Written By Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia
Being a landlord is easily one of the most overrated ways in which you can make money. On the surface, it seems that you only need to sit back and collect the rent money. No trouble, no hassle… But, in reality, being a landlord can often be difficult and stressful. So, to give you an idea of what being a landlord is like, we are going to go over the most common issues landlords are faced with today.
Before finding a tenant
The issues landlords have to face start before they even find a tenant. After all, you are the legal owner of the property you wish to rent out. This means that you have to take care of it and deal with certain legal aspects connected with real estate ownership. If you do this in time and you take the necessary steps, the whole process won’t be too difficult, especially if you own low-maintenance property. But, by no stretch of the imagination will you be able to say that being a landlord is easy, even if everything is going according to plan.
Keeping your apartment functional
One of the issues landlords are faced with is taking care of their real estate while not living in it. If you own your own home, you probably already know how difficult it can be to maintain it. Every so often an issue will occur with the plumbing or with electricity. Alongside that, you have to keep your home clean and regularly check it in order to catch issues in their infancy. If you own a house, you’d be smart to familiarize yourself with the gutter cleaning process, as roof issues can be quite costly to deal with. Now, all of this can be difficult enough to do while you are living in your home. So imagine what it is like when you don’t live in it.
Now, it is true that while your apartment for rent is unoccupied, it will remain in fairly good condition. After all, it is precisely the life routines of people that bring the most issues and dirtiness. But, if something does happen, you will need to have a bit of luck in order to catch it early. So, it is the job of the landlord to regularly check up on their property.
Finding a decent tenant
Another issue that every landlord has to tackle is finding a decent tenant. Now, you might think that most people are decent enough to be trustworthy tenants that are going to treat you and your property with respect. But, once you become a landlord, you will soon learn that this is simply not the case. A tenant that is honest, responsible and punctual is a dream. This is why one of the most important tasks a landlord has to deal with is finding a good tenant.
Any experienced landlord has at least one disastrous story where a tenant caused more trouble than they ever thought possible. In fact, it is not uncommon for landlords to end up in court with their tenants due to damages, financial issues, and even assault. So, it is not an overstatement to say that finding a good tenant is one of the most important things a landlord has to do.
Issues landlords are faced with once they find a tenant
So, let’s say that you’ve managed to keep your apartment in proper condition. And that you’ve managed to find a decent tenant. With that, all of your troubles are gone and you can simply enjoy your rent, right? Well, not quite. Being a landlord doesn’t stop once you’ve found a decent tenant. After all, this is still your property, and you need to ensure that it stays in proper condition. Furthermore, you need to build a proper relationship with your tenant so that you are able to both check your apartment and make them feel welcomed to stay there.
One of the more surprising issues landlords are faced with is paperwork. From legal documents concerning your real estate and your current tenants to various bills and payments that your tenants provide. So, the last thing you want is for it to get disorganized. In order to manage this properly, you need to take the following steps:
- Create a filing system – The only way to keep your paperwork in order is to make a filing system and to stick to it. The more consistent you are, the fewer issues you are going to have.
- Do not let things pile up – While it is quite easy to simply toss your paperwork on your desk, it is the last thing you want to do.
- Keep digital copies – Papers can be lost or destroyed. Do yourself a favor and create digital copies of important documents.
Taking care of your tenant
If you do manage to find a trustworthy, responsible tenant, you need to make sure that they are taken care of. First, you want to make sure that your rent is fair. Everyone values their property much more then it is actually worth. So, try to alter your rent so that it fits current real estate trends.
Second, you need to be proactive. This means that you need to show your tenant that you care and that you are willing to help them out. You can even familiarize yourself with what they are going to ask you during the interview, in order to better know the tenant’s needs. No one likes an overbearing landlord, but no one likes an absent one. And finally, you want to deal with maintenance issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. By doing so, you will keep your apartment in good shape and you will keep your tenant happy.