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Are you a difficult landlord? Here’s how to turn that around

By Emma Smith

Do you raise the rent just because? Or only arrange repairs after repeated requests? If you answered yes to either, you might be a difficult landlord – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With some insider knowledge and a good property manager, it’s possible to be a champion landlord, which will keep your tenants happy and your rental income steady.

Amy Sanderson, LJ Hooker’s head of property investment management, and Emily Sim, the head of property management at Ray White, share their tips for being a great landlord.

1. Clean up your property before listing it

Being a top-notch landlord begins before a tenant even moves in, according to Sanderson.

A good landlord would never let their tenants live in a home in this condition. Picture: Rafaela Biazi/Unsplash

“Before leasing your property, take a good look around and ask yourself, ‘would I live here?’ Whether it’s clean and safe are the first determining factors,” she says.

“You have to understand what you’re competing against: other comparable properties on the market. Your property needs to represent value for money to compete, and this comes down to how it is presented in the marketing and photography, and how it’s priced,” Sanderson says.

Sim says one of the main things tenants complain about is repairs not being done before move-in day. So, she advises getting on the front foot.

2. Use a property manager

Sanderson and Sim agree using an experienced property manager is crucial to investment property success.

Sanderson says a manager will secure a tenant and maintain them at arm’s length. Which “means you don’t have to deal with awkward conversations or situations”.

“A property manager has systems and processes to ensure nothing is forgotten, such as landlord insurance renewals, smoke alarm compliance, inspections to ensure the property is being maintained, market recommendations on lease renewals and rent reviews,” she adds.

“Tenants who have poor rental records and are in desperate need of a property often apply for privately-managed properties, too, as they know the owners won’t have the ability to undertake the same comprehensive reference checks as an owner with a property manager.

“Tenants opt for this approach, so landlords don’t discover their rent arrears or damage left at a previous property.”

Meanwhile, Sim says it’s important to check a potential property manager’s record before bringing them on board.

A property manager has systems and processes to ensure nothing is forgotten. Picture: Getty

3. Act quickly on repairs

Once a tenant is in, it’s up to the landlord to keep the property in a “safe and liveable condition, which includes addressing repair requests promptly”, Sanderson says.

“When questions are asked or requests are made, responding promptly and fairly is important in maintaining a strong relationship. Tenants want a home,” she adds.

Sim agrees, saying landlords should “act fast and maintain the property” to keep everyone happy.

Landlords are responsible for most major repairs. Picture: Getty

4. Re-consider rent increases

Think carefully before raising the rent, Sanderson advises.

“It’s tempting for a landlord to introduce a rent increase that is not in line with market value, [but this] will invariably attract complaints.”

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