Landlords & Tenants

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Karen Behfar

In the past we discussed the human side of real estate. Many times, people view real estate only as a business transaction but there is actually a lot of emotion involved. Someone recently asked me how I went from being a Special Ed therapist working with kids to a business focused job. I told them I find so much fulfillment and emotional connection to the clients. That is what I enjoy. Previously, we discussed the agent’s perspective. Now I would like to look at it from the landlord-tenant perspective. Though each situation is different and unique, and one must know the entire picture, I have some tips below that will hopefully help to smooth the path.

Too often the relationships between landlords and tenants are strained. The first thing to always keep in mind is that they are all human. People slip up and are not always perfect. Just kindly explain the issue and almost always the landlord and renter will quickly resolve it. The other person is not trying to hurt or annoy you. Speak calmly and do not be so quick to blame is my advice. A smooth landlord-tenant relationship is a small piece of heaven!

Tips for the Landlord

Here is some advice that I love for landlords to ensure a smooth rental.

Keep the property in good condition. Everyone wants good tenants and having a clean and nice rental will attract them. In addition, once you have the apartment, continue to maintain it. It is a lot easier keep your current renters. It is not only very time consuming to find new renters but also is quite expensive.

Availability is important. Try to be available to your tenants. You never know when they will need help. If you do not live in the area or cannot be available think about hiring someone else to help manage your rental.

I like to tell landlords to put into the lease a provision that allows the tenant to take care of any active leak or true emergency costing up to $100, and they can work it out the money later. All too often I hear about a renter who had a leak and could not get in touch with the landlord and did not want to fix a problem in case he would not get compensated. The leak then ends up getting a lot worse and costing the landlord a lot more money than had it been dealt with promptly.

Respect your tenant’s privacy. Though you may have to go in to fix things or for other valid reasons, please remember this is where the tenants live, and they deserve privacy.

Document everything. Do not rely on verbal agreements. A good landlord will ensure that everything in the lease is clearly spelled out. This is for the benefit of both parties. It is especially important to avoid vague clauses like the renter will “maintain property” for a discounted price. What is “maintain property”? Be specific and write it down!

Getting Your Home Ready for the Hot Summer Months

For those of you staying in town this summer, here is some tips to upgrade your living space for that warm summer ahead.

Upgrade your outdoor space. There is nothing like sipping an iced tea while watching your kids play on a long summer day. Make sure your outdoor space is inviting and comfortable. Invest in a chair or two or maybe even an umbrella, outdoor furniture, or a patio set depending on your budget.

Brighten up your home. Switch out heavy throws for light airy ones. Bring home a nice indoor plant or switch that black throw pillow for a bright colored one. Bring the summer into your home. There’s plenty of time in the winter for dark jeweled tones. Now’s the time to bring out those yellows, pinks, and greens.

Take the time now to make sure your AC is in working order. Don’t wait for that boiling June day and realize your AC is not working. Check the filters, hoses, and organize the garage.

And if your kids are going to be home, stock up on some summer fun. Bubbles, balls, jump ropes, frisbees, and so on.

And don’t forget the sunscreen!