Even the most experienced landlords and property managers can make mistakes once in a while, but new landlords are especially prone to specific errors. This comes from not having the experience and the knowledge that’s necessary to successfully run a rental property. We have collected the five most common mistakes that we see. Hopefully, your awareness of these mistakes will help you avoid making them.
Not Screening Properly
Tenant screening might seem like a hassle, especially if you’re managing the property on your own. However, if you skip the screening or you don’t do a thorough job, you could end up with a bad tenant who damages your home or stops paying rent. Make sure you’re screening for credit, income and past rental history.
Not Using a Strong Lease
Your lease protects you and your property. It’s critical that you have an attorney prepare it. The landlord and tenant laws in Florida are always changing, and you need to be sure the lease you’re using is going to protect you against lawsuits and disputes with your tenant. Use a lease that a lawyer experienced in property management has prepared or reviewed.
Hiring Bad Vendors
All maintenance and repairs should be done by professionals who are licensed, insured and qualified. Don’t try to save a few dollars by using an unlicensed handyman to complete work that is too complicated for his skill set. You’re putting a lot of liability on yourself if you don’t use proper vendors who are screened as carefully as your tenants are. For example, if you hire someone to trim your trees and that person falls off the ladder, you will be responsible unless you’ve used a company that carries insurance.
Security Deposit Errors
There are a lot of mistakes that can be made with security deposits. The most common one we see is when landlords don’t return the security deposit to the tenants in a timely fashion. The penalties for this mistake are costly. Make sure you know the security deposit law, and make sure you return the money to your tenant when it’s required.
If you don’t take care of maintenance and repair issues right away, two things will happen: Your tenant will get annoyed and probably look for another place to live; and, you’ll put the value and condition of your property at risk. Take care of small maintenance issues before they become giant and expensive problems.
These are the mistakes you’re most likely to make as a new landlord. Consider working with a property management company to protect yourself against these errors, which can cost you a lot money, time and stress. If you have any questions, please contact us at Rent It Network.