You may think that owning a rental property is simple. The rental income, minus the mortgage and expenses, equals profit. However, there is plenty of skill, work and attention to detail behind that equation.
A single family residential property manager has many responsibilities. One cornerstone of these responsibilities is tenant management duties. A good relationship with tenants goes a long way towards a successful rental property.
First, you have to find the tenants. An experienced property manager knows where and how to advertise for tenants. He knows how to promote the property and attract prospective tenants. Once the advertising has attracted some attention, the property manager handles all inquiries and applications. Once the tenant has completed screenings and background checks, the manager will take him or her on a walk through tour of the Englewood property. Finally, the manager will let all applicants know whether or not they have been approved.
There is a knack to choosing the right tenants – those who will pay their rent, have a longer tenancy and few turnover problems. Finding the right tenants starts with doing your research. You want to know as much as possible about your prospective tenant.
Proper tenant screening has a direct effect on the profitability of your investment. This process starts with a credit report and income verification. Do the homework. Call past landlords and references. Note any pattern of evictions. You also need to be aware of any criminal history. Be aware, however, that some states prevent property managers from refusing a rent application solely on the basis of criminal history.
It is vitally important to have a clear, detailed lease that meets all the legal requirements in your area. In particular, the lease should include provisions for the amount, use and return of a security deposit, as this is a frequent cause of landlord-tenant disputes.
The property manager is also responsible for making sure the tenant follows the lease terms. If the tenant is violating the terms of the lease, the property manager should proceed according to the requirements outlined in the lease, as well as the applicable landlord-tenant laws. Doing so will lessen or avoid future legal problems.
Handling Complaints or Emergencies:
Complaints are inevitable. Emergencies tend to arise quickly and without warning. Knowing how to handle these situations can go a long way towards good tenant relations. Common problems include:
- Noise complaints. Raucous parties, loud music, barking dogs and more. Tenants are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the rental property, without frequent or excessive noise. The problem for the property manager is that sometimes it is difficult to identify the source of the disturbance. In some cases, the tenant is abnormally sensitive to noise. It is, however, important to try to find a solution and to let the tenant know what steps have been taken.
- Pest invasion. Whether the problem is rodents, cockroaches or bugs, this issue must be addressed quickly and decisively. Ignoring the problem generally leads to a worse infestation over time. Once a pest problem has been reported, the property manager should call an exterminator without delay. Then follow up with a week or two to be sure the problem has been resolved. Sometimes it pays to be proactive and schedule routine extermination visits to avoid pest problems.
- Maintenance problems. The key to avoiding maintenance problems is regularly scheduled maintenance. Keeping the furnace in good condition, the gutters clean and the plumbing functioning pays off in the end. Performing routine maintenance on rental properties can avoid major problems or emergencies by preventing breakdowns, leaks or other disasters. It will also keep tenant relations running smoothly. The first step is to have a complaint resolution system which tells the tenants how to make a maintenance request or what to do in case of emergency. The property manager needs to respond to requests promptly, as well as keep a written record and receipts for all maintenance requests.
When a tenant moves out, the manager’s duties include inspecting the property and checking for damages. If there are damages, the manager must determine whether or what portion of the security deposit should be returned. After a move-out, the property must be cleaned, and any necessary repairs are done, in preparation for the next tenant. If the tenant has not paid the rent or has breached the terms of the lease, the property manager must proceed with an eviction. It is essential to follow each law and regulation to evict a tenant and avoid further legal complications.
Managing tenant responsibilities can be stressful; however, it is best to remain calm. As with any relationship, respect and good communication make all the difference. The tenant should always know how to contact the manager for both routine matters and emergencies and should be assured of a response. Even if there are no problems, it is a good idea to check in with the tenant at least once a quarter.
The foundation of single-family residential property management is finding and keeping good tenants. Careful planning, attending to problems promptly and good communications will also make other property management responsibilities easier to deal with.
If you need help selecting the right Sarasota and Manatee area partner in property management, download our free guide to finding the best property manager in your area.
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