PING! 5 NEW MESSAGES. All from your tenant.
You let out a long breath. Three months, and you’re already drowning. A broken pool pump, air-conditioning blowing hot air, endless questions, some late rent payments, and that (not so secret) cat…
You resist the urge to throw your phone across the room.
Sound familiar? We’ve heard so many landlords complain about the stress of managing their first rental property — but we’re here to help!
In this blog post, we’ll share our favourite property management strategies for rental success without stress – whether you have one, or multiple rental properties. You’ll also learn that a landlord’s management responsibilities are many.
Getting the optimal rent for your property
The first goal of a landlord is to get the best rent possible for the property (at the top end of market expectations).
Here are a few tips to help you. Consider:
- current rent market conditions and trends
- rent levels for similar investment properties in the area
- in-demand amenities/features that add value to your rental
- your target market and what they will pay for your rental
- offering desirable lease conditions.
Many landlords have trouble accessing the data needed to find the ‘sweet spot’ when setting a rental price for their property investment.
We recommend that landlords consult an experienced property manager, who can:
- access detailed market and property data and help you interpret it
- provide local industry knowledge and apply it to your rental
- identify peak demand periods in the market that you can take advantage of for your rental
- formulate strategies based on your circumstances.
At We Love Rentals, we’re a property management company who is expert in creating rental strategies that achieve great results — get in touch to find out how!
Real Estate 101: Communicating clearly with your tenants
Communication with your tenant is the cornerstone of a successful rental property experience, and a well-honed skill for any good property management professional. Clear lines of communication make managing tenants an easier task.
Some things landlords should keep in mind when managing rental properties…
KEEP TENANTS HAPPY
Balancing your rights and needs with those of your tenants is tricky, but it’s important to remember that in the end, the tenant is your customer and your rental is their home (it’s not just a house to them). You may have to deal with tenant complaints and concerns. To help you out, follow these tips…
Landlords should try their best to:
- be approachable and flexible about the property (without being a pushover!)
- practice active listening when tenants voice concerns
- respond to property requests and queries quickly.
Otherwise your tenants may regret renting with you. During our many years in the real estate industry, we’ve found good tenants appreciate these qualities the most as they want to feel at home in your rental, and really notice when their landlord or real estate agent doesn’t meet these standards.
NIP TENANT PROBLEMS IN THE BUD
Sometimes your tenant may cause problems, but it’s vital to communicate with them in a timely manner and effectively before things escalate.
First, establish clear ground rules. Your tenant needs to understand that they must comply with the lease agreement, pay a security deposit (rental bond), pay rent on time and care for the property.
If problems arise, contact your tenant immediately in writing. If rent is late, set a deadline for payment. If they still don’t pay rent, serve a rental breach notice at once. Problems with rent collection are very common with self-managed rental properties, and one of the key reasons you should consider a trusted Perth property management company who will remove this worry from your life. We have access to specialist property management software and tenant databases.
Document any tenant damage to the property with photographs/in writing after scheduled inspections. Let your tenant know the repair costs. You may sometimes have to serve a rental breach notice.
When you’re managing your own investment property, it’s important to act fast. A thorough tenant screening process is imperative. A bad tenant can cost you thousands of dollars and countless hours of heartache. This is why it’s a smarter move to hire a good property manager who will take care of tenant evictions, and work to secure high quality tenants.
MAINTAIN A PROFESSIONAL DISTANCE
Keeping things professional with your tenants helps you be objective and assertive about your property.
Landlords should remember to:
- Be tactful when pointing out tenant breaches of the lease agreement to minimise defensiveness.
- Use data and market research to justify raising rent.
- Be fair and reasonable. Tenants will often return the favour!
- Maintain boundaries. This means saying no sometimes…
If you follow these tips, you’ll give your rental properties the best chance for success!
WE LOVE RENTALS TIP: Communicating with tenants is easier with a property manager
If you’re friendly with tenants, trying to be an assertive landlord can feel like being the bad guy (especially when it comes to late rental payments).
There’s no substitute for an experienced property manager, who can maintain professional boundaries while keeping tenants happy at your rental.
At We Love Rentals, our property managers are rental-only specialists — they’ve got even more experience at dealing with the intricacies of tenant relationships and communication. We can help. We’re not a real estate agent. We are in the property management business exclusively — get in touch today to book a free rental property appraisal!
Following tenancy law to the letter!
Property management is governed by legislation, including the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Landlords must manage and abide by a number of legal responsibilities.
RESPECTING TENANT PRIVACY TIPS
Tenants have a legal right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property, as well as “reasonable peace, comfort and privacy”. The law dictates when you can enter the property, and how much notice you must give to your tenant.
Below we’ve set out a handy guide to landlord entry of a rental property according to the Residential Tenancies Act. Bookmark this page so you can call back to it for help, anytime! (Source: Tenancy WA.)
When can a landlord enter the premises?
At any time.
For routine inspections at the property
At a reasonable time with at least 7 days notice.
For maintenance and repairs at the property
72 hours after giving written notice.
To collect rent for the property
At any reasonable time if agreed in advance in writing.
If you reasonably suspect the tenant has abandoned the property
24 hours after serving a Form 12 — Notice to tenant of abandonment of premises.
Showing the property to prospective tenants
Only in the last 21 days of the lease:
Showing the property to prospective buyers
This may happen:
Landlord FAQ: What does “reasonable” mean in tenancy law?
Sometimes the RTA defines what reasonable means, and other times it’s a matter of negotiation with your tenant.
Under the RTA, a “reasonable time” for entry to the property is:
a) between 8.00am and 6.00pm on a weekday
b) between 9.00am and 5.00pm on a Saturday
c) any other time agreed to by the tenant.
Terms like “reasonable number of occasions” and “reasonable written notice” are not defined. In these cases negotiate with tenants, or consult a knowledgeable property manager. A property management professional will have a bank of experience working within these guidelines, and will be able to help you navigate common tenant expectations.
RENT INCREASES TO SUIT YOUR LEASE
The legal requirements around rent increases vary depending on the type of lease and lease terms for the property.
Private landlords often struggle to navigate rent increases and communicate them to the tenant correctly — make sure you check the Residential Tenancies Act or ask for help from an experienced property manager.
SERVING BREACH NOTICES
At some point during your journey as a landlord, you may need to serve a breach notice.
Serving breach notices is complex — if not done correctly, they become invalid. Breach notices have different procedures depending on their purpose.
Landlords must take precise care that they are served:
- allowing the correct notice period
- in the correct order
- by one of the methods defined in the Residential Tenancies Act.
Methods for serving breach notices are strict. For example, breach notices cannot be left in a letterbox by the landlord. For postal delivery, landlords must follow exact time frames. Emailing breach notices to your tenant is possible if agreed to by the landlord and tenant in the lease for the property.
We might sound like a broken record, but having a property manager’s advice can be the difference between landlord success and failure when serving breach notices, and managing other rental tasks, too.
Implement these strategies for managing a rental property, and see your yields increase and your stress-levels decrease.
Want to supercharge your rental properties results? We Love Rentals can help.
Managing a rental property is a balancing act. We understand the appeal of managing your own rental property. However, most self-managing landlords will have work, family and other responsibilities to take care of, which is when management tasks can become overwhelming. Not to mention the work that goes into managing tenants themselves!
At We Love Rentals, our property managers only manage a maximum of 80 properties each — so they can take care of each one like it’s their own. We’re experts at upholding landlord interests, keeping tenants happy, and balancing all the tasks associated with managing your property.
We can help take your property strategy to the next level. Give us a call on (08) 6254 6300 to find out more about our management services!