4 New Year Resolutions to Make New A Landlord’s Life Simpler
Being a landlord can be a ton of work and some people dive into the role without too much experience or planning. There are tons of websites and resources that will help you find tenants, run background checks, provide templates for leases and get insurance policies. With the help of the internet, you can get your property rented out without spending money on professional help. As with most endeavors, you “live and learn” and many landlords have had some struggles along the way. Here’s some advice on how to make being a landlord simpler this year.
#1: Get Yourself A Free Business Phone Number
Every business needs a business phone number and Google Voice provides a great free solution for landlords. Click here to set up a free, local phone number to give your tenants. You can set it up so that it forwards to any, all or none of your phones and even set “timeframes” when the calls go straight to voicemail. Google voice can send you emails with the voicemails and you can respond to callers via text. All this, free!
#2: Set Your “Business Office Hours”
Sick of getting calls at 10pm or 6am? Treat your rental like the business it is and set “office hours” so your tenants know when it is appropriate to contact you. Let your tenants know the best method of reaching you during these “office hours” and provide “emergency contact information” as well.
#3: Make A Written Policy For Your Property
Many new landlords use leases that are written particularly for their city and state that cover all of the provisions they need to protect their property. However, it is very helpful to define a policy for your tenants regarding particular things about your property. For instance, the proper place to put trash and recycle bins, what is allowed to be planted in outdoor areas, or how long tenants can have “guests” staying on the couch. With the rise of the “share economy” and sites like AirBNB, it is helpful to include your rules on sharing space, too.
#4: Include a Late Fee in Your Contract
This might feel cruel at times, but establishing a late fee and sticking too it can save you a ton of headaches, heart aches and back and forth calls with tenants. Define the fee in your lease and include it in your written policy. Sometimes when renters are reminded that they will be charged a fee for paying late, they will work harder to get rent paid in time.