With the economy the way it is, many people are deciding to turn available space into a rentable unit, be it a room, a guesthouse, a garage or an attic.

So, how can you as a landlord, entice someone to rent your property? Having someone sign a lease agreement with you can bring you extra income and give someone a nice place to live.

Where do I begin?

You can go a long way just by making sure your available space is in a decent state of repair and is well kept (cleaned and organized). Even though this space may be unused by you it is going to be someone else’s home and needs to look as though it has been properly cared for. The inside should be free of damages and recently cleaned. Investing a little bit of money up front can go a long way in making a new tenant feel like they have a home. Try finding inexpensive but nice looking small appliances or fixtures. A simple attractive light or faucet can be that little touch that makes the tenant want to move in.

If your tenant feels like they live at home, the more probable it is that you are going to have them pay on time and for them to continue to make the place look nice. You can encourage them to allow them the right to make small changes so the place feels more like their home. Consider letting them keep plants or flowers outside their space. Letting them paint their walls goes a long long way (you can even pre-select colors by offering them a ‘palette’ to choose from.)

Next, make yourself available. Being a landlord means letting the tenant know you are available for any questions or concerns they may have. Exhibit your care for the space as well as the people living in it. Make sure that you are quick to reply to their concerns immediately. If there is a repair issue and you can’t do it yourself, call in an outside repairman to make sure they are done correctly.

The greatest gift you can give a tenant is open and swift communication. So, even if you are not able to fix something right away, you can let them know you are in the process of working on it. Just being heard can make a tenant feel cared for and if you knew how slow most landlords were to respond to any issue, being available will set you head and shoulders above most everyone else!

It’s not hard to be a landlord and make your tenant feel “at home”. Being attentive to your rental space and your tenant will make things go smoothly for the both of you.

If you need assistance with any of the forms necessary to lease your available space, there are a number of options online.

Stirling Gardner (The Hollywood Landlord) is a writer and property management expert.