Avoid these mistakes if you are a landlord 7
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Are you planning on becoming a landlord? If your answer is yes, then you have to read this article. Just so you know, the life of landlords is tough - from the upkeep to managing tenants. You need to know what you are getting yourself into because it’s easy to take a misstep and end up in the red. For that, we've prepared you a list of rookie mistakes that you can avoid.


1. Choosing The Wrong Tenants

Every landlord will want their property to be occupied quickly. However, rushing through the process might cause you a greater deal for the long run, such as property damage, loss of reputation, and potential crime occurrence. That is why screening potential tenant is important to avoid unnecessary issue in the future.

Take the time to do some background checking and references, mainly from past landlords or employers. To know more on how you can do this efficiently, read this article.


2. Letting Tenants Fall Behind On Rents

Let’s face it. This is considered one of the major worries for all landlords. With a tenant who doesn’t pay rent on time, your (as a landlord) return-on-investments take longer, not to mention the energy you put into chasing the payment — it’s just not worth it. Bear in mind that you can’t evict your tenants by force according to Specific Relief Act 1950.

So what can you do if this matter occurs? Before taking any legal actions, write a formal letter stating all your demand. If that doesn’t work, you can go with a distress action. Read more about it here.


3. Incomplete Or No Tenancy Agreement

Providing a tenancy agreement to your renters may not be a legal requirement, but to avoid unnecessary conundrum in the future, it is advisable to do so. Tenants and landlords are allowed to negotiate and work out the terms of contract. Once both parties have agreed to the terms that are laid out, you and your tenant will sign the contract, and are bound by the terms during the tenancy period.

Important details you should look out include monthly rental, security deposit, methods of payment, details of the tenant, tenancy commencement and period, and other special condition required by a landlord.


4. Forgetting To Collect Deposits

This is NOT a wise thing to do. Just think about it - What if your rents are not being paid, tenant disappears and causes damage to your property? Would you go to a court and file a dispute? Most probably not, because you just don’t want to get into all the hassles, the headaches, and the lengthy legal process.

Deposits are important to cover damages caused by tenants. They can also be forfeited when tenants move out before fulfilling the tenancy period. In short, prevention is better than cure.


5. Engaging An Unprofessional Leasing Agent

Hiring an agent has its pros and cons. You can read more about it here. But, one thing for sure - you shouldn’t be engaging with an unregulated agent without a license. If things aren’t working out, it’ll cost you time and money.

To know if the person is a certified agent, you can key in his/her details i.e. name, ic number or REN number on Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents’ (BOVAEA) website. Other than that, you can also go through a platform like PropSocial to seek for professional leasing agent.


6. Failure To Keep Tenants Happy

Having a long-term, reliable tenant is important as a landlord. Once you've found trustworthy tenants, you'll want to make sure they're happy so that they can stick around longer - unless you're okay to start the process of renting all over again. You also want to avoid the tenants damaging your property over a dispute.

That being said, you should also know that being too nice will backfire. They say balancing is an art, and it applies to this situation too.


7. Your Property Is Not Well-maintained

Routine inspections are great opportunities to gauge how well the tenant keeps the property, and how satisfied they are with your property.

Don't take regular maintenance very lightly, as the smallest maintenance issue can turn into a real disaster. For instance, a minor leak in the roofing might cost you an entire roof. To make matter worse, the busted roof might collapse and you definitely hold liability for tenant’s injury because of negligence.



Conclusion

All in all, renting property and being a landlord is a business and you need to learn all you can about the regulations, ordinances and laws that concern it. It takes time and experience. Do you have any rookie mistakes you’d like to add to the list? Have you made any of these mistakes before? Share with us in the comment section below.



(Written by: Sonder, Edited by: Nisya Aziz, 18th April 2018)

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@windzneom 

Very misleading indeed. Speaking of taxation... does LHDN really come knocking on the property owner's door if your rental income exceed a certain amount?

By the way, have you ever heard of cases where a stamped tenancy agreement is legally used in court?

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@domng Not really, it depends more on whether you declare or didn't declare income tax, not only for property owner.

so far, most of the time i heard is that stamped tenancy agreement can help the landlord to re-enter the premise if tenant didn't pay rental for months with the help of authorities/police report. 

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I fully agreed with the writer that  buying a property and renting it out is a business. If you don't have the time or energy to do this "Renting Business", please don't buy any property.

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@unclejameswong 

Agree with you. Also need to bear in mind the pros and cons of buying a Commercial, Landed Residential, or High rise Condominium. 

If you do not have dedication to be in the "Renting Business", it is best not to invest in real estate.