If you’ve ever rented out your condo before, you know that finding a decent tenant can feel something like winning the lottery. Leasing out your property is a nerve-wracking experience, and nothing is more anxiety-inducing than feeling like the folks you’ve got living in your condo might not be taking the greatest care of your investment.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a responsible, quality tenant, you also know how important it is to uphold your end of the bargain as a landlord in order to keep them happy, comfortable, and keen to stay settled in. Read on for some pointers on how to keep that quality tenant snug as a bug in a rug.
Nothing will have a tenant browsing Kijiji faster than if she feels you’re dragging your feet when it comes to maintenance and upkeep of the unit. If your tenant reaches out to you with an issue that needs addressing or a repair that needs fixing, jump on it. Seriously. Communication is key here. Not every repair is one that can happen immediately, but you can work to relay the facts and details to your tenant speedily, so that they know they’re not waiting on you or the property management company to act.
That said, if the issue is a critical one (burst pipes, heating issues, etc.), it’s important that you pull out all the stops to get things taken care of and squared away ASAP. Having to wait a brief spell for creature-comfort fixes to take place is one thing, but if you’re unable to help your tenant in a crisis, you can bet they’ll be cruising the classifieds looking for a new place the moment things eventually calm down.
Make it clear to your tenant what sort of response times are realistic to expect, and keep her in the loop when it comes to delays, issues, or other potential hold-ups. The more open and honest you are with your tenants, the more appreciative they’ll be – even if the news isn’t great, they’ll be happy you took the time to fill them in.
Utilities are a pain in the butt, and most renters these days just aren’t interested in navigating and taking care of multiple bills, accounts, and services – especially if they’re in your name. Keep things simple for everyone and just lump the utility fees in with the monthly rent. This is what the vast majority of tenants are looking for, and you’ll most likely find yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t follow suit. Not sure how to bundle your utilities into the rent and still come up with a competitive figure? Look online at other comparable listings in your area, or chat with your property management company to get the advice you need to nail down a number.
Flexibility is key when you’re looking to keep a decent tenant happy and comfortable. Think you’ve got a winner moving in? Letting them get settled in a few days before the first of the month is a good way to make a great first impression. Are they looking to negotiate on the cost of rent? If there’s some wiggle room and they’ve proven themselves to be a quality tenant, see if you can meet them halfway – you don’t want to have to put your unit back on the market over $50/month. Are they looking to make a few cosmetic changes to the place, like throwing up a fresh coat of paint? As long as they’re not looking to paint every surface in the house baby-poop green, why not let them? It’s this sort of give-and-take that tenants really appreciate, and by playing along, you’re setting yourself up to keep them happy and content in your home.
You’re a condo owner, not a private police force, so we understand that if there are security concerns in the vicinity of your property, there’s not a whole lot you can do to directly influence these issues. However, one thing you can do as a responsible landlord is to keep your tenant informed and up-to-speed on any security concerns in the area. Keep your ear to the ground, and reach out to your tenant to let them know if there have been a rash of vehicle break-ins or property vandalism in the neighbourhood. They may not be happy to hear it, but they’ll appreciate that you put the effort in to let them know.
If you’re truly keen to keep your tenant happy over the long-term, it’s important to build a positive relationship with them. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out drinking with your tenant on the weekends (in fact, the last thing you want to do as a landlord is be seen as overbearing or intrusive), but take the time to let your tenant know they’re more than just a number and a monthly paycheck. Let them know they can contact you or your property manager about any concerns they might have with the property, and that you’ll be willing to listen to them. Strive for open and honest communication, and be sure to manage their expectations so that you can deliver when you say you will. Focus on building trust and developing a rapport, and you’ll soon find yourself with a tenant who will be happy to live out her days in your condo for as long as you’re content to have her there.
Looking for more tips on how to find a quality tenant and keep them happy? Get in touch with us at Catalyst Condo Management today and ask away!