4 Ways On How You Can Protect Yourself From Troublesome Tenants

Noisy tenants, late rent payments and no rent payments at all. Despite the most rigorous screening process, you’re bound to come across your fair share of troublesome tenants in your time as a landlord. Tenant problems come in many forms, but the best way to deal with them is to be professional, communicate clearly and take the steps necessary to maintain a profitable and safe rental – no matter how hard it may be. The following paragraphs cover some of the most common ways landlords can protect themselves when dealing with problematic renters. It’s recommended you follow a documented and strict course of action, and address your attorney if you are unsure of the action to take. Every state has its own laws and regulations concerning landlord/tenant relationships, and your attorney can help educate you on them.

1. Educate yourself and know the law

Managing a rental property requires more than just paying the mortgage on time and collecting rent. Renter issues arise often and vary in severity, so you must know where you stand in any given situation. Not knowing the law and how it pertains to you and your tenants can leave you open to lawsuits and bankruptcy very quickly. Take the time to educate yourself: take classes, read books, and talk to other more experienced landlords to know and understand the laws in your state. The more you know, the less likely you’ll be to land on the wrong side of a tenant’s legal claim against you.

2. Stick to documented policies no matter what

When a new tenant signs your rental contract, they are agreeing to all the policies and procedures set forth by you in that document. It’s important they understand everything before they sign, and it’s your job to make sure they do. Walk them through the document one section at a time and be sure to answer any questions they may have. Your rental agreement should include things such as: · What tenants can and can’t do on the property · How much rent is · When rent is due · How rent can be paid · Noise restrictions · Tenant-to-tenant conflict resolution · Tenant responsibilities · Landlord responsibilities · Rules about additional occupants and guests · Rules on pets · Rules on smoking · Property maintenance · What is considered normal wear and tear

3. Document everything that happens

Good or bad, it’s important that you document everything that happens when in contact with your tenants. Depending on how many units you rent out, this could be time-consuming. Investing in CRM software can help you organize multiple tenants into a spreadsheet or something similar. How you choose to document your interactions with your tenants is up to you; just be sure you do. Take time to document things such as tenant complaints and how they were handled. Make sure you include every contact with the tenant including phone calls, text messages, etc. If you have to give out warning notices or make an incident report, be sure you document it all with dates and times. Not all interactions with your tenants will be bad, but it’s just as important to document the mundane and good communications as well. If a tenant requests maintenance, write it down. Include what you did to fix the problem and what the outcome was. You never know when you might have to refer back to a situation sometime down the road, and good notes ensures you always know exactly what happened and when.

4. Take safety precautions

Angry tenants are a real concern for landlords. You can’t please everyone all the time, especially when you’re a rental property owner. Rather than leave anything to chance, use the following tips to protect yourself and your family as much as possible. · Never give out your home address. · Make it possible for tenants to pay rent online · Use a P.O. Box to collect mailed rent payments · Give tenants a Google Voice phone number to call instead of your own personal number. This eliminates constant phone calls at all hours from needy or angry renters because you control whether the phone rings directly to you or not, and you can check your messages when it’s convenient for you. In addition, Google transcribes your voice messages so it’s easy to document everything. · Screen potential renters completely. Conduct a background check – both financial and criminal. Don’t be afraid to verify job and previous landlord references as well. Being a landlord is a tough job wrought with financial and physical risks. Protect yourself using the four tips above for a safe and profitable investment property.

4 Tenant Retention Strategies You Should Know

An astounding 54 percent of apartment rentals experience vacancies every year, according to the National Center for Housing Management. From cleaning costs and repairs to lost rent, utilities, and advertising fees, the cost of tenant turnover can run into the thousands.

You can reduce your tenant turnover and avoid the high cost of vacancy by keeping good tenants in your rentals longer. Here are four tenant retention strategies you should know in order to be a more profitable landlord.

1. Treat Your Tenant Right

Most landlords don’t go the extra mile to make their tenants feel special. You can greatly improve your relationship with a tenant by simply remembering and acknowledging special dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and by alerting them to standing discounts from local businesses. You could even make it a standard practice to give each new tenant a coupon book for the surrounding area when they move in.

Think about going one step further and give a small gift at Christmas time, too. This small gesture sticks in your tenant’s mind and makes them feel appreciated and special.

2. Make Upgrades To The Property And Landscaping

Anything you can do to improve your property reduces your tenant turnover. When tenants ask, apply a fresh coat of paint. Don’t be afraid to allow them to choose the color as long as it’s not too crazy.

Nice-looking landscaping makes people happy. You can update your rental’s landscaping for cheap by doing the work yourself. Buy flowers for window boxes, trim trees and bushes, clean gutters, and fertilize the lawn to give your tenants a sense of pride in their residence.

3. Improve Security

Consider installing smart locks. Smart locks are going to be the new standard in the near future, so it pays to do it now. Smart locks allow you to grant temporary access to maintenance workers, and they give your tenants a better peace of mind.

Something else you may want to consider is installing an alarm system on your rental property. Most alarm companies will install their systems for free, and you can pass the monthly service fee on to your tenants. Most won’t mind paying this fee knowing they will sleep better at night.

4. Make Your Rental Energy Efficient

One of the biggest complaints from tenants, especially in older rentals, is the cost of utilities. You can help reduce utility costs for your tenants by making a few changes.

Energy efficient lighting is one option while adding new insulation to the home is another. Lastly, purchase a water heater blanket. For about $20, this blanket saves your tenants money every month.

Tenant retention is a big deal, especially when you consider the staggering cost many landlords incur when a tenant moves out. You can’t predict when life takes a tenant somewhere else, but you can help keep good tenants in your rental by making it a better place to be. Consider the above tenant retention strategies to keep your best tenants happy.

6 Best Tips For New Landlords

Many real estate investors take on the role of landlord when they buy rental property. Whether managing a single-family rental or a multi-family unit, the task can be overwhelming. In fact, a simple Google search turns up thousands of landlord horror stories sure to deter even the most determined beginning investor.

It takes a special know-how to be a successful landlord, and with the tips below, you can be one yourself. The trick is to “train” your tenants to do things the way you want them done and be willing to take the tough road, if need be. Without further ado, here are six best tips for new landlords.

1. Make Collecting the Rent a Priority

Since your tenants’ rent money is the whole reason you do what you do, collecting it on time every month should be priority. If the rent is due on the first of every month, each tenant should be paying by the first of each month – no excuses.

You have to be willing to charge a late fee if they don’t pay rent on time, and you have to be willing to go further with eviction proceedings if they fail to pay altogether. Getting lazy or passive on either of these points lets your tenants know they can do what they want without consequences, and some tenants will definitely take advantage. Before ending up in bankruptcy because your tenants don’t pay on time, let them know upfront that timely rent payments are mandatory and expected.

2. Learn Everything You Can and Know the Law

Landlording requires more than just collecting the rent once a month. It requires you have an on-going education, as well as a complete understanding of fair housing laws. The more you know, the better equipped you are to handle situations that arise. Knowing and understanding fair housing laws ensures you never come out on the wrong side of a lawsuit brought on by an angry tenant. It’s in your best interest to read books, take courses and speak with seasoned landlords to gather as much education as possible to make your job easier.

3. Make Appropriate Renovations and Repairs

Many new landlords make the mistake of putting too much money into renovations with the hopes of charging higher rent. Unfortunately, if the rental is located in a low income area, charging higher rent isn’t usually an option. It’s important to make repairs and renovations that don’t cost more than you can recoup with typical rent payments from the tenants. Make sure the end justifies the mean.

4. Set Office Hours and Have a Google Voice Number

Your tenants will “need” your assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you let them. You’ll never get a moment’s peace. Setting strict office hours with a Google Voice number for emergencies is the best way to get a good night’s sleep and reduce stress on an very stressful job.

5. Hire Outside Help

As an investor and landlord, you probably look for every way possible to save money. This might include making repairs around the rental property yourself. If you’re a handy person, and you like making repairs, then go for it. However, if a repair is too difficult, or you simply don’t like making repairs, hire a professional to handle it. There’s a lot to be said for enjoying what you do, so leave it to someone else when the task isn’t your cup of tea.

6. Keep Organized

One of the keys to any successful business is organization. This holds especially true for landlording. Keep all your forms neat and handy in a file cabinet, have all procedures and policies clearly written out and have all your maintenance contacts organized for quick retrieval. Be up-to-date with your accounting, and keep your desk and office clean. While these things sound trivial, they are actually the exact organizational tools that make landlording an enjoyable and successful venture.

How To Set The Correct Rent Price For Your Rental Properties

As a landlord, you already understand the delicate balance between charging too much for rent and not charging enough. You want to make sure the monthly rent covers the mortgage payment plus expenses, while still giving you a positive cash flow every month.

The problem is, however, charging too much can cause your rental to sit vacant for weeks – and sometimes even months – before someone is willing to pay what you want, and charging too little means you earn less of a profit.

How do you know how much rent is appropriate? Follow the tips below to figure out how to set the correct rent prices for your rental properties.

Research Listings

This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised by the number of landlords not willing to put the time and effort in to do this important step. While it may be time consuming, knowing what other landlords are asking for rent in a given area goes a long way to letting you know what you should charge.

You can take it upon yourself to research listings yourself, or you can incorporate specialized sites to do it for you.

Ask Someone Who Knows

Anytime you want to know something, it’s always best to talk to someone who’s “been there, done that.” Experience breeds success, so talk to others who have prior experience setting rent prices.

Fellow landlords are a great place to start. Try to find ones that have similar properties as your own (same number of bedrooms, similar square footage, etc.). Watch out for the landlord that hasn’t raised rent in several years, though.

Real estate agents are another great source for rent pricing knowledge. Not all agents are created equal, though, so be sure to speak only with those who have experience working with rental properties.

You can find a host of real estate professionals by joining associations that cater to such groups. Landlord clubs, real estate investment clubs, and rental housing associations are all great sources of knowledgeable people who can help you figure out what price to set for rent.

Compare Actual Rent Prices In A Given Area

The majority of the listings found online and in newspapers give rent prices the landlord hopes to receive, not what he or she actually receives when a tenant agrees to a lease. It can take some time to gather actual rent prices in any given area, but it’s worth the time to get accurate prices so you know if yours meets the standard.

If you want to set the correct rent for your rental properties, you have to take the time to do your homework. The more you understand about the other rental properties in your area, the more able you will be in setting a price that generates you a profit while making your tenants happy. Use the information above to figure out how to set the correct rent price for your rental properties.



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