Being a good landlord is the key to keeping good tenants. Here are some simple things you can do, regardless of your state, to comply with tenants’ rights laws and show your tenants that you’re a good landlord.

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Always Give Notice of Your Visits

Knowing how to be a landlord involves looking at things from your tenants' perspectives. Giving them 24 to 48 hours of notice before you visit will show your professionalism and prevent potential conflicts. In the majority of states, you must give notice of your visits by law. Even if you technically own the property, the tenants have an interest in protecting their own belongings. For example, as the landlord you can’t give the police permission to search a rented property without also getting the tenant's permission. In a few states such as Ohio and Indiana, the landlord does not have to give notice of his visits so long as they occur at a reasonable hour and the tenants are aware that the landlord might make a visit. Despite variations in the law, providing proper notice is always the professional thing to do.

Always Be Precise and Articulate

If a tenant violates the terms of the Lease Agreement, make sure that you are precise and articulate. If you fail to note what a tenant is doing wrong, then you run the risk of waiving the ability to enforce those clauses in the agreement later. If you are too vague when you ask your tenants to stop or start doing something, you run the risk of noncompliance (and frustration) just because the tenants didn't understand what you wanted them to do. Reference the specific clauses from the rental contract to provide clarity and add additional authority to your requests.

Always Be Prompt in Your Repairs

Landlords owe their tenants the duty of providing a habitable home. This means that it's up to you to keep the apartment or house livable at all times. Habitability refers to general ability to live in the house. Moldy walls, broken floors, leaking gas pipes, dripping water, lack of hot water, and the like can make the house uninhabitable. If you do not resolve these issues within a reasonable amount of time, then the tenant is within his or her rights to withhold rent payments or to charge you for repairs. In states where the temperatures drop particularly low or become quite hot, then functioning air conditioning or heaters generally qualify as requirements for habitability.

You should try to respond to request for repairs within 24 to 48 hours. If you won't be able to get it done within that time frame, then make sure that you tell the tenant when you will get to it and what you will be doing. If you take more than a reasonable amount of time, the tenant can charge you if he or she makes the repairs personally, or hires someone else to do it. A reasonable time varies based on the state as well as on the item that's in need of repair. A broken heater during a Connecticut winter, for instance, has a much shorter time frame for repairs than moldy walls in Maine during the summer because of the risk from frostbite and exposure to the elements.

Get Started Create landlord and tenant documents Everything you need to be a successful landlord.

Get Started Create landlord and tenant documents Everything you need to be a successful landlord.