Ensuring Tenant Privacy

As part of the rental application, a landlord needs to collect confidential data about a potential tenant in order to determine if they are suitable for the suite or home they wish to rent.

Sensitive data may include employment information, bank account and credit history, social security numbers, and previous addresses, all of which are of interest to an identity thief.

A landlord may also know personal information about the tenant, including marital status, children, and other sensitive data that legally shouldn’t be on paper.

In the USA, both personal and confidential tenant data is protected, and a landlord is prohibited from releasing any financial or personal data to a third party, without written consent of the tenant.

Confidentiality of tenant information is a landlord’s responsibility, and it’s their job to ensure that their tenant’s personal and financial information is protected from nosy neighbors, debt collectors, or fraudsters who may be fishing for information.

When tracking tenant information you need to ensure that their confidential data is kept secure.

This is applicable to either paper records and computer data.

Keep tenant records under lock and key
Rental applications can be the main source of confidential tenant data.

Once an application has been processed and accepted, there’s no reason to leave it out in the open.

Keep tenant records in a filing cabinet that locks securely or in a closet with a deadbolt when not in use.

File essential paperwork immediately. If you’re leaving the office, lock your door behind you.

Keep sensitive information in a folder
It takes only a moment for someone to read information off a document.

When processing rental applications, keep in mind the foot traffic through the office.

Flip papers over or tuck them into a file folder so that passersby can’t read tenant information in passing.

Protect computerized files
Tenant files kept on a computer should be protected with the same care that is taken with paper files.

Protect access to your computer with a strong eight character password.

Take this security one step further to ensure that all confidential files storing tenant information are also password protected.

Protect information in transit
Dissuade prying eyes from flipping open unattended files.

If tenant records are stored securely off-site, transport them in a locking briefcase.

This provides one extra level of protection, in case you leave it unattended for any length of time.

Shred non-essential files
Carelessly tossing rejected rental applications into the bin is a violation of state laws.

Run any non-essential papers through the shredder to ensure that any information containing personal identities or credit card or banking information is destroyed.

Don’t reveal information about tenants
Whether someone calls you for information about a tenant or you’re speaking to their neighbor, it’s important to avoid talking about that person without written consent from the tenant.

Discussing other tenants without their consent is unprofessional behavior that can land you in trouble, particularly if you inadvertently disclose information.

It’s best to inform the other party of your policy and change the topic.

Possible exceptions may include written consent from the tenant which may involve providing confirmation that they lived at your location for a certain length of time, or when requested by a law enforcement official.

Landlords may learn more information about a tenant than they need or want to know, but they have the responsibility to ensure that tenant information stays between landlord and tenant, and is not shared via a third party.

As a landlord, it’s part of your job to protect personal and confidential data about your tenants from third party requests.

If in doubt, obtain written permission from your tenant before sharing their confidential data.

5 Home Repairs To Handle for Your Tenants

Your tenants have needs — including maintenance on the space that they rent from you. If you’re lucky, you have reliable contractors who are always available when your tenants need them. However, you may have a maintenance contractor with a busy schedule and takes awhile to get to minor issues. Instead of making your tenants wait, improve your landlord-tenant relationship by handling some small repairs on your own. While you may also offer tenants the option of handling small-scale repairs, it’s better for your peace of mind and quality assurance to take care of all repairs. When attempting repairs on your own, it’s vital to know building codes and other regulations in your region. After reviewing those, you can handle simple maintenance tasks quickly and efficiently.

1. Minor Cracks in Cement

There are a few repair options for small cracks in the cement or mortar of a sidewalk or brick staircase. Mortar cement is a type of material that allows you to repair cracked pieces without chipping it away from the base material and setting it up again. This is particularly useful for securing bricks back into place on a walkway, and handling smaller cracks. If you have large-scale cracks, mortar mix is not particularly hard to apply to the affected areas, although chiseling off the existing mortar may take some time.

2. Minor Plumbing Issues

You don’t need a plumber for every minor problem you run into. A common issue among tenants is a clogged drain. There are a few options for taking care of clogs, but one of the easiest is to use a hair catcher. This is a long, thin piece of plastic with teeth on the sides that you simply put down the drain and then pull back up. The teeth are barbed on one side and catch all the hair stuck in the drain. A hair catcher handles clogs that some caustic cleaners aren’t able to break through.

3. Drywall Repair

Scrapes and minor holes are part of normal wear and tear on a rental unit. While these are not usually high-profile repairs that affect your tenants’ quality of life, it is still important to address them. Wall repair kits allow for quick set up, sanding and painting. While these kits take different forms, one of the most common types provides wire mesh to go over the hole. This mesh is then covered with spackle material, which hardens and covers the hole in the wall. Once the spackle sets for 24 to 72 hours, it can be sanded down and repainted to match the rest of the wall.

4. Air Filter Replacement

If you have a central heating and cooling system, you have air filters located behind the vents in each room in the house, which often get overlooked. A dirty filter affects the air quality of your rental unit, and in some extreme cases can lead to allergic reactions from your tenants. Replacing the air filters only requires the simple removal of the vent cover and swapping in the new filter, which installs without additional tools. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how often filters need to be changed.

5. Water Heater Adjustments

Your tenant may complain about water that is too hot at the top end, or too cold overall. If they have access to the water heater, they may want to adjust it on their own. Since the water heater is an expensive piece of equipment and you may need to adhere to temperature guidelines set by local building codes, handle this type of request yourself. This also gives you the opportunity to check on the water heater for routine maintenance, helping you identify any potential problems down the road that you may need an experienced repairman to come fix.

Essential Obligations of a Landlord

Landlords have certain essential obligations that they must meet if they are in a leasing agreement with a tenant.

Most of these obligations are derived from the local landlord/tenant laws that govern the lease.

Obligations can also be specifically put into the lease itself.

Every jurisdiction is a little different when it comes to a complete look at the essential obligations of a landlord, but here is a comprehensive general overview of what is required.

There Is a Responsibility To Provide Safety

A rental property should be safe to live within.

Landlords are responsible for creating a structure that is secure.

This may even include a general feeling of safety when tenants are home by themselves.

This means any exterior access point should have working locks.

This includes windows and all doors.

Exterior doors should also be equipped with at least one deadbolt lock.

Access to keys is also part of the landlord’s obligations.

No one else should have keys to the home.

If previous tenants do not turn in their keys, then the locks need to be changed before a new tenant moves in to occupy the residence.

It is common for landlords to give keys to Realtors or maintenance personnel, but these should either be reclaimed or be used for a generic lock that is easily replaced.

Landlords must also have their properties up to code, including carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

Outdoor areas should be free of hazards as well.

Landlords Are Responsible For Exterior Issues

Unless a tenant has damaged the exterior of the home because of direct action, landlords are generally responsible for the upkeep of a home so that it is clean and safe as well. This means taking action to fix roofing leaks, siding issues, or broken decking. Exterior concrete steps that crumble are a good example of an exterior safety issue which would need to be addressed. Landlords may put into their lease a requirement for tenants to provide property care and maintenance. This generally includes mowing, trimming, and weeding. Tenants cannot generally be held liable for tree services or specialty care needs a property may have. If a property has a fence, then it may also fall under the landlord’s care to provide safety. Damages by tenants are their own responsibility, but weather damage to an exterior item is generally the responsibility of the landlord. Pest control also falls into this category. Fleas, bed bugs, or similar infestations caused by tenant conduct are not generally a landlord’s responsibility, but roaches, rodents, and other pests may be.

Landlords Should Be Present For All Repairs

If you have maintenance personnel acting on your behalf to visit rental properties, then you are setting yourself up for a possible robbery claim.

Repairs must have a prompt response and some are required within 24 hours.

24 hour repairs are generally defined as those that adversely affect the health or safety of the rental property.

What are some examples of common 24 hour repair issues that may occur?

1. A hot water heater that begins to leak or fails to provide hot water.

2. A broken sump pump that backs up into the home.

3. An exterior lock on a window or door that fails to work properly.

Just because some repairs don’t need to be completed within 24 hours doesn’t mean that a timely response isn’t necessary.

Each jurisdiction has its own set standards of when a maintenance request must have a response.

Many fall into the 7-10 day range.

Landlords Must Store Security Deposits

How a security deposit is stored for a tenant varies from state to state. In general, however, landlords must notify tenants as to where their security deposit is being held.

Some landlords must keep a deposit in a separate account, but it can earn interest that the landlord is able to keep.

Other laws require any interest to be paid as well minus damages or cleaning.

Most landlords should also consider it an obligation to notify their tenants about obtaining renter’s insurance.

Most tenants are not covered under a landlord’s policy, so in the case of a flood, a fire, or other disaster, their possessions would not receive any compensation without renter’s insurance.

This notification limits the chances of litigation occurring.

Landlords may also be responsible for storing tenant possessions at certain times.

This may occur during a move-out, property abandonment, or even during an eviction.

By knowing what the essential obligations of a landlord happen to be in your area, it becomes easier to manage a rental property.

Check your local landlord/tenant laws regularly to make sure you stay in compliance.

Fair Housing Legislation: A Primer

The Fair Housing Act was first adopted in 1968 and covers most housing in the United States.

In 1988, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development increased its power to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that minority groups are not discriminated against by landlords and real estate agencies.

Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has provided protection for the disabled as well.

The Disabilities Act works in conjunction with the Fair Housing Act in certain civil cases.

So, what exactly is the Fair Housing Act, and how does it affect you as a property manager?

  • It protects minorities from being turned away by landlords and real estate companies solely on the basis of racial identity, religious affiliation, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation.
  • It disallows property owners from indicating a preference toward a certain race, religion, or gender when advertising the rental or sale of a property.
  • It makes it illegal for landlords and property managers to take threatening or intimidating actions toward prospective renters due to their race, religion, or gender.

These specifications can sound intimidating.

However, if you employ some common sense and a professional business model that is free of personal prejudices, you won’t have to worry about falling victim to civil cases in the future.

What are Your Rights as a Landlord

There are a few ways that you can optimize your property management practices to ensure that you don’t violate any of the clauses of the Fair Housing Act.

For instance, you can make sure that your tenant screening process is constantly updated.

Your right to conduct a general background check and screen tenants for credit scores, eviction records, and bankruptcy is protected by law.

You have the right to maintain a certain standard within the property you are renting out, and bad tenants can greatly affect your business by damaging your image and ratings on renters’ websites.

The courts understand this and will listen to your arguments if you are ever sued by a renter.

Staying Objective is Key

It can’t be emphasized enough that an objective and professional leasing process with prospective tenants and renters is crucial.

Developing a fair system for both property owners and renters can benefit both parties and is considered good practice.

It’s important to avoid any language in your rental listings that may appear to be discriminatory.

You can be upfront with your screening criteria as long as you do not reject renters based on protected statuses.

For example, if you prefer to rent to professionals or students, you can indicate this preference in your rental listing.

However, you can’t require that renters follow a specific religion, and you can’t mention that you prefer to rent to a particular gender in the listing or advertisement.

Once the tenant is ready to rent, use a standardized screening process that includes reviewing credit reports and criminal records, and speaking with landlord references.

Information from these reports can be used to approve or deny the tenant without resulting in discrimination issues.

Save yourself time and your potential tenant money by disclosing the non-discriminatory criteria that may disqualify them.

That way, you won’t waste time obtaining reports and references, and potential renters won’t waste money on screening and application costs.

Remember, the law permits you to screen tenants, but only to a limited extent.

Don’t make decisions based on biased judgments.

As a business person, it’s important to practice the utmost professionalism.

Once you grasp a full understanding of the Fair Housing Act and the consequences of violating it, you’ll be on your way to becoming a much more informed property manager.

Low-Cost Kitchen Renovations That Boost Rental Value

It is no secret that kitchen renovations boost property value, so it should come as no surprise that an upgraded kitchen can also help to attract tenants and boost the amount that you can charge in rent.

Unfortunately, major kitchen renovations run well over $10,000.

If you are not able to put a lot of money into your investment property, a low-cost kitchen renovation can still allow you to reap benefits now and when you sell the property in the future.

Even a minor kitchen renovation can offer a return of 82 percent on average.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Refinish Cabinets
Instead of putting the money into getting all new cabinets, strip the current cabinets, sand them down and refinish them.

You can add a coat of paint to brighten up the kitchen, and the best part about this idea is the fact that it does not require you to do any major demolition in order to achieve your goal of a more updated kitchen space.

Backsplash
Backsplashes are a major part of the modern kitchen, and having an outdated backsplash or none at all can turn potential tenants off to your property.

Chipping away at the current tile is a tedious task, but it is one that you can complete on your own.

Laying the new tile is a do-it-yourself venture as well, and there are low-cost tiles available that still fit in with modern kitchen decor.

Overall, this is one of the cheapest ways to give the kitchen in your rental property a much-needed facelift.

Shop Smart
If there are new pieces that you need to add to the kitchen to make it look its best, shop through surplus retailers in order to snag a deal.

You will have to deal with installation on your own, but the deep discount is worth the trouble.

Many of these retailers provide the latest styles when it comes to kitchen decor, and you can find everything from countertops to islands this way.

Add an Island
Counter space is often at a premium in rental units, and more people are becoming interested in cooking their own meals at home.

That means that offering more room to slice, dice, and mix sets your rental unit apart from the rest.

An island offers an ideal way to expand counter space without actually adding a fixture to the kitchen.

Design options include wheeled islands that can be removed from the room if your tenants want more floor space, so these portable options are ideal.

Add Storage
Cabinet space is another desirable feature in any kitchen.

While adding an island will increase storage space, look at all of your options when it comes to low-cost methods of increasing storage for your tenants.

Shelving on a bare wall can be used to stack dishes, and kitchens that do not yet have upper cabinets can benefit from having these installed.

Change Up the Lighting
A modern lighting fixture helps to change the decor while better lighting the space.

While it will not improve a completely outdated kitchen, it can help to spruce up a kitchen that just needs a little boost.

Now that you know that there are ways to increase the rent you charge for your property while improving property value, it is time to get started.

Whether you choose one or several of these suggestions, a small renovation can go a long way when it comes to attracting tenants.

 

How to Read a Credit Report

An individual’s credit report is one of the most important tools landlords should be utilizing to help ensure their properties are rented to the most qualified candidates in the market.

Along with employment and past references, credit is a critical decision making tool, but it’s not as effective if it’s not completely understood.

This sample offers a nice layout and helps with the explanations that follow.

 

Tradelines

This is the area on the report where you will find information on accounts and how long they have been open.

The trade term “seasoned tradeline” indicates one that has been open for a long time.

Usually, the longer an account is open, the more positively it influences a credit score.

There are companies that will essentially sell tradelines that are meant to boost the credit rating.

While the practice may seem unethical, it’s not illegal.

It’s one reason landlords should be wise to look beyond just the credit score.

Tradelines will start by listing the lender and the loan type, such as credit card, car loan, or line of credit.

Next, the report will list a designator and then the industry the credit falls under.

Last, it will list the current status of the account, which is the most important section — you want to rent to people who are current on their credit obligations and rarely late.

Collections

As you might assume, this section will provide alerts regarding any accounts going to collections and whether they are still open or have been resolved.

If a person had  an account go to collection but has paid it off, it will still be listed in the Collections section.

An update in August 2014 changed the way medical bills reflected on credit reports, lessening their impact, which is a big help for consumers who were hit by enormous medical bills and were simply unable to pay them.

But remember, if a person walked away from routine obligations such as cell phone payments or a credit card, they probably aren’t the best candidate — though context should also be considered in such situations.

Context

It’s important to look at any credit report through a lens that takes into account some level of context, which is what the new rule on FICO score reporting is meant to provide.

However, it may be years before the changes are fully implemented, so it’s helpful if those who are reading credit reports understand context too, and not just with regard to medical bills.

If a potential renter has a lower score because of medical costs going to collection, it’s not by itself an indication of risk when it comes to paying rent on time.

Another situation where a little leeway is good is if a person is coming off of a divorce.

If the shared bills have had to go to collection and your applicant can show they are otherwise quite responsible, that’s worth taking into consideration.

Employment

This section tells the reader about the place of employment, but you need to be aware that it’s one of the most inaccurate sections of credit reporting.

Frequently, employers aren’t listed at all, or the reporting agencies list people working someplace when in fact they haven’t for years.

Employment is best verified outside of the credit report.

Errors

The high confidence everything from banks to employers and even dating sites place on credit scores might make you assume they are correct, but the truth is that credit reports can often report errors.

If a report is telling you something about a potential renter but that person has evidence to the contrary, it’s probably an error.

Many people don’t find out their credit reports have mistakes until they have their credit run, so it’s possible they were completely unaware.

How to Verify Contractor License

In most jurisdictions, a contractor must be licensed as a business and in their chosen specialty.

This specialty license is issued by the Department of Labor and Industries or similar agency, and a number is assigned to the contractor.

Most contractors are required to publish this number in all public communications.

To verify the contractor license to see if it is current and there are no registered complaints, simply ask to verify the number with the government agency.

This can often be completed online. If your jurisdiction doesn’t require a specific contractor’s license, there are some other ways to verify their credentials so greater confidence in the company or individual hired can be had.

1. Ask For Their Certificate Of Insurance.

Contractors must be insured in every jurisdiction in order to conduct business.

This is because they are making a change to a property in some way.

Whether acting as a handyman or a specialized contractor, the Certificate of Insurance will verify their coverage and the presence of a surety bond if needed.

2. Ask For a Physical Copy Of The License.

If a contractor has been licensed to complete work, there will be a paper license issued.

It is required to be displayed in a prominent location and accessible for inspection.

Although you won’t have a contractor take this license off their wall and take it to your home, you can visit the contractor’s office and ask for a copy of the license to verify its validity.

3. Create An Inquiry.

If there isn’t a way to specifically request a license verification, then you may be able to create a local inquiry to get the information that is needed.

This is typically through the state licensing board, but it could also happen through a local trade union as well.

Be aware: this process may require a specific written request that cannot be submitted online and it may take up to 90 days to complete.

Knowing how to verify a contractor license is generally pretty easy.

Get the name of the contractor, find their assigned number, and conduct an online search through the appropriate government agency.

If that option is not available, then use these additional options to get the information needed today.

5 Golden Rules to Create Model Tenants

After investing in your rental property, your tenants become your most valuable asset.

They help determine your staying power in the real estate business, and therefore serve as valuable additions to your property’s value.

Selecting good tenants is a difficult role for most landlords, but not because of the caliber of tenants.

There are many decent potential tenants waiting on the right housing opportunity.

The problem lies with the approach to finding the right tenant.

1. Property Appeal—“Like Attracts Like”

Before you can find the right tenant, you need to invest in your property.

When your property looks immaculate and is located in a desirable part of town, it will attract the kind of tenants you want.

Conversely, if it looks “run down,”  it’s unlikely you’ll find the model tenant you are looking for.

Since “like attracts like” in the real estate industry, landlords with well-maintained properties are more likely to attract tenants who are willing to uphold the same standards of house maintenance as you are.

2. Lease Agreement—“Your Word is Your Bond”

Like a marriage contract, the terms set out in your landlord-tenant agreement are legally binding.

To foster a long lasting future with the ideal tenant, start the relationship off on the right footing; draft a lease that is reasonable and respectful of the needs of both parties and be sure to review the document in full with your prospective tenant.

Even after the lease agreement is signed, differences can arise.

Experts strongly recommend that both parties attempt to resolve any issues with each other before seeking outside help.

Probably the most important advice to resolving landlord-tenant disputes is for both parties to read the lease agreement and become familiar with each other’s obligations.

3. The Rental Business—“It’s a Business Relationship Not a Friendship”

Communication is at the core of any great relationship; however, it’s a very different dynamic when a tenant thinks of you as a friend.

With friendships, special privileges and concessions are expected and that can compromise your business investment.

Be courteous and professional.

Keep your relationship on a business level, communicating clearly any new arrangements to be implemented and ensuring terms are understood before documenting.  

4. Property Maintenance—“Happy Tenants are those who are Routinely Maintained”

Happy tenants are extremely important to your real estate business, and good tenants are happy tenants.

The way you keep them contented is by keeping your property in good shape.

Fix leaks, replace old fixtures and fittings, and inspect the home annually.  

You may want to keep a list nearby of good plumbers, electricians and tradesman to refer to when needed, if a problem were to arise.

5. Negotiate on Some Terms—“Yield to Understanding”

Don’t be too rigid with house rules that you scare away good tenants—be flexible and negotiate.

You may hate having pets on your property, but if a responsible tenant wants to move in with a family cat, there is little harm in making revisions to accommodate that request.

As long as all newly negotiated terms are in writing, your leniency will stand to benefit your relationship in unexpected and fruitful ways.

Many landlords find that being pet friendly makes them stand out from the crowd.

Often they attract good tenants who are happy to pay more rent for pet accommodation.

Model tenants reliably tend to their obligations.

They pay the rent on time, take care of your property and are respectful neighbors in the community.

The bond you help create with your tenants can only strengthen your investment.

Short Term Property Management Tips

Whether you are looking to add some extra cash into your budget to make ends meet or you want to supplement your holiday plans by renting out your home, short-term property management can pay off with some big rewards. Even if you just have an extra room, you could make more than $20,000 per year more just by renting it out. Before you get started, however, there are certain things of which you may need to be aware. These 5 short-term property management tips will help you make sure that you get the most out of your rental property.

1. You May Need to Charge a Hotel Tax

Some jurisdictions require that short-term rentals charge a hotel tax. In short, your rental on a short-term basis may be illegal unless you get the authorization to run a hotel on your property. This may require rezoning and that’s a lot of hassle. Even home sharing isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be clear of the law and any profits you make are most definitely taxable at local rates.

2. Make Sure to Thoroughly Vet Your Guests

Many short-term property managers check a Facebook page, look for a quick criminal history, and call the vetting process good. That could wind up setting a landlord up for a bad experience. You’ll want to make sure that security deposits are in place before handing over the keys, a credit check has been done, and other background information in checked – like offender registries that may not show up on a criminal record, like founded child abuse.

3. The Rules Must Be Clearly Known

Your house rules must be posted somewhere on your short-term property to be valid. This generally goes beyond whatever lease terms that you may have. If you charge a smoking fee, then this fee must be posted on the property. You’ll also want to clearly communicate when people can check into your short-term rental and when they’ll need to leave so you don’t have an unpleasant surprise waiting for you.

4. Set a Valid Price Point

This might be the trickiest thing of all for the short-term property manager. The right price is a balance between profitability and image. You don’t want to charge so little that people won’t stay because they think there’s something wrong with the home. You also don’t want to charge too much because you’ll become the option of last resort. Location, current market conditions, and even the seasons can all cause fluctuations in the price of rent that can be charged.

5. Market Yourself

You won’t get many renters if no one really knows that you’ve got a short-term space to rent. Make your description comprehensive and consider having professionals take promotional images and create marketing content for you so that a clear picture can be received by a prospect. A short-term rental is highly profitable when managed correctly. Get started with these 5 tips and start pulling in the extra income you need today.

Protecting Vacant Properties From Vandalism

Most rental properties undergo a vacancy period at some point, whether they’re between tenants or yet to be rented.

Vacant property is a frustration and concern for landlords because the owners aren’t earning income during this time, and the house becomes at risk for potential problems like vandalism.

A study by the US Department of Justice revealed that 4.4% of homes in 2005 were vandalized.

Vacant homes tend to be more likely to be affected, but there are a variety of ways to protect vacant properties from vandalism:

Keep the Property in Great Shape

A vacant property should have the yard maintained regularly, as this appeals to potential renters and unit also signals that there are people frequently moving in and out of the property.

Property owners should tend to the grass and gardens, keep sidewalks shoveled in the winter and remove leaves from the gutters.

Add a few personal touches, such as welcome mats or seasonal flags, so the property does not appear vacant.

Leave the Lights On

Lighting is another important factor in keeping vandals away.

The small cost of keeping utilities on between tenants allows the lights to be kept on, deterring vandalism, and makes it easier for potential residents to tour the property.

Outdoor motion-activated lights flooding the yard and a few interior lights create the illusion that the house is occupied.

Install a Security System

Installing a security system can be pricey, but compared to having vandals destroy a home, this initial investment can actually save you money in the long run.

According to the FBI, property crimes in 2012 resulted in an estimated loss of $15.5 billion.

Future tenants can also use a monitored security system, adding to the property’s value and giving landlords an additional feature to promote.

Monitor the Property

Security systems are valuable, but nothing beats a real, live person.

Landlords need to visit the property often and not on a predictable schedule.

Potential vandals may watch the property for a few days before the actual crime takes place, so the landlord making random checks is an important deterrent.

Stop by at various times to make adjustments to which lights are on, check that all the window latches are locked and note any projects that may need attention.

Also, gather up mail or flyers at each visit and ask the showing agent to assist in getting rid of these flyers as well.

Junk mail building up is a shining beacon to those looking for vacant properties.

Ask the Neighbors

Neighbors living near a vacant property are probably just as anxious to see the property filled as the landlord.

It’s always a good idea for the landlord to make positive connections in the community, so let the neighbors know of your plans to find a new tenant and ask if they can assist in watching the house.

Leaving a business card with contact information is a good idea so your information is readily available.

Vacant properties are not the stuff of landlords’ dreams, but they are a natural part of the business.

Signs of activity, security systems, lighting and personal visits help prevent vandalism to vacant properties.

Landlords should remember that marketing strategies, well-written rental ads and a presence on rental websites are important in making sure that the property does not stay vacant for long.