Whether you have family and friends in your multi-family or complete strangers, there are a few things you can do to improve the tenant-landlord relationship in your multi-family property.
1) Always Provide Notice Before Entering
Nothing gets multi-family tenants more upset than when the landlord enters their unit without permission. Notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter their rental unit and provide as much notice as possible, at least 24-hours (the minimum amount required by law.) Discussing up front with your tenants that you may need to enter in case of an emergency or for maintenance that effects other units may save you some headaches later on.
2) Be Sure to Disclose Environmental Hazards
Older houses and apartments like we have here in Essex County often have what are considered environmental hazards by modern building standards. Lead paint and mold issues are the most common and landlords are now being held more liable for tenant health problems resulting from exposure to undisclosed hazards in their rental premises. Properly disclosing potential hazards clearly and in writing can save you a lot in the long run.
3) Keep Your Premise Secure
Crimes occurring on your property are bad. At best, they can lower your property value and reduce the amount you can get for rent. At worst, they can lead to lawsuits and liability. Often times, simple (and inexpensive) things like spotlights on timers, quality locks and even well-trimmed bushes and landscaping that eliminates blind spots can make a big difference in keeping your property (and tenants) safe
4) Do the Right Thing with Security Deposits
In MA, there are very specific rules you need to consider when dealing with tenant’s security deposits (link) Establishing separate accounts, providing documentation and returning deposits in a timely manner (and with interest earned) can avoid a judgment in housing court that cost you triple damages.
5) Make Sure You Have the Proper Type and Amount Insurance
Making sure you have the right amount and right type of insurance to protect your multi-family and its tenants is critical to the success of your investment. Like car insurance, it may feel like a waste of money until you need it, but a well-designed insurance program can protect you from lawsuits by tenants for injuries or discrimination and from losses to your rental property caused by everything from fire and storms to burglary and vandalism.
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