5 tips on becoming a good rental agent
MAIN IMAGES: Gerhard Kotze, managing director of RealNet Properties.
Renting is the smart financial choice for many consumers, but a ‘difficult’ landlord can easily make it feel like the wrong choice, and cause tenants to leave as soon as they possibly can.
On the other hand, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet Properties, landlords who are able to establish a good working relationship with their tenants will have a much easier time when it comes to organizing any repairs necessary and retaining those tenants or showing the property to prospective new tenants.
And this applies whether the client manage their rental property themselves or through a managing agent, he says, so here the five top tips for becoming the landlord or rental agents that tenants love to rent from:
- Be transparent as well as honest. “Everyone expects honesty when it comes to dealing with tenants’ deposits and rental payments, but the client and/ or you as the rental agent should also be transparent when answering prospective tenants’ questions about things like noisy neighbours, traffic in the area, cell phone coverage and the availability of public transport.”
- Make your tenants feel welcome. It’s definitely worth having a meal or a gift delivered to the tenants on the day they move in and taking the time to provide them with some useful information about their new area,says Kotzé. “Once they know where the nearest shop, bank, gym, bus stop and school is, they will feel much more at home and be able to imagine themselves settling down in the property for a long time.”
- Provide clear lines of communication. “The landlord obviously don’t want the tenants calling him or you the agent at all hours of the day or night for every little thing, but he don’t want them to feel cut off either,” he says. “So, when they move in, give them the right number to call during business hours, and better still, an email address where they can reach the landlord or the rental agent. This will have the added advantage of helping to keep a written record of all communications with the tenant for future reference.”
- Be quick to respond. As a landlord no doubt expect his tenant to be prompt when it comes to paying the rent, so too the landlord and/or the rental agent need to extend the same courtesy to the tenant when it comes to dealing with their concerns about urgent repairs, noise or security issues, says Kotzé. “Of course, they should only call the landlord or the agent during business hours unless it is a real emergency, but when they do, the matter should be dealt with as fast as possible. And if an outside contractor is required to fix any sort of damage, the landlord needs to monitor progress to see that the work is completed properly and on time.”
- Be a bit flexible. He says that while it may be written into the lease that rent is due by no later than noon on the first of every month, the tenant should be able to approach the landlord or rental agent for a little leeway in the event of an emergency. “No one is suggesting that the landlord tolerate repetitive late payment, but good tenants who usually pay on time and in full will appreciate some kindness when they have a genuine problem – and are most likely to return the favour when it comes to renewing their lease or accepting a rent increase.”