Is this the “age of the landlord?” As the housing market bounces back from its historic collapse of a few years ago, the pool of renters continues to grow. Thanks to low interest rates and the availability of relatively low cost properties, more and more investors are becoming landlords. But getting the most out of the properties you manage yourself means taking prompt action to deal with problem tenants and other issues that come along.
Dealing with tenants and tenant issues can derail an unprepared landlord and kill a promising investing career before it even gets off the ground. That’s why a successful landlord/investor needs to follow Jason Hartman’s advice to get educated and keep control of the investment. A landlord faced with problem tenants or other issues connected with the property may be tempted to just give up – but as Jason Hartman says, it’s the landlord’s job to take care of these kinds of problems before they grow into major issues.
It goes without saying that the path to prospering from managing you investment properties begins with preparation. The proactive landlord makes sure that the property is in good shape before renting it: safety hazards are repaired, everything is up to code and there’s a rental or lease agreement that clearly spells out what rules and responsibilities go with renting the property.
Educate yourself about local landlord-tenant laws and your rights as a landlord for dealing with problem tenants. And screen applicants carefully. Credit and Internet checks can eliminate obvious problems such as previous evictions, a criminal history or bad credit. But it’s important to listen to your own intuition about that too – if someone looks good on paper but just doesn’t feel right to you, pass them up for another qualified tenant.
All too often, landlords complain that bad tenants trashed the property, cooked meth or threatened the neighbors – and that they’re stuck with the consequences. But it’s important to take charge of the issue and not let the tenant make you a victim.
Landlords have the right to evict tenants for a variety of reasons, and the first of these is simply violating the terms of the rental or lease agreement. Things like criminal activity or creating a danger in the neighborhood are obviously reasons to report things to local law enforcement and pursue an eviction. Because angry tenants may fight back in a variety of ways, landlords may back away – but that only allows the problems to escalate.
Landlord-tenant law experts point out that although abusive landlords who violate tenants’ rights exist, in the majority of cases it’s the other way around. And they advise landlords to protect themselves by making sure to follow legal procedures such as evictions to the letter, keep a thorough paper trail of their actions, including reports to authorities if necessary, and pursue the issue to a resolution.
Income property investing opens doors to long-term wealth. And a proactive investor who refuses to let bad tenants take control can keep those doors open and the cash flowing from smoothly running rental properties. (Top image:Flickr/stevendepolo)
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