How to Handle Utilities as a Landlord

Handle Utilities as a LandlordIf you were like me as a landlord starting out, you are buying older properties.  Probably multifamily rentals, if you can afford it.  Often older properties are not set up for multiple families, even though they are being used for that purpose.  There are single meters in a multifamily property.  Even large properties have single water meters.  You probably wonder how to handle utilities as a landlord.

Here is how to handle utilities as a landlord for your properties, multifamily or single family.

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Returning a Renter’s Security Deposit

Saving-MoneyIf you are a landlord, you are certainly taking a renter’s security deposit at some point.  You may call it a damage deposit, security deposit, or just plain extra rent.  In most cases, you will have to return all or some of it back to the renter at some point.  And you have to return it correctly.

If you are going to be sued as a landlord, this is the number one reason why you will be sued, and you will likely lose.

States have various laws on how the deposit is supposed to be kept and how it must be returned.  Here is how I do it in Minnesota.

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When Should You Evict a Tenant?

Evict a tenantThere comes a time in most landlord’s life, when you have to evict a tenant.  It’s not a fun thing to do, but neither is paying someone else’s rent, which is what you do when you let a tenant skip a rent payment.   It is not fun to see a new TV in the living room of your tenant, and wonder why your rent is not paid.  Maybe you see a new hair style, or manicure, and no rent paid.  Maybe it is a trip to Disney Land, Baja, or Cancun and no rent paid.  You need to learn when to evict a tenant.  Here is what I go by.

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Tips to Help Enhance The Curb Appeal of your Rental Property

The following article is a Guest Post by http://www.managecentralfloridaproperty.com/

Tips to Help Enhance The Curb Appeal of your Rental Property

As a landlord, the last thing you want is for your property to remain vacant for long. That translates to a loss of rental income. Hence, you need to make every effort to ensure your units are market ready and always inviting to prospective renters. An effective way to do so is by enhancing the curb appeal of your rental property. Homes with presentable exteriors rent quickly and tend to fetch higher rental prices. If you are looking for ways to go about it, the following are simple tips to get you inspired.

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Removing a Garbage Disposer in a Rental Property

Garbage DisposerIf you are a homeowner, you likely have a garbage disposer.  You may use it all the time.  In a rental, it is a different story.  It can be a constant maintenance item, it can leak, need to be replaced, or just plain smell bad.

Here is what I recommend on a garbage disposer in a rental property.

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How to Manage Out of State Rental Property

how to manage out of state rental property.I get asked quite a bit whether a real estate investor should buy out of state rental properties.  When you do not live in the same state, or even within a few miles of your rentals property, things can get very complicated.  You have to learn how to manage out of state rental property, or learn how to manage them when you are out of state.

How do you turn and show a property?  How do you check to see of a simple repair is needed?  Can you just flip a circuit breaker, or do you need to call in a electrician?

My rentals are all within about 10 miles of my own home, most are within 3 miles.  Now that I no longer have a full-time job, I do not want to be tied to my home base.  There are business meetings, and conventions in out of state areas that I may want to attend.  I may want to set up an off-site corporate meeting for my own company, and yet still manage the properties myself.

Here is a recent example of how I handled several repairs while I was on a trip to Branson, MO. Continue reading “How to Manage Out of State Rental Property”

How to Manage Out of State Rental Property

Out of state rental property
The Deck (at 50 degrees)

For those of you who follow my Blog, you know that my properties are very close to my own home.  All are within a few miles; the furthest is seven miles away.  It may not always be that way, and sometimes you will need to manage your properties from a distance.  Even if your properties are close, if you move, perhaps to a retirement location, you will need to know how to manage out of state rental property

I wrote a previous article on long distance property management about this a while back.  I also wrote about the disadvantages of having to manage out of state rental property.

The secret to managing any property is to have great tenants. Great tenants can think ahead, and can anticipate issues before they occur.  They take action to avoid having a problem.

Regardless of where you live in relation to your properties, you need to be able to manage them effectively.  Whether they are 7 miles away, or 700 miles away, you need to set yourself up so that you do not have to be on-site as often.

My recent trip to Florida will illustrate an example that can help.

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How to Handle Tenant Disputes: Part II

tennis-court-338537_1920In an earlier post, we talked about using the good cop/bad cop method to resolve tenant disputes.  But if you own and manage the property by yourself, that doesn’t really work.  If you fully commit to the split personality, you might be sent to a mental institution.  So if you’re flying solo, you have to take a different approach.

This post is compliments of Amy aka “YETInvesting”.

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How to Handle Tenant Disputes: Part I

tennis-court-338537_1920

This post is compliments of Amy aka “YETInvesting”.

If you’re a new rental property owner/manager, or if you’re just not comfortable handling tenant disputes or confrontations, then you might get panicky just thinking about having to confront tenants about issues that arise.

My boyfriend has this problem.  Apart from his current rental which began just a year ago, he has no prior landlord experience, and watching him learn how to handle issues has reminded me of how terrified I was when I first started.  When I had to handle my first tenant complaint over the phone, I remember my hands shaking because I was so nervous.  I’m an introverted person, so I hate talking to strangers anyway.  But this was going to be even worse: I wasn’t just introducing myself to someone I didn’t know, I was going to be fighting with them over money!  Yikes!  Maybe most people are braver than I am from the get-go, but I felt like I was going to throw up.  Good way to start a phone call, right?

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Getting Rid of a Bad Tenant

Graphiti-PDThis post is compliments of Amy aka “Yetisaurus”.

If you have thought about being a landlord, you have thought about the possibility of getting rid of a bad tenant.  The first two rules of being a landlord are (1) collect all of your rents, ON TIME, and (2) keep your rentals full.  But that’s not the end of the story: it is equally important to get (and keep) good tenants in your rentals.  If you have multiple rental units near each other, such as a duplex, fourplex, or even an apartment building, a bad tenant can spoil the whole bunch.

Tenant screening is critical.  It’s important to run income and credit checks on your prospective tenants, and to meet all of the people who will be living in your rental, and maybe even their pets (photos can be deceiving in terms of size and personality).  But what if someone makes it through your screening process, and turns out to be a bad apple anyway?

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