How to Establish Your Authority as a Landlord
Being a landlord can be tough setting your authority as a landlord is key. From worrying if you’re setting the right rent, to attracting and leasing to the right tenants (they seem great, but are they?), to dealing with issues of damaged property, being a landlord can feel like a rollercoaster at times.
While landlords can’t always know what to expect, and certainly can’t control each situation, there’s one thing that often goes overlooked by landlords that make the job much easier, and that’s keeping your heart out of it.
If you’ve never considered what impact your heart has on your business, now is an excellent time to take inventory. Did you rent to a tenant that didn’t seem right on paper, but you felt you wanted to help? Is that working out for you, or is rent consistently late? Does your tenant always have some story about why their rent is late, so you continue to waive the late fee? Did your tenants damage the unit beyond usual wear and tear, and you still returned their security deposit in full? If any of these questions describe your current business, it’s time to make a change.
It’s not too late to establish your authority as a landlord and run your business the right way.
Follow the Lease to the Letter
The first and most important way to gain and maintain your authority as the landlord is to have a strong lease and follow it exactly. Writing a comprehensive, strong lease can be overwhelming. We have that covered for you.
A good lease means having policies for everything. The rent: when is it due? What is considered late? What is the late fee? The utilities: who is responsible for them? How is payment remitted? The property maintenance: can a tenant paint the walls? What’s the fine associated if they do, despite being forbidden to do so? Must the tenant remove the snow and mow the lawn? And what happens if they don’t?
Good leases are exacting in their detail. There is no gray area in a strong lease. The gray area comes when a landlord doesn’t enforce the agreed-upon terms of the lease. Sometimes this is easier said than done. It’s easy to feel bad for a tenant! But you must enforce your lease’s terms, or risk losing your tenant’s respect and, worse yet, find yourself dealing with ever-increasing problems.
Treat Your Property as a Business
Following a detailed lease and following through on its policies is easier when you think of your landlord business as just that –– a business. It’s not a charity; it’s not a hobby. It is a business, and its goal is to turn a profit.
There are countless reasons rent might be late –– some legitimate, others fabricated. However, you must collect the rent and enforce the late fees associated with it. You must keep your heart out of it because if you don’t, you’ll likely find your tenant taking advantage of you time and again.
Think about it: would your boss allow you to turn in your assignments late? No. Would you be allowed to skate, month after month, with excuses as to why your performance was subpar? Again, no. That’s because your boss is treating work as a business. There are expectations from each member, and it is designed to turn a profit. So that’s what you as the landlord must do, too.
While it may make you cringe, your lease terms are non-negotiable. The sooner you come to realize that, the easier this will become. Your tenants will respect you and know what is expected of them. They will be more likely to meet those expectations since they are aware of the consequences. Just like that, you’ll find yourself creating a stable, working relationship with your tenants and earning their respect while operating a more profitable business.
In this and everything as a landlord –– be kind, but firm.