A Landlord’s Responsibilities

Not everyone can afford to own a home, and for that matter, not everyone wants to own a home. That’s why we need good, reliable landlords who will rent out property to us in a way that’s fair for both sides. That can sometimes be tough for prospective renters to find. In markets like New York City, even rent stabilization laws often come with exceptions or workarounds that put renters in a tight spot. There are typically laws that regulate certain parts of the landlord-tenant relationship, like the eviction process and security deposits. There are other responsibilities a landlord has that are still important even if they aren’t codified in law.

Advertise vacancies

Why wouldn’t a landlord want to advertise a piece of property? There are a few good reasons, like if they’re cleaning up or renovating the place after one tenant moved out. There may also be situations where, for example, a friend tells them their niece needs a new place, and they meet with the niece and decide to rent out the place without taking any further applications. Those situations should be rare, however. It’s typically better to advertise the place and take applications, then sift through the applications and find a good match for the property. Most companies don’t fill job openings after just taking one application (the average corporate job posting draws 250 applications), and so landlords should try and avoid that as well. It simply doesn’t make sense to close off other options before really exploring them fully. It’s especially tricky for renters to find a good home if most landlords will only rent to friends or family members.

Advertising can cost money, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are avenues to advertise rental property for free if you know where to find them. Getting the word out on social media is also important and doesn’t even have to cost you money. You can pay for ads on Facebook or Twitter if you want, and you can also post vacancies on your business Facebook page. Word should spread quickly after that.

Be clear and honest

Everyone appreciates someone who can communicate in a clear, honest way. Your tenants will as well. Let’s say you have 30 days by law to notify tenants of a rent increase. Rather than giving them exactly 30 days, why not give them 40 or 45 days? That gives them more time to figure out if they can pay the increased rent. If they can’t, then the extra week or two gives them more time to search for an alternative arrangement.

Try to give reasons for a change rather than just stating, “This is the way things are now.” No one likes to hear “Because I said so.” We didn’t like it as kids, and we definitely don’t like it as  adults. If you explain that the apartment complex carport will be blocked off for a few days because repairs are needed, that makes sense. But if you don’t explain it, prepare to be peppered with questions from confused tenants. Communicating clearly isn’t too difficult; it’s just a matter of respecting people and not wasting their time. Doing that gives you more time to focus on other aspects of property management.