A LANDLORD’S key to success is being able to keep a good tenant. As investors continue to swarm the property market being able to maintain a longstanding arrangement with a tenant is crucial to ensuring you don’t cost yourself in the long run.

Continually changing tenants can be an expensive process especially if there are periods when your property isn’t leased out.

LJ Hooker’s Amy Sanderson says the first thing to ask yourself is whether you as a landlord would happily live in the property.

‘Tenants want security and a property that’s clean, neat and tidy,” she says.

‘It can be worth giving it a freshen up, a paint, new carpet, new blinds and always think as a landlord whether you would live there.’

She says simple improvements such as new blinds, light fittings or ceiling fans can cost a few hundred dollars but add significant value to the property and at the same time keep the place looking modern.

It’s also important to act quickly when something at the property breaks, for instance a fitting or fixture, but when tenants do move out look at doing bigger improvements.

‘When the property is vacant look at the big-ticket items and things that would normally inconvenience a tenant,” Sanderson says.

‘You wouldn’t want to inconvenience someone by recarpeting the house or repainting the home while they are living there.’

University lecturer, author and investor Peter Koulizos says you should also think twice before increasing the rent.

‘Don’t increase the rent just because you can,” he says.

‘If the tenant is good and unless there is a huge discrepancy with what the market rent is and you know they could go somewhere else for the same rent I would leave the rent as it is.’

However he says if you do improvements to the property it gives you licence to hike the rent, for instance by installing a dishwasher or building a carport.

The tenants won’t be shocked if they are hit with a rent rise.

Koulizos also says rewarding your tenants is a good idea – give them a present at Christmas or send it to your agent to pass on to them.

‘It might just be movie vouchers, it might only cost the landlord $50 but it’s the thought that counts,” he says.

And finally Koulizos says give the tenants plenty of notice to renew their lease – a few months before it expires.
This will help in getting them to resign well before they start hunting around for another place to live.

Posted by Sophie Elsworth – News Limited Network on 25th May, 2015