The Ultimate Safety Checklist for Your Bethesda Rental Property

Ultimate Safety Checklist For Your Bethesda Rental Property

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rental Property Safety Checklist

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

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

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

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

 

1. Exterior

Check the Safety Of The Exterior of Your Bethesda Rental Property

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

2. Interior

Check the Safety of the Interior of Your Rental Property

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

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

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

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

 

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

3. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

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

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

 

Smoke Detectors

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

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

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

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

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tenants leasing from you must do the following:

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


The Top 10 Flooring Companies in The Philadelphia Area

Dealing with the upkeep, repair, and cleaning of your rental property flooring is challenging if you don’t know what you are doing.

That’s why enlisting the help of a professional is often your best option for keeping your property’s floor visually appealing, durable, and affordable.

To help, we have searched high and low for Philadelphia’s top 10 flooring companies – complete with high reviews, plenty of awards, and of course a variety of services – so that when it comes time for you to give your property’s floor a little TLC, you will know where to look.

 

10 Flooring Companies You Can Count on for Your Rental

Top Flooring Companies in Philadelphia

1. Victor Hardwood Floors

Victor Hardwood Floors is licensed and insured to perform floor installations, refinishes, repairs, and restorations. Specializing in hardwood flooring and laminate for 20 years, this floor company comes highly rated, and even boasts the official Home Advisor seal of approval.

With Victor Hardwood Floors, you can expect:

  • Implementation of the cutting-edge dust containment system
  • Guaranteed quality workmanship
  • The best prices around, as well as a promise to beat any competitor’s estimate

The hand-selected team at Victor Hardwood Floors is so convinced you will be satisfied with their flooring services, that they have an exclusive Referral Rewards Program that allows you to reap the benefits of spreading the good word about them to your friends and family.

 

2. Hudson Hardwood Floors

Flooring Companies in Philly

Hudson Hardwood Floors is dedicated to providing their customers top-notch craftsmanship and affordable pricing. Thanks to Hudson, you can get your wood floors refinished, buffed, coated, or even cleaned by experts in the flooring industry. Better yet, you can get wood floors installed and add that extra visual appeal to your home.

Hudson Hardwood Floors is proud to say that:

  • They come highly rated on top review sites such as Yelp and Google
  • Dust and sand-free work environments are something they guarantee 99.9% of the time
  • There are two hardwood flooring installations available – one saving you time and money, the other creating a fully customized look

As members of the National Wood Flooring Association, you can rest assured that the experts at Hudson Hardwood Floors know floors well.

 

3. LP Flooring

LP Flooring is a family owned and operated hardwood flooring company that not only performs floor installations and refinishes, but also can help you install stairs, handrails, baseboards, and custom moldings to meet your individual property needs.

LP Flooring boasts:

  • Experience working with a variety of wood species
  • The ability to stain your flooring any color with smooth, finished looks
  • Warranties for all workmanship and installations

Customer satisfaction is LP Flooring’s ultimate goal, and is verified in their portfolio of beautiful floor installations, their highly reviewed services on Home Advisor, and their competitive pricing.

 

4. MJC Floor Finishing

New Flooring For Your Philly Rental Property

While MJC Floor Finishing is a relatively new flooring contractor, they offer up service you will value for years. Established in 2016, their highly trained floor specialists strive to take care of all of your flooring needs – repairs, stripping, installs, upgrades, and more.

Features that make MJC Floor Finishing unique include:

  • 24/7 operating hours
  • The capacity to travel throughout Philly and surrounding areas
  • 100% referral rate on RateABiz

If you are looking to spruce up your rental property’s current flooring, or make the switch from carpet to a more durable, easily cleaned surface such as hardwood or laminate, MJC Floor Finishing comes highly recommended.

 

5. Tran’s Hardwood Floor Co.

As a family owned business, Tran’s Hardwood Floor Co. serves a whole host of areas within the larger Philadelphia area. Their team, available 7 days a week, is highly trained in hardwood floor projects, the installation of steps, and even laminate flooring installs.

Tran’s Hardwood Floor Co. will:

  • Remove your rental property’s carpet, and help you upgrade the flooring
  • Offer free estimates and seek 100% customer satisfaction with affordable pricing
  • Help you create a unique look in your home using baseboards and moldings

This experienced flooring company has the skill you look for when trying to decide which flooring contractor to employ for your property.

6. Floor Coverings International of Cherry Hill

Top Picks for Flooring in Your Philly Rental

Floor Coverings International of Cherry Hill has been in business for 25 years and is proud to say they have serviced residential and commercial customers not only in the Philly area, but also across North America. From floor selection to installation, they have you covered.

With Floor Coverings International of Cherry Hill, you get the following:

  • A free in-home consultation by a specially-trained Design Associate who will help you plan your entire project from start to finish
  • Options such as carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, and even vinyl, with the option of restoration services as well
  • 12-month no-interest financing, as well as regular promotions on popular flooring

This highly qualified flooring contractor can cover all of your rental property flooring needs.

 

7. Do’s Hardwood Floor Sanding

Do’s Hardwood Floor Sanding, established in 2010, is a comprehensive flooring company dedicated to analyzing your project needs and suggesting products and services that cater to those needs in the best way possible.

At Do’s Hardwood Floor Sanding, you get more than hardwood services:

  • Specialty flooring such as concrete, stone, bamboo, Terrazzo, and even engineered wood
  • Free quotes on any of their long-lasting flooring solutions
  • Patch repairs that match seamlessly, as well as staining services

This efficient flooring company is there for your rental property needs, especially if you want to add one-of-a-kind flooring to your property.

 

8. BJ Kitchen Floor Inc.

BJ Kitchen Floor Inc. has over a decade of experience in traditional and exotic hardwood flooring, as well as other home improvement projects such as cabinetry, countertops, and walls/backsplashes. Perfect as your one-stop home renovation company, the experts at BJ Kitchen Floor Inc. can get you a great price on an exceptional project.

BJ Kitchen Floor Inc. offers the following:

  • Major wholesale distribution pricing for large renovation jobs
  • A variety of wood species, styles, colors, edges, and textures when it comes to your perfect flooring, as well as custom work
  • Trusted brands such as Bruce, Armstrong, and Mullican

BJ Hardwood Floor Inc. deals with both residential and commercial hardwood flooring options, and also offers laminate and vinyl options should you be on a more limited budget.

 

9. Philly Hardwood Floors

Best Companies For Your Philly Rental's Flooring

Philly Hardwood Floors is a fully-licensed and insured flooring business that is happy to provide you long-lasting, visually appealing, and eco-friendly wood floors to help boost the value of your property. Specializing in installations, repairs, and restorations, they also have staircase services available for those in need.

With Philly Hardwood Floors, you also receive things like:

  • Free estimates and moldings
  • Extensive operating hours (7am – 10pm), 7 days a week
  • Affordable pricing, timely project completion, open communication, and top quality workmanship, as stated in several Yelp reviews

If you choose to go with Philly Hardwood Floors, you will not be disappointed in how attractive your property flooring looks when the project is completed.

 

10. Philadelphia Flooring Solutions

Philadelphia Flooring Solutions works with all types of flooring options – carpet, laminate, hardwood, ceramic tiles, vinyl, and more. And, with trained experts on hand to discuss your project needs, you will be able to renovate your rental property’s flooring, while still meeting your allotted budget.

In addition, expect the following from Philadelphia Flooring Solutions:

  • Top-notch brands such as Pergo, Mohawk, and Shaw
  • Resources to help you measure your floor space and determine which flooring solution is best based on room type
  • A Home Advisor seal of approval prompting you to trust their brand

This flooring company is proud to say they have experts on hand to meet your flooring needs, and the know-how for using up-to-date products on your low budget rental flooring project, all the way up to your customized luxury project.

 

In Closing

Educating yourself about the different types of flooring available will prove beneficial to you in the long run.

Luckily, Philly has some exceptional flooring specialists that can help you choose the perfect flooring option for your rental property. Consider factors such as ease of cleaning, durability, visual appeal, and cost – then pick a flooring professional to make it all happen.


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

How to Handle Rental Maintenance Emergencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency?

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

How to Handle an Emergency Maintenance Request

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

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

 

1. Inform Your Tenants About What to Do During Emergencies

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

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

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

Prepare Your Tenants for Emergencies in Your Rental Property

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

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

 

2. Discuss the Issue with Your Tenant Before Taking Action

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

3. Have Your Own Contact List Available

Provide Tenants Your Contact List for Rental Property Emergencies

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

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

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

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

 

4. Stay Proactive

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


Top 7 Costly Mistakes New Philadelphia Landlords Make

Costly Mistakes New Philly Landlords Make

There are many different moving parts to conquer in order to be a successful rental property owner.

Enlisting the help of property management in Philadelphia will take a great deal off your plate, and help you avoid making too many mistakes.

Though making mistakes is often part of the learning process in the rental property business, there are things all property owners should avoid, as they are some of the most costly mistakes that can be made, especially when just starting out.

Not sure what those mistakes are?

Don’t worry.

Today we are going to cover some of the biggest mistakes new landlords make that cost a lot of money in the long run, in the hopes that you learn from the mistakes of others, and avoid making them yourself as you build and grow your investment property portfolio.

 

7 Expensive Mistakes New Philadelphia Landlords Make

People don’t enter the rental property business to lose money – that much is obvious.

However, if you make any of the following mistakes while starting out as a new landlord, you may risk losing money rather than making it.

 

1. Not Having Insurance

Not Having Insurance Is a Mistake New Landlords Make

There are two types of insurance that must be in place at the beginning of your tenant’s lease term to ensure you don’t become the victim of a legal dispute that empties your pockets in more ways than one.

  • Homeowners Insurance. This insurance policy is under your name and protects the structure of your rental property, should anything happen to it, such as a fire, flood, or natural disaster. Homeowners insurance will cover the cost of the property damages so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
  • Renters Insurance. This insurance policy is under your tenant’s name and should be required of all tenants that lease your rental properties. Renters insurance covers the costs of your tenant’s personal belongings in the case of an emergency, any medical costs incurred should anyone become injured while on your property, and any other damage that is the fault of your tenant.

 

Making sure you and your tenants have enough insurance coverage will save you the headache of arguing in court over who is responsible for damages.

It will also save you a great deal of money, should an emergency happen and cause great damage to your rental property.

 

2. Overpricing Your Philadelphia Rental Property

It is important you understand the market when entering the rental property business.

As mentioned earlier, no one gets into leasing properties to lose money. However, overpricing your rental in hopes of garnering a huge profit may backfire on you as well.

Knowing what similar rentals in the area are charging for rent will help you gauge whether your rent rate is appropriate.

If you overprice your rental in an area with many available rentals, chances are your property is going to remain vacant for a long time. Prospective tenants do their research too, and will not pay over market value, if possible.

This is where having an experienced property management company is helpful.

A good Philadelphia property manager will know what price to set your rental at to garner a positive cash flow without squeezing your tenant too much (and risking an early lease termination).

 

3. Not Collecting a Security Deposit

Not Collecting Security Deposit Is a Mistake New Landlords Make

The security deposit you collect from your tenants prior to move-in is a way to protect yourself come the end of the lease term.

This money serves as a replacement for any lost rent or damages to your property.

Without it, you will have to front the money for your monthly mortgage, should your tenant not pay their monthly rent. Worse yet, you will have to pay out of your own pocket for any damages beyond normal wear and tear that your tenants incur in your investment property.

Without a security deposit in place to help lessen the financial burden a bad tenant leaves on you at the end of a lease term, you may end up breaking your own bank account and hurting your positive cash flow.

 

4. Not Periodically Checking Your Property

A reliable property management company in Philadelphia such as Bay Management Group always stresses the importance of seasonal inspections of rental properties they manage.

Regular inspections provide the perfect opportunity to check in on your tenants to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities as your tenants

They also help reveal maintenance issues that, when taken care of right away, do not cost nearly as much as they would if they were neglected and handled down the line, once the small issue becomes a big one.

 

5. Discriminating During the Tenant Screening Process

Discriminating During Tenant Process Is a New Landlord Mistake

If your property manager is not aware of the Fair Housing Act and how it relates to the tenant screening process, this is a sign you have enlisted the help of a bad property management company.

There is a federal law that prohibits discriminating against protected classes during the tenant screening process that must be adhered to every single time you or your property manager interview a tenant to lease your rental.

You could face a serious legal battle (that you will likely lose) if found to be violating this law.

Not only will a landlord-tenant dispute that lands in court cost you money in legal fees, your property will remain vacant, and you may even earn a poor reputation as a landlord that might affect your future in the rental property business.

 

6. Not Enforcing the Lease Agreement

There is a reason your property manager meticulously puts together a lease agreement to meet your specific needs, and goes over it line by line with your tenant come move-in time.

This protects you, your investment property, and your tenant.

If you fail to enforce the lease agreement from the beginning, your tenant will not view you as a professional to take seriously.

And, in the end, this will cost you money. 

If your tenant fails to pay the rent on time, and you let it slide, without starting the eviction process as is outlined in the lease agreement, or not charging the late fee that both you and your tenant agreed to at the start of the tenancy, your tenant may begin to feel as though they can be late every time.

If you set a rule, such as a late rent payment charge, enforce it. Every single time.

This way you aren’t taken advantage of, and won’t lose out on money in the long run.

 

7. Not Using Reliable Philadelphia Property Management

New Landlord Mistake is Not Using a Property Management Company

Employing a bad property management company can lose you just as much money as trying to self-manage your rental property without having a clue what you are doing.

If you want to use a property manager to help enforce lease terms, collect rent, handle maintenance and repair requests, and even conduct seasonal inspections of your rental property, make sure you research the property management company before hiring them.

For instance, Bay Management Group has years of experience in managing rental properties. The property managers we employ are knowledgeable about all rental property laws, rules, and regulations.

In addition, we understand what it takes to make it in the rental property business, including how to find high quality tenants that will care for your property, and when to enforce lease provisions against bad tenants.

Plus, we know how you should market your vacant rental when you are ready to jump into the rental property business and place a tenant in your property, how much your rent rate should be, and how to draft a legally compliant lease agreement that caters to you and your tenant, ensuring that everyone is satisfied.

If you are looking to avoid making costly mistakes that many new landlords make, as well as recruit help managing your Philadelphia rental property, call Bay Management Group today.


What Are the Responsibilities of a Property Management Company?

What Are the Responsibilities of Your Gaithersburg Property Management Company?

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

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

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

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

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

 

What a Qualified Gaithersburg Property Management Company Should Do

1. Property Advertising

Property Management Company Should Advertise Property

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

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

 

2. Tenant Screening

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

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

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

 

3. Tenant Move-In

Property Management Company Handles Tenant Move-in

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

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

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

 

4. Maintenance, Repairs, and Complaints

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

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

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

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

 

5. Rent Collection

Property Management Company Should Collect Rent

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

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

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

 

6. Property Inspections

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

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

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

 

7. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Handled by Property Management Company

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

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

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

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

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

 

8. Tenant Move-Out

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

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

From there, the following will happen:

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

 

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

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

If you own rental property in Gaithersburg or anywhere in Montgomery County and have realized that self-management of your investment property is not right for you, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.


7 Fall Maintenance Tips For Your Abingdon Rental Property

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Abington Rental Property

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fall Maintenance Guidelines for Your Abingdon Rental Property

1. Check in With Your Tenants

Check In With Your Abingdon Rental Property Tenants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Fireplace

Clean the Fireplace During Fall Maintenance of Your Abingdon Rental

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

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

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

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

 

4. Irrigation Systems

Fall weather typically brings a lot of rainfall to Abingdon.

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

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

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

 

5. Roof Inspections

Inspect Roof of Your Abingdon Rental Property During Fall Maintenance

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

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

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

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

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

 

6. Inspect Safety Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

7. Prepare for Snow Removal

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


What You Need to Know About Security Cameras For Your Rental

What You Need to Know About Installing Security Cameras in Your Rental Property

Being the owner of a rental property comes with many challenges. You’re not always sure if your tenants are going to pay their rent every time, if they are going to treat your investment property right, and if they are going to conduct illegal activities in your residence.

And, while thorough tenant screening does a lot to reduce these risks, nothing is guaranteed.

One concrete way of better protecting your Baltimore County rental property from things like theft and vandalism is to install security cameras on the property.

Many retail stores use security cameras on their properties as a way of protecting their business.

And, we always suggest you look to your rental property as a business.

However, there is some growing concern from tenants over the presence of security cameras, both outside and inside of your property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some of the most important things to consider before installing a security system, complete with cameras, on your Baltimore County rental property.

 

Can You Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental?

You Can Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental

In short, yes you can install security cameras on your Baltimore rental property.

However, this does not come without its limitations.

In Baltimore County, you are not allowed to install a visual surveillance camera in any areas considered private places without a person’s consent. This may include places such as dressing rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The same rules also apply to still shots being captured via a camera.

In addition, you are prohibited from using a camera to spy on people inside of a private property. The only exception to this is if the area is being used to conduct business.

That said, you are allowed to legally install visible security cameras that monitor places such as your rental’s driveway, front and back doors, backyard areas, and garages. Any place that is considered a public place, where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not expected, you can monitor via video surveillance.

However, if you are secretly recording your tenants in any area, you may find yourself in some legal hot water.

Not only does Baltimore law forbid recording anyone without their consent within a private residence, most tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy while in the home they are leasing from you.

As a result, most states have strict privacy laws in place to protect tenants from video surveillance within a property.

That’s why it is important to discuss surveillance laws with an experienced attorney before installing surveillance cameras on the inside of your rental.

In addition, it is important you discuss these things with your potential tenants before they sign a lease agreement with you.

Although you may have sufficient justifications for wanting to install security cameras on the inside of your rental home, outside security cameras should be enough when it comes to protecting your Baltimore County rental property.

 

What About Audio Recording?

Audio Recording is Illegal Inside Your Baltimore Rental Property

Many security cameras come with audio recording as well.

However, most states have strict wiretapping laws in place preventing the secret audio recording of private conversations, such as the ones you would expect to take place within a rental property residence.

In addition, Baltimore County takes it one step further, and states that it is illegal to record conversations, regardless of where they are taking place, unless you have the consent of all involved parties.

Even if you decide to install security cameras on the outside of your rental property, which is legal to do, it is best you do so without capturing any audio.

 

Why Use Security Cameras?

Reasons to Use Security Cameras In Your Baltimore Rental Property

There are plenty of benefits to using security cameras on your rental property, whether it is occupied or not.

Take a look at some of the best reasons why, despite the complex legalities you must familiarize yourself with, using a surveillance system is helpful:

  • Monitor Nuisances. Loud parties, over-staying guests, and other disturbances on your property are easily caught on security camera footage. Since these activities can wreak havoc on your rental property business, or can be considered a breach of the signed lease agreement, having the proof it is happening can help protect you and your property.
  • Unauthorized Maintenance Workers. There are plenty of stories floating around about suspicious maintenance workers spying on rentals so they can later burglarize them. If you use a Baltimore County property management company that has their own maintenance crew, there should be no other contractors entering your property without your consent. This is something video surveillance can capture as it happens.
  • Vacancy Protection. When your property is vacant, it is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Taking surveillance of your rental property can help deter or prosecute these activities. In addition, it helps reduce the costs associated with vacant property issues, such as property damage, theft, or illegal use of the residence.

 

Altogether, using security cameras in your Baltimore rental property can be a good idea.

If you are looking to add security cameras to your rental property, and need some help in dealing with the legal issues surrounding both visual and audio surveillance, enlist the help of Bay Management Group.

 

Experienced and knowledgeable about all rental property housing laws, including those related to video surveillance, we can help ensure you are not breaking any Baltimore County laws with your security camera system.

 

In addition, we help protect your property in other ways by conducting thorough tenant screening, routine inspections, and drafting airtight lease agreements strictly outlining what is, and is not, allowed during your tenant’s stay.

 

Let us help you keep the peace of mind that your investment property is safe from things such as theft, vandalism, and structural damage so that you can enjoy the better parts of being a Baltimore County property owner.


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.


5 Appliances That Receive The Most Tenant Damage

Appliances That Receive the Most Tenant Damage in Your Takoma Park Rental

When it comes to the appliances you provide your Takoma Park tenants, you’ve probably included the basics like a dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, and washer and dryer.

And, if you want to maintain an edge on the competition, chances are you are offering top of the line appliances that are environmentally friendly, modern by design, and of course, cost a pretty penny.

That said, it is extremely disappointing to find out at the end of your tenant’s lease term that those precious appliances you put into your rental property have been damaged.

Investing in appliances for your rental properties can help you command higher rent amounts and better quality tenants.

However, it is good to remember that not everyone is going to care for your appliances as well as you would.

And, since you can’t monitor your tenants 24/7, it can be tough to keep a handle on appliance care.

So, today we are going to take a look at some of the appliances in your Takoma Park rental that typically suffer the most tenant damage, and what you can do to minimize the damage in order to save you money in the long run.

 

Appliances That Take a Beating in Your Takoma Park Rental Property

1. Refrigerator

The refrigerator is probably one of the most used appliances in your Takoma Park investment property. That means that it receives a lot of attention on the daily, both good and bad.

Here are some of the things your tenant does that adds extra wear on your refrigerator:

  • Overfilling the Fridge and Freezer. Packing both the fridge and freezer with too many items leads to poor circulation throughout the entire unit. This makes the cooling fan have to work double time to keep things at the right temperature, meaning a burnout is more likely.
  • Dirty Condenser Coils. The coils at the back of your fridge are rarely, if ever, cleaned by your tenants. In fact, some tenants may not even be able to move the fridge to get back there and clean. However, if left for too long, these coils will have to work extra hard to provide electricity to the unit.
  • Water Filter Misuse. If your fridge produces filtered water, and the filters go unchanged for too long, the mineral buildup can ruin the entire system, and create poor quality water.

 

The key here is to remind your tenant of the steps they can take to prevent a fridge breakdown.

After all, if the fridge dies on them, you have to fix the appliance. However, they don’t get off scot free – they have to replace all of their spoiled food.

 

2. Dishwasher

Dishwasher Receives Heavy Tenant Use and Damage in Your Takoma Park Rental

Dishwashers are designed to clean dishes, but they are by no means magic.

Unfortunately, many tenants don’t understand, or care, how to properly use a dishwasher.

It is important your tenants understand that they need to rinse off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

More importantly, they need to know which type of soap to use in the machine itself.

Sure, dish soap cleans dishes while you are hand washing them, but if you put that soap into the dishwasher, you are in for a lot of trouble that could cost you an entire dishwasher.

When it comes to maintaining the condition of your dishwasher, inform your tenants, prior to move-in, how to use it correctly.

Also, record its initial condition during the move-in inspection.

 

3. Washers and Dryers

Appliances That Take a Beating in Your Takoma Park Rental Property

The washer and dryer are prone to extreme misuse by tenants living in your Takoma Park rental property.

And unfortunately, replacing them is going to cost you a lot if they break down, and the breakage cannot be attributed to tenant negligence.

Here are the most common ways your tenant is likely to abuse your washer and dryer units:

  • Failing to zip up zippers or remove coins, which both scratch the inside of the washer and dryer drums
  • Using too much detergent
  • Using the wrong detergent, such as dish soap
  • Overloading the washing machine with too many clothes
  • Not cleaning the lint trap or dryer vents
  • Never cleaning the buildup of debris from the inside of the washing machine
  • Leaving wet clothes in the washer for prolonged periods of time, which can lead to mold growth

Again, informing your tenants at the time of move-in how to properly use and care for the washer and dryer units will help reduce the damage those appliances typically see.

 

4. Air Conditioning and Heating Units

Air Conditioners and HVAC Units Receive Lots of Tenant Damages in Your Laurel Rental Property

HVAC units have been noted as the most problematic appliance tenants have to deal with in rentals.

And while sometimes problems are out of your tenant’s control, a lot of the damage to HVAC units is due to a lack of maintenance by your tenant.

For example, not replacing the filters that keep your air conditioning unit working properly will cause extra wear on the system, and eventually cause a breakdown.

One thing a lot of property owners do to avoid this, is provide free air filters to their tenants to help remind them to make the changes each month.

 

5. Garbage Disposals

Just as dishwashers are not magic dish cleaners, garbage disposals are not magic food crushers.

Designed for light materials that wash easily down the sink, garbage disposals are often prone to backing up, jamming, or burning out.

Here are some of the most common things your tenant is likely to place in the garbage disposal during their tenancy that they shouldn’t:

  • Bones
  • Vegetable peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Corn husks
  • Grease and oil

 

The biggest piece of advice you can give your tenants when it comes to the garbage disposal is to use the provided sink strainer (that you should have available for use), so that none of these items, or foreign objects such as silverware, get stuck in the disposal and damage it.

 

As you can see, there are several appliances in your Takoma Park rental property that are easily damaged by your tenants.

And, despite them being high-quality tenants that never complain, always pay their rent on time, and don’t break the rules, the truth is, they are likely to be misusing at least one of the appliances listed above.

With Bay Management Group as your trusted property management company in Takoma Park, you can guarantee that proper move-in and move-out inspections will occur before and after every tenancy, to ensure that your tenants didn’t damage your property in any way.

And if they did, we take the correct measures for replacement.

Additionally, we pride ourselves in conducting routine inspections throughout lease terms to ensure nothing needs maintenance or repair.

And if something does, it is handled quickly and efficiently so that a minor repair doesn’t turn into a major repair.

So, contact Bay Management Group now, and see how we can help you protect your Takoma Park rental property appliances from tenant damage.


How to Know If You’re Keeping Your Prince George’s Tenants Safe

How to Keep Your Prince George's County Tenants Safe

Your Prince George’s County tenants have a legal right to a safe and habitable place of living when leasing from you.

And, it is probably safe to say that you too want to provide a safe and habitable place for your tenants, regardless of whether it’s the law.

But how do you know if your investment property is truly keeping your tenants safe?

Well, you could start by asking your tenants if they are experiencing any issues in the home that they would like fixed.

But what do tenants really know about home safety?

In an effort to ensure your Prince George’s County rental property is safe and secure for your tenants, follow this quick and easy inspection checklist each time you or your property manager make the rounds at your investment property.

This way, you won’t have to wonder whether your rental property is keeping your tenants safe, you will know it is.

 

5 Safety Hazards You Can Prevent in Your Prince George’s County Rental Property

 

1. Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Detector Keeps Your Prince George's County Tenants Safe

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas that is fatal within minutes to those that inhale it.

In fact, more than 500 people nationwide die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

That’s why in Maryland, it is required by law that a carbon monoxide detector be placed in all homes that rely on fossil fuels (e.g. wood, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, propane, natural gas, or oil).

When inspecting your rental property both prior to a new tenant moving in, and during routine inspections throughout the lease term, pay attention to where the carbon monoxide devices are placed, test them to make sure they are working, and change out the batteries regularly to ensure they are ready to protect your tenants at all times.

And, while you’re at it, do the same for any smoke detectors in your rental property as well.

 

2. Criminal Activity On or Around the Premises

As a successful landlord, it is your duty to make sure your tenant feels secure from both inside and outside threats to their safety.

This is why additional security measures on the exterior of your rental property are highly appealing to prospective tenants.

Here are some things you can check during the inspection of your property that will help ease your mind from the fear that criminal activity is threatening your current tenants:

  • Exterior lighting is in good working order
  • All hedges, bushes, and trees are trimmed back, and are not suitable for hiding in
  • Every door has a solid deadbolt for locking
  • No illegal drug activity or other criminal behavior is happening on or around the property
  • All doors and windows open and close properly – no sticking or looseness
  • Doors are made of solid wood or steel, and shatterproof glass is installed
  • Security bars are in all sliding glass doors
  • Window pins are present to prevent full opening
  • The home security system, complete with alarm and camera, are working properly

 

3. Lights and Electrical Outlets

Keep Lights and Electric Outlets Safe for Your Prince George's County Tenants

The dangers of electrical issues cannot be understated. Not only can they directly harm anyone in your rental property, they can cause a fire that ruins the structure of your property.

Testing all lights in and around your rental property is a great way to make sure everything is safe and secure for your tenants.

For example, make sure the lights work as intended to prevent injuries resulting from lack of lighting during the night.

In addition, make sure that there is no flicker, spark, or delayed response when turning on any light inside your property.

This may indicate faulty wiring and lends itself to a major fire hazard.

While testing your property’s lighting, it is also a good idea to check out any electrical outlets throughout the property.

You will want to look for things such as broken or missing cover plates, black marks that may indicate scorching, and dangling or frayed wires.

Lastly, don’t forget to inform your tenants not to use too many appliances per outlet, in order to prevent overloading circuits and sparking a fire.

 

4. Mold

Mold is something we discuss a lot here at Bay Management Group because it presents such a serious health hazard to anyone that comes in constant contact with it.

In addition, Maryland law is strict about property owners providing a safe and habitable place of living for all tenants.

In fact, it even requires landlords to manage mold issues if they arise in a rental property after a tenant moves in (so long as it cannot be tied back to tenant negligence).

Checking areas that have the potential to encounter a lot of water is a good place to start when inspecting your property for mold issues. Pipes, wood, carpeting, ceilings and roofs, near windows, and in the insulation of your property are areas that may be susceptible to mold growth.

 

5. Major Appliances

Major Appliances Cause a Hazard For Your Prince George's County Tenants

Though you may not think major appliances in your rental property pose much of a threat to your tenant’s safety, they do if not properly cared for.

Think about this: when was the last time you had your property’s furnace, HVAC system, plumbing and internal electrical systems inspected?

Knowing when to maintenance these items, as well as how to fix any problems, is important to your tenant’s safety and the structure of your property.

Make sure you keep thorough records of when professionals have been by to take a look and change out any parts, just in case your tenant requests to see that your property is being well maintained.

And what about the stove, oven, refrigerator, and washer and dryer units? 

Lint and dust build-up on any of these appliances pose major fire risks. This is especially true in any of the vents and tubes.

And, if your stove happens to run off of gas, it is crucial to test the lines and make sure they turn on and off properly.

If your property has a gas leak, your tenants could be in for a big, dangerous surprise the next time they light something in their home.

 

In the end, maintaining a safe and habitable home for your Prince George’s County tenants is a part of being in the rental property business.

It is your job to make sure that your property is safe and secure from both inside and outside threats, and that any complications are addressed quickly and efficiently, either by you or your property management company.

If you are looking to enlist the help of a Prince George’s County property management company to perform thorough move-in, move-out, and routine inspections on your rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We understand that the health and safety of your tenants falls on your shoulders, and can be a big responsibility. We also know that late-night maintenance calls and emergencies are not on your list of ideal things to do as a rental property owner.

So call Bay Management Group today and have us help you keep your tenants safe and secure throughout their entire lease term.