Whether you own one piece of rental property in your area or several across the country, you already know that dealing with tenants and problems with the property itself can be hectic. Your life as a property owner can be made easier with the assistance of a property management firm. Here are a few ways they can help you.
Screening of Tenants
One of the biggest worries that many landlords face is finding good tenants. While you may be compelled to grant a lease to a family that really needs a good place to live, that doesn’t cover the practical requirements of a reliable tenant. Most property management companies will have a system of screening tenants. This screening may include credit checks to make sure that they have not been evicted by a previous landlord, verification of income and employment and even checking criminal backgrounds. They will also have set criteria that are used to qualify applicants as viable rental candidates. While it is ultimately up to you who you rent to, it’s important to make a decision that will be good for your bottom line.
Having screening criteria is not always fool proof, but it does minimize the risk. It’s also financially smarter to have someone that is more knowledgeable in the business make those decisions for you. As an individual, it is hard to say no to someone that has a hard luck story. Having a big heart is great, but it can lead to problems along the way if you rent to an irresponsible tenant.
Collection of Rent
It can be a pain to go to every property and each renter’s door to collect the rent monthly. You have a life beyond being a landlord. Your property management company will collect rent for you. Most companies will have the tenant bring or mail in the rent to their office. This also protects your privacy because it negates the need of having a tenant come to your home to drop off the rent. Some property management companies also have alternative means of collecting the rent such as a website where rent payments can be made online. All you have to do is wait for the rent proceeds, minus the company’s fees, to be delivered to you.
Another consideration when it comes to collections is making sure that rent is paid on time and that the funds are good. Unfortunately, everyone’s checks are not going to be good. When rents are not paid, the property manager will file the necessary notices to ensure that either the rent is paid or the tenant is evicted. Your property manager will know all of the procedures intimately. They will know the legalities. They will give the proper notices to delinquent tenants, they will file the notices with the court, and they will even appear in court for you, if it goes that far.
Maintenance of Property
There is nothing worse than getting a phone call in the middle of the night about a clogged toilet or other repair issue. The management company often provides around the clock maintenance to make sure that everything is in working order. They will respond to these emergencies for you. They may have contracts with plumbing and electrical companies, as well as other people that are needed to keep your property maintained.
Besides just repair issues, the property management company may offer services such as shoveling snow, cutting grass and cleaning the common areas of an apartment building such as the hallways, foyer or laundry facility. Having someone available to fix issues at any hour is a great asset to any landlord. It makes your property stand out from others and it can give you the edge. Tenants want to know that they won’t have to wait weeks to have something fixed.
This also ties into the rent issue. If the repair issues are fixed quickly, the tenants are more likely to make sure that rent is paid with the same priority.
Before choosing the company that you are going to use, make sure that they offer the services that are important to you, as well as fees you’re comfortable with. Being a landlord can be rewarding when you have the right people on your team to support you.