As the weather warms, the housing market starts to pick up and people begin looking for new properties to lease. This presents a great opportunity for landlords to capitalize on the transition from winter to spring and get ahead of both administrative and seasonal maintenance of their properties.
In this post, we’ll discuss three of the most common things a landlord may experience during spring, including new tenants, lease renewals, exterior property maintenance, and how to get ahead of any issues these changes might cause.
Influx of Tenants in the Market for Rentals
Although lease term periods can differ from property to property and from tenant to tenant, spring and summer are popular times for people to move to new properties or renew their leases.
During spring, landlords will need to prepare for an increase in rental applications, property viewings, and new leases.
You should also be aware that the housing market tends to get more competitive in spring, which means many landlords raise their rental prices. Be cautious when raising your rent, however, because you don’t want to have the rent price for your properties skyrocket over competitors’ properties in your area, potentially pushing prospective tenants to either rent elsewhere or abandon renting altogether for home buying.
To get ahead despite high competition, do some research to see what the market trends are like in your area to gauge what your competitors are charging for rent and then adjust your fees accordingly. It might also help you to emphasize your amenities as a way of out-performing your competitors.
Renewing Lease Terms
If you have tenants who are set to renew their leases this season, it’s a good time to review your Residential Lease to see if everything is working for both you and your tenants.
Many landlords have meetings with their tenants prior to their renewal (usually 30 days to 60 days) to discuss the tenants’ experience living in the rental unit.
Some potential lease term topics you can discuss with your tenants before renewal include:
- Changes to the property. Your tenants might want to paint their living space or replace or add electrical fixtures like outlets, lights, and lamps.
- Changes to responsibilities. Many landlords will adjust their rent prices in exchange for the tenants taking on more responsibility for maintaining the property. For example, if a landlord rents the top and bottom floors of a house to separate tenants, they might make one responsible for lawn care in exchange for reducing their rent price.
- Pet fees. You might want to revisit how much you charge for pet fees (whether it’s too much or too little), especially in cases where damage from your tenants’ pets has required you to replace things on your property or make repairs.
It’s important to listen to feedback from your tenants, especially if they have issues living in your rental property. It’s likely they want this living arrangement to work just as much as you do, so do what you can to engage in that relationship and foster goodwill with your tenants.
Prepare for Repair Notices
Warmer temperatures make it easier to inspect properties. It’s also a time when your tenants might be spending more times outdoors, which means they will be more likely to notice maintenance issues outside (like potholes in the parking lot or leaky eavestroughs).
To prevent your tenants from bombarding you with repair notices, consider conducting an exterior inspection of the property.
Some things to keep an eye out for during an exterior inspection would be:
- Roof deterioration, including loose, missing, or broken shingles or holes that could lead to leaks and water damage when it rains
- Punctures or debris in rain gutters that might prevent melting snow or water from running off (and make sure the downspouts are leading water away from the house or apartment building’s foundation)
- Damage to house siding, including split or missing panels
- Cracks in the pavement or driveway, which can lead to further erosion of the asphalt and more fractures if exposed to water
Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll catch everything pre-emptively, so getting maintenance calls from tenants is unavoidable. Just ensure that you prioritize habitability issues first, and make sure to always communicate with your tenants. At the very least, it’s good to let your tenants know their issues were heard and to provide an assurance that you’re going to handle their repairs in a timely manner.
The Importance of Planning as a Landlord
To prepare yourself for the changes that tend to come with spring (whether it’s new tenants, renewed tenants, or increased maintenance), you should always have a game plan in place, such as scheduling inspections and check-ins with your tenants.
Overall, it’s always a good idea as a landlord to foster open communication with your tenants so that landlord-tenant relationship works in both your favors.