A new year means new year’s resolutions. Cue the eye roll, right? It may be cliché, but there’s something to be said about defining new goals for the coming year. So how can landlords apply that same idea to their rental properties? Maybe you have longstanding tenants that are amazing, or you’re in the market to find new ones. Maybe your home needs a little TLC in between leases. Maybe it’s time to get a little more organized or find some help to manage your home. Whatever the case, here are a few New Year’s tips for landlords to consider adding to your list for 2021!
New Year’s Tips for Landlords
Establish a Strict and Thorough Tenant Screening Process
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many DIY landlords skip this process entirely. Vetting tenants properly is an important part of managing your rental well and helps you avoid some of the major pitfalls that come with problem tenants. While you can’t screen for everything, you can establish a baseline by creating strict criteria that every potential tenant has to meet (i.e. credit scores, evictions, criminal background, income equals 3xs the rent amount, etc.). Be sure to complete a thorough credit, criminal, and eviction record check to make sure you find the most qualified tenant for your home. Just make sure to keep the same criteria and process for all potential tenants or you may find yourself on the wrong end of a Fair Housing violation.
Know and Follow the Laws
Real estate and rental management is ever-evolving. New laws and updates come into effect regularly. For that reason, it’s crucial to stay up to date on all the laws surrounding owning and managing a rental property. From Fair Housing requirements to Warranty of Habitability laws, a good landlord needs to know and, more importantly, follow them all. Ignorance isn’t an excuse. Make sure to stay current on the laws in 2021, as they’re sure to change at some point!
Create a Solid Lease
When’s the last time you updated your lease agreement? Piggybacking off of the last point, updating your lease agreement as laws change is another important tip for all landlords to follow. Your lease agreement should not only take the laws into account, but also spell out responsibilities clearly. Your tenant shouldn’t be left with questions on what they are and aren’t supposed to do. That includes lawn care, snow removal, pets, rent payments, etc. Add having your lease agreement reviewed by a real estate attorney to your list of goals for 2021. That way, your agreement will be solid and up to date.
Create a Maintenance Schedule and Stick to It!
Maintenance will always need to happen. As your home and its systems age, things naturally wear down. This is why routine and preventative maintenance is critical. Create a list of routine repairs, such as HVAC tune-ups, gutter cleaning, carpet cleaning, etc., then stick to it. Not only does this protect your greatest investment by catching problems before they get out of hand, it also saves you money in the long run. Double check when’s the last time a service was completed, then schedule it based on the frequency your repairman recommends. Your home and your tenants will thank you!
Inspect Your Rental
Routine inspections throughout the term of the lease are just as important, if not more so, as those completed before and after the lease term. They can help catch potential problems, be it maintenance repairs or lease violations, before they blow up. Routine inspections also help document the condition of the home while the tenants are living there, helping you better assess damages at the end of the lease. Just be sure to follow proper protocol for notifying your tenant when you will be stopping by. Follow the lease and any laws in place for completing these site visits, then keep proper documentation along with the rest of the files pertaining to your home.
Keep it Professional
Times are hard. Unfortunately, a new year isn’t going to magically make the problems and anxieties of 2020 disappear. While you can’t control how others react or respond, you can control yourself. Treat your rental property like a business and keep the relationship between you and your tenant professional. Not only does this help when issues arise, you also have the satisfaction of keeping your cool when others don’t!
Hire a Property Manager!
Last, but certainly not least, consider whether or not property management services are the right move for you and your investment. Hiring a property manager not only frees up your time, it also gives you the security that all of the previous New Year’s tips for Landlords will be followed!
Going into 2021, we wish you success and happiness in life and with your rental property and hope that these few tips help you accomplish just that! And should you decide to take #7 to heart, we’re ready to help out! Real Property Management Colorado has helped thousands of individual homeowners and real estate investors rent their homes to qualified tenants and manage the ins and outs of day-to-day property management. Our team of experts are highly qualified and ready to work for you to make the most of your biggest asset. Give us a call at 303-873-7368 or check out our website for more details!