Technically a landlord is someone who owns and rents out property, whether this is apartments, houses, or commercial real estate. The job of a landlord is a little more complex than that description though. Landlords often find themselves with many roles and positions, everything from property management to therapist.
If you’re thinking about becoming a landlord you might want to have a quick read of these unconventional roles that a landlord is often called upon to play.
1) Property Manager & Realtor
Landlords are responsible for getting their property filled. What this means in practicality is either you outsource this responsibility – which can be expensive – or you do it yourself. Landlords often do everything from creating online listings, responding to prospective tenants, organising viewings, doing those viewings, screening tenants and arranging the move-in.
It’s not enough to just have a property that you can show to people. If you want the best tenants you will need to convince them that this is the best apartment for them. Being the salesman of your property means understanding the attractive features, reading prospective tenants, and just generally being your charming usual self.
The role of detective isn’t ever as glamorous as a Raymond Chandler book. However, it’s an important job of a landlord, especially if you want to protect your property.
You will have to gather information about prospective tenants, for example. As well as speak with prior landlords and employers, get character references, scope out their online presence to determine ambiguities in their story, and run credit and background checks. You will then have to analyze all the information you gather and rely on instinct to determine if the tenant will be the right fit for your property.
Furthermore, there’ll be times when a landlord has to play the role of detective when handling tenant disputes, or determining the root cause of maintenance works.
The skilled negotiator always gets a favourable deal. Becoming a good negotiator will help you especially when you are talking with contractors and workmen.
If a landlord has more than one unit, they must negotiate when buying materials to get the best price for buying in bulk. For example, the landlord is going to buy new stoves for each of their 8 properties, it would be reasonable then to ask for a discount.
A landlord must also negotiate any contract they sign, whether it be the terms of a lease with a tenant, a mortgage with a bank or a contract with an electrician to hardwire smoke detectors.
5) Debt Collector
This one is a little more fairly self-evident. If a tenant is late paying rent then you need to chase up that rent and make sure they pay. You will also want to ensure they aren’t late again.
The role intensifies if you end up having to evict your tenant because of their refusal to pay rent. Collecting the owed rent off of them during or after that period will require patience and a good understanding of the law.
It’s not the job of a landlord to fix every little thing that goes wrong. However, whether a landlord has extensive construction knowledge or not, they will be called on for maintenance requests. A landlord will be called to fix broken doorknobs, blown out light bulbs, malfunctioning smoke detectors or to turn on the pilot light of a boiler.
The more basic maintenance you can do yourself the cheaper your maintenance repairs costs are going to be at the end of the day.
As a landlord you have a legal responsibility to make sure your tenants live in a clean and safe environment. On top of this, you will need to perform preventative maintenance to keep your property in top condition and to keep your tenants happy.