The Top 5 Pro Tips For Long-Term Essex Resident Retention

Pro Tips for Long Term Tenant Retention In Essex

Learning how to retain your Essex tenants, and encourage them to sign lease renewals at the end of their lease terms, is something all successful property owners do at some point during their career.

In fact, learning this skill early on will save you the time and money it takes to advertise a vacant property, screen for new tenants, draft a new lease agreement, and prepare your property for new tenants.

Not to mention, retaining tenants grants you a consistent stream of income, and helps you keep your vacancy rates low.

Whether you employ an Essex property management company to help boost your property retention rates, or you self-manage your rentals and approach tenant retention yourself, there are always new tips to add to your arsenal for satisfying your tenant, and making them want to stay year after year.

Keep reading to find out some of the best tenant retention tips both you and your property manager can implement to secure long-term resident retention in your investment property.

 

The 5 Essential Ways to Boost Retention Rates in Your Rental

1. Build Strong Landlord-Tenant Relationships

Build a Strong Relationship With Your Essex Tenant

Property management companies always stress the importance of first impressions when it comes to the landlord-tenant relationship.

And there’s a reason for that: how you begin a lease term with new tenants sets the tone for the rest of the tenancy.

That said, it is easy to forget to build on those relationships as your tenants settle into your property. This is especially true if your tenants always pay their rent on time, rarely complain or cause problems, and take care of your property the way they are supposed to.

But remember, when it comes to higher retention rates, it is this relationship with your tenants that matters most.

Do not spend all of your time and resources marketing vacant properties, dealing with problem tenants, and seeking new investment properties.

Instead, take the time to solidify relationships with good tenants that you hope to keep on for another lease term.

 

2. Say “Thank You”

Expressing your gratitude towards tenants that are worth the lease renewals you send out at the end of each lease term is another way to encourage high quality tenants to stay.

Try giving your best tenants something meaningful when it comes to rewarding them for their great tenant behavior.

Of course, a discount on rent is always welcome, since 58% of tenants prefer lower rent rates when it comes to incentives.

However, here are some unique ideas you can try should your budget allow:

  • Reserved Parking Spaces. Loyal tenants are sure to appreciate a reserved parking spot. Perhaps a covered spot or one that is closer to the property is something you can offer as an incentive. This works especially well for properties in urban areas where parking space is limited.
  • Deep Clean. Many property owners offer an annual carpet cleaning for tenants that sign lease renewals. However, taking it one step further and offering a house-wide deep clean is sure to make your tenants that much more satisfied.
  • Buy a Gift. Depending on your budget, and how much you value your tenant, consider buying them a unique gift that you wouldn’t normally purchase for an adequate tenant. For example, annual passes to the local zoo or amusement park, new furniture, or even something electronic such as a TV can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reward your tenant for being a good tenant and signing lease renewals with you. Sometimes, all it takes is a small incentive to push them in the right direction and convince them to stay.

 

3. Make Tenant Satisfaction a Year-Round Priority

Just as it is important to work on your tenant-landlord relationship throughout the lease term, it is important you check on the level of your tenant’s satisfaction throughout the lease term as well.

If you wait to find out your tenant does not want to renew with you come lease renewal time because they were not happy with some of the things you or your Essex property management company did or did not do, it’s too late.

Check on your tenants year-round to make sure any minor issues they are having are addressed immediately.

This proactive approach may be just enough to show your tenants that it’s worth their while to stay in your property for another year.

 

4. Get Feedback from Tenants and Make Improvements

Get Feedback From Tenants and Make Improvements

One thing all our property managers in Essex encourage their clients to do is collect feedback from current tenants to find out what improvements, if any, can be made.

Again, waiting until lease renewal time to find out your tenants are unhappy is too late.

Chances are they have already made their mind up and are on the way out, no matter what you do to try to stop them.

Here are some helpful feedback tips:

  • Attempt to meet with your tenants face-to-face for a more personalized meeting
  • For tenants that cannot meet in person, make an online or mail-in survey available so they can participate at their own convenience
  • Consider offering a small incentive to get tenants to complete the survey, such as a one month rent discount
  • Take the time to work with your property management company once results come in to make needed improvements

 

In addition to maintaining an open line of communication with your tenants throughout their lease term, implementing an annual satisfaction survey can help you lower tenant turnover rates, and make your rental property business more successful.

 

5. Offer 24/7 Rental Property Maintenance

Offer Around the Clock Rental Property Maintenance

Around the clock maintenance is something that all tenants appreciate when it comes to leasing a rental property.

When you fail to pay attention to the overall maintenance and repair procedures you have in place, and problems ensue, tenants are sure to look elsewhere to live once their lease is up.

Make sure your tenant knows from the start what to do in the case of an emergency versus a minor repair issue.

Give them all of the appropriate contact information – property manager, contractors, emergency maintenance, and the after-hours call center – so that when they need something, they know exactly what to do and who to call.

In addition, it is crucial you stay on top of the relationship your property management company and vendors have.

If that relationship is broken, this will surely carry over into any work performed on your investment property for your tenants. This can bother tenants to the point they do not want to sign a lease renewal with you.

 

In Closing

Your tenants need to feel good about where they live, especially if they are going to sign lease renewals come the end of their lease terms.

And as the property owner, whether you enlist the help of a property manager or not, it is your responsibility to make sure they are nothing short of satisfied.

If you own rental property in the Essex region, and hope to reduce your property vacancies, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. We provide superior customer service to both property owners and their tenants, and believe that how we treat our customers is the most important aspect of our business.

With effective maintenance procedures in place to guarantee tenant satisfaction, the ability to regularly check in on tenants to ensure they are not having any issues, and the desire to collect and utilize any feedback we receive from your tenants, we can help you improve your property retention rates. It is our job to place long-term tenants in your rental and make certain they are happy.


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.


5 Avoidable Mistakes Landlords Make with Rental Agreements

Landlord Mistakes to Avoid in Your Rental Property Lease Agreement

Though having one universal lease agreement satisfying every type of lease term possible would be great, in reality, every lease is different.

And, while using a universal lease form is possible, it is important to note that whether you self-manage your Dundalk rental property, or enlist the help of a property management company, there are going to be specifics that you need to address while drafting your property’s lease agreement.

As a landlord, there are many things to think about while filling a vacant rental.

To name a few, you must consider: advertising the property as available, performing the tenant screening process, conducting move-in inspections, and of course drafting the lease agreement.

Unfortunately, with all of the things you need to tend to, and the desire to rush the process of filling a vacant rental property, some landlords make dire mistakes in their rental agreements that can wreak havoc on their rental property business.

Don’t let these common mistakes plague your rental agreement while trying to quickly place someone in your vacant property.

Instead, learn from these mistakes (that others before you have made), and find out what makes a lease agreement one that protects you, your investment property, and your tenants.

 

Avoid These Mistakes While Drafting Your Lease Agreements

1. Not Properly Identifying the Tenants

Although this may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many landlords fail to address their tenants correctly in their lease agreements.

Remember, a rental agreement is a legal document, and should refer to your tenants by their full legal names.

No nicknames, shortened names, or names other than what are listed on driver’s licenses or identification cards should be allowed in the lease agreement.

In addition, you should have your tenants names located somewhere in the beginning of the document (typically in the first paragraph), as well as at the end of the document where the signature blocks are placed.

If you fail to name your tenants correctly on the lease agreement, you may find it difficult to enforce your lease agreement.

This is especially true if you land in court due to a landlord-tenant dispute.

If your tenants make claims that the people listed are not really them, you are going to have a hard time winning your case.

 

2. Not Researching Rent Rates

Research Rent Rates for Your Dundalk Rental Property

One of the key elements in a lease agreement is the monthly rent rate that your tenants are responsible for paying each month.

Failing to research the market rent rates properly and instead placing a random rent rate in your lease agreement will is something you want to avoid.

This mistake may cause you to over- or underprice your rental property.

If you overprice your rental, your tenant pool will shrink sizably, and any tenants that you have currently residing in your property are not likely to renew if you continue to raise the rate sporadically.

On the other hand, underpricing your rental property will harm your bottom line.

A great way to ensure you name the right rent rate in your lease agreement is to talk to your Dundalk property manager.

They will have insight into things such as current market trends, demographics of the area your property is located in, and the rates that similar properties are going for so you remain competitive.

Lastly, in order to avoid another mistake some landlords make, you should re-evaluate your rent rates every time you place a new tenant in your property to make sure to keep in line with current trends.

 

3. Not Personalizing the Agreement

Universal lease agreement forms don’t come with every lease provision you can think of. That’s why simply filling in the blanks is a bad idea, and is one that your Dundalk property management company will discourage.

Now is the time for you to be specific about the rules as they pertain to your rental property.

Take a look at some of the specific clauses you might want to include in your rental agreement:

  • Whether your tenants can smoke in the property
  • What type of interior alterations (temporary or permanent) tenants can make
  • If your tenants can have pets, and if so, which type, how many, what size, and what the deposits will be
  • Which maintenance responsibilities your tenants will be responsible for

 

All of this lease agreement personalization will ensure your tenants know exactly what is (and isn’t) expected of them while residing in your property. It will also outline the consequences for not following your rules.

However, as important as personalizing your lease agreement is, make sure you follow your state’s rental property laws.

For example, make sure you don’t overcharge on the security deposits and fees.

In addition, don’t ask your tenants to violate their tenant rights, such as forfeiting the notice of entry, so that you can do as you please.

Avoid these mistakes at all costs, as they will land you in some serious legal trouble.

 

4. Not Addressing Late Rent

Address Late Rent in Your Dundalk Rental Property

Earlier we mentioned the importance of setting an appropriate rent rate and placing it in your lease agreement.

That said, it is equally important to mention what will happen should the rent not get paid on time.

Failing to detail the consequences for late or non-payment of rent is a huge mistake.

This not only sets you up for continuous late payments, it makes it very difficult for you to receive compensation in court for non-payment of rent, should your tenant stop paying altogether.

Make sure to include the rent rate, grace period, late fees, and eviction process for non-payment of rent in your lease agreement, so that should you run into an issue with a tenant, you have the legal document backing you up that states both parties agreed to the terms and your tenant owes you money.

Late payment lease provisions are used to inform and motivate your tenants to pay their rent on time.

After all, you rely on their timely payment and often cannot afford to wait for them to pay when it is convenient for them.

In addition, this section not only protects you in the case of non-payment, it protects your tenants from illegal eviction proceedings.

 

5. Not Setting a Lease Term

In your rental agreement, it is crucial you designate a lease start and end date.

This way your tenant knows exactly when they can move in, and when they have to be out of your property, should they choose not to renew their lease with you.

In addition, there are some lease renewal options that some see as mistakes, that you and your Dundalk property manager should carefully consider while drafting a lease agreement:

  • Allowing for automatic lease renewals (how can you be sure you will want your tenants to renew one year from now?)
  • Including a month-to-month renewal option (both parties have the option to break a month-to-month lease with 30 days’ notice, leaving you little time to find new tenants)
  • Not requiring a 60 days’ notice of intent when it comes to renewals (leaving it to the last minute might leave you with no time to fill a vacancy, should your tenants decline your offer)

 

The Importance of an Airtight Lease Agreement in Dundalk

Altogether, none of these options are necessarily dire mistakes. However, they may cause you extra stress that can be avoided with a well thought out and thorough lease agreement.

Having an airtight lease agreement that addresses all of your concerns is important for everyone involved.

After all, the lease agreement is the document that both you and your tenants will refer to when there is an issue.

Therefore, the more thorough it is, the less confusion you and your tenants are bound to encounter.

If you own rental property in the Dundalk region, and want help drafting a comprehensive and legally compliant lease agreement, contact Bay Management Group today.

With years of experience drafting lease agreements for property owners, and extensive knowledge of the landlord-tenant laws, you can rest assured that every provision you want included will be integrated into each rental agreement so they you, your investment property, and your tenants are fully protected.


What to Do When It’s Time to Renew Your Bowie Tenant’s Lease

What to Do to Renew Your Bowie Tenant's Lease

Though there are always exceptions, your typical lease agreement will probably last for one year.

After that, you and your tenants will have the choice to sign a new lease agreement for another lease term.

If you have high quality tenants living in your rental property, and you seek to build a successful rental property business, it is a good idea to consider inviting them to renew their lease with you.

After all, it costs more to acquire new tenants for your property than it does to retain the same ones, and renewing leases with existing tenants helps to lower your tenant turnover rates.

Plus, as a landlord, your goal is to keep your tenants leasing from you as long as possible so that you can continue to collect a consistent rent payment each month.

That said, let’s take a look at what you should do when it comes time to renew your tenant.

 

How to Approach Lease Renewals with Your Tenants in Bowie, MD

1. Ask Yourself If You Want to Offer a Lease Renewal

Keeping your current tenants in your rental property is (almost) always a good thing – that is, if they pay their rent on time, get along with the neighbors, don’t cause you any issues, and care for your property the way you want them to

However, if they cannot pay their rent on time, or always have an excuse for being late, are disruptive to others in nearby properties, constantly contact you or your Bowie property management company with complaints and are difficult to reason with, or have damaged your property in any way, you should cut your losses and look for higher quality tenants.

When it comes time to consider offering your current tenants a lease renewal, think about what kind of tenant they have been over the course of their tenancy, and make your decision accordingly.

 

2. Decide a Lease Term Length

Decide the Length of the Lease Term

Once you have decided you will offer your current tenants a lease renewal come the end of their lease term, you must decide on the new lease term’s length. You have several options:

  • One-Year Lease. Invite your tenants to stay another full lease term with you. This is typically one year (though some landlords allow for longer lease terms to ensure lower tenant turnover rates).
  • Short Term Lease. If you know you want your tenants to renew a lease with you, but are unsure whether you want them to stay for an entire term, consider offering shorter lease terms such as 6 or 8 months.
  • Month-to-Month Lease. You may find out that your tenant is interested in renewing a lease with you, but on a month-to-month basis. This can be a temporary solution to a vacant property, however, keep in mind that either you or your tenants can break month-to-month leases at any time (usually with a 30 days’ notice). This leaves very little time for you to prepare your rental and place new tenants without experiencing a vacancy.

 

Deciding how long you want to extend tenancy to your existing tenants is largely personal. It will also depend on what you plan to do with your property long-term.

However, if you can secure another full lease term with a good tenant, it’s definitely recommended.

 

3. Draft a New Lease Agreement

When you decide that you want to extend a lease renewal to your existing tenants, you need to draft an entirely new lease agreement with the help of your Bowie property management company.

This way you can designate the new lease start and end dates, as well as make any changes to existing lease provisions that you want.

For example, you may consider raising the rent in response to booming market trends.

On the other hand, you may want to offer a discounted rent rate as an added bonus for renewing with you another term.

You will also need to omit things such as security deposit clauses and first and last month’s rent collections, as these provisions do not apply to the next lease term.

Lastly, you may want to make changes to some of the more specific clauses you had initially placed in the original lease agreement.

For instance, maybe you will lift the no-pet policy and let your good-standing tenants get a dog.

Or, perhaps you will allow them to make minor interior changes that are temporary in nature so they feel even more at home in your rental.

Whatever the case may be, now is the time to make any changes you want.

Once the lease is offered to your tenants, and they agree, this new lease agreement will be the official document used in any disputes that may arise.

 

4. Invite Your Tenant to Renew

Invite Your Bowie Tenant to Renew The Lease

If you have decided to offer your existing tenant a chance to renew their lease with you, extend the offer with plenty of time for them to decide.

In fact, it is suggested you offer tenants a lease renewal option 90 days before their current lease is about to expire, complete with a requirement that they respond within 30 days of receiving the offer.

Giving your tenants plenty of time to decide whether they want to renew or not will help them plan a long-term strategy, should they decide to decline your offer.

In addition, should your tenant decline your offer, you will have approximately 60 days to get the tenant screening process underway so your property does not remain vacant for long after they move out.

You may wonder why a great tenant that is satisfied with you and your Bowie property manager might decline the offer to renew a lease with you. Just remember: it is not always personal.

For example, your tenants may not want to renew with you because:

  • They are moving out of state
  • A rental closer to their workplace is available
  • An unexpected life change has occurred such as marriage, divorce, a new baby, losing a job, etc.

In the end, there are many reasons why people move, and it may not always be because they don’t enjoy leasing from you.

5. Review and Sign

Last but not least, after you and your tenants have agreed to the new lease agreement, it is time you and your property manager go over the lease agreement line by line to make sure everyone understands what is expected of them.

Then, all that is left to do is gather a few signatures, and your tenants are on their way to leasing your rental property for another lease term.

 

Lease renewals are an integral part of the rental property business. They help reduce tenant turnover rates, keep vacancies at bay, and best of all, save you time and money.

Plus, if your current tenants are willing to sign on for another lease term, they must be satisfied with the services you are providing them.

If you are looking for a way to boost lease renewals, and give your current tenants even more of a reason to continue to lease from you, contact Bay Management Group today.

We are dedicated to providing both our property owners and tenants superior customer service. In fact, we do everything we can to ensure that your property is well cared for, rent is collected, and your tenants are happy living in your property.


5 Surefire Ways to Get Your Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

Ways to Get Your Catonsville Tenant to Pay Rent On Time

Dealing with late rent payments is not something any rental property owner wants to be faced with.

It can be challenging to confront those that owe you money, even if you are in the right position to do so.

You may find it is easy to give in and let a late payment slide, especially when your Catonsville tenant has a seemingly legitimate excuse for being late.

However, if you want to become a successful landlord, not only do you need to learn how to deal with late paying tenants, you need to learn how to get your tenants to pay their rent on time in the first place.

After all, late and non-paying tenants are one of the biggest costs facing rental property owners.

Your Catonsville tenant may not feel like paying rent on time every month is a big deal, but for you, collecting rent in full on time, every time, is one of the most important things you can for the success of your rental property business.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some of the best ways to encourage your tenants to pay their rent on time.

 

5 Ways to Motivate Your Catonsville Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

1. Clear Communication

Clear Communication is Key to Getting Your Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

One of the best ways to get your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time is to communicate the importance of paying rent when they move in.

As you and your Maryland property manager go over the lease agreement with your new tenants, it is a good idea to go over every lease provision in the agreement, especially the ones concerning rent, due dates, late fees, and consequences for late rent payments.

Better yet, to ensure your tenants understand what you are communicating with them, it is a great idea to have them initial each page of the lease agreement as you and your property manager explain the rent collection process.

From there, distribute a copy of the signed lease agreement to all parties that initialed the document so they can use it for later reference.

Lastly, include the entire rent collection policy in the tenant welcome package you give your new tenants with information regarding how to pay, when to pay, and how much to pay in rent each month.

This is especially helpful if you require online rent payments.

By creating a document that details every step in the rent collection process, you guarantee that your tenants understand their obligations, and are not confused about the process.

Plus, signed documents give you solid proof you explained the process in the beginning, should you end up in a court dispute with a non-paying tenant.

 

2. Enforce a Late Fee

Although mentioned briefly above, enforcing a late fee is worth explaining further.

Late fees are strong motivators for getting your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time. After all, your tenants don’t want to pay more than they already have to in order to live in your rental property.

Have your Maryland rental property management company draw up a lease agreement provision that explains the late fee process. Make sure that the fee does not exceed 5% of the total rent due, as per Maryland law.

In addition, follow these property management tips for implementing a late rent payment fee:

  • Clearly define the grace period in the lease agreement, if you are allowing one
  • Avoid waiving the late fees if possible to avoid repeat late payments by the same tenant
  • Consider a progressive fee schedule so you get your rent, and any late payments accrued, as quickly as possible

 

Just knowing that a late fee will apply to any late payments can be a great motivator for getting your Maryland tenant to pay their rent on time.

 

3. Offer a Discount

Offering Tenants a Discount Will Help Them Pay Rent on Time

On the flip side of charging late fees for those that pay their rent late, another way to encourage timely rent payments is to offer a discount for those that pay their rent early.

If your Catonsville tenant has their rent ready to go a day early, giving them a discount is a nice way of appreciating that they pay their rent on time each month.

Plus, this may even help boost your lease renewal rate come the end of your tenant’s lease term – tenants that receive discounts may be more apt to want to continue to lease from you.

If you are worried about discounted rent rates affecting your bottom line, there is an easy solution: Set your rental property’s rent rate approximately $15-$25 higher than you would normally set it.

Then, when a tenant pays on time, the discount equals a normal rent rate, and you don’t lose any income in the process.

Keep in mind, however, that if you want to offer rent discounts to your early paying tenants, be sure to talk this strategy over with your Maryland property manager to ensure you are making a sound financial decision.

Setting rent rates is central to your success as a property owner, and the last thing you want to do is set a rent rate that is too low, and offer discounts on top of that.

 

4. Report All Late Payments

Did you know that you are now able to report all late rent payments to the credit bureaus in charge of calculating people’s credit scores?

Well, you can.

People do not like to mess with their credit scores if they can help it.

Credit scores are pulled for many things, such as leasing a home, buying a car, and applying for loans or credit cards. And, keeping a clean credit score is more important than ever these days.

If you inform your tenants prior to moving in that you will report them to the credit bureaus for any late rent payments, they may be less likely to miss a rent due date.

 

5. Be Consistent

Be Consistent With Rules to Get Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

The last thing to remember if you want to entice your Maryland tenants to pay their rent on time is to be consistent.

You must always remain professional, as leasing rental properties is a business, not a hobby.

In addition, you should enforce all of the rules you have outlined in your lease agreement consistently with all of your tenants, no matter the excuse a single tenant provides for paying their rent late.

Not only does staying consistent prevent repeat problems with late rent payments, it helps to preserve your reputation as a rental property owner and as always, will help you defend your actions should you end up in a legal battle with a tenant over late payments, late fees, or even non-payment of rent.

 

Motivating your tenants to pay their rent on time is not always an easy task, even if you follow the above-mentioned tips and tricks.

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

We are knowledgeable about all of Maryland’s rental property rules and regulations regarding rent payments, late fees, and even the eviction process, should a late payment situation go so far as to require eviction proceedings.

In addition, we know how to structure lease agreements so that your Catonsville tenants fully understand what is required of them when it comes to paying rent, and what they face should they decide to pay late.

If you own rental property in the Catonsville area and need help with the rent collection process, contact Bay Management Group today. We have the resources and the knowledge to help make rent collection as easy as possible.


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.


4 Ways to Market Your Philly Rental Property to Millennials

Ways to Market Your Philly Rental Property to Millennials

If you own a rental property in Philly, you might know that over a quarter of your state’s population is comprised of millennials.

And if you didn’t, now you do.

That means marketing your vacant rental properties specifically to millennials should be a priority.

In the past, we have discussed how to go about leasing your rental property to millennials. We explained that they prefer leasing their homes to owning, for a variety of reasons such as school debt, flexible careers leading to multiple moves, and the fact that renting is no longer as taboo as it once was, even for adults.

In addition, we discussed how millennials prefer technology, such as paying rent online, having fast Wi-Fi speeds, and being located in the hub of the city, where everything is accessible within a few square miles.

And today, we are going to talk marketing.

If you are looking to capitalize on the millennial population in Philly, you are going to need to know much more than just what millennials want on the surface when it comes to leasing a rental home from you.

We are going to dig deeper, and provide ways you can market to this special demographic.

 

What is a Millennial?

In broad terms, a millennial is anyone born between the years of 1981-2000, though there is some flexibility in that definition.

Often children of Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-1964, millennials are generally defined as the generation that is in tune with the world’s advanced communication, media, and digital technologies.

Here are some of the key traits experts believe millennials, as a whole, have:

  • They are part of the largest generation Western society has ever seen
  • Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation
  • Those born as millennials grew up in the digital age, and are very technologically savvy
  • Prior to millennials, no other generation, save for those born in the early 1930s and 1940s, have had such a strong sense of community
  • They are conscious of things such as environmental, social, health, and economical issues and want change
  • This generation is marked by a lessened sense of patriotism, and a heightened sense of globalism
  • They are entrepreneurial, thanks to the Great Recession

 

Marketing Your Philly Rental Property to Millennials

Now that you have a basic understanding of what it means to be a millennial in America, let’s look at some keys ways you can market your Philly rental property to this unique generation.

 

1. Highlight Space

Highlight the Space for Millennials in Your Philly Rental Property

Since millennials are so community driven, it is safe to assume they love to have friends, family, and co-workers over to enjoy the holidays, summer barbeques, and everything in between.

If your Philly rental property has a large living room space, make sure to highlight that fact in your online advertisement (remember, millennials are more likely to search for a rental online).

In addition, boast your spacious kitchen, oasis backyard, and spare bedrooms, where guests can stay over for the weekend.

Also, know that it’s not enough to mention your property’s square footage. Make something exciting out of that square footage, and watch the millennial interest grow.

 

2. Inform Them about Transportation

Millennials leasing your rental may still be in school. And, they probably work as well.

Being able to navigate the city easily from where they live is a key trait millennials look for in a rental property.

Mention things such as nearby restaurants, shopping, entertainment hot spots, colleges, business areas, and close access to all major highways and SEPTA stops when advertising to the millennial generation.

These location specifics are just what they are looking for in a quality Philly rental home.

 

3. If You Own a Philly Vacation Home or Short-Term Rental

Owning Philly Short Term and Rental Vacation Properties

We know that owning a vacation rental property can be a challenging feat. However, with the right marketing techniques, you are bound to find the perfect tenants year-round for your vacation rental if need be.

Here is a list of key options your short-term rental should market:

  • Full service kitchen area
  • A good value that is worth the money being spent
  • Outside sitting area for relaxation or hanging with friends
  • Views of the city skyline
  • Close proximity to tourist attractions, like the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Franklin Museum
  • Email, web browsing, television, and music access (including a strong Wi-Fi signal)
  • Recycling options, energy efficiency, and green cleaning supplies

 

4. Watch Your Keywords

Unless you have the help of an experienced property management team in Philadelphia, like Bay Management Group, chances are you are not up to speed on what it means to watch your keyword placement when advertising online.

Because rentals in Philly are competitive, it is important you put as much effort as possible into your vacancy ads. You want to attract high-quality tenants that will not waste your time, are genuinely interested in your property, and meet all the application requirements.

One great way of doing this is to manage the keywords you place in your ads.

The more specific and detailed your keywords are, the more likely your rental ad is to show up in search results for millennials looking for a rental just like yours.

Use descriptive keywords to explain all aspects of your rental.

For example, don’t just list your place as an “available two-story house.” Instead, take it a step further and describe it as an “available, two-story, four bedroom, three bath rental with a large backyard and a spacious kitchen.”

This way, for anyone that is looking for those types of amenities (think millennials!), your ad will pop up in their search, and they will be able to get in contact right away.

 

In the end, catering to what millennials need and want in a Philly rental property is not that hard, once you have a grasp on your target audience and what they want in a rental property.

They want affordable, eco-friendly, technologically advanced rentals near the action of the city. And, if you have a property that sounds something like that, you will definitely find a millennial tenant by implementing the above-mentioned tips.

If you own a Philly rental property and want a property management company to help you with advertisements, tenants screenings, placement, and online rent collections, contact Bay Management Group today. We understand not only the rental property market in the Philadelphia region, but the demographics that are seeking rentals just like yours.

With our help, you can target the perfect tenant pool, such as millennials, and have a high-quality tenant in your rental property generating you positive cash flow in no time.


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.


How to Interview Potential Tenants For Your Edgewood Rental

How to Interview Potential Tenants for Your Harford County Rental Property

We all know how important it is to interview tenant references when deciding whether to lease to a prospective tenant.

In the past, we have discussed how to do just that, as well as provided some tips for how to double check, and ensure a potential tenant’s references are even real.

But have you put much thought into interviewing the actual tenant?

With so much stress being placed on verifying a tenant’s references, property owners often forget to interview the actual tenant that will be living in their Edgewood rental property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some great ways to approach interviewing potential tenants, as well as some of the best questions to ask.

 

How to Interview Potential Edgewood Tenants

 

1. Follow a Consistent Tenant Screening Process

We always emphasize how important having a consistent tenant screening process is.

And, if you don’t currently enlist the help of property management services in Edgewood, the idea of having a strict tenant screening process in place may be foreign.

However, it is crucial you don’t wing the screening process.

You might unknowingly violate housing discrimination laws, and find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Or, you might place a terrible tenant in your rental.

Tenant interviewing is entwined in the screening process.

In fact, at every stage of the tenant screening process, there are perfect opportunities to conduct mini interview sessions along the way.

Look at Rentalutions’ five stages to a good screening process, to see what we mean:

  1. The Inquiry. An interested tenant calls you wanting to know more about your Harford County rental property. This is when you can run some quick screening questions by them to make sure they are serious about leasing your property.
  2. Property Showing. This is the first time you meet the tenant in person, and first impressions are a big deal. Your gut instinct will lead you in the right direction after meeting the tenant face-to-face.
  3. Rental Application. As your tenant prepares to fill out the required rental application, you can gauge their reaction as you explain what is required. For example, a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, employment and previous rental history verification, and even a background check are typical things to require during this stage. Tenants that are hesitant to provide the documentation and money upfront, aim to rush the process, or have a lot of “good excuses” as to why they can’t do one thing or another, may signal they are not a good fit for you.
  4. After deciding that the tenant is in fact a good fit, you can sit down and discuss their approval. Again, their willingness, or lack thereof, when it comes to actually handing over the funds to lease your property will reveal itself during this stage.
  5. Lease Signing. By now, the tenant should fully understand what is expected of them while leasing your property. However, if when you are going over the lease agreement in full (as any successful property owner will), the tenant starts to fuss over provisions in the lease agreement that you are not willing to budge on, you ought to back out and find a different tenant.

 

As you can see, every point during the screening process offers a prime chance to interview tenants to ensure they are a good fit.

 

2. Prepare for the Interview

Prepare For Your Tenant Interview in Harford County

Before diving into the interview, it is important to have a game plan.

Again, violating the Fair Housing Act is something you want to avoid at all costs.

You also want to appear professional, prepared, and serious about your rental property business.

It is a good idea to have a specific set of questions you want to ask while interviewing a tenant.

And, if you prefer to split the interview into parts, make sure you have specific questions for each stage of the tenant screening process.

If you are self-managing your Edgewood property, and are unsure about conducting actual tenant interviews, try practicing with a close friend.

This can help ease some of the nerves and help you stay on track during the real deal.

 

3. Be Strong

This is something almost all property managers will recommend.

Tenants are good at trying to convince property owners to lease to them. They know all the tricks in the book, can be smooth talkers, and may even straight out lie to get you to say “yes.”

Being aware of some of the most common red flags that appear during tenant screening will help you avoid falling victim to a problem tenant.

Also, try to remain consistent with all tenants that cross your path, and don’t rush a decision.

After all, placing a less than ideal tenant in your rental property is only going to lead to more problems down the road.

And, these problems are bound to turn into yet another vacancy that you will have to fill with a different tenant.

 

5 Common Questions to Ask Potential Harford County Tenants

Common Potential Questions to Ask Tenants During an Interview

Here are some of the most common tenant interview questions you should ask potential tenants:

 

1. Why Are You Moving?

We suggest learning the most common reasons why people move, and then catering to them so they stay in your rental for long periods of time.

However, sometimes a tenant’s reason for moving so much in the past, or so quickly in the moment, may raise some concerns with you.

Be aware of this and make your decision whether to move forward based on the tenant’s answer.

 

2. Do You Have Pets?

Depending on your rental property’s pet policy, this question is an important one.

It is crucial to get an honest answer from your prospective tenants in the beginning, in hopes that they will not sneak a pet into a no-pet rental, or violate the pet policies that are in place.

 

3. How Many People Will Be Residing With You?

This is important because you should thoroughly screen all adult tenants that will be living in your rental property for the duration of the lease term.

Knowing how many people will be living in your rental from the start will ensure there is enough room for everyone, without exceeding the legal limits.

Just make sure you do not violate any of fair housing regulations, and do not discriminate against potential tenants.

 

4. Can You Pay the Move-in Costs Upfront?

Can Your Tenant Pay Move in Costs Up Front For Your Harford Rental Property?

This is a big one.

Informing a prospective tenant what you require in terms of first and/or last month’s rent, application fees, and security deposits is a good way to weed those out who simply don’t have enough income to cover the move-in costs.

Those who have issues coming up with your requirements at the start of a lease term are bound to give you trouble at one point or another during the lease term when it comes to paying rent.

And this is not something you want to deal with. Ever.

 

5. Can You Pass a Background Check?

Many potential tenants may not be aware that you require a passing background check to lease your Maryland rental property.

Kindly explain to the tenant that you are more than willing to show the property, and discuss the lease terms, but that one of the conditions upon move-in is passing a background check.

Again, this question will effectively weed out anyone that fears they will not pass.

No tenant wants to pay the non-refundable application fee if they know chances of their application being approved are very slim.

 

The key to tenant screening and interviewing is consistency – consistency in the process, consistency in the questions, and consistency in your standards.

Do not let the fear of your property sitting vacant cause you to make a rushed decision.

 

For those that own rental property in Edgewood, and do not want to worry about violating fair housing rules, interviewing tenants on the phone or in person, or having to make the decision to approve or deny a potential tenant, contact Bay Management Group now to help.

At Bay Management Group, we have strict tenant screening processes in place that are not only legally compliant, but also effective.

In fact, on average, we lease most rental properties in 30 days or less.

And, the tenants placed in the properties we lease are high quality, meet all of your standards, and are guaranteed to pay rent on time for at least the first year of the lease term, or else we re-rent your property for free.

So get in touch with us today, and see how we can reduce your vacancy and tenant turnover rates, and get you the annual income you’re aiming for.