The Ultimate Safety Checklist for Your Bethesda Rental Property

Ultimate Safety Checklist For Your Bethesda Rental Property

Tenants expect, and have a legal right to, a safe, secure, and healthy place of living when they lease from you.

This means you have an obligation to keep your tenants safe inside your investment property, secure from outside intrusions, and protected against any health concerns.

Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to thoroughly inspect your Bethesda rental property regularly, issues tend to creep up and accidents happen.

However, a lot of that is preventable with routine property inspections, and a little bit of knowledge about how to keep your property safe for your tenants.

Enlisting the help of Bethesda property management is one great way to tackle rental property safety.

However, there are things you can do on your own to ensure your tenants feel safe while leasing your property.

 

Rental Property Safety Checklist

In the past, we have discussed extensively how to keep your tenants safe while residing in your rental property.

In fact, we even suggested that using the knowledge, experience, and maintenance crew a high quality property management company provides is the best way to keep your tenants safe, secure, and happy.

That said, empowering yourself with the details can be helpful when it comes to rental property safety.

And, while your property manager is well equipped with information regarding Maryland rules and regulations as they pertain to rental property safety, brushing up on your knowledge using this helpful rental property safety checklist is highly recommended.

 

1. Exterior

Check the Safety Of The Exterior of Your Bethesda Rental Property

The exterior of your rental property is not normally the first place that pops into mind when you think about tenant safety.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the safety of this part of your rental.

Here are some of the most crucial safety issues you and your property manager should concern yourselves with when it comes to the exterior of your rental:

  • The entire framework of your property should be sound and secure
  • All exterior portions of your property – the roof, foundation, and other exterior surfaces – must keep rodents and pests out at all times
  • Walls should have no visible holes, breaks, or rotting timber that would allow dampness to enter the property during rainy seasons
  • Roofs must have adequate drainage of rainwater to prevent structure wall deterioration
  • Any exterior surfaces made of metal or wood must be painted, weatherproofed, and sealed to prevent deterioration
  • Awnings, stairways, and overhangs must be secure at all times to keep them from falling, and also to protect them from decay and rust
  • Stairs, porches, balconies, and fire escapes must be able to handle their anticipated loads without collapsing
  • Windows, doors, and frames must prevent wind from entering the property, as well as rainwater and rodents, or other pests
  • Any windows used for ventilation and/or emergency escapes must easily open from the inside and be held in place using proper hardware
  • All exterior stairways and exits must be illuminated to discourage intrusion
  • Lighted pathway to the house for your tenants
  • All exterior door locks must be tightly secure and in good repair
  • From April 1 to December 1, it is your duty to provide tight-fitting screens for all doors, windows, or other openings used for ventilation

 

In addition, your Bethesda rental property may undergo inspection by the County Building Engineer.

If that happens, inspectors will require you to fix the following issues if anything is missing or deteriorating:

  • Any exterior features that create an unsafe condition for your tenants
  • Rotting of exterior walls or vertical supports that hold the property together
  • Deterioration of roofs or other horizontal features, such as balconies
  • Issues with exterior chimneys
  • Plaster or masonry that is crumbling, falling off, or otherwise deteriorating
  • Degraded weatherproofing on any exterior walls, roofs, or foundations
  • Any broken windows or doors

 

As you can see, Maryland does a good job of ensuring that your tenants will be safe from both the obvious safety and health issues that threaten the exterior of your rental property, as well as the lesser-known issues landlords may not know to look for during property inspections.

 

2. Interior

Check the Safety of the Interior of Your Rental Property

It can sometimes be easier to spot safety and health issues on the interior of your rental property.

However, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the things the authorities are going to look for during property inspections, to make sure everything is safe and secure.

While there are many places to check on the interior of your rental, today we are going to focus on the plumbing, as there are plenty of rules and regulations concerning the plumbing:

  • Kitchen, bathroom, and toilet floors must be significantly waterproof, for sanitation reasons
  • All interior structures found with rodent or pest infestations must be treated in a way that is not harmful to your tenant’s health
  • There must be a separate room with a toilet and cold running water that affords your tenants privacy
  • Nearby each toilet there must be a sink with hot and cold running water
  • Each property must have at least one room equipped with a bathtub or shower that has hot and cold water running water that affords your tenants privacy
  • All fixtures, vents, drains, and water supply lines must work properly and be free of any leaks or defects
  • Plumbing fixtures must not only work properly, but must avoid inviting rodents or pests in, as well as never emit dangerous or offensive gases and odors
  • Hot water must run from each faucet at a temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit

 

Although this may seem tedious, it is important to know what is expected in your rental property when it comes to plumbing issues.

3. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Check the Safety of Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors In Your Rental Property

There is sometimes confusion over whether maintenance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant.

 

Smoke Detectors

Property owners in Bethesda must install at least one electronic smoke detector in each residential property or unit.

Additionally, properties built before 1976 must include a battery-powered backup.

Every three years, property owners must submit written verification by a licensed electrician or the County Fire Department and Licenses that the smoke detector has been installed as required by law.

This verification will also certify that the detector is in good working order.

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

When it comes to carbon monoxide alarms, Maryland takes a hard stance.

To start, all rental properties that have fuel-burning equipment installed must have a working carbon monoxide alarm.

Each alarm must be installed in the common area of the property.

In addition, your tenants must be able to hear the alarm that is installed in the bedroom areas.

It is important to note that the carbon monoxide alarm sound must be easy to distinguish from the smoke detector’s sound.

Lastly, upon installing and testing each carbon monoxide alarm in your rental property, you are required to provide written documentation to at least one adult tenant in your rental instructing them how to maintain and test the alarm.

Have this tenant read and sign the document and keep it for your records.

Tenants leasing from you must do the following:

  • Test and maintain carbon monoxide alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Replace batteries when needed
  • Notify you, via written certified mail, of any malfunctions

 

If you receive written notification that the carbon monoxide alarm is malfunctioning, you are then responsible for the repairing or replacing it.

 

Ensuring the safety and health of your Bethesda rental property and, more importantly, your tenants is serious.

It is your legal responsibility to make sure that your investment property is up to code and does not present any safety issues to those leasing from you.

And, one of the best ways to do this is to educate yourself about the state and local laws.

In addition, by regularly inspecting your rental property, you will be able to make sure that any maintenance, safety, or health concerns are addressed quickly, and do not affect your rental property business.

Better yet, by contacting a property management company such as Bay Management Group, you will have access to knowledgeable property managers and a reliable maintenance crew that can help you prevent any major safety issues, and can repair any minor maintenance issues that pop up during your tenant’s lease term.


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.


Top 4 Tips To Smoothly Handle Your Rental’s Emergency Maintenance

How to Handle Rental Maintenance Emergencies

Being a rental property owner leaves very little time for dull moments.

To start, you search out and purchase the “perfect” property, perform upgrades and renovations so your investment becomes a hot commodity, and then interview interested tenants until you find the ideal one.

Once all of that work is done, you may feel ready to rest.

However, after you place tenants in your property and start collecting monthly rent payments, there is always a chance that your tenants are going to call you with an emergency rental maintenance issue. 

In the rental property business, whether you enlist the help of Columbia property management or not, it is your duty to keep your tenants safe, as well as protect your investment.

And, despite your property being in tip-top shape, things can happen when you least expect them to.

Knowing how to handle emergency maintenance issues in your rental property is something all property owners should learn.

Today we are going to outline some of our best property management tips for handling emergency maintenance request so, should the unthinkable happen, you have an idea of what to do.

 

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency?

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency

What you consider an emergency situation, and what your tenants consider an emergency situation, are often very different things.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most serious emergency scenarios your tenants can experience while leasing from you:

  • Loss of heat during the cold months, and loss of air during the hot months, depending on where your property is located
  • Gas leaks
  • Water leaks or floods
  • Broken windows
  • Exterior doors that will not lock
  • Fire
  • Loss of power
  • An intruder break-in

 

As you can see, all of these situations are very serious in nature and not only require your help, but the help of professionals as well.

If any one of these situations occurred in your rental property, your investment is at risk for damage, as well as your tenants’ health and safety.

 

How to Handle an Emergency Maintenance Request

If your Columbia tenant contacts you with an emergency maintenance request, there are things you can do to help resolve the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter how serious it is.

Additionally, there are proactive steps you can take to minimize the occurrence of an emergency maintenance issue at your rental.

 

1. Inform Your Tenants About What to Do During Emergencies

Informing your tenants at move-in about emergencies is one of the best things you can do to reduce the number of emergencies that occur, and resolve them as quickly as possible if they happen anyway.

Here is some key information you should include in your tenant welcome package that will help tenants know what to do in the case of an emergency:

  • Provide a detailed list outlining what a true emergency is
  • Explain the procedures for putting in a general maintenance request versus an emergency request
  • Include any pertinent contact information (e.g. you, your property management company, the after-hours call center, the maintenance crew, and any emergency vendors you have approved to work on your rental)

Prepare Your Tenants for Emergencies in Your Rental Property

In addition, it’s a good idea to give your tenants some emergency tips for things such as

  • Turning off the main water line to your property
  • How to reset breakers
  • Who to call in the case of extreme emergencies such as fires or home intrusions
  • How to get to safety should an emergency threatening their health or safety occur

 

2. Discuss the Issue with Your Tenant Before Taking Action

If you self-manage your Columbia rental property, and you receive an emergency call from your tenant, be sure to discuss the issue in full before jumping into action.

This will assure both you and your tenant that the situation is indeed an emergency, and make planning your next steps much easier, since you will both be on the same page about how to move forward.

  • Non-Emergency. If you and your tenant decide the situation at hand is not a true emergency, reassure them that the problem will be handled efficiently. Explain what the next steps are, and when they can expect someone to come by and fix the issue. Always ask if there is anything else you can for them – customer service like that is what makes tenants happy, and is what gets you lease renewals.
  • Emergency. If the situation is an emergency, you should immediately make sure your tenant is safe. Advise them to get out of the house immediately if their health or safety is at risk, and get alternate contact information such as a cell phone number so you can keep in touch. You should also remind them to call the authorities, if appropriate. It’s also a good idea to stop by your property to make sure the authorities, maintenance crew, or vendors are handling everything properly.

 

In situations like this, it is more important than ever to have the right insurance in place as well.

Homeowners insurance to protect the structure of your investment property is necessary when you own rental property.

In addition, requiring your tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving in to your rental will help mitigate some of the damages (specifically when it comes to their personal belongings), and will help house your tenant if the property becomes inhabitable.

 

3. Have Your Own Contact List Available

Provide Tenants Your Contact List for Rental Property Emergencies

It’s not enough to provide your tenants with a list of people to contact in the case of an emergency – you too should have your own Rolodex of vendors to call in the case of an emergency.

This is especially true if you don’t enlist the help of a property management company.

If you do employ a property management company, they will either have a maintenance crew for you to contact in the case of an emergency maintenance issue, or a list of approved contractors that you can contact to resolve the emergency.

Either way, having your own contact list readily available will lessen the stress once a call comes in that your property is on fire, flooding, or otherwise falling apart.

 

4. Stay Proactive

Lastly, as yet another way to help reduce the number of rental property emergencies you and your tenants experience, you should stay proactive.

Take a look at some of the easiest ways to do that:

  • Perform thorough move-in and move-out inspections with every new tenant so you always know the condition of your property, and can tend to small maintenance issues before they become emergencies
  • Conduct routine seasonal inspections to ensure your tenants are caring for your rental properly and no major maintenance issues have developed
  • Work with a property management company to help with anything maintenance-related – inspections, maintenance fixes, after-hours calls, tenant complaints, insurance requirements, and even lease drafting so everyone involved understands their role in preventing property emergencies

 

Many property owners struggle with maintenance in general, so emergency situations can feel entirely overwhelming.

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

We have a 24/7/365 maintenance crew on hand to take care of all maintenance issues – not just the emergencies. We also have highly qualified professional contractors that we work with on a regular basis that provide timely and affordable workmanship.

So, if you need help managing your Columbia rental property’s maintenance requests, contact Bay Management Group today.


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.


10 Words To Avoid Using In Your Rental Property Listing

Top Words to Avoid In Your Anne Arundel Rental Property Listing

Facing the fact that your Anne Arundel rental property has recently become vacant is never fun.

However, vacancies are a part of being in the rental property business, and must be dealt with swiftly.

We have previously discussed on our blog some of the best advertising tips for filling your vacant rental property.

First of all, you should always use catchy headlines that describe your property in a unique way. In addition, you should include clear images that portray your rental in its best light, and always make sure that you accurately describe your property so interested tenants know exactly what you are offering.

However, when it comes to advertising your vacant property, you should also pay close attention to the words you use to describe your vacancy.

You don’t want to use words that are overly dramatic, but you also don’t want to find your vacancy ad lumped together with all of the other ads using words like “charming” and “nice.”

That’s why today we are going to take look at the most common words to avoid in your Anne Arundel rental property listing, in hopes that you garner the right kind of attention from high quality tenants interested in leasing your rental.

 

Vacancy Ad Words and Shortcuts to Avoid

There is more to a vacancy ad than simply describing the general specifications of your rental – square footage, location, number of bedrooms, etc.

In fact, writing an advertisement takes some skill if you want to attract the right people.

Thus, taking care to avoid using this list of words in your vacancy ad is going to help you fill your vacant property that much quicker.

 

1. Quality

Whether good or bad, everything holds a measure of quality.

Ultimately, what type of quality your rental property has – no matter how you phrase it – all comes down to what the prospective tenant thinks.

For example, if you state your rental has “high quality appliances,” what exactly does that mean?

Perhaps you mean they are all matching, they are energy efficient, or maybe they are just new, regardless of how they operate.

Avoid this word to avoid confusion, and instead use more specific words to describe your rental.

 

2. Abbreviations

Avoid Using Abbreviations For Your Rental Property Listings

As tempting as it can be, try to avoid using any kind of abbreviations.

This can confuse someone that is unfamiliar with them, and cause them look elsewhere for a rental that interests them.

Here are some of the most common abbreviations that relate to the rental property business that should not find their way into your vacancy ad:

  • Util: Utilities
  • Appl: Appliances
  • Sec: Security Deposit
  • Nwly Ren: Newly renovated
  • D/W: Dish washer
  • Balc: Balcony
  • FMR: First month’s rent

 

As you can see, all of these abbreviations closely relate to descriptions you might include in your rental property’s vacancy ad.

However, for the average person not in the property management business, some of these might be downright confusing.

If potential tenants don’t understand the lingo you are using, and don’t know what they will be getting out of your rental property, chances are high they will move on to the next ad they do understand, no matter how great your rental is.

 

3. Clean

Of course, your rental property is clean.

Why wouldn’t it be?

If this is the strongest descriptive word you have for your vacant property, you need to take a step back and wonder why that is.

Find something unique to say that expresses how your property is well taken care of.

 

4. Needs Repair

Never Use "Needs Repair" In Rental Property Listing

It is never a good thing to lie to potential tenants about the true status of your rental property.

Nor is it a good thing to come right out and say your rental “needs work.”

Before advertising your rental property as available, you should invest in repairing anything that needs repair. No high quality tenant is going to agree to move into a rental that needs a lot of fixing.

And, if you have an experienced property management group on hand helping you with your vacancy ad, they are likely to advise you to fix everything before advertising.

 

5. Cheap

This word immediately downgrades the quality of your rental.

If you are aiming to make your Anne Arundel rental seem like something more than a money pit, avoid using the word “cheap.”

If you are looking to promote the fact that your rent rates fall below that of your competition, consider using a gentler word such as “affordable.”

 

6. Unique

Avoid Using The Word "Unique" In Your Rental Property Listings

There is nothing inherently wrong with your rental property being described as “unique.”

In fact, it very well may be the most unique rental on the block.

However, this word is overused, and leaves much to the imagination.

Rather than state that your rental is “unique,” explain using more concise terms what makes it unique.

Your prospective tenants will appreciate the detail, and will become more interested once they find out why your rental is different from all of the rest.

 

7. Modern

This term is also overused in modern day rental listings, and as a result has lost a lot of its meaning.

If you are using the word “modern” to describe newly renovated sections of your rental’s kitchen or bathroom, instead say your rental’s kitchen or bathroom has been recently renovated.

Then go on to explain what makes your rental modern, according to you.

Using the word “modern” and leaving the details out is subjective, and may turn some interested tenants away unintentionally – their idea of what “modern” is may not be what your idea of it is.

And, if they don’t like “modern” things, your vacancy ad will be quickly dismissed.

 

8. Original

Do Not Use Word "Original" in Rental Property Listing

Just as you shouldn’t use the term “modern” to explain that your rental has been recently upgraded or renovated, you should not use the term “original” either.

Using a word like “original” has the potential to make interested tenants think your rental has never been updated, is likely falling apart at the seams, and is just plain old.

 

9. Fair Housing Act Terms

This is a touchy subject and can land you in some hot water if someone, somewhere becomes angered by the terms you use in your rental property ad.

Many advertisement platforms, such as Craigslist, have specific rules about the types of terms you are allowed to use in listings of any kind. And, your vacancy ads are no different.

In order to steer clear of violating the Fair Housing Act, avoid using these terms in your advertisements:

  • Walking Distance. This can be considered discriminatory to those who are unable to walk. If you are describing popular hotspots that are within walking distance of your rental, consider using terms such as “nearby” or “close to.”
  • There are many different types of people looking to lease your rental property. Some are groups of friends, others are students that just met and are trying to save on housing costs. And yes, some consist of a mother, father, and two children. Don’t alienate an entire population of people (and possibly discriminate against them) by using the term “family home” when describing your available rental property.

 

When it comes to drafting up a vacancy ad for your Maryland investment property, it is critical you don’t break the law in doing so, even if unknowingly.

This is where a knowledgeable Anne Arundel property management company comes in handy. They will understand the Fair Housing Act as it relates to rental properties, and know how to avoid illegally discriminating against a protected class.

 

10. Cozy

Stay Away From Using the Word "Cozy" In Your Rental Property Listing

“Cozy” emits a feeling of tiny and small, which many tenants are not interested in when it comes to their home.

This is especially true if the rent rate for your “cozy” rental property is not small.

Include the dimensions of your rental in square feet, and let interested tenants decide if the property is the right size for their needs.

In the meantime, come up with some other descriptive words to enhance your rental, not bring it down in size.

 

There is a lot that goes into drafting the perfect vacancy ad for your Anne Arundel rental property.

And, with a property management company like Bay Management Group helping you, your chances of placing a tenant in your property sooner rather than later increase dramatically.

We can help draw up an exciting vacancy ad that gets the right tenant pool interested in seeing your property. In addition, we advertise across multiple platforms – Craigslist, MLS, online classifieds, direct mail, and more – and boast an average tenant placement within 30 days or less of making your property available.

Contact Bay Management Group today and forget about the stress your vacant property has placed on you.

True, vacancies are a part of the rental property business, but at Bay Management Group, our aim is to lessen that stress as much as possible by promoting your vacant property and placing a good tenant in it as soon 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.


The Top 5 Ways to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenants

Top 5 Ways to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenant

Collecting rent from your tenants in Bowie, MD is one of the most important tasks assigned to your property management company.

After all, once rent is collected from your tenants, you get paid.

Today, we are going to look at some of the steps required to collect rent from your tenants, as well as some ways to go about collecting rent.

But first, we will review the more traditional ways of collecting rent, for a quick refresher.

 

How to Collect Rent From your Tenants

How to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenant

Here is a look at some of the best ways to collect rent from your tenants:

  1. Online. Allowing tenants to access an online portal to pay their monthly rent is typically considered the best way. It is convenient for your tenant, is secure, and it guarantees that the funds submitted are going to be deposited into your bank account.
  2. Check or Money Order. Though some Bowie property managers prefer not to accept personal checks (unless mailed in), a large majority of tenants still prefer to pay with paper checks. If you do not accept paper checks, money orders are a safe and simple alternative.
  3. Direct Deposit. There may be instances where you want your tenant to transfer their rent from their bank account directly into your bank account. Though not very common, it is definitely secure.
  4. Mail-in Payments. You can always go the more traditional route, and allow your tenants to mail their rent to either you or your property management company. However, the risk of your tenant’s check getting lost in the mail exists, and can cause a delay in your getting paid.
  5. In Person. There is also the option of having your tenants drop their rent off in person at your house (which is always risky) or at your property management company’s office. Again, this requires a personal check, a money order, or cash (which is never recommended).

 

As you can see, there are a number of ways to collect rent from your tenants.

But the question still remains: what are the steps to collecting rent from your tenants?

 

The Rent Collection Process

Rent Collection Process in Bowie, Maryland

The process of collecting rent from your tenants is rather simple if you employ Bowie’s top property management company to do it for you.

Here is a rundown of how your property manager should approach collecting rent from your tenants:

  1. Draft an airtight lease agreement outlining the rent rate, due date, and consequences for paying late
  2. Inform the tenant prior to move-in of the rent collection procedures, including the methods for submitting payment
  3. Collect rent each month through the approved methods
  4. Properly document all rent payments collected each month for tenants, property owners, and the IRS to see
  5. If a rent payment is late, begin the eviction process immediately – serve proper notice, file eviction paperwork, and prepare for legal proceedings if necessary

 

Although the process for collecting rent from your tenants is relatively simple, it is critical to not underestimate its importance.

This is especially true when it comes to dealing with late rent payments.

If, by chance, your tenants fail to pay their rent on time, your property management company should step in and handle the situation right away. You should not let your tenants feel that they can get away with paying their rent late.

After all, this is your rental property business, and you should treat it as such.

 

Additional Rent Collection Methods

Pay Rent Online Via ACH

There are several ways you can collect rent from your tenants during the course of their tenancy.

And, while some ways are recommended, such as collecting payments online, there are additional options that you can provide your tenants, if the situation arises.

 

Local Drop Box

This method is similar to allowing your tenants to drop their rent payments off in person to your property management company. However, this method affords both your property manager and tenant some convenience when it comes to the actual time of day that the payment is dropped off.

Rather than hand in a rent payment in person during regular business hours, having a drop box available makes dropping off rent at any time of the day possible.

Many of your tenants may work during the day and may need to drop rent off after-hours. Allowing them this option of a drop box may reduce late or delayed payments.

 

ACH Payments

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, and involves the automatic collection of rent payments online.

Using an ACH payment service allows you to collect payments from your tenants electronically either as one-time payments, or as recurring payments by directly debiting your tenant’s savings or checking account.

This method is secure and prevents your tenants from having to use e-checks or credit/debit cards.

In addition, this method can be more cost effective than collecting payments via credit or debit card.

Why is that?

Because accepting credit and debit cards usually involves additional transaction fees in exchange for using the online rent collection service.

Lastly, collecting rent using the ACH payment method is typically faster than any online method, because payment is directly debited from your tenant’s bank account.

Processing this type of transaction is quick and easy.

 

PayNearMe

If your tenant does not have access to a computer, or prefers to pay in person but your property management company does not accept drop-off rent payments or does not have a drop box available, you can always consider offering them a PayNearMe option.

PayNearMe is a way to let your tenants pay their rent in cash to a local 7-Eleven or other business that collaborates with the PayNearMe program.

Using a unique card assigned to them for making rent payments, your tenant simply goes to the local PayNearMe business, pays their rent at the counter, and receives a receipt for payment. In response, you are immediately notified that your tenant has paid their rent in full.

This option is often much easier than getting a money order and delivering it, or mailing a check (complete with envelope, address, and stamp), and is a great solution for those that do not have online payment access.

 

Collecting rent from your tenants is one of the most important things you will do as a property owner.

And, if you enlist the help of Bowie’s best property management company, you will be placing the responsibility of rent collection in your property manager’s hands, which is a big weight off of your back.

If you own rental property and need a reliable property management company to aid you in the collection of rent from your tenants, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you with every step of collecting rent – from the drafting of the lease agreement, complete with rent payment details to the eviction process (if need be) – so that you don’t have to worry about any of the stresses involved in collecting money from your tenants.


What Are the Responsibilities of a Property Management Company?

What Are the Responsibilities of Your Gaithersburg Property Management Company?

If you own rental property in Gaithersburg and self-manage your rental property business, you may be finding that there is a lot more to being a landlord than you originally anticipated.

And with that in mind, you may be thinking it is time to enlist the help of one of Gaithersburg’s top property management companies.

You may also be wondering to yourself what exactly a property management company is responsible for when it comes to your investment property. 

For those that are unsure whether investing in a property management company is a good idea, or for those that simply don’t know what a property manager is responsible for, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the rundown on what an experienced, highly qualified property management company should offer you in terms of services.

 

What a Qualified Gaithersburg Property Management Company Should Do

1. Property Advertising

Property Management Company Should Advertise Property

One of the most important responsibilities your property management company has is advertising your vacant property to a high-quality tenant pool.

They should utilize a diverse set of platforms such as Craigslist, MLS, online classifieds, and even direct mail to expose your property to a wide group of prospects. They should also be available for those reaching out with interest.

 

2. Tenant Screening

All potential tenants should be thoroughly screened by your property manager. This includes background and credit checks to make sure they have no criminal background, previous evictions, or outstanding debts.

Additionally, your property management company is responsible for avoiding any discrimination when it comes to fair housing laws and screening potential tenants.

This is a key reason to enlist the help of a property manager. The last thing you want to do is be sued for unintentionally discriminating against an interested tenant.

 

3. Tenant Move-In

Property Management Company Handles Tenant Move-in

Here are some of the things your Gaithersburg property management company will handle at the time your new tenant moves into your investment property:

  • Legally compliant lease drafting according to your specific needs
  • Evaluation of local rent rates so your rent will generate income
  • Lease term start and end dates
  • Detailed move-in inspection with all parties, complete with photographs
  • Collection of security deposit and first and last month’s rent

Lastly, your property manager will provide your tenants with the keys to your property, as well as a welcome tenant package, complete with pertinent contact information, maintenance responsibilities, local area information, and possibly a small gift welcoming your tenant to their new home.

 

4. Maintenance, Repairs, and Complaints

Anytime your tenant has a maintenance or repair request, your property management company is the one to handle it.

And, if you choose one of the top property management companies in Gaithersburg, your tenants will have access to an on-call maintenance crew that is available 24/7.

Not having to take after-hours calls from tenants is one of the best benefits of enlisting the help of a team of property managers. Not only do they have the resources to handle emergencies, they take the pressure off of you and having to be available all the time.

It is also a good idea to look into a property management company that has a 24-hour hotline for tenants that have complaints or non-emergency issues. Again, not having to field these calls all night long is something you’ll love.

 

5. Rent Collection

Property Management Company Should Collect Rent

Receiving rent payments, tracking down those that haven’t paid, sending out rent reminders, and disbursing payments to you are another huge responsibility you place in the hands of your property management team.

In addition to collecting your rent money and handing it over to you, your property manager is also tasked with the job of initiating eviction proceedings, should your tenant fail to pay rent on time.

This includes filing paperwork to start an eviction, sending out proper notices, representing you in court, and even aiding in the removal of tenants, should the need arise.

 

6. Property Inspections

Making sure your property is being well cared for throughout the lease term takes a lot of effort.

That’s why having a property manager to conduct seasonal inspections is so helpful. Not only can they check to make sure everything is okay with your tenants (which is a great customer service method), your property manager can make sure your tenant is fulfilling their lease obligations.

Finding small maintenance issues and fixing them before they turn into bigger issues, reminding tenants of their tenant responsibilities, and finding out what would make your tenants happier are all things that will ultimately aid you in your quest for success as a property owner.

 

7. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Handled by Property Management Company

Property management companies have a duty to maintain all financial documentation as it relates to your rental property business.

Here are some things your property manager will likely handle while managing your rental:

  • Proper accounting of all rent payments collected, including receipts
  • Annual reporting of all financial statements, including a 1099 form
  • Monthly income/expense reports
  • Documentation of any payments made on your behalf (utilities, HOA, insurance premiums)
  • All maintenance estimates, work orders, and invoice/payment receipts
  • Yearly tax information for the property itself and the rental property business

While it can be helpful to hire on a separate accountant to help you with your yearly financials as they relate to your rental property business, know that an experienced property management company can handle most, if not all, of that documentation for you.

In fact, some property managers will even help you file your annual taxes so that you don’t have to hire external services.

 

8. Tenant Move-Out

Just as your property manager helped move your tenant in, they are responsible for helping your tenant move out as well.

When a tenant gives their notice to move out of your property, you property manager will likely inspect the unit as a whole to determine what damages the tenant has incurred.

From there, the following will happen:

  • Provide tenant with a detailed list of estimated damages
  • Return the remaining balance of your tenant’s security deposit
  • Re-key all locks and make any repairs
  • Clean rental property for next tenant that will move in
  • Place vacant property back on the market

 

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of Gaithersburg property management responsibilities.

Rather, it gives you a good idea of the scope of tasks a high-quality property manager will gladly take on while managing your rental property.

If you own rental property in Gaithersburg and have realized that self-management of your investment property is not right for you, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. We take great pride in our customer service-oriented approach to property management, and strive to provide you and your tenants the best experience possible.


Top Questions to Ask a Property Management Company in Bethesda, MD

Top Question to Ask Property Management Company in Bethesda

Deciding to hire a Bethesda property management company can easily become one of the best decisions you ever make for your rental property business.

Why, you ask?

Because, with the right property manager, your investment property will be safe, your tenants will be satisfied, and you will generate the income you seek.

However, there is a lot that goes into hiring a property management company to manage your rental and your tenants.

Today, we are going to dig deep, and take a look at some of the necessary questions you should ask a property management company before hiring them to be responsible for your rental.

 

Questions You Must Ask Every Prospective Property Management Company

1. What Types of Properties Do You Manage?

Finding a property management company that specializes in the type of investment properties you own is crucial to your success.

Most landlords may not be aware that there are four main types of property management companies:

  • Commercial properties include hotels, offices, warehouses, restaurants, and factories.
  • Industrial properties are those that are being used for industrial purposes such as research facilities, manufacturing plants, and warehouses.
  • Retail properties are those that are in the business of selling products and services, such as grocery stores, furniture shops, and boutiques.
  • Residential properties include housing units, condos, apartments, and single and multi-family residences.

You need to hire a property manager with experience in residential rental properties – you will rest easy knowing that your property is being cared for the right way.

[Bay Management Group deals solely in residential and multi-family properties, which are an extension of residential properties.]

 

2. What Type of Leadership is the Company Under?

What Type of Leadership Is The Property Management Company Under

Knowing what type of leader is in charge of running the property management company you are interested in is a good idea.

To start, aim for someone that is still active in the real estate market and who understands current market trends in your property’s region.

In addition, look for someone educated in the field of real estate that has additional real estate certifications supplementing their education.

Since states like Maryland do not require property management companies to have a Broker’s License in order to provide management services, you might want to consider enlisting the help of a company that goes the extra mile, and has a license anyway.

[The President of Bay Management Group takes pride in his experience and education surrounding residential property management. For instance, he studied both Economics and Business in college. Plus, he has over 10 years of experience in real estate, 7 in property management, and is a licensed real estate broker, which again, is not required in the state of Maryland.]

 

3. Do You Provide Any Guarantees?

Whether you are buying a new blender, a new car, an investment property, or are looking to hire one of Bethesda’s top property management companies to manage your rental, you should always look for the guarantee.

Many property managers may make the claim that services simply cannot be guaranteed, thus the reason no guarantee is in place.

And while logistically this may be true to a certain extent, there are some ways of promising customers that the services you provide are indeed guaranteed.

Take, for instance, the service-based pest control company “Bugs” Burger Bug Killers (BBBK). Guaranteeing their customers 100% satisfaction or they won’t take their money forces the company to operate as a no-error service company.

In fact, it places control in the hands of the customers, requires the company to meet or exceed the customers’ expectations, and creates an extremely successful business model.

[At Bay Management Group, you can expect superior customer service at all times. While there is no option to forgo paying the monthly rental property management fees, we do offer a significant guarantee that other property management companies in the region do not.

In addition to competitive management fees, the fact that you never owe for lease renewals, maintenance reserves, supervisory or routine management services, or vacant property fees, Bay Management Group also offers a 12-Month Tenant Warranty. If we place a tenant in your Bethesda rental property, and the tenant is evicted within the first 12 months of tenancy, Bay Management Group re-leases the property for you for free.]

 

4. Do You Have a Website?

Does the Property Management Company Have a Website?

Nowadays people rely on the Internet for nearly everything, and the numbers show no sign of slowing down.

That said, having a website dedicated to property management services is something you want in your property management company.

Here are just some of the things you should look for in your potential property management company’s website:

  • Information concerning their property management services
  • Social proof with satisfied client testimonials and reviews
  • Available properties geared towards high-quality tenant pools
  • Resources directing property owners towards authoritative information
  • A blog with valuable information for existing property owners and tenants, and those that are interested in their services
  • An owner portal for managing rental properties
  • A tenant portal for paying rent and making maintenance and repair requests

[Bay Management Group invests a lot of time and effort into providing property owners and tenants information, resources, and easy-to-use portals via our website. This adds interest, and helps to encourage those on the fence between two top property management companies make a firm decision.]

 

There are always common questions you should ask prospective property management companies. These include:

  • What services are provided?
  • What are the rent collection procedures?
  • What kind of legal backing do you offer in the case of a landlord-dispute?
  • What are the maintenance procedures?

However, looking deeper into a company you are about to hand your investment property over to is a smart move to make.

Feeling comfortable with the company you choose to go with is the only way you will actually be able to leave the day-to-day operations of your rental property business to someone else.

Choosing the most experienced Bethesda property management company, such as Bay Management Group, is a surefire way to feel at peace in knowing your investment property is safe, your tenants are satisfied, and that you will generate the income you seek.


7 Fall Maintenance Tips For Your Abingdon Rental Property

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Abington Rental Property

For those in Abingdon, the smell of pumpkin spice, the changing of the leaves, the crisp cool air, and a hint of the holidays have already made their big debuts.

And, for rental property owners, this means it is yet again time for your annual fall rental property maintenance inspections.

Whether you are the type of property owner who takes a proactive approach to property maintenance, or the kind that leaves some summer maintenance issues for the cooler months, now is the best time to get your rental property inspected, maintenanced, and repaired before the snowy days are upon you, and doing these things becomes a much bigger challenge.

Today we are going to explore the best tips for keeping your investment property in tip-top shape as fall quickly approaches.

Keep in mind – regular inspections are the key to preventing costly repairs in the future.

 

Fall Maintenance Guidelines for Your Abingdon Rental Property

1. Check in With Your Tenants

Check In With Your Abingdon Rental Property Tenants

One of the most important things you can do during your annual fall property inspection is check in with your tenants.

Your tenants will be able to tell you firsthand what things need attention (assuming they haven’t already made maintenance or repair requests with your Abingdon property manager).

The information they tell you is perfect for getting your priorities in line during the inspection.

Additionally, checking in on your tenants gives you an opportunity to make sure they are fulfilling their lease obligations.

In the beginning of the lease term, right before your tenants moved into your rental property, you and your property management company should have thoroughly outlined each lease provision that was included in the agreement.

Your tenants may have agreed to things such as changing the HVAC unit filters, monitoring smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, and even maintaining the exterior landscaping. Now is the time to check up on those obligations, and make sure your property is being well cared for.

Now is also the time to get a handle on tenant issues that are beginning to become problems.

 

2. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We mentioned above that your tenants might be in charge of replacing the batteries in both the smoke and CO detectors.

Though that may be the case for your rental, it is still your legal responsibility in Abingdon to provide working detectors in your rental properties.

If you didn’t check the detectors during summer, follow up on the batteries and make sure they have been switched out.

In addition, run some tests to make the detectors are in good working order.

Lastly, provide your tenants with a gentle reminder to check the detectors regularly throughout their tenancy.

 

3. Fireplace

Clean the Fireplace During Fall Maintenance of Your Abingdon Rental

Before the winter months hit and the warmth of a fireplace becomes necessary, ensure that your rental’s fireplace is swept clean and is free of debris.

Blocked chimneys are fire hazards that cannot only harm your tenants, but the structure of your property as well.

In addition, now may be a good time to consider installing an animal-proof chimney cap.

When the cold winter months come, small critters have a tendency to seek out warm places to live. A fireplace that goes unused all winter can be a great hiding spot for animals seeking shelter from the cold, wind, and snow.

 

4. Irrigation Systems

Fall weather typically brings a lot of rainfall to Abingdon.

This means that resetting your rental’s sprinkler system may be in order, since the weather will not be hot, and your landscaping will not require excessive watering.

In an effort to save on water, as well as prevent your property’s pipes from freezing as the outside temperatures start to drop during nightfall, you should do the following:

  • Begin winterizing your irrigation systems
  • Change your landscaping’s watering schedule
  • Inform your tenants of what to do in the case of a frozen or burst pipe

 

5. Roof Inspections

Inspect Roof of Your Abingdon Rental Property During Fall Maintenance

Roof repairs are one of the most costly repairs you will deal with as a rental property owner. That’s why conducting a roof inspection every season is so critical.

Not only can the hot summer months wreak havoc on your roof – think heat and humidity – the upcoming fall months, which will quickly turn into winter months, can ruin your roof too, especially if there is prior damage.

Ice, wind, sleet, snow, rain – you name it. All of this can damage roof shingles, leak into the insulation, wood, and drywall of your roof, and expose your property’s plumbing and HVAC systems to water damage.

If you are not sure how to inspect your roof properly, enlist the help of a professional to do it for you.

The cost of having your roof properly maintained by an expert will save you a lot of money in the future.

 

6. Inspect Safety Issues

Another major concern that property management companies warn property owners about is fall safety.

And no, we don’t mean “fall” as in autumn safety – we mean “fall” as in slip-and-fall.

As a rental property owner, you may be liable for damages and safety.

Rain and snow, paired with major drops in temperatures with the potential to freeze water left on sidewalks, driveways, and railways, can be very dangerous to tenants leasing your Abingdon rental property.

And, while you may not necessarily be liable for an icy slip-and-fall, if your tenants can prove you were negligent in some way, and that your actions created an unsafe environment for them, you might find yourself dealing with some legal troubles.

This is just another reason why having an experienced Abingdon property management team is important. They can help you with landlord-tenant disputes such as these and of course, help you to prevent these situations from ever happening in the first place.

 

7. Prepare for Snow Removal

Though snow removal typically falls on your tenant to handle, you may offer to take care of snow removal for your tenants as an added bonus for being good tenants that pay on time, treat your property right, and don’t cause any problems for you.

If this is the case, it is time you get your snow removal services in line – before the first big snowfall. This will prevent your tenants from being snowed in, or falling and suing you for damages.

If your tenants are responsible for snow removal, fall is the best time to remind them of their duties. Point out in the lease agreement where it states they are in charge of snow removal, and remind them of the consequences for failing to do so, especially in the case that someone gets hurt.

 

Your Abingdon property management company is going to be your best resource when it comes to how you should prepare your rental property for the upcoming fall season. If you own rental property in the Abingdon region, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you.

We understand the need for seasonal rental inspections. We also understand how valuable your investment property is, and how important it is to stay on top of any maintenance or repair issues throughout the year, not just as the seasons change, so that you can continue to generate as much income as possible.

Get in touch with us today, and find out how our property management services can help you with property inspections, and so much more.