Property Management Tips for New Landlords
Proper management of your rental property is crucial to your success as a new landlord. One of the most vital aspects of this task is to foresee problems and prevent them before they occur. You also need to know your duties towards your tenants and how to relate to them to avoid any mishaps.
Here are expert tips to help you manage your rental property.
Screen Your Tenants
Before renting out to tenants, check their background, credit history, and references. Slapdash tenant selection and screening methods only lead to future problems such as tenants who pay late or never pay at all, who keep company with undesirable people, or who trash your property. So, use written rental applications to help you vet your tenants before they move in.
Write a Tenant/Landlord Agreement
One of the most crucial steps is to enter into a written rental contract with your tenants. A typical residential agreement specifies vital rental terms that will dictate the landlord/tenant relationship. Among the most important provisions are the:
• Name of the tenant
• Length of tenancy
• Security deposit amount
• Party liable for particular repairs
• Amount of rent
• Allowance for pets
Your lease agreement must specify when the rent is due, the acceptable forms of payment, if a grace period is granted, and whether returned checks and late fees apply.
Make Prompt Repairs
Always address the repair and maintenance needs and do the repairs when requested. If you don’t keep your property in top condition, you risk alienating your tenants, and they may have the right to withhold rent, do the repairs and subtract the cost from the rent. They may also sue you for any injuries incurred due to the faulty conditions, or move out of the premises without giving any prior notice.
Moderate the Rent
Moderating your rent will save you the stress of going for days or months without a tenant. Since the rents differ depending on the location, ask around and do some research to find out if you are charging competitive rents. Also, ascertain whether the rent is sufficient to cover your costs. Ensure you know the return rate you are getting out of your rental property.
Avoid letting your property and tenants be easy targets for criminals. Audit the security of your property and take the necessary steps to protect it. Often, the best security options such as trimmed landscaping, ample lighting, alarm systems, deadbolts, etc. are affordable. As a property owner, you must be aware of any criminal activities in and around your property. Many states require the landlord to protect the tenants from each other and also from criminals who enter the residential property.
Get a Landlord’s Insurance
Ensure you get a quote from an insurer who focuses on insuring investment properties. Your building insurance won’t cover you in case your tenant defaults to pay the rent or damages your property with a cost that exceeds the bond. Although it is not a legal requirement for you to obtain a landlord’s insurance policy, experts recommend doing so as soon as possible. Illness, the loss of a job, a broken marriage, or the death of a loved one can make a model tenant to become a defaulting tenant. Thus, it is always a good idea to be prepared.
Give a Notice before Entering
You need to know that your tenants have a right to privacy. So, whenever you plan on entering the rental premise, notify your tenants as soon as possible, at least 24 hours, or as required by the law.
Managing a rental property is not as easy as most people think. However, you can make your journey of being a landlord to be as smooth as possible by following the above advice.