One of the advantages of hiring professional Dallas rental property management is the ability you have to step back and let the experts manage your investment. This benefit is especially useful when your tenant does something unexpected. Read our 4 tenant horror stories below, and find out how professional property management can keep you from experiencing the dark side of running a rental property.
Horror Story # 1 The Tenant Who Cried Wolf
Have you ever had a tenant who made every maintenance call sound like an emergency? Tenant #1 calls his landlord weekly to complain about some aspect of the property, each time telling the landlord it is an emergency. During the first few months the landlord responded quickly to his tenant, but after a while the landlord knows the tenant is not always truthful about the urgency of the situation.
Then one day the landlord gets a call from Tenant #1 who says the kitchen sink has a huge leak causing flooding. From his experience providing Dallas property management services to this particular tenant, the landlord thinks “flooding” really means a trickle of water is coming out of the pipe. The landlord takes his time to get to the property, but when he finally arrives he receives a surprise. Water is spewing from the pipe, it covers the entire kitchen, and is seeping deep into the carpet in the living room. Cleanup takes hours, the carpet needs replacing, and the tenant is angry.
Solution #1 Don’t Wait To Respond
While most tenants only submit a maintenance request when there is a real maintenance need, we occasionally see tenants who just like to complain. For property owners who are trying to self-manage a rental property on top of everything else going on in their life these complaints can get old fast. However, it is important to take each and every maintenance request seriously. This will show the tenant that you care about their wellbeing, and you care about your rental property. In addition, one of the most common tenant complaints is the time it takes for Dallas rental property management to respond to maintenance requests. Responding quickly to each and every complaint and request will help with tenant retention. To read more about landlord-tenant communication visit this post.
Horror Story #2 The Sporadic Rent Payments
Every now and then a tenant will have an unusual request for their rent payments. It could be paying half the rent on the 1st and the other half on the 15th. It could be paying by cashier’s check. Typically these situations are not a problem as long as the agreement is in writing and the tenant pays on time. Sometimes a tenant decides to pay sporadically, or does not keep to the written agreement. Tenant #2 pays rent on the first of the month for the first two months of their lease. Month three comes along and the tenant sends $50 to the landlord with a note saying the rest will be along soon. The tenant continues to send $20-$50 at a time over the next few weeks until the rent is paid. Unfortunately for the landlord, this situation is a strain on his Dallas property management services. It is a bookkeeping nightmare trying to keep up with each small portion of rent coming day after day.
Solution #2 Set Clear and Firm Payment Due Dates
Unusual rent payments aren’t that uncommon in property management, but if you are going to allow your tenant to do this there are some things you should know. First, make sure your tenant is aware of the rent due dates and late fees. Second, if you allow split rent payments it should be noted on the lease agreement, along with split payment due dates and late fees. Third, you must enforce all written agreements. Strict adherence to the lease agreement is in everyone’s best interest. Tenants will not be charged late fees, and property owners will receive their rental income in a timely manner and will not be burdened with extra bookkeeping. To learn more about our rent collection procedures visit this page.
Horror Story #3 The Rat Enthusiast
Our Dallas rental property management company sees a lot of pets in single-family rental homes. Dogs, cats, birds, lizards, and even the occasional chinchilla. Unless the animal in question is a service animal, the property owner is in charge of what pets are allowed at the property. Most property owners limit pets to no more than two medium sized dogs and cats. However, just because you restrict pets at your rental home doesn’t mean your tenant will respect that part of the lease. Tenant #3 had one pet rat at move in, which was cleared by the property owner. The tenant never called in a maintenance request and the landlord did not perform regular property inspections. After the tenant moved out the landlord performed a final walkthrough and discovered dozens of filthy rat cages lining the walls of the bedrooms. The tenant was breeding rats to sell to a local pet store, something he did not inform the property owner of. Even worse, some of the rats got loose in the house, chewed through the baseboards, and got stuck in the walls.
Solution #3 Dallas Property Management Services Must Include Regular Inspections
A tenant bringing unauthorized pets into a rental home happens more often than you think. Sometimes a tenant is simply unaware of a pet limit, whether the limit is in size or number of pets. Other times a tenant breaks the pet limits knowing they can get away with it if they keep their head low. Lease enforcement is one of the many reasons regular property inspections are so important. Whether your tenant is breeding rats, or they have taken on a roommate you haven’t screened, you should be aware of what is going on at your rental property. Specialized Property Management Dallas makes regular property inspections part of our routine. At each inspection we will check for lease compliance, perform cost-effective maintenance, and create a report. Property owner reports are available to view 24/7 through our convenient online owner portal. Learn more about why we perform regular property inspections by visiting this page.
Horror Story #4 Dallas Rental Property Management Meets The SWAT Team
When we screen potential tenants what are we looking for? At the most basic level, we want to make sure your property is not put at risk. Tenant #4 applied to live in a rental home that had been vacant for six months. The landlord was desperate to place a tenant, but unwilling to lower the rent to be competitive with other rentals in the area. When Tenant #4 applied, the landlord skipped his normal screening procedures in order to speed up the process. This proved to be a terrible mistake, which the landlord realized when he woke up in the middle of the night to be informed that his property was raided by the SWAT team. His tenant was dealing drugs out of the rental home, and was now being taken into custody. The rental home was damaged and became a crime scene.
Solution #4 Dallas Property Management Services Always Screen Tenants
No matter what the situation, never skip or shorten the tenant screening process. After over 30 years in the property management business we know that the risks of placing an unqualified tenant are far greater than the financial loss of letting your rental property sit empty for a while. Proper screening of the tenant above would have raised a red flag for the landlord and given him the chance to avoid the situation he landed in. Here are a few tips for tenant screening:
- Require an application and screen each resident over 18.
- Perform a background check on each tenant to screen out those with a history of criminal activity, especially drug charges, theft, and sexual offenses.
- Run a credit check. If the tenant’s credit comes back low that does not automatically disqualify them, but you should require a written explanation for past late payments.
- Verify that the tenant’s income is at least three times the rental rate.
- Check out the last two years of a tenant’s rental history to ensure they do not have a history of property damage or eviction.
Tenant screening is the best way to keep your property safe from risk. Learn more about our thorough screening process here.
Dallas Rental Property Management Is Easier With Expert Help
If you’re considering renting out your home, talk to the experts at Specialized Property Management Dallas. Our property managers can help you avoid your own landlord “horror story” like the ones above. There are many advantages to professional property management including streamlined processes, cost-effective maintenance, and most importantly, peace of mind. Don’t spend another day worrying about your rental property. Trust our experienced team and proven processes to manage your investment. Learn more by contacting our office for a free property assessment. Call 214-233-7572 today to get started.