5 Tips on How to Decide Your Montgomery County Rental Price

Tips on How to Decide the Price of Your Montgomery County Rental Property

You want to make a profit with your rental property.

You want to be competitive.

You want to entice tenants that you are the best.

You want to be known for having an outstanding rental property.

There is much to balance when it comes to setting the monthly rent amount for your Potomac rental property, and it can be exhausting, to say the least.

If you price it too high, your vacancy rates skyrocket.

If you price it too low, you risk losing money.

So how do you go about deciding what the perfect rental price is for your valuable Montgomery County rental property?

Finding the rental price sweet spot can be challenging if you are not sure how to go about deciding on a firm amount.

And, since you have a mortgage, taxes, insurance, and repairs to pay for, not to mention the fact that you are in the rental property business to make a profit, understanding how to set your rental property’s monthly rent rates is crucial to your success as a property owner. 

Luckily, today we are sharing 5 exceptional tips to help you set your property’s rental price.

 

How to Determine Your Potomac Rental Property Price

1. Evaluate Your Property’s Amenities

Evaluate Your Property's Amenities to Determine the Rental Price in Montgomery County

You should always set your rental property’s monthly rent rate based on how desirable it is to tenants looking for a property similar to what you own.

If you base your prices on generic characteristics such as how many bedrooms the property has, or whether it has 2 or 3 bathrooms, you are likely to come up short when it comes to positive cash flow.

Instead, evaluate your property based on things such as:

  • Updates and Improvements. Appliances, flooring, landscaping, and other amenities are highly desirable amongst prospective tenants.
  • Is it one or two stories? Does it have an elongated layout, or is it more mix-and-match with varying levels? Describing your property’s layout in detail will garner more interest from interested tenants.
  • Storage Space. People love extra closets, built-in organizers, and garage space. Highlight these things, and as a result, ask for more rent thanks to these amenities.
  • Square Footage. The more square footage your property has, the better.

In addition, you can take into account things such as included utilities, safe neighborhoods, nearby public transportation, separate or private entrances, off-street or garage parking, and even the fact that your unit is on the first floor, which can be more desirable in some places.

Depending on your property’s amenities, you will be able to determine whether you can charge more per month for rent than a neighboring property that is of a similar style and layout.

 

2. Do the Math

Many Montgomery County property managers suggest, calculating 1.1 percent of your property’s value to determine a super simple starting point.

In addition, for those with expensive properties, staying closer to 0.8% of the purchase price is common when determining a rent price.

 

Utilize Square Footage

If you want to take it one step further, calculate how much neighboring properties are going for based on their square footage, and then do the same for your property.

To do this, simply divide the monthly rental price by the square footage of the property.

Just keep in mind that smaller properties typically rent for more per square foot than larger properties.

And remember, these calculations are simply starting points for determining rent rates.

They do not take into account things such as amenities, competition, market rates, location, employment rates, and more.

 

3. Research Your Competition

Research Your Competition to Determine the Rental Price of Your Montgomery County Property

Look at where your property is located and measure it up against others in the surrounding area.

How does yours compare?

In the end, competition will affect how much you can ask for each month in rent.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Check online ads and newspapers to see what similar properties in your area are going for
  • Notice excessive incentives, and make note of the oversaturation in your area
  • Ask local realtors or other landlords you can trust what you think is a fair rent amount
  • Compare your property’s amenities to similar properties, and either add or subtract from your starting monthly rent based on your findings
  • Ask around for vacancy rates of similar properties, and adjust your rent price accordingly
  • Check out useful tools such as this calculator from Zillow to give you an idea of going rent rates in your area

It is best to have a starting point and then work your way up or down, depending on the factors mentioned above.

The more demand you can create for your property, the more rent you can command from tenants.

The key is finding what makes your property better than the others, and advertising that to potential tenants.

 

4. Determine Your Profit Margin

Property owners seek to maximize on their rentals in terms of profit.

After all, that’s why people get into the rental property business.

However, everyone’s idea of profit is different.

Thus, it’s important to decide your base profit margin, and work your way up from there.

Don’t know what your base profit margin is?

Start with this:

  • Monthly mortgage amount
  • Maintenance and repair costs
  • Insurance costs
  • Taxes

At minimum, the monthly rent you charge your Potomac tenants should cover these costs.

If not, you could easily find yourself dipping into your own pocket to cover the costs, and eventually end up in a financial crisis.

In addition to covering these costs, it is a good idea to calculate that you want to profit approximately 6-8% of the monthly rent amount each month.

This is a reasonable expectation, and should not hinder most tenants from wanting to lease from you.

 

5. Enlist the Help of a Property Management Company

Enlist the Help of a Property Management Company to Determine The Rental Price of Your Montgomery County Rental

If you have tried to make the best of all of the above-mentioned tips, and still feel like you are not sure what to set your Montgomery County rental property’s rental price at, get in touch with Maryland’s best property management company, Bay Management Group, and let us help you.

Dealing solely in the management of rental properties, Bay Management Group offers property owners all the help they could need when it comes to leasing a vacant property:

  • Aggressive marketing of vacant properties across multiple channels – major search engines, online classifieds, direct mail, and other helpful online sites
  • Advanced advertisement of vacant properties, highlighting every unique detail and commanding the highest rent possible
  • Complete tenant screening and lease drafting services

And this is just the beginning.

The staff at Bay Management Group understands what it takes to lease properties for a profit, and will help you to do just that by hitting the market hard, finding only the best tenants that are willing to pay for a property worth a high rent, and keeping them there long-term.

If are looking for the best when it comes to property management, contact Bay Management Group today.


How to Choose the Right Bank for Your Rental Property Business

choose-right-bank-rental-property-businessChoosing a bank that has the right services for your Baltimore County rental property business needs should involve careful consideration.  After all, you don’t want to entrust your money to a bank that is led by someone such as William R. Beamon.

Beamon swindled more than $20,000 in rent payments and security deposits from unknowing tenants who were leasing a property that was in fact not owned by him, but the bank he worked for.  Incidents such as this can be the downfall of your entire business.

Fortunately, most banks are not concealing such fraud.  However, some banks are full of bank fees, special policies, and poor customer service, all of which can also have a profound effect on your success as a property owner.

Today we are going to look at the specific services and policies that you should compare before deciding which bank to use for what is destined to be one of the largest investments of your life.

 

Banking Features That Should Not Harm Your Baltimore Rental Business

 banking-features-should-not-harm-baltimore-rental-businessBelow is a list of some of the most important features all banks should offer property owners looking to finance their next Baltimore County rental property.  The key here is that these features should help you pursue rental property success.

 

Transaction Fees

It’s no surprise that many banks make the bulk of their money off charging their customers hefty bank fees.  Of course, the best banks keep their fees as low as possible.

While it is unlikely that you will pay zero fees to your bank, regardless of which one you choose, you can lessen the cost by evaluating the types of transactions you regularly conduct each month and determining the bank’s related fees and charges for them.

For instance, returned check fees may not apply to you if you or your Baltimore County property management company collect the rent via an online portal.  However, transaction fees may apply if you are regularly transferring the money from that online portal to your bank account.

 

Direct Rent Deposits

If you are self-managing your Baltimore property and want to collect rent online rather than deal with the hassles of mailed or hand-delivered checks or money orders, consider a bank that has this service built in.  With direct deposit rent collection, your tenants can pay their monthly rent and it will transfer straight to your bank account.  This means no more transferring of money into your account or related transfer fees.

That said, you should consider the fee charged to your tenant for using the payment service through your bank.  If you do not allow alternative methods for paying the rent, and the bank you choose charges large fees to tenants to make online rent payments, there is a chance your tenants will not be happy with that added fee.

 

Online Banking

Most banks offer online banking as a convenient service for their customers.  As such, it is crucial to compare each bank’s online banking features.  Features to look for include:

  • Accessibility of account balances, activity, and history
  • Transfer of funds both internally and externally to other banking institutions
  • Recurring or future-dated transfer setup
  • Viewing of check images
  • Ability to reorder checks
  • Bill pay services
  • E-bills and notifications
  • Security measures including password changing, user ID requirements, security images, phrases, and challenge questions
  • Online banking guarantees
  • Online statement access
  • Paperless options
  • Ability to download and save statements and/or print them

 

Banking Hours

Some things must be done in person when it comes to your rental property banking needs.  For example, cash or check deposits, opening of new accounts, or applying for additional loan financing is typically done with a banker in person.  And, if you are a property owner that also works a 9-5 pm job, it may be difficult for you to make regular trips to the bank to take care of these matters.

Looking for a bank that has extended hours or is open on Saturdays will help tremendously if making trips to the bank is something you plan to do frequently.

 

Special Services Just for Baltimore County Property Owners

 special-services-baltimore-county-property-ownersAs a Baltimore County property owner, there are some special services banks can provide to meet your property business needs.  Let’s look at some that may be beneficial to you:

 

Financing Services Tailored to Property Managers

Having a banker that is experienced in investment property financing will help a great deal when it comes to your overall success.  Understanding the mortgage process, the complications that may arise, the different loan options, and of course, helping you get qualified at the rates you want, are all things a dedicated real estate banker will be able to do for you.

 

International Banking Services

Are you Baltimore property owner that lives outside of the United States?  If so, you will need to bank with a financial institution that offers international banking services.  If you want to receive your rent payments on time and have the ability to perform international wire transfers, look into the banks you are considering and see what they can offer you as far as foreign banking is concerned.

 

Separate Accounts

Some states require property owners to maintain their tenant’s security deposit in a trust account.  At the very least, most states require a separate bank account for holding security deposits.

Most Maryland leases require some sort of security deposit.  In addition, it is required that property owners keep any collected security deposits in a federally-insured financial institution and in a separate account designated specifically for security deposits.  The money must then be deposited into this account within 30 days of receiving it, and any deposits over the amount of $50 must bear interest at a rate of 3% per year starting six months after the deposit was received.

Finding a bank that will support you having a separate bank account for your security deposits without wreaking havoc on your pocketbook with extra fees, charges or special requirements, is the best solution for fulfilling your obligation as a property owner dealing with security deposits.

 

Customer Service

Before making your final decision on which bank to choose for your rental property business needs, visit the bank and meet the people with whom you will be conducting business on a regular basis.

Make sure the bank you are interested in can answer all of your questions thoroughly, returns your phone calls or emails promptly, and treats you as though you are already a trusted and loyal customer.  It is important you feel comfortable with the bank you choose as well as those that will be caring for the finances that fund your investment property.

 

In the end, the bank you choose to use for your rental property business needs will be determined largely by which specific services you require to conduct your business in an efficient and financially sound way.

Comparing the different options in your area and researching each service that they offer is a surefire way of making the best decision for your property business needs.

If you need help with your rental property bookkeeping tasks, contact Bay Management Group today.

As a highly qualified property management company in the Baltimore area, Bay Management Group can help you keep your financial records in order.  By providing full transparency when it comes to your property’s profits and expenses, and helping you keep all of your property’s important documents safe and secure, Bay Management group gives you the peace of mind that not only the bank you chose is the best option for you, but the company you entrust to manage your property is as well.


The Difference Between a Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent

security-deposit-versus-last-month-rent
When a new tenant moves into your property, it’s time to start generating income from your investment.

And not just from the first month’s rent – you have two other instant revenue options as well: the last month’s rent and the security deposit.

Both of these are excellent ways to test a tenant’s financial stability and sincerity about renting your property for the long term. However, they’re not mutually exclusive. If you wanted, you could charge for both, one, or neither.

You need to understand the differences between charging last month’s rent and collecting a security deposit to make your decision on what you’ll ask for. Today, we’ll explore those differences.

 

How a Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent Are Different

What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is a tenant’s property, and it should be held for a tenant for the duration of their tenancy.

It’s typically an amount equivalent to one month’s rent, and is intended to cover any damages beyond normal wear and tear to a property.

“Normal wear and tear” is pretty straightforward – if the carpeting shows signs of use, then that is considered “normal.” Carpeting covered in large stains, on the other hand, would not fall under the definition of “normal wear and tear.”

If, when a tenant moves out, a landlord finds that damage beyond normal wear and tear have occurred, the landlord doesn’t have to legally return the security deposit.

You should collect the security deposit before the tenant actually moves into the property. You should also be sure to include the amount of money and the date the security deposit was collected in your lease agreement.

Maryland landlord-tenant laws state that a landlord may charge a tenant up to the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. Montgomery County landlords must also provide a receipt that describes the tenant’s rights to inspections, the right to receive an itemized list of the deposit deductions, and the penalties for the landlord’s failure to comply.

On top of that, Montgomery County landlords must pay interest on any security deposit $50 or more at an annual rate of 3 percent. You can calculate your tenant’s security deposit with added interest on the Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Landlords are required to return their tenants’ security deposits within 45 days after they move out, as long as both parties met the agreements outlined within the lease. If a landlord fails to return any part of the security deposit within that period, they could face a lawsuit and may be liable for three times the withheld amount.

 

What is Last Month’s Rent?

If you require your tenants to pay a last month’s rent, you effectively give yourself a form of insurance against their leaving without giving you proper notice.

Think about it this way: if a tenant signs a one-year lease, they won’t have to make any payments during their twelfth month of tenancy.

Collecting last month’s rent is also a great way to attract higher quality renters. Such a barrier for entry allows only those potential tenants with the appropriate cash on hand to move in. Because it can be so difficult for someone of lesser means to move into a new home and pay such a substantial cost, you’ll have significantly fewer (but probably higher-quality) applicants overall.

Just remember, if a tenant has reason to legally breach their lease agreement before the twelfth month, then you would be obligated to return their last month’s rent. Instead of finding yourself simply needing a new tenant, you’d also be a full month’s rent in the hole.

For a more extensive look at last month’s rent, check out this recent blog post.

 

What’s the Big Difference?

montgomery-county-property-management-financial-questions-security-deposit

The biggest difference, clearly, is that you don’t have to return the last month’s rent. That isn’t the tenant’s property – it’s yours.

The security deposit is not actually “income,” but keeps you free of any financial headaches after a tenant moves out. But if you can’t legally hold onto it, you have to return it within that 45-day period.

Because a last month’s rent is part of the overall money owed by the tenant, it doesn’t technically count towards anything other than your tenant’s cost of living in your property. This forces you to pay for any cleaning or repairs needed at the end of the lease.

Your best bet to keep yourself safe and flexible is to require tenants pay a security deposit, and to follow the Maryland state laws on handling the money. The deposit should be as high as you think necessary to cover whatever potential losses you could face.

 

“Living Out” a Security Deposit

Sometimes, your tenant may try to “live out” their security deposit. Instead of paying their last month’s rent, they ask you to apply the security deposit you’ve already collected from and owe them to their last month of rent.

This can be somewhat risky for landlords. For instance, if your tenant has caused any damage to the property, you probably won’t have enough security left over after you deduct their last month’s rent to pay for the damage they caused. If your security deposit was only the equivalent of one month’s rent, this is especially true.

The best advice in this case is to never allow your tenants to live out their security deposits. If you did not require a last month’s rent when they moved in, collect the last month’s rent as you normally would and return them their security deposit within the legal period minus any necessary deductions.

 

Increased Rent Amounts and Last Month’s Rent

One issue Montgomery County property managers might run into when they choose to collect last month’s rent is the issue of increasing the amount of rent due.

If you increase the rent due every month but fail to require your tenant to increase the amount of their pre-paid last month’s rent, you can’t collect the extra amount when the tenant moves out.

When the tenant moves out, there will be a difference in what they initially paid as last month’s rent, and what the actual last month’s rent costs. But you cannot make the tenant pay the difference.

This may not be the most upsetting outcome – especially if the amount you raised the rent was small enough that its absence doesn’t impact your finances.

 

Final Thoughts

The differences here are pretty clear: a deposit is always helpful, and a last month’s rent can be as well. And whether you want to ask for both, one, or neither is entirely your decision.

Take a step back from your business for a moment, and ask yourself:

What sort of tenants will my properties most likely attract? What sort of tenants do I want to attract?

The answers to these questions are different in every individual case. What’s important is that you understand these differences and decide what you should do to grow your rental property business.

 


Tips for Determining Your Property’s Monthly Rent Amount

how-determine-rent-amount-baltimore-county-md

Determining the amount you want to charge for your Baltimore County rental property can be a delicate balancing act. Charge too much and you will surely experience high vacancy rates. Charge too little and your rental property business will suffer in the form of negative cash flow.

So, how do you go about deciding the perfect monthly rental amount?

Here are some tips that you or your rental property management company can follow that will establish a good rent amount that will make both you and your tenants happy.

 

How to Determine Rent Prices for Your Property

Take a Look at Your Property’s Value

One of the first places most landlords look when determining how much to lease their Parkville property for is the home’s value. The general rule states that a good and fair monthly rent falls within the 0.8 to 1.1% of the rental property’s home value.

Typically, the higher the value of your home, the lower the percentage you will be able to charge monthly for rent. For instance, a home valued at $100,000 could probably easily rent for 1% of the value, or $1,000 a month. On the other hand, a much more valuable home set at $350,000 will probably fetch a monthly rent closer to the 0.8% rate, or $2,800 mark.

In other words, the fact that your Pikesville home is worth a lot does not justify an inflated monthly rate. The only way this would work would be in cases where your property is in high demand, located in an affluent area, and has over-the-top amenities.

 

Check Comparable Rental Listings

Understanding that your potential Towson tenants will typically do their research when it comes to leasing a home is important when setting your property’s rent amount. Your tenants will know if you have priced your property too high and will go somewhere else to lease, leaving you with a vacant home.

This means you too should do your research and find out the going rate for properties similar to your own.

rental-properties-baltimore-craigslist

Look at online ads and in the newspaper. Track this for at least a couple of weeks before setting your amount to account for any abnormal price settings. In addition, try doing the following:

  • See which incentives properties similar to yours are offering. Too many special deals may signal an over-saturation of properties available for rent. If there is an overabundance of incentives, you may have to adjust your rent lower than you had anticipated.
  • Visit some of the comparable properties. See how they actually compare to your valuable Essex rental property. Further, ask the landlord what kind of interest has been shown in the property to see what kind of activity you can expect on your own property as far as interested tenants are concerned.
  • Ask experienced professionals what they feel a fair current market rent amount is.

By investigating the rental rates of properties similar to your own, you will be able to see if charging a higher rent is justified and how likely it is to be leased quickly. If you choose to use Baltimore County’s best rental property management company, this can be done for you. Aggressively marketing your property at the highest possible rate while getting it leased quickly is Bay Management Group’s specialty.

 

Take Note of Local Amenities

Tenants are more likely to pay a premium price for your Owings Mills property if it is located near amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and schools. This is why becoming familiar with your rental property’s surrounding area is a key factor in advertising the value of your property and justifying a higher rent.

 

Factor in Your Property’s Amenities

In addition to being geographically close to amenities that tenants like to frequent with their friends and family, don’t forget to factor the amenities your Catonsville property has into the monthly rent. Here are some of the most popular things tenants look for while deciding which home to lease:

  • Recent Renovations – Highlight any external renovations to the property, this including recently added landscaping decor, a pool, well-maintained foliage, and even on-site maintenance services. Inside your home, some of the most attractive features to offer tenants are new flooring and updated hardware and appliances.
  • Parking – Tenants are always interested in where they can park their vehicles, especially if they have more than one. If you have special covered parking, a multiple car garage, or designated off street parking spots, your tenants will want to know. And the more convenient their parking is, the higher the rent can be.
  • Utility Inclusions – Including payment of small utilities such as the sewer, water, and trash can make a big difference in how much you charge for rent.

These are just some examples of the amenities that can play a role in how much you decide to charge for rent. The more exclusive the amenity, the higher the rent can be without causing people to look elsewhere.

If you are using a rental property management company to manage your White Marsh property, you can bet they will help you with the advertising your property’s best amenities. In addition, they should be able to give you some cost effective ways of boosting your property’s value. These tips will ultimately help you attract high quality tenants willing to pay a premium rent for a great property.

 

Other Quick Tips

In addition to the tips mentioned above, here is a list of other tips that can be used to help you determine the monthly rental rate of your Dundalk rental property:

  • When your property goes vacant, experiment by trying to bump up the monthly rate a bit. If you do not get any potential tenants within the first week or two, you know that it is too high. You can then lower it back down to a more reasonable rate. The point is, vacancies often allow you to “raise the rent” easily. And, it can’t hurt to try.
  • If your property is made available and you have tons of interested tenants, step back and re-evaluate the asking monthly rate. Chances are, you have priced your property too low and everyone knows it.
  • Factor in your own expenses for running a rental property business. You have to know what your expected return on investment will be for every rent rate you are considering. Factor in expenses such as the property’s mortgage, interest, property taxes, and insurance. And don’t forget other things such as HOA fees, maintenance and upkeep, emergency repairs, and property management fees. After all, the whole point of leasing your home is to make a profit.

 

Final Thoughts

In the end, deciding how much to rent your Baltimore County home for can be complex and involves many factors. Luckily, Bay Management Group is here to aid you in your quest to find the perfect sweet spot when it comes to a monthly rent rate. We can help you with everything including property advertisement, amenity upgrade ideas, and making your home competitive with other rentals in the nearby area in regards to both looks and price.

Call us today and see how we can help you set a competitive rent and keep high quality tenants in your home for the long haul. Have the peace of mind that your home is in good hands and is bringing in the highest return on investment possible by using Baltimore’s Bay Management Group.

 


Should You Invest in Long-Term or Short-Term Vacation Rentals?

invest-maryland-vacation-home

If you own a rental property in a prime vacation spot, you have probably questioned whether it is better to lease your home to as a short-term rental to those on traditional vacations or on more of a long-term basis.

Independent property owners and property management groups looking to lease out rental properties for varied lengths of time should consider many factors such as cash flow, property turnaround and usage, as well as maintenance, to name a few.

Today, we will look at both types of rentals to help you make the best decision for you and your rental business.

 

What is the Difference between Long and Short-Term Rentals?

When people refer to “vacation rentals,” they are typically talking about short-term rentals.  Usually leased on a weekly basis, short-term rentals are rented to those looking to stay for a small period of time and leave.  Holiday getaways, family vacations, and honeymoons are all instances where a tenant may lease your vacation property for a few weeks at a time.

On the other hand, a long-term rental is a more permanent living situation.  Long-term vacation rentals are normally for those escaping seasonal weather for 4-6 months at a time.  For instance, your tenant may take an extended “vacation” and lease your Florida during the cold Minnesota winter months.

 

Long-Term Vacation Rental Pros and Cons

pros-cons-investing-maryland-vacation-home

Leasing your vacation home long-term lends itself to many benefits:

  • More consistent cash flow since tenants are contracted to stay for months at a time.
  • Less turnover due to longer lease terms.
  • Responsibility of utility payments fall on tenants.
  • Collection of a security deposit for damages, much like with a traditional rental agreement.
  • Higher possibility your tenant will have their own furnishings due to the longer stay.

 

However, there are also some downsides to leasing your property long-term as a vacation rental:

  • Less flexibility when it comes to using your own property as a vacation getaway.
  • Poor tenant placement can affect your bottom line and cause landlord-tenant disputes.
  • Stricter landlord-tenant laws for things such as inspections and squatter situations.
  • Higher HOA fees and more restrictions because of prime location as a vacation rental, regardless of lease lengths.

 

Short-Term Vacation Rental Pros and Cons

Just like long-term vacation rentals, short-term vacation leases have many benefits:

  • Rental rates can be set drastically higher than traditional rentals, especially if the property is located in a high demand area.
  • Less maintenance and wear on your property since tenants are simply “visiting” and will not be making your property their home by redecorating.
  • More flexibility when you want to use your own home for vacations.
  • Potential tax breaks including income reporting and operating/advertising deductions.

 

On the other hand, there are some cons to consider if you are looking to rent your vacation home short-term:

  • Hidden costs such as utility payments, external grounds maintenance, furnishings, advertising, and annual fees associated with the property such as HOA fees.
  • Extreme competition with surrounding properties that can dip into your positive cash flow or leave you with an empty rental.
  • Some community restrictions such as limiting short-term rental stays to 30 days or less.
  • Constant upgrades to make your home desirable for those on vacation rather than living day-to-day.

 

Final Thoughts

In the end, whether you decide to lease your rental property long or short-term there are significant things to consider.  Things such as your financial goals, the responsibilities you are willing to take on, and your own personal preference will help dictate whether your property is suited more for the casual vacationer or the lengthy snowbird “vacationer.”

Have you used your rental property as a vacation rental?  Do you lease long-term or short-term and why?  I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 


Should You Allow E-Cigarettes in Your Non-Smoking Property?

e-cigarette-policy-montgomery-county-rental-home

As of now, there are over 2.5 million electronic cigarette users in the United States.  And while e-cigarettes are still a relatively new trend in America, the truth is that it is gaining in popularity.

Deciding whether the use of e-cigarettes constitutes “smoking” and whether they should ultimately be allowed in your non-smoking property is confusing.  With so many definitions surrounding the traditional idea of “smoking,” landlords must proactively attack this issue to avoid later problems with tenants.

With more people turning to the use of e-cigarettes, landlords in the Montgomery County area are faced with a looming dilemma:

Should e-cigarettes be allowed in your non-smoking property?

To help answer this question we will take a look at some the most common issues surrounding e-cigarettes in hopes that this will help you decide whether or not to allow this alternative method of smoking in your rental property.

 

What are Electronic Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes use water vapor mixed with nicotine, flavorings, and other unregulated chemicals in a battery operated device.  When you suck in on an e-cigarette, the battery activates a heating coil that boils the nicotine solution that you suck in as steam.  This entire process is not known as smoking.  Rather, it is referred to as “vaping”.

Although e-cigarettes do use nicotine, much like a traditional cigarette, they differ in that they do not use tobacco so they do not burn.  They can be manufactured to resemble cigarettes, cigars, and even pipes.  Even more so, they can be made to look like ordinary electronic devices such as pens or USB memory sticks.

 

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Traditional Cigarettes?

e-cigarette-smoking-montgomery-county-property-policies

From many smokers’ perspectives, using an e-cigarette is not smoking and the vapor emitted from the e-cigarette device is not considered secondhand smoke.  This is why many tenants, even some of your Silver Spring tenants, may feel that banning the use of e-cigarettes is unreasonable.

That being said, there is not a lot of information regarding the health risks of vaping with e-cigarettes, much like there is with traditional cigarette smoking. For example, traditional smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of sickness and mortality.  In fact, over 400,000 deaths occur each year in the United States due to smoking.

However, since e-cigarettes are designed to mimic the act of tobacco smoking by producing an appealing flavored aerosol that looks and feels like tobacco smoke, there are a lot of supporters stating that less nicotine is delivered per vape, the chemicals produced are less toxic, and the vape that is produced is not burnt tobacco so they are indeed safer than conventional cigarettes.

On the other hand, because there are so many unregulated, and thus undisclosed, chemicals in e-cigarettes, there are experts that state that the toxicity of e-cigarettes is actually unknown and the possibility that harmful chemicals can be inhaled during the vaping process is still real.

 

Do E-Cigarettes Damage Property?

If you currently have a Bethesda rental property and are considering whether to allow electronic cigarettes in your otherwise non-smoking property, it is important to understand what kind of physical damage e-cigarettes can cause.

One of the biggest complaints about smoking in a rental property is the damage to the property that can result.  Walls, furnishings, and carpeting take on the smell of smoke.  Further, the residue left from the secondhand smoke can be very difficult to remove.  This is commonly due to the tar contained within traditional cigarettes that can cause a yellow stain to appear on your walls and ceilings.

These negative aspects make it more difficult to lease your property to non-smokers in the future because the smell and dinginess created by smoking is extremely unpleasant.

As for e-cigarettes, most users believe that there is no residue or smell left anywhere as a result of the vapor emitted while smoking an e-cigarette.  And the users that do agree that there is a residue left from vaping still mostly believe that the residue is easily removed and will not have any lasting effects.

 

Maryland Law on E-Cigarettes

Though Maryland does stand strong on the prohibition of the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, there is very little to be found regarding the use of e-cigarettes in rental properties.  This means that it is up to landlords to decide whether to make their Gaithersburg or Rockville rental properties 100% smoke free or not.

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Here are some of the most common reasons for not allowing the use of e-cigarettes in your rental property:

  • Difficult to Monitor. If you prohibit traditional cigarette smoking, yet allow the use of e-cigarettes, many problems can arise based on looks alone.  Since many e-cigarettes are designed to look exactly like a traditional cigarette, how can you possibly plan monitor this?
  • Damage Concerns. Sure, those using e-cigarettes will claim that there is no smell, no residue is left (or that it is easily cleaned up) and that the chances of damage to your rental property are slim.  But, there have been no long term studies determining this to be true and unfortunately your Maryland property may suffer in the long run because of this.
  • Public Perception. Many individuals who do not like to be around traditional cigarette smoking also prefer to avoid being around e-cigarette use as well.  This is something to carefully consider when it comes to attracting potential tenants.  If you allow e-cigarettes in your rental property, even if you prohibit traditional cigarette smoking, some qualified tenants may be turned off from even considering your property as a possible rental home for their family.

 

In the end, whether you decide to allow e-cigarette use in your rental property or not, it is important that you draft a solid and explicit lease agreement outlining your final decisions.  The language should be clear about what is allowed and what is not, as well as the potential consequences for failing to abide by the lease terms.

If you do allow e-cigarette smoking in your property, you should conduct regular inspections of your property to check for the presence of e-cigarette residue.

If you are looking for a property management company to help you draw up the perfect lease agreement that outlines your smoking and e-cigarette policies, consider contacting Bay Management Group.

With a knowledgeable staff up-to-date on all pending laws regarding the use of e-cigarettes in rental properties, as well as the expertise of drafting solid lease agreements that all parties can agree to, Bay Management has you covered when it comes to tricky questions such as e-cigarette use.


3 Methods of Communicating with Your Tenants – Which is Best?

methods-communicating-montgomery-county-rental-property-residents

Nowadays technology has made communicating with people a cinch.  Contacting friends, family, employees, and even customers has never been easier.  And the same holds true for your Rockville tenants.

With so many different ways of communicating with your tenants, issues can be resolved quickly and effortlessly.  Utilizing the different methods of communication, you can achieve an active connection with your tenants making them feel important and cared for.  Plus, it allows you to stay proactive when it comes to your Rockville rental property.

Today we will look at the most common ways you can communicate with your tenants so you can see which method best suits both you and your tenants’ needs.

 

1. Snail Mail

montgomery-county-rental-property-manager-mailing-tenants-important-documents

Although this method has largely been abandoned, it still serves a purpose in the management of your rental property.  This is true whether you manage your own property or enlist the help of your favorite Montgomery County property management company.

Sending your tenants correspondence regarding important things such as their lease agreements, inspection dates, and rent payment related information is best done using mail.  You should send each letter via first class certified mail to ensure that you can prove you at least attempted to contact your tenant.

It is well-known that in a court of law, the party that proves the attempt to contact usually has the upper hand.

  • Hard copies of important documents will allow tenants to have their own personal and original copy.
  • If you receive the certified mail portion signed, you have physical proof your tenant received the letter.
  • If your letter is returned due to non-arrival and should a court case arise, you have proof that you attempted to contact your tenant that the judge can examine.
  • This method also works for those that are not comfortable relying on electronic communication.

In the end, using regular mail is the best solution for providing your tenant with any time-sensitive or essential correspondence.  Making it more difficult to ignore than electronic correspondence, hard copy documents mailed to your tenants are less likely to be lost or ignored and will protect you in the case of a landlord-tenant dispute later down the road.

 

2. Electronic Communication

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There are several ways you can communicate with your Montgomery County tenants that fall under the “electronic communication” category.  For instance you could keep an updated website with information regarding your properties. This is especially helpful when your properties are managed by a property management company.

The one drawback to this option, however, is the fact that you would then be relying on your tenants to access the website regularly to receive updated information.  If your tenants do not make an effort to seek out the updated information, you run the risk of many tenants claiming they simply did not know something important was going to take place.

Also falling under the category of electronic communication is email.  While this offers a much more active way of communicating with your tenants, it still has its downfalls.  Sending out emails and newsletters to your tenants is a good way to ensure that they will see it in their inbox.

Rather than having to seek out information, as with the website updates, you bring the information to your tenants.  However, there is no guarantee they will open and read your emails or that they won’t end up in a spam folder.  In addition, there is a lot more work to be done on your part that you must be prepared for: updating email lists, dealing with distribution and bounce-back emails, and the actual drafting of the correspondence.

Though electronic communication does offer a relatively easy and quick way of communicating with your tenants, this option should typically be used for more casual updates that will not affect your rental property or tenants in any major way.

 

3. Texting

montgomery-county-property-manager-texting-tenants

With over 90% of all Americans having a mobile phone, chances are high that texting will be an effective way for you to communicate with your tenants.  As the most active method of reaching your tenants on an individual basis, and in real-time, texting has many benefits.

  • They will receive the message. There is little chance your tenant will not receive the message.  More so, they will open it and read it relatively quickly.  Studies have shown that those receiving text messages rarely erase texts before opening and reading them.  Plus, there is no spam box for them to get lost in.
  • Texts are universal. Even without a smartphone, your tenants can receive text messages.  And remember, without a smartphone, your tenants will not be able to access an email you send them without the use of a computer.  This makes texting a more accessible method for those without smart phones.
  • A response is likely. As one of the most convenient ways of communicating with anyone these days, it is likely you will receive some sort of response from your tenant should you text them.  In fact, your tenants are more likely to respond to your text message than even your email correspondence.
  • It sets you apart from competition. Tenants are often interested in leasing from those that have high customer service standards.  Text messaging is not only convenient, it is personal.  This means that you will be setting yourself apart from the other landlords that rely on snail mail or some other form of electronic communication.

There are many benefits to texting your tenants.  As texting grows in popularity amongst tenants, landlords, and property management companies, it is important you take this method of communication seriously as an option for communicating with your tenants.  However, there are some important things to consider:

  • Make sure you have your tenant’s permission to text them.
  • Put this permission in writing. For instance, add it to the lease agreement as an agreed upon method of communication.
  • Limit the text correspondence to things such as repair updates, rent due dates, or seasonal maintenance reminders.
  • Dictate which kind of information your tenant can text you with.
  • Do not send too many text messages. You do not want to annoy your tenants.

While some courts are starting to recognize text messages as a legal form of correspondence, it is still a good idea to leave important things, such as rent increases and changes to the lease term, to hard copies sent in the mail.

 

Final Thoughts

Communicating with your Rockville tenant is a must, regardless of whether you manage your own properties or have the help of Maryland’s premier property management company, Bay Management Group.

It is important that you discuss with each tenant which method of communication he or she prefers at the start of their lease term.  This will prevent any annoyances later on and ensure that your tenants receive the information they need in the method they are most comfortable with.

If you are looking for a high quality property management company to help you keep in touch with your Montgomery County tenants, consider contacting Bay Management Group.  Finding the best method to contact your tenants is their job.  This means you don’t have to worry about contacting your tenants about difficult things such as rent increases, or even minor things as the spring maintenance cleaning.  Your peace of mind is the goal of Bay Management Groups.  So, call them today and see how they can help you stay connected with your tenants in the most effective way.

 


The Pros and Cons of Collecting Last Month’s Rent

Now that you have the perfect tenant for your Howard County rental property, you must decide how much money you would like to collect upfront before you tenant moves in.

While charging new tenants first month’s rent and a security deposit is commonplace, the question remains – should you charge last month’s rent as well?

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Deciding whether to charge last month’s rent for your rental property is a decision that requires careful consideration.  There are some advantages to doing so, but as with everything, there are also significant disadvantages to consider.

While there is not one best way for property owners to collect rent from their tenants, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may or may not collect last month’s rent from your tenants.  This way when you make your final decision regarding how much to charge you can be confident it is the right one.

 

Last Month’s Rent versus Security Deposit

It is not unusual for both landlords and tenants to confuse the terms ‘security deposit’ with ‘last month’s rent’.  Unfortunately, the amounts for each are usually the same which only adds to the confusion.

Before deciding whether collecting last month’s rent is right for you, it is important you understand exactly what that ‘last month’s rent’ means.  The same goes for the security deposit every landlord or property management company should include in their rent collection procedures.

 

Last Month’s Rent

Sometimes landlords would like to collect last month’s rent at the signing of the lease agreement.

But what does this mean? 

In short, last month’s rent is just that, a collection of money equal to one month’s rent that is to be used to pay for the monthly rent due during the last month a tenant resides in your Columbia rental property.  This money can only be applied to the monthly rental dues, whether collected directly from you or your property management company.

If a lease agreement dictates that last month’s rent is due at the lease signing, and the tenant pays accordingly, then no rent will be due at the end of the lease term.  If you decide to renew your tenant’s lease agreement, this payment of last month’s rent typically carries over into the new term and will be applied when the tenant is ready to move out.

 

Security Deposit

On the other hand, a security deposit collection is a much more complex payment made by the tenant at the beginning of the lease term.  Though much has already been discussed when it comes to security deposits, here is a refresher of what a security deposit is:

  • A collection of money made payable to the landlord directly or property management company that is usually equal to one month’s rent.
  • If the rental property is located in the Howard County area, property owners may request a security deposit equal to two month’s rent.
  • This money protects the landlord financially from things such as: non-payment of rent, breach of the lease agreement, or damage to the rental property.
  • Should any damages occur or rent payments go unpaid, this money can then be used to supplement the landlord’s financial loss.

 

So, Why the Confusion?

There are several ways landlords and tenants can confuse the two monetary collections.  Let’s take a look at the most common:

  • Landlords believe that a collection of ‘last month’s rent’ can be used for the same reasons a security deposit can (non-payment of rent and damage to the property). However, it can only be used to pay for last month’s rent if designated in the lease agreement as ‘last month’s rent’.
  • Landlords believe they can charge a new tenant first month’s rent, a security deposit up to the maximum amount, and last month’s rent. Most states consider last month’s rent collections to be a part of the security deposit when it comes to collection limits.  This means a landlord cannot collect first month’s rent, the maximum security deposit limit, and last month’s rent.  The security deposit maximum must be split between deposit and last month’s rent.
  • Tenants believe they can apply a security deposit to their last month’s rent. Unless expressly written into the lease agreement, this cannot be done.

To avoid any confusion when it comes to the security deposit and last month’s rent, it is important to thoroughly outline the collection of each in your lease agreement and make sure your tenant understands the uses for each.

 

Pros to Collecting Last Month’s Rent

Quality Tenants

If your rental property is located in the affluent area of Ellicott City, chances are your property has a significant amount of value to it.  working-with-howard-county-property-management-company

By collecting first and last month’s rent, in addition to a security deposit, you are more likely to gain a higher quality tenant.  By having that amount of money upfront, the tenant is showing they are financially responsible and the chances of missed rent payments are lower.

 

Additional Landlord Protection

By collecting last month’s rent, you add an extra layer of financial protection on yourself.  Should your tenant stop paying rent, you are already one month ahead of them.  Plus, you have the security deposit collected for issues such as non-payment of rent that you can now apply to any addition loss you are experiencing.

Some tenants will try to ‘live-out’ their security deposit by not paying for rent and just letting the security deposit pay for the non-payment.  By not collecting last month’s rent in advance, this leaves the landlord in a bind especially if the tenant owes any excess beyond the security deposit for additional non-payment or damages.  You are now looking at a day in court which every property owner tries to avoid at all costs.

 

Cons to Collecting Last Month’s Rent

Smaller Tenant Pool

First and last month’s rent plus a security deposit is a lot of money to ask for upfront, even in the well-to-do area of Elkridge.  Some tenants struggle to come up with first month’s rent and the security deposit, without last month’s rent added into the mix.  Plus, some tenants may not want to pay that amount of money all at once.  These things can lower your tenant pool.

While you may get a better quality tenant in your home by asking for last month’s rent, it may be more difficult for you to find a tenant with the proper funds, leaving your property vacant for longer than you wish.

 

Rent Increase Dilemma

Sometimes, you may want to increase the monthly rent your property management company collects on your Laurel rental property.  If your original ‘last month’s rent’ was $1000 and now you would like to charge $1200 a month, but fail to collect an additional $200 from your tenant to cover the ‘last month’s rent’ at the time you increase the rent, you will not be allowed to collect that additional amount when your tenant moves out at the end of their lease term.

This is why proper rent collection procedures by you or your property management company are essential.  Unfortunately, all of this extra money collection will probably not sit well with your current tenant either, which can strain the landlord-tenant relationship.

 

Final Thoughts

Last month’s rent is money that is paid by your tenant to live on your premises.  The security deposit is your financial protection against any unforeseen non-payment or damage.  Whether you choose to collect last month’s rent from your tenants at the start of their lease term is up to you.  Just make sure that you enlist the help of your favorite Howard County property management company, Bay Management Group, to help you draft a lease agreement that makes all of your rent collection procedures clear to avoid unnecessary confusion on both yours and your tenant’s part.

 


The Landlord’s Guide to Subleasing Rental Properties

In the past, we have discussed ways to protect your rental investments from tenants who use your rental property on marketplaces such as Airbnb as a way to sublet your home.

But have you put any thought into general subleasing options and how that may affect your rental property business?

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Today we will look at what exactly subleasing a rental home is, the pros and cons for allowing subletting in your rental property, and some tips for protecting yourself and your property from the possibly consequences of subleasing.

What is Subleasing?

Subleasing is when your tenant allows another person(s), not on the original signed lease, to live in your rental property and cover the monthly rent payment.

With a sublease agreement, a tenant contracts with a new party, commonly called the sub-tenant, to reside on the property and becomes the middle man between the landlord and the sub-tenant. In this situation, the sub-tenant typically pays the tenant, who it turn pays the landlord the monthly rent. The tenant also maintains the responsibility of passing along any maintenance requests or other concerns to the landlord for the sub-tenant.

Subleasing is a viable option for many tenants who travel for work or extended vacations. They are also good for when a tenant wants to end their residence early without formally breaking the lease agreement.

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If your Anne Arundel tenants are subleasing your rental property, they are legally responsible for paying the rent they owe you each month, regardless of whether their sub-tenants pay on time or not, and must abide by all of the original lease provisions agreed to at signing.

Pros of Subleasing

As mentioned above, subleasing has some advantages for both landlords and tenants. Let’s take a look at some of the most beneficial reasons you may want your tenants to have the option to sublease your Glen Burnie rental property:

  • Lower turnover rates and a more steady flow of income will results from having either a tenant or sub-tenant in your property at all times. This can be a great source of supplemental income and create a positive cash flow for your each year.
  • If your tenant is allowed to sublease your property, there is less risk of them terminating the lease agreement early due to a job-related move or extended vacation. Having this option available is a win-win for both you and your tenant.
  • You can form a more positive relationship with your tenant by allowing them the flexibility to cover the monthly rent through subleasing. They may feel less inclined to skip out on the original agreement or not pay during times they are away.
  • You will have access to a larger pool of initial tenants, including frequent travelers, job-movers, college students, and more when subleasing your property is an option.
  • Your investment will be better protected because either teantnst or sub-tenants will be residing there most of the time. Having your residence occupied reduces criminal activity and helps prevent vandalism

Cons of Subleasing

On the other hand, you may not want to allow your Fort Meade home to be subleased to sub-tenants for a variety of reasons such as:

  • The inability to properly screen sub-tenants as you see fit. Unless explicitly stated in your original lease agreement, how sub-tenants are screened and chosen is up to your tenant since they are acting as “landlord” to their sub-tenants.
  • The loss of control you may experience with regards to how your home is maintained since your tenants take the place as “landlord” of the sub-tenants. As the middleman between you and the sub-tenants, your tenants gain some element of control over how your property is cared for, which can be risky and problematic at the end of the lease term.
  • The risk of non-payment: should the sub-tenant not pay and your tenant go missing, you are out of luck.
  • The potential for a double eviction (and double the headache) exists if the sub-tenant and tenant are found to be violating the original lease agreement. This means double the legal ramifications for getting problem tenants (and sub-tenants) out of your property.

Tips Regarding Subleasing Rental Properties

If you own rental property in the Anne Arundel County area, it is up to you whether you will allow a subleasing option for your tenants. If you decide to allow your Severna Park or Laurel tenants to sublet your rental property, here are some key things to keep in mind so you and your property are protected:

  • Include a solid subleasing clause in the original lease agreement. If you are going to allow your tenants to sublease your property, it is important the original lease agreement is legally compliant and designed to protect you and your assets. Here are some important details to include:
    • The tenant should not be allowed to sublet any part of your rental property for any or all of the term of the lease without prior written consent of the landlord and/or property management group.
    • All sub-tenants must fill out an application and follow the thorough screening procedures in place that asses credit history, criminal and eviction reports, employment, and references.
    • All parties, including the landlord, must agree to and sign the sublease agreement.
  • Never collect rent from an illegal sub-tenant. Once you collect money from a sub-tenant that is not abiding by the sublease terms, things may get complicated. They may be able to claim certain tenant’s rights and the case for the eviction could become difficult.
  • Check your local laws regarding sublease agreements. Some areas require a specific provision be added to the original lease agreement with your tenants stating that subleasing is not allowed. If you fail to include this in your lease agreement, your tenants may have the right to openly sublet your property without your consent. In some cases, you may be required to explicitly state your stance on subleasing your property to legally protect yourself as a landlord.

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In the end, whether you want to allow subleasing of your Anne Arundel County rental property is a personal decision that must be weighed carefully. With so many added risks, this option may not be for everyone.

However, if you are interested in taking advantage of the benefits of subleasing your property, make sure you enlist the help of a qualified property management group to help you with your lease agreements. Legal problems resulting from a poorly drafted lease agreement that lead to an eviction, damaged property at the hands of sub-tenants, or a missing tenant and no monthly rent payments are just some of the consequences you many face as  landlord who allows subleasing.

To prevent these types of problems, contact Bay Management Group to help you with all of your lease agreement needs. They can draft original lease agreements that are legally compliant, have strong screening procedures in place that can be applied to sub-tenants, and can even help with inspections so that you know your property is being cared for whether your tenants or sub-tenants are living there.  Get in touch today and see how they can help you with all of your property management needs.


4 Rental Inspection Types Every Landlords Should Conduct

In order to sustain a long-lasting rental property that will create positive cash flow, you must maintain your property on a consistent basis.

No matter how thoroughly you screen your tenants, what kind of background checks you perform, how timely their rent payments are, or how highly recommended they come from previous landlords, the truth is sometimes people damage property.

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You don’t want it to be yours. 

Today we will will look at the four main inspections you should conduct in every single rental property you own in an effort to keep your property protected and well-maintained so you can continue to command the competitive rental rates that make you an annual profit.

Why Conduct Rental Inspections?

In the Howard County area, you can expect securely employed, highly paid, and well-educated residents.  Those residents are the ones applying for your rental property because everyone needs a place to live, right?

However, despite the quality of people that make up a particularly well-to-do region, it is important that you protect yourself and your rental property from any damage incurred by your tenants. One of the easiest ways to do this is to conduct routine rental inspections.

Need more convincing? Here are some of the main reasons you should invest time and effort into your rental inspections:

  • You will identify any maintenance or repair issues that need fixing before they become major expenses.
  • You can follow up on tenants to ensure they are conducting tenant maintenance responsibilities agreed to in the lease.
  • You can legally protect yourself should an issue arise in the future if it comes down to your word against your tenant’s.

Rental Inspection Tips

Happy businessman with checklist Successful business conceptBefore going into detail about the main types of inspections you should conduct on all of your rental properties, it is important that you understand some of the things to look for while performing each inspection:

  • Unauthorized pets
  • Illegal activities
  • Proper tenant maintenance
  • Items needing repair
  • Additional occupants
  • Any exterior damage including the property’s structure and landscaping

You should always keep excellent records each time you perform a rental inspection of your property. Make note of the dates, times, condition of the property, and even take photographs if possible.

You might even consider using a checklist such as this one so that you do not leave anything out during your inspection. These records will serve you well in court should a dispute arise over damage done to your property.

Rental Inspection Types

Now that you have a good handle on why you should perform routine rental inspections and some of the most common things to look for during one, let’s explore the four main types of inspections all landlords should carry out.

1. Move-In Inspection

If you are about to leave your Elkridge rental home to new tenants, you should participate in a move-in inspection that involves your tenants.

Move-in inspections are necessary for documenting the condition of your property at the time of your tenants move-in so that there is never a questions of what the property looked like from the start of tenancy. This initial rental inspection sets the stage for the entire tenancy and will help determine, beyond normal wear and tear, what your tenants may be responsible for at the time they move out of your property should any damage occur to the property.

Every single room should be thoroughly inspected with notes and photographs being taken documenting any damage that is present before tenancy begins. At the end of this inspection, so long as both parties are in full agreement, an inspection checklist should be signed by both landlord and tenant to avoid confusion in the future.  This inspection report will be used at the end of your tenant’s lease to determine how much of the collected security deposit will go towards repairing your rental property.

2. Move-Out Inspection

This rental inspection is a way for you to determine the extent of damage your tenants may have caused throughout their tenancy. As part of the lease agreement, it is the tenant’s responsibility to return the property in the same overall condition as when they moved in.

The move-out inspection should be conducted in the same way as the move-in inspection, with both landlord and tenant present to document any damages beyond normal wear and tear. What way you do not leave yourself open to tenant disputes over any damages you claim was caused by the tenant.

After comparing the move-in inspection report with that of the move-out inspection report, you may then determine how much of the security deposit can be used.

3. Seasonal Inspection

The seasonal inspection is extremely important, especially in an area such as Columbia, Maryland where the four seasons are distinct and play a role in maintaining your home and yard.

Each season brings a new set of maintenance responsibilities, many of which fall upon your tenants. In order to keep your rental property in tip-top shape, consider performing a seasonal inspection to assess the property for any needed repairs or reminders about things such as winterizing the exterior pipes.

seasonal-rental-inspection

This type of rental inspection gives you the opportunity to help your tenants out of keeping them on track as far as property care is concerned. Remind them that caring for the property will help them get their security deposit at the of the lease term. Not only will you be encouraging them to protect their security deposit, you will also be encouraging them to protect your home.

4. Drive-By Inspection

This rental inspection is a little bit more low-key than the other inspection types. Rather than coordinate an inspection with your tenants with proper notice and a scheduled inspection time, a drive-by inspection allows you to simply pass by your property and look for yourself whether it seems to be in okay condition.

Since a tenant will be unaware of your visit things such as poor landscape maintenance and unauthorized pets will become obvious. If you notice anything that requires fixing, simple notify your tenants in writing detailing the issue.

Conducting a drive-by inspection is okay and does not require tenant notification so long as you do not do it too often. Disrupting a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment can become a major issue for you that can land you in some hot water with the courts.

If you are leasing your Howard County rental property, it is strongly recommended you take part in the above-mentioned rental inspections. Not only can you protect yourself against any wrongful lawsuits angry tenants may drag you into, you will protect your biggest assest: your rental property. Without a well-maintained rental home it will be difficult to find quality tenants willing to lease from you. And you definitely do not want to bear the costs of keeping that home maintained because you didn’t conduct routine inspections.

Luckily for you, one of the things Maryland’s best property management group does for landlords is conduct thorough move-in and move-out rental inspections. Bay Management Group documents all damage that has been incurred during tenancy, complete with a detailed checklist and photographs to supplement, so you can be sure you will not be responsible for any damage your tenants cause.

Additionally, Bay Management Group will conduct routine inspections throughout the term of your tenant’s lease to make sure your home is being well-cared for and properly maintained according to the signed lease agreement.

If you are looking to hire a property management team that is well-versed in all things property management, consider giving Bay Management Group a call. Their knowledgeable staff will gladly answer all of your questions and get your rental home inspected properly so that you have one less thing to worry about.