For many people looking to get into Real Estate property management is one of the biggest deterrents. It is amongst the top reasons many people never start and so many people quit. Below are 3 property management tips for landlords:
1. Screen Tenants Carefully and have a standardized application process to evaluate tenants. There are numerous templates available online. These are okay to use but ensure both your application and lease documents are compliant within the jurisdiction that you operate. Hence, you may have to make some alterations to these forms. Furthermore, by having a standardized process you avoid the risk of potentially asking screening questions that could land you in legal trouble. As a landlord you can ask questions to assess prospective tenants’ ability to pay rent and keep the property in good repair. Asking questions about plans for more children, religion, or sexual preference is not appropriate! Check out settlement.org for a list of questions that are ok to ask and questions which are not ok to ask.
To evaluate the credit worthiness of a prospective tenant screening services such as aTenantScreen and Sterling Backcheck that will help you identify negative items from the major Canadian credit bureaus. Sterling Backcheck also offers criminal record check and ID verification within their Screening package.
2. Be diligent in conducting maintenance and repairs on properties. For example, if you haven’t been servicing the HVAC systems and you have a breakdown in the middle of winter, this will be costly. Often preventative maintenance (which is relatively inexpensive) can prevent breakdowns in HVAC systems. Keeping up on repairs and maintenance also keeps good tenants happy and reduces your vacancy rates. Also take security precautions for your investment properties such as having good exterior lighting, and trimming shrubbery that would shield burglars. It is a worthwhile step to ensure prospective tenants stay safe and secure.
3. Try and solve problems without the use of the legal system, lawyers, or paralegals. It is both costly and time inefficient to go this route. If you have a bad tenant that doesn’t take care of the property or has payment issues communicate with them. Cutting the tenant a deal for a few months’ rent in order for them to leave the property quickly generally costs less than getting into a lengthy legal battle. If you do this make sure to still get the agreement in writing, and that you don’t hand out any cheques until the tenant has left. A lawyer once told me “there is no point in using good money to chase bad money”.