You get lots of questions like “What’s it like?” and “Tell me a crazy landlord story.” If you’ve been a landlord for a long time, you’ve probably got some funny, inspiring, crazy, and educational stories to tell regarding Rental inspections.
In the project called The Landlord Chronicles, Chad Gallagher and Matt Faircloth have assembled a bunch of stories told by landlords from all over the country. Each one includes a real-life lesson that any landlord can take from.
“Here are the steps I take now” or “Here are the key things I’ll keep in mind that kept me safe in that instance.” Would be good lessons.
The stories are real… the landlords are real… and the lesson is real!
Check out this sneak peek and let us know what you think.
Frog soup found in the kitchen sink
Every year, we go on an in-person tour of all our properties allowing us to analyze every unit and take notes on what we notice, paying particular attention to things like deferred maintenance that require some time and money to prevent from becoming worse…
We occasionally find strange stuff that seems to pose a threat.
One time during our tour of a unit, a sink has been plugged at the bottom and full on the left side. The water is a dark grey, invisible, with a little head sticking out in the corner.
The head of a frog can be seen sticking out of the murky grey sink water.
Before we can even speak, we simply point to the sink in shock at the tenant standing there, who is also in the kitchen. Maybe the tenant has some odd excuse or claims it’s not his frog, or he’ll apologize and promise it’ll be okay soon. Maybe it’s a science experiment? But it’s simpler than that.
The tenant pauses for a moment and then says, “Well, your lease very clearly says that there can be no aquarium in the apartment. What do you want me to do?”
Don’t skip yearly Rental inspections as a landlord
This story does not teach anything about pet policies or the lease that comes with them (although both are important). The takeaway is the significance of the yearly inspection. We would recommend to tour and inspect units once a year, in person.
No matter how many units you own, you should visit each unit in person at least once a year. You never know what you will find!
Plan out your trip ahead of time
Be sure to notify your tenants in advance so they make themselves available for you. Many tenants may have an abundance of excuses to not see you. No one loves seeing their landlord. Work on a specific time that you will be meeting with the tenant and take it from there
Allows you to check financials
Know how much rent the tenant owes before you go in, so you know if he or she has a credit history. It is important to have a file on hand with the necessary details of the tenant you are inspecting. This can be anything from payment history to basic details like their names and how long they have been there. This file will allow you to ask and negotiate with your more troublesome tenants on hand and in person.
Take recordings and pictures
There are a lot of weird things tenant may do. It is important to have some sort of camera or phone on hand to take notes and pictures so you won’t forget anything you see. If there are any shading dealing going down and you have proof then this can be useful.
Checkups to see if any maintenance issues require your attention
Taking care of your property is your business. If your tenants aren’t paying, you have to cover your mortgage. If the worst happens, you have to find a solution.
Taking it a step further, you must implement systems that cover all possible options. When you hand something off to someone, it must be a systematic and organized approach. This allows you to always stay on top.
Boosts the reputation of your business
The most effective way to fight the negative reputation landlords get is by adding small touches. This is the perfect way to create a lasting positive impression. Many stories of landlords going the extra mile to make their tenants feel comfortable are out there. This can also happen during your inspections. My favorite story comes from a London landlord who arrives on moving day with coffee or tea for his tenants from his local café.
The gesture isn’t much, but it goes a long way. Below are a few other small tips to help you:
- A landlord can write a welcome letter wishing their tenant a pleasant stay in their property.
- You can also offer a walking tour to your tenant if they’re new to the area. Showing them around the neighborhood and recommendations for restaurants, public transportation, and other local attractions. Some landlords even offer such tours.
- We’re not saying you should spend lots of money on this, but it’s bound to be noticed. Add a roll of paper towels and a bar of soap to each bathroom. It will eliminate the need for a supermarket shop and put your tenants at ease from the start.
- You’ll look more credible if you appear neatly. We’re not advocating you wear a suit every time but a neat appearance builds credibility.
- Don’t let your tenant know you’re annoyed when he calls about an issue that ruins your day. Professionally deal with every issue, just like you would in a business.
To meet safety standards must be met
Landlords are responsible for fulfilling certain obligations. One of these is adhering to correct safety standards. Ensure your property meets the required criteria and a registered engineer installed and checks your gas and electrical equipment every year. Carbon monoxide and fire alarms must be installed and tested regularly. Any such events must be recorded and kept for all to see.
One of the benefits of the annual inspection is tenants know that you care about their unit and how well it’s taken care of. If they know this, they will often also take better care of your property. With some luck, you might even find something strange living in the sink!