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Be Proactive to Prevent Winter Vacancies 

How To Prevent Winter Vacancies

 

It’s that time of year again. The time when you don’t want tenants to even think about moving for the next 6 months. Yet, looking over your lease agreements and occupancy dates, you know tenants are going to want to move out during these frigid months.

 

However, if you make a plan for winter vacancies, they will become easier when they do happen. But they will also become a thing of the past.

 

Here are some ways to skip those winter vacancies.

 

Extend your occupancy dates 

 

This is the easiest one to have control over. When a tenant moves into your unit from November to March, consider offering an 18-month lease instead of 12. This puts a November tenant on a moving schedule of June 1, if they don’t renew. Could you offer a small discount for them choosing an extended lease? It may seem silly to lose money on a monthly basis. But a discount is cheaper than having to turn over a unit in the winter. A discount is also cheaper than heating an empty apartment for months.

 

Shorten your lease period

 

This might be a little riskier as you’ll have more turnover, but you’re more likely to be full during the winter. Weigh the pros and cons before you decide to go to 6 month lease periods. If you choose to offer 6 months, try to only do so for leases starting between November and March. Keep the traditional 12 months or extended 18-month options for all other new tenants.

 

Offer renewal incentives

 

Is there something low cost to you, but would increase value for your tenant? Maybe it’s winter equipment or weatherproofing materials for inside the unit. Maybe you could offer a gas or grocery gift card for renewing with you. These small tokens might be the right incentive necessary to keep your tenant renting from you. You should start these conversations a few months in advance. This keeps the tenants happy and you aware of their plans.

 

Talk to your tenants

 

Ask your tenants what would help them. Having a conversation with your tenants about what they’d like to see, would help you and build trust. Treating your tenants with respect will show them you care and they’ll be respectful in return.

 

Start new leasing policies with any new tenants from November to March. This can help keep your rentals full during the winter months. If you have a question or would like to implement an alternative lease agreement fill out our contact form at contact us or call Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 to start today.

Tenants And Landlords Prepare For Winter

When winter hits Wisconsin, it’s easy to lose sight of necessary outdoor activities. When you own rental property, building maintenance and tenant safety move to the top of your to-do list. During the winter months, both tenants and landlords have parts to play in keeping the rental property safe and winterized.

Landlord Responsibilities

As a landlord, you must be able to provide a rental unit that can maintain an inside temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Wisconsin Way. The residential lease agreement should explain all expectations regarding maintaining snow removal, ice prevention and weatherproofing.

Tenant Responsibilities

The standard lease agreement should clearly state who is responsible for winter maintenance. For example, if the lease states the tenant is responsible to clear the snow after each snowfall, then the tenant or anyone the tenant hires is responsible for snow removal. Tenants may incur fines if they’re responsible for snow removal if city maintenance crews do it.

Read your lease agreement fully and carefully to escape any unnecessary fees this winter.

Winter Misconceptions 

There is a misconception out there that landlords must provide weather-proofing materials for inside the unit. Such as plastic for windows or weather stripping for exterior doors. While maintaining the windows and doors to be able to hold 67 degrees is necessary, providing extra weather-proofing is not.

If there is a concern with heat loss through windows or doors, tenants should contact property management company or owner to correct the problem.

However, if windows and doors are in good condition but the tenant knows when the wind blows just right the windows leak, they may want to purchase some plastic from a home improvement store.  These are daily maintenance items no owner or management company would know unless tenants informed them.

Snow Removal Equipment

There may be a statement in a lease about snow removal equipment or salt for sidewalks. Pay close attention to who is responsible to take care of that and if there is a time-frame given.

Winter weather is unpredictable. If a lease says the landlord will drop off a shovel and salt by October 31 but it snowed enough on the 18th to warrant shoveling, tenants will have to buy their own.

If landlords and tenants work together winter maintenance can be a piece of cake. For 9 steps you need to take to winterize a rental property visit our blog here.

Call Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 or fill out our contact form to be sure both you know your role this winter.

All Your Rental Questions Answered

All your rental questions answered

Even the ones you didn’t think to ask?

 

Renting an apartment is all about trust. The tenants trusting the landlord and management company and the management company or landlord trusting the tenant. There’s never just one side when it comes to a rental agreement.

 

However, landlords often have the upper hand as they know the building. They know issues other tenants have had and if they’ve been fixed. Landlords are in control of the property, as they should be. They own it. When they rent it out there’re strict guidelines set by the state that all landlords need to follow. The guidelines also explain the rights tenants have and don’t have when it comes to rental property.

 

If this is your first time renting you want to make sure all of your questions are answered before you sign the agreement.

 

As a landlord, this helps to know both parties are on the same page allowing you to rent in good faith. Tenants need to be asking the landlords much more than the rent amount, which utilities are included and if they allow pets. We’ll discuss these and many more in this list.

 

Before even considering to rent, you need to have your finances in order.

 

At the bare minimum, most rental properties require a security deposit, which is usually equal to one month’s rent, plus the first month’s rent payment before moving in. Be prepared with this amount in advance as there are very few if any, landlords or management companies who will let you move in without full deposit and rent.

 

When you fill out the rental application, be honest. If you are going to bend the truth about your income, being evicted, having pets when you shouldn’t have or breaking your lease, a landlord may not trust you to be on time with rent. During the application process, there will be a credit check, employment check and references will be called. If this is your first rental, you will need a co-signer such as a parent to vouch for your character and be responsible if you don’t pay. Be aware there is an application fee. The fee varies between $25-$100 depending on how many people are applying and the city you live in.

 

When looking at rental properties you need to be sure you can afford the rent and any other costs involved such as utilities. To be sure you’ll stay within your budget, don’t apply for any rental unit that costs more than 1/3 of your total take home pay.

 

As an example, if you make $11.00/hr and you work full time or 80 hours each pay check, you’ll take home around $1440 as a single person with no dependents. For rent purposes, your home should be 1/3 of your take home or no more than $480/month.

 

This calculation ensures you have enough to pay utilities, other expenses such as food, vehicles, and fuel.

 

Ask the landlord about the location.

 

Make sure the neighborhood is safe and you won’t have to deal with loud neighbors. Obviously, your landlord can’t control what happens when you live in the home. They might know if previous tenants left due to noise or safety concerns.

 

If you are considering a pet, be sure to ask about the policy.

 

Not all landlords allow pets. If they don’t and you decide to get one, you can be evicted for a lease violation. A pet policy will explain if there are any breeds they don’t accept if you have a pet deposit if you have a monthly pet fee and much more. Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to animals. Be sure to ask.

 

If you are single and have guests over often, be sure your lease doesn’t have a clause about the length of stay before guests are considered tenants.

 

Some rental units allow guests for 10 days but by day 11 they will consider them to be a new tenant and require an application be filled out. Having roommates might be a good idea to help with the cost of a rental, but do it the right way. Have your potential roommate apply for tenancy ahead of time and you won’t be violating your lease.

 

Also, be clear about subletting and what’s allowed or not allowed. Subletting can be a benefit if you travel for school or work. If you are willing to have someone take care of your apartment while you’re gone, this could satisfy the visitor clause. Plus with a person already approved a sublet could save you time and money in finding a new apartment. This could also help if you decide to cancel your rental agreement and need to get it re-rented. Not all owners allow subletting but may with an approved tenant, so know all your options.

 

Find out who is responsible for maintenance, repairs and damage that may occur.

 

Tenants often assume the property owner is responsible for all maintenance and repairs. Most do take care of it before a tenant moves in. Read your lease closely and be sure to ask about how repairs are handled. Especially if that changes after you’ve lived there for a few months. Often if the damage or needed repair is due to the tenants or guests’ actions, tenants are responsible to fix it. If the issues were something out of the tenant’s control, most landlords will bring in the right professionals to fix it. Your lease should have it laid out but if not, be sure to ask.

 

Renting a home is different from renting an apartment. When you live in a neighborhood you need to follow the neighborhood rules. Things you may not consider like who does the lawn and snow maintenance. If there are any noise policies for the neighborhood or parking during the winter months.

 

Before signing a lease, make sure you can fulfill all the requirements.

 

If you don’t own lawn or snow care equipment, ask your landlord to provide them. If you have scheduling conflicts to maintain the property regularly, ask if you could pay to have them taken care of. Most cities have ordinances stating there is quiet time after 10 pm and no loud noise before 7 am. Check with your landlord to make sure a simple get together in the backyard is not going to cause an issue with the local authorities.

 

The bottom line when renting, if you don’t know…ask.

 

Your landlord is required to answer questions to the best of their ability. If at any point in the discussion, you feel you can’t trust the property owner, don’t rent from them. In reverse, be honest and respectful of the property. Landlords are providing a service. They have probably dealt with dishonest people a time to two in the past. Which means they may not be as forthright with extra information about the property. They aren’t required to tell you every detail if it doesn’t pertain to your safety during your tenancy. Be sure to ask if there is something specific you want to know.

 

As a property management company in Appleton, Day Property Management has experts able to help you navigate the rental process. Contact them today to get your questions answered. You can reach them at 920-969-0626 or fill out their contact form.

13 Fall Maintenance Items To Tackle

Cooler weather is here. Gone are the 70-degree days. It’s dark by 6:30 pm and yes, the leaves are falling off the trees. For property owners this means, it’s fall maintenance time.

 

Which maintenance items do you focus on for the fall?

 

We’ll walk you through all 13 of them.

Before you start tackling projects, it’s easiest to break them into exterior and interior tasks from the top to the bottom of your building.

 

Clean out the gutters and downspouts

Having dried leaves and seeds from trees clog your gutters and downspouts can spell disaster. Water sitting in a low area due to improper drainage causes Ice dams and roof leaks. One of the easiest ways to prevent roof repairs is by keeping gutters and downspouts clean.

 

Check out the roof

While you are on the ladder cleaning gutters, take a glance around at the shingles. Are they all securely fastened and in good condition? If not, secure them now before the snow flies to prevent further damage.

 

Seal up window and door frames

As you’re looking at the roof, take a peek at your window and door frames. If any gaps have formed due to settling or improper installation of wrapping or siding now is the perfect time to seal them up. You can find all-weather caulking and insulating foam at all the major home improvement stores.

 

Exterior repairs

Inspect around the exterior foundation for any gaps or cracks small critters could use to move in. If you find you have an issue with pests already call an exterminator. If you’ve caught it in time, seal the cracks and gaps with the proper wire, cloth, Quick create or sealant to ensure against unwanted visitors.

 

 

Landscape repairs

Walk around the property and check for uneven sidewalks and places water could pool and freeze causing safety issues for tenants. Have all railings and porches inspected for loose or rotten wood and repair properly.

 

Landscape clean-up

Mow and rake up all the dead grass and leaves. You’ll want to trim trees and bushes to prevent dead branches from breaking over winter and damaging property. Be sure to clean your mower and store it over the winter for use again in the spring.

 

Autumn is a great time for some deep cleaning and sealing up any weatherization issues.

 

Let’s take a look at the interior of your rental property.

 

Heating system

Turn your furnace on early to make sure everything works. Change out your furnace filters. If there are any issues, bring in an HVAC tech to fix it for you.

Plumbing

Insulate any basement piping that lines outside walls, also turn off the water to outside faucets and be sure to drain all your watering hoses.

 

Chimney and fireplace

Clean out your flue in your chimney before you start having fires in your fireplace. Remove all the ashes and add them to the garden for extra nutrients over the winter.

 

Attic

Seal up any drafts and make sure any vents to the exterior are clean and not blocked. The attic needs to breathe to release humidity from the home.

 

Detectors

Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. If they aren’t working, replace them.

 

Weatherization

Check the weather stripping on doors and windows. They help prevent heat loss during the cold winter months. If you have older windows, now would be a good time to install a piece of plastic over them to help keep heating costs down.

 

Deep cleaning

Fall is a great time to move appliances and furniture and attack any grime or dust lurking there. Just like spring cleaning, fall maintenance allows you to schedule cleaning out the oven or washing down in the inside of the refrigerator if you’ve been putting it off.

 

As a landlord, you may rely on your tenants to handle the interior maintenance and cleanings. You might also hire it out to your management company to handle it for you. Day property management partners with Integrated Property Solutions for all rental maintenance. You can contact Integrated Property Solutions at (920) 968-0626 or fill out their contact form.

What You Need To Know About A 1031 Exchange?

1031 exchanges can be an excellent way to safe guard the real estate wealth you’ve built. What is a 1031 exchange? How can you use it to your advantage as a property owner?

 

A 1031 exchange is a tax-deferred exchange for like-kind property. When it comes to rental property you can use it to sell a property and invest the money in another property without paying capital gain taxes on any profit.

 

There’re some rules you must follow for restrictions on types of property and the timing of the exchange.

 

The understanding of like-kind properties is important. Like-kind refers to the same purpose and usage. For example, if you have a duplex you rent out you can exchange it for any other type of rental property. This includes an apartment, hotel, parking lot, self-storage, single family home and much more. You need to look at the property in terms of use and not necessarily the type.

 

Some properties will not qualify for a 1031 exchange. 

 

According to the tax code, they include

 

-property purchased for resale or “flipping” rather than rental

-your primary residence

 

-personal property not owned by your company

-property outside the U.S

 

Having a better understanding of the types of properties qualifying for an exchange can open up many possibilities for property owners.

 

Timing is the second issue in a 1031 exchange. You don’t need to sell and buy a property simultaneously. You do have some time limits you need to consider. These time limits are not flexible. You can’t ask for an extension.

 

When doing an exchange:

 

You must identify the new property within 45 days of closing on the sale of the original property. You can identify upon to 3 replacement properties. Identification must be in writing, be specific, and be given to an exchange intermediary or facilitator.

 

 

You must close one of the new properties you’ve identified within 180 days of closing on the original property.

 

You must use an exchange intermediary or facilitator for your transactions. They handle all the documents, the transfer of title on each property and sale and purchase funds. Who you choose is as important and what they do for you. They must be a third party. They must not be family or anyone with whom you’ve had a previous business. This includes your banker, attorney, title company, real estate agent or brokers, you’ve worked with in the past.

 

The titling and fund reinvesting process for your new property have more regulations to follow.

 

The title of the new property should be the same as the old property. For example, if the title was in the name of XZY company LLC, the title of the new property should also be in their name. You may run into problems if you are liquidating an old partnership or LLC. Your facilitator can help you through this strategy if you need to liquidate a company.

 

When it comes to reinvesting the money from the old property into the new property, the new property must be of equal or greater value. To keep 100% of the profit tax deferred, you have to make sure any cash or property purchased follows the equal or greater value rule. The IRS has rules about receiving cash and could result in taxes being paid on a new amount received. Speak to your trusted tax advisor for advice if you plan on taking cash from the purchase.

 

With all these rules and regulations, why would anyone want to do a 1031 exchange?

 

There are many advantages to an exchange.

 

Deferring taxes is the largest advantage to a 1031 exchange. If you are a buy and hold owner, this can be an ideal way to upgrade property over time. This can save you money due to less maintenance and management costs. Other tax benefits include a lower depreciation recapture and possible lower tax rates when you do sell.

There are a few disadvantages.

 

The disadvantages are the tight rules and regulations in identifying and purchasing a new property through a 1031 exchange. Capital gain tax is only deferred until you sell the new property. It is a possibility tax rates will increase instead of decrease causing you to pay more in taxes upon final sale.

 

When considering sell and buying rental property through a 1031 exchange, look at all the advantages and disadvantages. Consider how each will affect you and your business. Make the best decision for your goals.

 

For recommendations of 1031 exchange facilitators contact Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 or fill out our contact form.

9 Affordable Upgrades To Your Rental Property

As a property owner, keeping your rental in good condition can help attract better tenants and higher rents. Rental upgrades during turnovers can help.  Here are 9 affordable upgrades that will add value to your rentals.

 

Wood flooring

Keeping your rental flooring looking nice through multiple tenants is hard. Carpeting is easily stained and with pets can take major abuse from claws and teeth. Tile can crack and is not cheap or easy to replace. Wood flooring used to be all there was back in the day. Wood is durable and beautiful. When waxed and sealed regularly or between tenants, can last a lifetime.

 

Updating your kitchen and bathrooms

In a rental, you don’t need to put in luxury items like granite unless it’s a luxury rental.  Nice, affordable improvements will look classy and boost the value.  Consider resurfacing the cabinet doors and resurfacing the counter tops.  This is far less expensive than replacing all the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and counters.  With most resurfacing applications, you can’t tell the difference between quartz and a surface enamel. Cabinets and drawers can come to life with a little paint and new hardware. Adding a back splash to your kitchen walls will also add the rooms appeal and value in the renter’s eyes.

 

Molding on baseboards

Continually replacing flooring can have its toll on baseboards. They scratch and break during tenant turnovers.  Replace any abused baseboards with new pre-painted or pre-sainted baseboards from your local home improvement store. It will add a touch of class to the paint and flooring and show you like the rental to look good.

Spacious closets or built-in storage

Rental property often lacks storage. If you find you have some useless space in a corner or along a wall, consider adding a closet or built-in.  You may even consider enlarging a closet in the bedroom if the area doesn’t work well with other furniture. If possible, add storage to the garage attic or basement with shelving and fencing if you have multiple tenants.  When you look at the budget for repairs, an exterior shed will add value and storage options for your tenants.

 

New paint

Most landlords repaint between tenants. The most popular color is white.  It’s easy to match. It’s easy to grab and brand and repaint. However, white gets dull and boring when used all the time. Consider other colors. Visit new construction homes or parade homes to get ideas about what they are using for color schemes. The tan or warm grey makes the house feel homey and cozy instead of the cold, drabness of white.

 

Updating hardware

We’ve discussed how new handles and pulls can make your kitchen look updated. You should also consider swapping out door handles and other cabinet pulls throughout the house.  Brass finished handles were trendy in 1975. You can find affordable replacements, that fit the era and give an updated look to the home.

Updated lighting

Energy efficiency should be high on your list when considering affordable improvements.  While the upfront costs might be a little higher, they will pay for themselves over time.  New LED lighting and fixtures last longer than incandescent bulbs by 25-80%. Saving you 3 times the energy costs.  Updated lighting also looks nicer than the standard brass fixtures and can add value and class to any room.

 

Technology

While this might be a little more expensive than the rest of the affordable updates listed, tech adds value to your tenants. Tenants can control a smart thermostat from any device and online. If a tenant goes on vacation or is away for a few days, they can easily lower the temperature with their phone or computer. Smart door locks adds built in security. They are re-programmable. Tenants can control them with any device. Of course you can still use a key instead of the code to lock and unlock the door. If you offer internet as an amenity, installing a WiFi router would add value to your tenants.

 

In unit washer and dryer

Visiting a Laundromat to wash and dry clothes is a hassle. If you have the space, consider providing a washer and dryer for your tenants.  It could be coin operated if you think there will be high usage and to help with replacement and repair costs.  Tenants will appreciate being able to clean their clothes at home.

 

When considering upgrades that add value consider items with durability and will last long term. They may have a higher upfront cost but will be worth it over time.

 

Day Property Management can help you decide which improvements would be the best for your rental property.  Give us a call at 920-968-0626

or fill out our contact form.

How To Boost Tenant Retention

It’s August in Wisconsin and it’s hot. Why on earth would you want to worry about keeping tenants through the winter months? However, now is the perfect time to boost tenant retention. Families in Appleton are starting to gear up for the school year. They’re buying supplies, clothes and making their final vacation plans.

 

If you rent to families, you may think they’ll stay indefinitely. Yet, you don’t often think about whether or not they plan on staying come December, but you should. While the weather is nice, you should send a survey to your tenants about a few items which would make their homes more comfortable once the weather cools off.

 

Repairs and Weatherization

 

As a property owner, you want to keep a pulse on the condition of your rental property. It’s best to make any repairs or replacements when your units are turning over. However, after your tenants have been in the home and become adapted to the quirks of the property; it’s a good time to ask about any repair issues that have popped up.

 

You’ll also want to ask about any issues in keeping the home cool during the summer. You may need to weatherize or replace windows or doors before winter.

 

Talk to the tenants about the property. Ask them how they are adapting to their new home. This will show them you care about their well being. From a property management standpoint, you’ll stay on top of any repair issues before they become worse.

 

Setting Up a Lease Renewal Bonus

 

While property management companies try their best to have lease renewals occur during the summer months, that’s not always possible. Tenants have the right to move out any time they want, even if they are held to lease dates. Depending on the lease agreement, tenants may pay for the months the units sit empty. However, you can’t keep them from moving.

 

So why not sweeten the deal?  If you have lease renewals coming up, throw in something extra. If they’ve been tenants for a long time, a free month for a year renewal might make sense. Another idea is you might be able to do a minimal rent decrease for signing a 2-year renewal. Especially if you know they’ll stay longer than a year,  Get creative. You don’t have to give away all your cash flow.  Any form of goodwill will be graciously received by your tenants.

 

Be a Nice Person

 

Happy tenants, stay. Around the holidays consider sending your long term tenants a little holiday cheer. Consider a gift certificate toward groceries to boost tenant retention. A gas card to cover travel expenses or a holiday basket of goodies would be nice. The unexpected token of your holiday spirit will have tenants realizing you really are a good person.

 

With tenant retention you want to focus on ways to keep your tenants happy and your property in good condition.  If you have any concerns about appropriate ways to provide amenities to your tenants at a reasonable cost contact your property management company or Day Property Management to help you with those questions.  Feel free to contact Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 or fill out the contact form.

Should you allow tenants to make changes to rental property?

When you move into a new home, you want to make it your own. The problem is most leases have clauses which explain the changes landlords allow tenants to make to their rental property. These clauses are usually written in legal language.  An example clause would be, “Absolutely no improvements, repairs or changes may be made to the rental property without express written permission from the property owner.”  Most landlords don’t allow tenants to make changes to the rental property. Unless, it’s not permanent.

 

Tenants may have read and agreed to this clause. However, upon moving out landlords often find unauthorized “improvements” made by tenants.

 

Why are landlords wary of tenants making changes to rental property?

 

The largest driving force is property damage. When a tenant makes unauthorized changes they may be creating a safety issue for future tenants. For example say a tenant requested to put up a ceiling fan. This type of improvement involves electricity and construction.

 

Landlords would usually do the installation themselves. Which as the property owner they have the right to do. They can also hire an electrician for professional installation. Safety and liability issues can arise when dealing with wiring. Cutting, stripping and connecting wires and securing the fan to drywall in the ceiling can be dangerous. Property owners aren’t going to take the risk lightly and say “yes” to what seems like a simple request.

Property owners need to consider the risk improvement.  They also need to consider the value and cost to allow tenants to make changes. Painting isn’t only painting.  If the landlord needs to fix the tenants painting project because it is sloppy, the request costs money. Paying for ruined carpet or new woodwork because a tenant isn’t careful is not an improvement. Yet, if a landlord approves a request for professionally installed new flooring, this could be a capital improvement. Tenants also enjoy the new flooring while they live there.  Landlords should consider each request separately. Landlords are running a business. If a tenant makes an improvement which damages the home, there are now extra costs. There could also be potential safety issues to fix. Adding more costs to a clean, functional and safe unit when the tenant first moved in.

 

Which changes do landlords allow?

 

The answer is: whatever the landlord gives you written permission to do.  However, the written permission by the landlord should also explain what will happen if you don’t comply to those terms. If you don’t want to pay a professional to fix a problem, you may want to cancel your project. If painting the room back to the color you had when you moved in doesn’t sound reasonable; you may want to avoid making any permanent changes to the rental property.

 

How to comply with the lease and still personalize the home.

 

If the consequences of permanent improvements are too steep for you, there are small changes you can easily make. Invest in quality decor items such as paintings if you don’t like the wall color. Colorful pillows and blankets can liven up any room. Place decorative rugs over any flooring you don’t like and give you control over the look of your environment. Use your money for personal touches. Items you’ll own and can take with you. They’ll keep the house feeling cozy while you live there.

 

By allowing tenants to make small improvements with written permission, everyone is happy. You’ve personalized the space and your landlord isn’t ready to evict you for painting every room purple. For those who still say no, consider an investment in quality decorations. They’ll express your style and you’ll have them for years to come.

 

If you aren’t sure what your lease allows, you can contact your property management company. You can reach Day Property Management at 920-968-0626 or fill out the contact form with any questions.

Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Properties? 

Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Properties?

These days, more tenants own pets than those who do not. According to the ASPCA, 79% of US households own pets. By not allowing pets in your rental property dramatically reduces your pool of renters. Property owners have had good reasons for not allowing pets.

Pets can cause major damage.

Pets can leave lasting scars on your property. Dogs chew up the carpet, window sills and scratch up doors.  Cats mark their territory, and scratching doors and walls. This behavior causes many landlords to avoid pets in rental property. However, property damage is not the only issues when it comes to avoiding pets. Often owners are away for long periods of time. This can lead to anxious pets and nuisance barking. Nuisance barking can bother other tenants. This can cause them to move due to the constant noise. Other tenants could call in noise complaints to the police which can result in home visits.

 

There are safety risks in allowing pets. Most animals are nice to their owners but they are still animals. Pets can react to unwanted company. If a stranger comes to the home during the day when an owner is not present, they may be aggressive. Not all pets are aggressive when home alone or when a stranger comes to the house. Yet, repairmen make it a point to ask if there is a dog loose on the premises.  You’ll have to crate it up or lock it in a bedroom while they visit.

Often tenants forget to clean up after their pet. Not cleaning up the yard can ruin the grass, cause the yard to smell, and destroy any curb appeal you have at your property.

 

As a property owner, you have insurance on your property. Insurance companies have strict policies toward dog breeds they consider dangerous. This information is due to claims submitted to the company. You’ll need to avoid allowing these pet breeds if you want to keep your insurance policy.

 

How do you make owning pets a positive experience for yourself and your tenants?

A separate pet agreement will keep both parties on the same page. The pet agreement should state all the rules you have regarding pets in your property. Explain the rules in detail and signed separately by the tenants. You’ll want to make it clear that violating the pet agreement could lead to an eviction.

 

Consider charging a pet deposit or a monthly pet fee added to your tenants monthly rental payment. The money can pay for damage caused by the pets during the lease period.

 

Almost all pet owners think of their pets as part of the family. Asking a tenant to part with a pet is like asking them to give away a child. You wouldn’t ask and they wouldn’t comply with your request. Allowing tenants to include pets as a part of their lives will make them happy. As a result, they may rent from you for longer periods of time.

 

As a landlord you can do what you want with your rental properties. All parties need to agree to the same rules.  If you want to allow pets great, if not…great. However, take a good look at the rental pool and consider all possibilities. Renting to tenants with pets can bring in extra rent and result in happier tenants.

 

If you looking for help managing tenants with pets, call 920-968-0626 Day Property Management or fill out our contact form today to discuss how we can help you.

Renting To College Students: Is The Risk Worth The Reward? 

Renting To College Students: Is The Risk Worth The Reward?

 

As a landlord owning rental property in a college town can have advantages and disadvantages. College students may live in the dorms fora year or two but then decide communal living isn’t for them. Young adults ages 18, 19, 20, 21, out on their own, possibly for the first time can raise trust issues for property owners.

 

The main problem students usually run into is they have no rental history. This is a huge red flag for a property owner or property management company. Not knowing if a person is going to pay rent is the biggest risk anyone can take. Yes, it is a variable in any rental situation, but with those new to personal responsibility this can make or break a landlord.

 

However, there are ways around. With a little coaching renting to well screened college students can be the most lucrative business decision you make. Let’s take a look at the issues one by one.

 

No rental history

When a college student fills out the rental application without previous references to speak with regarding renta

 

l history, it doesn’t give a landlord much to show they will pay their rent. The good thing is no rental history is better than having a bad rental history. This can be further cleared up by asking for a parent to co-sign on the students behalf. Yes, legally they can sign court binding paperwork like a residential lease. However, knowing th

eir parents will cover the rent if the students fall behind is a safe guard you will not get any other time as a landlord. Co-signing guarantees payment during the lease period.

 

No job

There are college students who are at school on scholarships, have student aid paying for housing or family helping them and they don’t have a job. After all, college is a place to focus on their higher education. Worrying about earning money to pay the bills is not a main focus for some. But as a landlord, no job usually means no rental payments. Again, you need to look at the larger picture. Renting to college students is a unique niche. If a student has a way to cover rent in advance, as with financial aid or a way to guarantee rent payment, as with a parent co-signing their lease being unemployed should not stop you from renting to them.

 

Parties

Yes, college can be synonymous with partying too much. This is a stereotype that’s not always accurate. Older tenants who have rented many places can have worse parties causing thousands of dollars in damage without thinking about it. Many first-time renters are afraid of getting on a landlords “bad side”. Partying or doing anything to possibly break their lease is enough to keep any gathering to a dull roar. Most gatherings doesn’t involve damage or a police presence if done correctly. When you go through the lease with a new renter be sure to point out policies and explain lease violations. You’ll find most young renters will most likely be your best tenants.

 

Vacancies

Renting to college students can be more cyclical than regular rentals. You will have your rental full during the winter months in Wisconsin.  Which is the worst time for any property owner to have a vacancy, but you may have a vacancy every summer. Compared to year to year renters, who could give notice at any time. College students are more of a captive audience.  They need to attend their full year of classes and moving in the middle of the year on top of school work and a job is too much to worry about.  So they at least stay through their lease period and you often have 10 months of continual rent.

While the amount of damage left behind can be questionable, most young adults are not flush with cash. They need their security deposits back to be able to pay rent at a new building if they move. Landlords will often find the rental property cleaner than when they rented it out originally. The student’s parents may also help in this situation if they cosigned the lease.  They don’t want to pay for damages caused by their students and often help them clean when they move out.

 

Proper tenant screening can keep irresponsible tenants out of your properties.  However, with college students you can safeguard your investment with a little extra security like co-signers and thorough explanation of the lease agreement. Often you’ll have your rental occupied for 10 months out of the year and a quick turn around due to the good condition the units are left in. Some students decide to stay in the same rental their entire college term. If you’re lucky that could mean a continual 4 years.  As with any rental, if you keep your units in good repair, clean and functional you’ll have happy tenants. By keeping your college rental in good condition, you could have 4 years of guaranteed cash flow.

 

To see how we can help you maximize your rental property, give Day Property Management https://www.daypropertymanagement.com a call at 920-968-0626 or fill out our contact form https://www.daypropertymanagement.com/contact for more information.