How to Avoid the Top 10 Property Management Mistakes?
Property management is a job that requires experience in a number of fields and special attention to detail. A skilled management group can step in and handle just about any issue that might arise with your residential real estate, but there are occasionally some problems that can show up if left unchecked or not addressed in the lease. Experienced property managers can help you avoid the following most common mistakes people make in regard to leasing a property management in the Toronto area.
- Late rent policies – The key here is to contact the tenant and file a 5 day notice as soon as the rent is officially late. Documentation is an important part of protecting your rights as a landlord and will greatly help your case if the matter is escalated to a court of law.
- Failing to give proper notice for property entry – There is almost no situation except for a major emergency that will give the landlord the right to enter a rented property without 24 hours of notice. Failing to provide this window of time will muddle the chances of giving you a leg to stand on in a court of law.
- Lacking of tenant screening – There is no reason not to pull a credit and background check on your potential tenants. Not doing so could cost you thousands of dollars in rent, damages and court fees if the tenant proves to be a problem.
- Check-in report signatures – A simple signature can protect your residential property investment and if you obtain it from the tenant, it will prove to be a valuable document in the event that you need to recover costs for damages or loss. A video or photograph of the property will also hold up in a court of law.
- General residential rule policies – The tenants your property manager leases the house to will be adults in the definition outlined by the law, but there is nothing stopping them from acting like children. General rules about quiet time in the evening, parking and changes to the layout of the property should be addressed in writing signed by the tenant prior to lease ratification.
- Written agreements for problem areas – This would be just a standard agreement covering all of your major concerns as the landlord and should be signed by the potential tenant and followed. You can assume that other people will act within your standards of decency and respect, so it is best to have your expectations outlined and agreed to up front.
- Annual inspections – These will protect you from liability if there are outdated alarms or broken locks, not to mention hazards like gas leaks or appliance failures.
- Pet agreements – This is a no-brainer and should be included in every leasing agreement – ever. The landlord should specify the size, type and quantity of pets allowed with an additional deposit to cover any damages that they might cause.
- Legal consultations for evictions – The eviction process is complicated and varies by province. It is not advisable to attempt to evict a tenant without legal consultation. An effective property manager can assist with this process by offering advice and submitting paperwork timely to ensure the matter does not get drawn in a lengthy court battle.
- Re-keying the property notifications – Another no-brainer, you cannot attempt to block the tenant’s entry at any point during a current lease without consulting your attorney or your property management group should you have one. Odds are, if you are at this point, the relationship has already turned ugly and you will want to stay within the boundaries of the law to protect your investment.