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.


How to Determine the Amount of Your Rental’s Security Deposit

 

How to Determine the Amount of the Security Deposit or Your Harford County Rental Property

An important part of owning a rental property in Harford County is charging tenants a security deposit at the start of every new lease term.

This deposit serves as assurance that your property will be cared for during the course of tenancy.

And, if by chance your property is not cared for, this security deposit will help alleviate the financial burden that has now been placed on you to repair your property.

After all, you want to place new tenants as soon as possible, so as not to lose money. Using the security deposit includes covering things such as property damage, failure to pay rent, and expenses incurred if a breach in the lease agreement occurs.

But how do you determine the amount of your rental’s security deposit?

At some point, you will need to seriously consider how much to charge your tenants for renting your Havre de Grace rental property.

In addition, you will need to determine how much to charge them for a security deposit.

For those who are unsure as to how to determine the right amount to charge for a security deposit, check out some of these helpful tips to guide you to a final decision.

How to Determine Your Harford County Rental’s Security Deposit Amount

1. Check Maryland Law

Check Maryland Law for Your Rental Security Deposit

There is no denying there are many federal, state, and local laws applying to owning and leasing a rental property in Maryland.

Although there is no countrywide stance on security deposits as they apply to rentals, it is crucial you understand that how much you can collect in security deposits at the start of a tenancy is determined by the state where your property is located.

According to Maryland law, you are legally allowed to accept a maximum of two months’ rent from a tenant at the start of a lease term as a security deposit.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

  • If you overcharge a tenant, they are allowed to recover up to three times the amount you overcharged, in addition to reasonable coverage of attorney’s fees
  • A receipt must be given to the tenant at the time you collect the deposit
  • Failure to provide a receipt will result in a $25 fine
  • You must provide a list of existing damages, if requested by the tenant within 15 days of taking up occupancy, or else you will be liable for up to three times the security deposit
  • You must place the security deposit in an escrow account
  • During the lease, a simple interest accrual will be applied to the deposit at a rate, depending on the date the lease was initiated

It is very important that you and your Harford County property management company know that two months’ rent is the maximum amount that can be collected as a security deposit, in order to avoid legal trouble later down the road.

 

2. Evaluate Each Interested Tenant

Just because you can legally collect up to two months’ rent worth of security deposit from a tenant you are placing in your Havre de Grace rental property, doesn’t mean you have to collect that much.

Before setting an amount, consider the type of tenant you are trying to attract for your rental.

For example, let’s say your property is located in an area that boasts an average, middle class income at best.

Charging a tenant first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit worth two months’ rent, in addition to any other miscellaneous fees that may come included with renting a property from you (e.g. pet deposits, cleaning fees, and application fees), may greatly limit your tenant pool.

If you charge the maximum amount in security deposits every time you lease your property, you may find that you are excluding a group of tenants that may otherwise be perfect.

In addition, charging the maximum just because you can, may unknowingly spread your tenant too thin, leading to unpaid rent in the near future.

In order to keep your Harford County tenant turnover rates low, you might want to consider not charging quite so much up front if the tenant screening process you performed on a prospective tenant revealed an otherwise great tenant.

If their inability to come up with such a huge security deposit is the only red flag in your thorough tenant screening, they may still be a good long-term tenant.

 

3. Assess the Value of Your Property

Assess the Value Of Your Harford County Rental Property

Another consideration to make when determining the amount of security deposit you should charge your tenants is the overall value of your property.

Paired with this, you should consider how much money you might potentially have to come up with, should anything happen to your valuable rental property.

For instance, if your property has custom upgrades or comes furnished with expensive antiques or irreplaceable furnishings, you might want to charge the maximum amount in security deposits.

In addition, if your Havre de Grace property comes with lavish amenities such as major appliances, private parking, or a pool house in the backyard, again, you might want to consider charging the highest security deposit you can.

If, after evaluating the value of your property, complete with professional estimates if necessary, you feel that fixing minor damages such as a dent in the wall, scratched floor surfaces, or non-working (and top-of-the-line) appliances will cost you a large chunk of change, making sure you charge the highest security deposit will be in your best interest.

 

4. Know the Market

Nearly all tenants know the market they are entering when they are looking to lease a rental property.

This is why you too should know the market, to prevent interested tenants from going elsewhere to rent.

Knowing what other rental properties are charging in terms of rent and security deposits will help you stay competitive in the tough Harford County rental market.

After all, people want to take advantage of all that Havre de Grace has to offer, without spending a penny too much on monthly rent payments.

In addition, tenants don’t want to come up with thousands of dollars at the start of their lease term if they don’t have to.

To stay competitive and keep your rental property leased at all times, make sure you find the perfect balance of rent amounts and security deposits.

 

5. Market Demand

In line with the above-mentioned considerations is the fact that if there is a high demand for your rental property, it is probably safe to say you can charge the maximum amount in the security deposits, and still land a high-quality tenant.

If, however, your rental is not in high demand, – for whatever reason that may be – undercharging on a security deposit is one way of keeping your vacancy rate lower, and placing a tenant in your property quicker.

If you charge a lower security deposit than your competition, you effectively set yourself apart and make your similar rental more appealing to prospective tenants.

Sure, you might not have as much in the end to cover property damages, unpaid rent, and legal fees. However, the idea is to weed out problem tenants in the first place by conducting thorough tenant screening so that you don’t have to deal with property damages and other problem tenant issues.

 

If you own rental property in the Havre de Grace area and are concerned about how much you should charge tenants when it comes to a security deposit, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

Bay Management Group’s talented staff has the knowledge and expertise to draft legally complaint lease agreements that follow Maryland’s laws regarding the collection, holding, and returning of security deposits to tenants.

As Harford County’s best property management company, we can help you with all considerations, and set your security deposit at a competitive rate that will also keep you covered, should the unthinkable happen.


The Difference Between a Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent

security-deposit-versus-last-month-rent
When a new tenant moves into your property, it’s time to start generating income from your investment.

And not just from the first month’s rent – you have two other instant revenue options as well: the last month’s rent and the security deposit.

Both of these are excellent ways to test a tenant’s financial stability and sincerity about renting your property for the long term. However, they’re not mutually exclusive. If you wanted, you could charge for both, one, or neither.

You need to understand the differences between charging last month’s rent and collecting a security deposit to make your decision on what you’ll ask for. Today, we’ll explore those differences.

 

How a Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent Are Different

What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is a tenant’s property, and it should be held for a tenant for the duration of their tenancy.

It’s typically an amount equivalent to one month’s rent, and is intended to cover any damages beyond normal wear and tear to a property.

“Normal wear and tear” is pretty straightforward – if the carpeting shows signs of use, then that is considered “normal.” Carpeting covered in large stains, on the other hand, would not fall under the definition of “normal wear and tear.”

If, when a tenant moves out, a landlord finds that damage beyond normal wear and tear have occurred, the landlord doesn’t have to legally return the security deposit.

You should collect the security deposit before the tenant actually moves into the property. You should also be sure to include the amount of money and the date the security deposit was collected in your lease agreement.

Maryland landlord-tenant laws state that a landlord may charge a tenant up to the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. Montgomery County landlords must also provide a receipt that describes the tenant’s rights to inspections, the right to receive an itemized list of the deposit deductions, and the penalties for the landlord’s failure to comply.

On top of that, Montgomery County landlords must pay interest on any security deposit $50 or more at an annual rate of 3 percent. You can calculate your tenant’s security deposit with added interest on the Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Landlords are required to return their tenants’ security deposits within 45 days after they move out, as long as both parties met the agreements outlined within the lease. If a landlord fails to return any part of the security deposit within that period, they could face a lawsuit and may be liable for three times the withheld amount.

 

What is Last Month’s Rent?

If you require your tenants to pay a last month’s rent, you effectively give yourself a form of insurance against their leaving without giving you proper notice.

Think about it this way: if a tenant signs a one-year lease, they won’t have to make any payments during their twelfth month of tenancy.

Collecting last month’s rent is also a great way to attract higher quality renters. Such a barrier for entry allows only those potential tenants with the appropriate cash on hand to move in. Because it can be so difficult for someone of lesser means to move into a new home and pay such a substantial cost, you’ll have significantly fewer (but probably higher-quality) applicants overall.

Just remember, if a tenant has reason to legally breach their lease agreement before the twelfth month, then you would be obligated to return their last month’s rent. Instead of finding yourself simply needing a new tenant, you’d also be a full month’s rent in the hole.

For a more extensive look at last month’s rent, check out this recent blog post.

 

What’s the Big Difference?

montgomery-county-property-management-financial-questions-security-deposit

The biggest difference, clearly, is that you don’t have to return the last month’s rent. That isn’t the tenant’s property – it’s yours.

The security deposit is not actually “income,” but keeps you free of any financial headaches after a tenant moves out. But if you can’t legally hold onto it, you have to return it within that 45-day period.

Because a last month’s rent is part of the overall money owed by the tenant, it doesn’t technically count towards anything other than your tenant’s cost of living in your property. This forces you to pay for any cleaning or repairs needed at the end of the lease.

Your best bet to keep yourself safe and flexible is to require tenants pay a security deposit, and to follow the Maryland state laws on handling the money. The deposit should be as high as you think necessary to cover whatever potential losses you could face.

 

“Living Out” a Security Deposit

Sometimes, your tenant may try to “live out” their security deposit. Instead of paying their last month’s rent, they ask you to apply the security deposit you’ve already collected from and owe them to their last month of rent.

This can be somewhat risky for landlords. For instance, if your tenant has caused any damage to the property, you probably won’t have enough security left over after you deduct their last month’s rent to pay for the damage they caused. If your security deposit was only the equivalent of one month’s rent, this is especially true.

The best advice in this case is to never allow your tenants to live out their security deposits. If you did not require a last month’s rent when they moved in, collect the last month’s rent as you normally would and return them their security deposit within the legal period minus any necessary deductions.

 

Increased Rent Amounts and Last Month’s Rent

One issue Montgomery County property managers might run into when they choose to collect last month’s rent is the issue of increasing the amount of rent due.

If you increase the rent due every month but fail to require your tenant to increase the amount of their pre-paid last month’s rent, you can’t collect the extra amount when the tenant moves out.

When the tenant moves out, there will be a difference in what they initially paid as last month’s rent, and what the actual last month’s rent costs. But you cannot make the tenant pay the difference.

This may not be the most upsetting outcome – especially if the amount you raised the rent was small enough that its absence doesn’t impact your finances.

 

Final Thoughts

The differences here are pretty clear: a deposit is always helpful, and a last month’s rent can be as well. And whether you want to ask for both, one, or neither is entirely your decision.

Take a step back from your business for a moment, and ask yourself:

What sort of tenants will my properties most likely attract? What sort of tenants do I want to attract?

The answers to these questions are different in every individual case. What’s important is that you understand these differences and decide what you should do to grow your rental property business.

 


How to Avoid Roommate Trouble

Property Management Tips on Dealing with Roommate Problems in Anne Arundel County

Finding a qualified tenant to occupy your Anne Arundel County home becomes significantly easier when you allow roommates to enter into a lease agreement together. Widening the pool to those who wish to share your home makes living in your home more affordable because of the dual (or even triple) incomes.

However, allowing roommates to lease your coveted and highly valuable property, especially if you own a rental home in a place such as Glen Burnie, can cause issues when it comes to lease agreements, security deposits, rental payments, and more.

Let’s take a look at some of the common problems that pop up when roommates decide to rent together and how you can ward some off these potential situations.

 

Common Roommate Trouble

Renting your home to best friends, people in relationships, or even those that are complete strangers may cause internal problems that ultimately you will have to deal with. Here are some issues you may run into should you decide to lease your rental property to roommates.

 

1. One Roommate Doesn’t Pay Rent

When roommates enter a lease agreement, rarely does the landlord become involved in how the rent will be split. All that matters is that at the designated time, rent is paid in full.

Many times roommates will experience an issue where one roommate refuses to pay their share, leaving the other roommate(s) to cover the missing amount.

Not only does this threaten your monthly rental payments that you rely on every month, it affects the other tenants that are sharing your home and have now become responsible for fulfilling the rent obligation.

 

2. When One Roommate Violates the Terms of the Lease Agreement

Whether it be the addition of an unapproved roommate, making too much noise during quiet hours, damaging property, or bringing in an unauthorized pet, there will be problems for all involved if one roommate begins violating lease terms.

Unfortunately for roommates, it is common that if one person violates the lease, all tenants leasing the home are found to be responsible. The landlord will then be forced to get involved and the end result may be a vacant rental property.

 

3. Roommates That Do Not Get Along

Anne Arundel County Roommates that Dont Get Along

Sharing a space with another person will cause conflict at one point or another. However, sometimes that conflict gets so extreme one tenant feels they may need to break the lease agreement early.

It might even become a situation where the “good” roommate(s) wish to kick out the problem roommate in order to live peacefully.

In any event, evicting one tenant in a roommate lease agreement is a messy ordeal, one that must be addressed legally to avoid further complications. This is something all landlords dread and hope to avoid when leasing their properties.

 

4. One Roommate Leaves the Home Before the Term Ends

Oftentimes roommates live together for financial reasons. This is common in places such as Annapolis. With a growing population and a high demand for rental properties, decent homes can come with a high rental price tag. By halving the rent and all utilities, and hopefully even the groceries, daily living expenses become much more manageable.

Sadly, sometimes a situation will arise where one roommate simply leaves the rental home refusing to fulfill the rental obligations agreed to at the lease signing. This leaves the other roommate(s) in a bind if they cannot cover the entire monthly rent.

Though Maryland does have a potential solution for recovering rent owed by a roommate that broke a lease agreement early, this legal process can be lengthy and may prove fruitless in the end. However, when rent is due, it is due. Landlords have the right to collect the entire rent from only one roommate regardless of the other’s actions and can swiftly start the eviction process if rent is not paid.

 

Preventing Roommate Trouble in Your Income Property

Experiencing some of the above scenarios would cause any landlord to reel. Often relying on rental payments as a primary source of income, having any type of issue in a rental home is unwelcome.

Luckily, there are some things landlords can do at the time of the lease signing to avoid some of these things from ever becoming an issue.

 

1. Make All Roommates ‘Joint and Several Liable’

Your lease agreement should contain proper language making all roommates that will be living in, say your Severna Park rental home, responsible for the lease agreement provisions.

By including the terms ‘jointly and severally liable’ your tenants will be held equally responsible for all lease terms, regardless of who violates the terms.

 

2. Properly Screen All Tenants

Have All Anne Arundel County Tenants Complete a Rental Agreement

Anyone over the age of 18 residing in your rental property should undergo the same screening process and should have their name included on the lease agreement. This will ensure that everyone entering the lease agreement fits your standards and provides every adult residing there some level of responsibility. This way only high quality tenants will be allowed to rent from you, hopefully weeding out problem tenants from the start.

 

3. Do Not Allow Subleasing

By allowing a tenant renting from you to turn around and rent to another, unapproved person, your rental property becomes vulnerable.

Do not allow this process, also known as subleasing, occur under any circumstances.

If a tenant needs replacing, only with your permission, screening processes, and a revised lease agreement making the new roommate joint and several liable should this ever be allowed to happen. This is the best way you can protect yourself and your investment.

 

4. Collect Only One Rent Check

As mentioned before, rarely does a landlords have any say as to how the monthly rent will be split between roommates. However, by including in your lease agreement that only one rent check will be accepted, not only does this better guarantee full payment each month, it separates you from the internal financial issues roommates sometimes experience.

 

5. Encourage a Roommate Agreement

Although not required, it is a good idea to suggest to roommates leasing your rental home that they draw up a roommate agreement outlining the responsibilities of every party living in the rental home.

Though residents living in Laurel or Fort Meade may feel particularly trusting of their roommates as those regions tend to have tight knit communities of people who have known each other for years, it is still in the best interest of all involved to get something in writing, just in case.

Here are some common details that may be included in a roommate agreement signed by all tenants leasing your rental home:

  • Division of rent between all parties
  • Utility cost splits
  • Food cost splits
  • Maintenance responsibilities such as cleaning, yard maintenance, or repair requests
  • Overnight guest rules
  • Rules regarding parties/gatherings
  • Designated quiet times
  • Parking designations
  • The process for breaking a lease agreement

Though courts will generally disregard many provisions in a roommate agreement, those involving monetary issues will likely hold in a court of law should an issue between roommates surface. This is especially true if everyone has signed the agreement as documents like that are almost always upheld by judges.

 

Final Thoughts

As a landlord, you must protect yourself and your rental investment first and foremost by enforcing the lease agreement.

Luckily for you, your favorite Anne Arundel County property management team, Bay Management Group, is well versed in many of the things discussed above for preventing roommate issues in your rental home.

With qualified professionals understanding how to properly and thoroughly screen potential tenants, draft legally complaint lease agreements, collect full rental payments in a timely manner, and evict problem tenants once issues begin to pop up, Bay Management Group can give you that peace of mind that you and your rental investment are fully protected, even if your tenant roommates run into some trouble with each other.

 


Understanding Normal Wear and Tear on Montgomery County Rental Properties

A question frequently asked by both tenants and landlords is what constitutes normal wear and tear on a rental property.

Both parties of a rental agreement often have their own definitions of what “normal wear and tear” means, leaving much room for conflict at the end of a lease agreement.

property-management-tenant-lease-agreement-for-montgomery-county

The term “normal wear and tear” is a vague one and can cause a lot of issues between you and your tenant if not spelled out clearly in the beginning of a lease agreement.

In order to minimize disagreements over the condition of your Montgomery County rental property at the end of a lease, let’s take a look at who is responsible for what in a rental property.

 

What Exactly is a Security Deposit?

It is important first to have a solid grasp on what exactly a security deposit is. According to the Maryland State Code a security deposit is

“… any payment of money, including payment of the last month’s rent in advance of the time it is due, given to a landlord by a tenant in order to protect the landlord against nonpayment of rent, damage due to breach of lease, or damage to the leased premises, common areas, major appliances, and furnishings,” in excess of ordinary wear and tear.

 

This is where the main conflict occurs. All states allow landlords to collect a security deposit (which is usually in the amount of one month’s rent), but this money is to be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease so long as the property is left in its original condition minus normal wear and tear.

Many landlords are under the impression that a security deposit is a payment of money that can be used at the end of a lease agreement to restore their rental property back to its original condition before their tenants moved in, improve the condition of the property for future tenants, or even prepare it for sale.

This is simply not the case.

This money is to remain in an escrow account at all times and is always considered your tenant’s money until a situation arises where you can legally access and use such funds. In fact, if you were to use your tenant’s security deposit for legitimate reasons, the work must be shown to have been done by licensed contractors and receipts must accompany whatever charges were incurred.

 

Normal Wear and Tear vs Damage

Although seemingly ambiguous, the term normal wear and tear is actually quite simple. When agreeing to lease a rental property from you, the tenant is knowingly obligated to return said premises to you, their landlord, in substantially the same condition, as when the tenant originally moved in.

Deterioration without negligence, carelessness, or abuse of the premises is not considered your tenant’s responsibility and you cannot require the tenant to be financially responsible for normal use of your rental home. However, if the tenant has been negligent, abusive, or made accidental damages to your property (either personally, by guests, or even pets), then you would have a case for damages to your home.

 

Let’s get a better idea:

 

Normal Wear and Tear – Landlord is Responsible Damages – Tenant is Responsible
Loose or worn hingesDetached hinges
Scratched window surfacesBroken or missing window panes
Faded or dusty curtainsTorn, stained, burned curtains
Small holes or marks in wallsLarge holes or dents in walls
Faded or worn carpetingTorn, stained, burned carpeting

 

Helpful Tips

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together when it comes to routine maintenance and upkeep of the rental property in use. When each party is aware of such responsibilities from the beginning, it is easier to determine who is responsible for what at the end of the lease agreement.

Landlords

routine-property-management-maintenance-protects-homeRoutine maintenance of your Montgomery County rental can prevent problems during your tenant’s stay. By staying on top of small fixes ahead of time, there is less likely a chance for something to go wrong during your tenant’s lease, and less likely to be a conflict over who is responsible for fixing it in the end.

Another important point is to have an understanding with your tenant as to what their routine maintenance responsibilities will be while renting your home. This could include things such as changing batteries and lightbulbs, replacing filters, or having the pool cleaned on a regular basis. These are things that should be included in your rental agreement with your tenant so that there is no confusion as to responsibility should something break due to a lapse in routine maintenance.

This can become very overwhelming especially if you own more than one rental property. Remember, your Montgomery County property management group is there to stay on top of all your routine maintenance needs for your rental properties so you can have the peace of mind that your home is taken care of. This also includes drafting up a thorough lease agreement so each party knows exactly what is to be taken care of and when.

  • Invest in Quality Appliances

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Keeping older appliances in your rental home increases the risk that something may break and potentially damage your rental property.

Using newer and more dependable appliances not only decreases those risks, bur makes for a happier tenant all around.

  • Maintain Basic Amenities

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It is your responsibility to maintain things such as electricity, hot/cold water, and plumbing to all of your rental homes. If these amenities are not kept in good working order, and damages were to occur, it could very well be your responsibility.

By avoiding such things in the first place there is less chance of a conflict occurring over who will pay for what damages.

 

Tenants

  • Schedule Walk-Throughs

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Before moving into your new home, make sure you have a walk through with the landlord to get an idea of the existing state of the property. Make note of all problems that need fixing and even consider taking photos, even if it is a minor issue.

At the end of the tenancy schedule another walk-through to note any changes that may have occurred during your stay. This gives you the opportunity to fix any issues that are your responsibility before the landlord charges you.

  • Get Things Fixed

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As soon as a maintenance issue arises that is your landlord’s responsibility,fix it sooner than later to prevent damage. Waiting to have things fixed may be regarded as negligence and a case for damages might be considered.

Don’t let problems that can be fixed go from normal wear and tear to damage due to procrastination.

  • Upon Move Out

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When you prepare to leave a rental home it is expected that you leave the property in good, clean condition, minus normal wear and tear.

Do things such as clean the entire home, remove all personal items, sweep and vacuum floors (even consider having them professionally cleaned), replace all batteries and light bulbs.

Just make sure that everything you fix (i.e. patching any nail holes or spackling the walls) was agreed to in the lease agreement. This should be discussed at the start of tenancy so the understanding is clear.

 

Conclusion

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The term “normal wear and tear” is a hotly debated topic.

When a landlord leases their property out to strangers, it is worrisome that damages may occur to a property they have invested in. Unfortunately, that is the risk you take when becoming a landlord.

As long as the tenant has not been proven to have been neglectful, abusive, or careless, damages to your rental property are not their responsibility.

This is why it is important to have a solid lease agreement from the start where each party is undeniably certain of what their responsibilities are.

When you want to rent out your home, give Bay Management Group a call.   As your reliable Montgomery County property management company, you can be assured problems arising from the term “normal wear and tear” will be a thing of the past.