For landlords, even a simple mistake can lead to financial loss and liability. If you’re not working with a professional property management company in Chattanooga, you need to be aware of the laws, regulations, and requirements associated with your rental property. Professional managers make a point of avoiding these mistakes, and to succeed as a landlord, you need to avoid them as well.
Overpricing a Property
You cannot price your property based on what you hope to earn or what you need to cover your mortgage and expenses. The local rental market will drive your price, and you must be careful about pricing it correctly and competitively. If you price your home too high, it will remain vacant for longer. That’s going to cost you a lot more money than a lower rental price. Conduct a review of what properties similar to yours are renting for, and decide on a price based on those comparables as well as the property location, size, and condition.
Not Screening Tenants
Tenant screening is critical, and too many landlords make the mistake of not screening their tenants at all or not screening them thoroughly. You need to collect as much information as you can about the people moving into your property, and you need to verify everything that they tell you about their rental history, employment, and income. Don’t make the mistake of violating fair housing laws while you’re screening, and be sure that your process is consistent for every applicant.
Not Conducting a Move-In Inspection
An accurate and detailed move-in inspection is important for documenting the condition of your property before you hand it over to a tenant. Your move-in inspection should include descriptions and pictures of everything. If a tenant moves out a year or several years later and you try to charge the security deposit for damage, you’ll need to be able to prove that the damage wasn’t there at the beginning of the tenancy.
Not Responding to Maintenance
Maintenance needs to be managed quickly and completely for a couple of important reasons. First, it preserves the condition and value of your property. Second, it keeps your tenants happy. One of the most common reasons that tenants leave a rental property is a lack of maintenance response. Respond quickly to emergencies and create a preventative maintenance plan so you aren’t blindsided by expensive repairs and replacements.
Mishandling a Security Deposit
According to Tennessee law, a security deposit must be returned to a tenant within 30 days of that tenant moving out. If there are charges to the security deposit, you must document them and provide your tenants with an accounting. You don’t want to make a mistake with the security deposit because it can result in a lawsuit from your tenants.
These are the top five mistakes that cost landlords most of their time and money, and there are many more mistakes that are easy to make. If you need any help avoiding these errors, please contact us at Chattanooga Property Management.