Property maintenance tips for a landlord

As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring your rental unit is free of damage and maintenance problems. Routine maintenance can be costly, so it is important to find ways to save money. By performing routine maintenance, you can help ensure that a small problem is fixed quickly before it becomes an expensive and headache-inducing emergency.

1. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Regularly

Not having a working smoke detector is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Ensure that this is never a problem by checking these alarms monthly. The best time to get permission from the tenant for access to the unit is when the monthly rent is due. Keep in mind that the average lifespan of a smoke detector is 10 years and a carbon monoxide alarm is five years, so record the purchase date to know when you’ll need to buy a replacement.

2. Be Vigilant in Checking for Leaks and Water Damage

Although the best time to check that there are no water leaks is just after a storm, don’t wait for a big storm to verify that your property is free of water damage. Prior to a tenant moving in or out, always do a complete inspection of the home or apartment to check for any new damage. If you spot anything, immediately contact a professional and inform the new tenant that they may have to wait to move in.

No matter what, always check the home after a torrential rain or wind storm. Look for signs of water collecting near windows, the shower and any sliding doors. Be sure to check the ceiling for any discoloration or signs of soft spots. If you do not address water damage in a timely manner, it can lead to the growth of dangerous mold.

3. Change the Air Conditioning and Heating Filters

To ensure that the air conditioning and heating units operate at peak efficiency, you should change the filters twice a year. To keep on a set schedule, change the heating filter in October when the weather is just turning cold and the air conditioning filter in March when spring is approaching. The dirtier the filter, the more the monthly utility bill will be for you or your tenant, and the more likely an expensive maintenance problem will develop in the future. If you are not responsible for paying utility bills, it is still important to change the filters because high heat and air conditioning bills may lose you some tenants.

4. Drain the Water Heater

Not draining the water heater can lead to the development of excess sediment that can clog the drain valve. Not only will this make the water heater less efficient, but it could also lead to needing to replace the entire unit. You can drain the water heater yourself but it’s important to read the instructions and labels carefully as to not damage the water heater.

5. Call a Professional

While you may consider yourself a competent repair person or want to save a little money, it is always best to hire a professional when facing a costly maintenance problem. Only a professional can fix the problem the first time or offer a guarantee if the work is not done correctly. For help in finding a qualified repair person, ask friends and families for references. Chances are good that if a neighbor or trusted friend is using the person then they will be reliable and reputable.

Five Strategies to Increase Tenant Retention

Just because a tenant’s signed a lease, doesn’t mean they’ll stay–keeping a good tenant around has a lot to do with being a good property manager. Being flexible and friendly, yet professional, is crucial to tenant retention. Here are five strategies to increase tenant retention.

1. Call 48 Hours Before Coming Over

Don’t show up unannounced. Nothing causes more frantic cleaning and a painful feeling of awkward invasion than a property manager who shows up without calling first. Many folks don’t even like friends stopping by spontaneously, much less a landlord interrupting their dinner party. It’s important and polite to respect people’s backgrounds and personalities. Calling 48 hours ahead of time is a safe time frame that allows them to adjust their schedule and prepare for the visit.

2. Allow (Reasonable) Changes to the Property

Good tenants care about the property they live on. When they move in, they look for desirable features in the property, such as landscaping and space for a garden or an area for children to play. They keep the property in good shape because they’re not just looking for a cheap place to rest their head, trash, and leave. They’re building a home and taking pride in its aesthetics and functionality.

To keep these tenants, it’s important to allow them to personalize the property, whether it’s through planting an apple tree on the sunny side, growing a luscious garden, or adding a tool shed out back. Not only will this increase tenant retention but it will increase the value of your property with minimal effort on your part.

3. Allow (Reasonable) Changes to the Interior

Good tenants–tenants who stick around–may want to do more than just hang up a poster. They might call you with ideas to paint a mural in the baby’s room or install a bar in the dining area. You can state in the rental agreement that the tenant must discuss or collaborate on these projects with you. Remember, a client who can get creative in building their home is a tenant who’s invested in it. This tenant is likely to stick around and re-sign the lease for years to come.

4. Be Prompt when Fixing Issues

While the aforementioned tenants who get jazzed up about installing a bar or planting an apple tree are likely to unclog their own toilets and change their own light bulbs, they might not have the time or inclination to fix bigger projects. If the stove or the sink is in a state of disrepair, it can throw a wrench into their busy schedule. If you’re prompt on fixing the sink when your tenants need you, they’ll stick around longer.

5. Be Flexible and Understanding

That being said, if the tenant gets laid off, a move to an apartment with lower rent will look appealing, even if their decrease in income is highly temporary. A good tenant will appreciate a good property manager–one who understands when times are tough and is willing to reduce rent for one month. Another kind and smart thing to do when a tenant is considering re-signing the lease is to offer a rent discount on the first month. Again, this will prevent them from moving, and save you the headache and income loss of finding a new tenant.  

Tenants who are treated like people with desires and needs will feel respected and valued. This will encourage them to be even better tenants because they’ll know they can invest in the property without fear of a picky property manager undoing their homemaking. If your final goal is to sell the home, these tenants could be the ones, if allowed to treat it as their own home, which it is, after all. Keep these strategies at the helm of your operations to ensure a long term, positive relationship with your tenants.

5 Property Management Bookkeeping Tips

The accounting of property management can sometimes get to be a bit complicated.

You’ve got security deposits to manage, certain fees that might be charged, utility bills that might be coming in that a tenant needs to pay – and there’s the rent, of course!

Each item generally needs its own line in a rental property’s annual budget and there may be certain responsibilities that must be accomplished by law for certain budget lines.

The first thing you must know is what must be done to store any security deposits or other required rental deposits.

Some jurisdictions require them to be stored in separate accounts from any profits that are received.

You may also need to notify tenants of changes to the account, who the account holder is, and how they can receive their security deposit back.

1. Know What You’re Required to Disclose

Some landlord/tenant laws require an itemized list of expenses and charges to security deposits or required repair bills a tenant must pay because they have violated the terms of the lease.

Other laws only require that the amount being held is disclosed by job and not a full outline of how the job is done.

2. Keep Your Documentation Clear and Concise

Tenants have the ability to challenge any charges against them if they believe that they aren’t fair.

This requires the property manager to know what going rates for services are in their community so that a fair labor charge is implemented.

If you hire someone who makes minimum wage and a tenant sees a $40 per hour labor charge on their bill, they’ll be able to challenge that charge in small claims court and generally win just by getting a lower quote.

3. Have Precise Procedures in Place if a Tenant Falls into Default

If your tenant is not paying the rent, you need to know this immediately so that you can do something about it.

You must have clear procedures in place for dealing with late rent and how you begin to start the eviction process.

If you treat households differently, then you are setting yourself up for a discrimination lawsuit that can be incredibly costly.

4. Rely on the Professionals

Landlord/tenant laws want to see that you’ve relied on accurate information as a property manager.

They don’t generally care if you’ve done the work or had someone else do it for you.

What needs to be proven is that you’ve done your due diligence to charge a fair rate. If your rental property needs to be cleaned and a licensed and bonded contractor would charge $40 per hour for 3 hours to clean the property up, the most you can charge if you do the work is $120 – even if it takes you 8 hours to get the job done.

5. Keep Every Property Separate

You certainly need to have an overall budget as a property manager, but every property needs to have its own budget line. Each property must also have line-by-line budget items that will help you to accurately track profit and loss so that you can keep up with your income ratios.

By taking these steps, you’ll be able to have a successful accounting experience with your properties and protect yourself legally.

That way you’ll always be able to maximize your revenue streams.

How to Handle Tenants That Are Not Paying Rent on Time

Some tenants pay their rent consistently and only miss 1 or 2 payments over the course of 5 years.

When that happens, you can generally just send them a friendly reminder and you’ll get the rent that you need right away.

Other tenants, however, are consistently late on their rent and collecting cash from them can become problematic.

Knowing how to handle tenants that are not paying rent on time means sometimes you must become the villain, but always remember this: the tenant is at fault and you are due money.

Here’s how you can eliminate a lot of the stress from the situation.

1. Have Clear, Concise Procedures to Follow

98% of tenants will either pay their rent on time or pay it late with the associated late fees.

They aren’t the problem. It’s the 2% of tenants that either can’t pay or won’t pay the rent that cause stress.

If you have eviction procedures in place to follow, confronting delinquent tenants becomes a little easier because you’re following a plan of action.

If you get your rent, then great. If not, then you’ll be ready to start the eviction process.

2. You Must be Proactive 100% of the Time

If you have multiple rental properties that are being managed and you allow one person to pay their rent late consistently, then late payments will begin to spread like a disease throughout all of your tenants.

What’s worse is that you make it even more difficult to start the eviction process on any of them because you’ve set a standard that late rent is fine.

Have a deadline for rental payments and if that deadline isn’t met, start eviction procedures.

Don’t make exceptions to this rule.

3. Always Charge the Maximum

Tenants needs an incentive to pay their rent on time, because otherwise they’ll just pay the late fee and not worry about the fact that you don’t trust them at all.

Whatever your local laws allow for a late fee, charge it.

The legal maximum will encourage those stragglers to keep up with on-time payments because there is more value in paying on time than in paying late.

4. You Must Remain Professional at all Times

Many property managers and landlords will start making threats about turning off utilities or changing the locks, but this is almost always illegal to do and not a valid threat.

What’s worse is that any threat can provide evidence to a tenant during the eviction that you’re not living up to legal expectations and the tenant could potentially win a cash judgment against you.

Personal attacks will also create a bad reputation for you that makes it harder to find future tenants.

Stay professional, no matter how difficult the situation may be, and you’ll get your money eventually.

5. Tenants Must Take You Seriously

If you have a grace period, deliver the late rent notices or the notice to pay or quit immediately and do it in a provable way so that a tenant knows that you’re serious about collecting what they owe you.

Any time you need to deliver this paperwork, you may wish to have a lawyer on hand just in case.

By taking these steps, you can manage even the more difficult situations that you can face pretty effectively and without high stress levels. Implement clear plans today and when you face the 2%, you’ll be ready.

How to Fix a Leaking Shower Head

Stepping into a hot shower in the morning can be a pleasant experience.

Having that showerhead leak on you can quickly turn that experience sour.

By knowing how to fix a leaking showerhead, you’ll be able to restore that pleasant experience and potentially save some money on your water bill monthly.

Here’s what you need to do.

Step #1: Shut Off the Water

You will need to shut off the water to the entire home before beginning any repair work.

Open up a faucet to make sure the plumbing has been drained.

Set down a towel or a rag to protect your shower floor or bathtub in case you drop something.

Step #2: Remove the Showerhead

You may need to use a set of pliers to unscrew your showerhead or even a crescent wrench.

Look inside the showerhead to find the O-rings that are inside.

These are usually the cause of a leaking showerhead and replacing them will quickly fix the problem. Replace it if it looks worn or damaged.

Step #3: Clean it Up

Mineral deposits from hard water can clog up the showerhead and cause it to leak as well.

Mix three cups of vinegar and 3 cups of water in a stock pot and bring the solution to a boil.

Turn off the heat and then place the showerhead, less any rubber components, in the solution for 20 minutes.

Step #4: Tape It Up

If your O-rings look good and your showerhead looks clean, then you’ll need some Teflon tape to stop the leak.

All you need to do is wrap a thin strip of this tape around the threats of the pipe stem that are at the very end of it.

Step #5: Put the Showerhead Back On

Use your hands to turn the showerhead so that it tightens.

When you can’t tighten it by hand any more, use a wrench or pliers to make one more turn so that showerhead is secure.

Don’t overtighten the showerhead because this may cause a bigger leak thanks to a broken pipe stem.

Step #6: Turn on the Water

You should have fixed your leaking showerhead at this point, so it’s fine to turn the water back on.

If you still have a leaking showerhead after these steps have been completed, then you may have a leak in your faucet.

This will typically require a new pipe stem and you may need to take the faucet apart.

If you have fixed the faucet and you still have a leak, then you will need to likely replace the entire faucet assembly.

If you need to replace the entire faucet, it is usually a good idea to hire a licensed and bonded plumber so that any errors in the installation can be covered by their surety bond.

Your insurance policy may not cover an error in maintenance if you try to replace an old faucet and the repair doesn’t go as planned.

By following these 6 steps, you’ll be able to repair your leaking showerhead in most instances.

Always remember to shut off the water first and then you’ll be on the journey toward a successful repair.

When can landlords use the small claims court?

The Small Claims Court is a great system for recovering small amounts of money that are owed to you.

In exchange for a filing fee, you can have your case tried by a judge who may order a tenant to pay you what is due.

The best thing about Small Claims Court is that you don’t need a lawyer.

Some states even ban lawyers entirely in Small Claims trials.

You’ll need to pay a filing fee, which can be as low as $15, but the sort of skyrocketing expenses that can happen in other types of trials are not a concern.

Common Small Claims Court Actions
The maximum award offered by a Small Claims Court is between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on the state.

This makes it ideal for the kind of disputes that occasionally emerge in a landlord’s life.

Property Repair Costs
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare: when your tenants move out, you may find that they have left your property in such disrepair that even their security deposit won’t cover the costs to fix it.

This is one of the most common reasons for landlords to take tenants to court.

Unpaid Rent
In cases where the client is clearly in breach of the lease contract, such as not having paid their rent, the court can help to force payment.

In reality, just the threat of a court date is often enough to convince the tenant to pay up.

Third Party Services
As a client yourself, you can take action against service providers such as plumbers, electricians, and cleaners if they fail to provide the agreed service, or if they damage your property while working on it.

Things to Consider Before Going to Court
The Small Claims Court is an important part of the landlord’s toolkit, but you shouldn’t head down the legal route until you’ve considered a few other things.

Landlord Obligations
If the tenancy has ended in an eviction, you’ll need to prove that you followed your state’s guidelines for removing a tenant.

This may include copies of move-out letters or eviction notices.

Supporting Paperwork
You’ll always need a copy of the tenancy agreement to demonstrate how the tenant broke it.

If no agreement was signed, the case will be governed by your state’s statutory laws.

Bring any other documents that support your case, like invoices if you’ve had to pay for cleaning and repairs.

Also, be sure that you understand the court’s paperwork requirements.

Some courts have specific submission rules that require you to submit two copies of everything, for example.

Speaking to the Tenant First
It’s surprising how many people go directly to court without attempting to resolve the dispute in person first.

There’s no point in being too trigger-happy, since many cases won’t proceed unless there has been some attempt to amicably resolve the dispute.

In some cases, the verdict may recommend using some kind of mediation service to reach an agreement, so it’s best to make a reasonable attempt to settle things directly with the other person before taking things to court.

Everyone enters into a tenancy agreement in good faith, and most leases end on good terms.

But if they don’t, it’s good to know that Small Claims Court can help you get the money you’re owed.

How To Repair Basement Wall Cracks

The basement wall is one of the most important structures of every home and building.

It supports part of the weight of the home, protects against water damage, and works to keep pests out of the building.

Cracks can begin to form for a wide variety of reasons, so it is important to understand why a basement wall is cracking so an appropriate repair can be made.

 

 

Fixing Vertical Basement Wall Cracks

Vertical basement wall cracks are one of the most dangerous situations that a basement wall faces.

These cracks usually begin forming when there are outward pressures on the wall that are caused by the foundation shifting.

It can also be an indication that there is too much direct pressure being applied to the wall.

If the pressure is not relieved, then repairing the crack in the wall will only be a temporary fix instead of a permanent solution.

Vertical cracks can often be sealed with a simple caulking or epoxy method.

You’ll want to make sure the product you use can fill in the crack completely.

To do this, you’ll want to use the “V” method of stabilization.

Make one end of the crack wider than the other so that it can support itself appropriately.

You may need to scrape the crack out, wash it out, and let it dry before starting the repair.

The issue with most vertical cracks is that there is a problem with erosion control.

When precipitation falls or when landscaping plants are being watered, the moisture is overwhelming the soil supports around the foundation.

A little moisture is fine, but too much will erode the soil base and cause place pressure on the foundation.

Look at the drainage patterns on the property and consider moving plants away from the home as external fixes for the basement wall cracks.

Fixing Stairway Basement Wall Cracks

When the cracks on your basement wall look like a set of stairs, this is usually an indication that the entire foundation is settling.

Many times these cracks are just minor and can be sealed up right away to prevent moisture from entering through the wall.

If left untreated, however, it is very possible for the crack to expand and become problematic.

This type of basement crack tends to retain moisture within it more than vertical or horizontal cracks.

You can eliminate the moisture by running a hair dryer along the crack for several minutes before attempting the repair.

Wait about 15-20 minutes after running the hair dryer to see if the crack stays dry.

If it does not, you’ll need to wait for the area to dry out on its own.

Using an epoxy injection system is usually a best practice for this type of repair.

The epoxy helps to strengthen the wall and prevent moisture from getting in to become an ongoing problem.

You’ll want to let the epoxy cure for about 5 days before removing the injection ports.

 

Fixing Horizontal Basement Wall Cracks

Horizontal basement wall cracks are also considered a critical repair, but because they have outward pressures being placed on them.

This occurs from the expanding and contracting of the soil around the foundation of the home.

You can relieve this pressure somewhat by keeping the soil near the foundation fairly moist all year long, but once the cracks appear, it becomes necessary to immediately repair the wall to prevent it from buckling.

Because the crack indicates that the wall has already buckled somewhat, you may need to reinforce the wall before repairing the crack.

This may mean having a complete foundation leveling completed.

Only a professional contractor should be performing that part of the repair because the foundation itself may need to be lifted to provide materials that can help to stabilize the basement wall.

Once the wall has been stabilized, you can then fill in the crack with your preferred repair method and the wall should remain stable.

You’ll need to be proactive in the future, however, about changing outdoor conditions to prevent too much pressure from being on the basement wall in the future.

Not relieving the pressure and just repairing the crack can further increase the problem and it may void your homeowner’s insurance as well.

Knowing how to repair basement wall cracks can help to keep a home standing strong.

Examine the crack, clean it out, and make sure it is dry before repairing it.

If the repair doesn’t hold or there are several issues that must be addressed, then be sure to speak with a local contractor to discuss what your options may be.

The Outgoing Tenant Checklist

Tenant turnover is inevitable.

As a result, flipping your unit from one tenant to the next is an important part of the property management process.

Having a detailed checklist ensures that you successfully complete all essential steps when your tenant moves out.

End the landlord-tenant relationship with ease by completing these important tasks.

Proper Notification
Your lease should stipulate how much notice your tenant must provide when he or she plans to move it.

This notification is important, as it allows you to begin searching for a new tenant to replace your vacating one.

For example, you might request one month’s or two months’ notice from your tenant.

If you do not hear from your tenant in the months leading up to the end of the lease, remind him or her of the impending end of the lease.

Offer a lease renewal, if you’re interested, or request that the tenant abide by the terms of the lease and provide you with proper notice.

Move-Out Guidelines
Consider providing your tenant with a list of your expectations upon move-out.

For example, you might want the unit cleaned from top to bottom, including the refrigerator and carpets.

If you allowed the tenant to paint the walls, specify whether you want the walls returned to their original color.

Other items to note on the checklist include filling holes in the wall, maintaining the lawn and landscaping until the lease-end date, and removing all trash from the unit.

Move-Out Inspection
Once your tenant vacates your property, you want to promptly inspect the unit for any damage.

If you’re holding a refundable security deposit, you need to decide whether you need to use any portion of the security deposit to fix any damage caused by the tenant.

Check your state landlord-tenant laws and regulations to find out how much time you have to assess any damages and return the security deposit.

You’re likely working with a 30- to 90-day window.

If you intend to keep any portion of the security deposit, you will need to notify your tenant before doing so.

Each state sets forth specific guidance in this area, so it’s your responsibility as a landlord to be well versed in these regulations and adhere to them every time you flip your unit.

Post-Move-Out Responsibilities
Your tenant has moved out, you’ve thoroughly inspected the unit and returned all or a portion of the security deposit, and the keys to your rental property are back in your hands.

Now what?

Until a new tenant moves into your unit, you’re responsible for the complete care of the unit.

Ensure that the utilities have shifted back into your name until your new tenant takes over.

If lawn maintenance was your tenant’s responsibility, remember that it’s yours until the unit is flipped.

Keeping your rental in pristine condition will help you rent the unit out promptly, which will help reduce any gap between tenants – and the resultant gap in rental income.

A tenant moving out should be a smooth process.

After all, turnover is at the heart of your business.

As the landlord, you are responsible for guiding your tenant through the move-out process.

Being available to answer questions and maintaining open lines of communication ensure that your tenant vacates your rental property without any problems.

How Do Tenant Improvements Work

As you step into your rental property, you’ve noticed there have been a few changes made to the property by the tenant.

Two of the rooms have been repainted.

New shutters were added to the exterior.

Those cracks in the concrete steps have been repaired.

Landlords have two options when they discover improvements: they can accept them and the potentially added value they provide or reject them if unauthorized changes are forbidden due to the lease.

If rejected, changing the property back to its original condition can often be charged against the security deposit.

Tenants Do Not Get to Charge For Value

Improvements made by a tenant can often be written off as a tax expense for them because they did the work.

Landlords cannot take any tax deductions from accepted improvements and may wind up having an increased tax burden if the improvements increase the value of the property.

This is often why landlords attempt to reject improvements that are made.

Tenants have a case to fight against improvement rejection for a number of common reasons.

1. The paint they used was the same color that was already in the home or room that was improved.

2. Flooring needed to be repaired anyway and they just did it without notification.

3. There was a safety concern in the home that the tenants resolved on their own.

If you have white walls in your home and the tenant paints them red, then that could be an improvement that would possibly be rejected.

If the white walls are still white, but with a new layer of paint, then the improvement must generally be accepted.

Tenants Have No Right to Claim Value

The issue that landlords face is that some tenants expect to be compensated for their work when they move out.

They use the improvements as a bargaining chip to have their full security deposit returned.

This isn’t necessary in a vast majority of cases. A tenant may have spent $1,000 giving a property new paint, but if they left the property without cleaning it properly, then landlords have the right to charge for that service.

Tenants cannot sue a landlord for the value of the improvements if they were taken on voluntarily and there wasn’t a health or safety issue that required the repair.

Even cracks in concrete steps won’t qualify unless it was a health or safety issue.

Tenant improvements are generally one of those things that are nice to see.

As long as the property hasn’t been altered dramatically, it is generally a best practice to accept them and prepare the property for a new tenant.

Landlords in the Know: Tenant Rights 101

The landlord/tenant relationship is just as important to the landlord as it is to the tenant.

If entered into with care, the lease agreement will protect both you and the renter.

Following are basic tenant rights you, as the landlord, should be aware of when preparing to rent a property.

1. A Positive Landlord Review from the Beginning
Savvy landlords will have current and previous tenants willing to talk to prospective renters about living conditions in the rental unit and area.

Prospective renters have the right to an understand of what it’s like living in the rental and dealing with you as a landlord.

For example, potential tenants may learn that a landlord responds quickly when the rental needs repairs or the building needs maintenance.

It is like free marketing for the landlord.

2. Conduct a Walk-About
Before your tenant signs the lease, you are wise to make sure the tenant does a thorough walk-through of the premises.

Some landlords will accompany the potential tenant on a property tour to document in writing and take pictures of anything broken, damaged or worn.

In some cases, the landlord may give the potential renter a key to let him or her do a walk-through alone. You must change the locks once the property is rented.

A professional landlord documents damages and wear before the tenant enters the apartment alone.

Prospective tenants can document any damage or wear-and-tear they find, and the landlord and tenant will agree to a final reconciled damage list.

You and the tenant should sign and date the document to make it part of the lease package.

3. Landlord and Tenant: Know Thy Lease
Renters must read and understand the lease.

It is advisable to sit down with the tenant and review the lease clause-by-clause.

The tenant can initial each of the contract sections, indicating he or she has read and understands the terms.

Brief the tenant on privacy notification guidelines, conditions for the return of the deposit, and conditions for and consequences of breaking the lease.

4. Landlords: Know What You Can’t Do
Certain landlord actions are illegal, and it is important that you know they are illegal.

  • Refusing to make repairs that affect a tenant’s quality of life or safety
  • Demanding arbitrary rent increases outside the terms of the lease
  • Threatening to evict
  • Preventing tenant associations from meeting in the building’s common room
  • Turning off utilities
  • Locking out a tenant by changing the locks or putting a lock box on the doorknob
  • Placing the tenant’s belongings on the street

Although it may be tempting to lock a tenant out when repeated damage is done to the property, or the tenant falls behind in rent payments or engages in illegal activities on the property, you risk a lawsuit for trespass, wrongful eviction, emotional distress, and even assault and battery, depending on the events.

In every case, you as the landlord must inform the tenant via some type of termination notice.

The names of these documents differ by state, but they may include the “Pay Rent or Quit Notice,” the “Cure or Quit Notice” or the “Unconditional Quit Notice.”

5. When the Landlord Wants the Rental Back
To avoid a claim that a tenant was wrongfully evicted, the lease includes a description of the process to be followed should you want the rented property back for personal reasons.

If the property is rented on a month-to-month basis, the landlord only needs to give appropriate notice to the tenant that the lease is terminated.

If the lease has a fixed term, the landlord must honor the term but does not have to renew it.

The only exceptions are in the rent-control states of New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.

There are limits on your rights to evict tenants to move yourself, or relatives, into the rental.

For example, in San Francisco, the landlord can evict a tenant to move in a relative as long as the person rents within 3 months and lives in the rental unit for at least 36 months.