To avoid a painful legal experience, follow a few simple rules to be a happy landlord.

To avoid a painful legal experience, follow a few simple rules to be a happy landlord.To be a successful landlord, you need to be hardworking, attentive and proactive. It’s a tall order, but it’s not too difficult when you follow the rules. It’s when you don’t follow the rules that things fall apart and you may find yourself with a legal battle on your hand.

So to be a happy landlord make sure you follow the following:

1 – Do your homework.

Screen your tenants thoroughly. I cannot emphasis this enough. The key to being a happy landlord is find the best possible tenants. They’re the ones who pay their rent on time, they look after the property and if you’re lucky they stay put too.  So make them fill-in their application in full and  follow-up on their references. By going through this step and then going through the rental agreement in fine detail, you have just saved yourself many future headaches.

2 – Show respect and be fair.

We all want it, we all expect it and your tenants are no different. Without them you have no business. Without you, they have no home. Make sure you treat them well.

3 – Put it in writing.

Everything – the rental agreement, changes to the agreement, changes to rent they pay. Whatever you expect from them, put it in writing and make sure you go over it with them and they have a copy.

4 – Keep them in the loop.

If you are planning on painting the house, if you are going away, if you think that there maybe an issue with something in the future. Let them know. Let them know so that can plan for it, and they can keep an eye on things.

5 – Do your job.

Make sure your property is safe, secure and a pleasant place to live. You don’t have to love it personally, but you do have to make sure that the people living in the property feel safe and secure. If it’s not, then you’re opening yourself up to problems.

6 – Maintanence

Keep on top of the repairs and maintenance. That cracked tile in the shower stall may not seem a big deal until after a few months or years when water has leaked through, rotting the flooring underneath. Then it’s a bigger and more expensive problem.

Treat the property as if you would like to live there. Keeping the property in good condition is essential for maintaining (and hopefully growing) the value of the property as well as minimising  repair expenses.

7 – Do you know the local laws?

Each state has different laws – if you are in Victoria, then make sure you check out Consumer Affairs Victoria as a place to start. If you start getting confused, make sure you have legal counsel so you get knowledgable answers.

8 – Be reachable.

Tenants need to be able to reach you whenever there is a problem. Make sure they know how to get in contact. If they know they can get in touch at a moments notice you’re likely find that they won’t bug you. When a new tenant moves in, there are always a few teething problems but they settle down quickly – especially if the property is in great condition and you did your job properly.

9 – Bring in the big guns –  if you have to

If things have deteriorated between you and your tenants and you just can’t come to any resolution, it’s time to bring in outside help. Have your legal counsel in your back pocket so you know that you won’t get raked over the coals.

If you follow numbers 1 – 8 then the chances of having to deal with number 9, is unlikely.

Do you agree? Is there something that you would add or take off the list? Let me know.

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