In Fort Worth, “Rent Out My Home” Really Means Communicate

Every property owner dreams of renting out their real estate investments in Fort Worth to tenants that are clean, responsible, and good communicators. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and knowing how to treat your tenants from the start could make the difference between a positive relationship and a negative one. When you tell a tenant in Fort Worth, “rent out my home”, you’re actually telling them much more. Instead of assuming they know, lay out exactly what you mean. If you don’t want to worry about what to do and what not to do, you can hand the tenant relations and communication over to a team of experts like Specialized Property Management. With over 30 years of experience dealing with every tenant situation you can imagine, we know how to promptly and professionally communicate with your tenants to improve your relationship with them and protect your real estate investments in Fort Worth. 

Clear Tenant Communication

From the very beginning, it’s important to set expectations. In Fort Worth, “rent out my home” should also mean take care of my home, call me or my property management company for maintenance issues, and comply with the signed lease agreement. Make sure you both know which method of communication works best for you and the renters, whether it’s email, texting, phone calls, or some combination. Clear communication is key to a happy tenant-landlord relationship. Once both parties know how to communicate, everything else will be much easier moving forward. At Specialized Property Management, we encourage frequent, open communication to create a healthy property owner-tenant relationship. 

Define Consequences

Make sure your tenant reads the lease agreement and understands all of your rules along with their associated consequences. For example, if you don’t want pets living in your real estate investments in Fort Worth, your tenant should know what would happen if they were seen with an unauthorized pet. It’s up to you whether you want to charge a fine, a pet fee each month, or ask them to leave. But it’s also up to you, as a property owner, to make the consequences you choose clear from the start. Specialized Property Management has dealt with noncompliance on many occasions and we can help make sure that the situation doesn’t get emotional or out of hand. We’ll handle everything professionally for you to save you from costly legal fees if things get messy. 

Be Clear About Rent and Keep Rent Rates Fair 

Tenants shouldn’t have any questions about how much rent is and how it is collected each month for your real estate investments in Fort Worth. Make sure they know when rent is due and when it is late, and don’t make any exceptions. Fees should incur in the case of late rent and written notices should be sent if they don’t pay. Eviction is the next step if necessary. Just make sure that you are strict from the start and consistent. One month of making an exception could turn into something you’ll regret for the next six months. If you have a tenant who is responsible and reliable, always paying their rent on time, resist the urge to increase the rent rate. They may be renting from you because they believe rent is fair and you don’t want to risk them leaving and facing months of vacancies. Specialized Property Management will help you set a competitive rent rate in the beginning and inform you of when the market goes up or down and when it’s a good time to increase or decrease your rates. 

Offer Low-Cost Amenities

Making tenants happy isn’t just about clear communication. Another way to foster a good relationship is to provide low-cost amenities. These will help your real estate investments in Fort Worth appeal to more people and sell faster. They’ll also make life easier, safer and more enjoyable for your tenants, making them appreciate you more. Some of the top rental amenities that renters want are below: 

  1. Covered Parking and Garages: In Fort Worth, summer temperatures can be unbearable! Tenants will be looking to rent places with shade, especially for their cars. If you can provide covered parking or a garage, you’ll avoid complaints and problems in the future while helping your property sell faster now. 
  2. A Fenced Yard: Tenants who rent don’t want to feel like they’re in an apartment. A fenced yard provides privacy and helps tenants feel like they have their own home. If they know that they can relax in their backyard or if they have pets, they’ll be much more likely to rent from you if you have a fenced yard available. 
  3. Upgraded Appliances: When you break down the costs of new kitchen appliances, it’s a small sacrifice to make in order to entice more tenants to rent your real estate investments in Fort Worth. They will make your whole property feel updated, make tenants happy, and cause fewer maintenance issues in the future. 
  4. Washer and Dryer in Unit: No one wants to carry their laundry to and from the laundromat when they can just do laundry at home. It’s a major selling point to have a washer and dryer, even if it’s small, available inside your property. 
  5. New Paint: It’s the simple details, like a fresh coat of paint, that give any home a new, clean look and smell. It won’t cost you much in the long run and it could help attract your ideal tenant. 

Respond Quickly to Tenants

One downside of renting for tenants is that they don’t have control over everything that goes on in their home, or your real estate investments in Fort Worth. That’s why, if they don’t get a prompt response from you, the property owner, or your property management team, it can feel very frustrating. They want to feel like their needs are a priority and that their issue will be fixed quickly. In order to have a positive relationship with your tenant, they must do their part, but you also must do yours. Be reliable, or employ Specialized Property Management, who will answer all tenant phone calls and emails 24/7 so you don’t have to always be on call. If you choose to self manage and can’t respond to a tenant in 24 hours, make sure to apologize for the delay to minimize complaints. If you are working on a resolution, keep your tenant updated. Let them know that they are heard and that their issue is being worked on. Inform them again once the issue has been completely resolved. 

Provide a Few Ways to File Complaints

Complaints about your real estate investments in Fort Worth from tenants may be unavoidable, but if they are unhappy with the method of filing a complaint, it will just add insult to injury. Helping them communicate and making sure tenants feel heard is more important than resolving the issue in some instances. Specialized Property Management may implement complaint registries such as these to create a simple and smooth process for tenants: 

  • 24/7 emergency hotline
  • Non-emergency number for business hours
  • Email address
  • Electronic submission form through a website or tenant portal

Respect Tenant Privacy

Always communicate and give plenty of notice to tenants before you show up at their house. At the very least, give them 24 hours notice and send a friendly reminder as the allotted time gets closer. Try your best to never inconvenience your tenants and make them feel like your real estate investment in Fort Worth is truly their private space. 

Give Your Tenants Gifts

Did you know that gifts given to tenants by Fort Worth rental property management companies are tax-deductible? The tax code dictates that if a gift is given for business reasons, the expense deduction is limited to $25 per person, per year. If you give gifts to every person renting from you and you have more than one rental property, these deductions can add up, saving you money and showing appreciation for your tenants. Some ideas of gifts your tenants might like during the holidays are: 

  • Money deducted from next month’s rent
  • Gift cards
  • Gift baskets put together by you, or ordered online, with any theme you choose
  • Appliance upgrades. For example, replacing the washer and dryer if they’re outdated
  • Cleaning services from the local maid service, carpet cleaners, or window washers
  • Holiday light hanging for the holidays
  • Hire a professional to paint a room their choice of color
  • Flowers
  • Baked goods made by yourself or from the local bakery 

Tenant communications can be tough to navigate, but if you follow the above tips closely, you should be able to foster and maintain a healthy, positive, and professional relationship with your renters. You may think that in Fort Worth “rent out my home” means one thing, but unless you communicate what you’re thinking to your tenant, they won’t know. Most tenants are happy to comply as long as you treat them with respect and hold up your rent of the deal. If you’re not sure if you’re up for the consistency and reliability that being a self-managing property owner requires, let Specialized Fort Worth Property Management do it for you. Our team of experts will take care of all the details and make sure that both you and your tenants are happy, possibly making you love your tenants even more! Contact us today to find out more about our services. 

How Fort Worth Property Managers Deal with Untidy Tenants

Dealing with even the most ideal tenants in the world can be time consuming and stressful. Part of owning a rental property is making sure that your tenants are happy and your investment is protected. However, it’s not possible to babysit your tenants every minute of the day to make sure everything is staying clean (even a Fort Worth residential property management company wouldn’t do that), and you can’t expect a professional cleaning level from people with busy lives and families. That’s why we’ve compiled some ideas for you on how to best deal with untidy tenants and improve the landlord-tenant relationship. At Specialized Fort Worth, we have over 30 years of experience and have encountered every kind of situation. We’ll help you look at your property as a business investment and focus on making the most money while helping your property stay clean and your tenants happy.

Set Clear and Realistic Expectations

Most lease agreements are simple-a property owner provides the home and a tenant agrees to pay rent for that home. Added in are the rules and regulations governing that basic agreement. Enlist the help of a Fort Worth property manager to make sure you’ve covered everything you need to for legal protection. Included in those rules should be a clear list of expectations regarding the behavior of the tenant and cleanliness of the property. Some agreements may need to be altered to fit a specific situation or tenant, but with clear communication and respect, property owners and tenants should be able to reach an understood consensus. If either party wishes to terminate a lease agreement for one reason or another, this can be achieved in three basic ways:

  • A Lease Agreement Expires
  • Tenant and Landlord Agree to Terminate the Lease
  • Landlord or Tenant Break Terms of Agreement

Untidy Tenants

Difficult tenants are one thing, but dirty tenants can actually hurt your profits because leasing out dirty or damaged properties is extremely difficult. By using a Fort Worth property manager like Specialized Fort Worth to properly screen your tenants, you have a better chance at avoiding dirty situations all together. However, some tenants that seem responsible and tidy at first, may slack off and leave your property in disarray over time. Property owners aren’t allowed to claim that a tenant is untidy unless they have reason to believe they are violating health or fire codes, or causing damage to the property, other people, or themselves. Some examples of dirty tenant situations that would qualify are: 

  • Hoarders
  • Mold growth
  • Animal feces outside of a litter box
  • Garbage that is over one week old
  • Signs of rodents or roaches
  • Unsafe chemicals in or around the property 
  • Rotten food or dirty dishes that are never cleaned
  • Junk blocking the furnace intake and preventing air circulation

If your property has encountered any of the above, action needs to be taken immediately. This is something that Fort Worth residential property management can take care of for you if you don’t have the time or energy. If you’ve stated cleanliness terms in your lease, you can mandate those terms to your tenant. An example would be having your lease state that the tenant must hire a monthly maid service. If it’s not included in your lease, you can tell tenants to leave at the end of their lease. If they fail to clean when it’s time to leave, hire a cleaning company and deduct the money spent from their security deposit. This should be stated in your lease agreement. 

Teach Them How to Clean

Some tenants are untidy simply because they’ve never been taught how to clean. Picking up could be their definition of cleanliness while yours is deep cleaning the baseboards and the bathtub. Make sure tenants know what you expect by laying it out clearly in the lease agreement and by physically showing them. A Fort Worth property manager has your property’s best interest at heart and will take the time to show tenants what’s expected of them to keep the property looking its best. If you take the opportunity to teach them how to clean in a patient, non-condescending way, you may protect your property and help someone learn a skill they’ll use for the rest of their life. 

Hoarders

If it’s more than just a cleanliness issue and there is stuff piled up throughout the property, your tenant may have a hoarding disorder. Fort Worth residential property management understands that hoarding disorders are real mental disorders that can dangerous conditions. Those affected by this disorder struggle with “extreme anxiety or depression that prevents them from getting rid of anything they have collected in their home.  As a result, they develop an extreme emotional attachment to their belongings and allow them to build up to a dangerous level.  Because hoarding disorder is officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, it is considered a disability. This means that hoarders are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act and landlords must try to reasonably help and accommodate the affected individuals before they can resort to eviction.”

 How to handle a hoarder tenant is a difficult and sensitive question that many property owners face. The first step is to make sure that your lease agreement carefully outlines your expectations for your property and clearly states that clutter cannot build up for health and safety reasons. If you’re not sure how to set expectations while complying with the Fair Housing Act, ask an experienced Fort Worth property manager, like Specialized Fort Worth. 

Helping a Hoarder Tenant

If your tenant needs professional help to clean and restore the home, as well as help from a social worker or psychologist to heal mentally and emotionally, you may be responsible as the property owner. 

  • Talk to them: Discuss with them what they can do to help themselves first. Explain the risks to their safety and health and start with simple tasks like clearing walkways and throwing away garbage. Be patient with them and show compassion. 
  • Make a written plan: Writing out a specific cleaning process can help the tenant. Start with simple tasks and gradually introduce larger ones to clear out clutter. 
  • Involve professionals: Most hoarders don’t think that they have a problem. Hire counseling professionals to help the hoarder face their disorder and receive treatment. Professionals can also provide hoarding clean up services to thoroughly clean and restore the home. Keep track of what you do and the expenses involved. 

If a tenant refuses to comply with the above actions, you may need to turn to eviction. Consult with a lawyer or our legal team at Specialized Fort Worth, Fort Worth’s residential property management company, to make sure that you aren’t breaking your lease contract or legal regulations.

How to Have a Positive Relationship with Tenants 

Fort Worth residential property management companies understand that when tenants and neighbors have a respectful relationship, the whole community benefits. Studies show that neighbors with good relationships make communities safer. Sadly, neighbors disagree sometimes, and so do tenants and property owners. When this happens between you and a tenant or one of your tenants and a neighbor, it can create tension or even disrupt the peace. Fort Worth property managers can reduce tension with tenants and between tenants and their neighbors with the right skills and experience.

  1. Clear Communication— It’s obvious that landlords and tenants need to have good communication. Don’t forget to include the neighbors in the loop, especially if something about your property directly impacts them.
  2. Thorough Tenant Screening Process— Placing quality tenants in your rental is the best way to avoid problems down the road. The best way to find those quality tenants is to screen tenant applications carefully.
  3. Noise Caused by Tenants— Fort Worth residential property management companies will tell you that noise from rentals is the fastest way to create tension with neighbors. Noise policies are explained before a tenant moves in and need to be strictly enforced.
  4. Property Upkeep and Care— Keeping a property looking nice always helps with neighborhood relations. Regular inspections should be conducted by your property management company. Fort Worth HOA communities may also have maintenance policies that need to be followed.
  5. Attentive Management— When Fort Worth residential property management companies proactively take care of tenants and property, neighbors will feel more comfortable about having a rental unit in the neighborhood.

With all the details involved in a landlord-tenant relationship and dealing with untidy or unruly tenants, it’s crucial that property owners seek professional help from Fort Worth property managers. Specialized Property Management in Fort Worth, TX has over 30 years experience working with lease agreements and tenants. With our 98% customer satisfaction rating, you can rest assured that we care about what we do and are committed to keeping owners and tenants happy with their rental experience. Visit our website today and see the difference we can make with your lease options and high quality tenant retention. Avoid mistakes and stay ahead of the property management game by putting our proven processes and expert team to work for you. 

Property Management Companies, Fort Worth Tenants, and Digital Communication

Communication has changed vastly in the past 20 years. Digital communication, whether it is via email, text message, or one of the various apps out there have taken over as the primary way people communicate. What implications does this have for property management companies, Fort Worth property owners, and their tenants? How does digital communication affect your landlord-tenant relationship? Below we explore the ways you can communicate with your tenant in the digital age, and reasons you should be wary of this type of communication.

Ways to Communicate Digitally

Digital communication allows for fast and easy communication and comes in many different forms. Here are just a few:

    • Text Message – The Pew Research Center reports that 92% of US adults own a cell phone, and 68% own a smartphone. This means your tenant will almost certainly have the ability to send and receive text messages.
    • Email – Email can be a great method of communication as it allows you to not only give your tenants pertinent information, but you can send and receive important documents as attachments.
    • Messaging Apps – Apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, and even Snapchat are widely used to message between friends and acquaintances. Using them for property management DFW might not be the best idea though.

How to Use Digital Communication with Tenants

Text messages and email are a fast, easy, and a reliable way to communicate. Before you decide to use these forms of communication, be sure your tenant is ok with it, and they know it is coming. Ask your tenant what their preferred method of communication is–a phone call, text message, or email. Your tenant will be thankful when you make an effort to reach out in a way that works with their needs. Here are a few things you can text or email your tenant about.

    • Rent Payment Reminder: you or your property manager can set up an automatic system that will send a reminder text to your tenant a few days before their rent is due.
    • Scheduled Inspections: regular inspections are recommended by most property management companies. Fort Worth property owners can use text messaging or emails to schedule and remind tenants of these inspections.
    • Maintenance Reminders: certain items around your property, such as air filters, need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Use email to remind your tenant to replace these things, or let them know you will be coming to replace it yourself.
    • Scheduling a Face-To-Face Meeting: let your tenant know you are stopping by the house, or try to schedule a good time to meet via a text message or email.
    • Sending Important Documents: documents, especially ones that need to be signed, used to be sent via fax. Now you can scan and send via email.

Things You Should Always Do in Person

While digital communication is fast and easy, you should not use it for everything related to your property management. DFW property owners should never use digital communication in the following ways.

    • Never send your tenant a Notice to Vacate via electronic means. According to Texas Property Code Section 24.005, a landlord must give their tenant notice in writing either by delivering the notice in person or by regular mail.
    • Do not attempt to change the terms of the lease over text message. Sending an email is acceptable, but face-to-face interaction is preferable to ensure all parties understand the new lease terms.

Not every tenant will use digital communication the same way. If your tenant is not replying to texts or emails, find a method of communication that works for them.

The Benefits Property Management Companies Fort Worth Can Offer

We have all been there at one point or another–we get an email or a text and misread the message or tone. Maybe the sender was sarcastic, maybe the writing was just confusing. Either way, feelings can be hurt when this happens. In property management the stakes are higher, occasionally leading to turnovers and evictions. However, when you hire a property manager, you take the stress and guesswork out of your landlord-tenant relationship. An experienced property manager knows exactly how to communicate professionally with your tenant.

The Specialized Property Management Fort Worth Difference

When shopping for property management companies Fort Worth, property owners should consider the following:

    • Experience: do the property managers have experience managing single-family homes and communicating in person and digitally?
    • Proven Techniques: your property management company should have processes and techniques in place for every type of tenant, including how and when to communicate digitally.
    • Fewer Vacancy Days, Lower Turnover Rate: knowing how to communicate effectively will lead to fewer vacancy days and lower turnover. Your property manager should always be on top of communicating with applicants and tenants.

Specialized Property Management Fort Worth has the experienced property managers you need to run a successful rental property. Call our offices today to set up a free rental consultation.