How to Avoid Costly Regulatory Violations: Take the Legal Risk Quiz

property management Arlington

Avoid Expense and Liability with Strict Compliance

Evaluate your understanding of your legal risk as a landlord – something all Arlington property managers should know – to protect yourself and your investment. Let’s start by matching the following three laws with one of the definitions below:

Legal Risk Matching Game

LAWS

The Fair Housing Act

Habitability Law

Americans with Disabilities Act

DEFINITIONS

A. A requirement that you not discriminate against potential tenants with disabilities, and that you allow the tenants to install adequate access features. You can require them to put the property back to its original condition. Plus you may never restrict or charge for service animals.

B. This requirement prevents landlords from making decisions based upon race, color, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status. States and localities can add additional protected classes, and violations can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

C. This requirement varies from region to region for property management, Arlington included, but essentially requires that your rental property provides a safe, comfortable living environment for tenants. If you neglect the living conditions or your property, respond slowly or ineffectively to needed repairs, or require tenants to pay for them, you may end up with landlord-tenant disputes, lawsuits, or governmental actions.

ANSWER KEY

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. The Fair Housing Act
  3. Habitability Law

In addition to understanding and complying with the laws and regulations – local, state, and federal – the compliance team at Specialized recommends the following 7 action items to avoid litigation, liability, and expense proactively.  

    1. Hire licensed and insured personnel only to do repairs.
    2. Be licensed if you plan to conduct transactions that are only authorized for a real estate agent.
    3. Provide a 24-hour service line for your tenants to use evenings, weekends, and holidays. Respond promptly to their requests.
    4. Document, document, document. Remember actions and communication. This is your best defense in litigation.
    5. Keep tenant information private data confidential, both in what you share personally and in how you store your records. Keep records for as long as your state requires.
    6. Carefully handle and document security deposits and other funds.
    7. Stay current on all federal, state, local, and industry laws, codes and regulations.

As a landlord, it’s imperative to understand the potential landmines of legal risk associated with your investment. Typical lawyer’s’ fees are $250/hour, so a single legal issue could easily wipe out your entire annual profit. That’s why many Arlington property managers trust Specialized to reduce their risk. After 30 years of keeping our eyes wide open and our ears close to the ground, this is one of our specialties.
We would love to explain the legal side of property management, Arlington style, to you in more detail. Call the Specialized compliance team today for a free personalized evaluation of your current and greatest risks. Can you afford not to protect yourself?

Want to Avoid High Tenant Turnover? Ask Yourself Five Questions

Fort Worth residential property management

Want to reduce tenant turnover? Start with this quiz from the Fort Worth property management company, Specialized, with three decades of experience helping landlords like you turn a profit on their rentals.

The single largest expense for a landlord is:

  1. Vacancies
  2. Maintenance surprises
  3. Late payments

A home needing repairs and cleaning will stay vacant longer.

    1. True
    2. False

How much should a landlord budget each year to cover maintenance costs?

    1. Nothing
    2. $5,000
    3. Between 1-2 month’s rent

As a landlord, your customer is:

    1. The mortgage company
    2. Contractors
    3. Your tenants

Despite careful screening, seasoned property owners may see:

    1. Evictions
    2. Criminal activity
    3. Vandalism
    4. Accidents
    5. Lawsuits
    6. All of the above

Answer Key

  1. A. Vacancies are the biggest expense you will incur in Fort Worth residential property management because of everything you do to cover the rent and prepare your unit for new tenants. You lose the rent payment for that month, while you pay for cleaning, minor repairs, rekey services, utilities, lawn care, etc. Instead of money in the bank, it’s money out the door.
  1. A. True. In this market, your unit has to compete for a reliable tenant. Making the home rent-ready will help you attract more and better-qualified tenants. Is your rental a home a place you would want to call home? If so, interested applicants probably will, too.
  1. C. Anticipate and budget for maintenance. It’s inevitable. But how much should you put aside? The national average for maintenance costs on a rental home is one and one-half times the monthly rent. So, if your rent is $1,000 per month, save $1,500 a year for those times when your tenant calls about a leaky faucet. Budget more for older homes, less for newer homes.
  1. C. Your tenants are your customer. Responding promptly to their maintenance requests is the best way to keep them happy and, as a result, wanting to stay longer. When you proactively take care of the home, renters will want to take better care of it themselves. You set the tone for how to treat your investment.
  1. F. All of the above. For most first-time landlords, the property management process seems pretty simple. Before long, however, many experience problem tenants, late payments, collections, maintenance surprises, complaints from neighbors, etc. These unfortunate events are part of the daily business of Fort Worth residential property management, even when everything has been done to avoid them.

Bottom Line, keeping tenants is not easy, but it is worth it. The team at Specialized takes care of the realities of owning a rental property for you, so your vacancies go down, and your return goes up – without the headache. Because of our proven processes and dedicated team, landlords have trusted us as their Fort Worth property management company for over 30 years. Call us today, and we’ll explain how Specialized can do the same for you.

How to Make Your Rental Property a Perfect 10

rental property management Fort Worth

The Rent-Ready Quiz from the Leading Fort Worth Property Management

First impressions count. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t spend so much time worrying about how we look and act on a first date. Tenants searching for their next rental home are equally impressionable. Their first experience with your property will determine their next steps. Will you get a second date? Maybe a signed lease? The more of the following questions that you can answer ‘yes’ to, the more memorable first real estate date you’ll have with prospective tenants.

The Fort Worth Property Management Rent-Ready Quiz

    1. Is your property appealing from the curb? If you were driving by, would you stop to see more or hit the gas? (__Yes __No)
    2. Does your property need maintenance and repairs – including safety and security items as well as cosmetic issues? Think running or leaking plumbing, broken windows, mold, etc.? (__Yes __No)
    3. Did you rekey your property or install a keyless code entry? (__Yes __No)
    4. Are your appliances in working order with new filters? This includes your water heater, AC, and heating system. (__Yes __No)
    5. Do your smoke detectors and other monitors required by law such as carbon monoxide or radon detectors have fresh batteries? (__Yes __No)  
    6. Have you removed personal belongings from everywhere on the property? Including sheds and garages? (__Yes __No)
    7. Are the walls painted a neutral color, not touched up, and with no paint left behind for the renters to use? (__Yes __No)
    8. Are your utilities still on so potential renters may tour the property in light and a comfortable temperature? (__Yes __No)
    9. Has the property and yard been professionally cleaned and maintained? (__Yes __No)  
    10. Did you install a lock box? (__Yes __No)  

Now score yourself. One point for every ‘yes’.

1-5 = Your first impression is lacking. Most tenants are out of your league. Call a Fort Worth property manager professional for a pep talk and some assistance.

6-9 = You’re ready to call the team at Specialized for some fine-tuned advice.

10 = Put up that posting.

Think of your Fort Worth property manager team, Specialized, as your real estate dating experts. If you’re a 10, we’ll keep you there. If you’re anything less, we’ll help you get there. Making your property rent-ready will not only reduce your risk and liability down the road, but it will increase your chances of leasing it more quickly to the most reliable tenant possible. We lease more than 5,000 homes per month. We’ll be your best wing man.

Call us today.