As a landlord, you’re no stranger to taking on many responsibilities at once.
And you probably already know that if you don’t handle them properly, you could find yourself stressed out, facing financial trouble, or dealing with a lawsuit.
That’s why it’s important for you to both prevent potential problems before they happen and fix them once they’ve occurred. To help you with that, we’ve put together this guide outlining several problems Delaware and Montgomery County landlords face and how you can resolve them.
6 Common Problems Landlords Face and How to Fix Them
1. High tenant turnover rates.
High tenant turnover can kill your cash flow.
Because losing a tenant means you have to spend time and money advertising and showing your vacant property, running background checks on new tenants, and doing the necessary administrative work to get one tenant out and another one in.
On top of that, your property doesn’t generate any money for you while it’s vacant. So, if you spend a lot of time trying to find a new tenant, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble.
Don’t let that happen. Instead, keep your business and bank account in good shape by using these strategies to reduce high tenant turnover rates:
- Be a good landlord to your tenants – Don’t be a reactive landlord. Instead, take proactive steps to make sure your tenants are happy, such as responding quickly to their requests and communicating with them regularly.
- Make sure your rent rate is fair – If your rent rate is high, you’ll obviously make more money every month. However, that extra cash won’t matter if you’re dealing with vacancies all of the time, so check the market rates and set a fair rent amount based on the value of your property.
- Prioritize maintenance – No one wants to live in an unkempt property. Keep tenants around by cutting the lawn, cleaning, and making repairs as necessary.
You can also lower your risk of tenant turnover by renting to tenants who are likely to stay in your property for a long time. If a prospective tenant has a history of staying in one place for a year or less, you may want to hold out for a tenant who is likely to rent long-term.
Tip: For a more detailed guide on reducing costly tenant turnover, check out this blog post.
2. Late rent payments.
Constantly dealing with tenants who don’t pay on time can be incredibly frustrating, especially if they’re repeat offenders.
If that situation sounds all too familiar, consider trying these ideas to improve your chances of consistently collecting rent on time:
- Strictly enforce your rent collection rules
- Follow up with tenants as many times as necessary to collect rent
- Screen tenants thoroughly so you can choose those who are likely to pay on time every month
Tip: For more ideas on how to get your tenants to pay rent on time, check out this blog post.
3. Legal trouble.
Learning all of the laws that apply to landlords may seem like an overwhelming task, but you must do it to avoid legal trouble.
Take the time to study the federal and state laws that apply to you.
And don’t forget to look up your local laws too – some Montgomery County landlords must adhere to different rules based on the specific city their property is located in. For example, the cities of Gaithersburg,Rockville, and Takoma Park require you to adhere to certain licensing laws, while Barnesville, Garrett Park, and Laytonsville do not.
Although learning laws can feel like a daunting task, you’re not in it alone! If you’re struggling, consider joining a local landlord association so you can network and get the support you need.
4. Staying organized.
Landlords deal with lots of paperwork. If you’re not careful, that paperwork can easily become disorganized.
Not only can this cause you daily stress – you may find yourself in legal trouble if you lose an important document!
Stay organized by following these tips:
- Create a logical filing system and stick to it – Whether you decide to organize your files by tenant or by property, make sure everything is filed neatly and your process is consistent.
- Avoid leaving stacks of paperwork on your desk – If you pile up paperwork, the stack will keep getting higher until you’ve completely lost track of multiple documents, so make sure you file your paperwork as soon as you’re done with it.
- Keep digital copies of documents whenever possible – It’s easy to lose papers, but it’s almost impossible to lose something stored in the cloud! Consider purchasing online storage for extra peace of mind in case something happens to the physical copies of your documents.
While a busy day might tempt you to simply toss paperwork down on your desk, always keep in mind that being organized will help you keep stress at a minimum while staying profitable!
5. Frequent evictions.
An eviction can be a stressful, costly process. Instead of dealing with the blow to your financial and mental well-being that frequent evictions can cause, try these 3 proactive ways to avoid them:
Improve your screening process.
One of the best ways to avoid evictions is to screen all tenants thoroughly before placing them in your property. That way, you can feel confident knowing that each tenant you rent to is unlikely to be evicted.
Here are a few actions you must take as part of an effective screening process:
- Check the tenant’s credit.
- Perform a criminal background check.
- Get references from a tenant’s previous landlords.
Tip: For more detailed screening advice, check out our recent blog post entitled 9 Red Flags to Watch Out for in Potential Tenants.
Create payment plans.
Even your best tenants may unexpectedly fall on difficult times. That’s when you may want to consider creating a payment plan for them so they can pay their rent. After all, if they’ll adhere to your payment plan rules, you may find keeping them around to be more beneficial than dealing with the costly eviction process and having a vacant property.
Just make sure you don’t lower the rent amount owed when you create your payment plan. Otherwise, word could get out that you are willing to lower the required monthly rent amount, causing your other tenants to request discounted rates.
Build healthier tenant/landlord relationships.
If you don’t communicate with your tenants consistently, it’ll be easy for them to avoid you and stop paying rent without feeling bad about it. So, make sure you reach out to tenants on a regular basis (without being intrusive, of course) and listen to their feedback. That way, you can be more proactive about preventing problems instead of always being reactive when things have already gone bad.
6. Excessive stress over property management responsibilities.
Let’s face it – property management is a critical part of being a landlord, but it certainly isn’t easy. You have to screen tenants, collect rent, deal with complaints, keep your tenants happy, and more. All of these tasks can take a toll on any landlord, especially those who would rather not deal with stressful property management tasks.
If that sounds like you, consider hiring a professional property management team like Bay Management Group. We help landlords in Montgomery County and the surrounding areas with leasing services, maintenance, rent collections, evictions, and more.
Interested in learning how we can help your landlord business? Contact our team today.