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Having Your Tenant on a Short Lease

Charlotte Properties
For some people, a long term lease is not something that they can really commit to. There may be many different reasons for this and not all of them are bad. I remember I had a friend back in grade school whose father moved for work every two years or so. I met her in Pennsylvania and before we lost contact she had moved from there to Texas, then to Georgia, and then to Colorado and away again within five or six years. They always had nice townhomes in developments, but the constant relocation meant they never knew how long they would be in one place. For example, she stayed in Colorado for less than seven months while she was in Georgia for three years. A situation like this is exactly why it would be nearly impossible for her family to have entered into a set lease, as they never knew when they would be moved again.
While short leases aren't normally a great trade for you as a landlord, sometimes it can be difficult for a tenant to find what they need in a world of yearlong leases. With situations like these, it can sometimes pay to be a little flexible with the length of your leases. I can only imagine that they used to have a month to month lease when they moved into a new place, as it would have been impossible for him to figure out when he would be relocated again. Granted I knew them, but in a case like his I can't imagine why a landlord wouldn't have been okay with having a shorter lease. They were certainly a great family and always had a great time together, wherever they were. Sometimes you just need to follow the work, whatever that work may be.
Getting a call from a tenant like this may be stressful, but it isn't something to run away from if you can confirm that they need a shorter lease for something like work. Certainly having them list previous landlords will help to assure you that they will always come through with the rent, but we can also understand a concern or two on your end. This would come down to being your call, but we say you shouldn't count someone out just because they need a shorter lease.

Temporary Renting

Charlotte Properties
Very often, we find that people are wondering about renting out their apartment or rental property to apps like AirBNB. While we are not going to tell you not to do this, there are a couple of things we want you to think of first. Here are some of the pros and cons to renting out your area for shorter periods of time.
Pros:
1. Quick Turnover. If you happen to get a tenant in your property that you don't really like, then you know they are never going to stay there long. This means that you will be able to wash your hands of those people and move on to a better resident for the next time.
2. Reviews. Situations like these rental apps allow you to review tenants as well as get reviewed as a landlord. This is true whether you stay in the building while your visitors are there or not. As a landlord that has a long term lease, you may have people review you but it won't reach as many people and may not help others to find out who the bad tenants are.
Cons:
1. No Lease. While it may at first seem like this would be a good thing, as leases are expensive and tedious, this also means that there is little recourse in the event that something ends up happening. If you have a long term renter, you get to keep their security deposit. However, if something happens and you are only renting through an app like this, you won't have the same protections that a lease provides.
2. Not Consistent. Having a rental through an app like this, while great for vacation areas during the travel months, is not a consistent source of income like a long term lease is. If you have someone renting for a full year, you know that you likely have income for the full year. If you are only renting a few days at a time, there is no assurance that you will have someone stay there the whole time.
While temporary renting may be good in between other tenants, you really do need to take into account all of the possible outcomes. We only hope that you figure out what will work best for you.

Reasons to Break a Lease

Charlotte Properties
As a landlord, one of the last things that you want to hear is that your tenant is going to break the lease they have with you. However, sometimes this is an unavoidable situation for both you and your tenant. I know that I have never wanted to break a lease, however sometimes it has happened for one reason or another. Here are a few reasons that you may want to offer an option to break a lease with your tenant.
1. Death. This is probably the number one reason to allow people to break a lease. Whether the death is that of your tenant, one of your tenants, or someone close to your tenants, death is something that really changes the game for everyone involved in that life. Sometimes people lose a family member and need to travel to take care of the estate or perhaps they have been left a different housing arrangement. Always have a plan about when death hits at least close to home for those on your lease.
2. Loss of Work. Sometimes, losing your job means the need to cut back. Unfortunately, this does sometimes mean the need to find a cheaper living situation. If your tenant has lost their job and can no longer afford the terms of your lease, you may be able to help out by allowing the lease to be broken and not continuing to charge them something they cannot afford.
3. Severe Illness of Injury. When someone gets sick or hurt, everything can change. Sometimes they need to stop working. Other times, medical bills can pile up to the point that any amount of income that doesn't go towards food needs to go to that so they can continue to be treated. If your tenant or someone close to your tenant has a situation like this, then you may see fit to break the lease you have. If your tenant needs to move to care for someone who has become disabled, then breaking the lease may be the best thing for all involved.
While it is always painful to break a lease, sometimes it is the best thing that you can do for your tenant. After all, if they cannot continue to pay their rent and are open about it, at least you know that they are responsible. You never know, perhaps if the issue that caused the lease to be broken is resolved, they may just come back.

What Happens When Your Tenant Passes Away?

Charlotte Properties
While this is certainly something you never want to have to worry about, it is something that you should probably have a plan for. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike anyone at any time and although you have a lower chance of having to deal with this if you rent to a younger person or family, you never really know what is going to happen. This is why we always suggest that you have a plan put in place for what will happen if you are renting to someone who passes away.
When I was a teenager, my grandfather passed away. My mother and I were staying with him at the time, as he needed 24/7 care. He lived in a house trailer on rented land which he paid twice a year, in April and in October. When he passed, it was January and so his rent was paid up through April. The man in charge of the land told us on the day he passed away that we had less than a week to get out of the trailer with everything as we were not on the lease and this was his policy. While not every landlord will have this view, each person should have some idea of what they will do if a situation like this were to occur.
Letting a family member stay in the apartment through to the end of the lease to sort out your tenants affairs may open you up to issues if something were to happen to them, however if you have ever tried to take care of the estate of someone who has passed you know how difficult this task is. This is why it is important to form your own view and plan, as each person has a different situation. If you are alerted to a situation where an elderly or severely injured person is being taken care of, then you should always go over the policy with their caretaker so that they are not taken by surprise while still grieving.
Although death is always an upsetting thing to think about, as a landlord you never know what is going to happen. Even if only one of your tenants passes in a multiple named lease, you should have an idea of what you will do. Sometimes there are good reasons to let a lease break.

Cheap Ways to Attract Residents

Charlotte Properties
One of the biggest struggles for someone who has a rental property is finding someone to live there. While everyone needs somewhere to live, you also need to remember that you aren't the only apartment in the area. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different places that are trying to find someone to live in them, just like you are. Sometimes your place gets taken off the market quickly, and others it can take seemingly forever to find a tenant. Here are a few ideas of how to find someone to live in your rental property for little money on your part.
1. Post Locally. Posting about an apartment in local businesses can really help out someone who is looking. You can always just ask someone if you can place some fliers or business cards in their work place. You may even help them out in turn by purchasing a small gift card for your future resident to their business location.
2. Put It Online. There are dozens of sites where you can post for free about different things. Sites like Craigslist are always popular for people to look for new housing arrangements and you can be certain that people are going to see your listing as long as you post it correctly. Posting it online also helps to bring it to more people as they do not have to be in the area when they look at your apartment online. I have been looking at certain apartments a few states away for friends and it is so wonderfully easy.
3. Word of Mouth. While this technique isn't used as much anymore, it has likely gotten me my next apartment. I mentioned to a friend that I was looking to move and they put me in touch with someone who had an empty apartment. You never know how useful your friends can be in helping you out when it comes to filling your rental property, so put some feelers out there for those who may need somewhere new.
These are three of the most obvious ways to try and get some new residents without paying an arm and a leg, but sometimes there is nothing wrong with trying the obvious ways first. In fact, they are well used for a reason. Let us know what other methods you have used and stick around for some more ideas.

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