Having someone move into your rental property can be a scary thing. After all, you are trusting someone you don't even really know to not trash something you have put a lot of time, effort, and money into. Most of the time this isn't an issue, but sometimes it can end up biting you. I know I've certainly gone into apartments that had just been moved out of only to find a horrid mess that took ages to clean up again in order to show the space to new people. Sometimes, entire carpets or sheetrock need to be replaced due to the negligence of a previous resident. One thing that I have heard of some landlords doing to help prevent this issue is to host inspections. Of course, in most states it is illegal for a landlord to come over unannounced without due cause. However, asking to show up a week ahead of time just to check in on the residents and the state of the apartment are fully within your rights. This gives them enough time to clean up any excess mess that comes from living in an area while it means that you can still see any damage that may have occurred at the hands of your tenants. Pets, children, and even clumsy or possibly drunk adults can cause a good amount of damage in a short period of time and sometimes it can help to put your mind at ease just to see that your apartment isn't torn to shreds. Many apartment complexes have inspection laws written into their bylaws, regardless of whether or not they enforce them. For example, my complex can enter my apartment for an inspection for anything from seeing if we have enough carpeting down to checking for holes in the walls. Most people have never had an inspection, but it also allows the complex to make sure that there are not too many people living in one apartment. It is rare, but the inspections do certainly happen. For the most part, you will not need to do inspections on your rental property while someone is still living in them. However, you may want to be upfront and tell your new resident that they may occur. This should ensure that they will be more careful when moving around in your apartment.
Becoming a landlord is an exciting and scary situation to find yourself in. There are some great things that come with being a landlord that you don’t really get with anything else. It’s such a varying way to make money, after all. You can rent out a single property or it can be your main/only source of income depending on how many units you have on the market at any one time. With so much that can be different from one landlord to another, there is quite a lot that can go wrong. This is especially true if you haven’t been doing this for long. Here are some tips to think about when you become a new landlord.
1.Rent Collection. While it may seem like this would be the most obvious thing to keep on top of, it is also one of the most difficult things for many landlords to approach their tenants about. If your resident doesn’t send in their rent check on time, it may not seem like a big deal as long as it shows up within a few days. However, this may end up setting a precedent for them which says they can send payment to you late and it won’t matter. You are well within your rights to charge a late fee if you do not get your money by a certain time. There’s nothing wrong with giving your tenant a little leeway if they talk to you about it, but just letting it slide can really put you in a sticky situation if court proceedings ever need to occur over rent payments.
2.Online Payments. One great way to avoid late payments is to collect your rent money online. It can easily be set up so that your resident has an auto-pay system which means they don’t need to remember to write out a check every month and worry about the post office losing the envelope or it being stolen. It is much more secure than other traditional methods of payment and most will be thankful for the ease of payment.
These are only two of the dozens of tips that we can give you, so stick around for a few more. You never know, there may just be a couple that you hadn’t thought of before, even if you’re an experienced landlord.
One of the most common complaints that we hear from landlords, especially newer ones, is getting tenant calls at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes this can seem unavoidable and therefore extremely overwhelming. Thankfully, with certain changes in society and technology, there are things that we can do now that couldn't have been possible even just a few years ago. Here are a few ways to help deal with tenant calls that shouldn't be driving you up a wall. One of the first things you should do is set office hours. Regardless of whether or not you have an actual office or if you give your tenants your cell phone number is irrelevant. One landlord I know has kept his landline telephone number for the sole purpose of using that for his tenants. He simply turns the ringer on the phone off outside of his preset office hours. He has an answering machine that allows him to screen those calls just in case they are an emergency, but otherwise he will wait until the next "business day" to get back to the tenant. If you don't have a landline and don't feel like spending the extra money getting one, you can always get a Google Voice Number. You can sign up for a Google Voice account for free(!) and give this out to your residents. You can even set up a separate voicemail for that specific number and forward all business to that line. It will still ring on your cell phone, but it is a good way to separate your residents from your friends. You may want to include your personal number in the voicemail message in case of an emergency, but that is your choice. With a Google Voice Number, you can set times that your phone will ring and those that will send the call straight to voicemail. Having tenants call you at all hours of the day and night is never an ideal situation, but thankfully there are other options that we have now. At the end of the day, you never know what a tenant will be like in regards to communication until they actually move in. Hopefully these ideas will help you find what works for you to keep you sane when it comes to answering your tenants and their concerns or complaints.
Sometimes, residents move in the middle of the month. This is rare, but it certainly does happen. This is especially true if you are currently on a month to month lease agreement with your tenant. Sometimes apartments are listed with a move in date in the middle of the month or even have "As Soon As Possible" written down. In situations like these, you may end up getting a notice that your current tenant will be leaving your place in the middle of the month. So what can do you in that situation? The first thing to know is your state laws. For example, my state says that a landlord can collect a full month of rent even if the tenant leaves part way through. Some states have laws that say if a tenant alerts their landlord after the first of the month, no matter when they move out they must pay the rest of the current month along with the next. While most landlords won't enforce this, it is a possibility depending on your relationship with the tenant and what state they left your rental property in. If you are the landlord of the apartment that someone is moving into in the middle of the month, you may also have some issues. The main thing to consider is how you want your tenant to pay the rent. Some landlords request the half month (or whatever period of time exists before the next month begins) and the full next month up front, others simply ask for a month at a time and get the check in the middle of the month. Others still will break it down into future monthly payments until the amount has been met for that little bit of time before they drop down the payments to the agreed upon amount. At the end of the day, the decision is yours but you need to be sure that you keep tabs on how it's going to work. There is nothing wrong with moving in the middle of the month, but it may take a little extra work on both the tenant and landlord's part. Remember to read up on your state laws to know what your rights as a landlord are when it comes to a resident moving in the middle of the month and how you want to handle it.
February doesn't really have major holidays, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun! After the end of the year, things tend to slow down just a bit. Other than possible birthdays, there really isn't much to celebrate during January and it normally isn't until April that Easter occurs. This means that for the most part, there isn't too much to do for the first three months in regards to celebrations and holidays. But when has that ever stopped us here at Talley? Groundhog's Day is a great time to focus on any kids that may live in your apartment building or complex. Kids generally like animals and although it may seem like winter is never going to end, it is considered the beginning of the end for those adults who can't stand the colder weather. Maybe you want to set up a coloring station where kids can draw and color their own Punxsutawney Phil. Perhaps you can make or purchase cupcakes that have groundhogs on them and hide them in little cubbies for the kids (or adults) to find. There are dozens of things you can do if you want to get creative and it's always a bonus for the adults in your complex if the kids are distracted for a few hours so they can relax. Valentine's Day is normally a more adult-centric holiday, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun as well! Maybe you could slide those little tin valentines that you used to hand out in schools under your resident's doors. A friend of mine always puts a couple of Hershey Kiss candies either on the cars of her residents or tapes them to their front doors with a little note. It doesn't have to be much, but just something so that your tenants know that you're thinking of them can go quite a long way. It can be hard to see the warmth coming when you've been dealing with the past few months of cold weather, but February generally marks the last really cold month as long as we're lucky. There isn't much to celebrate in the way of normal holidays, but that doesn't mean we can't be happy! Try hosting some kind of small themed gathering and see if it goes over well enough to do it again next year!