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October 16 2015

How to Be a Good Landlord

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Being a good landlord comes with both stress and responsibility, both of which take a well-meaning property owner off of their game. The business, at times, can be tough as it can feel like you only deal with the problems of tenants who call to complain constantly, tenants who don't pay their rent, and what can seem like endless, high dollar property repairs.  

Often, as a landlord, it's easy to start viewing tenants as dollar signs, instead of most importantly building a long lasting landlord/tenant relationship founded on mutual respect and customer service. Creating a good relationship with your tenants and always striving to be a better landlord will make working with your tenant on fixing repairs and showing the property to prospective new tenants at the end of a lease go more positively. 

Here are a few suggestions on how to be a better landlord:

1. Use a clear and detailed Tenancy Agreement

The more clear and detailed your Tenancy Agreement is and the more carefully you explain it to your tenant, the less likelihood there will be for either misunderstandings or friction between you and your tenant.

2. Know and respect both the Landlord's and Tenant's Rights

Violating a tenant's rights will, at the very least, lead to an unhappy tenant and impact your reputation as a Landlord and, at worst, land you in a dispute at the relevant Residential Tenancy Branch. Better to save dispute arbitration for when you need to protect your own rights as a Landlord.

3. Make those Repairs

When a tenant requests repairs, respond to the request in as timely a manner as possible. Arrange to inspect the requested repair and once inspected, schedule the repair immediately if the repair is required.

4. Maintain Open Communication

While you do not want your tenant calling you at all hours of the day, you are in the customer service business and do not want to cut yourself off from your tenant. Tenants feel more at ease when they know how to get in touch with their landlord. Provide your new tenant with your contact details and make it easy for all of your tenants to reach you, at their convenience and in an organized and unobtrusive manner (note: an online based Maintenance Request system helps both the Tenant and the Landlord).

5. Respect your Tenants' Privacy while Protecting Your Property

While tenants know landlords have the right to inspect their property, ensure you provide the notice required by law and conduct the inspections at reasonable times for your tenant. Explain to your tenants why you conduct the inspections and the vast majority of your tenants will come to appreciate the inspections. Many tenants don't know that the landlord typically inspects to check for many things including, but not limited to, the tenant's care of the property, repairs that the landlord needs to perform for the tenant, functionality of fire safety systems and issues or risks that may put not only put the tenant but all tenants in the community at risk.

6. Listen to the Tenant's Concerns

Most landlord deal with the occasional overly concerned tenant, but most tenants won't contact the landlord until they feel they have to. When you are contacted by your tenant, listen to their concerns and do the best you can to, within reason, address them in a timely manner. While you may not agree to deal with every repair request or resolve every dispute between tenants, you can take every request seriously and do your best to address it. After all, you are in the customer service business.

7. Exercise Compassion

Occasionally, tenants will have a problem. Whatever the problem, try to be compassionate and respectful when dealing with your tenants. If you are respectful and compassionate towards your tenants, they will remember the kindness either when for reasons beyond your control you are unable to meet their expectations or at tenancy agreement renewal time.

In summary, it is not only your job to be a good landlord but being a good landlord is good business and, ultimately, will help to maximize and protect the profitability and value of your business.