5 Easy Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

Easy Ways To Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

With the growing rental market, property owners all over the country find that families are stepping away from buying property, and are looking to rent instead.

In fact, according to the New York Times, every year since 2004, 770,000 new rental houses have come onto the rental market.

While not every one of those rental homes goes on to be filled by families, the chances of a family renting your Maryland rental property is continuing to increase.

And, if you’re looking to keep vacancy rates low on your property, you’ll want to make your property more appealing to families.

What is a great way to do that?

If you’re looking to rent to families, it is a good idea to childproof your Maryland income property.

And, if you’re not sure how, you’re in luck. Today we are going to look at some of the most common ways you can adapt your rental property to make it safe for children.

 

Helpful Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

 

1. Window Treatments

Don't Use Window Treatments That Hang Down In Your Maryland Rental Property

Many windows in rental properties have window treatments with long cords that hang down and are used to open and close the curtains or blinds. Unfortunately, the cords often lay close to the ground, or at least within reach of a small child.

Luckily, there are some simple ways of preventing a child from ever grabbing ahold of the cord, and endangering themselves:

  • Avoid using window treatments that require long cords
  • Install a small hook near each window with corded curtains or blinds, where adults can hang any excess that hangs down
  • Give your tenants the ok to change out the window treatments if they have small children, or plan to have visitors with children over
  • Provide curtain cord covers that clip together excess cordage and retract out of any child’s reach

These are some inexpensive ways you can proactively approach the issue of long window treatment cords in your rental property that tenants with small children will appreciate.

 

2. Falls

As one of the leading causes of injury amongst children at home, it is important to consider any heights you have in your Maryland property that may be deemed a safety hazard.

For example, if your property is a two-story home with a sliding glass door leading out to a balcony, consider doing the following:

  • Install pin locks near the top of the door to prevent tiny hands from sliding the door open unsupervised
  • Add thick fly screens to the sliding glass door entryway, because they can often withhold the weight of a child that falls through them
  • Make sure the balcony fencing is vertical to prevent a child from easily climbing up and falling over the edge
  • Ensure the balcony fencing does not have enough spacing between bars that a small child could slip through

In addition, mention to your tenants that they are free to install their own personal baby gates on the stairs inside the house to prevent falls.

 

3. Drowning

Install a Fence Around the Pool to Childproof Your Maryland Rental

If your rental property has a pool, there are many ways you can make accidental drownings a non-issue for tenants with children.

  • Pool Surroundings. Your investment property’s pool should have a fence with a locked door surrounding it to prevent children from trying to swim unattended. In addition, the fence should be tall enough so that small children cannot climb up and over it, and should not consist of gaps that children can easily slide through.
  • Pool Alarm. An interesting feature that may entice tenants with small children is a pool alarm. Designed to alert adults when the pool water is disturbed, this feature may make parents feel safer about having their child living in a home with a pool.
  • Pool Covers. Not only is covering your pool with a sturdy, hard covering going to ensure less damage from the weather and normal wear and tear, it may also help prevent children from accidentally falling in.

Having a pool as an amenity that tenants can enjoy is going to allow you to command much higher rent rates.

However, childproofing your pool is going to be even better for those that are looking for a safe place for their family to live, in addition to the fun a pool provides.

 

4. Outlets

One of the easiest ways you can childproof your Maryland rental property for tenants with small children is to provide outlet covers for all electrical outlets throughout your property.

It’s cheap to do, does not affect the overall aesthetics of your property, allows for regular use of all outlets, and saves your tenants the hassle of doing it themselves.

And, while it would be easy for your tenants to childproof your property’s outlets themselves, this kind of customer service is just what high-quality tenants are seeking.

This, in turn, can lead to a more satisfying rental experience, and possibly result in more lease renewals.

 

5. Get the Right Insurance

Get the Right Homeowners Insurance to Protect Children in Your Maryland Rental

Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance can significantly decrease the liability you have for bodily injuries suffered while on the premises of your property.

This will also help keep your homeowners insurance premiums lower, since payouts will typically come from the renters insurance in the case of an injury.

However, for those times that you are found to be responsible for the injury of a child (or anyone for that matter), it is wise to have enough insurance to cover your losses.

 

In the end, you are legally liable for providing your Maryland tenants a safe and habitable place to live. However, this does not mean you need to childproof every square inch of your property.

After all, you are not legally responsible for the well-being of your tenant’s child, beyond what your homeowners insurance requires.

That said, taking the time to provide extra precautions, and thus some childproofing strategies, throughout your rental property can have a positive effect on your potential tenant’s desire to lease from you.

If you want some help with childproofing and staging your Maryland rental property to appeal to a large tenant pool, families with small children included, enlist the help of Bay Management Group today. We know what prospective tenants are looking for when it comes to a safe rental property.

Plus, we can help with cost effective ways to appeal to families with children that will widen your tenant pool, garner you higher quality tenants that are more likely to renew, and who also appreciate the time and effort that went into your childproofing efforts.


Landlord’s Guide to Student Tenants in Towson, MD

Landlord's Guide to Renting to Student Tenants in Towson, Maryland

Baltimore County is home to some of the nation’s top universities − Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and of course, University of Maryland Baltimore County.

And, those are just a few of the most popular.

 

To say that Towson is a thriving community is an understatement.

For those that own rental property in the Towson area, or even the surrounding Baltimore County region, leasing to student tenants offers plenty of benefits, some of which we will share with you today.

However, in addition to reaping the benefits of leasing your rental property to student tenants, it is important to get an idea of what student tenants are like, what they look for in a rental home, and the best ways to attract them to sign a lease with you.

That’s why today, we are going to share with you the ultimate landlord’s guide to leasing to student tenants in the Towson region.

 

The Benefits of Leasing to Student Tenants

Before we jump into how to attract student tenants to your Baltimore County rental property, it is crucial we look at some of the best reasons why you should consider leasing to tenants in the first place.

  • High Demand. In areas with plenty of high-quality schools to attend, the demand for rental homes by students is real and booming. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 87% of students live off-campus.
  • Steady Income. Leasing to a student that will be attending university for a few years is a great way to secure a steady and reliable income.
  • Fewer Vacancies. As mentioned above, student tenants leasing your same rental each school year, and possibly staying throughout the summer, will result in lower turnover rates.
  • Easy Advertising. Advertising to the younger crowds today is easy thanks in large part to the internet, social media, and word-of-mouth.

 

As you can see, there are several reasons why leasing your Towson rental property to a student might be a good idea.

And, with the help of a highly qualified Baltimore County property manager, attracting student tenants, drafting appealing lease agreements, and encouraging lease renewals will not be a problem.

 

What Student Tenants Look for in Your Baltimore County Rental Property

What Student Tenants Look For In A Towson Rental Property

In the past, we have talked about what student tenants will likely look for in a rental property, as far as amenities are concerned.

To review, let’s take a look:

  • Wi-Fi. College students need access to a good solid Wi-Fi signal in order to keep up with both their schoolwork and social obligations.
  • Appliances. In-home washer and dryers are a luxury for most student tenants. Add other major appliances such as a dishwasher, microwave, or toaster oven, and your student tenants will be beyond excited to lease from you.
  • Prime Location. Being in close proximity to their school, shopping, dining, and entertainment hot spots are going to make your Towson rental very appealing.
  • Lots of room. Oftentimes student tenants bring with them all of their personal belongings when living away from home and attending college. And, if they are rooming with other students, they will need enough storage space in their room.
  • Security. Increased security measures are something all tenants, especially young tenants with worried parents, want in a rental property. Ensure the safety of your student tenant, and watch their parents help them renew many leases with you.

 

How to Attract Student Tenants to Your Rental

In addition to the above-mentioned amenities, take a look at some other things student tenants are sure to want when looking to lease your rental property; things you can use to attract them to your property and use to convince them to sign a lease with you.

 

Flexible Lease Terms

Student tenants need to have flexible lease terms so they don’t feel locked in, trapped, or unable to get out of a lease term, should their life take an unexpected turn.

Being flexible in the length of lease terms you offer, while giving plenty of renewal notice time, will help ease the mind of a tenant who is unsure about their first years away from home, as well as help keep turnover rates low.

Here are some ideas:

  • One-year lease
  • Six-month lease
  • Three-month lease
  • Month-to-month lease

 

Furnishings

Sometimes a student tenant has very little by way of furniture and other necessities for a home when they move out of their parent’s house for the first time.

And, while this is usually okay while living in the dorms, it is not going to get your tenant very far if they live in your property with zero furniture, kitchenware, or linens.

If you hire a Baltimore County property management company to lease your rental property, you can rest assured that they will screen all tenants thoroughly, ensuring only the highest quality tenants will be placed in your property. With this in mind, you should feel confident that should you choose to rent out your income property with furnishings, that your tenants will take good care of all of it, and doing so may attract tenants willing to pay more for the convenience of renting a furnished home.

 

Roommate Allowances

Allow Student Tenants to Have Roommates in Your Towson Rental

As mentioned earlier, many student tenants look to lease a property that has room enough for a roommate or two in order to keep costs down.

Allowing roommates into your rental property is not a bad idea, so long as you have a strict lease agreement in place outlining every last detail. Take a look at some important considerations:

  • Make roommates joint and several liable
  • Do not allow subleasing
  • Screen every roommate, including replacement roommates
  • Have every tenant sign the lease agreement
  • Don’t divide the security deposit
  • Insist on receiving one rent check each month
  • Encourage your tenants to sign a roommate agreement amongst themselves
  • Require renter’s insurance
  • Assign a tenant representative to communicate with you about anything property related

 

Allowing roommates can be a difficult thing to do as a Baltimore County property owner.

However, with an experienced property management team in place helping you with tenant screening, security deposit collections, routine inspections, and rent collection, you are sure to have a monthly rent check in your bank account each month, as well as an intact rental property at the end of the lease term.

 

If you have a Towson rental property, and are looking to attract student tenants to lease your investment property, get in touch with Bay Management Group today and see how we can help.

With experience in all regions of Baltimore County, including the ones swirling with potential student tenants, we can make sure your rental property is safe and sound, regardless of who is residing there.

There is a lot to reap from leasing your Baltimore County rental to student tenants.

Let the best management property company around aid you in your efforts, and maximize your investment property’s potential by catering to a large and often untapped tenant pool.


Should You Charge An Application Fee For Your Rental?

Should You Charge An Application Fee For Your Maryland Rental Property?

If you own rental property in Maryland, you may be wondering whether to charge an application fee for prospective tenants looking to lease your property.

After all, plenty of landlords do it, so there must be a good reason why.

But what are those reasons?

If you are considering charging an application fee for your Maryland rental, read on to learn the specifics behind charging application fees in the state of Maryland, the benefits of doing so, and some things to consider if you do decide to charge potential tenants an application fee.

 

Maryland Rental Applications Fees: A General Overview

In Maryland, property owners are allowed to charge tenants no more than $25 for an application fee. This fee can be non-refundable, and you should inform tenants of this from the start.

If you charge prospective tenants more than $25, you must refund any amount not used in the actual processing of the application, or become liable for up to twice as much as the charged fee in damages to the tenant.

This refund must be returned to the tenant within 15 days after they move into your property, or 15 days from the time either party has provided written notice that a tenancy will not occur.

Keep in mind that your potential tenant has the right to request a written explanation of expenses that are incurred during the processing of their application.

Application fees are not intended to be for-profit, and should not generate the property owner any type of positive cash flow.

Application fees are simply to cover the costs of completing the application process.

 

The Benefits of Accepting an Application Fee

The Benefits of Accepting Application Fees For Your Maryland Rental Property

Though you can only charge $25 per application when it comes to leasing out your Maryland rental property, there are plenty of benefits that come with doing so.

Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons why you should strongly consider charging every prospective tenant an application fee.

 

1. They are Great Pre-Screening Tools

One of the best ways to find out if a potential tenant is serious about leasing your property, is to inform them that you charge a non-refundable application fee.

People who are looking to lease your property that know they have prior evictions, a criminal history, a poor credit score, or not enough income to cover the monthly rent expenses are less likely to apply if they know they have to put their own money into an application fee.

Why?

Because their chances of being denied a tenancy are higher, and they know it.

There is no sense in wasting anyone’s time, or more importantly money.

 

2. They Serve as Compensation

Application Fees Serve as Compensation for Your Maryland Rental Property

As mentioned before, application fees are designed to compensate property owners for the costs incurred during the tenant screening process.

Credit checks, background checks, and the basic administrative processing fees associated with tenant applications all cost money.

By charging your tenant the fee to cover costs, you avoid having to dip into your own pocket to place a tenant in your rental property.

Can you imagine paying for every tenant screening that you process while placing tenants in your Maryland rental home?

If you did pay out of pocket for all screenings, you would likely be more apt to place the first decent tenant that walks through the door into your property, merely because it would save you money.

Unfortunately, rushing a decision like this can lead to more problems down the road.

Insufficient tenant screening, or simply placing a bad tenant in your property, can later lead to non-payment of rent, increased damages to your property, breach of lease behavior, or worse yet, an eviction.

In knowing that you do not have to pay to screen prospective tenants, you have the peace of mind that you can take your time, and place the perfect tenant in your property when you find them.

 

3. It Sets the Tone

Tenants do not necessarily want to pay an application fee.

Especially knowing that it is non-refundable, and is by no means a guarantee that they will be approved to lease your coveted Maryland property.

However, by charging an application fee, you set the tone from the very start that you are serious about your rental property business.

Charging application fees portrays you as a professional landlord that means business.

It lets any potential tenant looking to lease from you know that you can handle paperwork appropriately, that you will only place high-quality tenants in your property, and that you will not tolerate problem tenants.

It shows prospective tenants that while you do provide tenants a service, you have certain expectations of them as well.

 

Things to Consider When Charging Application Fees for Your Maryland Rental

As you can see, charging application fees to all tenants interested in leasing your Maryland rental property is a good idea.

However, there are things you should carefully consider before doing so.

 

Never Misuse Fees

Never Misuse the Application Fee For Your Maryland Rental Property

It is illegal to charge potential tenants an application fee, and then never process their application.

In fact, doing this is considered fraud, and you will quickly find yourself with lots of legal trouble if caught.

If you do not screen a tenant and simply deny their application, make sure you refund the application fee in the process of informing them they will not be residing in your property.

 

Consider Allowing Checks

Many property owners will only accept cash application fees.

However, there is a lot of information on a tenant’s personal check that can be used to aid you in the screening process.

Plus, a check serves as physical proof you did not overcharge a tenant, should they try to claim so in the future.

Just remember, no matter what method your tenant uses to pay for an application fee, always provide a receipt, and keep a record in your own books, just in case.

 

Charge Every Adult

Any good property management company will tell you that you should thoroughly screen any tenant over the age of 18 that will be residing in your property before approving them to lease from you.

This means multiple background and credit checks, all of which must be paid for.

By charging each adult tenant an application fee, you will more than cover the costs associated with screening more than one tenant.

 

In the end, charging prospective tenants an application fee is a very useful way of ensuring you properly screen every single adult tenant that will be living in your investment property.

And, since the fee covers all of the costs associated with a thorough screening, there is no excuse not to take advantage of them.

Lastly, any serious tenant will understand the reasons for charging an application fee, since this is a widely known practice amongst many property owners.

It is important that you follow all of Maryland’s rules and regulations when it comes to charging application fees, processing tenant applications, and properly informing potential tenants how their application fee will be used.

 

If you own rental property in Maryland and feel you need help with the tenant screening process, contact Bay Management Group today.

At Bay Management Group, we are proud of the strict tenant screening process we have in place. In fact, we are so convinced we can find the perfect tenant for your rental property the first go-around, that if your tenant needs evicting within the first 12 months of their tenancy, we will re-lease your property for free.

We are the only property management company in the Maryland region that has this type of warranty.

Why?

Because we know what it takes to place high-quality tenants in your rental property and keep them there for the long haul, and we are willing to go the extra mile.


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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.