Most of the time, when we hear the words "rental scam", we think of tenants that have gotten ripped off one way or the other. Normally the words make us think of people being taken for just about all they have with nothing to show for it. What many people don't realize, however, is that landlords are just as liable to be scammed. While it does take a bit of work on the scammer's part, it is certainly doable and often extremely successful. The most popular scam by far to pull on a landlord is by posing as the landlord. This is most often used when the landlord lives off the premises. A person will pose as a tenant and get a lease for a certain price and it will seem as if everything is perfectly fine. This person, however, will then turn around and pretend to be the landlord to the same place and rent out the apartment at a higher price. This means that not only are they earning money on something that isn't yours, they normally don't screen anyone and take whoever they can get at that price. This means that there is someone in your rental property who you do not know and there may be little that you can do about it. Having a fully fleshed out lease is one of the most important things in a situation like this. Often, landlords will have a specific clause in the lease which states that no one else may live in the apartment without prior approval. Having this written in is actually extremely valuable in a situation where a tenant is trying to scam you. If this is written in, then you can find someone in direct violation of the lease and beginning evicting measures is much easier. We always suggest having someone in the area keep an eye on your property if you are not nearby. This isn't foolproof of course, but if someone sees something that can be suspicious they can easily give you a call or send you a message to let you know. We need to look out for each other and this is just another way to do so. When all else fails, always trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right.
Owning an apartment which is rented out is a large responsibility. You need to be sure that your tenants are happy, that they are safe, and that they are responsible themselves with your investment. While it may not seem like a big deal, the state of the décor of your rental property does have quite a bit to do with how your tenants react to the space. This is true of both those who have resided in the area for an extended period of time as well as those who may be looking to move in. Keeping up with trends is actually a large part of keeping your current tenants happy and attracting new ones if necessary. Trends change on what seems to be an almost daily basis. What is in fashion one day is out by the next week. This is also true of housing trends. Right now, what is most desired is an open floor plan between the kitchen, living room, and dining room. Many apartments do not have the capacity to create an open floor plan, but for those that do, it is something that you may want to look into. Modernizing your rental property is often a fine line, but it does certainly have its benefits. When you're working on keeping up with newer trends in regards to housing, it can seem almost impossible to change as quickly as people's ideas of what they want do. Sometimes, however, certain trends have already changed and have stayed the same. For example, if you remember the light pink and light blue colors that used to be so popular in bathrooms, you'll find it isn't quite desired anymore. The same goes for many designs of wallpaper or brighter colors of paint on the walls. The unfortunate thing about keeping up with trends is that it doesn't quite matter what you like when it comes to designing. Something that you may enjoy may not be the best idea to place in a rental property. Ask around with other rental property owners who have recently updated their space to see what they did and what worked for them. Keeping up with trends can be exhausting, but it is certainly more than worth it to see the improvements that your tenants can and will enjoy.
We all have complaints every now and again. Sometimes the things that we complain about are simply small trifles, things that manage to get under our skin in one way or another. Other times, the focus of our complaint is something that is truly difficult. It may be something that stops us from achieving what we want or living in an easy way. While all of us do complain periodically, others have a habit of complaining incessantly. This can become quite a problem if the person complaining so much happens to be your tenant. Most renters will only place a complaint when something is truly wrong. For example, a little while ago I had to list my first complaint to my landlord because of a small hole in a pipe behind our sink. The water had been leaking out of the pipe and had begun to cause water damage in the apartment underneath. This was the first thing I have mentioned to my landlord since we moved in last year, as all other issues I have simply dealt with myself. Naturally, however, this was something that needed a professional touch and therefore needed to have the landlord's approval. Other tenants may not react to issues that occur in the same way. Some tenants do have quite a habit for complaining about every small thing. This may be for any number of reasons. Depending on your tenant's age or physical mobility, they may not be able to handle the small day to day issues on their own. If they have no one else in their lives or in the area, then helping them with these things may very well fall to you. Hopefully you will be made aware of this before they move in, however things can certainly happen after someone moves in which necessitates extra help. While we always hope that people will remain healthy and happy, this is not always the case. Handling complaints from your renters can be a rather exhausting activity depending upon your specific situation. The one thing that is most important to remember is that you are normally the easiest person for your tenant to contact when something goes wrong in the apartment. You are the person who needs to know what is going on, after all.
Many things can be done to help prevent trouble for both you and your tenants. If you are the landlord of a rental property, you want to present yourself as the best and safest person that can be rented from. Although there is no way a single person can think of everything, there are some simple things that you can do to make your tenant feel more at ease. One of the first things you can do is so simple, many renters forget it: install and check smoke detectors. While the building you are renting should already have smoke detectors put up, not all of them do. Make sure that you put smoke detectors the building according to your local fire department's suggestions. If the building already has smoke detectors in it, make sure to test them every month. Batteries should be replaced every six months, or as needed. If you have new tenants moving in, replace the batteries and test the detectors before they settle down in the building. This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way of showing that you care for their well being. It may also be mandated by your town to have an inspection when someone new moves in. Another simple thing that you can do is to supply a couple of fire extinguishers for your rental property. Although these are a little more expensive than other items on this list, they will still only run you an average of $40 to $50 which is a small price to pay for safety. Simply check to make sure the pressure gauge is in the green and there are no breaks or cracks in the hose to be sure that it is functional. Another thing that you can do before a tenant moves in is purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector. Although carbon monoxide is less common, it still accounts for an average of 430 unintentional deaths annually in this country alone. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it is likely to go unnoticed unless there is a detector in the building. They cost around $20 to $25 on average and may also be mandated by your town. Keeping your tenant safe through basic maintenance is one of the easiest things for you to do. There is really no reason not to do so.
Having a strong and sturdy relationship with your tenant is one of the most fundamentally important things you can do as a landlord. Although you may not end up best buddies with whoever you are renting to, you certainly want to be at least amicable with them. Although we don't always get along with everyone we meet, there are certain ways to be a landlord with a good relationship regardless of what you may think of your tenant on a personal level. One of the biggest things that you can do to cultivate a good relationship is uphold your end of the lease. If it is written that you are to take care of the repairs in a timely manner, then do so. If you are supposed to come around in person every month to collect the rent, stick to that. Always do what is expected of you as per your original agreement and that is a wonderful place to start. Another thing that is extremely important in having a good relationship with your tenant is to go the extra mile. Now this doesn't mean you need to come around to their apartment and cook them dinner every Friday or shower them with gifts. A message every now and then simply checking in, however, can do a great deal to help your relationship. Ask if everything is okay at the rental property. Check if there may be anything you can do or help with in regard to the housing. If they respond that there is, then go and help them. One thing that I know some of the landlord's I have had did that hurt our professional relationship was offering help and then telling me that I should do it myself. Speaking of the professional relationship, this is one of the biggest things. You should always keep the relationship between yourself and your tenant professional. You could be renting to your best friend, but business is business and many people seem to forget this. It is much easier to let one's friends get away with things than people you don't have a personal connection to. When it comes to property management, there really should be a separation. The relationship between you and your client is extremely important, so you want to do everything you can to strengthen it.