If you’ve ever merely thought about becoming a real estate investor, it’s likely you’ve heard tenant horror stories. No owner of a rental property wants to learn what it’s like to have tenants from you-know-where.
On the flip side, one of the best paths to a profitable rental is to keep it filled with good tenants. If you have a tenant who always pays on time and keeps the place in tip-top shape, the last thing you want them to do is to give them a reason to leave.
Any time a tenant leaves, there are costs associated with turning the unit over. But when a really good tenant leaves, it can feel even more costly. Here’s how to retain good tenants in your rental property.
Start Off on the Right Foot
One of the best ways to keep good tenants is to start off with the right candidates. A solid tenant-screening process is one way to ensure that you select someone who’s likely to be a good tenant from the get-go.
You can do it yourself, but hiring a property management company whose services include tenant screening can sometimes pay for itself. When hiring someone else to screen potential tenants, try to look for someone local who knows the local market. If you’re a rental owner looking for property management in San Jose, for example, you’ll want a management company completely familiar with the San Jose rental market.
Get it in Writing
Things sometimes go awry between rental owners and tenants simply because expectations aren’t clearly laid out from the start. Using a professionally drafted lease that explicitly establishes the responsibilities of both parties can go a long way.
If you’re managing a property yourself, it makes sense to hire an attorney to draft a lease that details the ground rules for the right tenant-landlord relationship. If you hire an experienced property management company, they should provide a suitable lease on your behalf.
Rental unit owners and property managers are quick to call tenants when something is wrong on their end, but they’re not always as responsive when a tenant is calling them. It can be a huge mistake. Open communication is key to any relationship.
Also, every tenant call is a potential emergency. A leaky roof or pipe they’re trying to tell you about can turn into a catastrophe if they can’t get ahold of you soon enough. Professional property management in San Jose should include 24-hour emergency service, which means you hire someone else to field the calls and handle the responsiveness.
Stay in Shape
One of the biggest gripes tenants come to have with rental property owners is the condition of their dwelling. The term “absentee landlord” emerged because some rental owners simply neglect the property their tenants are living in.
If you want to keep good tenants, keep the place in great shape. Regularly scheduled maintenance, inspections, and quick responses to problems are a must.
Know the Law
If you’re a rental property owner, there are federal, state, and local laws and ordinances to follow in regard to both tenant relations and the property itself. And if you want to drive away a good tenant, ignoring the rules and regulations is a sure way to do it.
There are safety requirements for any residential property, and you will also want to be up-to-date on any local codes. If you outsource property management, a local company should handle that for you. A company that provides Los Gatos property management, for instance, will ensure your property is in compliance with local ordinances in Los Gatos as well as any state and federal regulations. It’s vital to stay abreast of all laws and codes.
About Valley Management Group
Valley Management Group is a property management company that provides trustworthy and affordable services to owners who have rental properties in San Jose, Santa, Clara, Los Gatos, and throughout Santa Clara County. First-time clients will receive a free quote and one month of professional services, along with a highly valuable resource to enjoy the benefits of being a property owner.
Reviewed and Approved by Lloyd Kipp
Property Manager and Owner of Valley Management Group