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9 Questions Every Landlord Should Be Able to Answer

9 Questions Every Landlord Should Be Able to Answer
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Property investment is one of the most effective ways to earn a living, especially if you enjoy home improvement and development. Whether you prefer the creative side or business aspects of the job, it is important to be able to answer any questions that future tenants may have. If you’re new to the rental property business, now is the perfect time to brush up on your skills and get prepared with your answers. As a landlord, you will always be looking for ways to boost your rental income, but it is important to create a safe environment for your tenants with clear rules from the outset. Of course, most of these rules will be laid out in their legal contract, but you should be able to answer their questions quickly and clearly so that there are no discrepancies. 

 

  1. Are My Bills Included?

 

Some landlords prefer to take an “all in” approach to bills and utilities. Not only does this create less confusion for the tenants, but it also allows you to stay on top of their electric and gas usage. When bills are included in the rent, it can seem much more appealing to prospective tenants as they have less to think about when they move in. Make sure you create boundaries with regards to bills and utilities. There will be water, gas, electricity, internet and more to consider, so will you be footing the bill for these things or your tenants? Think carefully about which option would suit you and your future tenants the most.

 

  1. Am I Allowed Pets?

 

This is the question on everybody’s lips when viewing a property! As a landlord it can be very easy to say “no” to pets right from the outset; there are less risks involved and the furniture is much less likely to be damaged. Whether you agree in pet rental or not it’s important to consider what’s important to your target demographic. If you’re leasing student apartments, then a no pet rule would probably be fine. However, if you’re in the leasing business for large family properties, you may be steering away potential clients due to stringent pet rules. All in all, this is your decision to make, but it should be aligned with the type of person you’re trying to rent to.

 

  1. Which Parts of the Property Do I Need to Maintain?

 

Maintaining outdoor spaces is one of the most frequently asked questions, and it’s up to you as the landlord how you want to approach it. All in all, you should expect any outside areas to be maintained to a certain degree, but you can’t expect your tenants to spend large amounts of money on gardening equipment and maintenance. Lay it all out in their contracts and then there can be no discrepancies. 

 

  1. What Are the Terms of the Security Deposit?

 

When a tenant places down a large security deposit, they’ll definitely be keen to get it back one day. You have to account for general wear and tear of the property without deducting these costs from their security deposit. You should make it clear that any damage to furniture, carpets, walls and exterior parts of the property need to be paid for from their security deposit.

 

  1. Is There Parking Available?

 

Car parking spaces are often the highlight of many properties, especially if parking in certain areas is tricky or expensive. You should make it clear if driveways are included in their tenancy or if their area requires a parking permit. Transparency is key when it comes to explaining the rules for parking!

 

  1. How Long Is the Lease Agreement?

 

If you are looking for long-term, loyal tenants that can be relied upon, then you need to talk to them before you offer them a contract. Lease agreements can be anything from a monthly basis, to a two-yearly basis depending on the type of property. For your own peace of mind a 6-month or annual lease agreement is probably the best option, but this is often down to personal preference.

 

  1. How Often Will My Rent Increase?

 

Be careful of making false promises when it comes to raising rent costs for your tenants. Each year will be completely different and you will need to make these choices as and when they arise. It is important to follow general guidance and adjust your rent costs to accommodate the current market. Raising the rent every single year might not be necessary, but a slight increase every now and again can certainly be expected.

 

  1. When Is Rent Due and Is There a Grace Period?

You should make it very clear to your tenants what the rules are regarding rent payments and late fees. It is up to each private landlord to decide what is best for them, but there needs to be boundaries and rules in place. Usually a one-week grace period for rent is more than adequate for tenants, but it depends on the type of property that you’re renting.

 

  1. Will You, As The Landlord, Ever Visit the Property?

 

Regular landlord visits are quite common and will often be outlined in the tenants contract. However, it is paramount that you abide by the guidelines you lay out in the terms and conditions. Usually, as a sign of courtesy a landlord should give between 24-48 hours notice before they visit the property for an inspection. A quarterly inspection of the property is usually more than enough to make sure everything is being maintained to the standard you expect it to be.

 

Hopefully, you should be able to answer the ten questions above if they are asked from any of your future tenants. Investing in rental property is a fun and fulfilling job, but you should always have the legal aspects covered too. Be sure to consult a lawyer if you have any questions about your contract, and hopefully you and your future tenants can enjoy an excellent, long-term working relationship together.

 

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