4 Renovations To Keep Your Tenants Happy & Complaint-Free

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lower Tenant Complaints with These Rental Upgrades

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

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

 

1. Appliance Upgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. New Flooring

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

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

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

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

This is when noise complaints become your problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. New Windows

New Windows Keep Owings Mills Tenants Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4. Landscaping

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

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

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

 

In Closing

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

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

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

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


Top 7 Gifts For Your Philadelphia Tenant’s Welcome Package

Top Gifts For Your Philly Tenant Welcome Package

First impressions are a big deal when it comes to moving tenants into your Philadelphia rental property.

In fact, the way in which you handle the entire move-in process is sure to set the tone for the entire lease term.

If you want an easy way to impress your new tenants, make them feel welcome in your rental property, and provide them with the essentials often needed when moving into a new home, consider giving your tenants a welcome package, complete with information and goodies.

Not sure what the best gifts to include are?

Keep reading to see some of the things your Philly tenants are most likely to appreciate, and start putting together your tenant welcome package today.

 

7 Gifts to Include in Your Philly Tenant Welcome Package

If you decide to give your new tenants a welcome package when they move into your Philly rental property, it’s a good idea to put some thought into what you want to include.

 

1. A Welcome Letter

Include Welcome Letter in Your Philly Tenant's Welcome Package

The first thing you will want to include in your Philly tenant welcome packet is a nice welcome letter.

This should be handwritten and personalized to make the biggest impact.

However, if this is not something you want to do, try at the very least to include the welcome letter on some nice stationery.

In fact, utilizing your Philly property management company’s letterhead is the perfect opportunity to appear professional, yet still welcoming.

And, since the letterhead will likely have the property management company’s contact information on it, your tenant will be able to easily contact the property manager in charge of managing your rental should they need anything.

2. Information Packet

Though not technically a gift, including an information packet in your welcome package is always a good idea.

However, knowing what to put in the information packet is not always clear.

Here are some key elements to include that will not only be helpful to your new tenants, but help assure you that your tenants are fully aware of what to do when they need assistance:

  • How and when to pay rent, including the full amount due
  • Important phone numbers for vendors or contractors in the case of an emergency
  • Contact information for the property management company
  • How to put in a maintenance or repair request
  • Utility information, including contact and bill pay information
  • Information regarding routine inspections
  • How to operate and maintain large appliances such as the washer and dryer, dishwasher, and HVAC system

 

In addition, you can include things like local maps, names of nearby restaurants and shopping centers, and even local entertainment hotspots so your tenants don’t feel overwhelmed about where to go come move-in time.

3. Coupons

Coupons Are a Great Tenant Welcome Package Gift

It is not unusual to receive a mailer full of coupons from the post office to use at local restaurants and retailers when you move into a new home.

However, you can add to that stack of coupons by including some specialty coupons to local places that you know your tenant will love.

Try reaching out to local businesses and seeing if they will provide you some exclusive new tenant coupons.

In addition, try to incorporate any local restaurant fliers you may come across so your tenants have plenty of variety when it comes to choosing where to eat.

 

4. Cleaning Supplies

When your tenants move into your Philly rental property, chances are they are going to do some cleaning themselves.

This is especially true once their personal belongings start to move in.

Moving boxes, items from storage units, and dirty moving trucks have the tendency to track in dirt and grime that eventually settles into a new home.

Your Philadelphia property management company may recommend you supply your new tenants with basic cleaning supplies to help them during the move-in process.

Consider giving your tenants a small bucket containing the following:

  • Sponges
  • Glass cleaner
  • Toilet bowl scrubber
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach

 

Providing your tenants with cleaning items as an addition to their welcome package is relatively inexpensive to do since most of these things are easily found at the local dollar store.

In addition, these items are not only helpful things to have on hand as your tenants move in, it gives them the impression you take pride in a clean rental.

 

5. Gift Cards

Include Gift Cards in Your Philly Tenant Welcome Package

If your budget provides for more expensive welcome package items, consider giving your tenants gift cards to a local grocery store or restaurant.

Moving into a new home is a time consuming project that leaves very little room for cooking.

Helping your tenants get their first meal or two in after moving in is so appreciated.

In addition, chances are your tenants did not transport many food items from their old home to the new rental. Again, a gift card to the grocery store can go a long way in helping your tenants get started after moving into your rental.

6. Toiletries

Along the same lines as offering your tenants cleaning supplies they may not have on hand when first moving in to you rental, providing toiletries in your welcome package will certainly earn you bonus points from your tenants.

Include items such as toilet paper, tissues, soap, hand sanitizer, and even a shower curtain liner so they can begin enjoying your rental’s bathroom right away.

If you want to take it one step further, try leaving a single use laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach packet by the washing machine and dryer so tenants can get their first load of laundry underway immediately.

 

7. Long Distance Gifts

Long Distance Gifts Such as Flowers are Great For Philly Tenant Welcome Package

For property owners that own rentals in Philadelphia but self-manage from another city or state, there are still ways to make your new tenants feel at home when they move in.

These long distance ideas can be used in conjunction with the welcome package your Philadelphia property manager gives your tenants on move-in day, and make a bold statement about how serious you are about welcoming your tenants into their new home.

Here are some of the best ideas:

  • E-card. Send a card via email welcoming your tenants to their new home. Take it up a notch and include a gift card for them to enjoy, if your budget allows for it.
  • Flowers. If you are unable to personally leave out a bouquet of flowers for your tenants to enjoy the moment they enter your rental property, consider having a beautiful arrangement delivered to them instead. Flowers are a great way to add a personal touch to a new home.
  • Fruit Baskets. Fruit baskets or arrangements are another highly popular and well-received welcome package gift. Again, even if you manage your property from afar, having seasonal fruits delivered to your rental is a simple gesture that can go a long way when it comes your tenant-landlord relationship.

 

Sometimes distance makes it difficult for you to forge strong tenant-landlord relationships in person. However, there are still very effective ways for you to make your tenants feel extra special, even if you are unable to meet them face-to-face.

 

In Closing

Creating a tenant welcome package is a great way to kick off the tenant-landlord relationship that is sure to build over the course of your tenant’s lease term.

This gesture shows your tenants you care about them, and your property, and that you want their move-in to be as smooth as possible.

If you are looking for a property management company in Philadelphia to help you handle the entire move-in process, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help.

With experience in tenant screening, legally compliant lease drafting, and move-in inspections, we can get your tenants settled into your rental property seamlessly. In addition, we can help you create an exceptional tenant welcome package, complete with all the goodies new tenants love to see.   This way you can rest assured your tenants understand everything that is expected of them, and your tenants can rest assured that customer service is your, and our, number one priority.


3 Ways to Help Your Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

How to Help Your Abingdon Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Renters Insurance: A Quick Review

Renters Insurance Covers Furniture and Personal Belongings

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Helping Your Abingdon Tenant Calculate Renters Insurance

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

 

1. Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

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

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

Remember, renters insurance is there to replace personal belongings.

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

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

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

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

 

2. Recommend Liability Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Encourage Documentation

Encourage Documentation of Purchases for Renters Insurance in Harford County

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Top Addendums to Include in a Lease Agreement in Columbia, MD

Top Addendums to Include in Your Maryland Rental Property Lease

Drawing up an airtight lease from the very beginning is one of the most important things you and your Columbia, Maryland property management company can do.

Doing this prevents any confusion amongst the parties regarding what is to be expected throughout the lease term, and helps to protect both property owner and tenant.

If you are currently self-managing your rental property, you might want to consider beefing up your lease drafting skills.

In fact, unless you have a finely tuned lease template, now might be a good time to enlist the help of a professional property manager in Columbia to put one together.

Knowing what to include in your lease agreement can be challenging, especially at first. And, the truth is, basic lease agreement templates found on the internet do not always address your most pressing needs.

This can lead to a lot of confusion and heated discussions between you and your tenants throughout their lease term.

That’s why today we are going to examine what a lease addendum is, and some of the top ones all property owners should include in their lease agreements.

 

What is a Lease Addendum?

Typically speaking, a lease addendum is a lease provision that changes, clarifies, or nullifies a part of an original lease document. Once added, it becomes a legal part of the signed contract, and is enforceable.

That said, there seems to be some confusion between the terms lease addendum and lease amendment. We are here to clarify.

 

Lease Addendum

This is an additional lease clause or provision attached to the lease agreement template that adds or excludes certain terms.

At the time of signing, the lease addendums are included and agreed to by all parties.

A great example of a lease addendum is a provision outlining the right of entry by the property owner. Entry by a landlord throughout the lease term is not unusual, and needs addressing in the lease agreement.

Sometimes, a separate clause is drafted and added to the back of the general lease agreement so both the property owner and tenant understand what constitutes a legal entry of the premises.

 

Lease Amendment

On the other hand, if you and your tenants have already agreed to sign a lease agreement, and then want to add a provision or clause altering the original document, this would be considered a lease amendment.

A perfect example of this is a pet policy.

Keep in mind, this can be included during the initial drafting of the lease agreement as an addendum.

However, if the original lease made no mention of a pet policy, because your tenants did not have any pets, and halfway through the lease they decided to adopt a dog, an amendment to the lease agreement will be needed.

This will outline any rules you have regarding pets in your rental, and will be signed and attached to the already-finalized lease agreement.

 

Top Addendums to Include in Your Columbia Lease Agreement

1. Smoking

No Smoking Addendum is Popular With Maryland Rental Property

Whether you decide to make your Columbia rental property smoke free or not is a personal decision. However, if you wish to prevent smoking in your property, make sure to include a no-smoking addendum to the lease.

Clarify whether this policy applies to guests, and what the consequences are (including loss of security deposit) for breaching the agreement.

 

2. Pest Control

Pest control is a huge point of contention between landlords and tenants. There is plenty of debate over who is responsible for pest control, who is in charge of resolving a pest infestation, and who decides what constitutes an inhabitable living condition.

That’s why including a detailed pest control addendum is crucial to avoiding a landlord-tenant dispute. Just make sure to investigate your local laws regarding pest control, and clearly outline each party’s responsibilities.

 

3. Renters Insurance

Another critical lease addendum all Columbia property owners should include in their lease agreements is the requirement of renters insurance. It’s inexpensive, easy to get, and covers your tenants in a variety of situations, so you don’t have to.

Renters insurance typically covers the loss of your tenant’s personal property in the case of an emergency. It also takes some, if not all, of the liability off you if someone is injured while on your property.

Paired with your homeowners insurance, this provision is great for protecting your investment.

 

4. Roommates

Roommate Addendum Popular in Maryland Rental Properties

Your tenants need to understand your stance on roommates.

It is important you outline details regarding short- and long-term guests as well. After all, you don’t want to end up with adult tenants in your property that have not been screened, or are not paying rent.

In addition, you may want to include a separate lease addendum addressing the issue of subletting your rental. This way, you don’t end up with brand new tenants you have never met in your property mid-term.

 

5. Maintenance

Maintenance is a hot issue for tenants that lease your rental from you.

They want to know that at any time, no matter how minor the issue is, you are going to be available for maintenance and repairs.

Outline exactly what you will be responsible for, who to contact in the case of minor and emergency matters, and what type of maintenance and repair service they can expect.

In addition, do not fail to mention financial responsibilities of both parties, as well as maintenance issues that will be the responsibility of the tenants to handle (such as landscaping, filter changes, etc.).

 

6. Utilities

Include a Utility Addendum for Your Maryland Rental Property

Some property owners may offer covering the costs of some utilities as an incentive bonus for their tenants.

Or, you may choose to make your tenants responsible for all of the utilities.

Regardless, ensure your tenants know exactly what utilities they are to have placed in their own name.

In addition, any utilities that must remain under your name as the homeowner, but that you would like the tenant to pay, should be explained in this addendum.

This way, there is never any confusion as to who will pay for what, and when.

 

7. Move-Out Instructions

As much as you would love to have your existing tenants renew their lease with you forever, this is not a reasonable expectation.

That said, having clearly defined move-out instructions is the key to a smooth end of lease transition. Here are some things to include:

  • Forwarding address requirement
  • Key turn-in process
  • Cleaning procedures
  • Charge estimates for incomplete tasks
  • Charge estimates for broken or missing items
  • Supply costs and labor charges
  • Utility statuses
  • Move-out inspection process

 

Make sure your tenant understands the entire move-out process so that you don’t end up with a tenant that has disappeared with all of your keys, and has left a filthy rental behind that you have to take care of.

 

8. Early Termination

Early Termination Addendum Maryland Rental Property

Speaking of the end of a lease term, another lease addendum that is strongly suggested you include in your Columbia lease agreement is the early termination clause.

There might be an instance where your Columbia tenant needs to break the lease agreement early.

And, while this is not ideal, it is in your best interest to outline the terms regarding an early lease termination to preserve your losses as much as possible.

 

Other Important Lease Addendums

As you continue building your rental property business, and you gain experience, you will quickly build a solid list of lease addendums to add to every lease agreement that gets put into place.

Here are some other important ones to consider:

  • Appliances (including maintenance)
  • Lock changes
  • Fees and violation consequences
  • Use of rental for home business
  • Alterations
  • HOA terms
  • Right of entry
  • Extended absence procedures
  • Pet fees
  • Rent collection procedures

 

Many of these lease addendums may very well be a part of your basic lease agreement.

However, for those times when you need to add something specific onto an existing lease agreement before you and your tenants sign and begin the move-in process, it’s good to know what types of things can easily be turned into lease addendums.

 

If you own rental property and are in need of an experienced property management company in Columbia who knows exactly what should be included in a lease agreement, contact Bay Management Group now.

We have the expertise to draft airtight lease agreements, complete with every lease addendum you could possibly need. We guarantee that both you and your tenants will know exactly what is expected of each other, and that you and your investment property will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.


5 Easy Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

Easy Ways To Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

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

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

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

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

What is a great way to do that?

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

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

 

Helpful Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

 

1. Window Treatments

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Falls

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

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

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

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

 

3. Drowning

Install a Fence Around the Pool to Childproof Your Maryland Rental

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

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

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

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

 

4. Outlets

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

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

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

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

 

5. Get the Right Insurance

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


How to Show an Occupied Rental in Harford County, MD

How to Show an Occupied Rental in Harford County Maryland

Minimizing the time your Harford County rental property sits vacant between tenants is the goal of any successful landlord.

That’s why, once you find out your current tenant will not be signing a lease renewal, it is a good idea to start the search for a new tenant right away.

But what should you do when your prospective tenants want to see your rental property, and your existing tenants are still residing there? 

Showing an occupied rental property is a tricky thing to do.

On the one hand, you do not want to disrupt the life of your existing tenants, since they deserve to live out the end of their lease term in peace and quiet.

Yet, on the other hand, showing your rental to interested tenants, and possibly securing one to move in immediately after your current tenants move out will drastically reduce the costs associated with a vacant property.

Today, we are going to look at the pros and cons of showing your occupied Harford County rental property to prospective tenants.

In addition, we will divulge some essential tips for showing an occupied rental, so that all three parties involved are satisfied.

 

The Pros and Cons of Showing Your Occupied Rental Property

Pros and Cons of Showing an Occupied Rental in Harford County Maryland

Showing an occupied rental property and securing a tenant ahead of time offers Harford County property owners several benefits:

  • Minimal Negative Cash Flow. The longer your property stays vacant in between tenants, the more money you have to invest in re-leasing the property. Advertisements, background checks, and the loss in consistent monthly rent payments all add up. Finding a new tenant to move in once your existing tenant moves out drastically reduces these costs.
  • Lower Vacancy Rates. If your rental is nearly move-in ready, chances are your new tenant can move into your rental property almost immediately after your old tenant moves out, thus lowering your vacancy rates.
  • Utility Savings. Showing a rental property without the utilities on is not a wise move. Interested tenants want to know everything is in working order before they sign a lease. If your existing tenant moves out, and you then proceed to show your rental, you will have to transfer utilities into your own name. By showing your property while it is still occupied, you can make use of the utilities that are currently on. You’ll avoid having to transfer them into your name, and then into your new tenant’s name later down the road.

 

While showing your occupied rental does have its advantages, it is also important to understand that this strategy does not come without some inconveniences.

  • It’s harder to show a rental property that is occupied
  • A vacant rental stages better than one that has a family living in it
  • You must provide proper notice every time you want to show the property to an interested tenant
  • You cannot ensure the property is in move-in condition while occupied – there may have been a pet there you didn’t know about, there could be excessive damage that needs repairing, and who knows how clean or dirty the place may be
  • You run the risk your current tenant does not move out on time
  • It can be uncomfortable to show a property while tenants are around, for you, your existing tenants, and prospective tenants

 

That said, if you do wish to show your occupied Harford County rental property in hopes of securing a high-quality tenant to move in right away, there are several things you can do to ensure a smooth showing.

 

4 Tips for Showing Your Occupied Harford County Rental Property

When showing your occupied investment property, try using these essential tips to make things easier on everyone involved.

 

1. Talk to Your Current Tenants

Reaching out to your existing tenants means you’re off to a good start if you’re looking to show your rental while they are still living in it. In fact, your current tenants are likely to be more open to the idea if you discuss this option with them in a friendly way beforehand.

  • Ask your tenants how they feel about you showing the rental
  • Provide multiple showing times, and let your tenants pick the most convenient one(s)
  • Find out whether they prefer to be present during the showings or not, and come to an agreement

 

It is also important you find out when you are legally allowed to enter your rental property while it is still occupied. Save for emergencies, landlords are typically only allowed to enter occupied rentals during normal business hours.

 

2. Always Provide Proper Notice

Provide Your Tenant with Proper Notice When Showing an Occupied Rental

Chatting with your current tenants about your intentions to show the property while they are still in it is not enough. Your tenants have a reasonable right to privacy while residing in your property.

Though Harford County does not have a required time frame for providing tenants a notice of entry, it is safe to say that a minimum of 24 hours notice is a good idea. This gives your tenants enough time to make arrangements, tidy up a bit, and be somewhere else, should they not want to be around during the showing.

And, since you have already spoken with your tenant about the times that are good for them and their family, this notice should not come as a surprise.

 

3. Write it Into the Lease Agreement

Have your Harford County property management company draft a lease provision into the lease agreement that states showing the property may be a possibility near the end of the lease term.

This doesn’t negate the fact that you should discuss with your tenant that you are intending to show the property beforehand. And, it definitely doesn’t void the fact that you need to provide proper notice. However, informing your tenants at the start of the lease that a property showing may occur will ensure that there are no surprises.

 

4. Ask Your Tenants to Prepare

Ask Your Tenants to Prepare Their Occupied Rental For Showing

Showing your Harford County rental property with tenants living in it poses plenty of challenges. One such challenge is ensuring that your rental looks inviting enough with people residing in it to encourage prospective tenants to want to lease from you in the near future.

Asking your tenants to prepare for a property showing can be difficult. After all, their lease is almost up, and they have nothing to gain from staging your property to look good for people interested in being the next tenants.

However, here are some things you can do to help make your property look the best it can, while still occupied:

  • Ask Tenants To Clean. Ask your tenants to tidy up before the showing, so that the prospective tenants are not turned off by a dirty home. Though the way your tenants live should have no effect on whether the property is a good fit for prospective tenants, the truth is, a dirty rental will affect a leasing decision. Consider offering your tenants an incentive, such as a free cleaning service, for cleaning up.
  • Make Sure Pets Are Secure. If you allow your Harford County tenants to have pets while leasing your rental, it is crucial those pets be secure during a property showing. Inviting strangers into your tenant’s home can turn even the nicest of animals aggressive. This is not something you want to contend with, especially if your current tenants are away during the showing.
  • Combine Showing Times. Take advantage of your tenant’s preparation, and save time while you’re at it, by combining showings into one day. This minimizes the amount of incentives you need to offer, notices you need to provide, and inconveniences you afford your current tenants.

 

If you own an income property and need the help of a property management company in Harford County experienced in showing occupied rentals, contact Bay Management Group today. Our customer service oriented property managers understand the challenges that come with showing occupied rentals for all involved parties.

We draft airtight lease agreements informing tenants from the start that showings may be a possibility.

In addition, we have extensive knowledge about the legalities of entering your rental property for non-emergency reasons, as well as the ability to forge solid manager-tenant relationships from the beginning of the lease term.

Because of this, we guarantee that showing your occupied rental property will go as smoothly as possible, with just a little preparation and full respect for everyone involved.


5 Simple Steps to Improve Tenant Retention in Baltimore County

Easy Ways to Boost Tenant Retention in Baltimore County

Failing to retain your Baltimore County tenants means you have a vacancy on your hands.

With a vacancy, you are no longer collecting a consistent rent payment each month, you probably need to make repairs such as paint the walls or replace the carpet, and of course, you’ll need to perform a deep clean.

That’s on top of the fact that you now need to advertise your vacant property, thoroughly screen all interested tenants, as well as deal with drafting a new lease agreement, collecting application fees and security deposits, and conduct move-in inspections.

That’s a lot of work, and very little money coming in.

In fact, it has been suggested that acquiring a new customer (or in your case, a new tenant) can cost five times more than keeping an existing one. 

Rather than deal with the constant turnover of a rental property in Baltimore County, and the subsequent loss of income and time, you should instead aim to improve your tenant retention rates.

In the past, we have discussed 5 solid ways to boost tenant retention. However today, we are going build off those 5 things and provide you even more steps to higher tenant retention.

 

Steps for a Higher Baltimore County Tenant Retention Rate

1. Make Communication a Priority

Communication between you and your tenants, as well as your Baltimore County property manager, is important when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

Having an open line of communication where tenants feel comfortable reaching out for anything they need will allow you to stand out amongst other landlords, as well as increase your chances of getting a lease renewal.

One great way that you can establish that communication is a priority for you is to give your tenants a tenant welcome packet prior to move-in.

This packet can include things such as important contact information tenants will need over the term of their lease, dining, shopping, and entertainment hotspots that are nearby, and general maintenance tips they should stay on top of during their lease.

 

2. Collect Rent…Online

Boost Tenant Retention by Setting Up Online Payment

In addition to having a solid line of communication established between yourself and your tenants, another great way to boost lease renewals is to make paying rent as easy as possible.

And today, most people are accustomed to paying everything online.

It’s convenient, available 24/7, easy to track, and makes your life a whole lot easier too.

Collecting rent online is a great idea – it helps your tenants, and it helps you and your Baltimore County property manager.

And, let’s not forget that it is the most secure and reliable way to collect money.

 

3. Spruce up Your Property

Many times, property owners only make major improvements to their properties in between tenants.

And, it makes sense to do so.

When the property is empty, it is easy to see what needs repair, and in order to avoid a long vacancy, that is the best time to make upgrades.

After all, the more amenities you have in your property, the higher rent amounts you can command.

However, failing to tend to the properties that have tenants in them is a big mistake.

To start, a property that is falling apart is not going to be one that a tenant wants to continue living in past the end of the lease term.

In addition, making small improvements to your property throughout a lease term, as a way of showing appreciation to your tenant for paying on time and being an all-around good tenant, will make your tenant more likely to want to stay another lease term.

One neat thing you could do, in order to really strike gold with your tenants, is to ask them if there is anything in the property they would like to see upgraded or fixed.

This will really go a long way come lease renewal time.

Your tenants will definitely remember come lease renewal time, when you replaced that old, partially functioning dishwasher with a brand new, water efficient one.

 

4. Call Before Coming Over

Call Your Baltimore County Tenants Before Coming Over

Issuing proper notices is the legal thing to do when you want to enter your investment property for one reason or another.

Not only is it illegal to show up to your rental property unannounced, but it also can really interrupt your tenant’s life.

What if they are having people over for dinner? What if they want to be home when you come over? What if they prefer not to be alone when you show up?

There are many things to take into consideration when you show up to your rental property for a routine inspection or general maintenance issue.

Respect that people live in your property, and treat it like their actual home.

If there is no immediate emergency, there really is no reason not to politely call ahead when you plan on stopping by, so your tenants can adjust their schedule and be prepared.

 

5. Use a Good Baltimore County Property Manager

Property managers typically have the most contact with your tenants.

This makes selecting the right property management company crucial to your success as a landlord, especially when it comes to tenant retention.

If your tenant cannot stand the property manager assigned to your property, has problems with administrative staff, or cannot get in touch with the on-call maintenance crew, you are going to have trouble convincing a tenant to sign a lease renewal at the end of their term.

No one wants to deal with a difficult property management company, no matter how great the landlord or the property is.

That’s why it is on you to do your due diligence when it comes to interviewing a property management company to handle your investment property.

In addition, if you notice any of the signs that your property management company isn’t cutting it, you need to know when to let them go.

 

If you are looking for an experienced property management company in the Baltimore County region, contact Bay Management Group today. With a dedication to providing superior customer service, you will never have to worry about a tenant wanting to leave your rental because of anything we do.

With 24/7/365 maintenance, online rent collection, and open lines of communication, your tenants will feel comfortable reaching out for anything they need.

And, you can count on us for top-notch vacancy advertisements, thorough tenant screening and placement, and plenty of advice on how to garner higher retention rates.

In the end, we have everything both you and your tenants need to be happy.


5 Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

It seems that we all suffer the frustrating feeling of losing something one time or another. However, some of us are worse about keeping track of our things than others.

Simply Orderly shared some statistics about just how bad some of us are at staying organized:

  • The average American will spend 1 year of their life looking for lost items
  • More specifically, the average American will spend 55 minutes a day looking for lost items
  • The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for things
  • The average executive spends nearly 150 hours a year looking for lost information

 

In addition, Simply Orderly goes on to state that more than 1 in 4 Americans want to be more organized.

These statistics show us that no one is immune to losing things on a regular basis.

However, these statistics also show us that people genuinely want to become more organized.

As an Annapolis landlord, you should make organization of your rental property business a priority.

With all of the important documents you need to keep on hand, it is imperative you develop a system so you can collect, update, and retrieve information easily.

After all, losing your investment property information is going to make things difficult for everyone involved.

If you self-manage your Anne Arundel County rental property, and are seeking ways to get organized, keep reading to find out some of the best ways to do just that.

The success of your rental property business might depend on it.

 

5 Steps to Take to Become a More Organized Annapolis Landlord

 

1. Document Everything

It should go without saying that documenting everything related to your rental property, and the tenants that lease from you, is crucial to your rental property business.

This includes all communication – email, text, and written correspondence – as well as formal documents related to the purchase of your rental property, the lease agreement signed between you and your tenants, and any rental applications you have received for your rental property.

Keeping these documents safe and secure, as well as easily accessible, will help smooth out any misunderstandings you may have in the future. This is especially true if a landlord-tenant dispute arises.

The more you can prove with physical documentation, the safer you will be.

 

2. Create a File for Each Property

Create a File For Each Property You Own in Annapolis

It is not enough to keep all documents related to your rental properties and the tenants that lease from you in one huge and unorganized pile.

One of the best things you can do from the very beginning (as in the first time you ever lease your investment property to a tenant), is to create an organized filing system for each property.

In addition, you may want to consider creating sub-folders as a way to stay ultra-organized, and prevent the misplacement of any documents.

If you only have one property in your rental property portfolio, that’s okay.

Create a folder anyway with the documents mentioned above, as well as anything else that relates to the rental property throughout the lease term.

This may include things like:

  • Inspection Reports. Document both the move-in and move-out inspection reports, photos and video of the property’s condition, and any maintenance issues addressed prior to move-in. Don’t forget to add in any routine inspections you conduct throughout the lease term, either.
  • Tenant Information. The rental application, background check, ID copies, lease agreement, references, employment history, and vehicle information for each tenant you lease to should be saved in a secure location. This is personal information you tenant does not want others to have access to.
  • Tenant Financials. Keep record of the security deposit you collect, and any additional fees you charge your tenant, the rent amounts you collect each month, and photocopies of checks that you deposit.
  • Property Expenses. This can include things like advertisement costs, maintenance and repair costs, upgrade or improvement expenses, service agreements made with contractors, and invoices for repairs made to the property by someone other than yourself.
  • Notices, emails, texts, and written correspondence between you and your tenant should be documented at all times for resolving future disputes.
  • Rental Property Information. Again, anything related to the purchase of your investment property should be saved. This means the property deed, insurance policies, tax information, inspection certifications, mortgage agreement, and loan information. In addition, you should keep copies of your Maryland rental registration paperwork as well.

 

By keeping everything in one designated place, you will be able to access any information you need, at any time, without having to worry that something is missing.

 

3. Go Digital

Creating a physical filing system of your rental property business is an excellent idea.

However, things happen (e.g. floods, fires, or worse, thievery). And, once physical paperwork is permanently destroyed or lost, it is gone forever.

That is, unless you have saved copies elsewhere.

Saving all of your business documents online as a backup to your printed paperwork is critical to avoiding problems that result from lost information.

Invest in an efficient scanner, and scan all documents you need to save into a secure place.

One great place to save your digital folders is in the “cloud.” This way, they are accessible at all times, from any device.

 

4. Keep a Calendar

Keep A Calendar to Stay Organized With Your Annapolis Rental

Running a business is a tough job.

And, with tough jobs come lots of appointments, meetings, and deadlines.

Whether you like to stay traditional and use a pen and paper calendar, or invest in an online time management system, complete with calendaring capabilities, be sure to find a system that works for you and jot down any important dates.

Here are some important dates all Anne Arundel County property owners should remember:

  • Routine inspections work well if you conduct them seasonally. This way you can ensure your tenants are caring for your property throughout their lease term, and handle any minor maintenance issues before they become major.
  • Speaking of maintenance, any responsibilities that you agreed to at the time of the lease agreement signing (e.g. air filter replacement, landscaping, pool maintenance, appliance inspections, etc.) should be calendared so you don’t forget to fulfill your obligations to your tenant.
  • Vacancy Showings. No landlord wants to deal with excessive vacancies, however sometimes it happens. If you have a rental property that needs a tenant, schedule property showings so you can get your property filled as soon as possible.
  • Lease Renewals. One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a lease renewal is to be proactive about it. Make sure you give your current tenants plenty of time to decide whether to renew or not, especially if you are considering a rent increase. This professional approach is also a great way of showing your tenants you care about them and want them to stay with you.

 

These are only some of the things you should calendar as a way to become a more organized landlord.

There are plenty of other important reminders you should make note of, and using a calendar is one way of staying organized.

 

5. Employ an Annapolis Property Management Company

One of the best ways to stay on track as an organized landlord is to enlist the help of your trusted Annapolis property management company.

With a professional, experienced, and established property management team helping you along the way, your chances of becoming disorganized are slim-to-none.

This is because with the right property manager, every document you need that relates to your rental property business will be safe, secure, and accessible at all times.

If you are looking for a property management company to help you with your bookkeeping needs, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help with saving documents related to your rental properties, tenants, and lease agreements. In addition, we can help you schedule routine inspections, property showings, and anything else you can think of.

At Bay Management Group, we pride ourselves in providing the utmost in customer service. This applies to tenants in your rental property, and you as well.

We keep records of your property’s monthly and yearly profits and expenses, ensure all communication is recorded to prevent disputes, and even encourage online rent collection procedures so that you always have records of when rent was paid, by whom, and for how much.

There is so much to that goes into being a successful Annapolis landlord, and losing things should not be one of them.

Let Bay Management take care of the administrative side of your rental property business, while you simply enjoy the positive cash flow and extra free time.


How to Be a Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

How to Be A Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

You have been stewing over whether you should add another Montgomery County rental property to your growing portfolio.

And, like all successful landlords, you have done your due diligence and researched all the right things – market trends, going rental rates, amenities, financing options, as well as nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

There’s just one catch.

The rental property you want to invest in is right next door to your primary residence.

Though being a next-door landlord has many benefits, it has its fair share of drawbacks as well.

Read on to find out what the pros and cons are of living right next door to your Montgomery County tenants, and how to find success in being a next-door landlord.

 

The Benefits of Being a Next-Door Landlord

1. You Can Create a Stronger Landlord-Tenant Relationship

Living next door to your tenant is often a great way to build a better, and healthier, relationship.

In many cases, tenants have very little to no contact with their landlords.

This means they never get to know the property owner on a personal level.

Having a friendly relationship with your tenants, that still maintains strong boundaries (after all, this is a business you are running), can forge the distance that often exists between landlord and tenant.

As a result, you may be able to win over your tenant, and increase your lease renewal rates because your tenant enjoys being in your company from time-to-time.

 

2. Quicker Response Times

Next-Door Landlords Have Quicker Response Time In Montgomery County

Property maintenance can be a real pain if you self-manage your rental property, and live far across town.

No one wants to get an after-hours call that a pipe burst and the property is flooding.

However, if you don’t have a property management company on your side to help you out with 24/7 maintenance, an after-hours call is exactly what you will receive.

Living next-door and receiving a midnight call that your rental property is flooding because of a burst pipe is still going to be a pain.

However, it will be a lot easier to pop on over from next door and handle the issue at hand.

The same rings true for minor, non-emergency maintenance requests.

If your tenants have something they need, a quick visit from you next door will be far less strenuous than having to make an out of the way trip from across town.

 

3. Tenants Will Behave

If your Montgomery County tenant knows that you live right next door to them, chances are they will be on their best behavior at all times.

While we do not suggest you spy on them (this is not recommended for many reasons), tenants tend to behave better when they know their landlord is around.

Also, breaking the lease agreement will be more difficult for tenants to pull off knowing that you may notice this breach at any moment.

In addition, sneaking a pet into the property knowing there is a no-pet policy will be hard to do.

Damaging the property when you can likely easily see it will be nearly impossible.

And, tenants can forget about having constant parties that wake the entire neighborhood, because that neighborhood includes you.

 

4. Property Abandonment is Less Likely

Abandoned Property Is Less Likely to Happen With a Next-Door Landlord

In tune with better tenant behavior, another benefit to living right next door to your tenants is the fact that property abandonment is not likely to go unnoticed.

One of the biggest issues facing property owners is the non-payment of rent.

This is especially true if a tenant packs their bags in the middle of the night, and simply disappears without a trace.

Recouping lost rent payments, dealing with abandoned personal property, and having to start all over and place new tenants in their rental, are all things property owners hope to avoid at all costs.

If your tenants decide they want to leave your rental without proper notice, they are going to have to be sneaky to get away with it without you noticing.

In fact, if anything suspicious is going on next door, you are probably going to be the first to notice.

 

Problems Facing Next-Door Landlords

1. Tenant Screening

Just because you will be living next door to your tenant does not mean you can take any additional liberties when it comes to tenant screening.

You must remain consistent in your tenant screening procedures, and take care not to violate the Fair Housing Act.

While it is okay to want to place high-quality tenants in your property, make sure not to treat next-door tenants any differently than you would other prospective tenants for properties across town.

Do not ask unusual questions or discriminate against any protected classes because you want a particular type of tenant living next door.

In order to protect yourself against any claims of discrimination, enlist the help of an experienced Montgomery County property manager to help aid you with the tenant screening and placement process.

 

2. Boundaries Might Blur

Boundaries Can Blur As a Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

It can be difficult to find the balance between being a friendly neighbor, and maintaining your status as property owner.

While living next door to your tenant, make sure to set clear boundaries from the start.

This means establishing clear and appropriate lines of communication.

For instance, ensure your tenants that you will be available for all questions and concerns, including emergencies, but that knocking on your front door at random times is not allowed.

You want to make sure that you appear as a kind and understanding landlord that is dedicated to providing your tenants the best living experience possible.

However, you also want to make sure tenants understand that you are the boss, that there is a legal lease agreement in place, and that violations of the rules will not be tolerated.

 

How to Be a Good Next-Door Landlord

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are a good next-door landlord:

  • Remain Professional. Always remember that this is your rental property business and that business comes first. It is okay to be friendly. It is not okay to let your guard down, and let your tenants get away with violating the lease because you are on friendly terms.
  • Screen Tenants Thoroughly. Following strict tenant screening procedures, without violating the Fair Housing Act, will ensure that your investment property, and your sanity, remain intact while your tenants live next door to you for the duration of the lease term.
  • Understand the Law. As a property owner, it is your duty to understand that tenants have the renter’s “Right of Quiet Enjoyment” while residing in your property. This means your tenants have the right to be left alone and not bothered by you on a regular basis, despite you living right next door. This means you cannot harass them as they go to and from the property, spy on them, access the property illegally, or otherwise violate their rights.
  • Be a Good Neighbor. You don’t want your tenants throwing loud parties, trashing the front yard, involving themselves with illegal activity, or bothering other neighbors. The same applies to you. Being a decent neighbor, is something your tenants will expect from you as well.

 

In the end, there are many reasons why becoming a next-door landlord in Montgomery County is a good idea.

Being able to see your investment property on a consistent basis is bound to lessen some of the typical problems landlords face with problem tenants.

However, it is important to remember that your tenants may initially be uneasy at the thought of living next door to their landlord.

Go out of your way to show tenants you are professional, and want them to enjoy your property. If you can do this, they will be more likely to sign a lease renewal come the end of their lease term.

 

If you need help managing your next-door rental property, and prefer to not deal with the logistics of collecting rent, hopping over to fix leaky faucets, or enforcing the no-pet rule when your tenant clearly has a large dog in the backyard, contact Bay Management Group to help.

At Bay Management Group, we provide property owners with a whole host of property management services for a low monthly management fee.

Enjoy the benefits of having a qualified property maintenance crew on hand 24/7, and our ability to inspect properties throughout the lease term to ensure adherence to the lease agreement.

In addition, take advantage of our strict rent collection policy that will not require you to run around collecting rent checks.

At Bay Management Group, we make management of your Montgomery County rental property hands-off, allowing you to feel stress-free about your next-door tenants.