House rules: talking tenants

Author: ME

Published at: 8/26/2016 10:37:19 AM


House Rules Talking Tenants


Follow our five rules to find, keep and manage your tenants with confidence.


As an investor, you probably spent a fair bit of time researching the market to find the ideal rental property. That makes sense. Choosing the right property is a critical step that will help to underpin healthy long term returns. However it is equally important to develop plans that will help you attract and retain quality tenants. Not only will they be your source of rental income, securing a good tenant can reduce vacancy rates and re-letting cost and help to keep maintenance and repair bills to a minimum.


1.    Think carefully about do-it-yourself property management


Landlords can choose to self-manage a rental property; hire a property manager to handle some aspects such as organising a new letting; or hand over virtually every aspect of management to a professional. The greater the involvement of a professional, the more you will pay in ongoing management fees however taking a do-it-yourself approach can be a case of false economy.


A good property manager will know what sort of rent your property can command to ensure you are earning market returns. New tenants will be thoroughly screened and references checked to help you attract reliable tenants with a good track record. And a reputable property manager will also have a list of reputable tradespeople, who can be called on to make emergency repairs so that the tenant is happy and your property is maintained in tip top shape.


Sure you can do all this yourself but it pays to weigh up whether the time and hassle involved in being a hands-on landlord is worth the savings on management fees.


2.    Keep the property in tip top condition


Keepin your rental property in great shape isn’t just critical to attracting and retaining good tenants. It also allows you to maximise the property’s gross rent return, and helps to underpin long term capital growth. Having a regular maintenance plan in place will also prevent minor repairs blowing out to a major expense.


Importantly, act on any maintenance issues raised by the tenant. Industry research[1] shows that in some states, up to 47% of tenants have found landlords respond to repair and maintenance requests sometimes; while 8% say as many as 47% of tenants one in two. Neglecting maintenance matters can result in higher tenant turnover.


3.    Know what tenants want


In a competitive rental market, it pays to think about what tenants really want from a property, and this can vary according to where your rental property is located. In an inner city suburb for instance, tenants will often pay a bit more in rent for off-street parking. In a large suburban family home, secure fencing may be a priority. 


Bear in mind what matters to the tenant should matter to you as a landlord. If you are considering ways to add value to the place, adding a carport to a house without a garage can improve the rent returns and tenant appeal of the place.


4.    Have conversations…but have insurance too


Ensure your property manager or tenant is aware of your tolerance limits on issues like pets, and adjustments to the interior décor or garden. Having open conversations about these touch points at the start of a lease can prevent hassles further down the track.


Even with the most thorough checks, you could still end up with a troublesome tenant. Having landlord insurance in place provides peace of mind that you are covered against loss of rent, or malicious damage to the property depending on the nature of your cover.


5.    Check out the property yourself


Let’s face it, no one cares more about your rental property than you. Make the effort to view the property in person at least once every six months – annually at a minimum. That way, if you see something you’re not happy about, the problem can be nipped in the bud.


In fact, just knowing the owner of a property will check out the place in person out every few months can be enough to motivate tenants to take extra care of your investment.

[1] Choice: Rental rights you didn’t know you had