Not on My Property! A Property Manager’s Guide to Evicting Squatters

evicting squatters

Owning rental property can be a great source of extra revenue. Unfortunately, sometimes your renters outstay their welcome (and their rental agreement).

When this happens, you have squatters.

There are many reasons why someone refuses to leave when their time is up, but as the property owner, you must be sure to take the right steps in evicting squatters.

It can be a time-consuming process, but you need to do things correctly to protect your property.

Read on for how to get rid of squatters.

Squatters vs Trespassers

The first thing you need to determine is if your unwanted guests are squatting or trespassing. The laws vary from state to state, but generally, a squatter is someone who stops paying rent but continues to live on the property. This includes roommates or someone who is subletting.

Squatters usually have some type of bill or regular mail that is delivered to that address showing their name. The most common are utility and cable bills.

Trespassers are those who have occupied a vacant building and refuse to leave. Trespassing is a criminal matter and the police should be called right away.

Squatting is a civil matter and the process is a little more complicated.

Eviction Notice for Squatters

You will need to serve an official eviction notice to the squatters. You need to check the legal requirements in your area to make sure it is carried out properly.

If the eviction notice does not work, you must then follow up with a lawsuit. This will in essence charge them with illegal use of the property. Again, make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly and you will need to be at the eviction hearing.

How to Get Rid of Squatters

If you win the case, there is still the problem of having them removed if they refuse to comply. However, with the court’s decision in your favor, you can then call the local police and they can assist in getting them out. There may be a fee for this service.

Unfortunately, there are often items left by the squatters. The majority of it will probably be trash, but in the event there are personal items, do not immediately throw those things away. Be sure to check the local laws regarding their property so you do not get in any legal trouble yourself.

If you are interested in becoming a rental property manager, but need more information, here are some important facts to know.

Preventing the Problem

The best way to reduce squatters is a great screening process for tenants. Ask for, and then call, references from previous landlords. Verify their income and employment status, and definitely check their credit score. A background check is also a good idea.

There is even a national database that records eviction histories. Make sure your potential new tenant is not on that registry.

In the tragic event of a tenant’s death, here are the steps to follow.

Evicting Squatters: Patience Is Key

While the incidence of squatters is not high, it can be a lengthy process to overcome. As soon as you become aware of the situation, take action. Do not wait for them to do the right thing.

Evicting squatters may be one of the least favorite things about having a rental property, but knowing how to handle it will keep you one step ahead.

If you are looking for a real estate agent, we are your source.

Your Complete Guide on How to Handle the Death of a Tenant

lease obligation after death

An unexpected death is always tragic and hard to work through. While the emotions surrounding this kind of loss can be difficult, there’s also a wealth of logistical issues that one might have to work through as well. Dying, as they say, can be complicated. This is certainly the case when a tenant passes away. This is a somber topic and one that every landlord hopes they don’t have to deal with. But it does happen, and it’s important to understand the lease obligation after death.

What is the tenant lease obligation after death? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know.

Get Written Confirmation

You will likely find out about the death of your tenant in one of two ways.

You will either be notified by a family member or next of kin. Or, you yourself might discover the deceased individual at your property. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen

If you are the one to discover the body, it’s essential that you notify the police immediately. They will handle the notifying of the family and will come to do an official report. 

Following the removal of the body, you will need to ask for a copy of the report so that you have written notice of the death of your former tenant. 

This can be a very difficult time for everyone involved. Remember to be sensitive and generous during this time when dealing with the family, who are likely to be very overwhelmed and emotionally affected.

What Happens to the Lease?

Many people assume that a lease ends with the death of a tenant, but in many states, this isn’t so.

It’s important to look into the laws in your area in regards to leases and tenant deaths.

More than likely, ownership of the lease will pass to the next of kin. A landlord usually has the right to ask the family for the remainder of what was owed to the lease. However, a compassionate individual will likely come to a compromise with a family about how much they will be owed.

Removal and Resetting of the Property

A landlord has no right to enter a home and begin the removal of the deceased’s property.

In most cases, you will need to work with the family, who has a right to the items and belongings left behind.

It will be up to them to remove the items in a timely manner agreed upon in discussions following the death. If there is no family or next of kin, you should contact your state for instructions on how to deal with abandoned tenant property.

Tenant Lease Obligation After Death

The death of a tenant can be hard on both a family and a landlord.

It can be hard to know what the proper steps to take are. The above information should help you to navigate this difficult period and understand the lease obligation after death.

Need more real estate advice? Check out our blog for more information.

5 Must-Have Property Management Tips for Beginners

property management tips

Current statistics reveal that rental units comprise about 30% of the housing market. But with the rise of short-term rentals like Airbnb, lots of people are joining the ranks of property managers. 

If you’re new to property management, there are a few things you must know! Keep reading for 5 must-have property management tips for beginners. 

1. Do Your Due Diligence

Most of the problems you’ll run into when it comes to property management are due to bad tenants. Make sure you understand leasing laws in your state. Then set high standards and screen your applicants. 

Be aware that you can’t discriminate based on age, race, and other factors. But you can deny potential tenants for bad credit. If a potential renter’s story doesn’t add up, be wary. 

2. Use a Written Lease Agreement

Never rely on a verbal agreement. Always have a written lease signed by both parties. It’s worth paying a real estate lawyer for an iron-clad lease. 

Make sure the lease is based on your state since every state has different rental laws. Both you and the tenant should defer to the lease if any questions arise. Spell out all potential issues in the lease. 

3. Make Payments Easy

Make rent payment easy for your tenants by setting up an online payment system. The easier it is, the more likely the rent will arrive on time each month. Beware of shoddy online rent collection agencies. 

Do your homework and find a reputable company or another easy way for your tenants to pay. You can require online payment in the lease unless you live in California. 

4. Inspect Quarterly and Make Repairs

Inspect your property every 3-4 months. The key to keeping any home in good repair is regular maintenance. Don’t expect your tenants to do any maintenance on the home. 

Respond to maintenance requests as soon as possible. It’s not fair to keep tenants waiting on repairs. 

When it comes to inspecting, know the law. You can’t enter the premises without giving your tenants “proper notice.” Each state has its own laws. 

5. Never Withhold Deposit Without a Good Reason

The deposit is for actual damages. Never withhold the deposit without a documented reason. 

You can withhold the deposit for excessive damages beyond normal wear and tear. If the tenant owes you rent or late fees, you can use the deposit.

Make sure you can document actual material or financial damages if you keep any of the deposit. 

Welcome to the World of Property Management

These five tips will take you a long way in the world of property management. Always screen your renters by running at least a credit check or using a screening company. 

Always use a written lease and require online payment in the lease. Online payment is easier for your tenants too. 

Inspect the property on a regular basis and do any repairs or maintenance. Never enter the premises without first giving notice to the tenants. At the end of the lease, always refund the deposit unless there are documented damages. 

Does property management sound overwhelming? If you need some help, give us a call. 

3 Tips for Developing a Rental Property Investment Strategy in 2020

rental property investment strategy

About 36% of millennials and 30% of baby boomers prefer to invest in real estate over stocks. They would instead invest their extra cash in long term rental property than put it into the stock market. 

You, too, can successfully invest in real estate. The key to success is having a well thought out rental property investment strategy. 

Try one of these three tips for creating your investment strategy for 2020. 

1. Create a Five Year Plan 

The height of property flipping may have passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money at it. You need to have a longer-term plan. 

In the past, house flippers would buy, improve, and sell all within a few months. These days, house flippers will plan to hold the property for about five years. 

They’ll make improvements slowly over that time while also making money renting the home out. The goal is to have the home’s value appreciate during that time. 

If done correctly, the rental income should cover the cost of the home during the five year improvement period. You shouldn’t be in the hole when you go to sell. 

2. Keep It Long Term 

Just because the real estate market is red hot doesn’t mean you have to sell. Maintaining your rental property creates a positive cash flow. You can maintain this income over many years and have passive income well into your retirement years. 

The advantage of this is that you can depreciate the value of the property. This will help to lower your yearly tax liability. 

For some, the ending of the depreciation period marks when they’ll sell the property. For others, it’s the monthly income that’s important. 

Remember to set aside money for yearly property maintenance and improvements. That way, you can get the highest price for your property when you do finally sell.

3. Choose a Sale Trigger 

For some investors, they go into a property knowing that they’ll sell when a trigger happens. This trigger can be anything that you choose. 

You could hold onto the property until your child goes to college. Then sell and use the money to pay for their school

Or maybe you’ll hold onto the property until it needs a significant repair. The first sign that it needs a new roof or HVAC system means it’s time to put it on the market. 

For others, they know it’s time to sell when they’re ready to move to their dream locale. They’ll hold onto their property until it’s time to retire. Then they sell it all and invest in their retirement property. 

Create Your Rental Property Investment Strategy

Which one of these ideas will work for your rental property investment strategy? Remember, the most important thing is to choose a strategy that you’re comfortable with and makes the most financial sense. 

If you’re looking for a short term investment, then the five year flipping strategy may work the best. If you want long term passive income, then our second tip may work better for you. Or you could choose a trigger that signals it’s time for you to sell. 

Contact us today and let us help you create a property management plan for your rental property. 

Is Owning Rental Property the Right Choice for Me?

owning rental property

Owning rental property is rewarding and builds your wealth. In 2016, 65% of Americans under 35 years of age were renting an apartment or home. That number is expected to grow over the coming years.

But it’s not for the faint of heart.

Before you start purchasing random properties to flip and rent, there are a few things to know about this industry. Owning rental property requires a little elbow grease, commitment, and knowledge.

Here’s what you need to know to decide if it’s the right choice for you!

Owning Rental Property is a Good Investment

The up-front costs of purchasing a house or building may sound expensive. However, many rental property owners borrow money and can use their property as leverage. You spend less money up-front buying a rental property than you do when buying stocks, for instance.

Owning rental property allows you to directly manage your investment. You’re the one who inspects properties, decides rent costs, and personally manage your property. There’s no middle-man, board, or managers micromanaging your investment.

Be Ready for a Little Manual Labor

Finding and purchasing rental property is only part of the rental property journey. You can buy a property and rent it “as is” but you’re less likely to attract good tenants and make a profit.

Owning a rental property means you’ll have to put a little blood, sweat, and tears into your rental for the best return on investment. After inspection, you’ll need to clean up the building, both inside and out.

A few things to fix up and replace are appliances, windows, carpet/floors, wall paint, and cleaning. Your rental property must be up to code regarding fire and building safety. Presentation and safety are crucial when advertising your property.

You can do many minor renovations yourself to save money or hire a contractor to assist you with more invasive renovations.

Owning Rental Property is More Stable than You Think

Everyone needs someplace to live. Even in the toughest of economic times, you’re sure to find tenants and continue making a profit on your rental property.

Watch the rental and housing market in your area. Keep rent within reason and plan for long-term gains rather than making a quick profit right away.

Calculate your rental property ROI by factoring in monthly rental income, mortgage, change in property value, taxes, insurance, and other potential costs. This may seem like a lot at first, but over a short period, you’ll start seeing a profit.

Let’s Get Renting

While owning rental property doesn’t make you wealthy right away, it’s a great long-term investment. If you prefer managing your investments directly and don’t mind a little hands-on labor, owning rental property is the right choice for you.

Have questions or want to get started today?

Let us know! Our agents are ready to help you make your rental dream a reality.