As everyone knows, time flies. It’s easy to put off things that need to be done until next week, next month, or next year. However, for property owners, there are several things that should be done annually, no matter what.
When an annual lease expires, most state laws say the default result is a month-to-month lease. In order to keep your properties occupied, you should make sure all your leases are renewed for an entire year. This will also help property owners make better long-range plans by opening the discussion with tenants and forcing them to make definitive decisions.
It’s easy to assume that just because you have insurance and set renters rates, you don’t need to worry about that anymore. However, insurance companies frequently adjust rates and programs, and checking to make sure your rates are comparable to other companies’ offerings is a good idea. Take a close look at any coverage changes as well. Be sure that what you are charging for rent is still commensurate with what the local market is asking.
When tenants decide to change the locks, they often forget to tell the property owners and managers and to provide a new key. It’s important for you to be able to access the property in order to handle repairs or to access the unit once the property is vacated. Check once a year that the locks and keys are still in working order.
It’s easy to lose track of your renters if phone numbers or e-mail addresses change over time. Double check that all your contact information is current annually and you won’t have to scramble around when you actually need to touch base with your tenants.
Let’s face it. Many tenants rent because they don’t want to be bothered with regular home owners’ chores like changing furnace filters, fixing leaky faucets or changing smoke detector batteries. Although most tenants will call for major problems or repairs like a broken appliance, many will tend to ignore those small maintenance items around a property. The problem is that those maintenance items end up costing you money. Leaky faucets and running toilets increase your water bill and dirty furnace filters can run up your heating and cooling costs. Making sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order with fresh batteries is an important safety consideration.
What autumn arrives and trees start dropping their leaves around your property, be sure to take the time to clean out your gutters so that water is properly routed away from the foundation of your property. That will help you avoid major water damage problems down the road.
By being faithful to an annual checklist of things to do with your rental properties, you can keep your property safe and maintained and your tenants happy and settled.