Ready to rent your property? Read this advice from real property managers

1As someone looking to become a property manager, your responsibility is to make sure everything runs smoothly while keeping your residents safe and happy. To some, this seems easy; but it’s not always smooth sailing when you’re trying to deal with numerous tenants and several complications at the same time, especially if you’re new at this.

If you’re just embarking on this journey, you’ll want all the help you can get — which is exactly why we thought we’d go to some seasoned experts who have been in your shoes. We asked a handful of property managers and those with experience in the rental industry what their best advice is for people like you, and here’s what each had to say.

Mark Amann

Property Manager and Realtor at Vision Real Estate

“Make sure your leases are set to expire during times of the year where it will be easiest to find new tenants. We sometimes get in the habit of doing yearlong leases, when really a shorter-term lease that ends in the summer may be better for the landlord and tenant. You’ll have more potential renters and the option to raise rent.”

Most people, at least in the U.S., move between the months of May and September. Why? Because it’s when young adults are starting or graduating from college, younger kids are out of school and the weather is nicer and days are longer. Each of these makes it more accommodating for renters to move from one location to another.

Like Mark suggested, this means ending your leases at the end of spring or beginning of summer is a great idea. Since there is typically more demand from renters for a viable living space during this timeframe, you’re able to drive your pricing up a bit.

While most landlords opt for yearlong leases since they find longer-term renter commitment more desirable, consider the benefits of what a shorter six– or nine-month lease can mean for you and the renter. It gives renters more flexibility — a top need for most renters — and gives you a chance at more space to rent out at a higher price than you first rented.

DeAnne Hill

Realtor, Rental Manager at Parker-Brown Real Estate

“The best advice I have is, do the homework BEFORE you sign the lease and give keys. Do a credit check and criminal background check. Then late payments are just not a problem.”

We couldn’t agree with DeAnne more. As a landlord, you want good tenants — tenants who won’t trash your property, will quickly tell you when something’s broken so you can get it fixed before any major damage happens and who pay their rent on time every month. Good tenants result in a steady cash flow and reduce costly risks.

But, you can’t tell a good tenant just by having a pleasant phone call or having a personal reference say they’re a good person. Like DeAnne said, you have to do your homework on all potential tenants. And the more information you can gather on them, the better. Check their financial standing. Check their social security number. Verify their employment. Do credit, security and background checks.

Thorough tenant screening may be time-consuming, but it’s one of the best time investments you’ll make. It helps you weed out parasitic professional tenants (the ones who think they can just live in your property for free and do whatever) and hand keys over to safe, reliable tenants.

Michael Baird

Real Estate Investor, house flipper and Owner of Mike Baird Real Estate and Design

“I believe the most important factor in tenant screening is the length of employment. The length of employment relates to accountability and responsibility, which then results in on time payments. To me, it is the single most import factor. They’re a cash flow asset if their boss feels they’re accountable. I always look for employment history of two years or greater.”

Money doesn’t grow on trees. And while some tenants may get government assistance to live on your property, most renters need a job and have to keep a job in order to pay rent. Think of each of your renters as someone you’re going into business with. If you can’t be certain that they’ll be able to fulfill their financial obligations to you, it’s in your best interest to not go into business with them.

One of the best indicators of someone’s future performance is their past performance. So like Michael suggests, you’ve got to verify their employment and income. You can do that in three ways: call their employer, check their pay stubs and verify their deposits through bank statements, especially if they’re self-employed. If they’ve been able to hold a steady job(s) during the last few years and their boss(es) have nothing but good things to say about them, then they should make a good renter. If they’ve bounced around jobs during the last couple years, take that as a sign of them not being able to hold a job and keep their rent payments coming in on time.

Mike also wanted to add a caution when screening.

“A recommendation from a previous landlord should have very little weight. Oftentimes the previous landlord wants to use an incentive to get the tenant out so you won’t find complete transparency.”

You always want to call someone’s previous landlord, but take what they say with a grain of salt. Dishonest, or just desperate, landlords will do whatever it takes to get a bad tenant off their hands, including telling you a big fat lie about how great of a tenant they are. To get the most accurate information on a potential renter, call multiple previous landlords and not just their most recent.

Pam Storm

Founder at Rent Marketplace

“I am biased and feel strongly the No. 1 mistake is not establishing rental acceptance criteria prior to vetting applicants — which then allows for emotion in the critical phase of selecting residents. Set the criteria and accept only those that meet the criteria, and be detailed on the criteria. It’s best for everyone, makes this the empirical business process that it should be, removes possibility for discrimination, etc. An excellent screening process will deliver solid tenants, and then most other downstream headaches can be prevented.”

With your rental acceptance criteria, write it down and attach a copy of your criteria list to every application form. Doing so informs every applicant of the conditions they have to meet in order for them to be considered your tenant. A list — that’s both clearly written and detailed — given to them in the beginning also ensures all applicants know exactly what’s expected of them, will help eliminate misunderstandings and keep you from wasting time screening applicants who don’t meet your tenant standards.

Another piece of advice we think is important with rental acceptance criteria is being consistent. If you aren’t consistent with your lists, and say turn down Michael because he’s been evicted in the last two years but overlooked that with Carrie because you know her and she’s had a rough patch but doing better, then be prepared to get hit with an unwanted discrimination case by Michael. The only case for different criteria lists would be if you have different buildings that necessitate different applicant criteria.

Kallie Holm

Director of business Development & RE Agent at Vision Real Estate

“Regular inspections benefit both the tenant and the owner/management. These inspections can help to identify any maintenance or issues that need fixing prior to becoming major expenses and/or damages. You can also follow up on your residents to make sure they are complying with the lease agreement and conducting their maintenance responsibilities. And of course, if any damage is being done to the property it is better to find it earlier than later.”

You may have spent ample time screening a tenant and they checked out, but that doesn’t mean you should regularly check in on them and your property while they’re a tenant. Inspections, usually done monthly, are meant to protect you and your property, and they’re also good for tenants. They’ll save both parties time and money.

What’s the best way to solve a problem? Keep it from happening in the first place. Conduct routine inspections to know if there are any maintenance problems that need fixing before they become a huge, damaging expense and to make sure your tenants are complying with their part of the rental agreement. You also want to conduct an inspection when a tenant first moves in to make note of how the rental property looks before they move it. Our advice: do this inspection with them and take pictures so you know what really was or wasn’t there or broken so you won’t be held liable for something they did.

Source: ksl.com

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Landlord Tip: Giving proper legal notice to tenant

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(This applies to month to month tenancies or if your lease allows you to make unilateral changes to the tenancy as the LPA Lease does.)
* It is important to remember that proper notice must also be given by the tenant or the landlord for the Intention of Non – Renewal. Even though the lease has an expiration date, the landlord must still require a written notice to vacate from the tenant.

If it is a 30 or 60 day notice, be sure that the written notice is served before the beginning of the next rent period. That means if the rent is due and payable on the 1st of the month, have the notice served before that date. Serving a notice in the middle of a rent period will not change the fact that the 30 or 60 days notice period starts on the first day of the next rent period. An official dated notice should be delivered / “served” to the tenant, (preferably by at least 2 of the following methods)

 

  • in person (preferable)
  • sent by certified mail- return receipt requested
  • regular first class mail combined with the above. We recommend getting a certificate of mailing receipt from the post office whenever you mail an official notice by 1st class (regular) mail.

 

Source: The Landlord Protection Agency

 

Tenant Threatens to Sue

ask-the-attorneyThe Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

I had to file a ins. claim due to a broken supply line at the rental house. the renter works for a company that handles “clean up” and construction. my ins company had came out about 2 weeks after the claim was filed due to the holidays. Gave me 2,100 for repairs. The company that the renter works for gave a 6,000 est. which is a huge difference!

So obviously I seeked another company to do the work. When I had the new contractor there he was giving him attitude and demanding stuff. Which what ever needs to be done will be done!! SO now that the renters company is not doing the work and they are mad about that. They did not agree to 2 different options I gave them so I could get in there and get the work done because they would have to leave for 2 days. I offered money off of rent. or pay 2 nights at a hotel. neither was good enough for them. I had already credited them 150.00 for last month and I was going to give them another 120.00 .They started to threaten to sue me. I started a eviction process due to lease violations that I discovered while I was there with the ins company.

1. they have a cat,
2. made alterations to the property
3.) wont cooperate to let me get the construction done.

The mom of the tenant called to try to work something out and I drafted a paper with concerns of both parties that we talked about but when they read the draft they didn’t like what it said. so eviction notice is in effect “notice to quit”.

What are my obligations to them as far as the deposit 400.00 and last months rent 800.00 and if I can sue for the time it is not being rented out? They are threatening to sue me so I wanted to see if I have “countersuit” thank you

Angela, Michigan

A: Your countersuit would be for “out of pocket” repairs and unpaid rent for the time they’re still there after they stop paying rent. Technically, you can also sue for time the unit is vacant- but I rarely see that awarded if its vacant because you evicted them.

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

Has your home been on the sales market longer than expected?

1Has your home been on the sales market longer than expected? We can find you a quality renter that will provide income. If you can’t decide whether to rent or sell, we can simultaneously market your home for rent while it’s on the sales market. You make the choice to take which ever comes first — a renter or a buyer!
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Looking to lease your home? Don’t be a TURKEY, call us!

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During the summer, the turkey learns to expect that visits from the farmer mean food. Eventually Thanksgiving nears, but when the farmer shows up this time he is bearing an axe and not food. The turkey learns very quickly that his expectations were catastrophically off mark.

This happens in leasing, too. No, your head isn’t chopped off, but you become very accustomed to leasing routines and experiences can suddenly change in which you aren’t prepared.

So how do you avoid becoming a turkey? The first line of defense is to have #BevRobertsRentals in your corner.
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Welcome to North Carolina!

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On November 21, 1789, North Carolina ratified the Constitution to become the twelfth state. The vote came approximately two hundred years after the first settlers arrived on the Atlantic coastal plain.
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Thanks for thinking of us for your leasing needs!

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We are thankful for our landlords, tenants, and partnered realtors. Referrals are the highest honor we receive from our customers!
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