Landlord Checklist: Check Up on Property
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Landlord Checklist: Check Up on Property

Your rental agreement should spell out what a tenant can and can't do. If a tenant destroys or changes things without your written permission, you should immediately intervene. During the first month of the tenancy, check up a couple of times. Drop by and ask how the tenant is doing.

                     rental property check up

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What should I do about a tenant who destroys or changes things?

Your rental agreement should spell out what a tenant can and can't do. If a tenant destroys or changes things without your written permission, you should immediately intervene. That means drawing the tenant's attention to the problem and insisting that it be corrected. In some cases involving health and safety, you may want to correct the situation yourself and then deduct the cost from the deposit and insist that the tenant then add to the deposit to bring it up to its previous level. In other cases, you may want to insist that the tenants themselves bring the changes back to the way things were. If it's a serious case of destruction, such as putting holes in walls, breaking appliances and fixtures, or causing fires, you may want to evict the tenant.

How often should I check up on my property?

During the first month of the tenancy, check up a couple of times. Drop by and ask how the tenant is doing. Did the move-in go well? Is there anything you should know about or that needs fixing? You will need advance permission to go inside the property, unless it's an emergency, but you can simply drop by when the tenant is home to talk. Try to keep up good relations with the tenant. After the first month, I usually drop by once a month for three months to collect the rent and check out the place. After that, if it's a responsible tenant, I simply have them mail the rent in. But I still drive by at least once a month. It's your property and you need to know what's happening to it. Don't become an absentee landlord. You'll be the one who ends up paying the penalty.

Should I hire a property management firm?

You certainly can. They abound in almost every area of the country. Many real estate agents handle rentals as a sideline, hoping to develop listings from them. Keep in mind, however, that not all property management firms are run equally well. Some do a good job and others a poor one. Further, property management firms don't normally handle the maintenance and repairs themselves. Rather, they farm it out to professionals. So, in addition to the 11 to 12 percent fee the firm may charge for its administrative services, you may also find that you're getting socked for full-priced repair/maintenance costs. Most beginning investors/landlords prefer to do the property management themselves. It's a way to contain costs and to learn exactly what the business is all about.

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Comments (2)

good article

This is such an important list of things to help the landlord protect their investment while renting out a home or property. Well done. Promoted.

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