I recently read an interesting blog post by Infolio director, Lauren Staley titled “the average life span of a property manager” according to this post the average time a property manager will stay in a job is 9 months! As a property manager, I found this post interesting. I agree with Lauren that property management can be a thankless job, as she said they are often stuck in the middle and despite their best efforts any problems tend to be blamed on the property manager. Landlord refuses to repair something? “You are the worst property manager ever!” Tenants three days late with rent despite calls and reminders? “You are the worst property manager ever!” And the list goes on. It certainly takes a certain type of person to be a successful property manager. So why don’t we feel like this at Bev Roberts Rentals? I think it comes down to feeling incredibly lucky to work together as a family. We are a family owned and operated business that share a love of leasing and property management. We believe that working together as a family gives us an advantage over our competitors and has been the key to our success.
Dear Landlords & Tenants,
Bev Roberts Rentals will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2017 in observance and honor of Memorial Day. We will return to regular business hours on Tuesday, May 30th at 9:00 AM EST. As customary, we will remain available by phone and appointment while the office building is closed. The outdoor drop-box is checked daily. The online portal system is available during non-business hours as well.
Tenants… As a friendly reminder, please be aware of the lease terms due to the Federal Holiday: “All rents shall be paid in advance on or before the first day of each month. Tenant shall pay the late fee if any rental payment is five days or more late. Tenant understands and agrees postal delays, envelope post-mark dates, bank discrepancies, online payment system errors, weekends or holidays, or any other pretext does not constitute a waiver of late fees.”
Thank you to all who have sacrificed.
Owning a home is the American dream, but far too often people jump into home ownership simply because they believe it’s “cheaper than their rent payment”. It’s important to think past this month’s cash flow when making a decision that could provoke a financial burden. For example, once you buy a house, you are stuck there. Unless you are independently wealthy, have your house paid off and don’t need the money from renting it or selling it, you are stuck in your house until you sell it. Selling a house can be a long, stressful process, even in a booming housing market, let alone a housing slump. A tenant renting on a year lease with a 60 day notice can leave at anytime with the cost of minor breach fees. For instance, a tenant who gets that golden job opportunity that requires them to relocate. Since they are a renter, all they have to do is give notice and pack their bags. Moving out of town to pursue bigger and better opportunities is POSSIBLE if you’re renting. Owning a home traps individuals to that location.
Maintenance contractors are important members of every landlord’s team. It’s imperative to hire a professional for issues that could harm the integrity of the rental or the safety of its tenant occupants. It’s also important to verify the contractor is licensed, has liability insurance and provides worker’s compensation coverage for its employees. Why? Insurance covers workers that are injured on the job. You might be telling yourself as a landlord, “That’s not my problem, that’s the contractor’s problem.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If an uninsured contractor gets hurt on a landlord’s property, the landlord could be held responsible for all medical bills and other financial hardships realized by the injured contractor. Most state licensing agencies require proof of both insurances for licensed contractors in order to remain licensed. Using an unlicensed contractor won’t save a landlord money in the long term. Proper licensing is important for a landlord to avoid liability and litigation.
Today, one of our brokers snapped this photo of two contractors working on the exterior of a townhome across the street from one of our managed properties. We certainly hope this landlord and their property manager hired a licensed and insured contractor.
Tenant Question: “While on vacation, I let a friend stay in my rental home. My friend accidentally left the freezer door open, which allowed the freezer to defrost. Water soaked and ruined the kitchen hardwood floors. Can the landlord charge me with this repair bill?”
A. Yes. By law and per the lease terms, tenants are responsible for damage their guests cause to the rental. Don’t get sidetracked by the fact it was your friend, not you, who left the freezer door open. Your friend was there with your consent and, legally speaking, their mistakes while in your rental will be your responsibility.
The most painful aspect of home ownership might be that the buck stops with YOU. Whether it’s mundane repairs like replacing fixtures, fixing toilet leaks, and touch-up painting, or big ticket items like new roofs, furnaces, or siding – it all comes out of YOUR pocket. What does this cost homeowners on average? U.S. News and World Report says that homeowners spend from 1% to 4% of a homes value each year on maintenance and repair.
Want a surefire way to increase tenant demand for your rental? Take down the No-Pets Allowed sign.
The decision about whether to allow pets is a tough one for many owners, and there are no right or wrong answers. But some surveys show that nearly 75 percent of renters own pets. That’s a huge pool of potential tenants to turn away.
Tenants who find a welcoming home for Fluffy are also more likely to stay longer, which can reduce vacancy time. For owners renting their property as an investment, being pet-friendly makes good business sense.
But allowing pets isn’t always the right answer for owners renting out a home they plan to return to. For owners who have pets themselves, allowing renters to keep a cat, dog or goldfish will likely make leasing the home faster and easier. For those who haven’t had pets, keeping the rental pet-free is a reasonable choice.
According to a recent survey by Apartments.com, 9 out of 10 renters said deciding where to live hinged on the landlord’s pet policies. Seventy-two percent of renters said they owned pets.
Protecting Your Property When Allowing Pets
How can you avoid the dog that barks day and night and chews the cabinets, or the kitty that favors the closet floor over a litter box? Finding responsible pet owners is key to protecting your property and neighbors’ sanity.
The Humane Society suggests that landlords check references on both the tenant and their animal, including calling prior landlords, the veterinarian and neighbors to ensure the animal behaves and won’t cause serious damage.
The organization suggests owners limit the number of pets allowed in each unit and approve pets on a case-by-case basis, rather that create limits based on size or breed. The Humane Society recommends creating a pet policy that outlines acceptable pet behavior and requires that all pets be licensed, up-to-date on vaccinations and spayed or neutered.
Deposits and Fees
Beyond policies, landlords often charge extra deposits, fees or pet rent to limit risk and cover the cost of additional cleaning or wear and tear animals can cause to the unit, building and grounds. In the Apartments.com survey, nearly 80 percent of renters said they had to pay a fee or deposit for pets, with more than half paying $200 or more per year.
Be aware of what’s customary in your neighborhood plus local laws when deciding how much of a fee or deposit to charge.
D.C. law does not require that you rent to tenants who have pets. Service animals for people with disabilities are an exception. Under Fair Housing laws, landlords must allow service animals, even if a property is pet-free, and may not charge extra fees or deposits.
Whether you decide to allow pets or not, advertising your policy and targeting tenants most likely to appreciate your decision will help you find the perfect tenant faster.
Unfortunately, many landlords do not perform the easiest part of the landlording process: properly screening tenants. They take in subpar tenants whom put undue strain on the property while rent collections suffer. Choosing tenants is a landlord’s most important (and most risky) decision.
At Bev Roberts Rentals, we have a thorough and legal application process. We search for tenants who meet the landlord’s criteria, and not just the financially responsible one. Not every red flag is a deal breaker, but we have the experience to know which ones are. Want to learn more? Give us a call at (919) 306-5665.