How to Be a Great Landlord

I have been renting out our condo for almost a year now on short term leases, with great success. I feel like there are a few things that I do that make my job much easier and make my tenants very happy as well. There is nothing like word-of-mouth to bring in the next tenant, and I genuinely care about give good “customer service” as a landlord. Here are some things that I do that I think have been part of my success:

Getting the Place Rented Out

  • Don’t just rent to the first person who contacts you. You don’t have to honor first-come, first-served, pick the tenant who you think you will like working with since you might end up seeing them a lot.
  • Use a standard contract for your state on Google Docs to collaborate with your tenant on the lease agreement. Each tenant will add more new stipulations, but you don’t have to agree to them – just point out it is a standard contract and that you aren’t interested in hangling over legalese.
  • Create a binder with all the information you went over in the walk through, down to the most detailed thing. Include the homeowner’s association rules, any contact info, and a list of all amenities and how to they can take advantage of them. Include the building’s emergency plan. Show this to all potential tenants.
  • If you have furniture in your place and you’re moving out, consider renting furnished. Furnished places rent fast, and odds are good that your current furniture will not look as good in your new place.

Signing the Lease

  • Opt for people who are willing to pay both first and last month’s rent up front, you know they can afford rent if they can part with this much money at one time.
  • Make the security deposit fully refundable. People always feel like deposits are a scam. If you want to make more money build it into the rent price, not the deposit.

Move In Day

  • Meet your tenant in person and do another walk through, especially if it has been more than a week since they signed the lease and took the tour.
  • Introduce your tenant to the concierge and any other staff and help them get set up with any orientation they might need, and arrange for the freight elevator on their behalf.
  • Leave the binder, a bottle of wine, extra keys and a handwritten note thanking them for being your tenant in the rental unit the night before they move in.
  • One week later send them $50 in fresh groceries using a delivery service like or Amazon Fresh.

Maintaining the Relationship

  • Always respond to their calls, messages, and emails within 4 hours and never make them wait 24 hours for you to take care of the problem.
  • Stop worrying about your place, it will be fine and if it isn’t homeowner’s insurance and will covere the damage and their deposit will cover your deductible.
  • Leave them in peace and quiet, to enjoy the space.

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