How Often Should You Schedule Rental Property Inspections?

How Often You Should Schedule Rental Property Inspections

Conducting routine inspections of your rental property throughout your tenant’s lease term is an excellent way to ensure your property is being well maintained.

Plus, it offers you a chance to address small maintenance and repair issues before they become bigger, as well as the chance to make sure your tenants are satisfied.

It is important to know, however, how often you can inspect your rental property so that you don’t disrupt your tenant’s living experience and don’t risk violating any tenant-landlord laws.

 

When Can You Inspect Your Chevy Chase Rental Property?

In short, you are legally allowed to inspect your rental property whenever you want, so long as you don’t violate your tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.

In fact, landlords are allowed to drive by, walk by, or bike to their property anytime they want and inspect the exterior to make sure everything looks okay.

That said, your tenants are afforded certain rights when they move into your rental property that ensure you don’t intrude on their day-to-day living.

Tenants have the right to enjoy a peaceful and quiet living experience while leasing from you. This includes the right to a reasonable amount of privacy, freedom from disturbance, and the ability to use any common areas without any significant interference by you.

This means that, despite your pressing concerns about your rental property, you cannot intrude on your tenant’s right to enjoy the property throughout the lease term whenever you want.

And if you do, know that your tenant will then have the right to discontinue paying their monthly rent and leave the premises as they please, with no consequences for breaking the lease early.

 

The Best Times to Inspect Your Rental Property

Despite being able to inspect your rental property whenever you please with proper notice and a legitimate reason, it is best to so you do not become a bother to your tenants.

Below are some crucial times during a tenancy that you should make sure to inspect your property.

 

Move-in and Move-Out Time

Conduct Inspections During Move-In and Move-Out

Your Chevy Chase property management company will have you inspect your property at the time your tenants move in, as well as when they move out at the end of their lease term.

When your tenant moves in, your property manager will inspect the original condition of the property. This way, come the end of the lease term, you are able to determine what damages your tenant may have caused the property while residing there.

Looking beyond what is considered normal wear and tear, any damages found that can be attributed to tenant abuse or neglect are then covered by the tenant’s security deposit, which should have been collected at the time the tenant moved in.

It is important your tenant is aware these inspections will occur. This way they know you will be looking for instances where they may have damaged your property, and that their security deposit is on the line if damages are found.

Lastly, your tenants are likely to take better care of your property knowing you will be combing the property thoroughly at both the beginning and end of the lease term.

 

Check for Unauthorized Tenants

Sometimes you may feel there are unauthorized tenants living in your rental property.

This is common when a tenant begins to house a boyfriend or girlfriend, when a friend needs a new place to live, or when a family member overstays at your property.

Unfortunately, these instances easily turn into a roommate situation that, unless authorized by you, becomes a breach of the lease agreement.

You and your Chevy Chase property manager should have drafted the lease agreement to outline the rules regarding roommates. Some of those rules include:

  • Any roommate wanting to stay at your property must be screened and authorized by you and your property manager
  • The new tenant must sign the new lease agreement ensuring that they will pay their portion of the rent
  • The new lease agreement should have a joint and several liability clause protecting you and your investment property
  • Consequences for housing unauthorized tenants, including eviction, should be outlined so tenants know what can happen if they try to cheat the system

This is all assuming you even allow roommates, which you very well may not.

In any case, should you suspect that your tenants are housing unauthorized tenants, you might want to consider a quick inspection of the property to see if any extra rooms are being used, furniture has been added to the property, or additional people are actually present that are overstaying.

 

Check On Maintenance Needs

Check on Maintenance Needs in Your Rental Property Inspection

Checking your rental property regularly for small maintenance and repair issues is always a good idea.

Sometimes your tenants may fail to inform you about small issues such as leaky faucets. Other times, they may not even be aware there is an issue at all.

Either way, staying on top of small maintenance needs is a great way to keep your tenants satisfied and avoid large repairs costs for neglected repairs.

Conducting these types of inspections during the season changes is a great way to make sure they happen consistently, and do not bother your tenants too much.

When it comes time to winterize your property, do a quick run-through of the entire property, complete with a rental property safety checklist, and make sure everything is in pristine condition.

Do the same during spring when you want to spruce up the landscaping, during summer when it comes time to prepare your property for the colder months, and of course, during fall when things like rain gutters and pipes need checking.

While you’re at it, during these seasonal inspections you should take the time to make sure your tenants are following through on their obligations such as changing the air filters, maintaining major appliances, and keeping up on the landscaping, should these things be their responsibilities.

 

When a Tenant Misses Rent

When Your Tenant Misses Rent, Conduct a Property Inspection

When it comes to running a successful rental property business, you must make sure your lease agreement is drafted to ensure prompt rent collection procedures that your tenant understands from the very beginning.

If at any time your tenant misses a rent payment, you might consider stopping by to see what is going on.

This proactive approach may be able to solve a small issue, and help prevent a bigger issue such as an eviction and a vacant property in need of new tenants.

Find out why the tenant has missed their rent payment, issue proper notice that they need to pay up immediately, or enlist the help of your Chevy Chase property management company to start the eviction process if necessary.

No matter what steps you need to take, know that inspecting your property at a time like this may save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Whatever you do, however, do not take matters into your own hands after inspecting your property and noticing that your property is being poorly maintained or the rent is not being paid on time. This can lead to lots of legal trouble and make things much worse for you.

 

In Closing

It is your job as a landlord to inspect your rental property to make sure your tenants are fulfilling their roles, paying on time, and caring for your property. In addition, it is your job to maintain the property to the highest standards possible so your tenants are satisfied, and want to renew their lease with you come the end of the tenancy.

If you want help with regularly inspecting your investment property, contact Bay Management Group today to connect with our experienced property managers in Chevy Chase, MD.  We can help draft lease agreements that outline the inspection process and responsibilities of all parties involved.

In addition, we can conduct the actual inspections of your rental property so that you know everything is being handled properly, and that both you and your tenant’s rights are being honored.


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.


9 Simple Updates to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Rental

Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency For Your Fort Meade Rental Property

You may feel that investing in energy efficiency for your Fort Meade rental properties is not the best use of time and money. After all, you are not the one living in the property, and therefore will not reap any of the benefits.

Well, think again.

Energy efficient updates to your rental become very appealing selling points when it comes to advertising your vacancy to interested tenants. And, chances are good you’ll be dealing with fewer vacancies if you make an effort to increase energy efficiency in your rental.

There are several simple and cost-effective ways you can update your rental properties to achieve the energy efficiency that tenants love.

In the past, we have looked at some easy energy-saving tips for landlords looking to lower their tenant’s utility costs.

Today, we are taking that a step further and offering simple updates that will not only lower utility costs, but drastically reduce your tenant’s carbon footprint.

 

9 Energy Efficient Updates for Your Fort Meade Rental Property

1. Window Treatments

Caring for your property’s windows by re-sealing cracks can help keep the heat in during Fort Meade’s cold winter months, and thus save on energy bills. However, if your windows are outdated or not working properly, it is important to update your rental property’s windows.

Not only does this help lower the energy bill, it makes your tenants more comfortable during the winter. No one wants to live in a drafty rental property.

 

2. Power Strips

Power Strips Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental Property

Though including these in your rental home is definitely not a necessity, doing so is a simple and inexpensive update that has the potential to go a long way with your new tenants.

Most tenants may not realize just how much energy their dormant electrical devices (think appliances, televisions, computers, etc.) use throughout the day, even when not in use.

By providing power strips for those areas in your rental that have multiple devices plugged in at once (whether they are being used or not), you can significantly reduce energy usage, and your tenant’s power bill.

Plus, making your tenants aware of such a simple energy efficiency strategy will surely be appreciated.

 

3. Air Conditioning Shade

If your rental is the type that has a window-mounted air conditioning unit, create a way to keep it shaded at all times. This shade will ensure the unit stays cool even in the middle of summer, thus allowing it to run more efficiently.

Shading your air conditioner will also make sure that the unit only runs when the rental needs cooling, not when the air conditioner itself does.

 

4. Exhaust Fan Covers

Exhaust Fan Covers Increase Energy Efficiency in Fort Meade Rental

Retain more heat during the winter and keep the heating bill lower for your tenants by installing inexpensive exhaust fan covers in your rental’s kitchen and bathrooms. Not only will you lower the drafts of cold air coming in, you will also prevent warm air from escaping.

 

5. Door Sweeps

If your Fort Meade rental property doesn’t already have them, or they are long overdue for a change, consider installing fresh new door sweeps to all doors leading to the exterior of the property. This includes the front and back doors, as well as the door leading to the garage, and the garage door itself.

Again, preventing drafts of hot and cold air from entering the property in the dead of winter or the midst of summer will reduce energy costs, which are already soaring during those prime times of the year.

 

6. Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental

Many tenants, whether they are searching for an eco-friendly rental property or not, love to see programmable thermostats in a rental property.

That’s because it is a well-known fact that over 40% of a tenant’s monthly utility bill money will go towards heating and cooling the rental property they reside in.

Programmable thermostats make reducing tenant energy costs very simple. All your tenant has to do is program the thermostat to work around their schedule, so that the air or heat units do not run when no one is home.

And, as a way to feel extra cozy or cooled off right before returning home, the thermostat can be scheduled to turn on just before your tenants enter the door.

 

7. Plant Trees and Shrubbery

Providing a backyard oasis is something many Fort Meade property owners have in mind when it comes to drawing in high-quality tenants searching for the best looking properties full of amenities.

Take advantage of the fact that your tenants want greenery in the backyard, and work to strategically place trees and shrubs in areas that will help shade your property. This greenery will help insulate your rental from wind, cold, and heat.

 

8. Go Tankless

Installing a tankless water heater in your Fort Meade rental is a great way to save on water usage, energy usage, and space. And, while some models are not inexpensive per se, the long-lasting benefits and savings of going tankless might convince you to invest a little more upfront:

  • They only heat and deliver water when requested by tenants
  • Many states offer rebates for going tankless, since it’s a green option
  • Lifespan far surpasses that of traditional storage tank water heaters

As you can see, many benefits accompany the installation of a tankless water heater in your rental property.

 

9. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fans Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Fort Meade Rental

While ceiling fans do not change the temperature of the room your tenants are in, fans definitely circulate the air enough to provide a cooler sensation.

Ceiling fans also give rental properties a boost when it comes to visual appeal.

Because ceiling fans are able to cool off your tenants during the hottest summer months, without wasting energy (like an air conditioner might), they are great for increasing energy efficiency in your rental.

 

Altogether, making your rental property energy efficient is not tough to do. It doesn’t always require a lot of time, effort, or money. Energy efficiency benefits your tenants, and gives you more leverage when it comes to advertising your property when it’s vacant.

If you own a rental property in Fort Meade and need help devising simple ways to make your property more energy efficient, or want an experienced property management group to professionally advertise your vacancy, contact Bay Management Group today.

Not only can we help with staging your rental to be as energy efficient as possible while keeping overhead costs under control, we can help cater to prospective tenants that are looking for environmentally friendly rentals.

With the right platforms to advertise on, and the knowledge of what it takes to make a strong rental property ad, you will find that enlisting our help is something worth doing.


Top Tips for Avoiding Rental Property Scams in Chevy Chase, MD

Tips for Avoiding Rental Property Scams in Montgomery County

Rental scams have been around for decades. And, as the number of people looking to rent increases nationwide, more tenants than ever are on the lookout for these scams, so they don’t fall victim them.

Criminals that are responsible for these scams are aware of the heightened demand for rentals, and the increasing rent rates that property owners can demand, and they want in on whatever they can get.

However, when all is said and done, rental scams affect not only tenants, but property owners as well.

Though rental scams are not something many Chevy Chase property owners probably think about, they should definitely be on your radar. Learning about the different types of rental scams out there may help you prevent getting mixed up in a rental scam of your own.

 

What is a Rental Scam?

In short, a rental scam is a situation where a scammer attempts to secure funds from an interested tenant for a rental property that is not legally their own to rent.

The rental property in question may be physically real and just not theirs, or completely made up and non-existent.

Typically, a scammer will advertise a rental as available, hook a potential tenant by collecting application fees and security deposits, and at the time of move-in, simply disappear with money in hand.

By the time the prospective tenant realizes what has happened, the scammer is long gone and untraceable.

However, rental scams have evolved over time, and have become more complex than simply swindling prospective tenants out of their money.

 

Rental Scams That Can Involve Your Chevy Chase Rental Property

Here is the breakdown of three of the most common rental scams that happen today. Most people are generally very trusting, thus making these seemingly obvious scams extremely effective.

Keep reading to learn about the various ways a scammer may try to take advantage of you, the property owner.

 

1. Online Advertisements

Online Advertisements Are Risky For Rental Property Scams

Advertising your vacant rental online is one of the best ways to expose your vacancy to a wide tenant pool. Plus, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort or money to advertise online.

However, online advertisements are one of the easiest ways for people to scam your Chevy Chase rental property. All someone has to do is cut and paste your real online ad, and then lower the asking rent price.

This generates a lot of interest amongst interested tenants, especially those in a hurry to pay whatever fees are required to move in right away.

The scammer then gathers several application fees, security deposits, and whatever other fees he can get from multiple potential tenants, and runs away with all of that cash before anyone is the wiser.

This will affect you because if people find out your property has been involved in a shady scam such as this, the real advertisement displaying your property as available will not go over well with interested tenants.

This can ultimately ruin your reputation as a good property owner, and take your rental property business down.

 

2. The Fake Landlord

If, by chance, a scammer can access your vacant property, you are in a lot of trouble. The way this particular scam works is a fraudulent landlord pretends to be working on behalf of you, the real landlord, and sets out to get your property leased.

If you have not done your due diligence in routinely inspecting, securing, or making it seem as though your vacant property is occupied, the scammer might even show the property as though they are the actual landlord.

From there, a prospective tenant then decides they like your place, pays the required security deposits, first and last month’s rents, and application fees.

Then, one of two things happens:

  1. The scammer takes off with all of the collected funds, and the tenant never hears from him again.
  2. The tenant actually moves in to your property, and the scammer collects rent from them for as long as possible before being discovered. The scammer then disappears into thin air, leaving you with a property that has tenants living in it illegally, unbeknownst to you this entire time.

This creates a mess of legal problems that is going to cost everyone, save for the scammer, a lot of time and money.

 

3. Accepting Overpayments

As a Chevy Chase rental property owner, you should know that accepting overpayments for fees or rent from an approved tenant is never a good idea.

Typically, when this scam happens, your “tenant” overpays, and asks you to forward the extra money to a close friend or family member. They will have some well thought-out excuse as to why they cannot do it themselves, and oftentimes can be very convincing.

Unfortunately, what happens in this scam is that you send the extra payment to someone else, and then find out the check you received was actually bogus.

But by now, it’s too late for you to recover the funds you already sent out to your tenant’s sick grandma. You are now on the hook for that missing money.

Although this usually will not happen with tenants that you have already leased your rental to, the truth is, this happens a lot when it comes to security deposits at the beginning of a lease term.

And, it is not uncommon to see this happen with tenants that are out of town looking to lease your rental.

One surefire way to help avoid these types of issues with current tenants is to accept rent payments via a secure online portal. This way, when you receive rent payments, regardless of whether it is an overpayment or not, you will know the funds are legitimate once they hit your bank account.

 

Landlords Tips for Avoiding Rental Scams

Though most rental scams are aimed at getting money from tenants looking to rent a home, it is important, as a Chevy Chase property owner, to protect your investment property in any way you can.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Always perform routine inspections of your rental, especially when it is vacant
  • Make sure to change the locks in between tenants, so previous tenants don’t have access to your property after they have moved out
  • Thoroughly screen all tenants before placement into your rental – income verification, clean backgrounds, and reliable rental history are all important
  • Check popular online advertisement listings regularly to make sure your rental is not fraudulently being listed as available
  • Avoid dealing with prospective tenants who contact you from outside of the country, or at least be careful if you choose to
  • Never rush a tenant placement – this is when scams are most likely to occur

 

Lastly, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from being scammed, or having a rental property mixed up in a scam outside of your knowledge, is to enlist the help of a Chevy Chase property management company such as Bay Management Group.

At Bay Management Group, we pride ourselves in taking every precaution to protect our rental property owners and their investment properties.

This means we do things like perform strict tenant screening, airtight lease drafting, routine inspections, and online rent collection. In addition, we help our clients keep their properties secure using a variety of security measures.

If you own rental property in the Chevy Chase region, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you avoid getting caught up in a rental property scam.


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 Be a Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

How to Be A Next-Door Landlord in Montgomery County

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

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

There’s just one catch.

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

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

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

 

The Benefits of Being a Next-Door Landlord

1. You Can Create a Stronger Landlord-Tenant Relationship

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Quicker Response Times

Next-Door Landlords Have Quicker Response Time In Montgomery County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Tenants Will Behave

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4. Property Abandonment is Less Likely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Problems Facing Next-Door Landlords

1. Tenant Screening

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Boundaries Might Blur

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

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

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

This means establishing clear and appropriate lines of communication.

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

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

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

 

How to Be a Good Next-Door Landlord

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


What Fees to Expect When Financing a Rental

What Fees To Expect When Financing a Rental Property in Montgomery County

You may look at the price of a potential Gaithersburg investment property, and think you’ve got a fairly good deal.

However, do not be fooled – more lies beneath the surface.

Besides the price tag of a rental property, there are numerous miscellaneous fees you can expect to pay when financing a rental.

But do you know what those fees are?

If you are looking to invest in a rental property in the Montgomery County area, and are curious about what fees to expect while financing that property, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the lowdown on what you can anticipate paying while financing a Gaithersburg rental property, so that you don’t walk away more empty-handed than you expected to after this major purchase.

 

10 Common Fees to Expect While Financing a Rental Property

 

1. Private Mortgage Insurance

If you put a small down payment on a rental property (typically less than 20% down), it is likely you will need to purchase what is called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

This policy will protect your lender from losing money, should you end up foreclosing on the property.

The problem with this added fee is that sometimes the private insurer providing you PMI requires you to pay an entire year’s worth before closing on the property you are purchasing.

This can add up quickly, and adds a sizeable amount to an already expensive purchase.

 

2. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Is a Fee To Expect In Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Another common type of insurance that is typically required while purchasing a rental property (and is recommended even if it’s not required), is homeowners insurance.

This policy will protect you should your tenants, or some unforeseen disaster, damage the structure of your property in any way.

While homeowners insurance can be paid monthly throughout the year, thus reducing your upfront costs at the time of financing your property, you will still need to have a policy in place before closing on the rental, which means some sort of payment will need to be made right away.

 

3. Title Insurance

Title insurance is a way to protect yourself in the event the seller of the property you are purchasing did not in fact own the property, yet sold it anyway.

This kind of insurance protects both you and your lender from any losses arising from ownership disputes.

 

4. Processing Fee

Another Common Fee is the Processing Fee With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

When you apply for a mortgage with a financing company, there are application fees that you are expected to pay.

These fees do not typically surpass $500, though it is important you keep track as you continue through the process.

 

5. Origination Fee

In addition to paying a processing fee, you will be responsible for paying an origination fee to the bank or lender you are financing your Gaithersburg property through.

This is your way of paying them for creating the loan you are being approved for.

 

6. Credit Report Fees

Include Credit Report Fees With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Just like other major purchases people make that come with loan terms (e.g. cars, boats, and major appliances), your lender will want to run a thorough credit check on you before even thinking about loaning you money to finance a rental property.

This also includes any courier or postage fees. Do not expect the bank to pay for all of this for you.

 

7. Survey Fee

Drawing up a precise legal boundary of the property you are trying to purchase, as well as including other details related to the property’s land, must be done before the closing of an investment property, if an existing survey does not already exist.

 

8. Appraisal Fees

An appraisal consists of a professional appraiser evaluating the property you are purchasing, and estimating its market value.

You must have an acceptable appraisal before you can finance a rental property.

Why?

A good appraisal is in place so that lenders do not give away too much of their own money.

In short, lenders need to know that the property you are purchasing is worth more than what you are paying for it. This way, should housing prices drop, lenders can easily recover their money.

 

9. Inspection Fees

Not all lenders require a general inspection of the property you are about to finance.

However, with things such as mold and pests being such a costly problem to deal with later on, it is sometimes worth the money to have a thorough inspection performed at the rental you are about to finance.

The last thing you want to deal with is a landlord-tenant dispute over who is responsible for pests in a rental.

In addition, it is your legal responsibility in Maryland to ensure that your tenants have a safe and habitable home to live in, free of mold or lead paint.

 

10. Recording Fees

Recording fees are fees you will pay the county or city to officially record all of the real estate documents that are drafted during your investment property purchase.

In Montgomery County, you will pay $6.90 per thousand dollars financed, $10.00 per thousand dollars financed over $500,000, a 1.5% transfer tax (1.0% to the county, 0.5% to the state), and a property tax of $0.883 per hundred dollars assessed.

 

Financing a rental property in Montgomery County is no easy feat.

You do not simply look at the price tag of the property and pay that amount.

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers do not understand this process in full, and can become very surprised, and discouraged, during the closing process.

Do not let this happen to you.

If you are looking to invest in a Gaithersburg rental property, or perhaps have just invested, and are facing not only the reality that you now have a mortgage to pay, but also that you have no tenants in your property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can place a tenant in your rental property within 30 days or less of being hired on to help you.

In addition, we charge a low 8% monthly management fee, which is amongst the lowest in both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

 

Self-managing a rental property is a tough gig after just going through the exhausting process of financing a new property.

Let us at Bay Management Group help you manage your property for a low monthly management fee, and place high quality, high paying tenants in your rental so you can start to recoup some of those fees you paid during the financing of your property.


Should You Offer Move-In Specials to Entice Tenants?

should-you-offer-move-in-specials-tenants-annapolis-property-management

Staying ahead of the competition is tough when you are a property owner in Annapolis. As the capital of Maryland, and home to the United States Naval Academy, there are plenty of tenants looking for a great place to live here.

And other property owners know it.

If you are wondering how to stand out from the crowd of property owners looking to capitalize on the appeal Annapolis provides tenants from all around – think rich cultural history, beautiful architecture, and perfectly maintained landscapes – it is time you consider offering move-in specials to entice renters to lease from you.

Move-in specials have the potential to attract a lot of attention to your vacant property, making sure that you have the largest tenant pool to choose from.

In addition, a good move-in special may convince a tenant deciding between two properties to choose yours over the alternative.

Today, we are going to look at several types of move-in specials to help you decide whether you should consider offering them to your Annapolis tenants.

 

When a Move-in Special is a Good Idea

when-move-in-special-good-idea-annapolis-tenants

Before looking at the various move-in specials you might want to offer your Annapolis tenants, let’s take a look at some of the conditions that, according to RentPrep, affect whether you should offer a move-in special or not:

  • Market Conditions. When the competition is tough, and property owners in the same area are racing for the same tenants, consider offering a move-in incentive. This way you can attract the largest tenant pool possible, and be pickier when it comes to tenant placement.
  • Less people tend to move during the winter season. Not only is it cold and less desirable to move, the holidays play a role in people’s financial decisions, and school is still in session. All these things cause many people to avoid moving, which means filling your vacant property will be more challenging. Offering an enticing move-in special can help.
  • Nearby Construction. If your investment property’s area is experiencing a boom in construction, this will be a good thing for your tenants – after the fact. However, during construction it will be harder to find tenants willing to deal with noise, blocked off areas, increases in traffic, and unfinished buildings near their home. Try offering them a move-in special and convincing them that the construction will be worthwhile.

These are just some of the most common reasons a property owner might consider offering prospective tenants a move-in special.

If this sounds like something you are dealing with right now, keep reading to find out what kind of move-in specials you can offer to boost tenant placement.

 

Top 7 Move-in Specials You Can Offer Your Prospective Annapolis Tenants

1. Flexible Lease Terms

It is important you draft airtight lease agreements that your tenants understand from the day they move in.

However, if you and your Anne Arundel County property management company work together, there are surefire ways to bend the lease terms just enough to entice prospective tenants, without sacrificing your rental property business.

Here are some great examples of lease provisions you can change to encourage an interested tenant to sign a lease with you:

  • Include an early lease termination clause, with a 30-day notice
  • Allow tenants to have pets
  • Permit tenants to temporarily decorate your property
  • Provide the ability to sublet the property under your direct approval
  • Make room for roommates to add themselves onto the lease agreement
  • Allow for a cosigner

If you can be slightly flexible when it comes to lease terms you are normally very strict about, you will open up the tenant pool significantly, and find someone to lease from you much quicker.

 

2. Waive the Application Fee

waive-application-fee-annapolis-tenants-rental-property

Moving is an expensive endeavor. From moving trucks to security deposits, and application fees to utility deposits, your tenant is going to be spending a great deal of money from the get go.

Try lessening the financial burden by waiving simple things like the application fee. This is especially helpful if your property management company requires every adult in the property to submit an application.

The money you will be saving the interested tenant may be just enough to convince them to go with your property, rather than a nearby competitor’s property.

 

3. Give Tenants the First Month Free

This is one of the most popular move-in specials you can offer tenants, and is also one of the most appealing.

As mentioned above, moving is expensive. If a tenant knows that they do not have to pay for the first’s month rent, they may feel less stressed about leasing from you.

Although you lose one month’s rent by offering this incentive, the tradeoff can be worth it. Eleven months of rent payments on a one-year lease is far better than a vacant property generating zero rent payments.

 

4. Online Rent Collection

online-rent-collection-great-move-in-special-annapolis-tenants

Though an increasingly popular method for collecting rent payments among experienced Anne Arundel County property management teams, offering online rent collection is still considered a special incentive.

Many people will jump at the convenience of being able to pay their rent online. By saving time, checks, and the headaches that come with mailed rent payments, your potential tenants may be more willing to rent from you if you offer them the chance to pay their rent online.

 

5. Property Upgrades

Sometimes all it takes to get an interested tenant to move into your rental property is the promise of an upgrade.

Tenants move into rented properties in hopes of making them feel as close to home as possible. This means many will be excited to learn that a permanent and beneficial change will be made to the property upon move-in.

Here are some things you might consider upgrading in order to get a high quality tenant moved in as soon as possible:

  • New, modern, or matching appliances
  • A fresh coat of paint
  • Upgraded flooring
  • Additional parking spaces
  • Bathroom remodels
  • Paid landscaping services

These are just some of the many things you can offer potential tenants in hopes of convincing them to sign a lease agreement with you. And remember, upgrades don’t always have to break the bank.

Oftentimes even small changes are enough to make a tenant feel special.

 

6. Rent Decrease

offer-rent-decrease-annapolis-tenants

If you are in a tight spot and need to place a tenant quickly, one great move-in special you might offer is a decrease on the asking rent.

Again, you will lose some positive cash flow by lowering your asking rent; however, a leased property is always going to make you more money than a vacant one.

 

7. Offer a Welcome Package

Offering your tenants a welcome package is a great way to build a better relationship, make your tenant feel special, and even encourage them to renew their lease come the end of their term.

In your welcome package, you can offer some generous and thoughtful things such as:

  • Gift cards to nearby restaurants
  • Bathroom staples
  • Kitchen baskets with goodies
  • Tickets to a local sports game
  • Plants to decorate their home
  • Coupons to nearby attractions

Encouraging tenants to move into your Annapolis rental property can sometimes prove challenging. However, whether you’re faced with stiff competition, the wrong time of year, or nearby construction, there are ways around all of it to secure a tenant in your property.

Try offering your potential tenants some of the above-mentioned move-in specials and see how that changes their tune.

And be sure to get Bay Management Group on your side to help advertise your property via multiple channels, to draft flexible lease agreements that satisfy both you and your tenant, and even to collect rent payment online.

 

Contact us today, and see how we can get your Annapolis property leased in under 30 days on average.


7 Ways to Prevent Mold in Your Rental Property

how-prevent-mold-montgomery-county-rental-property

There is no way to avoid the fact that mold spores are floating around your Montgomery County rental property at any given moment.  It’s natural for mold spores, among many other contaminants, to be present in the air we breathe.

However, when the humid Maryland weather hits and the climate begins to dampen, these mold spores tend to flourish, if not handled properly.

While the health hazards mold can present to someone with a weakened immune system are not to be taken lightly, the truth is, mold contamination in rental homes has become one of the most controversial, settlement driven, lawsuit types this country has ever seen.

And, with million-dollar lawsuits being served on property owners all across the country, it is no wonder you might worry about how to control the presence of mold in your Maryland property.

Today, we are going to look at the best ways you can prevent mold from rearing its ugly head in your rental property.

Being proactive about mold will keep your tenants safe from a potentially hazardous health condition, as well as keep your pocketbook safe from a life-changing lawsuit that could ruin your entire rental property business.

 

7 Ways to Effectively Prevent Mold in Your Montgomery County Rental Property

As of now, the federal government has yet to take a firm stand in determining a property owner’s responsibility when it comes to mold in a rental property.  However, Maryland is one of few states in the country that has made it clear that property owners have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and habitable place for their residing tenants.

That means, should your Montgomery County tenant inform you of the presence of mold in your rental property, you have a legal duty to remedy the problem, or else you may find yourself smack in the middle of a landlord-tenant dispute, which could land you in court.

Thus, it is in your best interest to avoid mold popping up in the first place.  So, let’s look at some of the top ways to prevent mold from appearing in your rental property.

 

1. Fix All Leaks As Soon As Possible

Mold loves to grow where there is moisture.  Any tiny leak present in your rental property may yield just enough moisture for mold spores to begin their growth cycle.

Here are some things to remind yourself of, as well as your tenant, when it comes to leaks and mold:

  • Always inspect your property thoroughly before allowing any tenant to move in, to ensure there is no mold growth
  • Tell your tenant to place a maintenance request immediately, should they find a leak in the property during their tenancy
  • Check under cabinets and around all water fixtures regularly for any leaks or water damage
  • Any mold growth should be dealt with as soon as it is found to prevent further growth and possible health complications

 

2. Take Advantage of Fans and Windows

using-fans-helps-prevent-mold-montgomery-county-rental-property

After a long hot shower, there is a lot of moisture left over in the air from the shower’s steam.  This moisture can easily attach itself to the ceilings and walls (and any tiny cracks), and attract mold spores that would be more than happy to start growing.

Since bathrooms do not tend to get much airflow going through them, have your tenants open the windows regularly to get rid of the moisture in the air.  If there are no bathroom windows, have them blow a fan through the bathroom for a short period of time post-shower to achieve the same effect.

The less moisture that exists in the rental property, the less likely the mild spores will be able to start growing.

 

3. Keep the Humidity Levels Low

Any rental property that experiences high levels of humidity in the air is susceptible to mold growth.  Encourage your tenants to keep the humidity level in your rental property as low as possible to discourage spore growth.  This can be done with an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.

Unlike opening the windows in the bathroom after a steamy shower to disperse the humidity in the air, if your rental property is in a region that has humid weather, it is best to keep the doors and windows closed so that the humid air does not enter while you are running the AC or dehumidifier.

 

4. Clean Up After a Spill or a Flood

clean-up-after-flood-prevent-mold-maryland-rental-property

Whether a bucket of water spills on the carpet or a huge rainstorm floods your property’s living room, the key to avoiding mold growth is to clean up fast.

In fact, one often-overlooked area for mold growth is underneath the carpet, in the padding of the flooring.  If seriously wet, the carpet and padding need professional fanning and drying to stop the growth of any mold.

Even a tiny bit of damp padding placed back on the floor can cause the development of a great deal of mold in a short amount of time.

 

5. Check Insurance Policies

Though not always the case, sometimes homeowners or renters insurance policies will cover damages related to mold growth.

It is important that you check your homeowners insurance policy for coverage regarding mold growth.

In addition, it is wise to encourage, or better yet require, your tenants to have renters insurance.  This way, should the mold growth be the tenant’s fault, with proper insurance coverage your investment property will remain protected, repaired, and paid for by your tenants.

 

6. Routinely Inspect Your Property

regularly-inspect-montgomery-county-rental-property-prevent-mold

Part of a being a successful landlord is monitoring your property for damages throughout your tenant’s lease term.

By routinely inspecting your property during the year, you ensure that your tenants are doing what they are legally obligated to, as far as home maintenance is concerned, and that any damages that may have gone unnoticed can be repaired quickly to prevent further damage.

Consider creating an annual rental property inspection checklist and adding leak inspections, moisture damage, and mold growth to the list.  That way, you never forget to check the small things that can lead to a large mold problem.

 

7. Use Mold Inhibitors in Your Property’s Paint

Since mold spores are always present, and they grow so quickly with even the smallest amount of moisture, consider adding mold inhibitors to your paint when you spruce up your property for the next tenants.

By adding specialized mold inhibitors to the paint used on the interior of your rental property, you effectively prevent any mold spores from attaching to the painted surfaces and growing.

Mold is a serious health issue, regardless of the seemingly frivolous and excessive lawsuits running through the court system today.  And, while there are not many specific laws regarding the disclosure and handling of mold in your Montgomery County rental property, you are still obligated to always provide your tenants with a safe and habitable place of living.

By preventing mold growth from starting in the first place, you protect yourself and your investment property.  In addition, by employing Maryland’s finest property management company, Bay Management Group, you lessen the hassles that come with having mold in your property.  So contact us today to learn how we can help keep you and your tenants safe.


Easy Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenant and Boost Retention

top-ways-go-extra-mile-tenants-rockville-maryland-property-managementWith over 41% of Rockville residents currently renting, it is no wonder people are jumping at the chance to invest in rental homes.  And, while there are certainly some established landlords in the market whose hands have been in the industry for a while now, there is no reason you cannot up your game and go the extra mile for your tenants to ensure they stay your tenants.  In fact, without your tenants, you wouldn’t have a rental property business.  Thus, it is worth recognizing the good ones and showing them some appreciation.

Providing your Rockville tenants superior customer service is what will set you apart from other property owners your tenants have experienced in the past. And if you employ Maryland’s leading property management company to help, you can guarantee even lower turnover rates, higher tenant satisfaction, and thus, more money in your pocket.

Let’s take a look at some easy ways that you can give back to your tenants.  By putting in just a little bit of extra effort, you may convince your tenants to stay in your property long-term. And as you know, high-quality, long-term tenants are the ultimate goal of property owners and property management companies.

 

Top Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Rockville Tenants and Boost Retention Rates

 

1. Build Good Relationships from the Start

First impressions are important when it comes to placing a new tenant in your Rockville rental property.  The tone that you and your property management company set is likely to follow you the entire lease term.  Here are some of the easiest ways to go above and beyond for your tenants before they even move into your rental property:

  • Handle all communication in a professional manner, thus making the tenant feel comfortable and convinced that leasing from you will be hassle free
  • Take the time to thoroughly explain all of the lease agreement terms and provisions without rushing your tenant to sign and move in
  • Give your tenant a move-in handbook that contains nearby amenities complete with contact information and addresses, common maintenance tips that will prevent unnecessary repairs, and how to contact the property management company in the case of emergencies, simple repair requests, and basic inquiries.

 

2. Keep Communication Open at All Times

keep-communcation-open-tenants-rockville-maryland-rental-property

One of the biggest complaints tenants have, regardless of the type of property they are leasing, the price they are locked in for, or the location they have landed in, is poor communication with property owners and their property management companies.  To avoid this, and what is likely to become high turnover rates, consider implementing these communication tips:

  • Provide tenants with contact information for all scenarios so they always know who to contact and when each person is available
  • Work with a property management company that employs a staff that is knowledgeable in all things property related, no matter what their position is in the company
  • Work with a licensed and insured maintenance company that is available on-call, every day, at all hours
  • Have an online portal where tenants can easily make maintenance and repair requests
  • Make follow-up phone calls after any maintenance or repair has been performed to ensure tenant satisfaction
  • Send regular email newsletters updating tenants about community happenings they can get involved in
  • Consider encouraging tenants to take tenant surveys to find out what you are doing well and what tenants feel you should work on

In the end, taking a proactive approach to communication with your tenants will help you build better relationships with them.  They will trust you more, feel comfortable approaching you about anything, and are more likely to sign a lease renewal come the end of their lease term.

 

3. Boost Your Rockville Property Security

Feeling safe in your home, whether you rent or not, is important for all families.  One of the best things you can do for your tenants, besides invest in rental properties that are in safe neighborhoods, is improve your rental home’s security measures.

Here are some ways you can easily reward your quality tenants with better security measures:

  • Install motion-sensor lighting on the exterior of the home to discourage burglars and light up dark paths for your tenants
  • Add keyless entry systems to all doors on the property
  • Outfit the home with thick window treatments that will stay closed throughout the night and maintain your tenant’s privacy
  • Conduct routine window and door inspections to make sure they close and lock properly
  • Add an alarm system, consider exterior security cameras, and even use an interior telecom system for easy communication throughout the home in the case of an emergency

Giving your Rockville tenants a reason to feel safe and secure is also going to give them a reason to sign a lease renewal and stay long term.  After all, a tenant that feels unsafe is not likely to live in your property for long.

 

4. Upgrade Your Rental Property

upgrade-rental-property-boost-tenant-retention

Getting in the habit of routinely upgrading your rental property not only increases the value of your investment in the long run, it means a lot to tenants that are currently residing there.  This is not to say you have to upgrade everything in your rental.  However, small upgrades such as the following can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction:

  • Upgrade old or mismatching appliances
  • Change the flooring for long term tenants
  • Replace old and worn out light fixtures, faucets, cabinet knobs, and drawer handles
  • Have the interior painted with a fresh coat each lease renewal
  • Invest in professional landscaping services to spruce up the backyard living space and maintain it for your tenants
  • Change out older model windows and doors for more modern styles

These small changes show your tenants that you enjoy having them in your rental property and that they are worth the cost of a few upgrades.  In addition, it will allow your tenant to enjoy your property more and give them more reason to stay, which ultimately helps boost tenant retention.

 

5. Give Them a Little Surprise

Surprising your tenants with a special bonus may not seem like a lot to you, but can mean the world to your tenant.  For example, give them a one-month rent discount, pay for one of their utility bills, offer them a gift card to a new local hotspot restaurant, or even give them some cold hard cash.

Altogether, everyone enjoys random acts of kindness.  And a surprise coming from a property owner or property management company will be remembered come lease renewal time.

 

In the end, there are many ways you can foster a positive relationship with your Rockville rental property tenants.  If done right, the easy ways mentioned above not only show your tenants they are worth the extra effort, they convince your tenants that leasing from you is the best decision they ever made.  What a great way to stay ahead of the competition!

If you are in need of a property management company that can handle going the extra mile for your tenants and for you, contact Bay Management Group today.  As an experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly property management company, Bay Management Group has a solid understanding of what it takes to lower turnover rates, increase tenant satisfaction, and keep both our property owners and tenants headache-free.