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How To Turn Good Tenants Into Great Tenants

Every rental property owner knows that finding good, long-term tenants can be a challenge. It takes time, energy and money to get and keep clean, responsible, and reliable renters. Once you do find great tenants, there are things you can do to help them be even easier and more pleasant to work with. As you implement these tips, you’ll find yourself spending less time looking for renters and worrying about terrible tenants, and more time doing more important things.

1. Communication is Key

The best thing you can do, from the first time you meet your potential tenants, is to communicate clearly with them. Be sure your renters are understand your expectations and also feel comfortable talking to you. As you do this, they’ll be more likely to follow the rules and come to you with questions, concerns or problems.

It can be hard to keep up with calls and questions from renters, which is one area a property management company can relieve some stress and contribute greatly to the satisfaction of a renter. If your tenants feel like they have somebody to reach out to and know that they’ll get a quick response, they’ll feel safer and more supportive.

2. Keep Up and Stay Ahead

When it comes to the needs of your renters, the sooner you’re able to respond and the more you’re able to accommodate, the better. It’s important to take care of any repair issues, but also to be proactive with maintenance and home improvements.

If you find yourself falling behind on upkeep and repairs, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Renters are often willing to do some repair and maintenance work on their own in exchange for a discount on rent or other compensation. Keep in mind that property management companies usually have relationships with trusted contractors so they are much better able to keep on top of maintenance issues and work ahead to keep your tenants happy.

No matter how you choose to approach housing repairs, maintenance, and upgrades, remember that the happier your tenants are, the easier they’ll be to deal with month-to-month.

3. Show Appreciation

Sometimes it’s the small things that can make the biggest difference. Letting your tenants know that you appreciate their efforts to pay rent on time or keep the home clean and well kept only encourages more of that kind of good behavior. Simple things like sending a card on their birthday or giving a small gift around the holidays can really make them feel valued.

Whether it’s sending cards, giving gifts, or choosing other unique ways to express gratitude for your tenants, making them feel appreciated can really motivate them to be better tenants. After all, the happier your tenants are, the longer they’ll want to stick around… and that saves you time and money.

Remember, you don’t have to handle all of this on your own! Real Property Management East Valley can help manage your rental properties in a way that encourages better renter behavior and relationships. We are dedicated to being available and being proactive, and in doing our best to ensure your renters feel appreciated.

5 Things Every Lease Agreement Should Contain

One of the most important parts of owning or leasing out a rental property is ensuring you have a professional and legally sound lease agreement. Unless you have a background in real estate or rental laws, it can be easy to overlook some crucial components of a great lease agreement. Here are 5 things every lease agreement should include to ensure that you, as the owner, are covered and protected no matter what comes up.

1. Start with the basics

Every lease agreement should have detailed basic information for each tenant that will be living in the property. That includes full/legal names, dates of birth, social security numbers when necessary, and, most importantly, signatures for ever tenant. While you’re at it, be sure to clearly state any occupancy limits and guidelines.

Having at least names and signatures of all adult tenants makes each of them responsible for the outlined terms. If you ever face unpaid rent or other violations of the agreement, you can seek compensation from each of the tenants. You can also base termination decisions for the entire household based on the behavior of one tenant. Although we never wish for any negative renter issues to arise, we also want homeowners to be able to take action if ever necessary.

2. Document dates

There are a few different dates you’ll want to have documented clearly in your lease agreement. The first set of dates should indicate the term of the tenancy. Specify the date the leasing term starts, the day it will end, and any related terms that can impact that time frame.

That brings us to the next date you should include on the contract, which is in relation to lease renewal or termination. You’ll want to explain the general renewal/termination policy, and include a date by which the tenant must let you know what they intend to do.

Another date you must include is the payment due date. We know that rent check coming in each month is what makes owning a rental property worth it, so be sure to document exactly which date rent is due each month and exactly when a payment is considered late.

3. Money matters

Speaking of rent checks, the parts of your lease agreement that speak to financial arrangements are crucial for any property owner. Your lease agreement should list any upfront fees required, such as a deposit, first month’s rent, etc. You should also notate whether or not parts of the deposit are refundable at the end of the tenancy term. If there are separate pet fees, whether it be an additional deposit up front or a monthly fee, they need to be laid out in the lease agreement as well.

As for the monthly rent, the agreement should specify the amount of rent, the date it is due, and any preferences or requirements in regards to method of payment. If payment is being processed through a property management company or any other third party entity, you will want to include details about that arrangement. You will also want to document any late fees or bounced check fees.

4. Who is responsible for what?

Take the time to outline who is responsible for which parts of maintaining and keeping up with the property. You will probably want to state what you require the tenant to do in order to keep the property clean and sanitary. Also, there should be verbiage to protect you from any damages caused intentionally by the tenant or through negligence on their part. Tenants should be required to notify you of any repair issues or concerns immediately upon noticing them so that problems don’t get worse.

Be sure to list what issues you or your property management team are willing to handle and be responsible for. These may include minor household repairs, yard maintenance, electrical and HVAC repairs, and other maintenance necessities.

5. You must include unique legal, state, and owner requirements

Not every rental property is the same, so it is important that your lease agreement fits the specific circumstances of the arrangement. A few things you’ll want to consider including in your lease agreement are clauses prohibiting illegal activity and disruptive behavior, details about the legal right you and your property management team have to access or enter the property with advance notice, any subleasing or roommate restrictions, and parking rules or regulations. Again, be sure to cover the unique pieces of information applicable to each property and tenant.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or need any guidance in creating a lease agreement, don’t worry! We have Arizona Property Management experts that can assist you with the process or, even better, create a comprehensive and protective lease agreement for you. We are committed to offering world-class property management services and work hard to support property owners in a variety of ownership and renting situations. Feel free to give us a call – we’d be happy to talk more with you about your rental and property management needs.

Who’s in Charge of Pest Control?

As we make our way through spring and into summer here in the East Valley of Phoenix, we’re already beginning to see an increase in bugs and other pests in our homes and yards. Regular pest control is key in keeping these pests at bay. If you are a rental property owner, you might wonder if pest control is your responsibility or that of your tenant. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to paying for pest control for your rental property:

The Cost

Pest control is not cheap so it’s no wonder that neither tenants or landlords are anxious to take on the additional responsibility. If you do decide that you, as a property owner, are going to foot the bill for pest control, be sure to do some research and price comparison. It never hurts to check out what others are saying about a specific pest control service before you hire them so you are sure you will get your money’s worth.

Is Your Rental Habitable?

Implied in most leases is that the landlord must maintain livable conditions for any rental property. This typically refers to any repairs that are necessary due to major damage or malfunction. But if bug or pest infestation is making your rental property uninhabitable, then it may be time to look into pest control. Pest issues such as termites, ants, cockroaches and bedbugs may make it tough for your tenant to want to stay and will probably give that tenant a good excuse to break their lease.

Your Tenants Behavior/Actions

There are some situations where a pest problem spirals out of control based on the living habits and behaviors of the tenants. For example, ants and cockroaches are often attracted to areas that are dirty or where food is not taken care of properly. If you find that your tenants have trouble keeping the home clean, then it may be easier to shift the burden of pest control to the tenant. Keeping a home clean means keeping it clear of trash, taking care of food properly and doing some general cleaning on a regular basis. You can find out what is causing a bug problem by talking to the exterminator and having them inspect your property.

Avoiding Long-Term Issues

Most property owners want to avoid any long-term problems that might arise due to a bug infestation or pest problem. Even though there is a chance you can prove that your tenant should be responsible for paying for pest control, you may not want to risk leaving it up to the tenant to get it done. Some pest problems, like bed bugs, can last for much longer than just one lease period. In these cases, it’s best to play it safe by taking care of pest control on your own.

Carefully Worded Lease Agreement

One way you can be sure to settle the argument of who is responsible for pest control is to add it in your lease agreement. By adding a clause in your lease that states that the tenant is responsible for pest control, you are making it clear to your renter before they ever move in. This also gives you something to fall back on should a bug situation arise.

If you have questions about your responsibilities as a rental property owner, be sure to check with Real Property Management East Valley. We’ve been representing investment property owners for many years and have experience in dealing with tenants in all different situations. Give us a call today at 480-719-1243.

When Tenants Complain of Noise

When it comes to noise, one thing’s for sure – it’s tough to avoid it. Noise is all around us and can definitely be more intense from one location to the next. There are some situations when noise can reach an excessive level making it difficult to live or work in peace. This is especially troubling for property owners who receive noise complaints from their tenants.

When is Noise Too Much?

Most people who complain about noise usually find that the problem exists in the evening or at night when they are trying to sleep. These are generally quiet times when we expect to hear very little noise. Some noises that are tolerable during the daytime hours are just too much at night.

Loud music, late night parties, revving engines and construction sounds are some of the most common noises that lead to complaints. If your tenant is complaining that loud noises are happening anytime after 10:00pm at night or on a very consistent basis, it’s probably time to do something about it.

High and Low Tolerances for Noise

Another contributing factor to noise complaints is your tenant’s noise tolerance. Some people are much more sensitive to sound than others. While you don’t want to be insensitive to your tenant’s complaints, you should definitely do some investigating to find out exactly what the noise is and how loud it is to other’s.

How to Evaluate a Noise Complaint

As a landlord, it’s really up to you to determine on a case-by-case basis which noise complaints are legitimate and which stem from hypersensitivity to sound. Here are some tips for evaluating how serious a noise complaint really is:

· Is the noise complaint coming from just one person or do other neighbors also complain?
· Has your tenant made other complaints in the past about other issues besides noise?
· Have you been able to witness the noise firsthand and identify the source?
· How frequently does the noise occur?
· Are the noises part of normal living activity, such as walking, cooking and talking?

By answering these questions, you can determine how serious your tenant’s noise complaint really is.

Document All Complaints

The worst-case scenario for a property owner is to have their tenant try to break their lease and leave early because of a complaint. This not only creates extra work for you, but can also leave you in a lurch, as you must now quickly find new tenants.

When a tenant decides to leave because of noise, it will definitely help your case if you have clear documentation available outlining each complaint and what actions were taken. Be sure that you keep a record of any and all complaints and issues with your tenants so you have something to fall back on if the tenant tries to break their lease prematurely.

For professional property management services, including the handling of any and all tenant complaints, contact the experts at RPM East Valley. Our team is ready to help you manage your property so you see the best possible return on investment.