Firstly, I need to give you some credentials here.
We've been renting for many many years, and in that time, we've accrued a staggering number of glowing references.
Our current property manager loves us. We have people asking us if we'll consider renting their properties. (sadly, none of them have so far been in a place where we want to live)
When we live in your house, we will keep the rent paid up well in advance (by months, in fact).
We will re-plant, prune, fertilise, mulch, weed and mow.
We will patch old nail-holes, repair and replace torn curtains, clean the light-fittings, scrub funny marks off the walls, mend the fly-screens, re-stain those water-marked window ledges, re-lay the lumpy pavers, and clean those grotty stickers off the windows.
We'll leave your property in better condition than when we moved into it.
We'll even do these things out of our own pocket most of the time.
UNTIL -- you respond by putting our rent up by $10 a week and only granting us 6 month leases, when you agreed to 12.
For your measly $260 odd you have lost our goodwill.
From now on, everything that was damaged when we moved in here, will stay that way unless YOU pay for it.
And we will vacate this property as soon as our current lease is up, no matter how much we love living here.
If this house is untenanted for even one week, you've lost all the gains from the rent increase.
This is what I think every investment property owner should know.
1. it is not your tenants' job to pay your property off. I know this is the attraction that draws most people into the property market, but if YOU can't service your mortgage yourself, you shouldn't be investing in it. You shouldn't charge rent based on what you need to ask for in order to service the debt.
2. while your tenants are living in the house, it is their home. If they are keeping it in a reasonable condition, and keeping up with the rent, cut them some slack. Make sure your Property Manager knows that you can live with a dusty aircon vent or a handmark on the lightswitch. Don't become so pedantic that you lose your tenants.
3. you need to keep up with repairs to hot water systems, air cons, plumbing, electrics, the stove, tree-pruning etc.
The house will eventually need to be re-painted. Blinds will eventually need to be re-placed.
You can't ask people to pay for living with a non-working stove, or a fire hazard of junk piled behind the shed, or faulty lights. Be prepared to spend money (lots of money) when it's necessary. If you can't afford to replace or repair as necessary, you shouldn't have an investment property
4. if you have good tenants, look after them. They're rare.
Are you a tenant? or an owner? have you had a terrible owner, or a terrible tenant? tell us about it.