How to Keep Control of Your Rental Property

  • 19.December 2013
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Control Rental PropertyIt is easy to assume that once you have a rental property in Malta you can just sit back, wait for tenants and then let the cash flow in. In reality, things are not that simple. In this short blog post I will try to indicate how you can keep control of your rental property to avoid problems along the way.

– If your rental is still unoccupied, you have to make sure that as a empty property it is still in good shape. Therefore you should visit every week, open up the windows to let the fresh air in, check the water and electricity systems, and operate some of the appliances to keep them in good running order. Check if any maintenance needs to be made, if there are any leakages, if there are any postal items to be retrieved, and if the property needs cleaning. If you have a garden, then make sure it is not allowed to overgrow. This regular checkup will help you in the long term so that if you land a tenant unexpectedly, the property will not be found unsuitable for immediate occupation. Don’t be caught out unawares. If you cannot keep control of your property single-handed, then get somebody to do it for you. A property manager can take over several roles, including maintenance , upkeep and security.

– If you are in the process of seeking tenants, screen possible tenants personally if you can. You will know if you want to rent out to young people or older people, locals or foreigners, on short or long term basis. The important thing is to meet interested would-be tenants and gauge for yourself whether they seem reliable, whether they can afford to pay the rent, whether they have any difficulty with respecting your criteria.  For instance – you may decide to forbid your tenants from keeping large dogs in the house. If would-be tenants come to visit with a Labrador, you know they are not suitable to stay in your property.

– If you cannot manage the choice of tenants yourself, then get an agency to do this for you. A real estate agency in Malta will advertise your property, bring people to view and screen would-be tenants to see if they fit in with your criteria.

– If your rental is occupied, then your rental contract should have included a clause which stipulates that you have the right to visit the premises and check things fairly regularly as long as you advise your tenant accordingly ahead of your visit. Do allow your tenant enough time to organise him/herself. Be considerate to the fact that people might be ill or super busy or working longer hours than usual, and thus unlikely to welcome you at immediate notice. Make full use of this stipulation in your contract, so that you keep tabs on the way your real estate in Malta is being maintained and managed by your tenant. So for instance, if the property is an apartment, and the common parts are filthy, you can remind your tenant that he/she had agreed to share the tasks of cleaning with the occupants of the other apartments. If, for instance, you had stipulated that no washing be hung out on the balconies overlooking the facade, then you can make sure this is respected and remind your tenants of the alternatives.  If there are things around your property which displease you, diplomatically and tactfully let your tenant know. Make sure your property is being respected and that damage is not happening through lack of attention on the part of the tenant.

– Do invite your tenants to notify you of any faults or difficulties that materialise from time to time. When such notifications occur, do not ignore them and make sure you visit the property to check out the problem. Sometimes appliances break down, postal items arrive unexpectedly, keys get lost, petty issues with neighbours crop up. You are the owner of the property, so make sure you take care of each occurence as it materialises. If tenants feel you do not care about your own property, they are unlikely to respect or care for it themselves.

– Building a good relationship with your tenants is key to a pleasant rental experience and positive feedback for repeat bookings time and again.

This article was written by Marika Azzopardi, a freelance writer and journalist. A frequent contributor to national English language papers and magazines, she writes about a bevy of topics including art, people and life in general. She is also the author of children’s books and short stories, delving into adult fiction from time to time.

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