Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Managing Rentals

by Chris on January 7, 2013

Operating a profitable rental business does not need to be stressful, although for some landlords it may seem to come with the territory.

One trick is to view the rental business like any other job.  Working smart doesn’t mean working more hours.  It means setting up a schedule and putting your time where it’s needed most.

Here are some stress-busting ideas to try:

Picking Good Tenants

Spending a few hours when filing a vacancy will save time all the way through the tenancy.  In fact, much of a landlord’s work is done after finding a good tenant.  Our blog provides many tips regarding tenant screening that can streamline this process.

Generally, landlords should:

Pay attention to the message conveyed in the rental ad — rules should appear firm to discourage problem tenants from applying in the first place.

Prequalify tenants over the phone, and prescreen anyone who wants a tour, including asking for a photo ID.

Obtain a fully completed rental application. Avoid online forms that could have been completed by someone other than the applicant.

Run available Tenant Screening reports and check these against the information in the rental application.

Prepare a Move-In Inspection

Record the condition of the property when the tenant arrives, so that you can show the condition once they leave. This one simple step can save hours of time and hundreds of dollars in legal fees if there is a dispute later.

A Rock-Solid Lease

A written lease agreement– which spells out the parties’ rights and responsibilities so that the tenant knows what they have to do — is an essential tool and time-saver.  Invest in having a local landlord attorney review your lease agreement before you present it to a tenant.  Beef it up if needed.  It’s a one-time expense that pays off time and again. That way, you can sleep easier knowing you have the best possible protections.

Stay Up on Inspections

Putting in an hour or two every six weeks or so checking up on the property can avoid a costly problems down the road.

This is your chance to catch a problem tenant before things get out of control, and it’s the perfect opportunity to ask the tenants about any needed repairs before things get worse — or more expensive.

Damage-Proof Your Property

Landlords who recognize that they cannot eliminate risks of wear and tear live happier lives.  You can’t control every action by every tenant with rules alone, nor can you exclude children, or in the case of tenants with disabilities, companion animals from your rentals.

Rather than stressing about damage or fighting with every tenant over security deposit deductions,  do what you can to adapt the property for rental use:

Non-smoking policies cut down on cleaning time between tenants.

As items like flooring need updating, trade out high-maintenance carpeting with easier-to-clean hard surfaces.  Tenants who bring in pets or companion animals can supply their own rugs, and take them along when they go, leaving behind a clean floor.

Focus Effort on Move-Out

Plan ahead and know whether tenants are staying or moving on at the end of the lease term. If they want to stay, look over the property and perform needed maintenance as though you were restoring the unit to avoid longer-term damage.

If the tenant is leaving, go over what needs to be cleaned in advanced to avoid security deposit disputes — the most common reason for a landlord to go to court.

Record the condition of the property before a new tenant moves in.

By working smart, and placing your emphasis and time where it can do the most good, you can prevent headaches, damage and stress — and protect your profits at the same time.

 

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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