Costly Mistake Many Landlords Make!
One landlord, who served on her local landlord-tenant commission, became familiar with hundreds of complaints brought against landlords. From the complaints she made at least six observations which may be wise for landlords to make note of, to avoid making some very costly mistakes when it comes to security deposits.
1. 99% of the cases were caused because the landlord did not return the security deposit.
2. Almost all of these cases could’ve been avoided if the landlord followed their state laws and returned an accounting to the tenant within the prescribed timeline.
3. I saw again, and again, how a tenant tears up a rental. Time limits pass for the landlord to provide security deposit accounting. The tenant files action against landlord. The tenant always asks for three times security deposit (which they rarely get). The landlord has to return the security deposit and interest because they did not do security deposit accounting within the time limit.
4. Don’t submit estimates as if those are your expenses. My experience is that the folks on the receipt get calls, and are asked if you spent the money with them. They are quick to say it was an estimate and NO you did not purchase.
5. Not knowing something you should know is not an excuse. If you got something wrong, just own up to it and move on.
6. Be nice to everyone. The staff that you think doesn’t matter, runs the place. If you make them mad they will let their feelings about you be known. Lots of things are discretionary and nice people will benefit from that, those who are not nice folks, don’t.
Thanks Laura, MD, for sharing great advice. While a couple of the observations may not apply in every state, landlords everywhere would be smart to take heed from what Laura learned during her eight years on the local landlord-tenant commission.
When is the Best Time to Buy?
One company did the research and compared return on investment figures for rental homes purchased during the winter and homes purchased during summer in the country’s biggest metro areas. On average, real estate investors pay less per square foot for the same rental property during the winter as they do during the spring and summer. In several cities, buying rental property in winter months could increase return on investment, with one area as much as 36% and make more money as a landlord right now. So if you are interested in buying investment property at a discount, actively seek out potential homes to buy now, before the weather begins to warm up.
Stuff Every Landlord Should Know!
Another experienced MrLandlord contributor, (SID, MO) shared 10 things every
landlord should know.
- Know your state’s landlord/tenant laws better than your tenants.
- Be able to judge a potential renter’s or contractor’s character by carefully listening to their responses to a few simple questions, observing their body language, and scrutinizing their tone of voice.
- Know what you’re trying to accomplish and have ways to measure if you are moving toward or away from your goal(s).
- Be confident in yourself. How you look, how you dress, how you carry yourself, how you answer questions, how you respond to criticism, and how you accept responsibility.
- Know how all the major components of a house function and relate to each other: roofing, siding, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, foundation, sewer/septic. Don’t have to be able to repair/replace them, but be able to judge when something should be repaired or replaced and how it fits into the overall picture.
- Know the value of your time and act accordingly.
- Have at least one other person (preferably 3+) who are in the same business whom you can talk to, bounce ideas off, and commiserate.
- Have at least three professionals/full-timers on your “speed dial” list in each area: legal, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, framing/roofing, handyman.
- Be honest with yourself both with successes and failures. Learn and grow when you fail.
- Always tell tenants, contractors, and professional service providers about your expectations up front. Have an established follow up schedule. Correct issues when found, and be prepared to “let them go” when they fail to meet those expectations.
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.