Fort Worth Rental Property Management Helps You Comply with Landlord/Tenant Discrimination Laws

Our society is more aware than ever before of everyone around us and their civil rights. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was established to protect all citizens from being discriminated against for reasons such as race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or familial status when trying to rent or buy housing. Fair housing rules are important to know when you are deciding whether or not to accept a tenant application. These rules have created more opportunities for more people, but have also required that everyone be more aware and careful in the way they speak and run their businesses. Don’t take the risk of rejecting someone only to find out that you’ve unknowingly discriminated against them. In order to steer clear of uncomfortable legal situations, educate yourself on landlord/tenant discrimination legislation in Fort Worth. Rental property management companies like Specialized Property Management are a great way to ensure that you aren’t making any costly mistakes and can handle marketing, tenant screening, and more to ensure that everything is done in the correct way. To get a head start, begin by reading the laws and special situations listed below and making sure that you are in compliance with those. 

Marketing

Marketing your rental home property will help attract good tenants, especially if you market in the right way. Be careful not to market to one specific group of people. When you say that your property is ideal for families, senior citizens and single people may feel like they can’t live there. It’s better for you and the community if you encourage all types of people in all stages of life to live in your rental property. This will help create diversity and the feeling that no one is getting left out. Diversity is encouraged and appreciated all over the city of Fort Worth. Property management services will help you market your rental property in a way that is inclusive, without attracting tenants that are irresponsible or unreliable. The following checklist from MetroTex can help you determine if you are in compliance with marketing regulations when posting an online ad. 

  1. Does the ad contain any misleading statements, or does it tend to create a misleading impression in any manner? It is prudent for someone who did not design the ad to scrutinize it for any potentially misleading statements. Keep in mind that the standard is not whether a statement is true, but whether the advertisement “tends to create a misleading impression.”
  2. Does the ad contain the name of the real estate firm or broker? It should. 
  3. Does the person causing the ad to be published have proper authority to publish or submit the advertisement? 
  4. Is the price quoted the price agreed upon by the owner? 
  5. Does the ad inadvertently imply a limitation or preference to a protected class that could potentially violate fair housing laws? 
  6. Is the specific information relayed in the advertisement accurate?

Tenant Selection

Using a Fort Worth rental property management company is very important when selecting tenants. Once you’ve got a good amount of interest in your property, you have the opportunity to begin the screening process. You have the right to ask tenants about their rental history in order to see how they will treat your property and how seriously they will take their tenant responsibilities. Talk to former and current landlords about if the tenant paid rent on time, gave proper notice, or violated any lease terms. Use a written or online application that collects the information you need such as names, contact information, social security numbers, current and past addresses, employment information, and landlord references. 

The entire screening process can be lengthy and time consuming. If you use Specialized Fort Worth Rental Property Management company, you will save so much time and worry by letting them handle the screening process and do so without risking discrimination. When you ask about tenant’s background, you have to be careful not to mention any questions that could be related to race or disabilities. Things you can ask about are financial history, sex offender charges, and criminal records. In order to gauge how reliable a tenant is, you are able to ask questions about past and current employment as well as check their credit score. You may also ask why they’re moving and how many people and pets will live in the residence. 

Service Animal Compliance

Speaking of pets, service animals must be allowed, whether your rental property allows pets or not. Since they are required in some medical situations, service animals cannot be denied under any circumstances, including breed or size. In addition, someone who needs a service animal cannot be rejected because that would also be considered discrimination. Be careful to not make any slips that would make you appear non-compliant. Saying that your rental property does not allow pets, and that there are no exceptions, could put you at risk for being non-compliant when the exception is that service animals are allowed. Specialized Fort Worth’s property management services are aware of all the special needs that go along with disabilities and service animals. They will be able to inform you of what to say and what not to say when meeting someone with a service animal. For example, your potential tenant must provide proof that they need a service animal, but don’t have to explain why. 

LGBT Compliance

The state of Texas doesn’t have any current ruling for LGBT housing issues. The more people talk about these issues, the sooner there will be changes in laws in order to protect the housing rights of people who identify as LGBT. In the meantime, property owners should be aware of how they are advertising their property, be honest about available units, ask questions that aren’t discriminatory on lease applications, and avoid tenant screenings for things other than what is allowed by state regulations. If you were to suggest that you had no vacancies when you actually did, it could be grounds for a real estate agent to lose their license and the denied tenants would have grounds to file a complaint with the real estate licensing board. No matter what your personal beliefs are, it’s important to think of your rental property as a business, separate from religious or emotional views. Like anything else, there are some exceptions to Fair Housing laws, but you would have to have years of experience and knowledge to be able to identify which exemptions applied to you. That’s why employing the help of Fort Worth property management services can help you avoid costly fines from unwittingly going against current or future regulations that have the potential to change all the time. 

Disability and Reasonable Accommodation

The definition of a disability is a mental or physical condition that substantially limits that person’s ability to participate in major life activities that are important to daily life. Disabilities are not always identifiable just by looking at someone. That’s why it’s important to be careful when first meeting potential tenants and putting them through the screening process. Be careful not to say or do anything that may be discriminating, regardless of whether they have an apparent disability or not. Conditions like heart disease, epilepsy, or even anxiety, may not be obvious when meeting someone, but may require special requirements or service animals. Fort Worth rental property management knows that reasonable accommodations for someone’s disability are required by law. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has laid out what it means to provide reasonable accommodations to these tenants. Some examples may include changes to parking policies, rent collection procedures, or the allowance of service animals. In order to not be discriminatory, it’s important to wait for a reasonable request to be made, rather than offering it and assuming that someone has a disability or the need for a special accommodation when they don’t. 

Fair Housing Laws

No one wants to be discriminated against, and no one wants to discriminate. Most non-compliance happens because property owners aren’t aware of all the laws and regulations that exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Violating the Fair Housing Act comes at a cost, whether in the form of hefty fines or losing one’s real estate license in Fort Worth. Property management services can be the difference of hundreds of dollars for you, if you allow them to be the authorities on what laws are out there and how you can avoid breaking them. Specialized Property Management is required to stay up to date on past, current, and changing Fair Housing laws, protecting you from making mistakes that could result in hefty penalties and fines. Partnering with a professional property management company like Specialized Property Management will give you access to correct legal counsel, providing you with peace of mind knowing that you are always complying with the laws and not discriminating against anyone. As the leader of Texas property management companies, Specialized Property Management keeps you compliant with all federal and local laws and regulations. Contact us today!

Top Mistakes Fort Worth Landlords Must Avoid

Making mistakes with your rental property is easier than you think.

Many new landlords and even experienced investors think managing a property is as easy as finding a tenant and collecting rent. But, owning and operating a rental property is a bit more complex than that, and a lot of expensive mistakes can be made. If you want to have a good experience with your Fort Worth rental property, make sure you can avoid these common errors. Read more

How Arlington Property Managers Help Landlords Avoid Mistakes

Many landlords think self-managing will save them money. But is that true? The complexities that come with Arlington residential property management are not always obvious to first-time landlords. Knowing all the housing regulations, HOA rules, and laws surrounding rental properties takes time and experience. If you make a small mistake that could mean a big fine. Below we have listed the top five mistakes landlords make so you can be aware and try to avoid them!

  • Landlord Mistake 1: Too Many Vacancy Days. Vacancy days can be one of the biggest costs to property owners. Each day your property sits empty you lose money. Inexperienced landlords often try to cut costs by doing things like shutting off utilities or putting off needed repairs, but this tactic only leads to more vacancy days.  The professional Arlington residential property management team at Specialized Property Management Fort Worth can help you avoid these losses.
  • Landlord Mistake 2: Placing Under-Qualified Tenants. Often landlords don’t know or don’t care to thoroughly screen each applicant as an Arlington residential property management would. Checking an applicant’s background, credit, and rental history means you will have a better picture of their ability to take care of your home and pay the rent.
  • Landlord Mistake 3: Poor Tenant Communication. One reason tenants look to move at the end of their lease is poor communication with their landlord. Tenant turnover is expensive and time-consuming so responding quickly and respectfully to tenant requests is important. Many landlords find that Arlington property managers are a great help when trying to communicate with tenants.
  • Landlord Mistake 4: Overlooking Maintenance Needs. Failing to maintain your home’s systems, like the air conditioning, will give them a shorter lifespan. When you overlook or put off needed maintenance, you could end up paying more in the form of a replacement system.
  • Landlord Mistake 5: Regulatory Violations. Do you know all the federal housing regulations, local laws for landlords, and HOA rules that apply to your rental property? It is the job of Arlington property managers to stay on top of these ever-changing regulations, so you don’t get stuck with a costly fine.

Arlington Residential Property Management Works For You

Professional property managers work for you to make sure your property is running smoothly and efficiently. With years of experience under our belts, the Arlington property managers at Specialized Property Management Fort Worth has the knowledge and skills to make sure your investment is a success. To schedule your free rental consultation call Specialized Property Management Fort Worth today!

7 Things You Should Never Do in Rental Property Management Fort Worth TX

Being a landlord is about more than putting a “For Rent” sign in your yard and collecting rent checks. Owning rental property is a full-time job and not treating it that way can put your investment at risk. Making sure your rental home and your tenants are safe and happy should be a priority. This list of “Landlord Don’ts” are just a few of the things to remember if you want to be a proactive landlord.

Don’t Do These Things

    1. Don’t forget about housing laws. Breaking a housing law can land you in serious legal trouble.
    2. Don’t put off maintenance. Keep your home and tenants happy and safe.
    3. Don’t get emotional about your property. Your rental property is a business; you should treat it exactly like one.
    4. Don’t try to self-manage. With professional rental property management, Fort Worth TX landlords avoid costly mistakes and get a better return on their investment.
    5. Don’t be disrespectful to your tenants. Keep open and respectful communication to reduce turnover.
    6. Don’t ignore housing regulations. Stay up to date with all the regulations to avoid costly fines.
    7. Don’t forget to set aside money each month for repairs. Every property needs regular repairs, make sure you budget accordingly.

Professional Rental Property Management Fort Worth TX Helps Landlords

Many first time landlords don’t realize the complexities of managing a rental property. This list of don’ts is only the beginning of things you must remember if you want to make a good return on your investment. Managing rental property is a full-time job even when things are going smoothly. The professionals at Specialized Property Management Fort Worth have the experience you can count on to make your investment a success, so you don’t have to worry about anything. To learn more about our services and schedule a consultation give Specialized Property Management Fort Worth a call today.

How Property Managers In Fort Worth Reduce Costly Mistakes

As one of the top Fort Worth residential property management companies, Specialized helps homeowners reduce costly mistakes that befall many inexperienced landlords. We do this in part because we are familiar with the the most common property management mistakes. We want you to be aware of these mistakes that cost many new landlords time, money, and could end up being the end of their rental investment.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying and Setting Up Your Property

  • Poor rental property selection – location, type, and age of the home are all factors in a good rental property.
  • Showing the home too early – potential tenants are put off by the weird sights and smells of an old tenant or a construction zone.
  • Long vacancies – the longer the home is vacant the more money you lose!
  • Lax tenant qualifications – credit and rental history are a MUST for every tenant you screen.

Mistakes to Avoid After Tenants Have Moved In

  • Unpleasant landlord/tenant interactions – unpleasant interactions lead to vacancies. Property managers in Fort Worth are a good go-between so that interactions never become tense between landlords and their tenants.
  • Not keeping up with needed maintenance – regular maintenance is a must for the health and happiness of your tenants and your property!
  • Inadequate rent collection – always be clear and communicative on rent collection processes with your tenants.
  • Regulatory violations – stay current on all regulatory matters to avoid risk.
  • Not keeping up with inspections – inspect and evaluate your property regularly. Setting a schedule for these inspections can be helpful.
  • Not being proactive with maintenance – spending less now may mean spending more later when you have to replace or do a major repair on your home. Property managers in Fort Worth recommend proactive maintenance.

General Mistakes Landlords Make

  • Poor cash flow – be realistic about your cash flow and remember to budget for maintenance issues.
  • Hiring unqualified management – slip ups, mistakes, and overlooked inspections can cost you much more than you are saving by going with a “discount” property management company.

Choose the Fort Worth residential property management company trusted by landlords for almost 30 years. Call Specialized today for more information about our services!

Fort Worth Property Managers Explain Why You Need Realistic Financial Expectations

Owning rental property is a smart investment, but is not for everyone. Unfortunately a lot of landlords get in the game without enough knowledge or capital to keep their new business venture afloat. Even worse, they’ve decided to try and save money by self managing instead of hiring an experienced property management company. Fort Worth landlords should be aware of the potential pitfalls and cash flow problems they may encounter before deciding to invest in real estate. The property management experts at Specialized can help you set realistic expectations so you’re not caught off guard when your rental property hits a bump.

Money Flowing In, Money Flowing Out

Being a landlord obviously isn’t as simple as cashing rent checks. Regular maintenance and planning for emergencies will set you back at least 10% of the monthly rent on your home, and sometimes that number is higher.  If you plan on “breaking even” after you pay fees, your mortgage, and whatever else is due each month you need to reconsider your financial situation. Money may be flowing in from rent checks, but make sure you factor how much will be flowing out so you don’t find yourself underwater. Your Fort Worth property managers can help you determine how much to set aside for maintenance, vacancies, and profit.

Professional Fort Worth Property Managers Will Save You Money

Self management may sound appealing, but most landlords don’t realize they end up losing money when they self manage. Unless you are a professional property manager with years of experience and nothing else vying for your time, it is easy to either let things fall through the cracks or simply be unaware of costly rental pitfalls. Code violations, longer vacancies, and poorly selected tenants are just a few of the common mistakes you can avoid by hiring a property management company. Fort Worth landlords have trusted Specialized for almost 30 years because we know how to make your rental property into a success. We can help you set realistic expectations, so give us a call today!

How to Avoid Common Property Management Mistakes

Many investors assume owning rental property will be an easy, relatively hands-off investment. They don’t realize the complexity and risks associated with owning a rental home. That’s why Specialized, the property management Fort Worth owners have trusted for over 30 years, have put together this list of common property mistakes you can avoid.

AVOID THESE MISTAKES

Why should you hire property managers? Fort Worth landlords know that these mistakes can be costly and hire experienced, professional property managers to help them and protect their investment.

  1. When You Are Getting Your Property Rented: too many vacancy days, poor property selection, bad marketing strategy, and inadequate property preparation all lead to your losing money as a rental property owner.  Specialized Fort Worth will help you choose and prepare a property so that it won’t sit with an unwanted vacancy.
  2. Your Tenant Interactions: Lax tenant qualifications, negative interactions, high turnover, and inadequate rent processes contribute to a bad relationship with your tenants. Poor tenant relationships will not only give you a bad reputation as a property owner but also mean tenants aren’t likely to stay once their lease is up. Your Specialized Team will handle all the tenant interactions and make sure a qualified tenant is always occupying your property.
  3. Property Owner Issues: Violations, neglecting inspections, insufficient maintenance, and cash flow problems are all behind the scenes issues that many property owners don’t think about when they first purchase an investment property. When you hire the property management Fort Worth landlords trust, you know these issues will all be taken care of by experienced professionals. You can rest easy knowing your property and your tenants are being cared for by the industry leading management team.

SPECIALIZED Specialized: PROPERTY MANAGERS FORT WORTH LANDLORDS TRUST

Avoid these common rental property mistakes by hiring the right property management. Fort Worth landlords have trusted Specialized for over 30 years because they know we take care of everything concerning your rental home so you can sit back and relax. Specialized is the partner you need to improve the cash flow, efficiency, and stability of your investment properties. Call us today to learn more about our property management services.

3 Legal Mistakes Landlords Need to Avoid

Aledo property management companiesWhen working with people, their stuff, and real estate, you know that you will have plenty of legal things to consider. Mistakes can be costly and even cause you to lose your rental investment options. So proper management and understanding the law is more than important for Aledo property management companies. Here are 3 legal mistakes landlords should avoid.

1)  Never Refuse Repairs

A landlord has a legal obligation to provide a rental unit that is fit to live in. That usually means having utilities in good working order like heat, electricity, and clean water. States have laws of “implied warranty of habitability” for rentals to make sure that they are livable places. Roofs and windows are also needed to be kept safe and adequate. Leases and rental agreements can state who is allowed to make repairs, but ultimately the landlord is required to maintain the upkeep of a property. Refusing to make necessary repairs could lead to a lawsuit against the property owner.

2) Poor Tenant Screening practices

With careful property management, Aledo TX landlords will screen potential tenants. That’s a good idea. But choose your questions carefully. With the Federal Fair Housing Act, questions and screening processes cannot in any way be discriminatory. You cannot deny rental to someone based on race, religion, national origin, color, gender, disability, or family status. You can use standard screening tools such as credit checks, rental histories, criminal background checks, and even terrorist checks. Recognize the difference between discrimination and good business practices.

3)  Don’t Forget the right to Privacy

As much as Aledo property management companies and property owners feel they have a right to access to their rental property, once a tenant has signed a lease and the keys are handed over, that tenant has a legal right to privacy. A tenant should have at least 24 hour written notice that their home will need to be entered. Notice can be given about possible repairs or inspections that need to be done. Of course emergencies don’t require notice, but always try to be respectful to the tenant.
With conscientious landlords and property management, Aledo TX is a great place to rent a home.