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.

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.

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.

Pre-Furnished Apartments – Pros and Cons

Charlotte Properties
Some people get started with very little in the way of furniture. While some are fortunate enough to move in with everything they need, many are trying to start from scratch due to any number of reasons. In situations like these, you will often see someone move in with not much more than their clothes and a mattress. Often, this is actually an air mattress. You can, however, provide a fully furnished apartment for very little money or effort if you're interested. Here are some pros and cons to doing that.
Pros:
1. Tenant Safety. Often, if a tenant does not have funding they will attempt to purchase cheap things and this may include appliances. Old or cheap appliances like microwaves and air conditioners are often safety issues due to exposed wiring or simple overuse. If you furnish the apartment, you know that your tenant (and your property) are relatively safe.
2. Tenant Comfort. A comfortable tenant is a happy tenant. For someone who is coming to your property with very little often has a heck of a story as to how they came to have very little. Often, these are abuse victims or people who have lost everything in some kind of natural disaster. If you are able to provide them with some form of comfort, then that will make them more likely to stay with you for an extended period of time.
Cons:
1. Moving. If your tenant shows up and says that they do not need furniture, then you will need to move everything out of the apartment. This is often at least a full day of work and you can't always afford to take that. This is even more difficult when the apartment is on an upper floor or if you don't have people that can help you move.
2. Storage. Let's face it, storage of an entire apartment of furniture is not small. Either it will take up a lot of space at your home or you will spend money on a storage unit. Either way, it is inconvenient.
At the end of the day, it is your choice whether or not you offer furniture for your tenants. It is always a good idea to look at the area you are in and the tenants you are renting towards. You never know how much it may help someone.

Ice Cream Socials

Charlotte Properties
While for me ice cream socials bring up memories of school and a lot of bullying, I still enjoy the idea of them. If you own an apartment building or complex, then you probably have a lot of residents that don't know each other. While this may be the way some people want it, I know that personally I try to get to know all of my neighbors. I always feel awkward about knocking on their door or ringing their doorbell, though. This is when an activity such as an ice cream social comes into play.
Getting your apartment building to have an ice cream social is something that can benefit your residents in so many different ways. The main objective for me is to get a group of people who live close to one another together in the same spot for a good reason. It isn't something negative like a meeting to resolve an issue which will have high negative emotions, so people will generally be in a better mood to get to know their neighbors. This is always a good thing, since neighbors that know each other are more likely to look out for those who live close to them.
Let's look at another good point in support of an ice cream social: who doesn't like ice cream? Especially now with the appearance of lactose free ice cream, almost anyone can enjoy the glorious substance that children and elderly people alike seek out on hot days for a bit of refreshment. Even if you don't want to buy a bunch of ice cream, Italian ice is a wonderful alternative that almost everyone can enjoy. You can grab large amounts from a specialty store like Rita's, or single servings from your local grocery store for those who would rather not consume the ice cream for whatever their personal reason is.
In the summer, having something that gets your residents together may be difficult to organize but it is almost always worth it. Getting people to know each other is something that can really only be beneficial and again, almost everyone loves a cool flavored treat during the heat of the summer. In fact, I think I'm going to go get a popsicle. It's a great way to cool off and I still enjoy when my tongue turns different colors from them.

Filling a Temporary Vacancy

Talley Properties
Sometimes you find out about the perfect tenant. They are quiet, respectful, clean, and are looking for a new place to live that is exactly what you have to offer while still being in their price point. You want them to move in desperately. There's only one problem: their current lease isn't up for a few months and you need money from your rental property now. So what do you do? Should you take the loss and wait for them, or do you take your chances with finding another tenant and hope that you get someone as good as them? Thankfully, there is another option.
While most of the time we will suggest a minimum of one year for a lease, there are certain circumstances in which we will suggest a shorter one. This may very well be one of them. If the difference is only a month or so, then you may not want to bother, but if their lease is not up until October and it is only May or June, you may want to look into finding a temporary resident for the time being. This is perfectly fine if you do need the money from your rental property but really really want that other resident.
The only thing that we suggest is that you make it very clear from the beginning that this is strictly a temporary arrangement. Let your temporary resident know that they will not be able to renew the lease past a certain date and that you will need time between when they leave and when you rent to the other people. Make sure that your preferred tenants know this as well so they aren't surprised if they find small marks on the wall or smell fresh paint even though you said you had done it a few months before.
Having a temporary vacancy can be a bit of a headache for landlords, but there are ways to make the best out of it. You may even want to give a discounted rate to those who are filling the rental for the time since they will have to find another place so quickly. Whatever you decide, just remember to be open with your tenants. You certainly don't want any miscommunication between yourself and people that will be living in a building that you own.

Grills and Safety During the Summer

Charlotte Properties
Summer brings up thoughts of barbeques and ice pops in the backyard while you sit around with friends and have a great time. There's something magical about the taste of a burger that has been made on a grill, and I'm not sure what it is but I am sure that I enjoy it. In fact, most of us do. While having a backyard barbeque with a bunch of buddies can be a great day, there is a reason to be concerned about it. This is especially true if you are renting to someone.
While it may not be quite so concerning if you are renting out an entire house with the yard to people, you do still need to give some thought to a grill and the possibility of them doing this at your rental property. Often, these gatherings mean alcohol. While we always like to think those we rent to will be responsible with our property, alcohol can make people do some pretty crazy things. You always want to make sure that, if nothing else, there is good renter's insurance on your property just in case something goes wrong while you are not living there.
This is especially true if you are only renting an apartment out. For example, the apartment that I rent has a small balcony outside on the second floor. The downstairs neighbors have a grill and they say that a few years ago we would have been allowed to have one as well. We are not, however, due to fire restrictions. There is a very strict ban on any second floor residents grilling something over an open flame, even on the outside balcony. While it would be nice to be able to set up a small campground grill, we are not allowed and must respect that.
Something to think about when you are writing up your lease is what your residents are and are not allowed to do. This is a perfect example of something that you may not think of until after the lease is signed and closed. It is, however, a large safety concern for many different people. It may be better to suggest your residents go to a friend's house if they want to have a backyard cookout over the summer months.

Pool Safety

Charlotte Properties
If you have a rental property with a pool, you certainly have a great investment. While it may sound like a great idea to put a pool in for your residents, once you start looking you will likely notice how incredibly expensive it can be. This is not just to have one put in, but the upkeep as well. There are also many safety features you may want to include in your pool, especially if it is for a full building or complex. Here are a couple of them.
1. Phones. Have a landline phone at the pool that when picked up immediately connects to 911. While nearly everyone has cell phones today, the time it may take for someone to fish it out of a bag and dial could make quite a bit of difference.
2. First Aid Kit. This one is obvious, but keeping a fully stocked first aid kit is extremely important. Make sure that you have a CPR mask and any materials you may need to bandage or splint a bone. You may also want to include a backboard near the pool in case someone gets hurt and cannot be moved much.
3. No Diving Signs. It doesn't much matter where you are, you should probably have at least a couple of no diving signs around your pool. Even if you have diving boards at one end of the pool, you should always mark where it is and is not safe to dive.
4. Pool Rules. Always post a list of the pool rules in a visible area. You should also include emergency numbers and the phone number of the person or company that takes care of the pool for quick reference in case something happens.
5. Clean The Filter/Skimmer. Again, this seems logical, but it is always good to double check. My apartment complex had a professional company come in and when we checked the filter had not been cleaned and there were dead birds in the skimmer after they left. Always be sure everything is clean and safe.
Having a pool is a great luxury but also a large responsibility. Always be sure to keep on top of any maintenance the pool and water may need so that everyone can enjoy such a great way to keep cool during the summer months. Here at Talley Properties, we hope you get to enjoy your pool too!

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