Landlord Toolbox

Expert Property Management Tips

Ongoing Management
With so many tasks to complete, being an organized landlord or property manager can be difficult. Handling the day to day operations of running your business means resolving problems quickly — while sticking to local, state and federal codes. Take a look at our guide for efficiently and managing your real estate investment.


Should You Hire a Property Manager?

If you’re spread too thin managing landlord/tenant issues and working with multiple properties each day, it may be time to hire a property management company. From screening tenants thoroughly to managing evictions, sometimes it’s best to hand off full time jobs like these.


Maintenance Issue Request Form

Getting your tenants a maintenance request form, either physical or available online can help you respond quickly to issues. By being responsive and keeping appliances in working order, you’ll find collecting rent payments may be easier — especially when the air conditioner works perfectly all summer long. And building reliable rapport with your tenants is a key way to increase retention when renewing season comes around. With an online system for tenants to use when issues arise, you’ll find maintenance requests are better organized because issue tracking is only a click away.

One of your main legal responsibilities as a landlord or property manager is to keep your space in a habitable condition. But what exactly does that mean? To stay compliant with local, state and federal housing codes, you need to know what the law requires and where to look to get the answers. Find out more about your responsibilities as a landlord.


Collecting Rent

Collecting the rent from tenants can sometimes be stressful. When they’re late or claim the check’s in the mail, payments are delayed and your mortgage payment will come due even if they don’t pay. By requiring rent to be paid online, you’ll find tenants are more likely to pay on time. Some renters even base their decision to rent a space on ease-of-use conveniences, like online application and rent collection systems. When it’s time for adjusting rent annually, you’ll also be able to quickly run another credit report with conveniences like these and help keep those rent payments flowing.


How to Find the Right Team of Contractors

Finding responsible contractors for your rental and responding promptly to phone calls can be a challenge. But if you know how to find a team of great contractors — and you treat them right — you may find yourself with a lasting, dependable relationship.


Should You Do Maintenance Yourself?

It’s important to know when you need to call for backup. If you’re handy with electrics but not sure what to do under the kitchen sink, you may want to book a plumber instead of taking on major repairs yourself. Sometimes, a simple drywall patching job has major rehab written all over it. But if you’re not familiar with the warning signs, you may be in for a big surprise. When in doubt, it’s smart to have a pro write up an estimate — you’ll have a better idea of the project’s scope before you begin, and can hand it off to the experts if it looks bigger than you thought.


What Types of Maintenance Should Your Tenant Be Responsible For?

You know how much your time is worth. And sometimes, with low risk projects it may be more cost effective for your tenant to take on a task, if they’re willing. Find out how seemingly simple jobs should be left to the pros and learn about when it may be acceptable for your tenant to take on a task for a discount on their rent. Other obligations like shoveling snow and lawn maintenance need to be spelled out in your lease, or you may have trouble getting your tenants to comply.


What Is Considered Normal Wear and Tear?

As a landlord, it’s up to you to make a determination on damage and to document issues so you’ll have material to present in small claims court, if it comes to that. When performing your move out inspection, remember that your place will depreciate — or age — over time. Each tenant’s going to wear the rental down a little more than the last one. By carefully reviewing the condition of the space at each lease renewal, you can assess whether wear and tear is normal or if it’s the tenant’s doing.

Landscaping Tips to Save Money and Water

If you’ve got a large, multi-family rental, odds are that beautifying your rental property can get expensive. Between hiring landscapers to maintain mowing grass or managing snow, there are ways to get the most out of your landscaping dollar. Investing wisely in plants that consume less water and preventing evaporation with mulch can help to keep those costs down even more.


Preparing Your Rental for Smart Home Technology

If your rental property is out of state, or some distance from your office, smart tech can get you connected in real-time and deliver status updates that help to make your job easier. You’ll know how things are going, and be alerted when issues arise. By upgrading your security system your tenant benefits too. Build renter loyalty with a small, high-tech investment that tells the tenant their possessions are safe, and lets them adjust the heat while away. Additional features like smart water leak sensors and video surveillance can add peace of mind to both tenant and landlord alike.


Handling Disruptive Tenants

When disruptive tenants are keeping the neighborhood up all night, or are engaged in illegal activity, what are your rights as a landlord or property manager? The answer to that has a lot to do with the language in your lease agreement, and may require you to get the authorities involved when problem tenants cross a critical legal threshold. That’s why a detailed screening process is so important to help weed out problem tenants.

Managing Your Landlord Insurance Needs

Successfully managing your rental property means protecting both yourself and your tenants by carefully insuring your property. This real estate investment is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, and it pays to work with an expert. Contact your American Family Insurance agent today and get a quote for covering all of your property — from storage sheds to living spaces — and find the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your investments are well protected.

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