1. Use the Move-in Check List. That makes sure you do everything you are supposed to do.
2. Use a Condition of Premises Report. Go through the property room by room and note any problems.
3. Make clear what is expected of the tenant up front. Go over the rental agreement, the security deposit agreement, all rules and regulations, make sure they understand that the rent is due on time and that there is a late fee, assure them that you care about the condition of the property.
4. Do regular inspections of the interior and exterior of the property (such as every three months). That lets the tenants know you are paying attention to the property and care about it.
5. Send any and all notices on time. That tells them that you handle your rental property in a businesslike manner.
6. Do what you say you will do. Broken promises on your part encourages laxness on theirs. Some people also want to “get even” with someone who promised something but didn’t deliver.
7. Document everything. Then there is no question about what happened when. If there is a misunderstanding you have a written record. It is hard to remember precise details three months later.
8. Insist on exact and complete adherence to the rental agreement. That tells them that you believe and agreement is an agreement, not just an exercise.
9. Make it clear that they can talk to you. Often tenants have problems that can easily be solved, but are afraid to talk to the landlord about them. And sometimes these problems seem overwhelming to them, but seem to be no problem at all to you. If they know they can call you and that you will try to help them through it, you may prevent a larger problem later.
10. Let them know that you want them as tenants. It is possible that no one has ever told them that. It makes people feel good to know that someone actually wants them, especially people who have had trouble with previous landlords. That also makes them more willing to bring their problems to you.
11. Listen to them. Get the full story of what they are trying to tell you before you make a decision or say anything. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. That avoids misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions.
12. Never give the slightest impression of unethical dealings. If they believe you are trying to cheat them, they are likely to turn around and do the same thing to you.
13. Maintain the exterior, if it is a common area, so that the landscape is always in prime condition. Remove any graffiti as soon as it appears. Careful maintenance instills pride in the property and lets your tenants know that you care.
14. Always act as if any problem they call you with can be worked out, even if you know that you aren’t going to give an inch. Working it out could be them finding a way to do what they are supposed to do.
15. Make them come up with a solution to the problem, and you okay it. Don’t solve their problems for them, just encourage them to fix it themselves. They know their situation and what will work for them, you don’t.