Boundaries With Tenants

Smart Strategies for Setting Healthy Boundaries With Tenants

Renting your home can be a very smart way to get consistent, additional income from your real estate investment. However, when people first start renting out their home, they often make the mistake of trying to become too close with tenants. Consider these smart strategies for developing positive relationships with tenants and setting boundaries to protect yourself.

Create a Simple List of Rules

Some homeowners flinch at the idea of presenting tenants with a list of rules. However, clear rules from the start are a great help for both parties. Tenants want to know where they stand and which freedoms they have within the home. The trick is to keep it simple and clear. If you have fifty tedious rules, none of them will be taken seriously.

Create the rules you need to protect your property and ensure that neighbors are comfortable with your tenant. The rules may depend on what you want to see happen to your home. For example, if a couple wants to paint all the walls vivid colors, you may want to instigate a rule about making modest changes. Consider establishing quiet hours and similar rules that may protect the property or neighborhood.

Decide What Is Nonnegotiable in a Rental Agreement

Before you ever present a possible rental agreement to potential tenants, have a lawyer look it over to ensure that your best interests are protected. Yes, you can find rental contract templates in office supply shops and online stores. However, they may not be designed for your state and may not offer the full protection you need for your individual circumstances.

When talking to the lawyer about the rental agreement, discuss which items may be negotiable. Know in advance which things are flexible. That way, you don’t come off as tyrannical to potential tenants who may want to alter a few things to feel comfortable renting your home.

On the other hand, you should also be very clear about what is nonnegotiable. If you know where to offer wiggle room and where to not, you will be empowered to start negotiations. For example, if a tenant wants you to make a costly change to the apartment, you may not allow that, but you may be able to come down a little on the rent.

Be understanding while remaining clear and firm on your terms. This sets a precedent for the relationship between you and your tenants. They are more likely to understand that you care and are willing to meet them halfway when possible, but also that you have specific needs that won’t be compromised.

Don’t Socialize With Tenants Outside of Business-Related Matters

If you really like the tenants and have a lot in common, you may be tempted to go out to dinner with them or otherwise invite them to social events. However, that can easily get tricky. When business lines are blurred, you may feel awkward and uncomfortable when you address sticky issues like being late on rent or not properly caring for the property.

Clear boundaries and limited socialization protect the tenant, too, in some situations, so don’t be afraid to enforce it. Keep in mind that you are in control as the owner of the property. You need to feel comfortable and happy about the rental situation so that it remains a positive stream of income without unnecessary stress.

Finally, as the rental homeowner, one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to hire a property management company. Contact MacPherson’s Property Management, Inc., today to learn more about all the services we provide. From conducting showings for potential tenants to providing routine maintenance, property management can take the hassle out of renting your home.