How to Keep Good Tenants

Thursday 08 Aug 2019

Renting out a home can be a great way to increase your income while investing in a valuable asset.
However, just as important as finding the right tenants for your property is holding on to them. Having disruptions in tenancy can not only cost you money, it can be a stressful and time-consuming problem.

Quality tenants will provide you with regular income, as well as help to keep your investment in good condition. With this in mind, there are many strategies you can use to make sure your tenants remain yours.

At the end of the day, your rental home belongs to you. However, renters do not want to feel like they’re living at the whims of their landlord, especially when it comes to privacy. By making sure you do all you can to give your tenants privacy, you will help them to feel like they’re living in a proper home, not just a temporary abode.
The best way to do this is to give proper notice before dropping by the property, as well as not overdoing it with your visits.

Just as important as knowing when to leave your tenants alone is knowing when to put them at the forefront of your mind.
Things like needed repairs should be taken care of as soon as possible. Simply telling your tenants that you’ll take care of a problem isn’t the same as following through on it, so when it comes to inevitable issues like fixing or replacing things in the home, do your best to be attentive and responsive.

In many ways, a good tenant is like a good employee. After all, your income depends on them, and if they’ve shown themselves trustworthy and respectful toward your property, it can pay off to show your appreciation much in the same way an employer would. Obviously offering raises and vacation time isn’t in your power, but small gestures like notes of appreciation and gifts during the holiday season can not only show your gratitude, they can help to create a bond of loyalty between you and your tenant that will keep them around longer.

Many people choose to invest in property because it is a great tactic to build wealth and secure their futures financially. However, as it's an investment, owners should look for ways to maximise the returns on their properties. First National property managers always do. If you're looking for strategies to get the most out of your rental property, here are three tips to help you on your way.

Hire a professional
Have you ever had to bang on a tenant's door to pick up missed rent? Has your phone gone off at midnight after a tenant's hot water cylinder has burst for the third time this year?

Managing your own rental property can be a difficult task, especially if you have a vast portfolio. Instead of trying to juggle multiple properties at once, enlist the help of a professional property manager to take a few off your hands. Property managers have the knowledge, time and skill to ensure your investments and tenants are taken care of.

Review your rent
It may have been years since you last reviewed the price you're charging for your rental property.
The important thing to remember is that the market can change quite often. Fluctuations in vacancy rates and median rents can all impact how much you can charge for your property, and you may end up charging too little.

Review your rent on a regular basis to meet the market. Compare your home with other rentals similar to your property, or obtain a rent appraisal from an agent.

Regularly refresh your rental property
The key to ensuring your rental property remains tenanted is to keep it in good condition. By staying on top of maintenance issues and refreshing the interior, your investment can be kept looking great for longer.

At the end of each tenancy, you might want to give the home a quick lick of paint, have the carpets cleaned and the garden reworked. You might even be able to charge a bit extra for rent, while also making your home look more appealing to tenants.

Landlords should review their property portfolios on an annual basis to assure an appropriate rent is being asked, and that any improvements that would help maintain their property’s competitiveness and return are executed.

Landlords are entitled to raise the rent periodically and although no tenant wants to pay more rent, it is sometimes necessary to implement rental increases to cover the rising costs of maintaining a property.

Before increasing rent, however, it is important to:
•    Familiarise yourself with the legislation in your state or territory to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws or rules
•    Consider your tenant’s payment history – a good tenant that pays the rent on time is worth keeping in place
•    Carefully consider whether your desired rent increase is fair, when compared to other available properties
•    Think about the opportunity cost of a vacancy period, should your existing tenant choose to vacate rather than accept the increase.

Some property investors choose to manage their own rental properties. This has both advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that you can save on real estate agent costs but there are challenges you need to be mindful of. Some mistakes self-managing landlords make are:

•    Access – Landlords must obtain permission from their tenant to access their property - some fail to give adequate notice. Whether it is for inspections or to undertake maintenance duties, landlords must not ignore the rules about access
•    Bonds – Some landlords ask for more than four weeks rent (which is against the rules) and/fail to lodge a rental bond with the appropriate authority, where applicable, in their state
•    Proper documentation – Some landlords fail to put written tenancy agreements in place, complete comprehensive property condition reports, or keep proper records of rental payments. This can lead to significant difficulty if or when a dispute arises.
•    Charging for utilities – There are clear rules for when you can and can’t charge for water usage and other utilities but these vary from state to state.
•    Failing to make communication easy – Some landlords fail to provide tenants with their full name and address or phone contact details. This can make it difficult for tenants to communicate about problems or respond appropriately in emergencies
•    Not seeking help – Landlords often forget they can seek guidance from appropriate tenancy authorities in their state. Many services and information sheets exist and state based real estate institutes can help direct landlords to the help they need.