Today we are sharing a few of the pitfalls that you want to avoid when renting out your property. These are some of the mistakes we see on a regular basis, and you need to be careful of them.
Never rent your property to anyone who has not been properly screened. Without a thorough screening, you don’t really know who you’re renting to. Your rental property is a major investment, so don’t turn it over to someone without knowing as much as you can about who is going to be living in your house.
Conduct periodic inspections of your property. Many landlords are happy as long as rent is being paid on time, but that doesn’t mean all is well at your property. Ask your property manager for regular reports on the condition of the home and how the tenant is maintaining it. You want written inspection reports as well as detailed photos.
Anyone who has worked in the Seattle property management industry for any amount of time has heard stories from individual landlords about how it took them months to get a non-paying tenant out of their property. Your lease needs to have very specific terms regarding when rent is due and what the penalties are for late payment. Tenants need to be clear about their responsibilities. When the lease terms are not met action needs to be taken consistently and swiftly. If your tenant needs to make payment arrangements because of an unexpected emergency and you’re willing to accommodate them, make sure you have the agreement in writing and be sure to include consequences for not meeting the terms of the payment arrangement. Once a precedent is set and you allow late rental payments or you close your eyes to the noncompliance of your lease, it will become increasingly difficult to enforce the lease terms down the road.
A professional property manager can be a real asset in these situations because it means you have a buffer between the owner and the tenant. Property managers handle these situations every day, and they do so in a professional manner that is consistent with the Landlord-Tenant law. Your ultimate goal is to keep your interests protected.
If you have any questions about these pitfalls or you’d like some help in avoiding them, please contact us at Brink Property Management. We’d be happy to tell you more.