Last week I opened the discussion about how landlords can start out right with their tenants by building a trusting relationship. Today I would like to discuss another way to build up that relationship: Rules and Regulations.

Property owners and managers usually hand off a copy of the rules and regulations along with the lease. Most make the tenants sign them, but we know that they rarely are read in full until the rules are inadvertently violated. This can lead to bad feelings and ill will on both sides.

Fortunately, this is actually quite easy to avoid with just a little forethought. The landlord or manager can include in a tenant’s welcome pack a short list of the rules he or she feels most important for the tenant to know. And I do emphasise the word ‘short’. Creating another long laundry list of rules to remember will not help you here.

You can approach this in number of ways. First, you can choose to list the rules that are most important to you as a property owner. These would include things like any noise or pet policies, due date for rent payment and late payment policies. Second, you can list the rules that are violated most often on the property: noise (again), too many cars parked on the premises, or unkempt premises. Finally, you can choose to remind tenants of the more obscure rules, which, though not violated often, can create problems or hazards if not followed.

Whatever your approach, keep your list to one side of an A4 page. Don’t try to rehash all of the rules here. You simply want to point to the ones you feel are important for safety, peace of mind and/or resident satisfaction. It’s a good policy to put a bit of an explanation as to why these rules are important – it helps residents understand there is a good reason for the rule instead of simply thinking they’ve gotten in with an onerous landlord.