If you're a landlord who does it all, screening applicants, prepping rental properties, providing maintenance, bookkeeping, you don't have a lot of free time on your hands. It's estimated that just one maintenance request can take as much as 17 hours to resolve. And what if you have an exceptionally needy tenant, one that calls for every minor problem that may or may not need your attention? You could very well drive yourself mad tending to your tenants. But you don't have to. Following are four ways you can deal with needy renters.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries at the beginning. You can do so in your lease. Specify how long it will take you to respond to certain types of requests. If certain requests are off limits, put that in your lease as well. For example, if you don't want to have to upgrade existing working appliances just because your tenant wants you to, put a clause in your lease that states you will not make any upgrades. If some maintenance items, such as unclogging a toilet, are to be handled by the tenant, outline those rules as well.
Limit Methods of Communication
Although you have to be accessible to your tenants, you don't have to be at their beck and call. Limit the methods of communication by giving out your office number only. Send after hours requests to an answering service. If you prefer email, ask tenants to email requests to the office instead of calling. This will give you time to figure out which requests need your immediate attention and which ones can wait a while.
Know Your Landlord Rights
Under the law, you are required to fix certain things. However, the law doesn't say that you have to fix or change everything the tenant requests. If a tenant sees a spider, you don't have to pay to have the property fumigated. Look up the laws in your state and stand your ground.
Hire a Property Manager
If you hire a property management company, you won't have to deal with needy renters at all. Your manager will do it for you. Managers are especially helpful if you have multiple properties to manage. What's more, the cost of hiring a property manager is very well worth the peace and quiet you will get in return.
As you can see, there are several ways you can deal with needy renters. If you're having difficulty managing your properties, ask for help. A great property manager can make your life much easier.