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As a landlord, you may worry when you hear about nightmare tenants. There are things you can do to help avoid problems.

As a landlord, you may worry when you hear about nightmare tenants who leave rental properties in complete disarray.

There is no guarantee that you will have the perfect tenant living in your property all the time, however, there are certain things you can do to help prevent problems from getting out of hand.

Follow the law

Renting out your investment property should be treated like a business transaction, even if the tenant is a family member or friend. You need to be aware of both the tenant and the landlord’s rights and responsibilities which vary from state to state. If you wish to raise the rent or enter the property, you need to provide the adequate amount of notice.

As a landlord, you need to be firm, but fair. Regularly turning a blind eye when tenants miss payment deadlines could result in the tenant taking advantage of you. But at the same time, if you are too harsh and have unrealistic expectations, tenants can become irritated and upset.

Entry condition report

One of the major issues landlords have with tenants is the state of the property when the tenant moves out. By creating an entry condition report, both you and the tenant can agree on the state of the property when the tenant moves in. It is important to include photos which include existing damage, so that you can compare the photos with the state of the property when the tenant leaves.

Keep a record

Keeping a record of past property inspections as well as conversations with the tenant can help protect you if any issues come up down the track. For example, if you have discussions with the tenant about changes to the rent, changes to the lease dates or maintenance issues such as the garden or lawns, make sure you write it down, so if the tenant comes back and says you never spoke to them about it, you can produce your records.

Landlord insurance

Landlord insurance is vital in order to protect you. Even if you have extremely reliable tenants living in your rental property, remember that accidents can happen and landlord insurance can help cover the costs. If you don’t have landlord insurance, the situation can get very expensive and messy.

Different landlord insurance policies have different features, but it may cover: theft by tenant or their guests, loss of rent if the tenant defaults, legal expenses if action is taken against tenant and damage caused by the tenant or their guests.

Be approachable and reliable

If you are able to be personable as well as professional, tenants may be more comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. If they feel that you are not approachable, they may be more likely to hide concerns, which can quickly escalate into a bigger problem down the track.

While tenants have a responsibility to look after the property, landlords also have a responsibility to address issues such as repairs. If you respond promptly to repairs and other requests, it will help keep the tenants happy and in return, they may be more inclined to look after the property.

A clear, accurate lease

Do you read through all of the fine print when you sign an agreement? Some tenants may only skim over the lease and not read it properly. Therefore you need to make the lease simple, accurate and easy to read. You should also take the time to highlight any important points in the lease, especially points that have caused issues in the past. It is cheaper and less time consuming to prevent a problem than try and fix it afterwards.