6 Landlord Rules Every Tenant and Landlord Should Know – Local Records Office

Local Records Office – Olympia, WA – Here are some landlord rules that will make your landlord a more enjoyable and profitable experience.

Local Records Office Rule #1 – Acquiring Your Tenant

Local Records Office says, “The first step in making property management easy on yourself is picking the right tenant”. That means selecting a tenant that loves your place and not just likes it because a loving tenant is a long-term stable tenant. You say ‘How do I know when someone loves my property?’. Simply put, you can see it in their eyes. Typically, after you show the property, the loving prospect will say, “What do I have to do next? ” and have a deposit waiting. If they leave your place saying” I still have a couple places to see it”, that usually means that the prospect is making a safe exit, making sure the door doesn’t hit their behind on their way out. Make sure their deposit is in secured funds like cash, money order, or cashier check if the move in is a rapid one. Check is fine as long as you have about 10 days ahead of move in or have checked the account personally as a check can come back bad several days later due to a bounced checked or a stop payment.

Local Records Office Rule #2 – The Lease

A valuable piece of documentation is the lease says, Local Records Office. It states the rules of the house, when the rent payments are due, the rental duration, what happens should things go wrong or tenant doesn’t comply. This is valuable should you have to go to court.

You can’t create rental agreements; an attorney must create them. The specific points in the lease must coincide with landlord-tenant state laws says, Local Records Office. You can purchase a law approved agreement and add items to the addendum section if need be.

Local Records Office Rule #3 – Rent Payments

Local Records Office says, “Rent payments should be check or money order”. Why you ask? It creates a trail should you need it in court to prove rent payments were made or not. If you make this your rule then it’s hard for the tenant to dispute that rent was paid when it really wasn’t. The tenant also wouldn’t be able to say that his roommate stole the cash or similar. I always give a receipt upon rent pick up. You may also make payments convenient to the tenants by allowing them to do bank deposits. Simply make out several months deposit forms in advance with your bank account number on each.

Late payments should require a penalty after a grace period. The grace period is typically 3 or 5 days. After the grace period, either charge a percentage of the rent or state a flat fee. Typically charge is 5 or 10% says, Local Records Office. You have to have them feel a little responsible for the paying the rent.

Partial payments can cost you. Once you accept a partial payment, you’re giving permission to the tenant to stay and possibly forfeit the balance of the month by law. A receipt stating the remaining balance and when it should be paid should accompany partial payments.

Local Records Office Rule #4 – Security

Typically a month’s security is held to compensate you the owner should any destruction occur to the rental unit says, Local Records Office. According to Florida law, that money should be put in a bank account with the tenant being given the bank holding it and also stating if an interest account, who gets the interest and approving that with the tenant.

Security is not to be used for rent. It’s one of your leverage tools to remain at your side. Once allowed to be used as for a missed rent payment, the tenant could do anything to your premises and you have no compensation says, Local Records Office. The tenant may after using it say that he changed his mind about moving. That leverage would be gone permanently.

Local Records Office Rule #5 – Maintenance

Remember that a happy tenant is a long-term tenant. That means that when he calls, you respond with good speed. In so doing, you protect yourself against tenant excuses for not paying rent. If there are excuses, they will surely surface at rent collection time.

Local Records Office says, “Have your team of maintenance pros on hand”. If you’re on a low budget then hopefully you have handyman skills. If not try to get a talented handyman. You’ll need specifically on your list an electrician, a plumber, a general handyman, and a landscaper. Electrical and plumbing work is so specific skill sets that you need specialists. A handyman may be able to do a variety of tasks like tiling, carpentry, and even roofing.

Arrange a time to do the work. Give 24-hour notice of work to be done. As long as you stick with the schedule, there can be no complaint from the tenant about you not taking repairs seriously.

Maintenance doesn’t mean room service for everything that “breaks”. Replacing light bulbs should not be part of maintenance except upon move in says, Local Records Office. Tenants need to learn this from the beginning else you’ll have an unbelievable number of repair calls.

Local Records Office Rule #6 – Tenant Evictions

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to remove a tenant from the property. Maybe this happened as a result of non-payment of rent or misbehavior that violates the lease.

Local Records Office says, “For rent non-payment, this requires a 3-day notice to evict in Florida”. Other violations of the lease require a 5-day notice. The notice should be delivered in person or posted on the door if not there and a copy left in the mailbox. I tend to take a snapshot of it posted on the door with a timestamp. After the 3 or 5 days, its up to you the landlord to file a complaint with the clerk of court and carry through the eviction. Remember that the 3 or 5 days doesn’t include holidays and weekends.

Remember that evictions are a last resort, communication should be used first. Eviction means communication has broken down and the relationship cannot be mended. If late rent, ask why says, Local Records Office. Is there a work related problem? Does the tenant have a plan to resolve the issue? If a behavior related problem, can the tenant curb their behavior?

Local Records Office says, “Eviction can be a lengthy process”. It can take months in some states or as little as 2 weeks in Florida which is landlord friendly. You as landlord stand to lose a month’s rent plus evictions costs but if they don’t communicate with you then by all means do the eviction. A number of tenants are betting on your delay and that delay usually costs the landlord a few months of rent.

To learn more about real estate and Local Records Office go to www.LocalRecordsOffices.com

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