It’s one thing to have tenants; it’s quite another to actually live next door to them. Living next to your tenants brings about a host of complications that you might not have given much consideration to when you initially bought your property. For one thing, it’s probably going to be hard to find tenants that would be comfortable with the scenario, so when you find good tenants, do what you can to keep them happy.
How you ended up next door to your tenants isn’t really of importance. You could have bought the house next door to make a bit of extra money or even invested in land and built a property with 2 homes on it. Whatever the case may be, if you are planning to live in one of the homes, you are going to be right next door to your tenants. Most people wince at this thought, but it really doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
If you want to ensure that you and your tenants make for good neighbors and live comfortably, there are several things that you need to consider about the living arrangement. You just have to consider all the possibilities and be prepared.
15 things to consider when living next door to your tenants:
1. Make them feel at home.
One thing you need to really consider is that your tenants might not stay forever. Vacancy is a reality for many property owners, so do your best to make them comfortable, and they may never want to move. Making them feel at home will help them, as well as their family and friends, absolutely love spending time there. And that means that there may be a possible new tenant already lined up, if they ever decide to move on.
2. Attend to problems/damage/repairs as quickly as possible.
This is very similar to the first point in that attending to repairs as quickly as possible will shine you in a very good light. Not many landlords are on top of repairs when a problem is reported, and by being a great landlord, you can retain your tenants more easily.
3. Have rental payments automated with a direct debit.
To avoid having to go over and knock on your tenant’s door to collect rent when it’s not paid or is late, make sure that your agreement includes the setup of an automated direct debit from their bank account. This removes any awkwardness and ensures that you get your rent on time every month. Just talking about money can make things awkward, so eliminate the possibility.
4. Make your ground rules clear (setting boundaries is important).
Before you sign an agreement and allow new tenants to move in, have a frank discussion about the boundaries and ground rules you expect to uphold. You can ascertain how they react to these and determine if they will be a suitable option or not.
5. Assess the personality types of the applicants – will you get along?
What type of people are the new tenants? Do they seem like easy-going people? Ask them about their previous rentals and check up on their references to determine their personalities and if they are suitable candidates. Getting along with your new tenants is going to be vital to you as they aren’t just your neighbors; they are your actual source of income.
6. Try to exclude the allowance of pets from the deal.
Pets, unfortunately, cause damage to property and can be noisy too. If you wish to protect the value of your property and don’t want to have to deal with noise issues, simply advertise your property as “no pets allowed” and save yourself a lot of trouble.
7. Follow the same set of rules you lay out to your tenants.
If you expect your tenants to turn their music down by 10pm and not have massive parties, you might have to reciprocate. If you are living by a set of completely different rules, you can expect your tenants to become resentful and may even want to move out.
8. Be considerate.
Just because your tenants are your neighbors, it doesn’t mean that you get to treat them in any way that you want. Treat them with the same consideration as you would anyone else. Allow them their privacy, don’t be overly noisy, and don’t park in their parking space. Just general considerate behavior can go a long way.
9. Be willing to forgive and move on.
Don’t overreact if your tenants mess up and behave poorly or break something. Try to be as understanding and forgiving as you can, especially if they are open to discussing their wrongdoing. Making a tenant feel like they can come to you when something goes wrong will create a good landlord-tenant relationship.
10. Get to know them a little better, but don’t overstep the mark.
Of course, you want to have a decent relationship with your tenants, but don’t make the mistake of making them your buddies. A friendly chat in the driveway is fine, but spending an all-nighter drinking whiskey with them might create problems for you in the future. If your friends want to become your tenants and neighbors, think long and hard about that. It could cause a problem in your friendship.
11. Have a plan of action well detailed in the event that something goes wrong between you.
Before anyone moves in, discuss the possibility of things going wrong. Agree on a course of action if either party decides that they are no longer happy with the arrangement. This will ensure that you both know what to do if you simply don’t want to be neighbors anymore. It creates security for you and also provides guidance to your tenants.
12. Don’t be a nosey parker.
It’s sometimes tempting to know a little more than you need to when it comes to people living on your property. Avoid poking your nose in where it doesn’t belong. If you see your neighbor creating a flower bed, don’t offer your opinion or try to manipulate their decision. If you see your neighbors entertaining, don’t spy on them. Keep to yourself and allow them their privacy, or you might find that they become quite uncomfortable with the living arrangement.
13. Keep an eye on upkeep and maintenance (maybe monthly checks).
Unfortunately, renters don’t care for a property as carefully as owners do. By living right next door, you are in a unique position to keep an eye on how the property is being looked after. Don’t just walk in and interrupt their lives to have a look around, though. Have an agreement to do property checks every month or second month, just so you can keep on top of things.
14. Do some of the maintenance and repairs yourself.
If you want to have a look around, take the opportunity when it presents itself. Doing the household repairs yourself gets you a peek at how the home is being cared for and can also save you a lot of money in the long run.
15. Be open and willing to communicate.
Make sure that you are approachable and willing to communicate so that the tenants feel they can come and talk to you about anything. If they are worried that you might freak out that the tap is broken or the drain is blocked, they may put off the repair (or telling you about it), and this could end up creating an even bigger problem (and waste a lot of money).
All things considered
While the work comes from both sides to make any relationship work, the responsibility falls on the landlord to get the right tenants. Living next door to your tenants doesn’t have to be a thing worth wincing or grimacing about. In fact, if you consider how things can go and are willing to work with them to create a good relationship, everything should be just fine.
In short, if you keep these considerations in mind when choosing and dealing with a tenant, you will likely live harmoniously next door to each other for years to come. Fingers crossed!