7 Safety Tips for Landlords
June 10, 2013
By Tracey March
Although most of us have heard news stories involving crimes against real estate agents–say, a mugging or attack at an open house–there hasn’t been too much media attention on crimes against landlords. Yet, landlord-tenant violence appears in newspaper headlines with some frequency. Just last week a tenant was arrested for pepper spraying his landlord, who was doing maintenance nearby.
To bring some attention to the topic, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most useful safety tips for landlords:
- Implement and follow a fair and thorough screening process, which will help weed out troublemakers. Don’t make any exceptions.
- Communicate with your tenants and avoid giving them unpleasant surprises.
- Use a PO box, drop box, or electronic deposit to receive rent checks; don’t make your home address known.
- Meet with potential renters in a public place before showing them your rental home. Have them fill out a contact/interest form and take photos of two forms of their identification using your smart phone.
- Learn how you can de-escalate a conflict. You will inevitably be dealing with an irate tenant at some point. Skills to help you listen, stay calm, communicate, and take a break will help you.
- When showing a rental, always have the potential renter go through doors first. (“After you.”) Always stay near an exit.
- Show rentals during the day–not when it’s dark out.
Sometimes, headlines aren’t about crimes against landlords, they’re about crimes by landlords. Whether they think their actions are justified or not, some landlords are better suited for other work. Customer service is a huge part of the property management and landlord business; having good customer service skills so you don’t lose your cool is critical. If your strengths lie in other areas, consider having a property manager help you out.
If you have any other tips, we’d love to see your suggestions in the comments–and maybe we’ll use them in a follow up article.