Important Landlord Responsibilities and Characteristics

By Christine Ascher on September 24, 2018

Being a landlord is a huge responsibility. Since where someone lives can have a major impact on their life as a whole, being a dutiful landlord is essential—and being a good landlord takes a lot more than just leasing out apartments. You’ll be responsible for the well-being of your building and its residents, and will also have a larger responsibility to the community as a whole. For this reason, it’s important to know what is going to be expected of you before taking on the role of a landlord. If you’re considering becoming one, check out the following list of the responsibilities that you should expect and characteristics that you should hone in order to shine as a landlord.

Apartment, building, windows, balconies

Image via https://pixabay.com

Responsibilities:

Take an Interest in Your Residents

While as a landlord it is important to fill up the apartments in your building, a good landlord sees their residents as more than just people to occupy rooms and pay rent. Rather than becoming overly focused on the practical aspects of the job, make sure that you take the time to show an interest in your residents as well. Not only can you build some great relationships with your residents by chatting with them and showing them that you care, but you’ll also encourage your current residents to renew their leases and recommend the building to their friends. Residents will appreciate that you actually seem to care about them, as this will give them an added reassurance that when issues arise, you’ll do your best to solve them. In addition, getting to know your residents will make the building a friendlier and more fun place to be.

Understand the Business Side

To be a good landlord, you’ll need to do more than maintain your building and make connections with your residents. You’ll also need to have a good understanding of the business side of apartment leasing. For instance, in order to maximize your profits, you’ll have to determine the best rental rates to charge for the units in your building. You’ll also have to understand how to get the best return on your money—in other words, in order to spend money efficiently, you’ll need to know which projects will be worth the cost. Deciding to paint the walls of the gym in your building while the fitness machines are in need of repair, for instance, would not give you a good return on your investment. Understanding the factors that will most affect a resident’s decision to lease an apartment in your building and to pay a certain amount in rent will be essential to becoming a great landlord.

Have an Interest in the Community 

While a landlord’s main focus should, of course, be on their own building, they should also be aware of the impact that their own management can have on their larger community. The building that you’ll be maintaining will be representative of your community, and if you don’t keep it up properly, that can have a negative impact on those around you. Plus, if you do your part to keep the community thriving and your fellow landlords do likewise, you’ll see the rewards in the value of your property and, subsequently, the prices that you can charge your tenants for their rent. If your property has a pool, a pool party is a great way to help your residents break the ice. Events with free food also tend to be popular, especially among college students who are on a budget. If you ever run out of ideas for events, remember that you have a great resource on your hands: your residents themselves. By asking your residents for suggestions, you’ll be able to host more events and you’ll have the assurance that you’re doing something that your residents are truly interested in.

Infographic by Christine Ascher

Above all, a good landlord needs to be responsible. In order to maintain a property and keep your residents satisfied, a landlord will need to be able to stay on top of everything and to respond quickly and efficiently to any problems that arise. Letting problems or complaints stack up unacknowledged will frustrate your residents, and it may result in the condition of your property deteriorating. The fact that you’re responsible for the living conditions of all of your residents should be foremost in your mind as a landlord, and you should be ready to take on that responsibility if you plan on taking on the role.

Understand How to Maintain the Building

While you may not personally be handling the work that comes with maintaining your property, a landlord should nevertheless have a strong understanding of what it takes to maintain an apartment building and what to do when things go wrong. For instance, though you may not be able to completely fix issues in your residents’ apartments, it will make a huge positive impact on your residents if you can offer some advice or actual assistance in the case of an emergency, until a maintenance worker is available to handle the issue. In addition, if you know how to take on some minor repairs, you can save a lot of money as you won’t have to bring in a third-party for every problem that comes up in every unit.

Bringing in New Residents

Another important responsibility that comes with being a landlord is bringing in new residents to the property, to ensure that your apartments are filled year to year. To make sure that you’re bringing in enough money from your renters, try coming up with new and creative ways to convince potential renters to check out the property and to sign a lease. For instance, offer a discount to residents if they recommend a friend to the building who ends up leasing. Advertise the property on social media to draw up more interest, and host an open house with free food or giveaways to induce people to come for a tour. Because the number of residents that you’re able to bring in will determine your success, being able to draw people to the building will be essential to your livelihood as a landlord.

Open to Ways to Improve the Property

A good landlord will understand that there is always room to grow when it comes to the upkeep of an apartment building. Residents will appreciate periodic updates to the property, so it’s important for a landlord to work towards continual improvements in their property rather than falling into a slump and keeping everything the same, only to realize down the road that the property has become quite shabby. In addition to coming up with your own ideas for ways to make the property better, a good landlord should be open to the suggestions of their residents as well. After all, your residents may have a better idea of what the property actually needs, since they’re the ones living there day and night.

Interested in Making the Building Fun for your Residents

In order to make their building a truly fun place for their residents to live, a good landlord will be interested not only in the property’s upkeep, but in finding ways to make the living experience enjoyable for those leasing in the building. Organizing fun events every so often where your residents can mingle and meet one another is a great way to set yourself apart from other landlords. In addition to entertaining your residents in the moment, hosting events will also give your residents a chance to get to know each other, so that they can become friends with their neighbors—which will, in turn, make them enjoy living in your building even more.

Characteristics:

Reliable

One essential characteristic for someone who wants to become a landlord is to be reliable. No one wants to live in a building with an unreliable landlord, as this likely means that their concerns won’t be addressed and any issues with their unit won’t be resolved. If you want to be a good landlord, make sure that you focus on being reliable and responsive to your clients. It’s a good idea to set a goal for yourself to make sure that you address all concerns and work orders from your tenants in a timely fashion. For instance, try to reply to all of your emails from tenants within twenty-four hours, and try to make sure all work orders are addressed within a week. Having a timeline for when you need to handle the inevitable issues that will arise when you’re a landlord will be a great help in making sure that your clients are satisfied and feel like they can count on you.

Approachable

Another important characteristic of a good landlord is to be approachable. Residents will be wary of a landlord who seems stand-offish or unfriendly, and they may start to feel like they can’t ask you for help when necessary or come to you with problems regarding the building. In addition to making the building a less friendly place for your residents to live, a non-approachable landlord can also have a negative effect on the property’s upkeep as well, as they may not be made aware of concerns about the building.

Man, suit, tie

Image via https://pixabay.com

Professional

Professionalism is definitely a characteristic that potential residents will want to see in their landlord, as it will give them the reassurance that you’re capable of taking on the responsibilities of owning and leasing a property, and will show them that they can rely on you. Like most professions, no matter how good you are at your job, behaving in an unprofessional manner can be an immediate turn-off. If a potential resident comes to tour the building, for instance, and you’re dressed sloppily, you behave in an overfamiliar manner, or you seem scattered, chances are that resident will not want to lease with you. They may become afraid that you won’t be organized or responsive, or that you don’t take your job seriously enough. If, on the other hand, you behave professionally, residents will see that they can count on you to get your job done.

Communicative

To make sure that your residents don’t become frustrated with their living situation, it’s important to be communicative with them so that they’re aware of everything going on in the building that may affect them. A good landlord should always let their residents know when any work is going to be done in the building, as it may affect their daily routines. Try to send out a notification to your residents as soon as you become aware of such work so that they have time to plan accordingly. In addition, if there are any changes in rent or utility prices or in any building policies from year to year, make sure you let your residents know this as well. Residents will appreciate that you make sure to always keep them apprised of upcoming changes or events that will impact them, and you’ll avoid having angry residents who feel like they’re being kept in the dark.

Organized

Another important quality for a landlord to possess is organization. Residents will be able to tell if their landlord is unorganized, as this will probably lead to missed work orders, unacknowledged complaints, and work not being done in a timely manner. Being a landlord, in general, will require juggling a variety of tasks and responsibilities, so having the ability to stay organized will ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed or start falling behind in the tasks that you need to get done. You’ll also impress your residents and make a great impression on potential new residents if you’re on top of everything.

Being a landlord isn’t easy, so if you’re planning to take on this role you should definitely make sure that you’re aware of what it will take. Because your residents will be relying on you to make their living situation a good one, you’ll be taking on a lot of responsibility. However, provided that you have the necessary characteristics and are prepared to take on the work involved, you can have a rewarding experience as a landlord.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
USC
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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