A recent study found that 36.6% households rented their living spaces. If you own rental property, have you ever rented to a friend? Downloaded a generic rental agreement off a random site on the internet? Did you waive a security deposit for tenants with a hard luck story?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you may have already regretted one of those decisions. Self-managing landlords usually get into rentals to earn extra money, but may not have realized how they self-sabotage if unprepared. To make sure you’re prepared for the full picture of property management on your own, read on.
So Much Paperwork!
Self-managing a rental property involves a lot of the paperwork. This surprises many new landlords. You’ll need to upgrade your property insurance, file taxes for rental income, and have clearly outlined lease agreements.
All landlords must follow the Fair Housing Act discrimination laws. This includes what you can legally ask on a rental application in line with Florida’s statutes for landlord and tenant rights.
Of course you have to maintain a liveable space if you expect people to pay to live there. Some basic things you need to have covered:
- Appliances in good working condition
- Safe lighting and electrical work that adheres to all codes
- Properly working plumbing
- Secure doors, windows, locks, and hardware
You’ll also need to demonstrate your rental property adheres to all applicable housing regulations, which varies from one neighborhood to another. Fair warning: these regulations can change year to year and you’re responsible for staying up to date on them.
As a self-managing landlord, you must address tenant emergencies in a timely manner. Rarely do air conditioners die or kitchen sinks back up at convenient times.
Without clear guidance (potentially missing in your lease agreement from the internet), your definition of “emergency” may vary from the renter’s. That means you could find yourself with could’ve-waited-until-Monday situations in the wee hours of a Saturday morning.
Repairs and Maintenance Responsibilities
As a homeowner, you conduct basic maintenance to avoid costly repairs down the line and increase the value of your home. You keep things in working order and repair them whenever there’s a problem.
You must do the same with your rental property and may find renters don’t have the same motivations. They may not notice or simply ignore signs of a leaky pipe or an air conditioner making a funky sound.
Knowing this, self-managing landlords build periodic property inspections into their lease agreements (and schedule). This also gives you a chance to make sure your renters are respecting your property and keeping it reasonably clean.
Self Management and Control
Some landlords, especially those without full-time jobs or other obligations, find self managing properties rewarding. They can make house repairs themselves, have no problem shaking down non-paying renters, and fully understand their legal requirements.
Those who can’t do repairs to code themselves may struggle to find reasonably priced reliable contractors. Nice guys/gals may lose money by letting unqualified tenants continue to live rent-free based on sob stories. On average, self-managing landlords have to evict tenants 44.7% of the time. An unsuspecting owner could find themselves in a lawsuit with tenants for failing to provide a proper living environment.
These only scratch the surface of your responsibilities as a property owner. If you self-manage rental property in Orlando or the greater Central Florida area, and have questions on your legal requirements, reach out! We’re happy to offer clarifications or alternate ways of managing your property. Call us at 321-947-7653 or complete our online form.