Top 10 Property Management Tips for Chicago Landlords

1. Only qualified tenants need apply!

Set standards for your tenant pool, then make sure you screen everyone to the same standard. Some of the worst tenants around come from a friend of a friend’s mother’s cousin. (What even is that?) Do not bend your requirements and screen everyone equally.

(Need tips on finding the right tenant? Follow our Ultimate Guide here)

2. Take a security deposit or admin fee!

It is fine (some might even say “kind”) to work out an agreement for someone to pay the security deposit or fee over the course of two or three payments. The most important point is to collect additional, upfront funds to mitigate risk should damages occur later on down the road.

3. Write it all down!

Objectively good, comprehensive lease agreements protect everyone. Even if the agreement is month to month, the lease is meant to protect both parties involved. It is the only smart way of doing business.

4. Provide a safe environment!

Make sure the building is secure. A good rule of thumb from a single family home to a multi-unit buildings is to provide secure locks, plenty of outside lighting and clear pathways throughout the common areas.

5. Get enough insurance coverage!

As a landlord you are open to liability all the time. Ensure that you have enough insurance to cover you in case anything goes wrong.

6. Know when to outsource repairs!

It is somewhat common to think that if you can, you should. However, if you are capable but unskilled, the time it takes to complete a task quickly compounds. Consider your options and compare against the value of your time. You may find that it is cheaper to hire someone skilled than to attempt to save money by doing it yourself.

7. Acknowledge all complaints with care!

If a tenant calls in with a complaint, it is your responsibility to let them know that you got the message. Make sure you let them know how you are going to handle the problem and keep them in the loop with the solution timetable.

(Checkout our blog about keeping renters happy.)

8. Disclose any issues to your tenants!

If there is mold in the building (or any other environmental hazard, for that matter) it is your responsibility to let your tenants know. Let them know what you are doing about it and put it in writing with proof of delivery. As a landlord you run the risk of being sued over environmental hazards if not properly disclosed.

9. Do not get emotionally involved with your tenants!

Make sure you establish a business relationship with your tenant from the beginning. Tenants tell all kinds of stories to get out of paying rent. There is a fine line that separates weakness from kindness. If the relationship is professional from the start your tenant will treat you in a professional manner, and appreciate your kindness all the more.

10. Maintain open communication!

Keep in touch with your tenants and give adequate notice when you need to get into the property. It is important to respect your tenant’s time, privacy, and the fact that they are paying you for the space.

Of course, you may already know and follow every one of these points. In that case, Lofty would like to congratulate you on your excellence in property management! On the other hand, if you’re thinking to yourself, “wow, I could really stand to improve,” but your life is already busy with plenty of other tasks and responsibilities, have no fear.

Here at Lofty, we love to help. It is our goal to take the tedious tasks of management out of your hands and free your time to live the life you want while maximizing your investment. Get in touch today to learn more!