An important part of being a successful landlord is making sure your tenants are comfortable in your property. Imagine moving into a property where you didn’t know how to use the appliances, adjust the thermostat or find the nearest grocery store. To ensure a positive stay, a successful landlord should prepare a detailed property manual and leave it in an accessible place for your tenants. Now imagine being that same tenant who moves in and has a guide to everything he needs to know to live in the property comfortably. He can use the appliances, knows when the trash is being picked up and has a map to get around his new neighborhood.
This guide is to show you what should be included in this manual. Keep in mind that this manual not only provides information that the tenant needs, but ultimately reduces the amount of phone calls you may receive asking about each of these items. This guide outlines some of the items you could include, but of course what you decide to put in it can vary, depending on your property and your location.
Arrival and departure information: Welcome your tenants and let them know that you appreciate them as a tenant. This section should instruct them to walk through the unit, making sure that all is okay and nothing needs to be attended to. In addition, they should be instructed on how they are expected to leave the unit when they vacate the apartment. This should include information on handing in keys, getting back security deposit and more.
Keys: If your property requires special keys to access storage units, garages or other areas of the property, instruct the tenant on what area needs what key. If there are special passcodes they need to know put those passcodes in the manual too. Let the tenant know if there are any fees for replacing missing keys.
Parking spot: Let the tenant know what their designated parking spot is and if they need to move their car for any special parking days, such as alternate side of the street parking or snow removal, etc.
Thermostat: How can the tenant lower or raise the heat or air conditioning in their unit? The manual should instruct them on how to do that.
Trash day: What day is trash day? What holidays is the trash not picked up? Put that information here.
Major appliances and electronics: It might sound self-explanatory, but the reality is that appliances and electronics can come with extensive instructions on how to work complicated appliances. Give your tenant a copy of the instructions (keep the original for yourself) so they can look up anything they need.
Copy of HOA Rules & Regulations: Every tenant should have their own copy of the HOA rules and regulations to refer to when they need to know about specific situations. Keep a copy of them in this package. Be sure to update the document when any rule or regulation is changed or altered.
Neighborhood information: When you move in and don’t know the neighborhood, you feel lost and don’t know where to begin. How amazing would it be to have a landlord provide you with a map to the nearest grocery stores, highways, malls, major offices and popular restaurants. Include a directory of good take-out restaurants and menus too. Include maps to the area, train and bus information, taxi numbers and more.
Emergency: Make sure your tenant is prepared with all of the information they need in case of an emergency. This means a building map and fire escape information, local police and fire departments information, your emergency contact numbers, the contact to a trusted neighbor (or leave the space blank for them to fill in) and any maintenance or important building/property contacts. This section should also include information on what to turn off in case of an emergency, and how.
You might add other information depending on where you live and your property. Leave room to add notes if you need to.
Remember, it’s your job to provide good customer service. A detailed property manual is a great way to create a positive experience for your clients. It’s also a great way to limit the number of calls you’ll receive from your tenant during their stay.
Want to learn more checkout The Corporate Housing Handbook.