1. Accept pets –
Every rental property that does not allow pets rules out all potential tenants with pets. Because pet-friendly rental properties are few and far between, landlords who accept pets are likely to be inundated with calls when they have a vacancy and will have very little trouble filling that vacant unit. Tenants with pets are also aware that pet-friendly rentals are usually higher priced and are willing to pay a little extra in order to be able to keep their pet. Tenants with pets also tend to be long-term renters, possibly because it ‘s hard to find another pet-friendly rental to move to.
2. Check references thoroughly –
It is not unusual for rental applicants to include phony references on their application. A past landlord may actually be a family member posing as a reference but a quick call to them will soon reveal whether they are in fact a landlord or whether they have been groomed to tell you what the applicant wants you to hear. A landlord who is suspicious of a reference should call posing as a prospective tenant and inquire about the property for rent. The ‘so-called’ past landlord will not be expecting that type of call and will likely slip up and say something that reveals that they are not a landlord at all. All references should be checked for validity.
3. Use Tenant Verification Services –
This is by far the best method of gauging the suitability of a prospective tenant. TVS is essentially a reporting service for landlords, wherein a landlord can report the bad (and good!) behavior of their tenants, and provide a reference for other landlords to access when considering those tenants for rental of one of their units. TVS carries a lot of weight with tenants as once they know that a landlord is a member of TVS they are also aware that by signing a rental agreement they are going to have their tenant behavior put on record.
4. Offer a discount for prompt payment –
While it is typical for tenants to be penalized with a late payment fee should they fail to pay their rent on time a discount for prompt payment encourages tenants to pay on time more than the threat of a penalty does. It is not just a matter of perception, however, as landlords can remove the discount and still receive the same amount of rent without it being perceived as a rental increase. It is important to ensure the rental agreement is written up to reflect the discount so that tenants understand what the full rental price is and that the discount only applies if and when the rent is paid on time.
5. Learn how to advertise effectively –
It is not only important to be able to write an effective ad but also to know where to place those ads to maximize the number of prospective tenants who see them. In today’s mobile world, many tenants begin and end their search for a new rental property online so if a landlord fails to advertise on online rental websites he or she is greatly reducing the opportunity to rent their vacant unit quickly. Print advertising still works but online has a much wider audience. A social media presence is almost mandatory. The likes of Facebook advertising, if done well, will usually return excellent results.Your ad should advise prospective tenants of the following:
• All the features your property offers that others in the same area don’t i.e. pet-friendly, fenced pool, etc
• Describe the property in such a way that the prospective tenant can envision them living there
• Use good keywords – Prospective tenants use specific keywords when searching for new rental properties in your area. Learn the most common search terms and make sure that your ad incorporates them so that your ad can be easily found.
6. Maintenance –
A well-maintained property is more pleasant for tenants, but this doesn’t just mean mowing the grass and raking the leaves. Well-maintained rental properties attend to potential problems before they occur but also deal with issues that have arisen quickly and efficiently. Undertake regular inspections to pinpoint potential issues and take preventative measures. Preventative maintenance is not only better for the tenants but will often keep costs contained as there will not be the additional emergency call-out costs that would be incurred if something breaks at 2 a.m. A landlord can also take the time to get several quotes for the repair/replacement of old parts if the issue is recognized ahead of time and choose the most cost-effective quote.
7. Consider your tenants carefully –
When people live near each other they often prefer that their neighbors live similar lifestyles to their own. For example, a single woman who works a stressful job doesn’t want to come home to her apartment and find that the neighbors’ kids are loud and annoying when all she wants is a peaceful evening to unwind. Parents of young kids tend to be more tolerant of other parents of young children so it is wise to consider what type of tenant goes into the vacant unit. It can be tempting to fill a vacancy with the first acceptable applicant but they won’t remain a tenant long if they don’t like their neighbors’ lifestyle.
8. Treat your tenants well –
Everyone appreciates people who remember their name and “shows that they care enough to remember little details about them.” says Grayson Real Estate Management, a property management Victoria, British Columbia professional. A landlord should make their tenants feel important to them by welcoming them with a small gift, remembering their birthday and checking in on them regularly to address any concerns they may have. Happy tenants are the key to long-term rents. Landlords should never see their tenants as the enemy or as a means to an end. Just as tenants can earn either a good or bad reputation so too can landlords.
9. Install quality flooring –
When the cost of quality flooring seems too high it can be very tempting to try to save money by installing cheaper flooring but the cost will end up being higher when the cheap flooring doesn’t withstand the wear and tear of tenants walking across it day after day. It is not just the cost involved in purchasing new flooring every two years but also the time the unit will remain vacant while the flooring is being laid. Invest in good quality laminate flooring up front.
10. Give Rent-to-Own strong consideration –
A landlord who wants to realize his or her best profits and avoid many of the headaches associated with rental properties should give Rent-to-Own strong consideration as an investment strategy. All of the 9 tips above will be eliminated if a landlord opts to go this route. It is imperative, however, that a landlord research Rent-to-Own thoroughly to be able to make an informed decision as to whether this is the way they want to handle their rental properties.Two of the distinct advantages of Rent-to-Own are that all maintenance and repair becomes the responsibility of the tenant, and tenants who move in on a Rent-to-Own basis tend to stay in the property for a long time, thereby reducing the need for a landlord to deal with filling vacancies.
Special thanks to our resident Property Management Saskatoon expert, Jim Powers for the wonderful article