Owning rental properties comes with a lot of benefits, but it’s also a job that can have its fair share of headaches. Knowing what to look out for and how to avoid some common pitfalls can make all the difference.
Avoiding bad tenants can be as easy as doing the proper background checks. While you may be eager to get rid of that “for rent” sign, you want to make sure the new occupants are the right tenants.
You may want to start with a criminal background check. It is your right to request one as a landlord as long as the prospective tenant has given you written consent. Rules vary from state to state so it’s a good idea to see what your state’s guidelines are when it comes to background checks. A criminal background check can raise any red flags if you have concerns about illegal activity.
A reference check is also a good idea, which means contacting a current or previous landlord. If your prospective tenant was causing problems before, then you may want to think twice before handing over the keys to your rental.
Rent Collection/Late Rent
Is the check really in the mail? When are you going to drop off the rent? These are questions no landlord wants to ask every month. Collecting rent in cash may be an issue, especially if you don’t live near your rental. Relying on tenants to send the check on time every month can also be a burden. To avoid these situations, set up a direct deposit every month or some sort of online payment system. This way you know the rent will be paid and deposited into your account at the same time every month. Direct deposit can be set up between different banks, so this won’t be an issue.
Eviction is a lose-lose for everyone involved. If your situation comes down to eviction, it may be wise to hire a professional eviction attorney.
There are all kinds of scenarios that can pop up during an eviction. From a drawn-out process to security deposit arguments, eviction is not pretty. Try to work out differences before turning to eviction. But if it does come down to that, having an attorney who can represent you can help to protect your rights.
Normal wear and tear to any home is to be expected over time, but extensive damage and broken items are another story.
Normal wear and tear can be classified as some scuffs along the wall. Damage, on the other hand, is more like a broken window or a hole in the wall. This is why it’s crucial to collect a security deposit at the time a lease is signed. This way you can deduct the cost to repair what is broken. If you do fix anything in the rental, be prepared to show receipts to prove the money was used to take care of those things.
No matter how well you keep up on your rental property, things are bound to break. As a landlord it’s your responsibility to fix them. Generally, you should respond to a complaint within 24 hours.
That’s why it’s important to have a trusted team of repair professionals on hand to fix problems that are bound to arise. While you may be tempted to do a little “DIY” to fix the problem to save money, sometimes in the long run it ends up costing you more money to get the job done right.
Addressing these landlord issues before they become bigger problems can save you a lot of headaches down the line!