Warning From a Fellow Landlord
A regular contributor on LandlordingAdvice.com warns that cutting corners can come back to bite you.
“I have a master electrician who handles all of the electrical issues with my rental houses. He is licensed and insured and he pulls permits when required. My city requires permits to install an electric or gas water heater which irritates a lot of landlords here.
Last week, my electrician started telling me a story about how another landlord in my city is now in ‘serious trouble’ for hiring unlicensed handymen to do work (plumbing and electrical) that they were not licensed or even half-way qualified to do.
I don’t have all of the details of this story since it’s still unfolding. According to my electrician, the landlord allowed a handyman to live in one of his houses for reduced rent in exchange for the handyman’s services. How many people on this forum have done this?
This handyman re-wired and re-plumbed the entire house and did not pull one permit. The landlord thought he had gotten a deal of a lifetime until the city’s housing code inspector got called to the scene. The handyman/resident was immediately evicted and the landlord is now in deep do-do with our city code inspectors. To make matters worse, all of the handyman’s new wiring and plumbing will to have to be removed and done over with licensed contractors. Be careful people!”
Get Paid For Your Labor!
Don’t lose out on charges for cleaning or repairs after resident moves out simply because YOU did the work. One landlord shares in the following words of how she gets paid when she does the labor. As always, know how judges in your area would rule.
“When a resident moves, we hire out for clean up: the windows, carpets and paint. But some of the work we do ourselves – usually because it is difficult or we can’t find anyone to do it in a reasonable time frame. We have a small business that handles it. We invoice ourselves/the rental for it, include it as income on schedule C, provide a receipt, and deduct from the security deposit only those items that are due to resident damage.”
Do Your Renters Feel Taken For Granted?
A property manager trainer, Lisa Trosien, shares a “Dear Abby” letter below that she never forgot (and encourages rental owners to learn from).
Dear Abby: I’ve lived at Happy Hills Apartments for almost one year now. I like it here. It’s clean. The rents are a little pricey, but I believe that you get what you pay for so I’m not complaining about that.
When I looked here a year ago, everyone couldn’t have been nicer. They gave me a little “Thanks for looking!” gift when I first came out, and they stayed in touch with me throughout my whole apartment search. They were so attentive that I felt I’d be well taken care of here. But that’s changed. Actually, it changed right after I moved in.
It seemed like once I filled out the lease, they sort of forgot about me. I’d pay my rent or give them a service request and they either didn’t remember who I was or had to ask me my apartment number. I didn’t like that. They would also interrupt talking with me to take phone calls for people who wanted information on the apartments. I think that’s just rude.
It’s been like this for a while now, but today was really the last straw. I got this letter from them that was CLEARLY a form letter. It started off with, “Dear Resident,”- like once again, they don’t know my name. The next line was, “Believe it or not, it’s been almost a year since you made Happy Hills Apartments your new home”. It wasn’t even on real letterhead paper; it was a copy and it sort of slanted off the page. You know what I mean?
Oh, and it also had a RENT INCREASE in it.
I don’t get it. They work their butts off to make me feel special and once I moved in they are all form letters and “Who are you?” They are taking me for granted and I just don’t get it. I guess they just assume I’ll renew. They need to rethink that. Yours truly, Used and Abused
#1 Vital Screening Tip For Renting to Pet Owners
We welcome and promote pets BIG time! We have hundreds of animals in our homes. Hard to remember when we last had animal damage. It’s a non-issue for us now mainly because we require in-home inspection prior to final approval. We MEET the pet, SEE the condition of their home, and SMELL the home. The animal is now a known commodity, not a gamble.
Having requirements such as Veterinarian records, size requirements, restricting certain breeds, etc., is good, but none of those predict animal behavior or damage. Having your eyes on their animal situation is the ONLY screening that does.
10 Biggest Landlord Mistakes
1. Not fully Screening – Selecting the wrong resident.
2. Accepting Excuses – Not immediately posting Pay or Quit notice.
3. Taking too long at turnover to get a rental ready.
4. Being known as the owner, instead of just one of the managers or workers.
5. Allowing people (resident and government) to push me around.
6. Not seeing inside a rental frequently enough to correct conditions before they evolve further.
7. Trying to do too much of the work myself (Not taking the tools out of my van sooner).
8. Hiring the wrong handyman (and putting too much trust in one).
9. Not fully looking at a house and ALL the numbers before purchasing.
10. Waiting too long to go full time.
Keep Your Residents Longer
Would you be willing to pay $50 to $100 per year to have a very quiet senior citizen live in your rental for 7 to 10 years at a time? I would guess that 99.99% of all landlords would answer, “Of course!” So, why don’t you make it happen?
One way of keeping a senior citizen in place is to do take Nick Sidoti’s (Dr. Cashflow) advice and do special things for them. How about offering to send your handyman to their home in the spring to handle any minor needed repairs – as a goodwill gesture. You might also consider hiring a cleaning lady for a day to do a “deep cleaning” for them. Tell them that it is a gift for being a good resident and paying on time. There are many inexpensive things that you can do that let them know you care and to remind your best residents that you appreciate them.
The easiest way to avoid losses from turnover and vacancy is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Make your residents feel as if they are already living in the best possible place with the best possible management. They may encourage their friends to seek you out and help you to fill other or future vacancies.
The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.