We have been talking a lot about how to find a tenant and how to get your property rented. Today, I want to address what it takes to be a good Santa Cruz landlord. This is one of my favorite topics. In fact, I teach a class on being a good landlord at Cabrillo Community College. That’s a full day class, so I’ll go over a few pointers that will hopefully help you decide if you have what it takes to be a good landlord. Here are five tips:
- Consider your personality. Not everyone is cut out to be a landlord. If you are a really kind person and you live with your heart on your sleeve, I’ll tell you this straight up – hire a property manager. I tell people that I’m a little Pitbull, which is exactly the personality you need in this business. I am an enforcer, that’s my role. I am supposed to represent you and make sure you get your money from the tenants. With the tenants, I maintain a friendly and professional relationship, but if you are super nice and warm hearted, your tenant will eat you up and spit you out.
- Consider your time. It takes a lot of time to manage a property. It’s like a business. There are maintenance issues to manage, a lot of hand holding, tenant relationships, checking on the property, dealing with leases and paperwork, etc. If you do not have the time to dedicate to property management, you’re not going to be a very effective landlord.
- Treat it like a business. You have to have good accounting practices in place. There needs to be systems that manage how you do things. You have to have vendors lined up to help you ahead of time, not at the moment that an emergency happens. Your leases and other paperwork must be in order and easily accessible.
- Know the law. Tenants always know the law, and if you are going to be a good landlord, you need to know it too. Cover your bases and learn what you need to know. You don’t want to end up in court because you violated fair housing laws or in small claims court because you didn’t give a tenant his security deposit back in time.
- Take a class. If you want to become a good landlord, get educated. Take my class at Cabrillo Community College. We can spend the day together and talk about everything that is involved in becoming a successful and effective landlord.
If you have any questions about property management or how to know if you’re a good landlord candidate, contact me at Portola Property Management.