Protect your investment and make your apartment more desirable to tenants. These 5 tips from the pros will help you better maintain your rental property.
Maybe you own a single home that you rent to one family.
Perhaps you own a multi-unit complex with dozens of apartments.
Regardless of what type of rental property you have, you must manage it properly and protect your investment.
Whether you maintain the property on your own or hire a property manager, there are some things you need to know before having a tenant to sign a lease.
Ready to protect your investment and make your apartment more desirable to tenants? Check out these 5 tips from the pros to better maintain your rental property.
1. Know the Law
Every state has its own set of laws about the tenant-landlord relationship, and it’s essential that you know and understand the law in your state.
Failure to comply with the law can result in fines, fees, and court-ordered damages should a tenant take you to court.
So, before you rent to anyone, make sure you (and your property manager) are fully aware of all aspects of the landlord tenant laws in your state.
Keep in mind that there are federal housing laws as well.
As per the Fair Housing Act, you cannot discriminate based on race, color, sex, disability, religion, and other protected rights. If you own a rental property, you need to be aware of this federal law.
2. Screen Tenants
If you want to maintain the integrity, safety, and security of your rental property, it’s crucial that you find the proper renters.
Whether you have one interested tenant or ten potential renters vying for an apartment, the first step is to do a background check. You do have the right to reject a tenant’s rental application if they have been convicted of a crime or charged with a felony.
Credit checks are just as important. Make sure that your prospective tenants have a steady source of income to ensure that they can cover their monthly rent.
To get an even better sense of who your next renter may be, you can also ask for references from former landlords or employers. If applicants don’t comply with your requests, it may be because they have something to hide.
3. Set Rules for Tenants
Listing your apartment on websites and in publications is more than just a way of advertising it. It’s also a chance to lay down some ground rules and start the screening process to find the type of tenant you want.
For example, you should specify in your apartment listing if you will or will not accept pets. You should mention if smoking is or isn’t allowed. You can even stipulate more specific things, such as no painting, no outdoor grills, and no overnight guests.
Describing some of the basic rules in your apartment listing is a great way to weed out the tenants who don’t want to live by your rules. Once you’ve narrowed down the field to tenants who meet your criteria, make sure that your lease includes every single detail of your agreement.
The lease should include mention of pet fees, security deposit requirements, and late fees, if applicable. It should also include any rules and regulations that you want your tenants to abide by. Having your tenant sign and agree to your rules is the best way to protect your interests and keep your rental property secure.
4. Document Everything and Keep Records
Every landlord knows that it’s important to have a new tenant sign a lease. But that’s certainly not where the documentation and record-keeping ends.
As a property manager or landlord, you should document (in writing) every single interaction you have with every single tenant. That includes everything from complaints about loud music to late rent payments to violations on pets and guests.
It’s also smart to keep track of repair requests and when and where those repairs were made.
Whether you’re a landlord or a property manager, you need to be proactive so that you can prevent problems before they arise. And that means keeping accurate records of every payment, request, complaint, and interaction.
Before your tenant even moves in, there’s one other thing you need to do:
Hold tenants accountable for damage by taking photos of the apartment immediately before turning over the keys. Go room by room. Take pictures of every floor, ceiling, window, and door.
Have documentation of the state of the apartment before the rental period begins. This is one of the best ways to protect your investment and justify keeping a tenant’s security deposit when they move out!
5. Do Preventive and Routine Maintenance Checks
Maintaining your rental property requires more than taking photos before a tenant moves in and doing a walk-through upon move out. In between, it’s essential to perform preventive and routine maintenance checks.
As a property owner, there are lots of little things that you need to pay constant attention to.
Hire an exterminator for routine pest control checks. Have professional contractors check your roof, clean gutters, and maintain trees. Once a year, have an HVAC expert test and check your furnace and AC systems.
Hire a professional to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure that all fire extinguishers and emergency equipment are functional. Enlist the services of a plumber or contractor to test for leaky pipes and caulk bathrooms in order to prevent mold.
Hiring a team of professionals to maintain your property can be a costly burden. But doing preventative maintenance is much more cost-effective than having to pay for a serious problem to be fixed down the road.
The best way to maintain a rental property is to be proactive. If you’re a landlord or a property manager, these are the five most important things to do to keep your investment safe and secure.
- Understand The Fair Housing Act and know the specific landlord/tenant laws in your state.
- Screen tenants thoroughly by performing background checks and credit checks.
- Set rules and make your tenants agree to them.
- Document everything and keep accurate records of every tenant interaction.
- Do routine maintenance checks to ensure the safety and function of your property.
Follow these expert tips and tricks, and you can turn your rental property into a profitable, secure, and safe investment for years to come!
The Smith Valley Forge offers a refined apartment lifestyle in a prime location adjacent to the highly sought after King of Prussia Town Center with over 45 shops and restaurants steps away.