How to Manage Rental Property
Many people purchase an investment property with the intention of renting it to good tenants. Whether you manage one rental property or one hundred, the basic steps to responsible rental management are the same.
If you are interested in learning how to manage rental property or improve your property management skills, this guide will cover the basics of managing a rental and help you avoid the common pitfalls.
1. Buy and Repair a Suitable Rental Property
If you don’t already own the property you plan to rent, then you will need to purchase one and bring it up to code. Check local landlord-tenant laws to determine what improvements you will need to make. Making basic repairs, cleaning thoroughly, and dealing with any odor problems are the first steps to a profitable future.
You may need to use a professional-grade product to eliminate lingering odors before you show your rental property to prospective tenants. Using the apartment managers bundle from Biocide Systems, you can remove tough and offensive odors like these:
- Garbage or rotten food
- Pet odors
- Strong spice or cooking odors
- Cigarette or marijuanna smoke
- Mold or mildew
- Odors from fire or flood damage
2. Set a Rental Price and Market Your Property
Most property management companies perform a market analysis to set the rental rate for a particular property. You can do your own analysis of rentals available in your area, taking into account location, amenities, and recent remodeling to set your property apart.
Once you have set a fair price, get the word out on social media, local papers, and real estate websites. If you are targeting a specific group of renters, like college students, focus your marketing where they are likely to see it on campus or in an online search.
3. Screen Potential Tenants Carefully
Make yourself aware of fair housing laws and plan to screen potential tenants carefully while avoiding any discriminatory practices. You can use these methods to find out more about the people who want to rent your property:
- Credit checks
- Background checks
- Rental history
- Employment history
- Personal references
- Interview questions
4. Have a Complete Set of Rental Documents Signed
When you manage properties for rent, you will need certain legal agreements signed in order to protect your rights as the landlord. You will need a lease agreement that clearly outlines:
- The length of the lease period and how it is renewed
- Which individuals are allowed to inhabit the property
- Whether pets are allowed and under what conditions
- The amount of the security deposit and the requirements for its return
- Whether the tenant may sublet the property or have residents onsite who are not listed on the lease
- How disputes will be settled and under what circumstances the tenant can be evicted
5. Streamline Finances and Communication
You will need to keep in touch with tenants and manage their requests. In some cases, new landlords have hired a property manager to help them get started.
If you have many properties to manage, you might consider a tenant portal to make it easier for your renters to perform these functions:
- Report and track maintenance issues.
- Pay rent, pet fees, or security deposits online.
- Set up auto-payments or pay by credit card.
- Extend their lease or move to another property you own.
6. Manage Tenant Moves and Turnover
It is important to remember that you will not just be managing properties but managing tenants as well. Good tenants will still want to move eventually, and you may have to evict tenants who break their lease agreements or engage in illegal activities on your properties.
Whenever a tenant moves out, you will need to perform a property inspection and carefully document any damage to the property that will result in a reduced security deposit being returned. A complete cleaning, deodorizing, and carpet shampoo is usually required to get a rental back into showable condition.
7. Protect Your Investment by Maintaining Your Properties
There are many reasons to keep your rental properties in the best possible condition. You have a legal responsibility to maintain a habitable property for your tenants. To keep the best tenants, you will need to provide the best quality rental.
Encourage your renters to report anything that needs repair, thank them for doing so, and take care of maintenance issues quickly and correctly. Make sure you visit and inspect properties on a regular basis to look for problems, with proper notice to your tenants.
Perform these regular maintenance chores to protect your investment:
- Install physical and electronic security systems to protect the property from break-ins, keep your tenants safe, and protect vacant properties until they are rented.
- Maintain alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Maintain landscaping and lawns, clean gutters, check for storm damage.
- Provide pest control services for termites and other pests that damage property.
- Provide fire extinguishers and other safety equipment tenants can use in an emergency.
- Change air filters and furnace filters and check for mold or water leaks at least once a year.
- Maintain and replace major appliances to prevent damage to floors or odor problems.
8. Keep Your Financial Houses in Order
Managing rental properties is a business, and tenants are your customers. You should plan on maintaining detailed financial records and doing some intensive monthly bookkeeping. To maximize profits and keep your business growing, manage these financial factors carefully:
- Keep rental rates in line with the local market, raising them when necessary.
- Collect rent, security deposits, late fees, and other income promptly.
- Budget for regular maintenance and appliance replacement.
- File taxes and track all property expenses.
- Plan for vacancies and the costs of finding new tenants when existing ones move out.
- Maintain insurance to cover unexpected property damages or liability claims.
- Consider incentives for loyal and responsible tenants, such as gift cards from local businesses, pet rent paybacks, and other considerations that will help you keep the right tenants long term.
Keeping Rental Properties Clean and Fresh
Spraying some air freshener or baking some cookies is often not enough to get rid of lingering odors in rental homes and apartments. One reliable way to remove all of those offensive odors—including pet, smoke, decay, or mildew smells—from your property is the Room Shocker from Biocide Systems in our apartment managers bundle.
Because it works like a fumigation bomb, the room shocker uses safe and effective CIO2 to remove odor-causing molecules in a single application. It is biodegradable, safe for the environment, and leaves no dangerous residues behind—just a clean and fresh-smelling home ready for your tenants to rave about.
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