A Quick Guide to Your Landlord Rights and Obligations

landlord rights

Are you one of the 10 to 11 million investor landlords in the United States? Thumbs up!

However, being a landlord is not an easy venture. Dealing with difficult tenants, repairs, maintenance, and possible legal battles can cause anyone to give up being a landlord.

Understanding the landlord rights and obligations will make the job easier. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can erase half the headaches of the job. 

Use this quick guide to make sure you are protected from bigger problems later.

Screening Applicants

You have every right to screen the people who want to live in your rental property. Since there is no probationary period with renting, you want to make sure you have great tenants.

Looking for a great property is tough, and looking for good tenants can be tougher. Some of the things you can screen are their references, background check, credit score, and proof of employment.

Use this information to obtain a tenant you know will be a steady renter with no problems. The fewer turnover you have, the more money you save.

Entering Units

Landlords have every right to enter units, but not without notice. Most states require a minimum 24-hour notice before entering. 

If you want to curry favor with your tenants, give them more than 24 hours before you enter. While state law may require a certain amount of time, the lease you provide may state a few days or even a week.

In the event of a fire or medical emergency, you do not need any notice to remedy a situation.

Security Deposits

Every landlord has the right to collect a security deposit that’s equal to one month’s rent from a tenant. This deposit is used to clean messy apartments after a tenant has left. It can also be used to pay utility bills the tenant forgot when they moved.

If a tenant leaves the apartment the way they got it and there are no outstanding bills, it’s your obligation to return the money to the renter.

In fact, if you plan to use any of the deposit from the tenant, you need to have a good reason. Failure to outline the reasons in writing could result in a lawsuit.

Prolonged Absences

A landlord has every right to go on vacation or take a leave of absence. All the landlord has to do is appoint a property agent. 

This agent will be acting on your behalf and collecting rent. They should also be knowledgeable of the rules and expectations of being a landlord. If they do something wrong, it could come back on you during court.

Each state will have different laws regarding prolonged absences. A good idea is to ask another landlord to cover for you. In return, you can pay him a small fee or cover for them when they leave.

Be Familiar With Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Being a great landlord means you are protecting yourself and your tenants. Knowing landlord rights and obligations will help you fulfill the role and make your investment profitable.

This quick guide can be the difference between having a successful rental investment and running for the exit as fast as you can.

If you’re interested in learning more about property management, keep reading our blog!

How Your Property Management Firm Should Handle the COVID-19 Pandemic

property management firm

Experts have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic might result in the loss of three million American jobs before the summer. Clearly, these are tough economic times.

If you’re in charge of a property management firm, these may be fearful times for you. However, there are certain steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of survival.

Read on as we share some key advice for property management firms during the pandemic.

Keeping Your Property Management Firm Afloat During the Coming Storm

An issue like COVID-19 poses unique challenges to the property management sector. Everyday tasks like maintaining properties and liaising with occupants have been made much more difficult by social distancing requirements. 

With this in mind, the following are some measures that you can take to make life easier for yourself at this time.

Keep an Eye on CDC Recommendations

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been at the epicenter of this outbreak since it began. Their recommendations are vital for businesses and individuals alike.

The organization posts regular updates on hygiene best practices and preventative measures. You should communicate these to tenants as you receive them.

If you manage several properties in an area (in an apartment block, for example) it might be a good idea to place notices about these practices and measures in a public area in the vicinity. For example, you could put up a flyer about hand-washing practices in the elevator.

Focus on Communication

For landlords, communication is key. You need to be able to make sure that tenants are meeting their obligations and to inspect and address any issue that a tenant reports to you.

Doing this in person is now impossible in many cases. However, with recent advances in communication technology, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to maintain interaction with occupants.

Let tenants know that you can be reached on the phone at all times. If there is an issue with the property that needs inspection, tell them to show you it over a video call.

Remember, essential service providers like plumbers and electricians are still working during the crisis. If required, they can make a call to your property.

Keep on Top of Your Legal Obligations

There has been a lot of confusion about the legal obligations surrounding licenses, leases, and other contracts in light of this pandemic. As a property manager, it is your duty to keep abreast of all relevant legal developments. 

For instance, if supply chains for an ongoing construction project break down, it is not clear who will bear the liability for this. You should consult with a lawyer to make sure your interests are protected.

Getting Through COVID-19 Together

No business person wants to see something like COVID-19 coming. If you own a property management firm, you’re probably no different.

However, by taking an intelligent approach, property managers can weather this storm and put themselves in a good position to recover when it’s all over.

If you’re looking for a property agent, or you have a question about the services we provide, contact us today.

3 Property Management Facts That Might Surprise You

Property Management Facts

Whether it’s renting your old home or buying and selling small single-family apartments, property management is one of the most diverse areas in the real estate industry.

No wonder like so many individuals you have decided to invest your time and energy in this growing industry. This can be a very worthwhile investment for you but there are a few interesting property management facts that you should consider.

Here are some tips that will set you on the right path.

1. Property Management Facts about Industry Growth

Property Management is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the housing market. Especially when it comes to single-family rentals. These have outgrown both family-owned and multifamily housings over the past few years.

However, the entire property management sector has maintained an unprecedented expansion rate in the last few years. No other section of the real estate market has seen this kind of growth.

2. You Can Outsource the Work

Maybe you got into property management or are getting into property management because you want to earn semi-passive income.

However, you may be wondering if you’re getting any form of passive income since you’re doing or will be doing so much work. You’re responsible for daily overseeing, routine maintenance, repairs, and even property visits. Not to mention the administrative, legal and marketing aspects.

Well, what’s great is that with property management services now offering to do these tasks, you can outsource many of them. You can also purchase software to assist you. This means less work for you.

3. House Keeping Rules You May Have to Deal With

In some states, you may have a liability to protect your tenants and guests from secondhand smoking. This can be perceived as a breach of warranty for habitability, a nuisance or trespass depending on where the property is located.

One way to avoid this is to go smoke-free on your property or to state in the contract that smokers must use a designated area for smoking. Make sure the designated area is far away from the building. If other tenants can still smell smoke, you can be held liable.

You need to decide how you are going to handle pets on your property. Like smoking, you can either prohibit it or allow it under certain conditions. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a dog bite lawsuit.

Make sure a pet agreement is in your lease and that it clearly states that the animal is not vicious. You can also charge fees to tenants who have pets. This will help you to bring in extra cash.

Property Management and You

Whether it involves renting or leasing a home, there a few property management facts that you should know before entering the business. There is quite a bit of work to be done but once you streamline your property management duties there will be much less for you to do.

If you would like some help with real estate acquisition, please contact us.

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.