National Features
December 10, 2012

HAPPY tenants are good tenants. What are some ways to keep them happy?

Your approach to life as an investor and landlord has a bearing on everyone’s happiness. In my experience, happy tenants and happy landlords come in pairs.

A good tenancy, just like any relationship, works best when both parties feel the arrangement is fair and everyone is genuinely doing their best to honour it.

For the tenant, it’s an affordable and well-positioned property that’s maintained in good running order by a diligent property manager.

For the landlord, it’s a tenant who pays rent on time and doesn’t damage the property or generate complaints from neighbours, the body corporate or police.

As a landlord, you can multiply the happiness factor by offering property that’s purpose-built for renting.

Tenants will appreciate sturdy fittings and fixtures and a location near transport, schools, shopping and other amenities.

First impressions matter. The signature on a lease can be read as satisfaction with your price, the property and lease terms. With that comes an expectation that the property will be well maintained. If taps and lavatory cisterns start to leak or the airconditioning fails, happiness will reign only if they are fixed promptly. Care for your investment and your tenants will too.

Too often, tenancies go sour because someone is not communicating effectively. Your property manager must be sensitive to the needs of both parties and be seeking harmony. Most things that upset tenants can be easily fixed provided you know when your intervention is needed. How you respond is key to maintaining balance in the relationship.

Try not to intrude on your tenant’s space. Tenants are usually happy to see a property manager or tradesperson, but the arrival of the landlord can be interpreted as snooping.

Your tenant doesn’t need to know you providing the property manager or the body corporate are on top of things.

Be aware that a body corporate can be the wild card in landlord-tenant relationships.

If the tenant chose your place because the complex has a gym and swimming pool but the body corporate falls down on maintenance, there is often little you as landlord can do to rectify complaints about broken equipment, faulty lifts, visitors’ cars blocking the driveway or other quality of life issues.

There may be times when even your best endeavours won’t be enough to keep the tenant happy.

Tony Winterbottom is a general manager of Defence Housing Australia.
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