Rental homeowners are faced with the decision to manage their properties on their own or hire a third party such as a property management company. Before you decide which option is best, it’s important to understand your responsibilities as a rental property owner.
If you’re a new or long-distance landlord, you may think that owning a rental is straightforward. You earn a monthly rental income and deduct your regular expenses and mortgage payment. Then you get to pocket the profit. However, there’s more to owning a rental than gaining investment returns.
As a landlord, you need to be aware of your duties and the time and effort required from you to manage your rental unit. Now, you have two choices, you can pass off the tasks to an experienced property management company or manage the rental on your own.
Both have benefits so let’s examine which option is suitable for you. Here are the main property management duties of a rental property owner:
Maintaining your rental home is a must. Under landlord-tenant laws, you are required to provide a habitable rental space for your renters. This covers preventative and emergency maintenance services.
Even if your property is new now, it will be subjected to wear and tear as time passes. With occupants in your rental, deterioration also happens more quickly. It’s essential therefore to pay close attention to keeping your unit in great shape.
Part of carrying out your rental property maintenance program is also performing periodic inspections. You need to examine if your appliances are in a functional state and if your gutters are clean, especially after a heavy storm. The better you maintain the upkeep of your rental home, the more you can maximize your income.
There’s a huge cost behind empty rentals. As a landlord, you need to address vacancies right away. If a current tenant has decided not to renew the lease then it’s time to put more effort into marketing the unit to avoid the loss in income.
Simply posting on listing sites is not enough. You need to be more proactive and reach out to your network. Word-of-mouth is also effective so you can start spreading the word in your neighborhood. Aside from this, you need to answer inquiries from interested potential tenants and arrange property showings.
After all this, you gather the applications from prospects and conduct a tenant screening before deciding to welcome an occupant to your rental property. Tenant screening is where you can evaluate the prospective renters’ suitability based on their background, credit report, income, and rent history.
On paper, collecting the rent may sound effortless. However, a lot of landlords find this to be a challenging task. Check payments can get lost, some tenants pay the rent late while some are hard to contact altogether.
As a landlord, you need to have a good rent collection system. It helps to be firm in your rent collection policies since payment delays can affect your income. If you include late rent fees in the leasing agreement then you must also collect this on top of the rent payment. Otherwise, your renters may ignore the policy while continuing to pay late.
You also have to remain informed of the legal way to handle evictions in Florida. Being a landlord you need to be aware of what notices to send when the rent payment is delayed. In addition, you need to reach out to the tenants to resolve issues in case they missed the rent payment for a good reason.
Managing your tenants well is part of your job as a landlord. Cultivating a good relationship with your renters is essential to keep them for the long term. Strive to build open communication and check-in with them from time to time.
A great way to do this is during seasonal property inspections. You can ask if the tenants are experiencing any issues in the property so you’re able to respond to their concerns and maintenance requests.
Tenant complaints are also inevitable so it’s your responsibility to resolve them. If the problem is with a neighbor, you can ask them to handle it first on their own. If the conflict escalates then you can intervene and help come up with good resolutions.
Ensuring that your tenants are complying with the leasing policies is another duty to fulfill. For example, if you have a no-pet policy then you find out that a tenant has brought in a dog then you must talk with the tenant.
Should the situation continue after a warning then you can proceed to eviction. Just make sure to be guided by the state laws when it comes to asking a tenant to move out.
Benefits Provided by Property Management Firms
Being part of the local rental industry, property management companies are very experienced when dealing with different situations in a rental home. The best part is they have the legal expertise and can always act in compliance with the law.
Hence, property owners are protected given the property manager’s in-depth knowledge of landlord-tenant laws and the Fair Housing Act.
Another advantage you can derive from property management companies is their membership in a professional organization in the industry. As a result, they’re often updated with market trends and regulatory changes.
While property management companies charge a management fee, the benefits they provide can be vast. Consider that they’ll be in charge of your rental home’s maintenance, tenants, vacancies, and rent collection. This provides you with reduced stress rather than self-managing your rental unit.
Investing in property and converting it into a rental home provides you with a solid income. However, managing a rental home can be time-consuming and stressful. If the responsibilities mentioned in this article seem daunting, you can always opt to hire a reputable property management company such as Gifford Properties and Management.
Our team of qualified property managers can help you market your property, screen tenants, maintain the unit, keep detailed financial records, and more. Contact us today to learn more about our property management services!