If you want to be a good landlord to your tenants, you have to make a great first impression—something that you won’t be able to get a second chance on. In a perfect world, each and every tenant you come across won’t expect much, will pass your inspections, and will follow all your rules to the dot from their move-in day to their move-out day. Alternatively, your tenants want to find a rockstar landlord that they can depend on. However, you could only do so much, so why not begin by giving them an amazing welcome to your property?
Provide your tenants with a move-in packet/tenant handbook once they sign their lease.
Some people call it a move-in packet, others call it a tenant handbook, but this is one of the most important things that you can provide as a landlord. It’s your job to educate your tenants of the rules and policies of the property.Make sure to include the following information in the handbook:
- A welcome letter – It always helps to show some warmth and gratitude in a letter before you go down to business.
- A copy of the lease – Enough said.
- Property walkthrough – Document the conditions of the space before move-in day and encourage your tenant to do the same. Otherwise, your good relationship with the tenant may be ruined once they move out and claim that they did not cause any damage. Always inform all your potential tenants that the property walkthroughs are done for the benefit of both parties. Websites like MoveIn.Space focus on preventing this “he said, she said” sort of dispute and avoid bigger issues in the long run. In addition, having the tenant document the conditions of the space provides them a sense of ownership and responsibility for maintaining it.
- Moving checklist – A subtle reminder of the places that they have to notify (example, the post office, DMV, banks, schools, etc.) and some last-minute reminders on what they need to accomplish upon move-in day.
- Tenant communication – Include your contact number/s and other information that they may need if they have any issues or concerns with the property.
- Renters’ insurance – Provide the contact number to an agent that can assist your tenant and include bits of information on the pricing and the coverage that they can get.
- Paying rent and possible fees they might have to pay – Instructions on where they can send their checks/money, payment methods, when rent is due, and possible fees for late payments, lease violations, etc.
- Rules and regulations of the property – Dos and Don’ts at the property.
- Tenant responsibilities – What you expect them to do (example, pets, caring for the property, etc.)
- A guide to the neighborhood – This is very helpful for your tenants who are new to the city.
- Parking – One of the most common frustrations for tenants. If they need to have a parking pass or sticker, include that in the move-in packet. However, if they get to have an assigned parking space in your property, include information on who to contact if they find someone else’s car on their space, and other policies on parking procedures.
- Maintenance – Some properties have their own in-house maintenance team, while others have specific vendors that they contact for repairs. Make sure to include their contacts numbers and who do they call in case of an emergency such as a gas leak or backed up plumbing.
- Move-out notices – Provide your policy for 30-day notices and your tenants responsibilities until move-out day.
- Maps of emergency exits – This can be included in the last part of the packet/handbook. It’s your job to educate your tenants to be aware of where to go during worst-case scenarios or where to find fire extinguishers, etc. in order to prevent bigger disasters.
The “Tenant Welcome Package”
Everybody loves free gifts, and as landlord, providing a “tenant welcome package” can put you on the “Most Awesome Landlords Ever” list. With moving furniture and other stuff, the last thing on your tenant’s mind is the small stuff. They’re new to the area, and of course, they probably don’t have enough supplies around just yet. Give them a simple house-warming gift that shows that you care for them and want them to enjoy their stay in your property. Some wonderful things to include in the package are:
- A handwritten, personalized welcome note.
- Coupons or gift cards to local shops – You can contact local businesses directly to get these. They’re usually on board with the idea because new faces could become paying regulars in the long run. This could be at the grocery, a coffee shop, or a restaurant. It’s a win-win situation for both the landlord and the local businesses!
- Toilet paper – Leave a couple of rolls in the bathroom. This is one of those things that you don’t really think of as something that’s important until nature calls. You can also include a tiny bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap for that much-needed shower for your tenant’s very long move-in day.
- Cleaning Kit – A cheap and easy way to subtly inform your clients that cleanliness is one of your priorities. Get a small plastic bucket and fill it with cleaning supplies such as sponges, paper towels, dishwashing soap, and bleach.
Remember, being a good landlord shouldn’t just rely on what you provide them during move-in day. You also have to build trust and rapport with each and every tenant on your property. There are horrifying stories on the Internet about tenants with terrible landlords, and one way of stopping yourself from becoming one is making a good first impression and always being around to lend a helping hand should they ask for it.