Thursday, March 24, 2011

Boots on the Ground;

One of the Keys to Effective Property Management

If everyone did what they were supposed to do, there would be no need for my profession. Tenants and Landlords would get along, and watch out for each others interests. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) human nature has not changed much over time, nor is it likely to in the near future.

How does this relate to rental management? Most people need supervision to insure that they are doing what they promised to do. When renters move into a property, they promise that they will pay their rent on time, keep the place clean and in good condition. They promise that they are trustworthy and will never cause the Landlord any problems. (For the record; I have had many residents whom I would trust with my checkbook. Unfortunately, they are not the majority.)

Therefore, you need to be onsite and looking over the shoulder of your tenant. If you hand over the keys to the property and then come back 1 year later (or 2 -3 years), you are likely to be in for a surprise. Your “out of sight out of mind” investment now needs thousands of dollars worth of repairs and cleaning. Your investment just became highly unprofitable and requires an infusion of cash.

We recommend a well documented move in inspection, then an inspection 3 months after move in, and 3 months prior to lease end. (and more often if the need requires). You should be checking for lease violations, air conditioning filter condition, grout in showers, leaks under sinks and overall general TLC.

This does more than correct problems that have developed in your absence. It also sets a high standard of expectation. If a resident knows you are coming, they will make sure that the property is kept up.

This one habit can make the difference between a successful endeavor and a nightmare.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Staying Out of Court in Security Deposits Disputes

What documentation do you need regarding property condition?

There is one very simple thing you can do to reduce the stress of arguing (or going to court) over security deposit claims – Document!

If you ever get before a judge in a security deposit claim fight, you had better be prepared. Why? Because you will feel like the one who is on trial if you don’t. Judges are going to look to you to provide the burden of proof to make their job easier. If you don’t have it, they are not going to be happy with you, and chances are they are going to award the case to the tenant.

Better yet, how great would it be to avoid this mess altogether? How much is your time worth? How about your peace of mind as a result of avoiding conflict? (I know some people just like to fight. Especially angry tenants).

It is amazing how few Landlords (even Property Managers) actually take the time to properly document the condition of a property. Many depend on their memory for remembering how the property looked prior to the tenant moving in. This is a recipe for trouble. If it comes down to your word against the tenants, you will lose.

However, if you have a detailed check list, a multitude of pictures, or one 5 minute video you can usually avoid all of these hassles. Just invite the tenant to come and review your photos and/or video. It's irrefutable and usually just mentioning that you have these will make the problem go away.

Besides, It's fun when you are holding all the Aces.