Three Legal Stories That May Keep You Up Tonight

property management Denton

Three Legal Stories That May Keep You Up Tonight

Innocent Landlord Mistakes to Avoid

Here’s a Specialized story of three landlords who oversaw their own Denton property management. Can you identify the legal issues in each?

Legal Scenarios

    1. Sam rented for years, so he thought he knew all about property management. Denton landlords who knew him would often come to him for advice. He had a no-pet policy for his rental units, but when a tenant showed up with a service dog, he knew he had to permit the dog on the premises. So he charged a small cleaning fee and asked the tenant to sign an agreement to pay for damages.
    2. Theresia received a call one night from her tenants who were concerned about mold in the laundry room. She told them she would get right on it but had a big presentation at work the next day and promptly forgot. Three weeks later she called a certified mold specialist company and scheduled an appointment, but they were booking two weeks out. Five weeks later, they investigated and discovered black bold. A serious health concern.
    3. Erik worked as a manager of a manufacturing company in town, so he knew a few handymen and mechanics. When something went wrong at his rental, he would ask one of them to take a look at it and repair it if possible. They were happy for the side jobs, and the work got done quickly. He was proud to be saving money on property management. Denton tenants who rented from him were happy too since the work got done.

Answer Key

    1. Sam did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A landlord cannot restrict or charge for service animals.
    2. Theresia failed to comply with habitability laws, including failure to urgently and effectively attend to any safety, mold, or structural/foundational issues.
    3. Erik hired unlicensed or improperly licensed maintenance company or individuals to handle repairs.

Make sure your Denton property management story does not end up in court. Specialized can help you avoid these and dozens of other common legal mistakes landlords make unknowingly. Ignorance will not impress a judge. Documentation from your property management company with legal experts who understand the field, laws, codes, and ordinances will, however. Call today Specialized today to learn more or visit www.specializedrpm.com  to read about other common legal mistakes we can protect you from.

All There Is To Know About Arlington Property Management

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All There Is To Know About Arlington Property Management

If all property managers in Fort Worth had to do was collect rent and handle maintenance, we would probably be bored, to be honest. Instead, we are daily challenged and sometimes even entertained by the complexities of this business and how little others seem to understand them. Property management is a specialized area of real estate with a unique set of landlord liabilities.

Beyond the requirement to use contractors that are properly licensed and insured, landlords or their representative property managers in Fort Worth are also responsible for ensuring anyone who works on the property is trained on Texas Property Code as well as City Code Compliance. Other areas of legal consideration including:

  • Federal Housing Laws: The Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on many factors, including race, religion, national origin, familial status, disability, and sex.
  • Marketing Homes for Lease: Advertisements should describe the property’s amenities and features, rather than characteristics of the preferred tenant. This avoids giving prospective tenants the impression that you prefer, or will not permit, a certain type of person.
  • Tenant Screening: Avoid even the impression of Arlington property management discrimination. Have written, objective policies: This makes it easy for everyone to understand why you did or did not choose someone as a tenant. You may need to explain your decisions in court, and having documents showing that you treat every potential tenant the same way is helpful.

Managing rentals requires a Landlord, or his/her professional Arlington property management to be an expert in these and at least a dozen more areas. You won’t get anywhere pleading ignorance in the courts. Partner with Specialized to protect yourself, your property, and your profits from legal entanglements. We’ll keep you free of them in the first place because we truly do know all there is to know about property management in our local area.

Most Don’t Cover Actual Costs in the Short Term

Fort Worth residential property management

The Reality of Rental Rates: Most Don’t Cover Actual Costs in the Short Term

There are two sides to every coin. In Fort Worth residential property management, it’s typically a monthly negative cash flow but positive long-term tax strategy and equity investment. So, if you who haven’t yet realized the financial benefits of your investment and must come up with out of pocket cash each month to cover the difference in income and expenses, don’t worry. You’re among the majority who are waiting and preparing for the real benefit of rental investments. If you properly care for and maintain your property, ideally with the help of a Fort Worth property management company, you will realize the real benefit in time. Now, it’s enough to understand the correlation between these two concepts.

Negative Cash Flow

If your rental property is in good shape, even one of the nicest in the neighborhood, it still may not bring a higher rent rate than others due to competitive nature of rentals. Tenants often have a lot of choices, which forces many owners to reduce the monthly rates. Equally influential, however, is that the real estate market is indifferent to your expenses such as principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.

Positive Long-Term Tax Strategy and Equity Investment

Owners can use rental property as a tax strategy each year as all expenses for maintenance, upkeep, insurance, and improvements are tax deductible. Also, the change in value or depreciation based upon the original price purchase of the home is considered a loss or deduction when you file your taxes. Secondly, when you do sell the property, if it has gone up in value and if you have paid down the mortgage then you will earn more equity in the end.

As you hold both sides of the rental investment coin in your hands, remember that your property is an asset, but you must keep it that way. In this competitive market, renters want a property that is well cared for, clean, safe, and maintained with responsive management. You can provide this with a professional Fort Worth property management company such as Specialized. This will ensure your monthly rent, although it may come up short of your expenses, is consistent. Secondly, caring for your property now is your best chance at maintaining and hopefully increasing its value over time. Fort Worth residential property management is not easy, but it’s worth it in the end. Discuss your short- and long-term plan today with an expert at Specialized. We will make sure the coin eventually flips in your favor.

Texas Courts Will Not Let you off Easy

Fort Worth property management company

Landlords Beware: Texas Courts Will Not Let you off Easy

After three decades offering the best of Ft. Worth property management, Specialized has seen it all – including landlords taken to court for not taking fast enough or the correct action on health and safety issues with their properties. The plea of “I didn’t know” never sits well with the judges, yet this continues to be one of the biggest myths of rental property management. Here are three truths to replace it.

  • The Truth to Handling Maintenance Requests

Handling tenant maintenance requests is far more important than simply answering their calls and sending reputable companies over to make the repairs only when funds allow. Texas courts are plagued with Ft. Worth property management litigation between tenants and landlords regarding maintenance issues gone awry.

  • The Truth About Zero Tolerance in the Courts

If landlords do not follow the specific laws about the process of communication with the tenant and take the right steps to ensure those working on the property have proper licensing and insurance, then tenants have a case to take landlords to courts, which favor error by landlords with zero tolerance.

  • The Truth of About Protecting Yourself

Partnering with a well-qualified Fort Worth property management company to protect yourself is always a financially sound idea, but not all property management companies are created equal. They are as different as their names. So the services they offer differ as well. Compare experience, team size, and specialties, and number of services – not just monthly fees.

Legal compliance mandated by Texas Property Code, local city ordinances, and Federal Landlord Laws is very stringent, which is why landlords need a knowledgeable Fort Worth property management company such as Specialized that dedicates considerable time and effort to staying current with requirements. Our in-house legal support is one of our specialties. Call today to learn how we face the facts on your behalf.

There is More than one Way to Manage a Rental Property

Fort Worth rental property management

Myth Buster: There is More than one Way to Manage a Rental Property

Myths abound in the Fort Worth rental property management industry. Two we would like to stop in their tracks are that property management is simple and that anyone can do it.

TRUTH #1: Property Management is Complicated

We wish it were simple, but the fact is that most homes stay on the market for 52 days or longer before rented. We cut vacancies down to 30 days or less because we do extensive background checks and debt-to-income ratio analysis on applicants, so you get the most qualified tenant possible. We do a full property assessment and market the home on more than 90+ sites including MLS. We also manage all property showings, lease signings, and collection of funds. It’s a full-time job. So if you already have one, consider hiring the experts at Specialized.

TRUTH #2:  Every Property Management Company is Different

Not all Fort Worth rental property management companies offer the same services, so if you look at just cost and go with the cheapest, you may be losing money in the long-run with poor service and protection. You truly do get what you pay for with property management services. Most companies hire a handful of individuals and ask them to cover a wide variety of tasks including marketing, leasing, maintenance, evictions, accounting, inspections, and legal compliance. Just ask yourself. Could you be an expert at all of these simultaneously? It’s not likely that they can either.

The fact is that you need professionals for your rental property management. Fort Worth homeowners who hire Specialized after working with another property management company immediately see the difference. We utilize a team of specialists, each of whom completes 1 or 2 tasks for your home, so you receive the best possible outcome in every situation. This is a complicated business, but after three decades of it, we have learned a lot. Call today to put our experience and professional expertise to work for you.

Is an Eviction Protection Plan Right For You?

property managers Fort Worth

Evictions Q&A

Is an Eviction Protection Plan Right For You?

You need some offensive linemen on your team. As in any business, things do not always go as planned with property management. Fort Worth homeowners who rent out their property understand the risk involved. If tenants fail to follow the terms in the rental agreement such as breaking noise ordinances, disregarding pet or long-term visitor policies, or missing rental payments one too many times, then it’s time to ask them to leave. This is when you get hit with a time-consuming and costly evictions process.

How Much do Evictions Cost?

Adding up all the potential costs such as lost rent, lawyer fees, court filing and administrative fees, Sheriff fees, locksmith payment, repairs or junk removal, and cleaning fees, it may add up to $5,000 per eviction.

Why Should I Plan on Evictions?

While this is something we all hope never happens, the reality is that sometimes it does. Keeping our fingers crossed and looking the other way won’t help. A contingency plan will help, however. Property managers, Fort Worth landlords, and even tenants should all know the rules, costs, and the process should an eviction become necessary.

How Do I Protect Myself from Evictions?

Specialized offers an eviction protection plan. For a small monthly fee, we are the buffer between you and the evictions process while we do the following:

    • Send pay or quit notices
    • Work with attorneys to prepare summons, complaint, and other court documents
    • File the summons/order and pay court fees
    • Serve the tenant through constable and sheriff

We will shield you from evictions, so you can run your business. Specialized understands that evictions are a necessary part of property management. Fort Worth homeowners see a difference in the way we approach the entire rental cycle. We use a thorough screening and rent collection practices to minimize the need to evict a tenant. We also take care of tenant needs with a 24/7 hotline to prevent dissatisfaction. Lastly, we perform routine inspections to ensure contract compliance and catch any issues early when there is still time to correct them.

Specialized reduces your risk of evictions and takes the hit of evictions for you should they become a necessity. Call today to learn more about our eviction protection plan today. It’s like adding a row of lineman to your team.