6 Property Management Rules From the Rental Bible

Here’s some landlording rules that will make your landlording a more enjoyable and profitable experience.

RULE# 1. Acquiring your tenant – the first step in making property management easy on yourself is picking the right tenant. That means selecting a tenant that loves your place and not just likes it because a loving tenant is a long term stable tenant. You say ‘How do I know when someone loves my property?’. Simply put, you can see it in their eyes. Typically, after you show the property, the loving prospect will say “What do I have to do next? ” and have a deposit waiting. If they leave your place saying” I still have a couple places to see it”, that usually means that the prospect is making a safe exit, making sure the door doesn’t hit their behind on their way out. Make sure their deposit is in secured funds like cash,money order, or cashier check if the move in is a rapid one. Check is fine as long as you have about 10 days ahead of move in or have checked the account personally as a check can come back bad several days later due to a bounced checked or a stop payment.

RULE# 2.-The Lease- A valuable piece of documentation is the lease. It states the rules of the house, when the rent payments are due, the rental duration, what happens should things go wrong or tenant doesn’t comply. This is valuable should you have to go to court.

Rental agreements can’t be created by you, they must be created by an attorney. The specific points in the lease must coincide with landlord-tenant state laws. You can purchase a law approved agreement and add items to the addendum section if need be.

RULE#3. Rent Payments- Rent payments should be check or money order. Why you ask? It creates a trail should you need it in court to prove rent payments were made or not. If you make this your rule then its hard for the tenant to dispute that rent was paid when it really wasn’t. The tenant also wouldn’t be able to say that his room mate stole the cash or similar. I always give a receipt upon rent pick up. You may also make payments convenient to the tenants by allowing them to do bank deposits. Simply make out several months deposit forms in advance with your bank account number on each.

Late payments should require a penalty after a grace period. The grace period is typically 3 or 5 days. After the grace period, either charge a percentage of the rent or state a flat fee. Typically charge is 5 or 10%. You have to have them feel a little responsible for the paying the rent.

Partial payments can cost you. Once you accept a partial payment, you’re giving permission to the tenant to stay and possibly forfeit the balance of the month by law. Partial payments should be accompanied by a receipt stating the remaining balance and when it should be paid.

RULE# 4. Security- Typically a month’s security is held to compensate you the owner should any destruction occur to the rental unit. According to Florida law, that money should be put in a bank account with the tenant being given the bank holding it and also stating if an interest account, who gets the interest and approving that with the tenant.

Security is not to be used for rent. It’s your one leverage tool to remain at your side. Once allowed to be used as for a missed rent payment, the tenant could do anything to your premises and you have no compensation. The tenant may after using it say that he changed his mind about moving. That leverage would be gone permanently.

RULE#5. Maintenance- Remember that a happy tenant is a long term tenant. That means that when he calls, you respond with good speed. In so doing, you protect yourself against tenant excuses for not paying rent. If there are excuses, they will surely surface at rent collection time.

Have your team of maintenance pros on hand. If you’re on a low budget then hopefully you have handyman skills. If not try to get a talented handyman. You’ll need specifically on your list an electrician, a plumber, a general handyman, and a landscaper. Electrical and plumbing work is so specific skill sets that you need specialists. A handyman may be able to do a variety of tasks like tiling, carpentry, and even roofing.

Arrange a time to do the work. Give 24 hour notice of work to be done. As long as you stick with the schedule,there can be no complaint from the tenant about you not taking repairs seriously.

Maintenance doesn’t mean room service for every everything that “breaks”. Replacing light bulbs should not be part of maintenance except upon move in.Tenants need to learn this from the beginning else you’ll have an unbelievable number of repair calls.

RULE# 6.Tenant Evictions- Unfornately, sometimes you have to remove a tenant from the property. Maybe this happened as a result of non payment of rent or misbehavior that violates the lease.

For rent non payment, this requires a 3 day notice to evict in Florida. Other violations of the lease require a 5 day notice. The notice should be delivered in person or posted on the door if not there and a copy left in the mailbox. I tend to take a snapshot of it posted on the door with a timestamp. After the 3 or 5 days, its up to you the landlord to file a complaint with the clerk of court and carry through the eviction. Remember that the 3 or 5 days doesn’t include holidays and weekends.

Remember eviction is a last resort, communication should be used first. Eviction means communication has broken down and the relationship cannot be mended. If late rent, ask why. Is there a work related problem? Does the tenant have a plan to resolve the issue? If a behavior related problem, can the tenant curb their behavior?

Eviction can be a lengthy process. It can take months in some states or as little as 2 weeks in Florida which is landlord friendly. You as landlord stand to lose a month’s rent plus evictions costs but if they don’t communicate with you then by all means do the eviction. A number of tenants are betting on your delay and that delay usually costs the landlord a few months of rent.

Tips for Choosing a Rental Villa for Your Vacation

If you are considering renting a villa for your next vacation, it pays to do some research so that you can find the best option. A villa is the perfect way to get extra space, while making savings on your vacation. There are many types of villas in any given location and a quick search of accommodation in your desired location can help you to identify the best options available. The following tips will help you to make the best decisions so that you can enjoy your vacation.

Renting the villa

Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of renting the property privately or through a management company. In most cases, dealing with the owner is cheaper and the service is often more personalized. On the other hand, the managed properties usually offer extra services and on-site support, which is great in case something goes wrong. Consider your needs and the type of rental package you require when making the decision.

Consider your priorities

You need to list your priorities before you start sorting the options available. When you know what you need, you can look for the villa that will best meet your needs. Think about the number of bedrooms you need and compare the different features available. When considering your options, remember that availability is a huge factor. Check with the owners or listing agents to confirm that the facility will be available when you need it.

Looking at pictures

When looking at website pictures of the property, you need to remember that photos can be deceiving. Make sure that you look at multiple shots and look at both interior and exterior views of each unit. Many websites use photos taken in bad lighting and this can hide many evils. Where possible, it helps to visit the location or you can look for references so that you can get an accurate opinion on the condition of the villa. You should also find out about nearby attractions and other available amenities.

Get specific details

It is very important to ask specific questions about everything concerning the villa. Find out about the sleeping arrangements, kitchen accessories, proximity to the nearest grocery store, arrangements for maintenance and other details. It is not enough to rely on email communication when making the booking, talk directly to the owner or agent so that you can clarify all the details.

Make sure that you check reviews and references from previous guests, but remember that reviews that appear on the websites are not necessarily accurate. Ask about guarantees and find out the refund policies.

How To Write Your Own Rental Property Inventory – A Step By Step Guide

Property inventories are written documents that record the condition and contents of a property. They are often written for properties that are to be rented out as proof of the property condition at the time a new tenant moves in. The tenant is supposed to look after the property while he or she is staying there and the value of the property inventory comes at the end of the lease when the landlord and tenant refer back to the document to see whether any changes have occurred to the property.

There are property inventory services companies who write property inventories professionally. However, anyone can write a property inventory. So if you are a landlord who would like to save money and do your own inventory the only things you need are not much more than a pen, paper and a digital camera. I assume you already have a computer and printer to print out the document so that it looks neat and professional.

1. Recording the information

Go to the property with a pen and paper and record relevant information for each part of the property. This should be done systematically so you fully record information for one room or one part of the property before you go to the next room. For each room that you enter have a process going in which you methodically look at each aspect of the room. You may do this literally from top to bottom such as you examine the ceiling first, then walls then the contents and finally the flooring so that no aspect of the room is left unrecorded.

For each part of the room record relevant details, for example, if you are examining the ceiling record things such as its colour and any special features such as any special decorative plaster work. Similarly, if you are examining the flooring relevant things to record are what type of floor it is such as whether it is carpeted, varnished wooden floor or tiled etc. The key thing to remember is that you should be as descriptive as possible to fully describe and identify the item you are recording. You should also include any marks, imperfections or blemishes so that the inventory is fair and accurate.

A similar process is also carried out for the contents of the room such as furniture. For example, if there is a sofa in the room write down what type of sofa it is such as whether it is made from leather or fabric and how many people it can seat and whether it is in a new condition, good condition or poor condition. For electrical items such as washing machines additional details such as the model and serial numbers should also be noted.

Try to be as descriptive and comprehensive as possible in your recording in order to produce an informative and detailed property inventory survey. At the end of the recording process you should have a description and condition of each item or aspect of the room.

2. Take digital photographs

As you go through each room, take digital photographs of notable things. This may be valuable items or electrical items. Take any photos that you think is important which should be recorded. A general overview photo of the room that pans the entire room is also helpful. You don’t need to restrict the number of photos that you take and in fact photos convey far greater information than words when it comes to property inventories. Therefore, take as many photos as you think are necessary. For the property inventory to be fair and accurate you should also take images of any imperfections, for example, if there is a crack in a window a photo of it should be taken.

3. Transcribe the information into a computer and print out the document to be signed

Once you have the raw data, input the text and images into your computer. You should layout he document so that it looks professional, clear and easy to understand. One way to lay out the document is to have three separate columns one column for the item, another column for the description and a third column for the condition. The document can also be organised room by room so that each room is given a separate section in the document. Photos for each room can be embedded at the end of the section for that room.

Basic details such as the property address, the names of the tenant and landlord should also be on the document. Blank spaces for gas, electric, water meter readings and the number of keys to be given is to be left on the document so that it can be later added by hand at the time the tenant moves in. The document is now ready to be printed and verified by the tenant on the moving in day. On that day the last details will be hand recorded on to the inventory such as the meter readings and the number of keys given. The property inventory document can then be finally signed and dated by the tenant.

Rental Application Form – Do Not Forget This Important Form

Choosing the right tenant for your home can be a very important part of the rental process, choose the right tenant and your rental experience can be an easy and profitable one. Choose the wrong tenant however and it can end up being a nightmare such as you never believed possible. An important element in screening your tenants is to have a complete and thorough rental application form, this form is used to screen your applicants and ensure that you will get the best tenant for your property.

Getting a rental application is easy; however it can be hard to know what is the best way to go about getting this important form. There are millions of results when you search on the Internet for it, and you can buy them in office supply stores or you can make up your own if you have the time and the Knowledge to do so. The trick is to have a good idea of what you want before you go looking and to be willing to spend a bit of time searching through the various forms.

It is also important to keep in mind that you will likely need to do some changes to any form that you down load, this is part of what makes it a much better option to get your rental application online. You cannot edit a form that you buy in the store, like you can a form that you download offer of the Internet. This way the form is mostly complete with all of the information you will need and you only need to add the extra things that you think your form will need.

Rental applications vary a quite a bit, some people are pretty relaxed about what they want for information; whereas others want to do a credit check and want financial references. Whatever way that you choose to do your form you should be able to find a form that has all the basic information that you are looking for on it. You may wish to search for some samples of this form too so that you can get some ideas of what can be put on the form before you choose the one you want.

A rental application form is a good way to ensure that the person that is renting your home is responsible and will take good care of your property as well as pay the rent on time every month. Make sure that you get a properly crafted form and you will find that you have less troubles down the road with your tenants.

Characteristics of a Residential Rental Agreement

If you are renting property for the first time, you may need a residential rental agreement but be uncertain as to what needs to go into it, or how to go about finding the right contract for your needs. There is no one single rental contract; these contracts are about as unique as the properties they are connected to. It is easy to fall into the trap of just using any contract, since they have many common elements but this can be a big mistake that you will pay for dearly later.

It is crucial that you spend some time reading the contract that you are going to use, or even better read several of them before you choose one. It is also crucial that you check with your state laws, there are many states that require some things to be listed in this contract and you do not take the time to do that you could not only be violating the laws of your state, you could be putting yourself in a bad position should there be any disputes later.

All rental agreements start with the same basic information, this information will include the contact information for both parties, as well as all the pertinent information about the actual rental including its location, how much it is being rented for and when rent is due. Any applicable deposits will also be listed here, as well as the length of the term of lease, usually one year.

Each rental contract is drawn up differently but there will be two other sections beside the general information section. One section will deal with the terms and conditions of the rental and the other with the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord. The terms and conditions is the place where you will put any of your own stipulations about the rental. This can range from anything such as whether pets are allowed to whether the tenant has access to all the property or even things such as painting or repairing the home.

In the section about rights and responsibilities this is where things such as your right of access and the notice you must give are listed. This is also where you will find sections on terminating the lease and about any damage that is done to the property. There is also a section that covers your tenants’ rights as well.

Your residential rental agreement is a legally binding contract that is designed to spell out the details of the contract as well as provide protections for both tenant and landlord, it is essential that you make sure that the contract is drawn up correctly to ensure that it is admissible in a court of law and will not bring grief back on you another day.