That old adage "it sounds simple" can definitely apply to being a landlord. Like many things in life doing simple things well can be complicated in execution. In your experience what makes a "good" landlord into a "great" landlord?
Good and Great are subjective and in the eyes of the beholder. A tenant who had a landlord who never raised the rent and was always there on the spot to make repairs would probably call that landlord a great landlord. Other landlords who saw the amount of money the landlord was leaving on the table and the low return on investment would probably not call that landlord a great landlord.
If I was looking at an entire situation of some other landlord/tenant disinterested, I would redefine it as what makes the landlord/tenant experience go from good to great (again, subjective), as:
1. Clear and reasonable expectations from both parties.
2. Both parties meeting their obligations cheerfully and in a timely manner.
3. A long-term relationship with mutual respect and understanding on both sides.
A landlord/tenant relationship is a business/customer relationship, but one in which the business reserves the right to fire the customer for failure to perform.
They usually have a first name of "Nathan" or "Nate" and a very shiny cranium.
Seriously, I think integrity is the most important aspect. Second is understanding and abiding by the law. Third is the ability to relate to people as a professional. Fourth is the ability to create lists. ;)
+1 for the "1. Clear and reasonable expectations from both parties."
We make those expectations clear in the lease and read the lease to the tenants to make sure both parties understand what is expected. We also try to learn from our experiences and if something comes up that is not clear in the lease we do an assessment to decide if it needs to be captured in the lease for future tenants.
Examples would be tenant using a plumbing vent on the roof as an attachment point for a clothes line ;-) We didn't think we needed anything in the lease that mentioned "don't attach anything to the house without permission in writing". Boom, now it is in the lease.
It also relives us from having to make snap decisions. When the answer is, "let's see what the lease says about that... Yes your sister can move in, but she will need to do an application so we can get a credit and background check done. There will be a $275 admin fee to adjust the lease and she is required to sign the amended lease."
From who's perspective? The landlord? The tenant? If you are a property manager, the clients? Very different answers for each party even though there is overlap.
To be great just be good. Being good will make you look great when compared to the others. There are so many bad landlords out there. My tenants are think I’m great because I address their maintenance issues right away.
Yes, what Chris said. Be caring, but firm, and always keep a line between landlord and friendship.
From the perspective of a tenant:
4. Wants to invest in the property to make it a great home.
Turns a profit.
Provides housing that is in acceptable condition to the class of renter.
Provides a customer experience that is appropriate to that class of renter.
Knows the laws and follows them equally for everyone.
Screens renters carefully to avoid troublesome ones.
Behaves in a professional manner with renters (even the problem ones).