Top 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Managing as a Long Distance Landlord

Top 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Managing as a Long Distance Landlord

Learn the keys necessary that will allow you to manage a property without ever having to be physically present

Being a long-distance landlord can often come with a few issues; it can be hard to check up on your property and deal with emergencies. That doesn’t mean that being a long-distance landlord is impossible. It just means that you need to have a safety net and the best tenant screening services in place. Here are a few tips to make the process easier.

1. Do screen your tenants carefully

It's always important to collect rental applications, screen potential tenants, get a credit report, and have a criminal background check and an eviction report, but it's even more critical when you’re not able to keep an eye on your property in person. You need to have applicants complete a detailed rental application, including a complete background check that includes a nationwide eviction history report, and check their references carefully. If you get comprehensive tenant information, then you can make an informed decision about who to rent to.

2. Don't forget to communicate

You need to keep in touch with your tenants. Whether you prefer to communicate online or by phone is up to you, but you must ensure that they have several ways to get ahold of you in an emergency and that you can always contact them.
If you need to be out of contact for more than a few days, then you need to nominate someone to be your proxy and be available to your tenants if necessary. It’s also useful if you can persuade your tenants to let you know if they’ll be out of town for a while, so you can arrange for someone to keep an eye on the property.

3. Do set comprehensive lease terms

You need to set out crystal clear expectations and responsibilities before your tenant moves in. You may have weeded out unsavory characters with the criminal background check and credit report, but passing those hurdles doesn't mean the tenant will care for the property like you would.
If you prefer to have a no smoking or no pets clause to minimize damage to your property, then it's up to you to be on the safe side, include your terms in the lease that the tenant signs.

4. Do have someone on the ground

If your property is in a condo or apartment building, then you’ll probably hear about any misbehavior from the condo or homeowner association, but a house is more private. If anything untoward is happening to your rentals, such as vandalism or antisocial behavior, then you need to know about it asap. If you have a friend keeping a casual eye out, then at least you’ll know sooner rather than later.

5. Don’t let property maintenance slide

Maintenance for rental property remains the owners' responsibility, so make sure you keep on top of all the regular work that needs to be done, such as minor repairs and yard work. All the queries about repairs and maintenance will come your way as the owner, and you need to be prepared to deal with it even if you do live a long way away.
It is vital to find trustworthy tradespeople that you can call on to get the job done in an emergency, and who are happy to invoice you for the work. You may also want to organize a regular crew to ensure that the day to day tasks get done.

6. Do automate your processes

If you don't set the payments up effectively, then collecting rent in the form of cash or checks from tenants in another city can turn into a headache. After you have collected an online rental application and received a thorough credit report and score, you can either use a management service that also deals with the financial side or have your tenants set up a wire transfer.

Being prepared is key

Managing as a long-distance landlord can work for you as long as you set up systems in advance. By choosing RentSpree to streamline your processes, you can access up to date, detailed information to find the best tenants.

RentSpree sends the data straight to your inbox, allowing you to save time and stress in closing the lease. Having access to all the details with the tap of a finger is invaluable for landlords, agents, and tenants.