With a surplus of people looking for homes to rent, landlords in Singapore cannot truly afford to be picky if they have intention of making some money.
Regardless of whether you live in the house with the tenant or not, there are certain things you will need to do on your part to ensure that your tenant is comfortable. Think of your home as a hotel and you as the concierge, maintenance person and security and you might understand just what being a landlord entails.
1. Equality: In Singapore, some landlords tend to adopt a racial stance by insisting that only if the potential tenant is of a specific race, should he then apply. For a multi-racial society, not only is this sad but unethical and racially insensitive. All applicants must be considered and reviewed based on merits and characteristics and not on something as superficial as race, profession or age.
2. Fix her up: Some places that are being rented out look worthy of a demolition ball. Even if it is an old building, you as the landlord need to ensure that the unit you are renting out is liveable. This means it has to be clean, has proper sanitation, electricity, light, space, free of dust, pests and possibly more. If you cannot see yourself living there, then you should not impose such poor conditions on someone else.
3. Improvements: Just because you’re not living in the house does not mean you should not improve it. Your unit is an investment and investments grow when its value is enhanced. Besides, if you intend to increase the monthly rent, justify it by adding new features your tenant would benefit from. Of course, before you do this you will need to alert or discuss with your tenant first. As the person who is paying and living there, your tenant has a right to know of your plans for the home as it will directly affect him.
4. Expectations: If you expect your tenant to take care of your unit and be of a certain standard, then you will need to set that standard by treating your tenant as a customer and as a fellow human being instead of just a monthly pay check.
5. Listening ear: Check up on your tenant from time to time. Find out if he is comfortable, if everything is working and if he has any problems. If you can assist with things pertaining to the home, do it. The importance of listening to your tenant cannot be adequately explained. Just remember the hotel metaphor and provide your tenant with good customer service. After all, if he is happy, so are you.
6. Deposits: Unless it was explicitly stated in the contract and made known verbally to the tenant at the point of signing that all deposits will be used for any upkeep or maintenance that is directly the fault of the tenant, you must never hold onto the deposits and create new rules to keep it during the tenancy. Give it back when the time is up.
Being a good landlord is easy. All the above guidelines are basic human courtesies we would extend to relatives and friends so remember to do the same with someone who is your customer.