If you own an investment property or are planning to buy one, you may think that finding the right tenant is all you need to be concerned about. While that is extremely important, keeping them is equally critical. After all, the longer you keep a tenant happy in your property, the less the chances of vacancy periods meaning a steady income for you. So how do you keep a good tenant in your property?
Here are 4 tips to establish and maintain a positive relationship with your tenant.
1. Understand the laws around renting in WA
While most landlords engage a property manager to handle the legalities, every rental property owner should have a basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities and those of the tenant.
Renting in WA is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989 which cover issues like security bonds, rates and taxes, damages and repairs, and notice periods.
More information about the relevant laws and regulations can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.
2. Safety first
Every tenant has a fundamental right to live in a home that is safe and in which everything is in working order. There are 3 main safety issues to be aware of before a tenant moves in: blinds and curtains (the cords can be a safety hazard and need to be checked); pool and spa fences must be compliant; and RCDs and smoke alarms must be fitted.
3. Be aware of ongoing costs
To reap the rewards of your investment later and keep a good paying tenant happy, you should expect to invest some money into the property to keep it well maintained. As is the case with a home, things can break down and need repair or replacement. The sooner you attend to reasonable repair requests by the tenant, the better your relationship with them will be. Other than repairs and maintenance, other costs to factor into the equation include insurance, property taxes, property management fees and strata fees and/or rates. Some costs are tax deductible, so get advice from your accountant before making a claim at tax time.
4. Enlist the services of a professional property manager
A good property manager will take the stress and time out of property management for you and manage the risk. Acting as a liaison between you and your tenant, a property manager can also assist you by:
- Evaluating the market to ensure you earn the rent you deserve.
- Marketing the property to attract the right tenant.
- Vetting all applicants and putting forward the best applicants for your final selection.
- Helping you understand your rights and responsibilities and stay on top of them.
- Managing arrears if necessary.
- Conducting regular inspections and organising repairs and maintenance.