understand the local laws concerning eviction proceedings. For example, the length of time to evict a renter varies from one place to another. In some states, tenants are allowed to stay in the rental property for up to 60 days after receiving a notice of eviction. Understanding the eviction requirements in your area will protect you from unnecessary lawsuits.
Put These Tenant Management Tips Into Action
Learning better tenant management strategies takes time. You will probably make some mistakes at the beginning as a rental property manager or a property management company. However, as you perfect your tenant management system, you will find it much easier to deal with renters. This will help boost your occupancy rate and increase the return on investment for rental property owners.
Related: 10 Property Management Tips to Become a Better Manager