7 Ways to Ensure Your Potential Tenant’s References are Real

How to Ensure Your Tenant's References Are Real

Any responsible Baltimore City property owner knows the importance of tenant screening when it comes to placing tenants in their property.

You want to make sure the tenant you are considering has no criminal background, has verifiable income that can cover the monthly rent expenses, and has a good credit score.

Since most rental applications require prospective tenants to list personal and professional references, along with contact information regarding their employers and past landlords, it is equally important that you do not skip verifying these references during the screening process.

Though it shouldn’t come as any surprise, plenty of potential tenants fabricate their references in an attempt to secure a rental home.

And, while this may seem somewhat harmless, the truth is, tenant references have the potential to reveal some very helpful information about your tenant that the paperwork may not.

But how do you know if the references listed on an application are in fact real?

To help answer this question, we will look at some of the best ways you can ensure that your prospective tenant’s references are legitimate.

 

Verifying Your Baltimore City Tenant References

1. Interview the Tenant First

Interview Your Tenant First For Your Baltimore City Rental Property

One thing you might not think about when looking to verify a potential tenant’s references is to talk with the tenant first.

This initial conversation can be brief and should include questions such as:

  • Where are you currently employed?
  • What is your monthly gross income?
  • What might your boss or former employers say about you as an employee?
  • What are your monthly debt obligations?
  • What do you think your previous landlords would have to say about you?

Interviewing a tenant before calling their references will give you a heads up on anything that may seem amiss about the tenant.

It also lays a good foundation for comparison between what the tenant says, and what the references say.

You never know what a tenant’s reference is going to say. Having an idea beforehand what may be said will alert you to any discrepancies right away.

 

2. Explain the Consequences of Falsifying a Reference

Some prospective tenants are going to lie about their references, no matter what.

Unfortunately, that’s just part of being in the rental property business.

However, explaining that any falsifications discovered on a tenant application, references included, will lead to an automatic rejection of the application, may cause some tenants to think twice before lying.

Being clear upfront about the consequences of a dishonest tenant application may help to discourage tenants from putting any fake information on the application.

It also gives the tenant a look at how serious you are about leasing your property. It gives the impression that you stand firm, act as a professional, and will not tolerate problems of any kind.

 

3. Ask for Pay Stubs

Ask Your Tenant For Pay Stubs With Their Rental Application

Sometimes tenants do not have a good relationship with their employers and have someone else, such as a friend, act as their boss on the other end of the phone when a property owner calls in to verify an employer reference.

One great way to get around this, and better verify the tenant’s income in the process, is to ask for a few pay stubs, and possibly even employment verification documents.

With this information on hand, you can conduct your own research, and see if the reference listed is in fact a real person.

In addition, you can reach out to the employer’s HR department and ask to be put in direct contact with the tenant’s employer, rather than call the number listed on the reference sheet.

This will help diffuse any “fake boss” calls.

 

4. Always Call References

Always Call Your Tenant's References in Baltimore City

It is very easy to forge a written reference, either on paper or via email. In addition, you may not get a real feel for how a reference feels about a tenant when reading a prepared statement.

It is best to call all of your prospective tenant’s references and talk with them one-on-one.

This question-and-answer type of conversation may yield some red flags, or further confirm a potential tenant as a good fit for you.

In addition, speaking in person with someone will help solidify that your tenant’s references are real.

 

5. Be Specific in Your Questioning

However, just because you call a tenant’s references and speak to someone directly, does not mean they are a real reference.

Thus, when it comes to interviewing a tenant’s previous landlords, there are specific things you can start off with during the conversation to help verify you are speaking to a landlord, as opposed to a buddy pretending to be one.

RentSpree recommends prefacing the conversation with a statement that you are simply going to ask some generic questions first, to verify that they are an actual landlord.

RentSpree then goes on to say you should ask things like what type of license is needed to become a landlord in that particular region, and what type of inspections are required to lease property.

A real landlord will be able to answer these questions easily.

 

6. Ask for More References

There is nothing stopping you from asking a tenant’s reference for a secondary reference.

In fact, this tactic is very useful when verifying employer references. The more people you talk to about the potential tenant, the better insight you will gain into what type of person, and tenant, they are likely to be.

Start by thanking the reference for their time, and then kindly ask for the contact information of another person that works closely with the tenant.

If you are immediately given information, you can almost guarantee your tenant’s employer references are real.

 

7. Hire a Property Management Company

Hire Property Management Company For Your Baltimore City Rental

An experienced property manager will have had run-ins with tenant references of all kinds.

They are best suited to tell when someone is being dishonest, and when the true character of a potential tenant is being revealed.

There is no doubt that a skilled property management company will be able to handle tenant screening better than anyone else will, yourself included. Their job is to place high quality tenants in your rental property, so that you continue to employ them for their services.

Not taking tenant screening, specifically reference checks, seriously would do their business more harm than good.

That’s why relying on a quality property management team to screen your tenants for you is often your best bet for ensuring a tenant has given you real references.

 

In the end, verifying that your Baltimore City tenants have real references on their rental application can be tough.

It will often take some extra research on your end, and a little bit of gut instinct to decide whether a reference is telling the truth. Luckily, however, there are good ways of getting around some issues that tend to pop up with fake tenant references.

If you are in the Baltimore City area and own rental property that needs a tenant, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you with your tenant screening and placement needs.

Not only do we have a thorough tenant screening process in place that includes contacting all potential tenant references, we also have a 12-month tenant warranty in place that promises to re-lease your property for free, should your tenant be evicted within the first year of leasing your property.

So, contact us today and take advantage of this great warranty, among many other things.


What Fees to Expect When Financing a Rental

What Fees To Expect When Financing a Rental Property in Montgomery County

You may look at the price of a potential Gaithersburg investment property, and think you’ve got a fairly good deal.

However, do not be fooled – more lies beneath the surface.

Besides the price tag of a rental property, there are numerous miscellaneous fees you can expect to pay when financing a rental.

But do you know what those fees are?

If you are looking to invest in a rental property in the Montgomery County area, and are curious about what fees to expect while financing that property, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the lowdown on what you can anticipate paying while financing a Gaithersburg rental property, so that you don’t walk away more empty-handed than you expected to after this major purchase.

 

10 Common Fees to Expect While Financing a Rental Property

 

1. Private Mortgage Insurance

If you put a small down payment on a rental property (typically less than 20% down), it is likely you will need to purchase what is called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

This policy will protect your lender from losing money, should you end up foreclosing on the property.

The problem with this added fee is that sometimes the private insurer providing you PMI requires you to pay an entire year’s worth before closing on the property you are purchasing.

This can add up quickly, and adds a sizeable amount to an already expensive purchase.

 

2. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Is a Fee To Expect In Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Another common type of insurance that is typically required while purchasing a rental property (and is recommended even if it’s not required), is homeowners insurance.

This policy will protect you should your tenants, or some unforeseen disaster, damage the structure of your property in any way.

While homeowners insurance can be paid monthly throughout the year, thus reducing your upfront costs at the time of financing your property, you will still need to have a policy in place before closing on the rental, which means some sort of payment will need to be made right away.

 

3. Title Insurance

Title insurance is a way to protect yourself in the event the seller of the property you are purchasing did not in fact own the property, yet sold it anyway.

This kind of insurance protects both you and your lender from any losses arising from ownership disputes.

 

4. Processing Fee

Another Common Fee is the Processing Fee With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

When you apply for a mortgage with a financing company, there are application fees that you are expected to pay.

These fees do not typically surpass $500, though it is important you keep track as you continue through the process.

 

5. Origination Fee

In addition to paying a processing fee, you will be responsible for paying an origination fee to the bank or lender you are financing your Gaithersburg property through.

This is your way of paying them for creating the loan you are being approved for.

 

6. Credit Report Fees

Include Credit Report Fees With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Just like other major purchases people make that come with loan terms (e.g. cars, boats, and major appliances), your lender will want to run a thorough credit check on you before even thinking about loaning you money to finance a rental property.

This also includes any courier or postage fees. Do not expect the bank to pay for all of this for you.

 

7. Survey Fee

Drawing up a precise legal boundary of the property you are trying to purchase, as well as including other details related to the property’s land, must be done before the closing of an investment property, if an existing survey does not already exist.

 

8. Appraisal Fees

An appraisal consists of a professional appraiser evaluating the property you are purchasing, and estimating its market value.

You must have an acceptable appraisal before you can finance a rental property.

Why?

A good appraisal is in place so that lenders do not give away too much of their own money.

In short, lenders need to know that the property you are purchasing is worth more than what you are paying for it. This way, should housing prices drop, lenders can easily recover their money.

 

9. Inspection Fees

Not all lenders require a general inspection of the property you are about to finance.

However, with things such as mold and pests being such a costly problem to deal with later on, it is sometimes worth the money to have a thorough inspection performed at the rental you are about to finance.

The last thing you want to deal with is a landlord-tenant dispute over who is responsible for pests in a rental.

In addition, it is your legal responsibility in Maryland to ensure that your tenants have a safe and habitable home to live in, free of mold or lead paint.

 

10. Recording Fees

Recording fees are fees you will pay the county or city to officially record all of the real estate documents that are drafted during your investment property purchase.

In Montgomery County, you will pay $6.90 per thousand dollars financed, $10.00 per thousand dollars financed over $500,000, a 1.5% transfer tax (1.0% to the county, 0.5% to the state), and a property tax of $0.883 per hundred dollars assessed.

 

Financing a rental property in Montgomery County is no easy feat.

You do not simply look at the price tag of the property and pay that amount.

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers do not understand this process in full, and can become very surprised, and discouraged, during the closing process.

Do not let this happen to you.

If you are looking to invest in a Gaithersburg rental property, or perhaps have just invested, and are facing not only the reality that you now have a mortgage to pay, but also that you have no tenants in your property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can place a tenant in your rental property within 30 days or less of being hired on to help you.

In addition, we charge a low 8% monthly management fee, which is amongst the lowest in both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

 

Self-managing a rental property is a tough gig after just going through the exhausting process of financing a new property.

Let us at Bay Management Group help you manage your property for a low monthly management fee, and place high quality, high paying tenants in your rental so you can start to recoup some of those fees you paid during the financing of your property.


5 Mistakes You Could Be Making With Your Lease Agreement

5-mistakes-you-could-make-with-lease-agreement

Becoming a successful investment property owner in Chevy Chase, MD takes a lot of real estate expertise.

You must be familiar with how to:

  • Finance and purchase rental properties
  • Place high quality tenants and collect timely rent payments
  • Maintain and repair your property whenever an issue arises
  • Keep your tenants satisfied so they will want to renew at the end of their lease term

However, one of the most important things to know and understand as a Montgomery County property owner is how to construct the perfect lease agreement.

Knowing how to protect the interests of you and your investment property via a signed lease agreement is crucial to avoiding legal problems in the future.

But do you know what common mistakes even the most experienced landlords make when drafting a lease agreement for their rental property?

If not, you are not alone.

Many property owners do not have the help of an experienced property manager to draft thorough lease agreements that touch upon everything that is important to the owners.

And, unfortunately, as a result, these mistakes cause harm to their rental property business.

Today we are going to examine some lesser-known mistakes you might be making with your lease agreement, in hopes that you can become the successful property owner you desire.

 

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Montgomery County Lease Agreements

So many things go into drafting into a solid lease agreement.

Whatever provisions you decide to add, be sure to always include the following basics:

  • Tenant names and personal information
  • Lease term start and end dates
  • Rent collection amount and procedures, including late-payment penalties
  • Security deposit and pet fee deposit amounts
  • Additional fines, fees, and charges your tenant is obligated to pay
  • Property access information
  • Proper use of the property and consequences for breaking the rules
  • Signatures of both parties

Failure to include any of the above is automatically considered a major lease agreement mistake. This is general information that all lease agreements should include, no matter what.

However, some things are more landlord-specific that can be considered a mistake as well, if not drafted correctly into your lease agreement.

Read on to find out if you are making any of these lease agreement mistakes so that you can fix them come the next time you place a tenant in your Chevy Chase rental property.

 

1. Using Outdated or Incorrect Forms

using-outdated-or-incorrect-forms-causes-problems-lease-agreement-chevy-chase-rental-property

For those that self-manage their Chevy Chase rentals, it is important you take special care when deciding which lease agreement forms to use in drafting a lease agreement for your rental property.

Found all over the internet, so-called “standard” lease agreement forms can be a dangerous thing to use without making sure they comply with your state’s laws.

Here are some of the problems you may encounter when using a cookie-cutter lease agreement form:

  • Lease provisions you want included may not be on the form you are using, and are thus unenforceable
  • Overly strict clauses may be included that place an undue burden on both you and your tenants
  • Incorrect rules and regulations may be written into the lease agreement unbeknownst to you or your tenants that can cause a dispute later on

If you are not using a reliable property management company that knows how to draft a legally compliant lease agreement highlighting all of the provisions you want, make sure the standard form you use is up-to-date and is compliant with federal, state, and local laws.

 

2. Not Including Insurance Requirements

Though not a legal requirement, Bay Management Group encourages all of our property owners to require their tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving into their rental property.

Here is a quick roundup of reasons why renters insurance is so important, and how not including this in your lease agreement can be a huge mistake:

  • It lessens your chances of losing a lawsuit if your tenant’s personal belongings are damaged, or a tenant or their guest is injured on your property
  • Renters insurance covers damages that may otherwise come out of your homeowners insurance (or worse, your own pocket)
  • It decreases the chances your tenant will leave mid-lease in the event of an emergency because everything including damages, temporary shelter, and food costs are covered
  • It helps you place higher quality tenants that are okay with paying the small monthly fee for added protection

 

3. Not Requiring a Cosigner

require-cosigner-chevy-chase-tenant-has-bad-credit

Not requiring a tenant to have a cosigner, and still approving them to reside in your rental property, can be a major mistake.

When you are screening tenants to place in your Chevy Chase rental property, it is important you ensure the tenant has the following attributes:

  • A verifiable income that meets your monthly demand
  • Creditworthiness
  • Proof of employment
  • Quality references including employers, personal, and prior landlords
  • No criminal history
  • No prior evictions

In an ideal world, every tenant that is interested in leasing your property will make plenty of money, have verifiable references, employment, and previous renting history, and will not have a criminal background.

However, in the case that only some of this is true, building a required cosigner clause into your lease agreement will better protect your interests in the long run.

By allowing your tenant to have a cosigner, you will have better protection should your tenant not be able to pay rent, incur damages beyond normal wear and tear, or have roommates that do not fulfill their part of the lease obligations.

 

4. Failing to Outline Tenant Responsibilities

While residing in your Montgomery County rental home, your tenants are responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of the property. After all, they will be residing in it for some time and should care for it as though it is their own home.

However, failing to outline in the signed lease agreement exactly what your tenants are responsible for is a mistake on your part.

Sure, you are obligated to provide a safe and habitable home for your tenants. But what about things such as:

  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Pest extermination
  • Simple maintenance such as light bulb replacement, air filter changes, and smoke alarm batteries
  • Landscaping
  • General cleanliness both inside and outside of the property

These are all things that many tenants will take care of without you asking.

However, in order to protect yourself from a dispute in the future, it is best to spell it out for your tenants in the lease agreement.

Additionally, consider adding some general maintenance tricks and tips into the tenant welcome package you should provide your tenants upon move-in.

 

5. Rules Regarding Roommates

set-roommate-rules-lease-agreement-chevy-chase-rental-property

If you are going to allow roommates in your Montgomery County rental property, it is imperative you draft the lease agreement to include some of the following information:

  • Adult Tenant Screening. Require a full background check on any adult that will be residing in your property, regardless of whether they contribute to the rent each month or not.
  • Security Deposit Information. In addition to the general language that goes into a basic lease agreement concerning a security deposit, include additional information outlining that any unpaid rent or damages to the property, regardless of who is at fault, will be taken out of the security deposit at the end of the lease term.
  • Liability Clause. Failing to add a clause concerning joint and several liability is a big mistake on your part if you allow roommates in your property. You want to ensure that if one roommate disappears, the other will be held fully responsible for rent each month, as well as damages at the end of the lease term.
  • Breach of Lease Provision. Your tenants must be aware that the behavior of one roommate affects the entire group of people living in your property. Include in your lease agreement that you have the right to terminate the lease for all tenants residing in your property, even if only one person breaches the lease.

 

In the end, drafting a lease agreement is a large task. And, for those that are unaware of the complexity that comes with lease drafting, it is easy to make mistakes that carry far into the lease term and actually harm your rental property business, investment property, and bottom line.

If you own property in the Montgomery County area and need an experienced property management company to help you draft the perfect lease agreement for your rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.


6 Best Ways to Add Square Footage to Your Rental Property

best-ways-add-square-footage-rental-property-anne-arundel-county-maryland

Anne Arundel County’s competitive market and wide appeal makes it a prime place to rent.

As the heartland of Maryland, Anne Arundel County offers tenants wonderful things, such as close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, educational and employment opportunities, and plenty of outside activities to enjoy with friends and family alike.

With this in mind, it is no wonder why those with Anne Arundel County rental properties are trying to appeal to the highest paying tenants.

Further, since the competition is so stiff, and people looking to lease in this area know that, your investment property is expected come with plenty of curb appeal and amenities.

So why not add a few square feet to your property and make it stand out amongst the crowd?

If you’re not sure how to expand your rental property upwards and outwards by way of square footage, check out our below suggestions.

By adding square footage to your rental, you are sure to attract a high paying, high quality tenant.

 

How to Add Square Footage to Your Anne Arundel County Rental Property

Before trying to add square footage to your Anne Arundel County rental property, it is best to gather some of your ideas and present them to a licensed and insured contractor that specializes in structural additions to a home.

To inspire those ideas, let’s look at some of the best ways you can add square footage to your rental property.

 

1. Build into the Backyard

build-into-backyard-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

Adding square footage to your rental property via the backyard is a popular choice. Typically, property owners extend the kitchen out (who doesn’t want a bigger kitchen?) or expand upon the already existing family room.

This addition not only adds some serious room to your rental that can now accommodate more people, it leads itself right out into the backyard, which can be a haven of entertainment for Anne Arundel County families.

 

2. Add a Greenhouse

Sometimes referred to as a “jewel box,” a greenhouse is an excellent way to add square footage to your rental as well as an element of surprise; not many homes come with their very own greenhouse addition. And, if your rental property does, you will likely have some serious competition amongst interested tenants wanting in on that special amenity.

Here are some things to remember when thinking about adding a greenhouse to your rental property:

  • Ensure the greenhouse’s placement will provide proper sunlight
  • Consider the landscaping of the backyard – will you need to trim any large trees or brushes that block sunlight or to maximize the overall appeal of the greenhouse?
  • Make sure the foundation is secure and that proper drainage from the greenhouse can occur
  • Watch for material use – the best materials are not always the cheapest nor the most expensive, rather, they are the ones that will provide the right climate for your greenhouse
  • Be sure you aren’t in violation of any homeowners’ association rules, if applicable

If done right, a greenhouse can add a lot of appeal and bring in some seriously high rent.

 

3. Think Small

building-small-patio-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

Adding square footage is not always about adding a lot more space to an existing structure.

Sometimes, adding a small patio to the backend of the master bedroom or a front porch to accommodate a simple bench is enough to make a statement without overwhelming your rental. You can still get creative and not break the bank – or your rental property’s structure – by adding small accent statements to the exterior.

 

4. Or…Think Big

On the other hand, adding something large and bold, such as a pavilion, can make a huge statement when it comes to your rental property. Try adding a small pool house in your backyard where summertime visitors can change, shower, or cool off.

You have the option of making your pavilion freestanding or attaching it to the main structure.

Though atypical, a pavilion can also be used as a place of residence. Pavilions are so great because they’re versatile – they can offer the shade of a gazebo, the storage room of a backyard shed, and the feel of a cabana, all at the same time.

 

5. Make Your Rental Tall

make-rental-tall-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

If your Anne Arundel County rental property is on a small lot, and there is not a lot of room to expand outwards, one unique way to expand your rental’s square footage is to raise the ceiling (and thus, the roof).

Though this strategy will not work on all rental properties due to certain restrictions you must adhere to, it can work for some. A higher ceiling gives the feeling of more space and a bigger home.

 

6. Add Another Level

This is an ambitious addition, and not one to be taken lightly in terms of completion time, stress, or cost. However, if you own the type of rental property that will benefit from adding an entirely new level, you will definitely gain some more square footage points with prospective tenants.

If you do opt for this addition, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure to use only qualified architects and remodelers
  • Understand that your entire property may need moving and that the roof will be removed
  • A solid foundation is a must
  • Strong walls are necessary as well
  • Upgrades to electrical, heating, and cooling systems may be required
  • Staircase location is crucial and will affect your first floor square footage space

 

Tenants are always looking for bigger and better. And if they have the expendable income, they are sure to pay premium rent rates to lease your large property.

If you live in the Anne Arundel County region and have a rental property that has expanded upwards, outwards, or both, contact Bay Management Group to help you advertise your property appropriately.

With targeted techniques, a solid understanding of the market, and the resources to connect with the best pool of tenants, Bay Management Group is the property management company you want to employ.

Contact us today and see how our expertise of the rental property business can get your unique property leased to a high quality (and high paying) tenant within thirty days.


How to Deal with Late Paying Tenants

how-deal-late-paying-tenants-prince-georges-county-rental-property-management

One of the biggest challenges property owners in Prince George’s County face is collecting rent from tenants.

Though ideally every tenant will pay rent in full and on time every month, all property owners know that this is not always realistic.  There will be a late paying tenant at one point or another; it just comes with being in the rental property business.

So, how do you deal with late paying tenants?

To learn how to handle non-paying tenants before it becomes an issue for you, keep reading.

We are going to reveal some of the most effective ways to handle tenants that do not pay their rent on time, because the truth is, this is very much a part of being a property owner.  Equipping yourself with ways to take care of late rent payments will ultimately lead to the best outcome for both you and your tenants.

 

Top 5 Ways to Handle Late Paying Prince George’s County Tenants

Late rent payments come with the territory of being a property owner.  And, while some property owners and their property management companies can be quite forgiving when it comes to late paying tenants, you do not want this to become a recurring issue.

Here are some of the best ways to handle late paying tenants, along with a few important considerations, when you are faced with the fact that your rent payment will not be deposited into your bank account on time.

 

1. Set Clear Expectations from the Start

set-clear-expectations-rent-due-dates-tenants-prince-georges-county-rental-property

Before diving into how to handle a late paying tenant, it is important to understand the proactive approach to preventing late payments in the first place.  Although not foolproof, setting clear expectations at the time of move-in is going to be one of the best ways to get your tenants to pay on time every month.

  • Set a clear payment date. In the signed lease agreement, you should have a designated rent payment due date clearly outlined for your tenant to see.  This often fits best in the same section that details how much the monthly rent rate is and what the acceptable forms of payment are.  If your tenant knows very clearly beforehand when rent is due, they may be less likely to miss the payment.
  • Dictate a “late payment” date. If you or your Prince George’s County property management company want to allow a grace period for “late” rent payments, include that in the signed lease agreement as well.  This way, your tenants know exactly how many days past the rent due date they have to pay without penalty.  It is also important to designate on what date a rent payment will be considered “missed.”
  • Set a “missed” payment penalty. Clearly define in the lease agreement what the penalty is for paying the rent after the due date and grace period.
  • Consider sending out reminder notices. Sometimes, life gets in the way and tenants forget to pay their rent; it can happen even to the best of them.  Consider sending out email, text, or phone call reminders to tenants when their rent due date is nearing so that it is on their mind.
  • Implement an online rent collection process. Collecting rent online, especially when automated, helps high quality tenants that are not trying to miss payments stay on track.  It also gives tenants a more convenient way to pay.

By outlining in the lease agreement all details regarding rent collection, you establish with your tenant what you expect from them each month, and when.  That means your tenant should have no excuses for late payments.

Additionally, by taking that extra step, as well as reminding your tenants that their rent is due and offering convenient online payment options, you take the “I forgot” excuse out of their list of reasons why they didn’t pay on time.

 

2. Act Quickly

If by chance, after all of the above-mentioned prevention strategies do not work, and a tenant pays their rent late (that is, past the grace period), act immediately.

You or your property manager should issue a notice of non-payment right away.  This notice will outline for the tenant how many days (generally three) the tenant has to pay the rent in full before you start the eviction process.  It can also include any applicable late charges for paying the rent so far past the due date.

Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding notices of non-payment, so make sure you and your property management company understand the law in your area.  And, don’t forget to document in the tenant’s file that you reached out to them and informed them of their late payment.

 

3. Start the Eviction Process

eviction-process-prince-georges-county-tenants-rental-property

Though this seems harsh, the only way to protect you, your investment property, and your rental property business is to stick to your guns when it comes to rent that is so late it surpasses the grace period and extension-with-penalty period.

This means starting the eviction process right away.

In Maryland, there is no law requiring a notice of non-payment be given to a tenant that has missed a rent payment.  This means that as soon as the payment is considered “missed,” you can file a lawsuit right away to start the eviction process.  That said, your tenant can still stop the eviction process if they pay the rent in full, along with any late penalties and court fees, up until the day of the trial or hearing for their eviction lawsuit.

 

4. Stay Consistent

Staying consistent with all of your Prince George’s County tenants when it comes to late rent payments does a few things:

  • Establishes you as a firm, but fair property owner
  • Avoids the possibility of favoritism or discrimination accusations
  • Streamlines the rent collection process at all points
  • Enables you to strongly defend your actions in court, should you go to trial or face a judge

Consistency is key to maintaining a successful rental property business.  After all, your bottom line depends on rent collection.  If you don’t get your money, you are hurting yourself.

 

5. Considerations to Think About

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Some property management companies have a zero tolerance policy for late payments, no matter the excuse.  And, while this may be the most effective way to handle the issue of late paying tenants, it is important to remember that each situation is different.

If you are a property owner who believes in assessing a scenario before immediately acting, consider the following when it comes to late paying tenants:

  • Is the tenant new or a long-term, good-standing tenant? If a new tenant is already making late rent payments, you might want to consider acting immediately, as suggested above.  After all, you have no way of knowing whether this is a one-time occurrence or a budding new reality.  However, if you are dealing with a tenant that has been leasing from you for some time, and this tenant has always paid on time, you may want to consider at least giving them a notice of non-payment.
  • What is the financial reasoning behind the late payment? In hearing your tenant’s excuse for a late rent payment, consider the financial reason for it prior to acting.  For example, a surprise car problem is not likely to affect later rent payments, whereas a lost job is.
  • What is the communication like with the tenant? If you are dealing with a tenant that is avoiding you and not paying their rent on time, it is time for you to act on this to prevent further issues.  This may include an aggressive reminder, a notice of non-payment, or even the filing of an eviction lawsuit.  However, if your tenant is openly communicating with you, is willing to work something out, and understands the severity of late rent payments, you may want to back off starting the eviction process right away.

Collecting rent from your tenants can be a difficult thing.  Not every tenant will pay in full and on time, which makes your job as a property owner that much tougher.

 

If you want to forgo the process of rent collection and the stresses that come with late paying tenants, contact Bay Management Group today.

We have streamlined the rent collection processes so that you get your money on time, every time.  And, when a rent payment comes late, Bay Management Group follows the lease agreement and penalizes accordingly, even if that means evicting a current tenant right away.

So contact us today and see how Bay Management Group can not only help you with the entire rent collection process, but everything else property related as well.


5 Things Landlords Should Know About Renting to Roommates

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As the average rental rates continue to rise nationwide and the percentage of people living with someone other than their spouse or partner continues to rise as well, it is important for property owners in Howard County to understand what it might mean to lease their rental property to roommates.

Despite the fact that your tenant pool significantly widens when you allow roommates to enter into a lease agreement together and reside in your rental property, this type of situation does come with its share of concerns.  In fact, agreeing to lease to roommates puts you, your property, and your income at a higher risk.

That’s why today we are going to discuss five crucial things landlords should know about renting to roommates.  Proactively protecting yourself can help you avoid messy situations and make for a smoother lease term.

 

Top Things to Know Before Leasing Your Howard County Rental to Roommates

If two people enter into a legal agreement to lease your Howard County rental property, they technically become co-tenants.  This means that each tenant has the same legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to residing in your property.  This also means, however, that one bad tenant can affect the entire tenancy agreement and potentially bring you down with it.

Below are some key things you should know before taking the plunge and allowing roommates to lease your rental property:

 

1. Tenant Screening and Lease Agreement Considerations

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Typically, when a family applies to lease your rental property, you require every tenant over the age of 18 to submit an application.  However, you do not always screen each tenant that will reside in your property.  For instance, if a tenant has adult children living with them that will not be responsible for the rent payment each month, you may forgo such a strict tenant screening on them.

However, if you are agreeing to lease your rental to roommates it is imperative you run thorough background checks on both parties, since both tenants will be agreeing to pay rent each month.  Make sure that each applicant has the right qualities you are looking for and does not exhibit any red flags that may harm your rental property business in the long run.

In addition, it is important that you employ the help of an experienced property management company when it comes to structuring a legally compliant roommate lease agreement.  Since each roommate will be legally responsible for residing in your property, you must set clear expectations from the beginning and ensure each roommate understands their role in the tenancy.

Joint and Severally Liability  

Adding this language to the lease agreement will ensure that each tenant is held equally, and fully, responsible for the terms and provisions outlined in the lease agreement as a single entity.  This way, should one tenant come up short on rent, damage property and leave, or breach the lease agreement in any other way, the other tenant can and will be held fully responsible if legally applicable.

 

2. Security Deposits and Joint Liability

When it comes to security deposits and roommates, all tenants are responsible for damage to the property at the end of the lease term regardless of who caused said damage.  In essence, you are combining both roommates’ portion of the security deposit, making it a “whole,” and using the correct amount of funds at the end of the lease term to pay for unpaid rent or damages incurred.

If one roommate leaves the property before the end of the lease term, you should not return his or her portion of the security deposit until another roommate signs a lease agreement with the remaining tenant. If a new roommate cannot be found, the departing roommate will receive his or her security deposit at the end of the lease term, as agreed to by all parties at the time of move-in, less any unpaid rent and repair costs.

 

3.  What Happens if One Roommate Refuses to Pay?

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Roommates living in your Howard County rental property can decide to split the monthly rent as they see fit so long as the full amount is paid to you by the due date.  Again, this is why adding the clause “joint and severally liable” into the signed lease agreement is so important for protecting yourself against non-payment by one of the roommates.

If one roommate refuses to pay his or her share of the monthly rent amount, the full amount will fall upon the remaining tenant, but only if the “joint and severally liable” provision is built into the lease agreement; this is a risk the roommates take when entering into a lease agreement together.  As long as everyone agrees to these terms and signs the contract, you are allowed to impose this provision on your tenant, regardless of how they feel about the situation.

 

4. Breach of Lease Terms by One Roommate

It is not uncommon to have one roommate violate the provisions in your lease agreement during a lease term.  And while thorough tenant screening is in place to help prevent this from happening, it does occur from time to time and it is good to know that you, as a property owner, have ways to handle these situations.

You are legally allowed to hold all tenants responsible for the actions of one, as well as terminate the tenancy of all roommates with appropriate notice if you see fit.  This means that you can legally evict all of your tenants even if only one seriously damages your rental property or violates the lease agreement

 

5. Recommend a Roommate Agreement

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One extra layer of protection you can afford yourself when allowing roommates to lease your Howard County rental home is to recommend they sign a roommate agreement at move-in time.  Though you will not be able to enforce any of the agreed upon terms, a roommate agreement can help your tenants sort out the details of their living arrangements on their own.

For instance, a roommate agreement outlines how each tenant will pay rent, who will be responsible for what amount, and how any disagreements or conflicts will be handled. This way, each roommate will have a full understanding of each other’s expectations about living together.

 

In the end, the decision to lease your investment property to roommates is a serious one.  And, with the increasing popularity of roommates looking to rent homes together continues, this is apt to be something most landlords face at one point or another.

If you are considering allowing roommates to enter into a single lease agreement and rent from you, but want some help managing the property and ensuring everything runs smoothly throughout the lease term, contact Bay Management Group.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand to draft legally compliant lease agreements that accommodate roommate situations as well as the ability to conduct routine inspections to ensure your property is being well cared for.

In addition, we have the experience to handle evictions, non-payment of rent, and all other property related issues.  Bay Management Group is here to help you with whatever you need in order to make your roommate rental experience a successful one.


Easy Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenant and Boost Retention

top-ways-go-extra-mile-tenants-rockville-maryland-property-managementWith over 41% of Rockville residents currently renting, it is no wonder people are jumping at the chance to invest in rental homes.  And, while there are certainly some established landlords in the market whose hands have been in the industry for a while now, there is no reason you cannot up your game and go the extra mile for your tenants to ensure they stay your tenants.  In fact, without your tenants, you wouldn’t have a rental property business.  Thus, it is worth recognizing the good ones and showing them some appreciation.

Providing your Rockville tenants superior customer service is what will set you apart from other property owners your tenants have experienced in the past. And if you employ Maryland’s leading property management company to help, you can guarantee even lower turnover rates, higher tenant satisfaction, and thus, more money in your pocket.

Let’s take a look at some easy ways that you can give back to your tenants.  By putting in just a little bit of extra effort, you may convince your tenants to stay in your property long-term. And as you know, high-quality, long-term tenants are the ultimate goal of property owners and property management companies.

 

Top Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Rockville Tenants and Boost Retention Rates

 

1. Build Good Relationships from the Start

First impressions are important when it comes to placing a new tenant in your Rockville rental property.  The tone that you and your property management company set is likely to follow you the entire lease term.  Here are some of the easiest ways to go above and beyond for your tenants before they even move into your rental property:

  • Handle all communication in a professional manner, thus making the tenant feel comfortable and convinced that leasing from you will be hassle free
  • Take the time to thoroughly explain all of the lease agreement terms and provisions without rushing your tenant to sign and move in
  • Give your tenant a move-in handbook that contains nearby amenities complete with contact information and addresses, common maintenance tips that will prevent unnecessary repairs, and how to contact the property management company in the case of emergencies, simple repair requests, and basic inquiries.

 

2. Keep Communication Open at All Times

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One of the biggest complaints tenants have, regardless of the type of property they are leasing, the price they are locked in for, or the location they have landed in, is poor communication with property owners and their property management companies.  To avoid this, and what is likely to become high turnover rates, consider implementing these communication tips:

  • Provide tenants with contact information for all scenarios so they always know who to contact and when each person is available
  • Work with a property management company that employs a staff that is knowledgeable in all things property related, no matter what their position is in the company
  • Work with a licensed and insured maintenance company that is available on-call, every day, at all hours
  • Have an online portal where tenants can easily make maintenance and repair requests
  • Make follow-up phone calls after any maintenance or repair has been performed to ensure tenant satisfaction
  • Send regular email newsletters updating tenants about community happenings they can get involved in
  • Consider encouraging tenants to take tenant surveys to find out what you are doing well and what tenants feel you should work on

In the end, taking a proactive approach to communication with your tenants will help you build better relationships with them.  They will trust you more, feel comfortable approaching you about anything, and are more likely to sign a lease renewal come the end of their lease term.

 

3. Boost Your Rockville Property Security

Feeling safe in your home, whether you rent or not, is important for all families.  One of the best things you can do for your tenants, besides invest in rental properties that are in safe neighborhoods, is improve your rental home’s security measures.

Here are some ways you can easily reward your quality tenants with better security measures:

  • Install motion-sensor lighting on the exterior of the home to discourage burglars and light up dark paths for your tenants
  • Add keyless entry systems to all doors on the property
  • Outfit the home with thick window treatments that will stay closed throughout the night and maintain your tenant’s privacy
  • Conduct routine window and door inspections to make sure they close and lock properly
  • Add an alarm system, consider exterior security cameras, and even use an interior telecom system for easy communication throughout the home in the case of an emergency

Giving your Rockville tenants a reason to feel safe and secure is also going to give them a reason to sign a lease renewal and stay long term.  After all, a tenant that feels unsafe is not likely to live in your property for long.

 

4. Upgrade Your Rental Property

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Getting in the habit of routinely upgrading your rental property not only increases the value of your investment in the long run, it means a lot to tenants that are currently residing there.  This is not to say you have to upgrade everything in your rental.  However, small upgrades such as the following can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction:

  • Upgrade old or mismatching appliances
  • Change the flooring for long term tenants
  • Replace old and worn out light fixtures, faucets, cabinet knobs, and drawer handles
  • Have the interior painted with a fresh coat each lease renewal
  • Invest in professional landscaping services to spruce up the backyard living space and maintain it for your tenants
  • Change out older model windows and doors for more modern styles

These small changes show your tenants that you enjoy having them in your rental property and that they are worth the cost of a few upgrades.  In addition, it will allow your tenant to enjoy your property more and give them more reason to stay, which ultimately helps boost tenant retention.

 

5. Give Them a Little Surprise

Surprising your tenants with a special bonus may not seem like a lot to you, but can mean the world to your tenant.  For example, give them a one-month rent discount, pay for one of their utility bills, offer them a gift card to a new local hotspot restaurant, or even give them some cold hard cash.

Altogether, everyone enjoys random acts of kindness.  And a surprise coming from a property owner or property management company will be remembered come lease renewal time.

 

In the end, there are many ways you can foster a positive relationship with your Rockville rental property tenants.  If done right, the easy ways mentioned above not only show your tenants they are worth the extra effort, they convince your tenants that leasing from you is the best decision they ever made.  What a great way to stay ahead of the competition!

If you are in need of a property management company that can handle going the extra mile for your tenants and for you, contact Bay Management Group today.  As an experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly property management company, Bay Management Group has a solid understanding of what it takes to lower turnover rates, increase tenant satisfaction, and keep both our property owners and tenants headache-free.


6 Red Flags Not to Miss in Tenant Screening

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Thorough tenant screening of all prospective Maryland tenants is critical to the success of your rental property business.  Place the wrong tenant in your property and you could face enormous financial loss, property damage, and even the fall of your rental property business altogether.

When you are screening potential tenants for your investment property, especially if you self-manage your property, it can be hard to figure out which criteria to take into account.  And, while you may be tempted to ignore some obvious red flags so that you can place a tenant into your property more quickly, we are here to tell you not to fall victim to that hurried emotion.

There are several serious red flags that should alarm you during the tenant screening process if they ever crop up.  Even if you employ a property management company to conduct tenant screenings for you, it is crucial you know exactly what they are looking for in the tenants that will ultimately reside in your property.

 

6 Red Flags to Look Out for During the Tenant Screening Process

1. Poor Credit

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A potential tenant’s credit score is one of the most surefire ways to tell whether they are a quality prospect to lease your property or not.  This is because a credit score provides a great overall view of a tenant’s financial stability.  Plus, it provides insight into how they handle payments and the debt that comes with those payments.

In the end, the lower the credit score, the less qualified that particular tenant is of leasing your rental property.  Although location and demographics may play a role in the exact credit score number you look for, anything below 650 is typically considered a red flag.

 

2. Inconsistent Income

Next to credit score, a tenant’s income and employment verifications are major factors when it comes to deciding whether they are a good fit for your property. In fact, it is not unusual for property owners to require tenants to make 2-3 times the monthly rent per month in income.  Though this seems steep, with so many people floundering in debt, this value provides property owners comfort in knowing that their tenant makes enough money to pay their rent each month.

If your prospective tenant cannot verify the amount of income they make each month, take this as a huge red flag.  If your tenant does not have enough income, your monthly rent requirement is sure to come up short at some point.

 

3. Prior Evictions

look-for-prior-evictions-tenant-maryland-rental-property

If your tenant has failed to pay in the past, or has broken a signed lease agreement so severely they were evicted, chances are high they will do the same to you.  You may implement a zero tolerance policy when it comes to prior evictions and leasing your Maryland rental property.  If, however, you want to include a level of flexibility when it comes to past evictions, aim for no prior evictions in the last five years.  After all, sometimes things happen that are out of people’s control and evictions occur.  However, be very selective when it comes to this and make sure your prospective tenant is flawless in every other aspect.

 

4. A Criminal Record

If a tenant you are screening has a criminal history, you might want to reconsider placing them in your property.  Viewed as a major red flag, any prior convictions such as disturbances, DUIs, drug offenses, and driving without a license or insurance may indicate the tenant is unable to follow the law.  In fact, you may even want to include multiple traffic stops and dismissed charges in your assessment of them.

 

5. Bad References

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If you reach out to a reference that your potential tenant listed on their application, and you receive bad news about them, consider this your lucky day.  Rarely will a listed reference say anything against a potential tenant if they are listed on the application.

However, that is not to say you cannot gather some useful information, even from a good reference.  Make sure to ask the critical questions such as whether the tenant paid on time, if they ever caused any disturbances, and what the condition of the place was when the tenant left.

If your tenant’s reference reveals things that do not sit well with you, count that as a red flag.  Moreover, if your potential tenant resists providing you references, especially previous landlords, take that as a red flag as well.

 

6. Moving Too Often

A tenant that moves a lot may turn out to be a bad tenant.  There are questions to ask when it comes to a frequent mover such as why they move so much and whether the moves were on their terms or their previous landlords’ terms.  This is where having previous landlord references is helpful.  Though not always a reason to turn down a potential tenant, a tenant that moves a lot can signal a red flag and is something to consider carefully.

In addition to moving a lot within a short period of time, a tenant that was previously living with a friend or relative can be a red flag that needs further evaluation as well.  True, many millennials are living with their parents longer than ever.  And, this does not necessarily signify that once they do decide to move out on their own that they will be a poor tenant.

However, many people move in with friends and family after an eviction.  This could end up being a big problem later on should you decide to place this tenant in your rental home.  Make sure you investigate closely and find out exactly why a potential tenant had non-traditional living situations in the past.

Finding the perfect tenant for your Maryland rental property can be hard to do if you are inexperienced at tenant screening.  Thus, hiring a property management company to help you with tenant screening, and everything else property related can be a lifesaver.

 

If you are in the Maryland area and want to place new tenants in your investment property, contact Bay Management Group to help.  Not only do we know all of the red flags to look out for during the screening process, we understand how important it is not to discriminate against potential tenants in the process.  Following the Fair Housing Act during the tenant screening process is essential to avoiding a lawsuit and ensuring the screening process is performed legally.

In addition, Bay Management Group can aid you in the management of your rental property after placing a high-quality tenant.  From rent collection to routine inspections, on-call maintenance support to transparent bookkeeping, Bay Management Group takes all the hassle out of owning and leasing a Maryland rental property.


How to Protect Your Income Property from Spring’s Heavy Rain

protect-income-property-heavy-rain-bethesda-maryland

With spring in the air, flowers in bloom, and baby birds singing, it can be easy to forget that your Bethesda rental is at risk thanks to heavy rainstorms.  And, with heavy rainfall comes damage, and lots of it.  Flooded basements, overflowing rain gutters, washed out gardens, and so much more can happen to your investment property with just an afternoon of rain.

In order to avoid the spring’s heavy rains from wreaking havoc on your rental property, there are very specific things you should do to protect it.  After all, water damage is not something you or your tenant want to deal with, ever, so why not prevent this from becoming a problem in the first place.

Keep reading to see the best ways to protect your rental property from spring’s heavy (though necessary) rain in order to save yourself the headache and costly repair bills.

 

Avoiding the Damage Spring Rains Can Have on Your Bethesda Rental Property

1. Conduct Seasonal Inspections

It is normal for your Bethesda property management company to perform move-in and move-out inspections of your rental property to ensure your tenants have not caused any property damage.  However, a highly qualified property management company, such as Bay Management Group, knows the importance of routine inspections, especially when the seasons are about to change.

Before spring is in full force, you or your property management company should inspect the exterior of your rental property.  Here are some of the key things to be on the lookout for:

  • After fall and winter have become long lost memories, it is important you clear your property’s gutters of all leaves and other debris.  This is so the gutters can do their job once the spring rains come.  If water cannot flow properly through the gutters, your property may sustain significant water damage.  It is also important to make sure the gutters are firmly attached to the property and that they face away from the property so water drains away from the property and its foundation.
  • Roofs tend to deteriorate over the years and without proper inspections, broken, loose, or missing shingles may go unnoticed, even throughout heavy rainstorms.  Unfortunately, if your property’s roofing is not in tiptop shape, come the rainy season, your tenants may experience some of that rain indoors.
  • Cracks in your rental property’s foundation are inviting places for water to go.  Make sure you check the sidewalk for cracks, seal them appropriately if found, and close all gaps completely.  If you are unsure how to do this properly, enlist the help of a professional to prevent re-cracking later on.

These three things should be at the top of the list for you and your property management company to be on the lookout for every time you inspect the property.  Though your tenants should be maintaining the rain gutters as best they can, problems with the roof and property’s foundation are likely to fall into your hands and become your issue to deal with.  Prevent the costly repairs that come with ignoring these issues and letting spring drop lots of rain directly on top of them by staying on top of the issues and fixing them beforehand.

 

2. Yard Maintenance

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Strong winds and torrential rains have the ability to do a lot of damage to your rental home’s yards.  If your tenant is not familiar with the weather patterns in your rental property’s region, inform them at move-in time what they are responsible for come springtime.  This will help to protect your yard, property, and your tenant’s personal belongings.  See how here:

  • Save the yard. Have your Bethesda tenants trim all of the trees, shrubs, and bushes once the weather starts to warm and spring starts to make an appearance.  Wind and rain have the ability to tear up large, loose, or dead tree branches and bushes leaving large holes or damaging plants.  Not only will this be unsightly, it will be costly to replace.
  • Save the property. In addition to causing you a lot of grief when it comes to your well-maintained landscaping, spring rains can also cause damage to your rental property.  If a large tree branch blows off and hits your property, your tenants may have a hole in the wall or broken windows to contend with.  Any tree branches that look loose should be removed.
  • Save the personal belongings. If your tenants have personal belongings such as patio furniture in the backyard of your rental property you may want to suggest to them that they move those items inside during the height of the springtime rains.  This also includes things such as gardening tools, lawn ornaments, BBQ grills, and children’s toys.  A gust of wind that accompanies heavy rains may blow these items into your home damaging both them and the property.  Placing these things inside a shed or garage while not in use is not only a great way to help protect your tenant’s belongings but also keep your property intact.

 

3.  Check Windows

In the past, we have discussed how to know when it is time to replace or repair your windows.  Well, we are here to tell you today that inspecting them before the spring rains hit is as great a time as ever to check them for leaks, broken seals, cracks in the glass, and anything else rendering them weak.

Weak windows are more susceptible to breaking during a strong storm and leaking as the rains hit down hard, thus damaging the interior of your property.  If you wish to avoid a phone call from an upset tenant about a broken window or water damage from a leaking window, it is important to replace or repair any windows that will not withstand heavy rainfall.

 

4.  Get the Right Insurance

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Understanding that flood damage coverage does not typically accompany standard homeowners or renters insurance policies is important if you have a property that experiences serious rainfall each year.  Here are some important facts you should know about flood insurance:

 

  • You do not have to live in a serious flood zone to have flood insurance
  • Sometimes rainfall can affect non-flood zones and cause serious damage
  • Understand what your flood insurance covers because it does not always cover everything
  • Know the many types of water damage and get coverage for the type your property is at risk for
  • Flood damage coverage is usually affordable as an add-on to your existing insurance policy
  • It usually takes 30 days for flood damage insurance to kick in so make sure to plan ahead

Knowing these things about flood damage insurance can help protect you in case you aren’t able to protect your property on your own from serious rainfall.

In the end, knowing what you and your tenants can do to protect your rental property from heavy spring rains is essential for maintaining a strong-standing property free of damage.  No property owner wants to get the call that their investment property has been severely damaged in a storm and that the tenants that are residing there must be placed elsewhere while the damage is being repaired.  Thus, the heavy emphasis on preparation.

 

If you want help managing your Bethesda rental property, especially when the heavy spring rains hit, contact Bay Management Group right away.  Not only can we help you with all things property related, we also can help you prepare for instances like heavy rain that have the potential to damage your property.  So, get in touch today and see just how much of a difference Bay Management Group can make for you and your property.


5 Reasons to Collect Rent Online

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Collecting rent from your Howard County tenant is no easy feat.  Especially if you have more than one rental property.

Remember, you must keep accurate records of all rent payments accepted and balance any other financial transactions that may dip into this rent collection income for when tax time comes. In the end, this adds up to a lot of work that many property owners or their property management companies do not want to deal with.

But did you know there is an easier way?

Have you ever considered collecting rent in the form of an online payment?

Well, if you haven’t, you are in the minority.  In fact, a recent survey taken by TransUnion states that 6 out of every 10 property owners prefer to collect rent online.

If you are wondering why online rent collection is becoming increasingly popular, or are just looking for some property management tips that will help make your life a little easier, keep reading to find out the top five reasons why you should start collecting your Howard County rent payments online.

 

Leading Reasons Why You Should Collect Your Howard County Rent Payments Online

 

1. It Will Save You Time

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Collecting rent online from all of your Howard County tenants will save you loads of time.  Instead of frequenting your P.O. Box at regular intervals (especially if rent payment due dates differ for all tenants) or picking them up from your property manager’s office, all rent is sent directly to you.  And don’t forget, physical rent payments equate to multiple trips to the bank for depositing.

With online collection, the money deposits right into your bank account.  In the end, there is nearly zero effort on your part.  Just wait for the tenant to pay and watch your bank account grow.

 

2.  It Makes Rent Collection Easier

Not only does online rent collection act as a great property management tip that is beneficial for property owners, it makes things easier for tenants as well.  Remembering to send a rent check or grab a money order and drop it off with Howard’s leading property management company can be tough sometimes.  This often leads to late rent payments that not only upset tenants (because of late fees) but also delays the process of you getting paid.  With online payments, especially those that are automated, this doesn’t happen as often.

Additionally, you should not be surprised to find that your tenants tend to deal with most of their financial matters online. Therefore, adding the option to pay rent online is a welcome feature for many. In fact, for some tenants, writing you a check for rent is the only time a check is needed, which can be annoying for them. So, save some paper and make things easier for everyone by collecting rent payments online.

 

3. It is More Secure

 

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Have you ever thought about the information that is printed on the front of a paper check? That’s right, your tenant’s name, address, bank account information, and even their signature appears on the rent check they physically send your way.

This means there is a chance their identity may fall into the wrong hands en route to you and cause lots of problems for both you and your tenant. Think about it: if your tenant is the victim of identity theft and loses all of the money that is in their bank account as a result, what do you think the chance is of you getting your rent payment on time?

By collecting payments via a secure online payment system, you lessen the risk of any personal or sensitive information getting lost and mishandled.

 

4. Increased Organization

One of the greatest things about collecting online payments is that it streamlines the rent collection process.  This is especially helpful if you are managing more than one property.  By sending all payments to one localized online payment software, not only do you create digital payment records showing how much was paid and when, you have definitive proof payment was (or was not) collected in the case you find yourself facing a landlord-tenant confrontation.

In addition, these recorded payments help you evaluate your progress as a property owner.   Depending on the software you or your property management company decide to use, you may be able to gain insight into your property rental business like never before:

  • See upcoming rent payment due dates
  • View past charges that tenants owe
  • Determine annual profit/loss values
  • See detailed payment information
  • Export payment information during tax season
  • Record and view offline payments made by tenants

All of these valuable metrics will allow you to determine if you need to increase your rent come lease renewal time, if your tenants are the high quality type you want to offer a renewal to, and if there are any rent payments that are behind that may require legal action to collect.

Moreover, you can often add in other numeric expenses that can coincide with your collected rent payments such as maintenance and repairs, insurance fees, HOA fees, upgrades, and more.  Altogether, utilizing this type of software provides property owners an easy way to input their rental property finances and make better sound decisions in the future.

 

5. Reduces Rent Collection Hassles

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Implementing online rent payments with your tenants will lessen your stress dramatically.  No longer will you have to manually send a monthly invoice, go door-to-door collecting rent, pick up checks continuously from your management company, or even make phone calls that most tenants tend to ignore anyway.

Instead, set up automatic invoices and email reminders for all tenants that opt to receive them and let the online payment software, and your tenant, take care of the rest.  If your tenant fails to pay, the online payment hub will automatically calculate any necessary fines and fees as well as alert you.

Rent collection becomes even easier if you have an experienced Howard County property management company collecting rent for you. This is because they will be the ones alerted when tenants are behind or simply not paying, and it will be their responsibility to handle the situation according to state and local law.

If you own Howard County rental properties and are considering online rent collection, take this bit of advice: include all information regarding the collection of rent via an online portal in not only the signed lease agreement (that should always be thoroughly explained in detail to your tenants prior to move-in), but also in the tenant move-in handbook as well.  This way there is no confusion as to how you want rent to be paid and your tenants have no excuse for not paying on time.

 

If you need an experienced property management company in Howard County to help with your rent collection needs, contact Bay Management Group today.  Understanding that rent collection is how you make your money, and knowing that collecting rent can be stressful if not conducted through an online payment system, Bay Management Group has you covered when it comes to collecting your money.  Let your property management company deal with the small hassle of collecting your rent payment while you rest assured your money will appear in your bank account every month on time.