“Just one small tenant problem avoided can be priceless!”
1. Don’t negotiate your rental price or terms before meeting and screening the prospective tenant.
It’s something we’ve all done at one time or another and have lived to regret it. In the vast majority of instances, the tenant who starts negotiating on your rental before even seeing it, is very rarely qualified financially to rent from you.
Often, landlords may allow the tenant prospect to negotiate during the viewing of the rental. The tenant may criticize the property and point out improvements he or she wants done if they were to take the rental.
Landlords sometimes give away too much and make promises in the heat of the moment because they are afraid of losing what seems like a great tenant, only to learn after the screening that the tenant wasn’t so great after all and regret some of those promises.
2. Never promise the rental to anyone without a deposit and an approved screened rental application.
Sounds crazy, right? It happens all the time! That brings me to number 3…
3. Don’t rent to friends or relatives.
Those of you who have done this know what I’m talking about. How are you supposed to handle business when you can’t have a business relationship. A landlord mentor of mine, Nick Koon used to say when asked by a friend who wanted to rent from him,
“Do you want to continue to be my friend or do you want to be my tenant?”
His point was that you cannot have both if you are going to handle your rentals as a business.
4. Never allow a tenant to call your bluff.
It is important for your rent to be paid on time and stay on top of your late paying tenants with late notices and enforce late fees. I am amazed at how many landlords skip the late notice and serve a Pay Rent or Quit Notice. These are no-nonsense landlords, right? WRONG! They think they are, right up until the Pay or Quit Notice period expires and the tenant doesn’t pay. Then they get really mad and serve ANOTHER Pay Rent or Quit Notice with another 3 or 5 days to cure depending on the state.
Don’t serve a Pay Rent or Quit unless you really mean to back up your threat of eviction at the end of that cure period. If you don’t follow through, the tenants will laugh at you and your bluff will have been called!