Renting out a property can come with a lot of rewards. There’s a tenant in place paying down your mortgage while your property appreciates in value, and you gather a number of tax benefits. Whether you’re renting out a home you once lived in or you’ve recently acquired a piece of real estate that you plan to list on the rental market, there are a lot of good reasons to do it.
There are also risks, however. The mistakes that homeowners make when they’re managing a Fort Worth rental property can be expensive.
We’re here to help you avoid them.
These are six of the most common mistakes we see with landlords. Protect yourself and your property against these unnecessary errors.
Inadequate Tenant Screening
Choosing and placing a good tenant is going to shape your entire rental experience. If you’re not careful about who you put into your property, you will spend a lot of time trying to collect late and unpaid rent. We often see landlords skip the tenant screening process altogether or do an inadequate job.
Tenant screening is too important. You have to follow a rigorous and consistent process. You also have to pay attention to fair housing and discrimination laws. You can’t deny a tenant with a service animal just because you don’t want pets, for example.
Put together some standard rental criteria and document your process. Check national eviction and criminal databases, look at credit and financial stability, and verify income and employment. Check rental references. These things are important in placing a qualified, responsible tenant who can be counted on to pay rent and take care of your home.
Using the Wrong Lease Agreement
Almost anything can be found on the internet, including lease templates. That’s really not the best place to look, however. Many homeowners make the mistake of downloading a sample lease agreement and using that for their Fort Worth rental property.
It may not be legally enforceable. The lease agreement you use has to be specific to Texas. It must include all of our unique declarations, disclosures, and addenda. Don’t make this mistake. Get your lease from a Fort Worth property manager or an experienced real estate attorney.
Treating Tenants like Friends
It’s a mistake to rent your property to friends and family members. It’s also a mistake to become friends with the people who move into your rental property. Keep the relationship professional and respectful. If you become emotionally involved with your property or your tenants, you may have a difficult time enforcing the lease or following up on late rent.
Your rental property is a business, and you need to treat it that way.
Slow Maintenance Responses
One of the most common reasons that tenants will leave a rental property and not renew their lease is slow maintenance response times. When you receive a repair request from your tenants, investigate it immediately. You don’t want to keep tenants waiting. They expect you to be responsive, and they expect to live in a home where everything works the way it should.
A lack of maintenance response is also bad for your property. Deferred maintenance only creates larger expenses and it also allows your property to deteriorate. Don’t put the condition of your investment at risk.
Security Deposit Delays and Errors
In Texas, a security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of move-out. If you miss this deadline, the tenant can file a complaint and take you to court.
There’s more than just the deadline to pay attention to. Rental property owners sometimes mistake normal wear and tear for tenant damage. You cannot deduct scuff marks on the wall from where furniture rested or tiny nail holes. These are things that you are responsible for. Make sure you know the difference between wear and tear and damage, and always conduct thorough inspection reports at move-in and after move-out.
Avoiding Professional Fort Worth Property Management
The best way to protect yourself and your property from these common mistakes is by working with professionals. An experienced Fort Worth property management company can provide a hassle-free rental experience for you and your tenants. You’ll have less liability, lower costs, and a lot more time to do what you love.
We can help with your Fort Worth rental property. Contact our team at Trend Property & Management.