4 Renovations To Keep Your Tenants Happy & Complaint-Free

Renovations to Keep Your Owings Mills Tenants Happy & Complaint-Free

Keeping your tenants happy is the best way to continue collecting a consistent stream of rental income, prevent an unnecessary vacancy, and of course, build your Owings Mills rental property business into one that is reputable and successful.

That said, how you keep your tenants happy can be challenging at times.

There are so many ways to keep tenants satisfied, and each tenant you encounter will have their own individual needs, and complaints, that you need to address.

If you are looking to secure more lease renewals, and genuinely provide quality customer service to your tenants, take a look at these common renovations you can make to your rental property to help lower tenant complaints.

 

Lower Tenant Complaints with These Rental Upgrades

As a property owner, you cannot possibly anticipate every issue your tenants will have.

However, with these Owings Mills rental property renovations, you can definitely lower the number of complaints you receive from tenants, and boost their overall satisfaction.

 

1. Appliance Upgrades

Upgrade Appliances to Keep Owings Mills Tenants Happy and Complaint-Free

Your tenants will always have maintenance and repair issues that need dealing with throughout their tenancy.

In fact, some of the most common maintenance complaints you are going to face will be associated with your property’s appliances.

The last thing you want is to have multiple grievances about your property’s appliances put in by your tenants during their tenancy.

Not only will this begin to cost you, since it is your responsibility to handle all maintenance and repair issues, this is sure to grind on your tenant’s nerves – even if you handle every repair quickly and efficiently.

In short, tenants want the appliances in their home to work. What they don’t want is to have to call your property management company on a regular basis to inform you of another appliance that has burnt out.

If you have room in your budget to upgrade your rental’s appliances to newer, more energy efficient ones, you should.

This will not only allow you to command higher rent rates, new appliances are bound to last longer without needing repair, which is something every tenant will appreciate.

 

2. New Flooring

In the past, we have discussed the various flooring options you have when it comes to your rental property.

And, while flooring such as hardwood or laminate garner you a higher ROI on your rental property, the truth is, they don’t do much for one major tenant complaint – noise.

 Noise problems can wreak havoc on your tenant’s daily life, especially if they lease an apartment or townhome from you, where shared walls are common, and neighbors become an issue.

What’s worse is that typical noise complaints don’t usually break the threshold designated by local authorities as a violation of the city’s noise ordinances. This means your tenants have to deal with neighboring animals, music, or children, and there is usually no legal remedy available to stop it.

This is when noise complaints become your problem.

As the landlord of your tenants, it is your responsibility to maintain their surrounding peace and quiet. And, if noise is something your tenants complain about consistently, it is your job to handle it.

One renovation that helps keep noise at bay, and your tenants satisfied, is carpeting the floors.

Though not always the number one option when it comes to your rental property’s flooring, it helps keeps noise under control, especially in apartments.

This is especially true if you budget in a noise-blocking carpet underlay.

In addition, you can install some high quality carpet choices in your rental if you are looking to rake in higher rent rates. No one ever said the carpet in your rental had to be cheap.

If, by chance, you are not a fan of carpet, there is always the option of installing cork in your rental property. Cork floors absorb sound since they are soft and dense, much like carpet is.

This flooring type will do wonders for controlling outside noise, and look great in your rental property, which is something all property owners aim for.

 

3. New Windows

New Windows Keep Owings Mills Tenants Happy

If your Owings Mills rental property is near a busy area that conducts a lot of excess noise (think New York City during morning rush hour), your tenants may start to voice their problems with this.

What many property owners don’t realize is that the windows on their property have a tendency to exacerbate outside noise.

This means children playing in the street, cars honking, or nearby construction zones may project noise directly into your property, disrupting your tenant’s peace and quiet.

This is because windows conduct light, heat, and noise, and can make all three things worse if not installed properly.

One renovation you can make on your rental property to lower the chances your tenants will complain of outside noise is to install double or triple paned windows.

You can also provide thick, noise projecting window treatments such as drapes to keep out the light, heat, and noise.

Lastly, it is important you make sure your window seals are not cracking, as these tiny gaps have the potential to allow unwanted noise inside the property, without you even realizing it.

 

4. Landscaping

If noise complaints are still something you are receiving from tenants, you can always take your renovations outside to help eliminate some of the problem.

Landscaping your backyard with large trees and shrubs can help block noise from the surrounding businesses and street traffic.

In addition, this renovation will create a backyard oasis for tenants to enjoy, help reduce energy bills thanks to the shade they provide, and help keep drafts out during the cold winters.

 

In Closing

It is impossible to eliminate all tenant complaints with renovations to your rental property.

And, while there are some decent options for helping to reduce tenant complaints, especially when it comes to appliances and noise, there is much more to keeping your tenants satisfied and complaint-free.

If you own rental property and want help boosting tenant satisfaction through not only renovations, but also exceptional customer service, contact the leader in Owings Mills property management − Bay Management Group.

We provide superior customer service when it comes to tenant complaints we receive. With years of experience dealing with every type of tenant issue you could possibly imagine, we know the best way to alleviate problems, provide excellent maintenance and repair services whenever there is even a minor issue, and can help advise tenants of the best ways to make their residency in your rental property one that they enjoy.


Top 4 Reasons Why Detailed Move-In Inspections Are Essential

Why Move-In Inspections Are Essential For Your Rental Property

Any time you place a new tenant into your Bel Air rental property, you must conduct a thorough move-in inspection – even if you think that your rental is in tip-top shape.

But you and your property management company tirelessly prepared your rental for new tenants, made sure that everything was clean, in good working order, and was visually appealing – that’s enough, right?

Wrong.

In an effort to protect both you and your tenants, as well as the investment property itself, a move-in inspection documenting the original condition of the rental at the time your tenants move in is absolutely necessary, despite how “perfect” the condition of the rental may seem.

To learn more about what a move-in inspection is, and why they are the key to starting a satisfying your renters (as well as one of the best ways to protect your rental property business), keep reading.

 

What is a Move-In Inspection?

Before physically moving into your Bel Air rental property, your tenants, alongside you and your property manager, must take part in what is called a move-in inspection.

Move-in inspections are designed to document, in both writing and visual proof such as photographs or video, the original condition of your rental property at the time your tenants move in.

This way, any existing damages will not become the responsibility of your tenants come the end of their lease term.

In addition, any new damages that do appear at the end of the lease term can be attributed to your tenants, should the damages extend beyond that of normal wear and tear.

The most important part of the move-in inspection is the signature section, where both the landlord and tenants sign in agreement to the original state of the property at the time the tenant takes possession.

 

4 Reasons Why the Move-In Inspection is Important

According to Maryland law, the move-in inspection should be performed with both the property owner and tenants present. This way any damages found in the property at the time the tenant takes possession are seen and agreed to by both parties.

There are very specific reasons why you and your property manager should conduct move-in inspections every time a new tenant moves in.

Let’s take a look.

 

1. Easily Recover Repair Costs

Move-In Inspections Easily Recover Repair Costs Of Your Rental Property

Your Bel Air property management company is going to recommend you collect a security deposit from your new tenants at the start of their lease term.

This is to cover any costs associated with damages to the property, an early lease termination, and any unpaid rent on the part of your tenants.

However, in order to use your tenant’s security deposit to cover the costs of damages that go beyond normal wear and tear, you will need to have proof those damages didn’t exist at the time your tenants moved in.

This is where a detailed move-in inspection checklist comes into play.

If you and your tenants sign a document agreeing to the original state of the property at the beginning of the lease term, and the property looks very different from that original state at the end of the lease term, you now have legal proof that you can collect from your tenant’s security deposit to make necessary repairs.

 

2. Maryland Law Requires It

Every landlord needs to follow all federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws when it comes to disclosing specific information to tenants at the time they move in.

These disclosures either need to appear in the lease agreement itself, or be attached to the lease agreement as a separate document. Either way, the original state of the property must be revealed to those moving in.

One of the most important things to disclose to your Maryland tenants, which may end up on your move-in inspection checklist, is the certification that your property is free of any lead paint hazards.

According to Maryland’s Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing law, all properties built before 1978 must be registered as having potential lead paint hazards. In addition, landlords must distribute educational materials regarding lead paint hazards, and meet specific inspection requirements that certify the property is safe for living.

As a rental property owner, it is your legal duty to include this information in the move-in inspection so that your tenants are fully aware of what type of rental property they are about to reside in.

This not only protects them from the hazards of lead paint (since your property must be certified as safe to live in), it also protects you from a lawsuit at the end of the lease term should your tenant make the claim you failed to disclose this information to them.

Make sure that you and your Bel Air property management keep your rental property updated with its lead paint certifications. At any time, your tenants may request a copy of your most recent passing lead paint risk reduction inspection certificate that is on file with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

If you do not have this on file, you may find yourself in some legal trouble that you and your property manager may not be able to get out of without paying a hefty amount of fees and fines.

3. It Holds Parties Responsible

Move-In Inspection Holds Parties Responsible In Your Rental Property

Move-in inspections are designed to hold all parties – the landlord, property manager, and tenants – responsible for the condition of the rental property at the time of move in, during the lease term, and at the end when the tenant moves out.

By having your tenants sign the move-in inspection, you set a very clear message that you expect them to care for your property in a certain way, and that if they fail to do so, they will be held accountable.

On the other hand, the move-in inspection, as well as the lease agreement, holds you responsible for detailing the damages at the end of the lease term as an itemized list of security deposit deductions. This ensures that you do not wrongfully take your tenant’s security deposits to fix things in the property that are considered normal wear and tear items.

 

4. It Protects Your Property, Business, and Bottom Line

Here are some of the biggest complications that can arise from not conducting a move-in inspection of your rental property before the tenant moves in:

  • If you wait until after your tenant has moved in to ask them to complete a move-in inspection, you may have trouble compelling them to finish it properly
  • Once a tenant starts to move-in, the original condition of the property has become altered, perhaps even damaged, with no proof of when the damage occurred
  • If you let your tenant complete the inspection without you or your property manager, you run the risk of additional things being added to the list that are not there
  • Simply failing to complete a move-in inspection altogether (or failing to have the tenant sign the inspection) makes collecting the security deposit for repairs nearly impossible

 

These are just some of the scenarios you face if you don’t have a detailed move-in inspection process in place when new tenants move into your rental.

 

In Closing

If you own an investment property in the Bel Air region, and want help ensuring that all parties are fully protected from the start of any tenancy, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

We can help draft legally compliant lease agreements addressing the issue of both move-in and move-out inspections and security deposits, set up time to thoroughly inspect your rental with both you and your tenants at the start of the lease term, and make sure your property is well cared for throughout the tenancy.

And, in the case excessive damage has been incurred during the lease term, we make sure you collect on your tenant’s security deposit to make proper repairs, so that the next tenants that move in have a pristine rental to call home.


Top 7 Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Investing in rental property is a great way to boost supplemental income, or even replace your traditional 9-5 day job.

In fact, getting into the rental property business can be extremely lucrative, if approached the right way.

However, it’s important to note that many first-time investors can mistakenly get caught up in the excitement of buying a rental property – and this excitement can easily get in the way of making sound financial and business decisions.

Taking the step from the decision to invest in Abingdon rental property to actually doing it is a big one that warrants a lot of thought.

It comes with risks that you may not be aware of – ones that have the potential to affect the success of your rental property business for years to come. This is a decision to take very seriously.

If you want to avoid major mistakes when you set out to invest in your first piece of rental property, read on to find some helpful tips that are designed to guide new investors in the right direction, right from the start.

 

Helpful Tips for Investing in Your First Rental Property

1. Have a Plan

Before you jump into investing in your first rental property, you should take the time to devise a solid plan of action.

This will help prevent many unexpected issues that tend to pop up during the purchasing process.

Here are some things experienced property management companies suggest:

  • Pay Down Your Debt. Paying down your existing debt does more than help you qualify for a loan. It also creates a buffer once you own the rental property for things such as emergency maintenance issues, unexpected vacancies, and times when your tenant fails to pay rent.
  • Create a Budget. This is something any experienced property owner will tell you. Making a strict budget, before you invest in a rental property, will prevent you from getting in over your head. Factor in purchase price, maintenance and renovations, an emergency fund, and the cost of placing a tenant in your property.
  • Save for a Down Payment. Even if you have purchased a home in the past, it is important to realize that investing in rental property is much different. You will typically need at least 20% when it comes to a down payment, because there is no PMI available to protect the banks in case you default on the loan.
  • Watch the Market. Knowing when to invest is almost as important as having enough money to invest. You should take care to watch the market and see what interest rates are doing at the time you want to invest. Remember, investment property loans will usually have higher interest rates than traditional homes, which can kill your bottom line, even if you warrant high rent rates from quality tenants.

Making a plan before you get into the excitement of purchasing a rental property will help keep you on track during the investment process.

 

2. Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Again, closing on your first investment property is an exciting time that can cloud your judgement if you are not careful.

Avoid buyer’s remorse by taking your time to find the rental that will work best for your pre-defined budget. Check out any property you are interested in buying before entertaining any negotiations, and don’t take the previous homeowner or real estate agent’s word for it.

Ensure that the property has all the amenities you wish to offer to your tenants. Find out what makes this property stand out from others in the area that are being leased, and take note of all the things you may need to renovate before placing a tenant to make sure it fits into your overall budget.

In any business deal, jumping in too soon harbors room for problems that can have lasting effects on your rental property business.

Give yourself time to find the right one; it will be worth it in the long run.

 

3. Avoid Fixer Uppers

In the past, we have discussed how investing in a fixer-upper rental property can be a good idea. However, for those that are new to investing in real estate, this may not always be the best idea.

A great purchase deal on the surface often indicates that there is a lot of work needing to be done after you purchase the property in order to make it rent ready.

And, unless you have budgeted this into your overall plan, and are handy when it comes to repairs, chances are a fixer upper is not what you are looking for in your first investment property.

 

4. Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent

Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent For Your First Investment Property

The real estate agent you choose to help you with your property purchase can make or break your longtime success.

To avoid getting mixed up with a less-than-stellar real estate agent, take note of these helpful tips:

  • Don’t get caught up in negotiations with other interested buyers if the purchase price or other details begin to extend beyond what you originally planned for
  • Choose an agent that you trust, that has a reliable reputation, is patient and understands your needs, and is communicative throughout the process
  • Never let an agent rush your purchase decision, even if that means you lose out on a deal
  • Try to get referrals from those close to you that have had success with a real estate agent in the past

If at any time you begin to feel your agent is not being helpful, simply walk away and get a new one.

 

5. Decrease Expenses

Being successful with your first investment property does not stop after you finalize your purchase.

In fact, closing on a property is only the beginning.

From the start, think of ways you can decease expenses and boost your positive cash flow once you place tenants in your property.

For example:

  • Make sure all utilities are the tenant’s responsibility
  • Build extra costs, such as HOA fees, into the rent rate if you can
  • Shop around for homeowners insurance, and require your tenants to get renters insurance
  • Make your rental eco-friendly, especially when it comes to major appliances
  • Challenge your property taxes if you feel they are too high
  • Interview property managers to make sure you are getting the best deal for the services they offer

These small considerations have the potential to save you a lot of money as you lease your rental property, and are easy for new investors to handle.

 

6. Learn the Laws

Learn The Laws For Your First Investment Property

Whether you self-manage your rental or employ Abingdon’s best property management team, it is ultimately your responsibility to know and understand the federal, state, and local laws surrounding the landlord-tenant relationship.

Even if something illegal happens under the care of your property manager, you could find yourself in a lot of hot water.

Court fees and fines, a ding on your reputation as a property owner, and the loss of your property if your bottom line is damaged enough, can all result from not knowing the laws.

Educate yourself so that you know how to properly handle any legal situation that comes your way. And, if you have a knowledgeable property management company backing you, think of that as an added bonus.

7. Consider Hiring an Abingdon Property Manager

Getting into real estate and leasing your first investment property can be daunting at first.

You may not know what to do after you have purchased your property, or maybe you are not keen on the idea of self-managing your rental.

No matter the case, the solution resides in hiring a trusted property manager to help you out with everything from advertising your available property to tenant placement; tenant complaints to the lease renewal process.

If you are looking to invest in your first rental property in Abingdon, consider getting in touch with Bay Management Group from day one. With years of experience in the rental property industry, Bay Management Group has the staff on hand to answer all of your questions about being a successful rental property owner.

This way, once you invest in your first rental property, you will already have a qualified property manager in Abingdon ready to help you with setting rent rates, conducting inspections, providing 24/7 maintenance and repair services, and more.


The Top 5 Pro Tips For Long-Term Essex Resident Retention

Pro Tips for Long Term Tenant Retention In Essex

Learning how to retain your Essex tenants, and encourage them to sign lease renewals at the end of their lease terms, is something all successful property owners do at some point during their career.

In fact, learning this skill early on will save you the time and money it takes to advertise a vacant property, screen for new tenants, draft a new lease agreement, and prepare your property for new tenants.

Not to mention, retaining tenants grants you a consistent stream of income, and helps you keep your vacancy rates low.

Whether you employ an Essex property management company to help boost your property retention rates, or you self-manage your rentals and approach tenant retention yourself, there are always new tips to add to your arsenal for satisfying your tenant, and making them want to stay year after year.

Keep reading to find out some of the best tenant retention tips both you and your property manager can implement to secure long-term resident retention in your investment property.

 

The 5 Essential Ways to Boost Retention Rates in Your Rental

1. Build Strong Landlord-Tenant Relationships

Build a Strong Relationship With Your Essex Tenant

Property management companies always stress the importance of first impressions when it comes to the landlord-tenant relationship.

And there’s a reason for that: how you begin a lease term with new tenants sets the tone for the rest of the tenancy.

That said, it is easy to forget to build on those relationships as your tenants settle into your property. This is especially true if your tenants always pay their rent on time, rarely complain or cause problems, and take care of your property the way they are supposed to.

But remember, when it comes to higher retention rates, it is this relationship with your tenants that matters most.

Do not spend all of your time and resources marketing vacant properties, dealing with problem tenants, and seeking new investment properties.

Instead, take the time to solidify relationships with good tenants that you hope to keep on for another lease term.

 

2. Say “Thank You”

Expressing your gratitude towards tenants that are worth the lease renewals you send out at the end of each lease term is another way to encourage high quality tenants to stay.

Try giving your best tenants something meaningful when it comes to rewarding them for their great tenant behavior.

Of course, a discount on rent is always welcome, since 58% of tenants prefer lower rent rates when it comes to incentives.

However, here are some unique ideas you can try should your budget allow:

  • Reserved Parking Spaces. Loyal tenants are sure to appreciate a reserved parking spot. Perhaps a covered spot or one that is closer to the property is something you can offer as an incentive. This works especially well for properties in urban areas where parking space is limited.
  • Deep Clean. Many property owners offer an annual carpet cleaning for tenants that sign lease renewals. However, taking it one step further and offering a house-wide deep clean is sure to make your tenants that much more satisfied.
  • Buy a Gift. Depending on your budget, and how much you value your tenant, consider buying them a unique gift that you wouldn’t normally purchase for an adequate tenant. For example, annual passes to the local zoo or amusement park, new furniture, or even something electronic such as a TV can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reward your tenant for being a good tenant and signing lease renewals with you. Sometimes, all it takes is a small incentive to push them in the right direction and convince them to stay.

 

3. Make Tenant Satisfaction a Year-Round Priority

Just as it is important to work on your tenant-landlord relationship throughout the lease term, it is important you check on the level of your tenant’s satisfaction throughout the lease term as well.

If you wait to find out your tenant does not want to renew with you come lease renewal time because they were not happy with some of the things you or your Essex property management company did or did not do, it’s too late.

Check on your tenants year-round to make sure any minor issues they are having are addressed immediately.

This proactive approach may be just enough to show your tenants that it’s worth their while to stay in your property for another year.

 

4. Get Feedback from Tenants and Make Improvements

Get Feedback From Tenants and Make Improvements

One thing all our property managers in Essex encourage their clients to do is collect feedback from current tenants to find out what improvements, if any, can be made.

Again, waiting until lease renewal time to find out your tenants are unhappy is too late.

Chances are they have already made their mind up and are on the way out, no matter what you do to try to stop them.

Here are some helpful feedback tips:

  • Attempt to meet with your tenants face-to-face for a more personalized meeting
  • For tenants that cannot meet in person, make an online or mail-in survey available so they can participate at their own convenience
  • Consider offering a small incentive to get tenants to complete the survey, such as a one month rent discount
  • Take the time to work with your property management company once results come in to make needed improvements

 

In addition to maintaining an open line of communication with your tenants throughout their lease term, implementing an annual satisfaction survey can help you lower tenant turnover rates, and make your rental property business more successful.

 

5. Offer 24/7 Rental Property Maintenance

Offer Around the Clock Rental Property Maintenance

Around the clock maintenance is something that all tenants appreciate when it comes to leasing a rental property.

When you fail to pay attention to the overall maintenance and repair procedures you have in place, and problems ensue, tenants are sure to look elsewhere to live once their lease is up.

Make sure your tenant knows from the start what to do in the case of an emergency versus a minor repair issue.

Give them all of the appropriate contact information – property manager, contractors, emergency maintenance, and the after-hours call center – so that when they need something, they know exactly what to do and who to call.

In addition, it is crucial you stay on top of the relationship your property management company and vendors have.

If that relationship is broken, this will surely carry over into any work performed on your investment property for your tenants. This can bother tenants to the point they do not want to sign a lease renewal with you.

 

In Closing

Your tenants need to feel good about where they live, especially if they are going to sign lease renewals come the end of their lease terms.

And as the property owner, whether you enlist the help of a property manager or not, it is your responsibility to make sure they are nothing short of satisfied.

If you own rental property in the Essex region, and hope to reduce your property vacancies, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. We provide superior customer service to both property owners and their tenants, and believe that how we treat our customers is the most important aspect of our business.

With effective maintenance procedures in place to guarantee tenant satisfaction, the ability to regularly check in on tenants to ensure they are not having any issues, and the desire to collect and utilize any feedback we receive from your tenants, we can help you improve your property retention rates. It is our job to place long-term tenants in your rental and make certain they are happy.


3 Ways to Help Your Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

How to Help Your Abingdon Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your Abingdon rental property, and your tenants.

Unfortunately, many tenants feel that having renters insurance is not necessary.

In fact, a 2016 Insurance Information Institute poll reports that only 41% of renters have renters insurance, compared to 95% of homeowners that have a homeowners insurance policy.

Many tenants say that their belongings are not worth enough to have renters insurance. In addition, they feel that the property should already be insured by the landlord, and that renters insurance is an additional expensive that is too costly.

However, the truth is, tenants largely underestimate the value of their belongings and, thus, the value of having renters insurance.

It’s important to know that your homeowners insurance does not cover the cost of tenants’ belongings or tenant displacement.

And, despite what some people may say, a renters insurance policy is fairly inexpensive.

That’s why requiring your tenants to have a renters insurance policy in place before they move into your rental property is crucial to your success as a rental property owner.

And, it just so happens that there are ways you can help your tenants determine just how much renters insurance they need so that, should the unthinkable happen (think fire, flood, theft, or injury), they are properly covered.

Renters Insurance: A Quick Review

Renters Insurance Covers Furniture and Personal Belongings

Renters insurance is an insurance policy that protects tenants and their personal belongings in the case of an emergency.

It also covers personal liability issues should anyone be injured while on your property, or damage something while on the premises.

Lastly, a good renters insurance policy will cover additional living expenses should your tenant become displaced due to an emergency, or uninhabitable living situation.

According to Liberty Mutual, here are some of the key things renters insurance will cover:

  • Personal property such as furniture, clothing, and electronics
  • Valuable items up to a specified amount
  • Any personal belongings stolen from your car
  • Medical bills related to any injuries that occur on the property
  • Legal costs should anyone sue your tenant
  • Accidental damage done to your property
  • Reimbursement for housing and living costs in the case the property becomes unlivable

 

It is important to remember that some things will not be covered under a traditional renters insurance policy.

That’s why it is recommended your tenants talk to an insurance professional, in addition to speaking with you, before purchasing a policy to ensure they are properly covered.

 

Helping Your Abingdon Tenant Calculate Renters Insurance

Helping your tenants determine how much renters insurance to invest in is as simple as following these three tips.

 

1. Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

The first thing you are going to want to help your tenants with is the overall value of their personal belongings.

This will include every personal item they own, not just the expensive items like furniture and electronics.

Remember, renters insurance is there to replace personal belongings.

If your tenant estimates they have $5,000 worth of personal items, and lose everything to a fire, only to find out they really had upwards of $10,000 in personal belongings, your tenant is going to be in financial trouble.

That’s because any purchases that exceed the insurance payout amount will fall upon the tenant to cover.

There are several that can help your tenants determine approximately how much all of their personal items are worth.

From there, the key is to insure belongings for more than the cash or depreciated value of the items, so that there will be enough coverage to actually replace everything.

 

2. Recommend Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is not always included in a standard renters insurance policy.

That’s why, as a landlord, it is helpful to either require liability coverage up to at least a certain amount, or strongly encourage tenants to add that type of coverage to their policies.

In fact, if you are working with an Abingdon property management company, chances are they are going to suggest you require liability insurance in additional to renters insurance before a tenant can move in.

Liability insurance typically covers things like bodily injury, medical bills, and property damage done by your tenants or guests in your rental property. This additional coverage is usually inexpensive and worth it to add on.

The last thing you want is your tenant to become financially responsible for an injury on your property.

This kind of financial strain may cause them to be unable to pay the monthly rent, and ultimately break the lease agreement early.

This leaves you without a monthly rent collection and with a vacant property that now has to be filled.

 

3. Encourage Documentation

Encourage Documentation of Purchases for Renters Insurance in Harford County

It is important to encourage your tenants to document their personal belongings via receipts and photographs.

This documentation, to be held outside of the rental property in an accessible and secure place, serves as proof that the amount of coverage owed in an insurance claim is legitimate.

Plus, taking the time to document every personal belonging helps your tenants calculate the actual value of their belongings, so the right amount of renters insurance is purchased.

For instance, you cannot claim you have a million dollars in personal belongings, and collect that amount after an emergency, without proof the belongings actually existed.

Insurance fraud is a big problem, and is something that is very carefully monitored.

It would be nice of you to remind your tenants that, in the event of an emergency that results in significant property damage, the insurance company is going to demand to see proof of their belongings before paying out on the policy.

 

Helping your tenants understand the importance of renters insurance should be one of your biggest priorities.

This is not only because it is helpful to your tenants, but because it is helpful to you as well.

Should an emergency, injury, or property damage occur, anything not covered by renters insurance may carry over to your homeowners insurance.

By requiring your Abingdon tenants to have renters insurance, you protect your bottom line and save yourself from higher premiums should something terrible happen to your property or the people inside of it.

If you own rental property in Abingdon or anywhere in Harford County and want help with structuring a lease agreement to require renters insurance, contact Bay Management Group now.

We have years of experience in the rental property industry, and know that renters insurance is necessary when it comes to placing new tenants in your investment property. We can draft lease agreements that require renters insurance, help your tenants determine how much they should be insured for, and help you maintain your bottom line should anything happen to your rental.


5 Avoidable Mistakes Landlords Make with Rental Agreements

Landlord Mistakes to Avoid in Your Rental Property Lease Agreement

Though having one universal lease agreement satisfying every type of lease term possible would be great, in reality, every lease is different.

And, while using a universal lease form is possible, it is important to note that whether you self-manage your Dundalk rental property, or enlist the help of a property management company, there are going to be specifics that you need to address while drafting your property’s lease agreement.

As a landlord, there are many things to think about while filling a vacant rental.

To name a few, you must consider: advertising the property as available, performing the tenant screening process, conducting move-in inspections, and of course drafting the lease agreement.

Unfortunately, with all of the things you need to tend to, and the desire to rush the process of filling a vacant rental property, some landlords make dire mistakes in their rental agreements that can wreak havoc on their rental property business.

Don’t let these common mistakes plague your rental agreement while trying to quickly place someone in your vacant property.

Instead, learn from these mistakes (that others before you have made), and find out what makes a lease agreement one that protects you, your investment property, and your tenants.

 

Avoid These Mistakes While Drafting Your Lease Agreements

1. Not Properly Identifying the Tenants

Although this may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many landlords fail to address their tenants correctly in their lease agreements.

Remember, a rental agreement is a legal document, and should refer to your tenants by their full legal names.

No nicknames, shortened names, or names other than what are listed on driver’s licenses or identification cards should be allowed in the lease agreement.

In addition, you should have your tenants names located somewhere in the beginning of the document (typically in the first paragraph), as well as at the end of the document where the signature blocks are placed.

If you fail to name your tenants correctly on the lease agreement, you may find it difficult to enforce your lease agreement.

This is especially true if you land in court due to a landlord-tenant dispute.

If your tenants make claims that the people listed are not really them, you are going to have a hard time winning your case.

 

2. Not Researching Rent Rates

Research Rent Rates for Your Dundalk Rental Property

One of the key elements in a lease agreement is the monthly rent rate that your tenants are responsible for paying each month.

Failing to research the market rent rates properly and instead placing a random rent rate in your lease agreement will is something you want to avoid.

This mistake may cause you to over- or underprice your rental property.

If you overprice your rental, your tenant pool will shrink sizably, and any tenants that you have currently residing in your property are not likely to renew if you continue to raise the rate sporadically.

On the other hand, underpricing your rental property will harm your bottom line.

A great way to ensure you name the right rent rate in your lease agreement is to talk to your Dundalk property manager.

They will have insight into things such as current market trends, demographics of the area your property is located in, and the rates that similar properties are going for so you remain competitive.

Lastly, in order to avoid another mistake some landlords make, you should re-evaluate your rent rates every time you place a new tenant in your property to make sure to keep in line with current trends.

 

3. Not Personalizing the Agreement

Universal lease agreement forms don’t come with every lease provision you can think of. That’s why simply filling in the blanks is a bad idea, and is one that your Dundalk property management company will discourage.

Now is the time for you to be specific about the rules as they pertain to your rental property.

Take a look at some of the specific clauses you might want to include in your rental agreement:

  • Whether your tenants can smoke in the property
  • What type of interior alterations (temporary or permanent) tenants can make
  • If your tenants can have pets, and if so, which type, how many, what size, and what the deposits will be
  • Which maintenance responsibilities your tenants will be responsible for

 

All of this lease agreement personalization will ensure your tenants know exactly what is (and isn’t) expected of them while residing in your property. It will also outline the consequences for not following your rules.

However, as important as personalizing your lease agreement is, make sure you follow your state’s rental property laws.

For example, make sure you don’t overcharge on the security deposits and fees.

In addition, don’t ask your tenants to violate their tenant rights, such as forfeiting the notice of entry, so that you can do as you please.

Avoid these mistakes at all costs, as they will land you in some serious legal trouble.

 

4. Not Addressing Late Rent

Address Late Rent in Your Dundalk Rental Property

Earlier we mentioned the importance of setting an appropriate rent rate and placing it in your lease agreement.

That said, it is equally important to mention what will happen should the rent not get paid on time.

Failing to detail the consequences for late or non-payment of rent is a huge mistake.

This not only sets you up for continuous late payments, it makes it very difficult for you to receive compensation in court for non-payment of rent, should your tenant stop paying altogether.

Make sure to include the rent rate, grace period, late fees, and eviction process for non-payment of rent in your lease agreement, so that should you run into an issue with a tenant, you have the legal document backing you up that states both parties agreed to the terms and your tenant owes you money.

Late payment lease provisions are used to inform and motivate your tenants to pay their rent on time.

After all, you rely on their timely payment and often cannot afford to wait for them to pay when it is convenient for them.

In addition, this section not only protects you in the case of non-payment, it protects your tenants from illegal eviction proceedings.

 

5. Not Setting a Lease Term

In your rental agreement, it is crucial you designate a lease start and end date.

This way your tenant knows exactly when they can move in, and when they have to be out of your property, should they choose not to renew their lease with you.

In addition, there are some lease renewal options that some see as mistakes, that you and your Dundalk property manager should carefully consider while drafting a lease agreement:

  • Allowing for automatic lease renewals (how can you be sure you will want your tenants to renew one year from now?)
  • Including a month-to-month renewal option (both parties have the option to break a month-to-month lease with 30 days’ notice, leaving you little time to find new tenants)
  • Not requiring a 60 days’ notice of intent when it comes to renewals (leaving it to the last minute might leave you with no time to fill a vacancy, should your tenants decline your offer)

 

The Importance of an Airtight Lease Agreement in Dundalk

Altogether, none of these options are necessarily dire mistakes. However, they may cause you extra stress that can be avoided with a well thought out and thorough lease agreement.

Having an airtight lease agreement that addresses all of your concerns is important for everyone involved.

After all, the lease agreement is the document that both you and your tenants will refer to when there is an issue.

Therefore, the more thorough it is, the less confusion you and your tenants are bound to encounter.

If you own rental property in the Dundalk region, and want help drafting a comprehensive and legally compliant lease agreement, contact Bay Management Group today.

With years of experience drafting lease agreements for property owners, and extensive knowledge of the landlord-tenant laws, you can rest assured that every provision you want included will be integrated into each rental agreement so they you, your investment property, and your tenants are fully protected.


5 Aberdeen Rental Property Repairs That You Should Not DIY

Rental Property Repairs Do Not DIY

These days it may feel like any do-it-yourself projects is possible to undertake.

With internet videos showing you step-by-step how to complete even the most complicated home repairs, it all looks so easy, not to mention more affordable than enlisting the help of a professional.

While the thought of saving money is definitely tempting, the truth is, there are certain DIY rental property repair jobs that are too complicated, too dangerous, and oftentimes just as pricey (if not more) to do yourself.

And, while you are responsible for most of your Aberdeen rental property’s maintenance repairs, that doesn’t mean you actually have to do the work yourself.

Let’s take a look at some common do-it-yourself home repairs that should not be handled by inexperienced DIY-ers.

Rather, the below projects should be left to those that, without a doubt, know what they are doing.

 

5 DIY Projects Better Left to Professionals

DIY Projects to Leave to Professionals

Your Aberdeen property manager is sure to tell you there are some DIY repairs that any successful rental property owner should know how to do.

For example, repairing a hole in the wall, being able to fix your property’s gutters, and even being able to handle common toilet issues are all good skills to have as a landlord.

That said, there are some property repairs that are better left to the professionals because they are typically more than you can handle, and dangerous to both you and your tenants if done incorrectly.

1. Electrical Issues

Small DIY projects, such as installing a ceiling fan and changing out a light switch, are typically okay for the average DIY-er.

Just make sure to always turn the power off before starting an electrical repair to avoid shocking yourself.

However, when you get into electrical repairs that require extending circuits, or running new electrical cables, you face some serious issues if you don’t know what you are doing.

With electrical projects, the safety risks heighten.

You can easily start a fire instantly, create a fire hazard that may spark later and threaten the safety of your tenants, or even electrocute yourself in the process of completing the work.

You may also be performing electrical work that requires a permit. Without the proper permit, not only do you face severe penalties and fines that will affect your rental property business, you become liable for performing work not completed by a professional.

Lastly, trying to carry out electrical work in your Aberdeen rental without truly knowing what you are doing can be trickier than you might expect.

You can easily overload your power outlets and create more electrical issues throughout the property, or even wire something incorrectly, adding to the fire and safety concerns.

The Electrical Safety Foundation reports that 140,000 electrical fires happen each year, with 400 deaths resulting from electrical issues.

Therefore, as tempting as those do-it-yourself YouTube videos can be, it is not recommended you attempt to handle any major electrical repairs in your rental property without the help of a certified electrician.

 

2. Roof Repairs

Roof Repairs Are Better Left to Professionals

In the past, we have discussed the necessary steps to take, should your rental property need roofing repairs.

And if you recall, we recommended enlisting the help of your property manager and professional roofing contractor when it comes to dealing with significant roof damage.

Repairing your rental’s roof takes a lot of experience and knowledge that the average person just doesn’t have.

In fact, what seems like a simple roof leak may actually be more serious than you originally thought.

You need to identify the source of the roof leak; repair the shingles, flashing, and vents; match materials to your existing roof; and utilize expensive equipment to get the job done.

In addition, you need to avoid creating more damage in the process, which will lead to more repairs, more expenses, and more time to get the roof repaired.

And don’t forget the danger that working on the roof of your rental property poses, especially to a novice DIY-er.

One small misstep or slip, and you might come tumbling down off your roof, with roofing materials and tools following.

The injuries you can expect to sustain from a roof fall are just not worth the risk.

 

3. Floor Refinishing

Leave The Floor Refinishing To The Professionals

Improving your Aberdeen rental property’s existing hardwood flooring is always a good idea, especially if it has been a while since you gave your property’s flooring some TLC.

Plus, tenants love the thought of having beautiful, sturdy, and long-lasting hardwood flooring in the property they are leasing.

You may think that sanding your property’s wood flooring is a simple process: Rent the sanding machine, get to sanding, and voila, good as new, right?

Wrong.

There are licensed carpenters that won’t go near even their own home’s hardwood floors with a sander, preferring to leave it to the flooring professionals.

All it takes is a little extra sanding on one spot to create a severe divot in your stunning hardwood flooring.

These divots are nearly impossible to fill, and if you do this in several spots across the floor, you are looking at having to re-do the entire space with new flooring.

 

4. Wall Removal

It may seem like a fun weekend project to knock out an existing wall in your rental property in order to open up the living space, combine two rooms to create one bigger one, or even get rid of an awkwardly placed wall that makes your rental seemed cramped.

However, removing a wall in your rental property is anything but a simple DIY weekend project.

If you don’t know what you are doing, and you attempt to take out a wall in your rental property, you could bring your entire rental property down instantly.

Worse yet, you may unknowingly create an unstable foundation that can come crashing down later, perhaps on your tenants.

Not only can removing a wall on your own ruin the framework of your property, but you also risk tapping into a water or gas line, which adds to the danger – and expensive renovation bill – you will face.

 

5. Tree Cutting and Trimming

Tree Cutting and Trimming Is Better for Professionals To Do

Do-it-yourself home repairs are not limited to the interior of your rental property.

In fact, tree cutting and trimming is something that many DIY-ers attempt to master themselves.

Although it is tempting to forgo hiring a professional landscaper to handle your rental property’s tree growth, there are several reasons to rethink this DIY project before even getting started.

To start, the equipment needed to bring down large trees and branches is expensive to rent if you don’t already own it.

And then there’s the element of danger.

The fact that you will need to climb up a large ladder to reach the areas that need pruning poses a serious fall risk.

A small misstep, slip, or branch firing back at you with a vengeance can land you in the hospital with serious injuries.

A professional landscaper experienced in tree pruning should handle any tree that requires cutting or trimming. This is especially true if the trees exceed 20’, or are near roads, other properties, or electrical wires.

 

If you have a repair that seems like too much to handle, even for an experienced DIY-er, it probably is.

That’s why it is best to enlist the help of an experienced professional.

Professionals are liable for their work and any additional damage they cause, and are prepared to make the end result look flawless, so your Aberdeen rental property only benefits from the repairs.

It is also a good idea to receive help from a property management company, such as Bay Management Group, for all your maintenance needs.

We handle issues ranging from minor property repairs to serious emergencies, such as floods or electrical issues. And, we do so using our 24/7 maintenance crew.

Benefiting from our licensed and insured contractors, you can rest assured any rental property repairs you need performed will be done safely, timely, and affordably.

Contact Bay Management Group today so you and your tenants don’t have to worry about costly maintenance problems, safety, or health issues.


5 Surefire Ways to Get Your Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

Ways to Get Your Catonsville Tenant to Pay Rent On Time

Dealing with late rent payments is not something any rental property owner wants to be faced with.

It can be challenging to confront those that owe you money, even if you are in the right position to do so.

You may find it is easy to give in and let a late payment slide, especially when your Catonsville tenant has a seemingly legitimate excuse for being late.

However, if you want to become a successful landlord, not only do you need to learn how to deal with late paying tenants, you need to learn how to get your tenants to pay their rent on time in the first place.

After all, late and non-paying tenants are one of the biggest costs facing rental property owners.

Your Catonsville tenant may not feel like paying rent on time every month is a big deal, but for you, collecting rent in full on time, every time, is one of the most important things you can for the success of your rental property business.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some of the best ways to encourage your tenants to pay their rent on time.

 

5 Ways to Motivate Your Catonsville Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

1. Clear Communication

Clear Communication is Key to Getting Your Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

One of the best ways to get your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time is to communicate the importance of paying rent when they move in.

As you and your Maryland property manager go over the lease agreement with your new tenants, it is a good idea to go over every lease provision in the agreement, especially the ones concerning rent, due dates, late fees, and consequences for late rent payments.

Better yet, to ensure your tenants understand what you are communicating with them, it is a great idea to have them initial each page of the lease agreement as you and your property manager explain the rent collection process.

From there, distribute a copy of the signed lease agreement to all parties that initialed the document so they can use it for later reference.

Lastly, include the entire rent collection policy in the tenant welcome package you give your new tenants with information regarding how to pay, when to pay, and how much to pay in rent each month.

This is especially helpful if you require online rent payments.

By creating a document that details every step in the rent collection process, you guarantee that your tenants understand their obligations, and are not confused about the process.

Plus, signed documents give you solid proof you explained the process in the beginning, should you end up in a court dispute with a non-paying tenant.

 

2. Enforce a Late Fee

Although mentioned briefly above, enforcing a late fee is worth explaining further.

Late fees are strong motivators for getting your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time. After all, your tenants don’t want to pay more than they already have to in order to live in your rental property.

Have your Maryland rental property management company draw up a lease agreement provision that explains the late fee process. Make sure that the fee does not exceed 5% of the total rent due, as per Maryland law.

In addition, follow these property management tips for implementing a late rent payment fee:

  • Clearly define the grace period in the lease agreement, if you are allowing one
  • Avoid waiving the late fees if possible to avoid repeat late payments by the same tenant
  • Consider a progressive fee schedule so you get your rent, and any late payments accrued, as quickly as possible

 

Just knowing that a late fee will apply to any late payments can be a great motivator for getting your Maryland tenant to pay their rent on time.

 

3. Offer a Discount

Offering Tenants a Discount Will Help Them Pay Rent on Time

On the flip side of charging late fees for those that pay their rent late, another way to encourage timely rent payments is to offer a discount for those that pay their rent early.

If your Catonsville tenant has their rent ready to go a day early, giving them a discount is a nice way of appreciating that they pay their rent on time each month.

Plus, this may even help boost your lease renewal rate come the end of your tenant’s lease term – tenants that receive discounts may be more apt to want to continue to lease from you.

If you are worried about discounted rent rates affecting your bottom line, there is an easy solution: Set your rental property’s rent rate approximately $15-$25 higher than you would normally set it.

Then, when a tenant pays on time, the discount equals a normal rent rate, and you don’t lose any income in the process.

Keep in mind, however, that if you want to offer rent discounts to your early paying tenants, be sure to talk this strategy over with your Maryland property manager to ensure you are making a sound financial decision.

Setting rent rates is central to your success as a property owner, and the last thing you want to do is set a rent rate that is too low, and offer discounts on top of that.

 

4. Report All Late Payments

Did you know that you are now able to report all late rent payments to the credit bureaus in charge of calculating people’s credit scores?

Well, you can.

People do not like to mess with their credit scores if they can help it.

Credit scores are pulled for many things, such as leasing a home, buying a car, and applying for loans or credit cards. And, keeping a clean credit score is more important than ever these days.

If you inform your tenants prior to moving in that you will report them to the credit bureaus for any late rent payments, they may be less likely to miss a rent due date.

 

5. Be Consistent

Be Consistent With Rules to Get Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

The last thing to remember if you want to entice your Maryland tenants to pay their rent on time is to be consistent.

You must always remain professional, as leasing rental properties is a business, not a hobby.

In addition, you should enforce all of the rules you have outlined in your lease agreement consistently with all of your tenants, no matter the excuse a single tenant provides for paying their rent late.

Not only does staying consistent prevent repeat problems with late rent payments, it helps to preserve your reputation as a rental property owner and as always, will help you defend your actions should you end up in a legal battle with a tenant over late payments, late fees, or even non-payment of rent.

 

Motivating your tenants to pay their rent on time is not always an easy task, even if you follow the above-mentioned tips and tricks.

That’s why having a highly qualified Maryland property management company such as Bay Management Group on your side is so helpful.

We are knowledgeable about all of Maryland’s rental property rules and regulations regarding rent payments, late fees, and even the eviction process, should a late payment situation go so far as to require eviction proceedings.

In addition, we know how to structure lease agreements so that your Catonsville tenants fully understand what is required of them when it comes to paying rent, and what they face should they decide to pay late.

If you own rental property in the Catonsville area and need help with the rent collection process, contact Bay Management Group today. We have the resources and the knowledge to help make rent collection as easy as possible.


4 Ways To Avoid Losing Good Tenants In Your Rental Property

Ways to Avoid Losing Good Tenants in Your Parkville Rental

With top notch tenants in your rental property and Parkville’s best property management company to do most of the work for you, you can enjoy sitting back, relaxing, and watching the rental income roll in.

However, that doesn’t mean you can get rid of the thought of vacant rental properties in the back of your mind.

Why is keeping your mind on that important?

Because high turnover rates and long rental property vacancies can cost you a lot of money.

Each tenant turnover that you experience comes with expenses related to advertising your now vacant property, cleaning and repairing the property for new tenants, tenant screening and lease drafting, and of course, any utilities you pay to have on between tenants.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some simple ways to avoid losing your good tenants, so that you truly can sit back, relax, and enjoy being a property owner.

 

Great Ways to Prevent Losing Your High Quality Parkville Tenant

In the past, we have given you some excellent tips for lowering turnover rates and improving profitability on your rental property.

But today, we are going to continue exploring how to hang onto good tenants that you want to keep in your rental property as long as possible.

 

1. Maintain a Friendly Relationship

Maintain A Friendly Relationship With Your Parkville Tenants

Whether you self-manage your rental, or enlist the help of a Parkville property management company, customer service should be a priority.

One of the best ways to forge a solid relationship with your tenant is to partake in person-to-person contact with your tenants throughout their lease term.

Your tenant does not want to feel you or your Parkville property manager are the type to lease a rental, and forget about them until lease renewal time.

Here are some great ways you can pop in and say “hello,” without crossing the professional boundary that should stay intact throughout your tenant’s lease term:

  • Be the one to personally deliver the tenant welcome package at the start of the lease term, even if your property management company handles the move-in process
  • Periodically ask your tenant for feedback via phone (or in person if they have time) to find out what would make them happier, and what (if anything) needs improvement
  • Show up to a scheduled maintenance or repair call, and observe how your maintenance crew handles their responsibilities while chatting with your tenant
  • Tag along with your property manager to all seasonal inspections to make sure your property is being well cared for, and that your tenants are satisfied

 

Stopping by every now and then will let your tenants know you really care, especially if you have entrusted your investment property to a property management company.

Putting a face to a name is a great way to build a solid relationship with your tenant, which come lease renewal time, will go a long way.

 

2. Don’t Violate Your Tenant’s Privacy

Though we just mentioned the importance of regularly interacting with your tenant in an effort to build a good relationship with them, it is equally important you do not violate your tenant’s right to privacy.

Just because you own the rental property your tenant resides in, does not mean you can come and go as you please.

In fact, if you show up unannounced, save for an emergency, you may find yourself guilty of trespassing.

Not to mention, your tenants will not be happy and will not want to stay living in your rental property if they feel like you are watching their every move.

If you are going to pop in for a legitimate reason to your rental property, make sure you provide proper notice to your tenant so they know you, or your property manager, are coming by.

Trust us, your tenants will appreciate this and feel more comfortable continuing to lease from you if you don’t bother them for every little thing.

 

3. Be Proactive When it Comes to Lease Renewals

Be Proactive In Your Lease Agreement Renewals

If you and your Parkville property management company did things correctly at the beginning of your tenant’s lease term, they should know the process for renewing a lease with you.

However, as time goes by, your tenant may forget when to expect a lease renewal notice, and may begin to feel antsy about whether they will be invited to renew with you or not.

Unfortunately, if your tenants are unsure as to whether they will be invited to sign a lease renewal with you, they may begin to look elsewhere for a place to live, as a backup plan.

And you never know, they might find a place they love just as much as your rental, and decide not to renew with you once the lease renewal comes their way.

The solution to this problem, and one of the best ways to keep ahold of your high quality tenant, is to stay proactive about the lease renewal process. This means giving them ample notice that you wish for them to stay another lease term.

Not only does this give them the assurance you want them to continue leasing your rental property, if they decline you may have enough time to convince them stay.

If your current tenant is a good one, and you want them to stay, despite their declining to sign a lease renewal, ask them what you can to do to get them to change their mind about leaving.

While there may be nothing you can do, this at least opens up the dialogue and can boost your chances of catering to a small need you never knew your tenant had.

Holding onto a good tenant may be worth a small rent decrease, an upgraded appliance, or a bend in a lease provision such as the no pets policy.

 

4. Offer a Longer Lease Term

Another great way to avoid losing a good tenant is to offer a longer lease term come lease renewal time.

Sometimes your tenant may know they want to continue leasing from you for a long period of time, but fear the dreaded rent increase that is a possibility every time the lease renews.

By offering a longer lease term at a fixed rent rate, you ensure a consistent monthly cash flow, and your tenant benefits from not having to pay more rent every single year.

It’s a win-win situation for both you and your tenant.

 

There are plenty of ways to cater to your good tenants, and encourage them to continue leasing from you time and again.

It is just a matter of doing your job well, utilizing the help of an experienced property management company such as Bay Management Group, and making sure your tenant is happy throughout their lease term.

If you own rental property in the Parkville area, and want help managing your investment in an effort to decrease the workload of self-managing your property, as well as increase the chances your current tenants will renew their lease from you, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

We can help place high quality tenants in your rental property from the start by implementing our strict tenant screening process and only accepting the very best tenants from the list of those interested in your property.


How Can a Catonsville Landlord Break a Tenant’s Lease?

How Can a Cantonsville Landlord Break a Lease?

In the past, we have discussed the various reasons why your Maryland tenants maybe able to legally break their lease agreement with you.

Things such as being called to active military duty, being a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, and even things you do such as harassing your tenant, or failing to provide a safe and habitable place of living, are all legitimate reasons your tenant may initiate an early lease termination.

But have you ever thought about it the other way around, with landlords as the ones to break the lease agreement?

Today we are going to discuss the legal reasons a Catonsville landlord may break the binding contract they agreed to with their tenants at the start of their tenancy.

 

3 Legal Reasons a Catonsville Landlord May Break a Lease

Catonsville landlords should seek advisement from their property management company if they want to terminate a lease agreement early.

Since every state has their own set of rules and regulations, in addition to the federal landlord-tenant laws all property owners must abide by, it is important to consult with your property manager before quitting a lease agreement early, in order to avoid legal troubles.

That said, there are some general reasons why you may be able to initiate an early lease termination in Maryland that apply whether you own property in Catonsville or not.

 

1. Violations of the Lease Agreement

If your tenant repeatedly violates any terms of their lease agreement, you may legally terminate the lease with proper notice.

Here are the major violations that tend to force landlords to initiate an early lease termination:

 

Failure to Pay Rent

Failure to Pay Rent Allows Landlord to Break The Lease

If you use an experienced Maryland property management company, you should know by now that failure to pay rent on time, every time, is a major breach of the lease agreement.

And, if your property manager cares about the status of your rental property business, they will begin the eviction process as soon as your tenant fails to pay on time.

This not only reminds your tenants that you are serious when it comes to paying rent; it also protects you from losing too much rent income.

In addition, the minute a tenant feels you will not enforce the rules, they will begin to take advantage of you. That’s why administering the consequences, regardless of the reason rent is late, is so crucial to your success as a rental property owner.

 

Lease Provision Violation

There is a reason you and your property manager go through every line of the lease agreement with your tenant prior to move-in day.

This way, all involved parties fully understand what is expected of them throughout the lease term.

Lease provisions include things such as:

  • Rent collection
  • Pet policies
  • Maintenance and repair responsibilities
  • Rules regarding a tenant’s ability to alter the interior of the property
  • And more

If your tenant signs the lease agreement understanding the rules, and breaches that agreement, you have grounds to terminate the lease early.

 

Breaking the Law

Another common reason you may feel the need to terminate your Catonsville tenant’s lease agreement early is if they break the law on the property they lease from you.

Though your property manager should have included terms in the lease agreement addressing your zero-tolerance policy for things such as illegal drug use or any other criminal activity, you can still consider early termination without those provisions.

Again, consult with your property manager to ensure state and local laws support your reason for wanting to break the lease.

 

2. Property Damage

Tenant Damaging Property Allows Landlord to Break Lease

If your tenant damages your rental property, you may have the right to break the lease agreement with them early. However, be sure that the type of damage inflicted is grounds for an early lease break.

You cannot terminate a lease agreement for just any type of property damage.

Tenants are not responsible for damage to your property that is a result of normal wear and tear.

However, whether by accident or on purpose, any excessive damage, such as broken windows or flooded flooring due to negligence, is the responsibility of your tenant.

And, depending on the circumstances surrounding the damage, you might want to break the lease early with your tenant if the damage is serious enough.

 

3. To Sell the Property or Move-in

The Landlord Can Break the Lease to Sell or Move In

There are times when a landlord feels they need to sell their rental property, or move back into it and make it their primary residence.

But what if these feelings happen halfway through a tenant’s lease term? 

The only way you can break a lease early with your Catonsville tenant to sell your property or move back in, is to have this outlined in the lease agreement you both signed.

So long as your tenants agree to all of the lease provisions, and sign on the dotted line, you are legally able to enforce those provisions throughout the lease term.

This can apply to your wanting to sell the property mid-tenancy.

However, as mentioned before, it is important you know exactly what you are doing before initiating this process. The last thing you want to do is illegally break the lease term and reap the consequences of it.

 

Breaking the Lease the Legal Way

If you run into a situation where you want to initiate an early lease termination with your Catonsville tenant, make sure you have the help of your Maryland property management company so it is done properly.

Breaking a lease with your tenants is a process. And, it typically begins with proper notice of termination:

  • Pay Rent or Quit. For those times when your tenant refuses to pay rent on time, you can send them notice to pay rent within a certain period of time, (usually 3-5 days) or ask them to vacate the premises.
  • Cure or Quit. When your tenant is breaking a lease provision outlined in the lease agreement, and you want to break the lease early, you must first send them a notice with the option to cure the problem, or vacate the premises.
  • Unconditional Quit. This means there are no options for your tenant to pay up or fix the problem they are causing. Instead, they simply must vacate the premises within a certain period of time.

If you are a Catonsville landlord looking to break a lease early, chances are you will want to use an Unconditional Quit notice. That way, you can break the lease immediately, and move forward with finding new tenants to lease your rental.

In Maryland, the following amount of notice is required when delivering an Unconditional Quit notice to your tenants:

  • 14 days’ notice is required for tenants that breach the lease in a way that is dangerous to themselves, others, the landlord, or the property
  • 30 days’ notice is required for tenants that pay rent late 3 times in a 12-month period (though you must have won an eviction lawsuit for each instance of nonpayment)

 

As you can see, breaking the lease with your Catonsville tenants is possible, but there are things to consider before initiating the process.

If you own a rental property in the Catonsville region, and need help drafting a legally compliant lease agreement that addresses things such as early lease termination, both on the part of your tenants, and yourself, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you create a lease agreement that touches on all of the policies you want in place, help guide your tenants through the lease during the signing, and even offer tenant welcome packages to remind tenants of what they are responsible for while leasing your investment property.

When hiring Bay Management Group, you will know that your property is being well cared for, and that you have the legal backing to end a lease early, just in case.