Letting your property is a popular way to earn passive income these days. Many people have a spare room to start with; others find it sensible to buy a house and use the rent to subsidize the cost. Getting an EICR and the rest of your paperwork in order is straightforward enough.
However, any experienced landlord will tell you that finding and retaining good tenants is a significant challenge. Disorderly tenants are often just not worth the hassle. On the other hand, each month your property lies vacant is a missed opportunity to earn and offset upkeep costs.
Whether you rely on an agent or run your own advertisements to find reliable tenants, once you’ve got them, managing the relationship is essential to retention. Here’s how you can improve on that front:
Demonstrate professional service
Being a landlord lets you earn passive income, but passive doesn’t equate to lazy. This isn’t a simple matter of showing up to collect rent each month. Learn the value of professional service from customer relations experts in other industries; one bad relationship with a tenant can be challenging to repair and potentially hurt your reputation.
You’re responsible for maintenance and property standards, so if a tenant raises a complaint, it’s your job to address the problem quickly. Better yet, don’t limit yourself to a purely reactive management approach. Regular inspections should provide an opportunity to spot potential issues and take care of them ahead of time.
Work on communications
Interpersonal and communications skills are often considered a subset of excellent customer service but one that’s so vital it deserves particular emphasis. As a landlord, you probably want to minimize hands-on management so that less effort is required and the income can be more passive. But bear in mind that tenants also want the same thing. No one wants to be pestered continuously by their landlord.
Ideally, both parties can get what they want with very little interaction, and that means your communication has to be spot on. In conversation, make sure you’re listening actively. When sending messages and emails, keep your wording clear and focused. This will help to avoid confusion and repeated back-and-forth exchanges. You can address all their issues, and they will understand and deliver on all your expectations.
Landlord-tenant interactions at their best are concise, straightforward, and transactional. A good tenant will uphold their end of the bargain. But sometimes, as a landlord, you can improve matters by being flexible. You don’t have to get friendly or chatty with tenants, but over time you can discern things about their character and build trust.
When you know you’re dealing with reliable people, don’t be afraid to loosen the rules. If a tenant has a special request that doesn’t impact the business or other people, be accommodating. It will help to grow the relationship and make them feel more comfortable about living on your property and dealing with you regularly.
There’s no such thing as purely passive income and earning money in your sleep. Letting your property still requires some active management. Treat it like a business; the more you invest, the better your rewards. You don’t have to be so hands-on that it feels like a full-time job. Just go the extra mile, and you’ll be able to retain your best tenants for a longer time.