Tag Archives: Managing

Moving on Out

Hey all you tenants, landlords and property owners. We’re coming up on the cusp of decision season this time of year, when all across the land people are deciding whether or not to renew their lease, or to continue renting to a particular set of tenants. If you’re happy where you’re at, great for you! This post isn’t so much for you guys, but read it anyways and squirrel the information away for when it’s your turn. For the rest of you who’re thinking of breaking it off to go out in search of a new house, apartment, condo or duplex,  or a new set of tenants, don’t worry. Hometown Rant has the guide to make your move smooth.

If you’re a renter moving out of a house or apartment, hopefully you’ve still got a few weeks to get your affairs in order, because that’s our biggest piece of advice. Trust us, you have a lot more stuff than you think you do. You’ll need time to figure out where it’s all going to go. We should also point out that this is a good time in your life to have friends with places for you and/or your stuff.

Ideally you’d have a new rental property ready to move into as you move out of your old house or apartment, but the nature of finding places and signing leases tends to mean that you might have a waiting period before you can move in. If you don’t have a convenient place to go, you could contact your current landlord about extending your lease for a week or two (and perhaps paying a little extra) which could be a win/win for both of you. Just make sure that you ask with enough time to make backup plans if your landlord can’t accommodate you.

After you’ve figured out what to do with all your stuff, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and do some cleaning if you ever want to see your security deposit again. Check your lease to figure out what exactly your landlord expects from you, and ask them if you have any confusion. Standard fare includes cleaning appliances, carpets, windows, etc, so even if you keep your house, apartment or condo neat, you’ll probably have to get a few things that you don’t normally touch. Refrigerator splash pans anyone?

On the other hand, all landlords and property owners: make sure you’re moving out guidelines are clear, and perhaps even make up a checklist to send to tenants so that they know what you expect from them. The condition of rental properties moving out and subsequent deductions from the security deposit are one of the most common causes of conflict between renters and landlords, so you want to do everything you can to make sure that everyone is on the same page beforehand.

Refer to our archive if you need more advice about cleaning or finding a new place to live or new tenants, and check the local postings on hometownrent.com to help get you into the dwelling of your dreams!

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

 

The Inspection Connection

It’s getting to be that time of year again. Summer is here and all across the land renters and landlords are deciding whether or not to renew their leases. Part of this process usually includes a property inspection, which can be stressful for both parties if it isn’t handled properly on either end. Luckily, the Hometown Rant is here to help you make sure that the inspection goes smoothly so landlords can keep their properties filled with renters who want to be there, thus maintaining the great circle of rental life.

The purpose of an inspection is theoretically beneficial for everybody–it provides an opportunity for the property owner to address any issues the renters might have with the property, be it a faulty appliance or a leaky foundation, and to make sure that the renters are holding up their end of the lease. There are a multitude of ways that it can go wrong however, and we’ve identified a few of the common ones below so you don’t fall into the same classic traps.

Most leases include a clause that states something to the effect of landlords must provide written in advance of a property inspection. Landlords and property owners: you chose to put that clause in there, so respect it. It exists to maintain the renter’s privacy, and to make sure the place is easily inspectable when you do stop by. Plus who knows, they might be an aficionado of reading shakespeare aloud in the nude, and if you barged in on that it could get weird.

If you’ve picked good tenants, they shouldn’t really have anything to hide, but they probably want to at least pick up the dirty clothes on the floor and do the dishes before you come over. We all let things get a little messy sometimes, but nobody likes it when their mess is exposed to the world. Renters, if you didn’t get the hint, clean the house or apartment before your landlord comes over. And before anyone comes over for that matter. Jeez, where are your manners. If you’ve been putting off your spring cleaning, stop. It’s now Summer. I’m sure you could think of a whole list of stuff you’ve been meaning to do around the house, and there’s no time like the present. Get off the internet and get it done!

Once a problem with the property has been identified, the issue becomes whose responsibility it is to deal with it. This information should be outlined in the lease, but sometimes there can be disputes about when an issue arose or whose was at fault in the first place. This is why it’s important for renters to keep on top of maintenance requests, and to have photos documenting the condition of the house or apartment when you moved in. Thanks captain hindsight! And always remember: Read your lease. Know your lease. If you abide by it, it will save you.

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

The Subletter Letters

Summer is always a complicated time for everyone in the world of renting. People are moving out, moving in, going on vacation or just buckling down to make some extra cash at a Summer job. Often renters are looking to either find or fill some space just for a few months, and the most common way to do that is to sublet a room in the house, apartment or loft. However, if not done right, subletting can be a nightmare for renters and landlords alike, so this week on the Hometown Rant, we’re learnin’ you all on how to fill your extra space without causing you extra headaches.

So what exactly is a sublet, or sublease? For those of you who don’t know, it’s an arrangement whereby the original tenant on the lease allows a third party to lease the space from them, assuming all or a part of the financial responsibility of the first tenant. In other words, it’s when you let your friend stay in your room and pay rent while you’re back home for the summer. Lawdepot.com has a good FAQ for anyone still confused, but you shouldn’t be. The concept itself is pretty basic. The problems almost always come in with the implementation.

As a landlord, you should decide before you even find original tenants if you’re open to the idea of letting them sublet your rental property. Allowing tenants to sublet a room in the house or apartment will make your property more attractive, but it’ll also require a little more oversight from you, since in doing so you’re trusting your renters judgement about who to let stay on your property. That being said, the original tenant is still responsible for fulfilling their terms on the lease regardless of what the subletter does or doesn’t do, so if you’ve written your original lease properly, you’ll still have someone legally liable for the damage or the unpaid rent.

The people who really have to be careful subletting are the renters who are taking on the responsibility of becoming a sub-landlord themselves. When you let someone else take over your lease, you have to trust them to be able to hold up their end of it, since your name and money are still going to be on the line. Subleases are a great way to find out who your real friends are when they go sour, which is why you always want to draw up a contract have your subletter actually sign a sublease, even if you think they’re your best friend.

If they actually intend to follow through then they shouldn’t have a problem signing, and if they don’t want to, they’re probably actually a sketchball trying to put one over on you. Sorry if we forced the realization upon you, but trust us, it’s better you find out now than after they leave questionable stains on your mattress and let their junkie friends pawn off your furniture for drug money, then disappear without paying you thousands of dollars they owe. Hopefully you’re a better judge of character than that, but people can be deceptive. Make sure you have it in writing that they’ve agreed to pay you so you’ll have a leg to stand on if you do end up in court.

As a subletter, understand that whoever you’re subletting from has put their name on the line so you can have a roof over your head, and respect the house, apartment, loft or condo twice as much as you would normally. There’s a special place in renter hell for people who abuse the sacred trust of the sublease, and it’s not a place you want to be.

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

Be The Beast of the Lease

The beginning of the summer is a hot time to move into a new house or apartment, and along with that comes every every landlord and renter’s favorite thing: signing binding legal contracts! Hooray! In a perfect world we’d be able to just say hey man, I’ll give you some money if you let me stay here for a while, and that would be that, but unfortunately people aren’t always as trustworthy as they claim to be on the internet. Who knew? Luckily, the Hometown Rant is here to help both renters and landlords make sure that renting is the mutually beneficial, almost symbiotic relationship that it should be.

If you’ve been a landlord for a little while, you probably already have a standard lease drawn up that you use with your clients. That’s great! If not, you should probably get on that before you agree to let people live in your house, apartment or loft. The ever-useful wikihow has a nice step-by-step guide for writing your own from scratch, and a quick Google search will yield you more sample leases than anybody could ever sign. Find one that works for you, and if you can’t, edit one until it does.

The bare minimum you need is a document that identifies the names of the parties involved, the location of the house, apartment or loft in question, when rent payments and deposits need to be made and how much they cost, the responsibilities that each party assumes for maintenance and upkeep, and the penalties should either party violate their end of the bargain. Also, a place to sign. But you knew that.

The section where leases tend to differ is the section outlining the responsibilities of both the landlord and the renter, and it’s also the section that tends to be the most often broken by one or both parties. This is the section where you’ll specify who pays for garbage, who’s responsible for calling (and paying) the plumber when the toilet explodes, who is responsible for maintaining the yard, whether or not pets are allowed, and all sorts of other benefits and stipulations that will make or break the deal, so it has to be done right.

Landlords writing leases need to be clear about what they will provide as well as what they expect tenants to do in order to maintain the property. DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE BOLD PRINT IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE SOMETHING GETS SEEN! Don’t go overboard though, or you’ll lose the effect. As the owner or manager of the house, apartment, loft or condo, you have the final say about what can or can’t be done there, but remember that you want your rental property to be attractive for potential renters, so don’t get too ridiculous with your rules. If you do have policies that people might not like, maybe provide some services in exchange.

In this day and age, we agree to things all the time without actually reading them, but RENTERS, IF YOU READ ANYTHING EVER, READ YOUR LEASE! IT ACTUALLY MATTERS!  If you don’t, you won’t know what you’re supposed to do, and you won’t get what you deserve! That’s no way to be!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us on the low-low: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

Meet Thy Neighbors

It’s the first commandment of owning or renting a house or apartment, and not abiding by it can be disastrous for both renters and landlords alike. Luckily for all you awkward internetroverts out there, the Hometown Rant has you covered. It will involve leaving the safety of your computer chair, but you could probably use the Vitamin D anyways.

As a landlord, you should know who lives around the house or apartment, since it’ll affect who you rent the place to. If you know your rental property is next to a family with young kids, you probably don’t want to rent that property to the college-age party bros or the nudist art collective. If you know that the primary demographic of your apartment complex is up and coming twentysomethings, you’ll be able to filter your applicants to find a renter who’ll fit into the community

As a renter, you should be concerned with who your neighbors are because like it or not you’re going to have to interact with one another. This goes double for renters of duplexes, apartments or condos who literally share walls with other people. The only way to facilitate a healthy and enjoyable living situation is to be able to trust the people around you, and to be able to talk to them if you have an issue. If you wait until you have a problem to bring it up, you might find that they react like this.

But how do you go about meeting these strangers living all around you? The easiest way is to walk up to their door, knock on it, and introduce yourself. Maybe bring them some sort of baked good or alcoholic beverage, depending on how old they are. If that seems too awkward to you, you could try a different approach. Spend time in that yard you’ve been meaning to do some work in, and wave in a friendly manner at people walking by. Then you’ll at least be the guy or gal who waves all the time instead of the weird Boo Radley impersonator that the neighborhood kids make up stories about.

Another good way to meet people is with a dog. It’s probably not advisable to go out and get a dog simply for that purpose, but if you already have one lying around, it’s a great way to put that lazy freeloader to work. Take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood or at the local park and let the pooch make the introductions. Dress him up. Let people pet him or rub her belly, and introduce the dog before yourself. Boom. Instant conversation starter and focal point of ensuing discussion (oh you have a dog too? What a coincidence! etc…) This will work for meeting all types of people, but it’s especially good for introducing yourself to that hot guy or cute gal who lives down the street.

You don’t have to be best friends with everyone on your block, but you do want to be known in the neighborhood as an all round good dude/dudette, or at least a reasonable individual who isn’t a shut-in freak-show, which is what people will probably assume if you don’t get out there and say hello. What are you waiting for? Get out there!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be a stranger:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

The Hometown Rant Guide on How to Pick Em. Part 2 – Landlords

Last week on the Hometown Rant we broke it down for renters looking for other people to take that spare room in the house, apartment or loft. This week we’re going at it from a different angle to help landlords and property owners find trustworthy tenants for their rental property. Renters should stick around though, if you want to be the one signing the lease on the house or apartment you’ve been staking out for the last few weeks.

If you’re a landlord or property owner and you’re reading this blog, that means you’re probably already advertising your rental property online, which is a good first step. If you haven’t already posted your property up, what are you waiting for? Get on it!

Many landlords post properties on multiple websites, which can be a good idea if you want to cast a wider net, just be aware that . Dedicated rental sites lik e Hometownrent.com are nice because they only deal with renters and rental properties. Craigslist may reach a wider audience, but do you really want to rent to the guy who’s also browsing for taxidermy hamsters  and old spinach wraps? Maybe not.

Once you’re online, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the applications to roll in. Then your job becomes sifting through them. But how should you decide who to rent to? Pay extra attention to certain answers on your application, particularly employment history and rental references. If the renter is a legit dude or dudette, they’ll have provided contact info for someone who can verify their legit-ness. If an applicant doesn’t provide references even when you ask, there’s probably a reason. If the renters are young college students and don’t have a source of income, you might want to get parents to co-sign, that way you’ll get reimbursed if the newfound freedom turns your house into animal house.

Another good way to screen applicants online is by looking at what they include besides the rental application that you provide. A friendly note with the application is probably a good sign. An email address like dubstepkegstand69@gmail.com might be a red flag. As always, never trust anyone who types in all capitals.

Of course the best option is always to meet the applicants face to face for a walkthrough of the house. Even though the internet is the future of everything, there’s no way to get a read on somebody like actually physically interacting with them. Weird right? Actually having met your tenants can also make it easier to solve whatever issues may arise later in the duration of the lease, since both parties will be more accountable to one another. If not, you might end up like this guy.

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

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To Rent or Not to Rent – Homeowner’s Guide

If you are planning a move to some other city, what fate would you choose for your beloved home? Now, that’s a question you will have to ask yourself at some point or another. You can sell your existing property in order to afford another or you can rent it out and enjoy a continuous stream of income. Still confused? Take a look at some of the pros and cons of renting and see if that works for you or not.

PROs

  •  The best thing about renting is that the amount of rent will cover your monthly mortgage payment.
  • As the value of the property appreciates with time, keeping it will definitely be a decision with long-term benefits.
  • As a landlord, you will able to gain multiple tax advantages, as there are several deductions on depreciation and expenses.

CONs 

  • Finding a suitable tenant can sometimes be trickier than finding a new home.
  • You will have to pay for renovations and repairs before renting out.
  • Multiple houses to maintain and manage can be a headache.

Learn more about things that you should consider before reaching a final decision http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/02/09/selling-renting-coping-with-declining-home-value/1881153/

Attracting Renters towards your Rental Property

HTR071613Renting can be an easy task if you’re willing to show some dedication towards your residential rental property. You must be able to look through a renter’s eye in order to attract potential tenants. For example, if you were to rent a house, what would you look for?

Obviously, you’ll look for a proper kitchen to cook your food, a place to do your laundry conveniently, a bathroom that has a good supply of hot water, and an attractive view. Thus, to attract more renters towards your property, you will need to provide all these things.

Hence, you should consider the following:

  • The inside of the property should be clean. Naturally, nobody wants to live in a place where the carpet is full of ugly and weird stains and the furniture is old and broken. You must be able to provide your potential tenants with a clean and comfortable look, i.e. make them feel like they could actually rent the place and be happy living there.
  • Make the property attractive from the outside as well.  A clean and landscaped yard tells the renters that you’re a reliable landlord and property owner.
  • Finally, providing your renters with parking space will be a sure plus as nobody likes parking their vehicles on the street.

Assuring your potential tenants that they will be provided with all the necessary amenities, e.g. hot water, laundry spaces, etc. will convince them to rent your property for sure.

Attracting Tenants For Your Apartment

HTR070413

Gone are the days when tenants put up with bad housing and unfair rent charges. With so many renting options available for tenants nowadays, you’ll have to put in some real effort to attract and keep good tenants. Good tenants are like a rare commodity for every landlord but with the help of the following tips, you’ll be able to target and keep your tenants for a long time:

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Tenants always inspect the place from top to toe before they choose to rent an apartment. Therefore, to attract good ones, you’ll have to put on your best smile and show off the apartment as neatly as possible. However, don’t be skimpy on the elbow grease. Tenants can be sharp eyed and a hurriedly cleaned place can give a bad impression so put your back into it and spring clean and prepare the house from top to bottom.

Be Nice and Professional

When a tenant comes in to view your apartment, they often wish to meet the landlord as well. If you’re not abroad, you have to come over and help the tenants view the place and make sure that they are comfortably settled into your apartment. This makes a good and reliable impression on the tenants and it is possible that they’ll extend their leases.

However, while you should remember to wear your best smile, keeping a businesslike approach and ensuring that your tenants follow the correct procedures when moving in and living in the apartments will make things go smoothly for you and your tenants.

If you’re interested to find out more about how to attract tenants, locally or foreign, please view the link below:

http://blog.boxyroom.com/5-tips-to-attract-foreign-tenants-for-your-rental-apartment/