Tips and responsibilities.
Just like tenants, it’s no secret that landlords can sometimes get a bad rep.
You only need to surf the web to stumble across the horror stories that make landlords seem like blockbuster villains.
At times, it’s this that can create friction between tenants and landlords before they’ve even met. But luckily, it doesn’t take much to disprove the stereotype and show that you are professional, approachable, and ready for a positive relationship with a tenant.
So, without further ado, here’s HomeHero’s list of tips and responsibilities that will help show you’re a good – no, excellent- landlord.
Obtain the Five Important Documents
Let’s start with the basics. As a landlord, there are five essential documents that you should acquire and share with your tenants before they move in.
While this may seem obvious, obtaining these will show to your tenants that you go through all the proper channels to ensure their safety.
The documents are as follows:
1. A copy of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ Checklist
This little checklist will help both you and your tenant understand one’s rights and responsibilities. It provides detailed information on every stage of the tenancy; from move-in day to plans of action if things go wrong.
By law, the landlord or letting agent must supply a copy of this to the tenant(s).
2. An Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate, (or EPC), is needed to estimate the energy-efficiency of the property and its costs. Whether you’re building, selling or renting a property, all landlords must secure an EPC before it’s on the market.
3. A Gas Safety Certificate
If the property has a gas appliance, such as a boiler or oven, then it will need to undergo a gas safety check every 12-months. Once passed, you must provide tenants with the certificate.
4. Information on the Deposit Protection Scheme
If you’ve rented the property on an assured shorthold tenancy that began after April 2007, then you must put your tenants’ deposits in a tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP) within 30-days.
In this time, you are obliged to provide your tenants with the paperwork that details the scheme.
5. And lastly… your contact details
In case of an emergency or query, tenants must have access to your contact details. This includes your full name, address, a phone number, and email.
Once you’ve got all the five documents, it’s also in your best interest to…
Meet Safety Standards
This goes without saying; a good landlord will always put safety first. To ensure you do the same, you’ll need to renew the Gas Safety Certificate every 12-months and bring in a professional to inspect the appliances.
You must install fire alarms, smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms before the tenants move in, and ensure they’re in working order. You are also responsible for checking these regularly. It can be helpful to make a note of these inspections and make them visible for your tenant to see.
Be Professional and Approachable
When you’re renting out to tenants, you are essentially running a business. While it’s an income stream for you, it’s a place to call home for your tenants; they are your customers, so treat them as such.
And like every business, you’ll need a business plan. Put systems in place for every scenario, so that you can continue to operate smoothly. For example, if you’re going away on holiday, you should inform your tenants and give them an associate’s contact details should they require any assistance.
You’ll also need to be approachable. Good customer service will create happy tenants, so don’t be afraid to show your face on move-in day to explain how things work.
Being friendly will almost always work in your favour. For tenants to be able to put a face to the name, they’ll be more likely to warm to you and see you as a human being, as opposed to some mysterious, unknown entity.
Stay on the ball
So, you’ve checked your inbox or listened to your voicemails, and you’ve got a tenant in distress. Something needs urgent repairs, and it’s your responsibility to fix it. You know the drill.
The key here is always to respond and never ignore. If it’s something that you can’t fix straight away, send an email back in acknowledgement of the report. Doing this will help stop your tenants harbouring any resentment if they know you’re on the ball.
To ensure you respond to damages and repairs responsibly, it’s always a good idea to build strong relationships with handymen. Partnering up with tradespeople you trust will help eliminate botched jobs and further damage, which will do wonders for your reputation.
Keep your distance
We understand that if you’ve had bad experiences in the past, it may seem tempting to constantly check if your property is being taken care of. However, this will do more harm than good.
A massive pet peeve for tenants is their landlords showing up unannounced. Not only is it invasive, but it gives the impression that you don’t trust them.
Once you’ve shown your face on move-in day, our advice is to leave them to it. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling an inspection months after, but make sure you communicate this with your tenants beforehand.
It’s all about the small touches
Finally, let’s talk about something that not a lot of landlords do, but they definitely should. Small touches are easily one of the most effective ways to dismantle the bad rep and kickstart a positive relationship with a tenant.
Remembering birthdays, taking tenants on a tour of the local area, or stocking up on essential items are just some of the small gestures you can do to make a big difference. Not only will your tenants be put at ease, but it sets up a mutual, respectful relationship.
Time for another? Head to our Property section for more useful articles.
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