What Is Rental Property Management?

A rental property management company focuses on the business of renting out residential or commercial properties. They answer to owners who want the highest return on their investment and tenants who want a quality living experience.

The process includes screening prospective tenants through a rental background check and a credit check. Then there are the regular inspections and maintenance issues that may arise.
Choosing the Right Tenants

Finding the right tenants is critical to the success of any rental property. Landlords must find tenants who will care for the property, pay rent on time and maintain a positive relationship with building management.

Tenant screening processes should be robust to help identify good applicants and eliminate the bad ones. Typical tenant criteria might include income verification, credit report review and history, references from previous landlords, and a background check.

Landlords should also be mindful of the Federal Fair Housing Act, which prevents discrimination based on race, age, religion, sex, family status and disability, among other factors. Additionally, they should document all steps of the applicant selection process so that if a tenant isn’t selected, they can be properly informed as to why. This will protect against discrimination lawsuits.
Rent Collection

As a landlord, you have a few options when it comes to collecting rent. You can ask tenants to drop a check, money order, or cash in a box on the rent payment day. This method gives you physical documentation of the payment, but it can be risky since a tenant could write a bounced check or use stolen funds.

Other options include direct deposit, which can be convenient for both the tenant and the landlord, and offers a way to automatically record payments. However, this option can take some time for the bank to process, and it can be difficult to reconcile when payments are late.

Alternatively, you can collect online rent payments using services like Stessa, an e-payment platform that allows property investors to automate manual processes for collecting rent and charging late fees. These platforms offer a range of benefits for both the landlord and tenant, including easy-to-use interfaces, strong security measures, and low fees.

A landlord must manage the aspects of rental property management they are comfortable with and outsource those that require additional skills or expertise. Vendors should be screened to ensure quality workmanship and reliability. A landlord should keep a set of tools and basic equipment on hand to address minor repair issues as they arise.

Tenants must be responsible for a number of maintenance tasks depending on the lease contract, such as keeping appliances in working order and reporting problems promptly to their landlord. Landlords should also conduct regular inspections of the property, including checking for back-flowing pipes in the event of a rainstorm and clogged gutters, and conducting safety checks (e.g., ensuring sidewalks are clear of loose or hazardous supports).

Many landlords use the opportunity to perform preventive maintenance on the property when they have vacant units, such as testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, re-caulking showers and bathtubs, trimming trees that are in danger of falling over and cleaning out gutters before snowfall. These small tasks can prevent large, costly repairs in the future.

While property owners do have the right to evict tenants, they often defer that responsibility to a property management company. Management companies will typically be familiar with statewide landlord-tenant laws as well as best practices.

Evictions are an unfortunate part of rental property ownership, but sometimes they’re necessary. Landlords can’t always rely on tenants to be timely with rent payments, and they need to protect their real estate investments.

If a tenant isn’t paying their rent or violating other lease terms, a property manager can use legal procedures to evict them. However, property managers should never evict a renter to get back at them or for any reason other than nonpayment of the rent or violation of the lease agreement.

Property management companies can also help their clients with remarketing the unit and finding new tenants. They can also make sure the vacated property is clean and ready for the next renter. They can even help with the moving expenses for a departing tenant, which is often appreciated.

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