Are you starting to think you might need a property manager to handle your Maryland rental property? Owning an investment rental property can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be tough work at times! There are several pros and cons to working without the help of a property management firm, but it’s important to understand the many benefits that can come from this type of arrangement. Employing a property management company will allow you to be hands-off and not have to deal with pesky maintenance calls and other time-consuming tasks. The downside, of course, is that this service does come at a cost, however, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Some property owners are able to dedicate 100% of their time addressing resident concerns, turning over units, and placing new tenants because that’s what they chose to do as their occupation. Other owners have full-time jobs and aren’t able to keep up with the day-to-day needs that come into play when they rent out their properties. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall into, you should consider hiring a professional property manager to handle your tenants’ and properties’ needs.
Here are 10 reasons rental property owners in Maryland should hire a property manager:
1. Property Managers Screen Your Tenants
There are many regulations that dictate legally permissible questions and tenant-screening procedures. The conversations you have during a walk-through and information you can legally use to verify a qualified candidate are subject to the scrutiny of the law. These laws change often, and discrimination accusations occur frequently, even if the landlord didn’t intend to do any harm. For example, did you know you cannot legally ask a renter how many kids he or she has under the Fair Housing Act?
This is the number one reason all owners of rental property in Maryland should consider a property management company to handle their investments. Learning, understanding, and keeping up with tenant screening laws is a full-time business. If you want to ensure you’re fully protected from accusations or accidental misconduct, leave your tenant-screening tasks to the experts.
2. Property Managers Handle Evictions
Maryland is one of the most tenant-friendly states in the U.S. It’s extremely important that you know and understand the legal process in your city, county, and/or township so you can avoid any unnecessary delays in the eviction process.
Evictions are a daunting process that require exact procedures and notice to be followed in order for the eviction to be legal. One wrong step and the eviction could be canceled. This would result in additional lost rent; plus, you’d have the start the whole process over again. Dedicated property managers are there to ensure you don’t have to deal with unnecessary delays or spent undue time in court because they take care of these situations on your behalf.
3. Property Managers Answer and Tend to After-Hours Phone Calls
There’s nothing worse than a phone call at two in the morning from a tenant who says there was a fire, flood, break-in, loss of heat, or lack of hot water. As the landlord, you’ll need to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week if true maintenance emergencies occur. Of course, you may not know if they’re valid or not until you get to the scene—and it doesn’t matter if you’re at work or on vacation because emergencies happen when they’re least expected.
It’s the landlord’s responsibility to address all emergency maintenance concerns. These issues need to be tended to as quickly as possible in order to avoid a rent escrow case or other needless litigation.
At Bay Property Management Group, we have a team of property management and maintenance experts on-call all the time, so our clients don’t have to worry about climbing out of bed before the sun rises or leaving work in the middle of the day to take care of their tenants’ concerns.
4. Property Managers Deal with Lawsuits
Let’s say your tenant fails to pay rent or challenges the withholding of a security deposit. Maybe you need to evict a renter, or someone accuses you of violating landlord-tenant rights. These things happen all the time, and each scenario could easily wind up in court. Of course, you’d never want to go to court without representation, which means you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the applicable laws (federal, state, and local) and find an attorney you’re comfortable working with. Not only that, but you’ll need to take time out of your day to show up when hearings are scheduled or when your attorney needs to meet with you. While this scenario may not happen all the time, it happens frequently enough that it should make you stop and think.
If this doesn’t sound like something you want to partake in, let a professional Maryland property management firm deal with it for you. They know the laws, have a great network of legal professionals, and are able to dedicate the time to see things through properly.
5. Property Managers are Maintenance Pros
Even if your lease agreement dictates that your tenants need to complete certain maintenance tasks, there’s a chance your renters might forget. Changing air filters or turning the water on during freezing nights are maintenance tasks that are often forgotten by tenants. As the owner of the property, you’ll be in charge of reminding tenants to complete these tasks or sending lease violation notices if tasks keep slipping their minds.
If you’re not keen on being the bad guy, let a property management firm take care of the dirty work for you.
6. Property Managers Take Care of Tenant Disputes
It goes without saying that sometimes, people just can’t live together. If two people signed the lease, both parties are still responsible to uphold their end of the bargain. Sometimes, you may have to act as a couples’ counselor to help the feuding tenants resolve an issue. You might decide it’s easier on everybody to let everybody go their separate ways, breaking the lease mid-way through the agreement, but if you chose to make them adhere to the agreement, you’ll likely be stuck dealing with their frustrations. This is all time-consuming, and time is money!
Nearly any property manager in Maryland will tell you this isn’t a fun part of the job, but it’s inevitable if you’re a property owner long enough. You can send these frustrations to your property management firm if you outsource the management responsibilities of your investment.
7. Property Managers Navigate Neighbor Complaints
Some people just can’t get along, which means you might be called to mediate neighborly disputes. Maybe your tenant will have an issue with a neighboring resident, or maybe a neighbor will take issue with your renter. In either case, you’ll likely end up involved. People might complain about your tenants for any number of reasons, and the same goes for the things your tenant might complain to you about other people. It’s not uncommon for landlords to have to field grievances regarding animals, noise, the appearance of the property, and dozens of other things you might not think about until you’re stuck dealing with them. These feuds will sharpen your coaching skills, as you’ll need to deal with them simply because you own the property.
If you don’t want to dawn the coach’s whistle, outsource this task to people who do this for a living.
8. Property Managers Know How to Deal with Damage
Damage may be intentional or accidental; either way, it’s no fun. Regardless if it was a tenant-caused issue—like starting a grease fire—or a pipe that had deteriorated over time suddenly burst, it’s your responsibility as the landlord to act immediately. In certain situations, you might be legally bound to find a place for your renters to stay if your property is uninhabitable and in need of repair. This can be a stressful endeavor to undertake when you’re already dealing with the damage itself.
Property management companies already have people lined up and ready to go. They know electricians, plumbers, welders, HVAC pros, roofers, and anyone else who may need to tend to an emergency on a moment’s notice.
9. Property Managers Can Get the Word Out About Weather
Maryland rental properties are subjected to harsh winters and other extreme weather on occasion. You’ll need to be available to communicate plans of action to your tenants, should dire emergencies arise. A lot of extreme weather is accompanied by the loss of power and utilities. Rest assured that your renters will expect answers from you, even if situations such as power outages are completely out of your control.
While property managers certainly can’t do anything about the weather, they do have policies and procedures in place that can help your tenants stay aware of what’s going on and tips to help them seek shelter if Mother Nature gets a little wild.
10. Property Managers Enable You to Enjoy Your Vacation
It never fails that something goes wrong when you’re least available to deal with it. If you’ve been planning a vacation, you should take this into consideration because, as a landlord, it’ll be up to you to deal with stresses and messes when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Alternatively, you can hire a property management company to take care of things for you, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected situations while you’re away.
Some property owners have found a lot of success in managing their own portfolio of rental properties. Managing your own investment properties enables you to keep some cash in your pocket because you’re not paying a third-party to deal with everything. It also makes a lot of sense if you have handyman skills and take care of your own maintenance. This would drastically reduce expenses if you have the ability to manage your own rental properties full time.
Many landlords just don’t have the time to dedicate to effectively managing their own rental portfolio. Also, when these difficult rental situations arise, you might appreciate having a professional property management company handling your properties. Property management companies answer phone calls, deal with maintenance issues, facilitate evictions, and handle all the day-to-day operations so you can sit back and watch those rental checks come in while exerting minimal effort.
If you’re looking for an expert property manager in Maryland, look no further! Bay Property Management Group brings years of experience and customized expertise to each of our clients. You can get your free property management analysis today by reaching out to us online!