It's important to have the right mindset in order to be a successful landlord.
Recently, I have seen several stories online relating to violence between landlords and tenants. A tenant was stabbed in the Bronx; a landlord was killed in her house in Clearwater, Florida. It can be hard being a landlord, but it shouldn’t land you in a hospital, a jail, or a morgue.
In most cases, your tenants will rarely take as good of care of your property as you would. Your renters will not pay for maintenance costs willingly and they will most likely not properly prepare your property for the next resident. Your rental is going to have vacancy time and it will cost you money. It is very likely that you will have to pay for a very expensive repair at some point. These are the risks and challenges you accept when becoming a landlord.
When becoming a landlord you must have the right mindset to be accepting of these truths or the entire experience of being a landlord could drive you crazy.
If you go into being a landlord thinking, “I can find the over-achiever, grade A tenants every time!” you will probably be disappointed.
Another idea new landlords have is, “I just want my property to look like it did when I lived there”, but this is not a realistic long-term approach to being a landlord unless you contribute to keeping it that way. You must put forth effort, money, and energy into maintaining or improving your properties. Landlord Tenant Law does not allow landlords to charge tenants for every cost required to turn over a property for a new tenant. The majority of tenants will not do routine maintenance tasks such as pressure washing, small interior maintenance, or keeping up with the yard.
Instead, realize that your tenants are not going to put forth the same effort you may have and incentivize them to do more by equally contributing to routine and preventative maintenance.
Be very appreciative of your excellent tenants.
- The ones who pay rent on time, keep your place immaculate, plant flowers, and don’t complain or ask for a lot.
- Send them a thank you card or mail them a small gift during the holidays.
- Thank them for preserving your property like you would have and for increasing the property value while they did.
Be appreciative of your good tenants.
- The ones who paid a week late that one time when their car died, that don’t plant flowers, but that mow the yard timely.
- The ones that don’t clean right when they move and the walls need a little touch up but everything is intact and well cared for.
- By occupying your rental property, they are helping you to gain equity, to keep your credit score up, and to save for retirement.
You can even be appreciative of the bad tenants.
- Appreciate the ones who call every month with some new major issue because they’re not letting your house fall apart.
- Appreciate the ones who move in the middle of the lease because they paid rent timely and voluntarily turned over keys so no eviction was necessary.
- Be appreciative of the ones that stayed for five years even though they were so messy and Florida Landlord Tenant Law says you can’t charge them for fresh paint and new carpet. Appreciate them because they have saved you months of vacancy costs over the years.
Look at being a landlord as being a small business owner. With revenue comes expeses.
Routine and preventative maintenance is important for your rental investment and increases the value of your real estate asset. Properties with up-to-date features and in overall better condition will yield higher rents, be easier to maintain, and have less vacancy costs.
- Don’t be upset when your tenant calls in routine maintenance, be appreciative of the opportunity to increase the value of your long-term asset in smaller increments over time.
- It will be a relief when the A/C repair only costs you $350 because it didn’t require a brand new inside and outside unit.
- Be appreciative when the plumbing emergency doesn’t happen on a Sunday or a holiday and that it didn’t flood your downstairs.
Landlords who invest in real estate with the wrong mindset will constantly be disappointed with their tenants actions and will never appreciate the fact that another person is paying down their mortgage and helping them to build wealth with a real estate investment.
Do you have questions about becoming a landlord in the Pensacola, Florida area? Reach out to our team for honest advice on being a landlord.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
The team at Realty Masters of FL traveled to Tampa for the 2016 Florida State NARPM Convention! Here's a quick wrap up video of our time at the Florida State NARPM Conference.
The National Association of Residential Property Managers is the premier professional association for residential property managers. We are proud NARPM Members and are anxiously awaiting future educational opportunities to better serve our Pensacola area property owners and renters. To find out more about NARPM, visit their website http://www.narpm.org/ or contact me directly if you are interested in becoming involved in the Pensacola Chapter of NARPM.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
- What does Florida Landlord Tenant Law say about owners visiting their properties while the home is tenant occupied?
As a local landlord with or without a professional property manager, you may be required to visit your rental property regularly for inspections, maintenance, and showings. You may also just be in the area and inclined to drive by and check up on your tenants. Before you do that, make sure you know and understand your state’s landlord tenant laws.
For those Florida landlords who live close by their rental properties, here are the 2016 Florida Landlord and Tenant Statutes to consider.
“83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—
(1) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit from time to time in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply agreed services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.
(2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises. “Reasonable notice” for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit when necessary for the further purposes set forth in subsection (1) under any of the following circumstances:
(a) With the consent of the tenant;
(b) In case of emergency;
(c) When the tenant unreasonably withholds consent; or
(d) If the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments. If the rent is current and the tenant notifies the landlord of an intended absence, then the landlord may enter only with the consent of the tenant or for the protection or preservation of the premises.
(3) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access nor use it to harass the tenant.”
- Landlord's Access to the Property
The law protects both landlord and tenant and provides the landlord access to the property without violating the privacy of the tenant.
The law allows you to inspect, make repairs, and show the property “from time to time” with reasonable 12 hour advanced notice during reasonable hours even if the tenant refuses to consent. As a landlord, you can give prior reasonable notice and visit your home to routinely inspect how it’s being cared for.
- How should you notify your tenants?
Call your tenant ahead of time to notify them.
If your tenant does not answer, consent, or acknowledge receipt of your message, you should post a notice to the door outlining the time and reason for the visit.
The law does not allow the tenant to refuse entry under normal circumstances as long as reasonable notice is provided. While twelve hour notice is required under the law, best practice is to provide at least next day notice for showings, inspections, etc. If the tenant consents to earlier notice, the landlord is allowed entry under the law.
- In Case of Emergencies
The law does protect you in case of an actual emergency.
Say you own a condo and the HOA calls to yell you water is leaking from your unit. You have tried to contact your tenant and they are not responding but you have left a message. You can legally enter the property (after knocking) with a key to turn the water off. You do not have to wait for the tenant's authorization or post reasonable notice on the premises. Make sure to examine the situation and ensure it is an actual emergency prior to entering! It is always better to get the tenant's authorization prior to entering the property.
If you cannot reach your tenant and are worried about their health or safety, best practice is to call the police for a welfare check on the property. You cannot enter without adequate notice or the tenant's approval.
- Outdoors and Backyards
Keep in mind, you may be held in violation of the law if you are accessing the backyard or any outbuildings, especially if it’s a fenced backyard and/or locked, without prior notification and consent.
Exterior pool or lawn maintenance should be planned in advance or scheduled on a routine basis. Under the law, you cannot show up in the backyard without some sort of advanced notice.
There is a fine line between being proactive with your tenants and offending them and breaking the law! Confronting your tenant with anger or other elevated emotions will only worsen your situation. It’s best to keep cool if you see something you don’t like about your rental property or tenants behavior. You must keep in mind that the tenant is paying rent and you have granted possession under the law to the tenant.
- If you have an issue with your tenant, address it properly.
Provide advanced notice for inspection to the tenant to inspect the situation further. Document your issues properly with photos and a dated written report.
Discuss your issues with your tenant and give them an opportunity to cure the issues. If they don’t, you can provide them with a 7 day notice under the law to cure any lease violations.
Be sure to follow procedures under the law to ensure safety for both your tenant, your property, and yourself.
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