Tag Archives: Landlord

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and property managers. The holiday seasons are upon us, and with them have come the cold weather. Depending on where you live in the country, this will mean more or less to you, but most of us will be impacted by the weather in the winter, at least a little bit. Lucky for you, the hometown rant has the guide to keeping you warm and cozy inside your house, apartment, condo or duplex all season long.

If the weather does get cold enough to make it uncomfortable inside your rental property, you’ve probably already got some coping strategies, ranging from wearing a lot of layers to burning your possessions in a little pile on the floor. Hopefully you haven’t got to that point yet, although it is the last step before sucking it up and actually turning on your heat.

Once you’ve given in though, you’re going to want to take some steps to conserve the heat, so you get the most bang for your buck. A big part of this process depends on the age of your rental property, specifically as it impacts the seals around the doors and windows. Older places tend to have more gaps and cracks, making any attempts to heat the interior more and more futile. If you do plan on running the heat in an old house, we suggest you get some easily removable rubber seals, something like these, which, if applied correctly, can make a big difference in the heat retention of older houses, apartments, condos or duplexes.

If your rental property doesn’t have central heating, you could consider using space heaters in the rooms you’ll be occupying most frequently, but keep in mind that multiple space heaters will quickly run up your electric bill, and can even blow a fuse if used at the same time as a few other electronic devices. If you have central heating, it’s probably going to be more efficient to run that and take measures to keep that heat in.

As a landlord, property owner or property manager, you probably have a general idea of how your properties fare in terms of winterization, so let your tenants know how to best seal in that warmth. They’ll probably appreciate the advice, and if not, hey, it’s their loss. Above all, stay warm and have fun!

 

Fall Ball

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and property managers. It’s that time of year again, the time when the leaves begin to change colors on the trees, when dusk gets a little longer each day the grocery stores fill up with displays of gourds and big bags of assorted candies. Autumn is upon us, and that means things to do to keep your house, apartment, condo or duplex clean and cozy for the coming fall.

As a landlord, property owner or property manager, if you haven’t already, around now might be a good time to see if any of the properties you are responsible for need work done since it’ll only get more difficult and more important as the weather gets colder. Ask your tenants if there’s anything you can do for them, and remember–you’re legally obliged to give them notice before you send anyone over to work on the place.

Tenants: especially if your rental property is located in a neighborhood with a lot of trees, you’ll probably have to do some raking to take care of the leaves. Now might also be a good time to clean your gutters of the summer’s debris before the weather gets worse. Depending on what type of property you rent, your landlord may or may not have some sort of lawn service hired to do this sort of thing. If so, great, but if not, you might just have to bust out the work gloves and the ladder. Trust us though, it’ll make your life that much easier when it does rain. All the information about who is responsible for yard work and upkeep should be in your lease. If not, contact your landlord to find out.

Now may also be a good time to start re-organizing, putting your summer toys in storage and getting your fall and winter gear down from the attic. It’s definitely sweater weather already, and in a few more weeks you’ll probably want a coat too. You’ll thank yourself the first morning you step outside and immediately retreat back in to add another layer before venturing forth once again.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

Bed Head

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. This week on the rant, we’re putting the rumors to bed. Or maybe we’re spreading rumors about beds? We’re not sure. We’re tired. We need to go to bed.

By most conventional metrics, the bed is the most important piece of furniture in the entire rental property–it’s the one you spend the most time in. In fact, you probably spend more time in your bed than in any other place. When you think about that, it becomes abundantly clear that no matter whether you live in a house, apartment, condo, duplex, your bed matters.

For you landlords and property owners, providing the bed probably won’t be your responsibility,  unless your rental property is of the short term or pre-furnished sort. If you do provide a nice bed, you’ll want to advertise that, as well as making sure you’re renting to tenants who are going to take good care of it.

On that note, tenants, if you’ve invested in a nice mattress, make sure you take good care of it. Buy several fitted sheets and a washable cover so cleaning and changing your bedding is easy and you don’t have to wait for the dirty stuff to be finished before re-making it.

When choosing a mattress and bed frame, you have a few things to think about–the size of your living space, your budget, and whether or not you’ll be sharing your bed regularly with a special someone, or maybe a faithful canine.

We’ve found that a full size mattress tends to be the best balance of size, affordability and space occupied,  though if you want more room to relax, you could bump up to a queen, or even a king. If you want to really ball out, you could even go with a Shaq bed, though you’ll have to also spring for the custom circular superman fitted sheets.

Whatever your choice, make sure it’s one that’ll stay comfortable for a long time–bad mattresses can lead to lack of sleep and back pain, both of which will tend to make your life miserable in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get the bed you deserve!

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll sleep on it: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Grocery List

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. What’s for dinner? Unless you’re the type to hit the town on a Wednesday night, you’re probably having whatever is in the pantry, and if there’s nothing there, you’re probably going shopping. This week on the rant, we’re talking groceries, and how to keep the kitchen in your house, apartment, condo or duplex well stocked on whatever your budget allows.

As a landlord or property owner, you should know where the neighborhood grocery stores are. Chances are proximity to a variety of purveyors will raise the amount that people are willing to spend on rent in your area. If you have one or more grocery stores in the area, mention it in your advertisements–it’ll help people envision their life in your rental property.

As a tenant, consider the factors involved in getting and storing your food at home. Are there stores close by? Do you have motorized transportation? How big is your refrigerator? All these are questions worth asking yourself when looking at potential living spots. If you can’t consistently buy and store enough feed yourself, you’ll be hungry all the time. It’s basic animal skills here people.

If your rental property is further out from a population center, you’ll obviously need to store more food. Landlords, consider supplying more rural rental properties with an extra fridge or freezer, and tenants, make use of canned foods and preservation techniques like pickling and drying for preserving those veggies and meat so they’ll keep year round. This is also a good idea for any property, though those of you who rent apartments or duplexes in town will have to rely less on storing food, and less space to store it as well.

Another good way to save money on your grocery bill is to shop for certain items at a cash and carry or discount store, things like rice and other grains, flour and oil, basic items that you can use to provide filler for a meal. If you don’t know already, learn how to cook things like rice and beans in big batches that’ll last you the week to save yourself time, effort, and money. Then, when you shop, you can just get some produce and meat that can go with what you’ve already got prepared, and you’ll be feasting on classically balanced meals before you know it!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Serve it up to us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Menage a Garage

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. This week on the rant, we’re getting down and dirty in that strange middle ground halfway between the road and your house, condo, duplex or apartment building, the garage. Not all properties have them, but many do, some communal and some individual, and one thing all garages have in common is that they’re often underutilized space that could benefit from some organization and planning.

Though designed to hold automobiles, garages often find themselves used for storing all manner of other things, from tools and lawnmowers to ski gear in the offseason, to drum kits and amplifiers for band practice. If you’re a landlord or property owner and your rental property has a garage, make sure to advertise it on property listings, and Include a picture with an example of how one might set up the space to most efficiently hold all their stuff.

If you’re a tenant in a property with a garage and you’re not already using it, think about what you might be able to do with it. Have any artistic hobbies that require a studio space? Always dreamed of starting a lo-fi surf-rock band? The garage is your oyster. We’ve even heard of people converting garages into living spaces, especially in warmer areas of the country, though the legality of cramming an extra roommate into a potentially non-designated living space can be suspect. Alway check with your landlord and your lease to make sure you’re compliant with local fire and safety codes regarding the number of people and quality of living space.

If you’re like most people though, you’ve probably already got a bunch of stuff piled up in your garage. Now might be a good time to go through it, and decide what you want and don’t want. Autumn is upon us and with it comes the fall garage sale season, clearing space for the inevitable accumulation that’ll happen come wintertime. It’s often quite the process, which is why it’s always good to start sooner rather than later.

So what are you waiting for, get out there and get on it!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Park it in our mailbox: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

On the Town

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers! This week on the rant, we don’t feel like cooking, and if you’ve been working all day, you probably don’t either, so we’re talking about eating (and maybe even drinking) out!

Any good neighborhood should have at least one place to eat, though hopefully there are more than that. Good close restaurants are absolutely something to be considered when searching for a rental property,  and if you’re a landlord or property manager who is advertising a house, apartment condo or duplex, you might want to mention in your classified if your property is close to restaurants and bars. As much as they care about the rental property itself, people are often sold on a neighborhood.

 

As a tenant,  part of the fun of moving to a new neighborhood is checking out the places to eat, so in your first few weeks you should make it a goal to get out and sample the local cuisine.  Check out online reviews, or maybe ask your neighbors when you introduce yourself. It’s a good conversation starter at the least, and could also yield important local information. Who’s got the best burger in town? Which pizza joint delivers the latest?  Which hole in the wall taqueria to hit up, and which to avoid. These are all important questions, and knowing the answers is what separates the out of towers from the true locals.

Hungry yet? It’s about time you got out of your house, apartment or condominium and grabbed a bite to eat. Find your favorite place and become a regular.

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We eat it up: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Are you not Entertained?

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the rant, were taking a question straight from the mouth of Russel Crowe’s Maximus. Are you not entertained? Because if not, you totally should be. In this day and age, with our current abundance of media, there’s simply no reason not to have a killer entertainment center in your rental house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex.

Obviously how you want to be entertained will vary from person to person, but the one thing that will be consistent is that you’re going to need a space for it. This is where landlords, property managers and owners come in, since they’ll be the ones who provide said space. Most rental properties have some sort of living room or den space, which will usually be dedicated to the entertainment of its inhabitants. Landlords, property owners and property managers should advertise accordingly, especially if the living room or den has been remodeled recently. Everybody wants to relax in their rental property, and if there is a nice space to do so, it’ll be a big selling point.

For all you tenants out there, setting up your entertainment center is going to require some deep thought. You probably already know what it is you like doing in your free time, so obviously you’ll want to cater to that. If you’re of the musical persuasion, check out our handy Hometown Rant’s Guide to Audiophilia. If you’re more of a cinemaphile or a gamer, you probably want (or already have) a nice screen to watch/play on, but you’ll have to figure out whether you want to wall mount or get a stand. Each has its pros and cons. Here’s a quick video of how to set up a wall mount, though you should probably check with your landlord before doing so.

Those who go with a stand have an easier setup, but should think about positioning of the screen to reduce glare and maximize viewing angles. As far as seating goes, you have a few options, but recliners, couches and love seats tend to dominate the entertainment center in terms of furnishings.

If you plan on spending a lot of time relaxing in your rental properties’ entertainment center, you probably want to invest in some nice comfy furniture that’s not going to fall apart, and that’s going to still be comfortable, even when you sit down to watch the entirety of the Godfather, pt. 2, or do the entire Harry Potter series in a single marathon.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Entertain us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Hit the Deck

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. Summer is once again in full swing, which means it’s time to get out of doors and enjoy the weather, and what better place to do so than in the shade of your deck, porch, or maybe even balcony. This week on the rant, we’re talking about how to make the most of those outdoors spaces in your house, apartment, condo or duplex.

You should never judge a book by its cover, but you might be able to judge a rental property by its porch. By extension, you can also judge a neighborhood by its porches. The porch is the front of the property, the first thing that people see, and a good place to be, especially when everyone else is out enjoying the summertime. If you’re looking for a property to rent this summer, keep an eye out for properties with a porch you could see yourself on.

As a landlord or property owner, one thing you’ll want to check between tenants is the condition of the porch or deck, since they are located outside and thus the most subject to wear from the elements. Rotten support beam can be an expense at worst and a safety hazard at best, so make sure that the porch or deck on your rental property is safe and sturdy before it becomes something much worse you have to deal with. As always, it’s probably better to invest a little more at the outset to save yourself costs down the road.

For all of those tenants living in apartment buildings, you probably don’t have decks or porches, but you may very well have a balcony, which is even cooler in many ways. A good balcony view can make or break an apartment, so keep that in mind when deciding on a property to rent. If you’re the romantic type, it could make a great location for a midnight rendezvous. If you’re a notorious drug dealer, it could be a good spot to reminisce with your #2 before everything goes sour. If you’re of the less dramatic persuasion, it might just be a nice place to read a book and relax. Just remember that you probably aren’t the only one out on your balcony. The face of a building is a communal space, and that guy underneath you probably doesn’t appreciate you tossing those cigarette butts down on him.

Whatever type of outdoor space your property has, the standard rules apply. Keep it clean, make sure it’s safe, but most importantly, enjoy it!

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

If These Walls Could Talk

Hey there all you renters, landlords property owners and property managers. This week on the rant, we’re taking a look around us, at the very things that, along with a roof, define a house, apartment, condo, or duplex. If these walls could talk, they’d tell you that this is an awesome song. Also, they’d tell you that they want to be decorated, and to make it classy.

Landlords, property owners and managers, you guys don’t have a whole lot to do here, although the one job you are in charge of is an important one. You’ll almost certainly be in charge of painting/wallpaper, and unless you really trust your tenants, you probably don’t want them re-doing the place. For sanity’s sake though, pick nice colors and/or simple designs, and if in doubt, go off-white. Cream, one might call it. It’s the classic for a reason–it goes with just about any design style, and is pretty much guaranteed not to be off-putting or garish.

Renters, you’re the ones who are going to be living in the space, so it’s your job to figure out what’ll fit the aesthetic of your home and your lifestyle. The one constant rule we’ll always suggest is to keep it simple, although it’s really more of a guideline than a rule. Still, one nice, well placed image generally looks a lot classier than the collage of random images you know you cut out of your favorite magazines and tacked all across the walls in high school.

If you really wanna elevate your game, get some frames for your posters and hang them like a real person instead of using this stuff and watching them slump down the wall over time. A nice tapestry can also be a good way to fill a lot of space, especially if you don’t mind the heady hippy look. Get some prayer flags while you’re at it and go all out. Whatever you do though, don’t decorate in a way that’ll be a pain to take down, since you’re eventually going to have to do just that.

Above all though, have fun with it. It’s the space you’re paying to inhabit, so you might as well make it look the way you want it to. A dwelling that reflects the personality of the inhabitant is the American dream, after all. Make that dream a reality.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Throw it up on the wall: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Keys to the Kingdom

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Rant, we’re talking about what gets you in the door, that unique little piece of metal that grants the bearer access to what lies within the walls of the house, apartment, condo or duplex in question, that overtly symbolic image representing ownership, access and freedom: we’re talking, of course, about the key.

After signing a lease, the handing over of the key is usually the final piece of the rental transaction, signifying the assumption of rentership on the part of the tenant, and the temporary relinquishing of the property by the landlord, property owner or manager. Not only is a symbol though, the key is literally the thing that allows you to come and go from the property at will. As such, it deserves care and responsibility.

As a landlord or property owner renting out a property, it’s important to know how many tenants are going to be living there, so you know how many keys to give them when they sign the lease, and how many keys to expect back upon its completion. As you can probably guess, the quantity should stay the same during that time. You don’t really want tenants making a bunch of copies and giving them out to people, nor do you want some of your keys still floating around after the rental period is up.

Depending on how laid back you are and how much you trust your tenants, you might consider getting keys that can’t be copied, so only you as the master keyholder have that power. You’ll have to be more responsible, both in keeping track of the master key and in providing tenants with copies if they lose theirs, but it’ll increase the overall security of your rental property.

As a tenant, your main job regarding the key is to use it but don’t lose it. It’s a pretty easy job, one that you should have on lock. Ok, but seriously, lock your doors people. Even if you think you live in a safe neighborhood, you could be unpleasantly surprised when you come home to find that your house, apartment, condo or duplex has been cleaned out by someone who found the door open. In a situation like that, it’s always better safe than sorry. Not only could you lose your valuables, but their could be damage to the property in the break in that you could be responsible for.

Also, don’t put your address or house or apartment number on your key. If you do lose it, that’ll tell anybody who finds it where you live, and give them unrestricted access to your stuff.  A key is only useful if you know what it unlocks. If you do lose your key and you’re sure it’s not in the couch, contact your landlord or property owner to go about getting a replacement. They may say it’s ok for one of your roommates to make a copy, or they might want to make the copy themselves. If they’re really paranoid, they might even want to change the locks, which you might have to pay for, so don’t lose your key, and if you do, make sure it’s really lost before you do anything.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ve got the key: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com