Yes, the tenancy agreement sets out each party's legal and contractual obligations, but just getting the tenant to sign the document and then forgetting they are in the rental is a potential recipe for disaster.
Two-way communication ensures all parties know what is expected of them and what is happening at the property (e.g. reporting issues, advising of trades coming, inspections, etc.). “I didn’t know” and “You never said” are opening gambits no one wants to play.
Be available and be responsive. You do not have to cater to your tenant’s every whim, but responding to calls and being open and honest will help build trust.
Have multiple channels for communication – emails, phone calls, face-to-face, video chat and specialist software apps (for things like paying rent or making repair requests). But put everything important in writing, things like late payments, complaints, maintenance requests and actions tenants have agreed to undertake.
Your rental property is someone else’s home. They may want to do a few things about the place to make it feel more like home. Keep your expectations in check and be open to discussion and negotiation. If your tenant has done the wrong thing (something minor, like being a bit noisy or being late once or twice with the rent), consider giving them a second chance. We all make mistakes, so forgive and educate them. It could save you the hassle of finding new tenants!
You need to expect the home to be lived in, which means there will be wear and tear. It also means that accidents might happen. Insurance note: a policy that offers cover for all types of damage – accidental, intentional and malicious – is a wise investment.
Undertake regular inspections as this gives you a chance to check that the tenant is looking after the property and gives them a chance to discuss any issues. It also allows you to be a bit proactive and tends to things you spot are amiss or would make the property a better home.
Respect their relationship with the property
The property might be your investment, but it is your tenant’s home. That is an emotional relationship that needs to be sensitively handled.
Be sure to respect your tenant’s right to peaceful enjoyment of their home. Avoid showing up unannounced, treating tenants like employees or overstepping boundaries when it comes to privacy.
If you focus on tenant safety and comfort, you’ll be seen as managing your responsibilities well.
Mutual respect is essential. Try to put yourself in your tenant’s shoes. Listen to them. Suppose you establish a solid and respectful relationship. In that case, tenants are more likely to let you know if they are having problems early on (e.g. financial stress or relationship issues that could eventually impact the tenancy), so you can work together to find a solution.
Think about some of the “little things” you can do to show that your tenant is not just a rent payment. Remember their children's names, let them keep a pet or send a card on their birthday. Please get to know them a bit (without being intrusive or invading their privacy) and let them get to know you. Aim to be friendly, but not become their best friend – the landlord/agent–tenant relationship is essentially a business arrangement, and things should be kept professional.
Be sure to consider your tenant’s needs, especially if something is happening at the rental that affects them, like you are putting the property on the market or raising the rent.
A bit of empathy can go a long way. Unemployment, relationship breakdowns, ill health and death can strain your tenants and impact their tenancy. While extending support to tenants is not always economically viable, an arrangement being struck could help you keep an otherwise amazing tenant, and they can keep a familiar roof over their heads.
Attend to maintenance issues
A major source of grief between landlords and tenants? The tenant’s requests for repairs and maintenance are not acknowledged or promptly addressed. Of course, there are repair and maintenance issues that must be attended to immediately (urgent and emergency repairs) and not doing so can be a breach of tenancy laws. But it is often other issues that tenants want to be attended to promptly, particularly things that affect their enjoyment of the home. Yes, it may be an additional expense you could do without but remember this is your tenant’s home. Would you be happy to put up with whatever they are concerned about not being fixed at your home?
It is also important to give your tenants an update on maintenance requests. Let them know you have received it and what you are doing about it, and when they can reasonably expect it to be fixed.
Once the repair is made, follow up with the tenant to ensure all is well.
Insurance note: Delaying repairs or maintenance can open the landlord to a legal liability claim if a tenant or their guest is injured.
In a nutshell: if you take care of your tenants, they will take care of your property. And on the off-chance, they do not, ensure you have a specialist landlord insurance policy in place!
Source. EBM Insurance