Tips for Landlords

Renting homes is our business! Here are a few tips that we have found help owners rent their homes quickly, and for the most competitive rent! We hope you find these tips useful.

What is a Landlord Responsible For?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know, as a landlord of a Rental home, what you are responsible for and what falls to your tenants. Read on for our guide to landlord duties.

Livability Mandate

A landlord’s greatest obligation to his tenants is to make sure that the structure complies with all existing building, housing and health codes — the component pieces of a property that add up to “livability.” Be sure that you are educated about local, state and federal requirements and that you are in accordance with them.

The Building

The property must be weatherproof, have natural lighting in every room, offer emergency exit access, and have windows that open up at least halfway. The windows need to be fitted with some kind of security device and the front entrance should be equipped with a deadbolt. The structure should also have a sufficient number of working smoke alarms.

Health and Hygiene

This landlord’s mandate includes properly working plumbing, heating and electrical systems; hot and cold running water; a functioning kitchen; bathroom; tub and shower.

The property must also have an adequate number of garbage cans and regular removal service.

The landlord also has to make sure that any lead paint has been removed in an approved manner and that rodent or insect infestations are treated effectively.

Common Areas

The landlord also must maintain common areas of the structure, including hallways (in apartment buildings), stairs, yards and entry ways, and make sure that all walkways (hallways, entrances, paths through the complex) are properly lit.

If any of these items fail or require attention, the landlord must respond to notification of the problem in a timely manner.

Wear and Tear

It’s important that a landlord be able to distinguish between normal wear and tear on the property’s structure, systems and appliances, versus damage or negligence on the part of the tenant, so that repair costs fall to the proper party.

Security Deposit

Each state has a different law on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit and how they can handle it once the money is in their possession. Some states require that interest be paid on the amount. States also have different laws regarding the number of days that a landlord has to return the deposit to a tenant. Tenants who have their deposit used to cover damages must be given an itemized list of costs. Be sure to research the law in your area.

Though there a lot of local and state variations on the letter of the landlord’s duties to his or her tenants, most basic items are required across the country. Be sure to take advantage of local resources to make sure you understand the details of your responsibilities.

excerpt taken from rentals.com


Insurance

One of the most important things that owners can have to protect themselves is the proper insurance coverage. Please Click here for more information about the basics of rental insurance and what you should have!


HOW TO DEAL WITH TENANT DAMAGES

One of the biggest worries you might have as a landlord is that a tenant may do significant damage to your rental property. The security deposit is there to help in such cases, but it’s important to take steps to prevent possible damage and to know what your recourse is should you need to make repairs.

Wear and tear vs. damage

Regular wear and tear on a property includes reasonable deterioration of the space under normal living conditions. That includes things like faded paint, broken wall switches and blind pulls and worn carpet or tile. The cost of replacing items under these conditions is part of the landlord’s maintenance expenses.

Damage, however, is considered unreasonable use of the property or its fixtures or an accident. Extreme dirt build-up, carpet stains, broken windows and holes in the wall are instances of damage, as are unapproved cosmetic changes such as wall paint, shelving or other alterations. These types of issues are the responsibility of the tenant.

An ounce of prevention

The best approach is to prevent possible damage before it happens. This process begins before the tenant even signs the lease, by making sure they understand the terms of the contract and what their responsibilities are in regard to safeguarding the rental property. You should remind tenants about the purpose of the security deposit and how it will be used.

No landlord likes to sound adversarial, especially with a new tenant, but if you’re renting to someone who is living on his own for the first time or perhaps a tenant you know has had trouble in another rental situation, it doesn’t hurt to be clear about the lease.

Be specific

Once your tenant has signed the lease and you are doing a walk-through of the rental property to verify condition, be sure to point out areas that they may need to take extra care with — especially in older properties with original fixtures, windows, etc. Some inexperienced tenants, especially those straight from Mom and Dad’s house, may not be aware of simple maintenance practices to keep everything in good condition.

When damage occurs

If you receive word from your tenant that something at the property has been damaged, their forthrightness bodes well for an amicable solution. If the repair is a small one, provide the tenant with the name and contact information of a reputable repair person with reasonable rates, and explain that this will be paid out-of-pocket by them. Help the tenant solve the problem in the most expedient and low-cost way possible. If you have an account at a paint store or hardware store that gives you a discount, for example, send them there.

On the other hand, if you find the damage on your own, you’ll need to notify the tenant. Begin by reminding them of their responsibility, and offer suggestions for how the problem could be fixed by them, including a referral to a repair person.

If the damage is more than a tenant can pay on their own or if they are unresponsive, have it fixed yourself and send them a bill.

Payment

If you have had to assume the cost of repairs and billed the tenant, give them a date by which the amount must be paid and remind them that the damages could also be deducted from the security deposit. If damages exceed the security deposit total, send the tenant an itemized list of repair costs and bill them for the overages. If they can’t pay it all at once, arrange a payment schedule. In the worse-case scenario, if your tenant refuses to pay for damage beyond the amount of the security deposit, you can give them a Notice to Comply or Quit.

Potential damages to a property go with the landlord territory but are never pleasant. Doing your best to alert tenants to their responsibilities before they move in can help; knowing the process to follow if harm does occur can keep you from getting stuck with the bill. Looking for ways to make your home more appealing to renters? There are a number of simple fixes you can do to your property that will make prospective tenants sit up and take notice.

excerpt taken from rentals.com


Simple Fixes You Can Make to Help You Rent Your Home

Fresh paint

Inside and out, a fresh coat of paint can give your rental house a new lease on life. Choose neutral colors that won’t offend a prospective renter’s sense of style or make it hard to match furniture and curtains.

New fixtures

Nothing dates a house like outmoded or broken switches or lighting fixtures. For a little money, you can upgrade ceiling lights, outlet covers and switch plates — finishing touches that will make your property look well cared for and desirable.

Improve your carpeting

If you have wall-to-wall carpet that needs cleaning or replacing, now is the time to do it. Few things turn off renters as effectively as dirty or torn carpet, a sure sign of neglect by previous tenants and landlord alike.

Clean it well

The smell and overall cleanliness of your rental house is what a renter will notice first once they cross the threshold. Whether you need to hire a cleaning service or roll up your own sleeves, make sure to make right or improve upon the condition in which the last tenants left the floors, countertops and the inside of appliances.

Landscaping

Never underestimate the power of a mowed lawn and planted beds. Bright flowers and healthy greenery are the first and most striking difference you can make to your rental home’s first impression.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to improve on the overall soundness of your rental home. Cosmetic changes can make a massive difference. Use a stranger’s eye to appraise what needs to be improved and you’ll soon have more applications for your property than you can manage.

excerpt taken from rentals.com

Please use these links to download your 2016 owner information forms. We need these forms completed every year so unless you're a new owner to Call Realty within the last 30 days you will need to complete these forms and send them back to us. Thank you!

1. Property Owner Contact Info Click here to download file.

2. W9 Click here to download file.

3. ACH Click here to download file.

4. Eviction Protection Plan Click here to download file.

5. Preventative Maintenance Click here to download file.