10 Reasons To Use A Property Manager

There are many reasons to hire a property management company.  These are the most common listed.  Give yourself a break and let Tri County Management handle your investment for you!

  1. 24 Hr Emergency Services ~ Property managers are always on call and have established contracts with many supplier vendors for repairs. Owners can take a break. Let owning a rental property be stress free!
  2. Regular Inspections ~ Tri County Management, LLC does regular maintenance inspections every 6 months. Reports should be provided by your management company listing anything needing attention.
  3. Maintenance & Property Upkeep ~ A property management co will help you keep your properties value up by doing repairs and routine maintenance. Our inspections will keep you informed on the condition of the home and if any repairs are needed.
  4. Tenant Screening ~ Rental requirements and applicant screening services will insure you get tenants that qualify to rent your home and meet all criteria necessary.
  5. Proper Paperwork & Legal Forms ~ Management companies use forms that are drawn up by attorneys and recognized by the courts.  Management companies also keep up to date on the ever changing laws and have access to all legal forms needed within the industry.
  6. Rent Payments Enforced Effectively ~ No more excuses!  Rent is due in advance and should be paid according to the terms set forth and no excuses are allowed.
  7. Monthly Accounting ~ Easy to understand accounting is provided monthly of your trust account funds.
  8. End Of Year Categorized Statements ~ At the end of every year you will receive an itemized statement of funds for your tax write-offs.
  9. Avoid Legal Issues ~ Property managers work hard to represent the owner at all times. Any legal issues can be handled by the management company on the owners behalf.
  10. More Freedom & Less Stress ~ If you want to travel or move out of town a management company can handle all of the issues of rental property. Tri County Management, LLC is licensed and insured and has over a decade of experience managing residential properties.

Assessing Damages At Move Out

Assessing damages found at a tenants move out can be the toughest part of the entire rental process.  Its important to know what flaws existed before the tenant(s) moved in, otherwise there will be no proof should a tenant not agree or wish to challenge the charges taken out of their security and cleaning deposits. Hopefully you have pictures of the move in condition.  I recommend to take pictures of any damages and the condition of the home after the tenant(s) moved out.

How long a tenant has lived in the home will determine the amount of normal wear & tear. Things like worn pathways in carpet in heavy traffic area should not be charged back to a tenant.  However, holes, tears & stains in flooring are damage.  There are other things to consider however, if the flooring is very old and you plan to replace it anyway you should let them know so they wont spend money trying to clean it professionally when they move out.  Holes in walls and broken or missing fixtures is not normal wear & tear and should be paid for from the tenants security deposit funds.  Tenants should leave the home in a ready to rent, clean condition when they move out.

If carpet or other such flooring was brand new at move in the condition report should state so and in that case you would use a loss of life calculation that is based on the warranty & cost to replace the damaged area.  Calculation is total replacement cost divided by warranty years less the number of years of loss.  So for example if the replacement cost is $1000.00,  the warranty of the carpet was 10 years, and the tenants occupied the unit for 3 years. The total cost of damage to charge the tenants would be $93.00.  You will need to call in a contractor to get current carpet replacement rates and quotes for the rooms with damage.

Other damages can be taken from the security deposit as well however, funds for cleaning can only be used for cleaning purposes. Funds for pet damage can only be used from the pet deposit and all other repairs etc. can be taken only from the security deposit funds stated on the lease agreement.  Check your lease agreement to make sure how it is written up.  Make sure you have filled out the final accounting and returned any unused portion of the security deposit within 30 days (Oregon Law). Check your states laws and guidelines regarding the correct amount of days to return security deposits and final accounting paperwork

Renters Insurance

The importance of renters insurance is spelled out in this blog.   An owners insurance policy does not cover a tenants belongings, nor does it protect the tenant in any way If a tenant or one of their guests is the cause of the disaster.  It is important for tenants to have renters insurance that will cover all of their personal belongings as well as give protection in case of fault for damages to the rental structure.

Owners can require a tenant to purchase renters insurance. Be sure to check your state laws and guidelines as to the max amount that can be required.  In Oregon, the maximum amount that an owner can require a tenant to have is 100,000.00 regardless of how much the home is worth.  Some states require renters to have insurance to protect the tenants against loss. States that do not currently have this requirement may be changing it soon to protect the renters from having large claims against them if a disaster should occur.

Renters insurance is very affordable usually 10.00 – 15.00 per month. This coverage will protect them in many ways weather at fault or not.  In the case where the tenant is not at fault for damages to the house such as fire started by faulty electrical  or an act of nature like flood etc, their belongings would be covered through their policy. However, in situations where the tenants caused the damage such as fire from negligence etc.  Their policy would cover them, their belongings and the owners structure.  Without this coverage a tenant would still be liable for damages and could be sued by the owner for the loss.  This coverage also comes in handy for tenants if an owner is requiring a tenant to pay for damages beyond wear and tear after move out sometimes the rental insurance policy will pick  up such damages for the tenant.

So you can see why requiring renters insurance is a very good idea and will not usually be a “deal breaker” for tenants interested in renting a home that has such a requirement esp. when it is so affordable.  Owners will want to disclose this requirement right up front and ask for proof of insurance when renters apply and ask for proof of insurance at signing.  It is also important for an owner or manager to ask to be added on as an additional insured to the renters insurance policy so that they will receive renewal or cancellation notices when changes are made.  If you would like to make this change and currently have tenants renting already, remember to wait until their lease term ends and give 30 days notice for them to prepare for the new requirement and provide proof.

Screening Applicants – The Single Most Important Thing You Should Do!

So you think your a great judgement of people and you don’t need to screen applicants. They said their credit was good. They said they had perfect rental history. They said they have no criminal records. They even said they would pay for a year of rent in advance and…they want to move in tomorrow!  Sounds good, your anxious to get renters in and this would make things really easy for you!

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told this very same thing and been tempted in the very same way. After running the screening however a completely different picture is painted and it suddenly becomes clear nothing they said was true.  On the screening report you see maxed out credit cards, bankruptcies, foreclosures, criminal records, terrible rental history from complaints, late payments or maybe even evictions.

 It’s  important to know ahead of time what your screening criteria is and list it in your advertisement. By doing this your letting people know right up front that you WILL be screening them. Give them the opportunity to disclose anything that may come up on the report ahead of time. This will allow you to deny them before taking their screening fee if they do not meet any of your screening qualifications. Be strict about these requirements and don’t bend your rules!  At the time that you give the rental application also give a copy of the rental requirements that you are seeking. This is your proof that you informed them of the criteria and what they could be denied for.

the screening company that you choose will be able to help you read and understand what comes up on the reports. However, remember that it is confidential information and cannot be shared with anyone. Not even the applicants that were screened. You can inform them that you deny them for whichever reason they don’t qualify or that they were not truthful and did not disclose information that was found, but it is unlawful to talk to them about the details of the report. The best thing to do is to give them the contact information of the screening company and let them handle helping them with any questions they may have regarding their report. The screening company will also send a denial letter if the applicants didn’t meet the requirements for you to pass along to them.

Tenants that meet all the screening requirements are the responsible people you want in your rental property. You will be rewarded by on time rental payments and tenants that care about the condition of the home they choose to live in!  I find that this process is the biggest reason why owners choose to use a management company. Tri County Management, LLC uses a local screening company and has written screening criteria for every applicant. If this task is to daunting for you, give us a call.

 

 

The Move In / Move Out Inspection Report

The move in / move out inspection report is a report that lists every room in the house and describes any flaws that were noticed at the time of move in.  These flaws are  documented room by room and will make the move out process much easier.  This process is one of the single most important steps to the move in process.  If you are the meticulous type, you won’t want to miss this step!  If you manage your own properties or someone else’s this documentation is essential to the move out.  Taking pictures to go along with these notes on the report will also help you or any judge determine the condition a home was in at the time the tenants moved in.  I’m not talking about normal wear & tear.  I’m talking about actual damages caused by neglect or purposely damaged.

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The process is simple to follow and will insure that you have what you need when the tenants move out.  When moving a tenant in, I like to do my signings right at the house the day of or a day before their scheduled move in date.  We sign all the paperwork, go over all the terms, addendum’s, check smoke alarms and lastly we go through the house and document any existing damages or flaws on the move in/out condition report, take pictures or walk through with a a video camera if necessary, and sign and date the form.  Tenants are given one extra week after move in to add to this form should they see something that may have been missed.  Have them put it in writing and attach the note to the existing signed condition report.

Some owners can become offended by such a report thinking its a crap shoot of their home.  The important thing to remember here is all homes have flaws. Just because a home has flaws doesn’t mean the house is in poor shape. Sometimes you don’t become aware of those flaws until you live there.  You may notice a scratch on the woodwork, a missing knob, a crack in the ceiling from settling, the window doesn’t lock or there is a small crack in the glass that was missed, a problem with the blind, etc. These are the items that at move out a tenant could be charged for if not documented at move in.

After the tenants have moved out you will be able to compare the notes on the report and the pictures with the condition of the home.  There will always be normal wear & tear. Be careful not to charge tenants for heavy traffic areas or areas of wear from normal use. If you do find damages take a picture and get a quote for the cost to repair so you can deduct the correct amount from the tenants security deposit.

If you use this procedure with all of your tenants it will make the move in and the move out procedure much easier! Tenants will also know up front that you have documented all damages and that you will be using the evidence to compare when they move out. So now, you won’t be afraid of your next move in or move out… So let’s get moving!

Lease Term or Month To Month?

Lease term or month to month?  Which is best for me?

Long term leases are most commonly used for single family homes. Longer term leases give tenants and owners the security that the rent and the terms within the lease will not be changed until the lease ends.  Ending such a lease before the term has ended would result in a lease break fee stated in the terms of the lease ( usually 1.5 times the total monthly rent).  Owners are also subject to paying the lease break fee to the tenants if they should break the lease as well.  Lease terms are usually 1 year, sometimes 2.  Leases generally benefit only the tenant.  It is harder to get tenants out under a lease due to the terms stated within a lease therefore, it is best to stick with 1 year at a time. This way as an owner, you are able to adjust rents and other terms at the end of the lease term.  As the economy changes this can become very important to stay within the current rental market for your home.  If your not happy with your tenants you would have to wait until after the year lease is up, only then would it  be possible to ask them to vacate.  It is not possible to give a no-cause notice to vacate while under a lease term.  Tenants have to actually violate a term in order to be able to give vacate notice while under a lease.  Keep in mind that after 1 year of tenancy, tenants are required to get 60 days notice to vacate.

Short term tenancies, also called at will tenancies or month to month are most commonly used for apartments, rooms, plexes and multi family homes.  However, if a lease term ends and nothing is done to create another long term lease, that agreement automatically changes to a month to month tenancy.  These types of terms are beneficial to the owner because terms can be changed with just a 30 day notice.  Its easier for an owner to get a tenant out under a month to month rental by simply giving a no-cause notice to vacate with the proper days notice included. Month to month tenancies gives the owner more control over their rental and allows them to make necessary changes such as raising rents or adding yard care services, etc. to the terms. As the economy changes and bills go up, this could be important to the owners pocketbook and allow them to make necessary remodels and or improvements to the home as needed.

So yes, its nice to know that you got a long term lease and that you will receive compensation if that lease is broken, but these long term leases come with some disadvantages of their own.  And just because a tenant is under a lease doesn’t necessarily mean that they will never have to move during that term.  Sometimes, such as estates etc. a house needs to be sold and that term will be ended by the family and the lease break fee is calculated into the equation at the time of sale.  I usually remind my tenants that while renting a home, anything can happen and moving is all part of being a renter.

Let Tri County Management, LLC be your management co.  We provide excellent care of your home with a personal touch.  The TCM experience is a one on one management process that will allow you, the owner to still make decisions and still be a voice for the property.  TCM will advise you and give suggestions, but the end decision is yours! Let us help you today with your rental properties…Lets manage together!

Need To Move? Tips On Searching For A Rental Home

No one likes to move. Moving is stressful, exhausting, scary and exciting too.  Its a new beginning, you’ve gone through your things and donated and thrown away the unwanted and your ready to start fresh. Looking for a new place to live can be very hard. With these few tips hopefully it will make the job less cumbersome and stressful.

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Decide what area you want to live in and search the listings. Drive the area and look for signs. A fair amount of people do not have computers and will just post a sign in the yard. This is one of the most effective ways to advertise and it is used by almost everyone with a rental home. Some neighborhoods and subdivisions however may not allow signage.

Do some research and learn what the most popular advertising tool is in your state. This is where management companies and owners advertise the details of homes available for rent. It is different everywhere, for example in California the most popular listing tool is www.Zillow.com.  If your not sure call a local property management company and ask them. While you’ve got them on the phone ask them if they have anything available that meets your needs and price range.  In Oregon the most popular advertising tool is www.Craigslist.com.  Craigslist has done a lot of updates to their posting requirements and is much more secure than in the past and is a great resource.

When searching on line be very careful, be suspicious and smart. No one should ever ask you for money up front and promise to send you the keys. That is not how any management company will proceed with the transaction. Look for homes that are managed by a legal management company and verify that they are Licensed and Insured. Look for ads that are full of details with pictures, prices complete descriptions and no misspelled words or strange sentences with contact information clearly stated and not just email communication.  You should expect to have to fill out an application and go through a screening process. Ask which company they will be using for the screening and verify it is a legal and licensed company as well. After approval you will be asked to put a deposit and get a receipt. This is a “deposit to hold”.  If your moving from out of state you will need to sign the rental agreement and addendum’s upon arrival and would get the keys at that time and pay the first months rent. Keep in mind, there are many ways that this process can be done and it may vary from company to company.  My point however, is to be smart and never just send anyone money without some sort of organization and receipts and make sure that you are working with a licensed management company for your protection.

Be prepared to answer questions about your personal financial situation, credit history, rental history, why your moving, if you have bankruptcies, foreclosures or any debts that may show up on your screening report it will be important to disclose that up front. Know your past addresses and contact information, be able to list employment information with contacts and phone numbers. Most importantly be honest and upfront about your situation. This is the time to disclose your situation and “sell” .  Its a time to get to know your manager or management company and how they communicate with their client’s.  Tri County Management, LLC will perform a pre-screening over the phone to verify your qualifications before showing a home.  It’s a quick simple way to lear about each other.  Why show a home to someone who doesn’t even meet your qualification guidelines? So, be prepared to answer these questions.   Get a rental application and go over it.  These are the questions you’ll need to be able to answer.

Be very proactive about your search.  Once you’ve found something you may be interested in, make the call.  The fastest and most efficient way to get information and speak to someone about the add is to call. Voice to voice is the best way for you to answer the questions they will have and for you to get your questions answered as well. If your still interested once you’ve been pre qualified make an appointment.  The sooner you view the property the sooner you will get an application in and get your approval. If you live in an area where the demand for homes is high undoubtedly there will be many people interested and you could get bumped by someone with an earlier appointment who decides to turn in an application before you.

 

Preparing Your Home To Be A Rental Home

Preparing a home to be a rental home is a lot of work. There are many things to think about and depending on the condition of  the home it can be a bit costly.  The good news is that once it is rented you’ll be able to make some of that money back over time and the improvements will increase the value of the home. Keep a list of all the improvements and the receipts for your taxes.

Outside

You’ll want to think about the curb appeal of the home. Does the landscaping match the neighborhood. If not, you will want to improve it. This will make the home more presentable when it is listed for rent.  Look at the siding,  the roofing, the gutters, the paint  the windows. Check for dry rot and areas that may need repair. The idea is to protect the house from being further weathered and to make sure the house is clean and ready for tenants.

Inside

Move out before you do the inside repairs. Once you are completely moved out you will be able to see the real condition of the home and what needs to be replaced or repaired. If the carpet is more than 5 years old consider replacing it before tenants move in. Carpets do not last forever and should be replaced every 5-7 years. Have the walls painted if needed and repair any holes, damaged or peeling areas. Replace old appliances and make sure all plumbing is operable.

Hire a professional cleaning company and make sure the house is what property managers call “hotel clean”.  A professional cleaning company will clean the inside of the cabinets, drawers, curtains, blinds, closets, doors, appliances fixtures window tracks and inside of windows.

Make sure everything works. When you live in a home people tend to overlook the “quirks” like the gas stove doesn’t turn on unless you blow on it, or the cupboard doesn’t open, the blind doesn’t open all the way, the wash machine only works unless you sit on it. Things like this reduce rent value and must be fixed before tenants move in.

Safety

Think about safety. It is very important to fix anything that may be a hazard that someone could get hurt by. Things like loose flooring or kick plates,  broken steps, loose or torn carpets, torn linoleum,  missing electrical outlet covers and sharp edges are all things to be cautious of and have fixed before tenants move in. Install smoke alarms and Co2 detectors and have a fire extinguisher installed nearby the kitchen area.

A rental is a second home and owners are expected to upkeep appliances and fix repairs in order to maintain the highest level of rents.  There will always be costs that come and go just as if you were living there yourself. The home is an investment and should you should be proud of it!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Inspections?

One of the drawbacks to being a renter is those pesky inspections. Tenants sometimes feel that they are an invasion of their privacy. In some ways that can be true however, these inspections can benefit the tenant, the owner and  the property manager. Homes take a lot of maintenance weather being lived in or not. these inspections are done as a way to communicate to the owner the condition of the home and relay any repairs or maintenance issues to them through the property manager. If you look at inspections in this way you too may soon see the advantages.

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Tenants benefit from repairs in many ways. If plumbing leaks are found or the flooring is very worn and old or there are broken hinges on old cabinets, upgrades that need to be done such as new roof, siding or gutters need to be cleaned. These issues are relayed on a report to the owner as a condition that could be fixed in order to maintain or improve the home. Tenants may get upgrades they did not expect or even ask for.

Owners benefit in many ways also. The inspection report tells them what things may need to be fixed, replaced or updated. They can take care of the issues before they cause more damage and more costly repairs. It helps them protect or raise the value of their investment.  The report also tells them how the home is being taken care of by the tenants but allows them to do improvements that the tenants may appreciate and benefit from.

The property Manager also benefits by this inspection. The manager is responsible to do at least one inspection per year. This allows the manager to communicate with the tenants and the owners about the condition of the home. It’s an opportunity for tenants to ask questions and relay messages they may not have taken time to inform the manager about. These reports are proof that the manager is doing what they are being paid to do. It’s important to do a good complete report and list things that are in good condition as well as things that need to be repaired.

Clipboard with checklist on white background, 3d imageThe manager should provide pictures of the things you have listed on the report that need repair. These pictures prove to the owner that there is damage and to what extent. It helps them make a decision about the repair. After the repairs are done the property manager can send “after” pictures to the owner as well. This service is provided for everyones benefit and to maintain the home as best as possible.

 

 

Abandoned Property

So often tenants leave behind personal belongings that owners and managers have to decide what to do with. Each state will have its own laws  regarding how to properly handle the situation.  Articles left behind weather valuable or not should not be sold for profit or kept by the landlord or owner. It’s best to donate them to the proper charity such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. pets left behind should be given to the local humane’s society.

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Here is the 20 day plan that will allow you to resolve the problem.  As soon as you notice the abandoned property send a letter to the tenants who left it giving them 15 days to remove the property. Send this letter to the last known address. If you do not know the new address, (most times you wont), send it directly to the rental address where the belongings were left. They should have filed a change of address for mail forwarding. State in the letter that the items left behind need to be removed within 15 days or it will be given to charity or deemed as trash and disposed of. Always add 3 days if mailed by first class mail. If the letter is returned with no forwarding address, keep it in their file for proof that you mailed them their notice. After such notice is given, if the property is not taken by the tenant in the time frame given you have the right to move the property from the home. Keep track of each item on an itemized list and where you took each one. Take pictures if you can and keep them with the letter in the tenants file. If the items value over $500.00 total in Oregon, you can sell the property by public or private sale, throw away or give to charity or others that are not related to the landlord or owner.

To prevent this from happening or prevent any misunderstandings about abandoned property it’s a good idea to go over your states laws with the tenant when they move in and again just before they move out. Tell them what will happen to any belongings they leave behind.

if your ever not sure about your rights or what to do with abandoned property contact an attorney.

Energy Incentives For Your Rental Home

     There are several ways to save energy in your home. From appliances to windows, doors, furnaces, water heaters, and light bulbs just to name a few. The state, federal government, and some utility companies encourage us to use lower energy rated appliances and will often times give rebates or tax credits, for purchases of qualifying products.

th-1     It is up to the consumer to research which products qualify. In Oregon you can check the Energy Trust Of Oregon site for cash incentives as well as information on how to schedule a free home energy review by a trained and certified contractor.

     Another great way to check if an appliance is or will be covered under one of these plans is to go directly to the manufactures web page to see which appliances they have that will qualify for some or all of the many incentives offered. For example if your interested in purchasing a new high efficiency furnace you could go to the Bryant webpage and get information on which units will qualify for tax credits or rebates.

     Energy star products can be found at the Energy Star website where you can learn which products qualify, how to apply and what forms you will need to fill out after your purchase and install. Forms are submitted with your taxes for that year for tax write offs and rebates usually have a time limit such as 90 days etc. Check the Forms page of the Energy Star website for more information on how to apply.

     If you purchase an appliance, furnace or water heater that uses natural gas you can also check the NW Natural Gas website for incentives that they may offer. The store or contractor may have information on which products qualify as well so check with them when your shopping around.

     Appliances that earn an Energy Star rating may cost a bit more upfront, but in an overwhelming majority of cases, their operating costs yield big savings over the lifetimes of the products. And while you can’t bank on the government bringing back the now-expired 2011 tax credits, anything is possible in an election year, especially when energy costs are an important voter issue. Regardless, the facts show that Energy Star is working for the betterment of the environment while simultaneously lowering electric bills. Even in our fractured political climate, that’s a platform everyone can agree upon — and incentive enough for all of us to make some major changes around the house not just in 2014, but also in the years to come as well. 

     

 

 

Companion Animals

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Pet lovers are guardians to more than 100 million dogs & cats in the U.S. and spend more than 35 billion on their furry friends. Oregon has the 4th highest percentage of pet owners in the U.S. at over 63%!

Think again before you place that for rent sign that says in large letters “NO PETS”.
Just by not allowing pets in your rental you are slashing more than 1/2 of your rental options and possible applicants. If your home has a large back yard and would be a great home for a companion why not let them have their pet. You can and should monitor and inspect the home for damages. You can and should make the tenant responsible for all damages done by the pet. It up to you as the owner or manager to do your inspections, communicate with the tenants about what you expect and follow through with what you say you will do when those expectations are not met even if it means eviction.

Pets are hard on things yes but so are people. In my opinion it is the owners who don’t discipline or have time for their pets that should be to blame. We find ourselves in a fast paced working world where no one is home for hours on end and left at home for hours on end are those high lovin’ pets that we thought we had time for when we fell in love with its cute little face as a puppy or kitten. But those animals grow up and get big just like kids but kids learn to be independent and move out eventually. Pets do not, they rely on you every single day of their lives.

As an owner or manager of rental properties you can allow pets and feel confident about it if you communicate with your tenants about your expectations, do regular inspections and make sure you disclose how many times per year you will do those inspections. Also communicate what will happen if those expectations are not met. You can have breed restrictions too. Know the laws in your state and follow them. also be familiar with the companion pet laws in your state. Companion pets have become a very popular “perscription” written from doctors these days. People with pets are usually more than happy to pay extra for their furry friends. I charge pet rent per pet and add it right to the monthly rent for pets in my homes. If tenants have a companion animal check your laws on deposits and make sure you get the proper documentation on file. Do not take a tenant or applicants word that the pet has been through obedience classes, ask for copies of the documents.

I suggest having a 2 pet maximum and allow only friendly breeds that do not have an aggressive behavior or history. Here is a list of breeds that you should NOT accept:

* Akita
* Bloodhound
* Boxer
* Chow
* Dalmatian
* Doberman Pincher
* German Shepard
* Pit Bull
* Rottweiler
* Staffordshire Terrier
* Standard Poodle

If you are one that has trouble inspecting your property and or communicating with tenants about such things I strongly suggest calling a property management company to help you. So make your tenants happy and say Yes to their pet!

What Do YOU Do For Your Tenants?

Got great tenants that you’d love to keep? What do you do for them? A happy tenant makes a happy owner. This is a relationship and all relationships take effort on both sides. Here are several ways to give back to your tenants and keep them happy so when that lease comes up they may want to stay.

~Discount on rent or a bonus at the end of the year for 12 months of on time payments. My tenants LOVE this. I give any tenant that paid on time all year a $50.00 gift card right before Christmas. This is a great little incentive for them to never pay late. Give a gift card or a drop the rent if the rent value has dropped in the area since they moved in. Stay within the market. If the tenants can move two blocks away and get a bigger better house for less money they may just do that.

~Upgrade the home and or property. Add some landscape bark to spruce up the yard. Add some outbuildings or sheds for storage. Add a covered parking area, deck or covered patio. Update the kitchen appliances or washer & dryer, Paint inside or outside. Keep the carpet fresh and new every 5 years or so. Offer to upgrade fixtures when outdated.

~Give small gifts when inspecting. I give all of my tenants a box of chocolates, small plant or coffee cup with coffee or tea bag in it on inspection day. They had to take the time to clean and prepare and sometimes they even take time off of work or arrange their schedule for the inspection and its a way to say thanks.

~Anytime a repair or event happens that will cause an inconvenience to the tenant give them a gift card or a gift certificate to show your gratitude for them renting from you.

If you take the time do do small things for your tenants it will show that you appreciate them. The cost is well worth the effort if it makes them want to stay.

Section 8 Is Great!

Who wouldn’t want guaranteed rent, on time, every month? Section 8 program is a great program offered through Home Forward to those who need rent assistance.  Home Forward is a public corporation in Oregon established in 1941. These days you are quite lucky to be a receiver of these benefits due to the long waiting list there now is. This program helps so many people and we are lucky to have it available here in Oregon.

To qualify an applicant for a rental home with a section 8 voucher you can use the same requirements as for all other applicants. Verify their income to be at least 2 times their portion of the rent. Verify all sources of their income just as you would any other applicant.

Another great benefit of renting to a tenant on the section 8 program through Home Forward is the incentive of 100.00 they provide to anyone who approves and provides housing for a tenant or family on the voucher program. They also provide assistance for residence to help them move towards economic independence from public assistance through training, education and employment.

Home Forward also does yearly inspections to insure that the rental home is safe, has all the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, all outlet covers, no peeling paint, etc. this is a great opportunity for the manager or owner to do their inspection as well.

 

Manage Your Lease Option

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So you’ve got buyers to purchase your home on a rent-to-own option. Great news! They move in pay rent and your forget about it. Years go buy and all is well until rent stops coming in the mail. You wait a few months, thinking you will give them the benefit of the dought, after all you know he lost his job and you don’t want to be the mean one…Next thing you know 3 or 4 months has gone by and they owe 6,000.00-8,000 and you need to reclaim the property back. Lease options have many advantages for both you and the buyer, but caution must be used on both sides as well. You will remain the owner until the property is paid for in full. In most lease option agreements if the purchaser/renter fails to pay the buyer can reclaim the property back with no refund to the tenant for the amount he has paid toward his purchase. When you reclaim the property back and the tenants move out you find that the tenants did not only miss rent payments, but they did not do any repairs either. Now you have to repair the home before you can sell or rent again and depending on the condition, this could take months. This can be avoided if you use a property manager while your home is under a lease option. A property manager will do regular inspections and help you maintain the home until the lease option is satisfied and paid in full. Tri County Management, LLC does two full inspections per year as well as drive by inspections in the spring and winter to make sure the property is well taken care of. Make sure you understand your contract terms and agreements before you sign and contact an attorney if there is something you don’t understand or agree with. Take care of your property until the lease is fully satisfied and call Tri County Management, LLC to manage your home so you don’t get stuck with the bill.

Should I Allow Marijuana Usage In My Rental?

Many people benefit from medical marijuana usage and hold a card issued annually by the Oregon Health Authority with a  written prescription from a licensed doctor.  This card allows the patient to use marijuana in Oregon however, it does not make it legal for public usage and federal laws will override it in court.

There are a few things to know as an owner or landlord before making the decision to allow or not allow usage in your rental home.  First decide if you allow smoking in the home.  If not, you can allow them to “ingest” the medicine only by eating or drinking instead of smoking it.

Make sure you and your tenants understand the laws and requirements and put them in writing by adding them to your lease agreement.   You can allow the usage but not allow the growing and harvesting, this decision is up to you and what you are comfortable with inside your rental property. Also make sure to add in the lease agreement that if complaints are issued by neighbors or others for the usage, smell, etc. that the lease may be terminated if the issue cannot be corrected.

If you are going to allow the tenants to use marijuana in your rental under special terms and agreements written in your lease agreement make sure to keep a copy of the users card and the doctors authorization within your records and update it annually.  As of today in Oregon the holder of the card is allowed to have 6 mature plants, 18 seedlings starts, and 24oz of usable marijuana at one time. It is important to monitor this and make sure that the user stays within the limits. If the user does not stay within those limits the lease should be terminated. Also make sure that the tenant understands that usage should not be in public or seen by other tenants and not to be used in any common areas shared by other tenants.

If you follow these guidelines you should be able to allow the usage of medical marijuana in your rental home without problems. It is important to do regular inspections on your rental properties and this is the only way to monitor if a tenant is following the terms of the lease agreement. If inspections and managing are getting the best of you, call Tri County Management, LLC and let us reduce your stress and manage for you. We can bring in hassle free rents, pay all your bills and send you the rent check every month while you rest or go on vacation.

Some Basic Rental Requirements You Should Always Ask Your Applicants

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Always screen your tenants. You can pre-screen them over the phone so that if they do not meet all of your required criteria you won’t waste their time or yours showing them a home they may not qualify for.  Use these guidelines when pre-screening. 

1)Monthly income at least 2 times the rent.

2)Currently employed for no less than 6 months and/or proof of monthly funds from other sources.

3)No recent evictions.

4)Good rental history from non family members. No NSF checks, late rent, evictions or complaints within 1 year.

5)Good credit score with no recent outstanding debts.

6)No criminal activity within 7 years.

Tri County Management uses these guidelines when seeking for tenants. This is the first step to locating great tenants.

Happy Renting~

 

Tips For Owners

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**Always screen your tenants and use a professional screening company. Provide the applicants with an application and a copy of your screening criteria.

**Provide a clean home that is safe and take care of repairs right away. Communicate with the tenants and inform them of your plans and follow through. Make sure all essential services are always operable or the tenant may be able to file a claim, deduct rent or move out without a lease break fee.

**Give proper notice before entering. Check your states laws and know when you can enter and how much notice is required. Allow tenants the privacy they deserve.

**Inspect the home at least once per year. If you see things that need attention like repairs, take care of them. Let the tenant know right away if they should be doing something they are not. Communicate!

**Insure your home and make sure the tenants know about how insurance works and recommend to them to get renters insurance.

**Use legal forms and hold security deposits and return them within the limits of your states laws. Use move in/out condition report and inform the tenants what you will expect at move out. Disclose everything, there should be no secrets or surprises.

**Resolve all disputes and make every attempt to settle disagreements outside of court even if it costs you a little bit. Court is stressful and time consuming.

. Understand the managers contract, terms and conditions and do a background check on them. Make sure they are currently licensed and insured. Or contact Tri County Management.

How To Choose A Management Company Thats Right For You.

Choosing a property management can be tricky. Narrowing down whether you want a large company with employees or a small company will be easier once you know the answers to the questions below. Just make sure the company you use is licensed and insured and operating under an active license within your state. Tri County management, LLC is licensed and insured and can help you with your rental or answer any questions you may have. We also do one time lease up only services.

Do you screen prospective tenants?  Who do you use?

How large is your company? Do you have employees? How many properties do you manage?

Do you do inspections? Do YOU do them personally or someone within your company, or do you sub this work out?

Do you use a trust account and a monthly accounting system? Do you pay bills associated with the property with the rents received?

Do you have a network of vendors that you use regularly?

What are the essential services that must be provided to the tenant and how much money do you require to keep in the trust account for emergencies?

How will you communicate repairs and issues with me?

Is there a contract? What are the property management fees?

 

Our Home Is A Reflection Of Who We Are

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Looking for a place to live can be a cumbersome job. Each time you walk through the door your imagining your furniture, your wall hangings and decorations all put in place and this brings a smile to your face. You know its the right house when that great warm homey feeling comes over you. It is the uniqueness of each one of us that makes a house a home. Its that comfortable, warm, safe place we love to be and the creativeness that says; “Welcome Home” every time we enter the door. Tri County Management, LLC can help you find that perfect place and our management services will make sure your always happy with your home. I love to see how the homes are decorated once my tenants move  in. Your style and unique personality shines through and the home becomes your favorite place to be.

Tax Writeoffs For Your Rental Property

Understanding what you can write off of your rental property is so important. This is where your investment works for you. If your not writing these things off your not getting the most out of your property an its value to you may be lost. One of the most important things to know with rental properties is how to balance the income with the repairs throughout the year and lowering your total profits. Owners of rental properties have to pay tax on their total profits. Therefore keeping your rental profits lower will help also. Depreciation / Loss in value, portion of mortgage points, unused points, early pay off points, closing fees. Make sure your writing off all repairs, travel, gas, portion of home office, employees, vendors, casualty, theft, insurance, legal and professional services. Talk to a tax accountant for more specific information regarding rental property write offs and how to claim them on your taxes.  Tri County Management, LLC can help you with all your rental property needs and help you balance your profits with your repairs to lower your taxes.

Investing in property and the importance of the “curb appeal”.

Regular upkeep and maintenance on your rental/investment property is the single most important thing that you should do. Renters drive by and look.  If they don’t like what they see at the curb then they will not want to rent your rental/investment property.  Your rental/investment property can be in a depressed area and still have good turnout and long term renters if the property is in good condition. Consider your property to be the “best on the block” just by having a good curb appeal. Keep your yard mowed and your trees trimmed. Plant a few flowers or blooming bushes. Keep the house clean by pressure washing or painting. Keep the roof and gutters clean. These simple things can keep your home in the rental market no mater where it is! Using a property management co like www.tricountymanagementllc.com can help you  keep up on the regular maintenance and make sure your property is always the “best on the block”. 

What to expect from your property management company.

Sizing up a property management company can be challenging. Knowing what to expect and what questions to ask will help you choose the right company for you.  Know what you want from your property management company and what you expect them to do for you.  Ask what their fees are for all aspects of the business. There are lease up fees, new account fees, advertisement fees, violation agreement fees, maintenance fees, etc. You will want to know if you are looking for a full agreement or  a partial agreement. You will need to explain how you want the property to be cared for and how the property management company will work to keep your investment property in good shape. Tri County Management LLC can help you. Visit our website tricountymanagementllc.com to see how we can help you with your rental home.