By Anna Bartolotta
As more rental properties appear across Michigan it is more important than ever to keep the tenants in your rental properties happy, comfortable and, most importantly, in place. Your favorite tenants are probably the ones who care for your property and pay their rent on time and possibly may just have the means to purchase and move away from your investment. If these tenants are living up to their responsibilities with you and making you happy, you have a responsibility to them as well, for happiness. Turnover is generally the largest expense you will experience in your rental year; the idea is to keep that expense to a minimum, possibly at zero.
How do you respond to your tenants when they call you? What amenities are included in your monthly rent? How long does it take you, the landlord, to repair an issue or problem? Are there outside factors that are affecting either you or your tenant’s happiness?
Let’s keep things fair here; being a good landlord is almost as hard as being a good tenant.
At times, it’s difficult for a tenant to understand that just because the tenant pays the landlord monthly, the landlord does not work for the tenant. A lease is an agreement between two parties and one party should not have anything on the other. Expectations for the tenant and/or landlord should be stated at the beginning of the relationship and without surprises thrown in monthly throughout the term of the lease. A landlord is not your personal handyman to adjust every small thing you aren’t happy within the home. Being a good tenant is not only paying your rent at the agreed-upon time but it also means knowing what the rental owner is and is not responsible for. This is your residence, this is where you reside, the landlord wants you to stay. Make it easy for them to want you there, just as much as it is the landlord’s job to make you want to stay in the house.
This is a business relationship, treat it as such; as you would any relationship that you would like to keep and continue. I would never suggest either side acting like a pushover; I am simply speaking about common courtesy for all involved.
Now, if your current tenant is determined to break the lease to buy a home you must remain calm because in all simple terms, you have an agreement. You have an obligation and so does your tenant to fulfill obligations clearly written in the lease. A start date and an end date for the lease is a powerful piece of the puzzle. When I am faced with this issue my normal response is, ‘OK. You do know you are responsible for the entire term of the lease, correct? Can I begin to start showing your unit tomorrow? If I can find someone suitable to rent the address then I can release you of your obligation.’
The key words here are ‘suitable’ and ‘release.’ My only obligation would be to market the unit again and attempt to find a new qualified tenant. The current tenant’s only obligation would be to continue to pay their lease until a new tenant is found. It is in the best interest of both parties to get that unit filled ASAP. When your tenant does move it is unlikely that they would want to be paying a mortgage and a rental payment and rental payments to you will most likely disappear, as did they.
TAGLINE Anna Bartolotta is owner of Grosse Pointe Apartments and Property Management and can be reached via email: [email protected]
By Anna Bartolotta