Noise Complaints

Charlotte Property Rental
Most of us have lived in places we have owned or rented that have had different issues. While some of them may be easy to fix, like a clogged drain or a toilet that has a trick to get it to flush correctly, there are also often more complicated issues to try and deal with. One such issue that you may find in your rental property is that of the dreaded noise complaint.
Noise complaints are notoriously difficult to deal with. What one person considers an unsuitable level of noise may be seemingly quiet to someone else. Other times, residents simply don't like each other and will use any excuse to complain about the other. As a property owner and landlord, you need to try and run a mediation between people who are at odds with each other over something like noise. The question is, how exactly can you do that when you aren't even living there?
The first thing you should do is make sure to include a clause in the lease about noise. This may just be what the town law is regarding volume levels, but at least there will be something for your tenants to refer to. If it can be proven that one tenant is in breach of this clause, then things are much easier to decide. While minor noises must be expected, especially in a multilevel apartment building, sometimes people are excessively loud. Ask for the tenant bringing the complaint to the table for some form of proof, such as a recording, and see if the complaint continues or not. Sometimes people just need to talk something out and honestly noise complaints don't need to be any different in this regard.
You may experience a problem if a resident has an unusual work schedule, such as night shift or if they are a nurse, or are on call for varying hours. Many times people in these professions will sleep at odd hours to get any sleep they can. It can be very difficult for your residents who follow these schedules to get sleep if others use this time to make a large amount of noise. Asking people to be courteous is just about the only thing you can do in regards to noise levels. The best you can do is hope others will be understanding.

Outdoor Space

Charlotte Properties
Very often, we will talk about what can help to make your rental property more desirable to different tenants. While each area is different, many of the wants or requirements of those who you are renting to can be extremely similar. It is almost impossible to give a list of perks that every landlord should know, but we are doing our best to help to cater to all kinds of different locations. This article is a perfect example of how certain amenities aren't even thoughts for some people or areas.
Outdoor space, however, is something that is almost always wanted. While in some areas it cannot be expected for most price points such as a large city, it is certainly something that people do want. In largely urban or developed areas, outdoor space is often a distant dream to people. If, however, you are renting in a rural area, this will not be a concern for your renters. It will be expected. It all depends on location, as many other things do.
Some renters will feel a large need for usable outdoor space. This may be due to children, animals, jobs or hobbies, or even something like claustrophobia. If you have yard space that the tenant may use, you may want to think about possibly installing a fence. You will have to learn your town's bylaws and always remember to check to see if you need a permit for a fence, especially of a certain height.
Sometimes outdoor space can simply mean a small patio or balcony. Being able to have a chair or two and maybe even a small table outside to drink coffee, read a book, or even grill can be a wonderful feeling for a renter. It also provides a good space for anything that needs open ventilation, such as painting or cleaning with potent chemicals.
Having an outdoor space, if possible, is always a good idea if you are trying to rent an area out. Even if you simply build a platform for your resident outside that they are allowed to use, it can be a great selling point. You never know what a small addition can bring, and this is no exception. If you have the option, it may do you a world of good to offer this to your tenants even if it means a slightly higher rent.

Preventing Eviction By Paying Someone To Leave

Talley Properties
This is a concept which is heavily contested around property investment circles, however we wanted to introduce you to this idea. The whole point of what is known as "cash for keys" is to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of an eviction. Not only are you losing money by having to pay an attorney to evict your tenant, but you are not able to move anyone else into the apartment until they have left which means you are likely losing out on money hand over fist. This is how this process works.
The first thing you would do in this situation is explain to your tenant what is happening. Let them know that you want them to move out and if they do not, you will evict them. Educate them on how an eviction can harm them and explain that it will likely be expensive for both of you. This is why you will pay them a certain amount to move out now. This amount can be whatever you decide, however it is often suggested that somewhere around $400 or $500 will do the trick.
Next, explain that you want the apartment cleaned and any repairs done at least have them pay you for them by the time they are ready to leave. Let them know when you want them to vacate the property. Make sure that you give them enough time to get everything out, but not too much so that they could do more damage. Often thirty days is given, much like in any other process. Make sure that you have a written notice that you have kept a copy of. Once they have moved their things out and cleaned, go in to inspect the property with them to make sure it is in the condition you asked just as you would with any other tenant. Take pictures of how it looks. Now all you need to do is have them sign paperwork that states that they are officially moved out and you can hand over whatever amount of money you agreed to pay them.
While it may seem strange to pay someone to leave, it often does work out in your favor as they pay for repairs and such. Let us know what you think of this process and whether you would ever use it.

Filling Vacancies Part I

Charlotte Properties
The main thing that you want to be able to do as a landlord is fill the vacancies that you may have. This is the easiest expense to avoid as a property owner. Making sure that you have little time in tenant turnover is something that you can work towards in multiple ways. Here are a few things that you need to think about in order to get people into your apartment as soon as possible.
1. Price. Price is always going to be the main sticking point of people looking for a place to live. It is always important to take things like location, amenities, and condition into consideration when it comes to placing a price on your rental property. Ask around or look online and see what other people in your area are charging for something comparable to your apartment. Tenants will often do the same to make sure that they are getting a fair price, so make sure that you don't try and charge too much or your listing will sit there for months.
2. Upfront Fees. Fees that are required upfront are always one of the most difficult things for tenants to pay. While it is standard in many locations to ask for a month of rent and a security deposit along with a pet deposit depending upon the landlord, some listings are shown as requiring a month and a half of rent for a security deposit, the realtor fees, as well as two months of rent upfront. If possible, it may be better for you to work with your tenant and come up with a solution that works for both of you in regards to the fees that are due upon the signing of the lease.
Filling a vacancy in your rental property doesn't have to be a difficult thing, but sometimes no one seems to be coming along that fits with your space. This is a large source of annoyance for many landlords, but you can't let it get the best of you. Sometimes it is best to remember that getting the right tenant can be more important than having someone quickly set into your apartment that you don't really like. Keep reading to see some other ideas that may help you get the right person into your rental space.

Basic Maintenance

Charlotte Properties
There are many things that can be done to help prevent trouble for both you and your tenants. If you are the landlord of a rental property, you want to present yourself as someone who is caring and has their tenant's safety at heart. Although there is no way a single person can think of everything, there are some simple things that you can do to make your tenant feel more at ease.
One of the first things you can do is so simple, many renters forget it: install and check smoke detectors. Make sure that you put smoke detectors the building according to your local fire department's suggestions. If the building already has smoke detectors in it, make sure to test them every month. If you have new tenants moving in, replace the batteries and test the detectors before they settle down in the building. Encourage them to test them when they change their clocks for daylight savings time.
Another simple thing that you can do is to supply a couple of fire extinguishers for your rental property. Although these are a little more expensive than other items on this list, they will still only run you an average of $40 to $50 which is a small price to pay for safety. Simply check to make sure the pressure gauge is in the green and there are no breaks or cracks in the hose to be sure that it is functional. Often, landlords will put one in the kitchen and one at the other end of the apartment, perhaps in a closet.
Another thing that you can do before a tenant moves in is purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector. Although carbon monoxide is less common, it still accounts for an average of 430 unintentional deaths annually in this country alone. Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it is likely to go unnoticed unless there is a detector in the building. They cost around $20 to $25 on average and may also be mandated by your town. There are even some that are smoke detectors at the same time.
These are only a couple of ideas, but they are some of the easiest and quickest to do in order to keep your residents safe. Make sure that everything is functional before they move in, though.

Pet Policies

Charlotte Properties
If there is one bit of truth that I can write to you today, it is that Americans love their pets. For many people, myself included, pets are family members no matter what anyone else says. Although my current apartment does not allow pets, I would not want to move anywhere else with a no animal policy. I also know that I am not alone in this. I was speaking to a woman recently who stated that she would rather be homeless than have to give up her dog and this is not an abnormal attitude. So where does that leave you as a rental property owner? Well, it certainly isn't a simple decision.
The good thing for you is that you have options. You may put your foot down and say no pets what so ever. Other landlords say that they will allow pets as long as they are under a certain size. Some landlords will only allow fish or small lizards but nothing with fur or that will get out of a cage. I saw a listing recently that would allow any animal as long as it fit in a bag that you could carry. While I am sure that some people will take advantage of that to allow animals through that the poster did not intend, it is certainly an interesting way of putting the pet policy. At the end of the day, you do have the final decision but how should you prepare to make it?
One of the most important things to think about is the type of flooring that you have in your apartment. Many landlords will not allow animals with fur if they have carpet in their property. While some people may think this is ridiculous, they will still have to respect your decision. Hard wood flooring is a bit more forgiving with some things than carpet, but this can also be said of human residents as well. This is especially true if the humans have a baby.
At the end of the day, you get to make the decision about having a pet in your apartment. Think to yourself though, if you are a pet owner, whether or not you would want to be somewhere without your cat or dog or snake or whatever it is you own. I think that is the best way to make your decision.

Hurricanes

Talley Properties
With all of the coverage on the news and the computer, I am sure by now that you have heard of the devastation that Harvey and Irma brought. While places like North Carolina do not often get hit directly with these severe storms, there was a point in time that some models thought Irma would do just that. With Jose and Katia coming in right behind Irma, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the well-being of your rental property and those who live in there.
One of the first things that I will suggest to you is making sure that you have storm grade windows in your apartments. If winds are severe enough, or trees nearby are dead, you run a high risk of having at least one window broken. While this can happen no matter what level of thickness your windows are, it is always better to have storm windows in. These seal better and are sturdier than normal windows and you will want all of the protection you have.
Making sure that your tenant has renters insurance that covers flood damage is something that is imperative. Even if you are not in a place that normally floods, you never know what can happen when Mother Nature decides to hit. Having protection yourself against flooding or downed trees is something that you should double check with your insurance agent. Many things are not covered in basic coverage packages, but it is well worth the extra money to make sure that you are fully protected against whatever may be thrown at you.
Having your tenants figure out an emergency plan is another thing that is certainly worth the time it will take. This way, they will be able to alert you if something goes wrong. One issue many people in Texas are having is the fact that the tenants and landlords did not effectively communicate through the issues before or after the storm hit.
The final thing that we want to remind you of in regards to hurricanes is that your tenants are human the same as you. If something happens, they have also lost their living space. The main thing is that you band together in order to help each other through the destruction. We hope you won't need to worry about any of these things, but you simply never know what will happen next.

Ways to Set Your Listing Apart Part II

Charlotte Properties
If you have not yet read the first part of this two part article, we highly suggest that you do. Trying to get the attention of your prospective tenants is the most important thing that you can attempt when it comes to having a rental property. In the previous part, we mentioned two of the more important but more obvious ways to catch the eye of people when they are scrolling through the listings online. Here are a couple more that may not be as normal, but after all isn't that the point?
1. Offer A Bonus. This can mean any number of things, so don't get too worried just yet. Some people offer a month of rent free if their resident pays the rest of the year on time, which is always something that will grab the attention of someone reading. That free keyword is something that will catch anyone's eye, but it doesn't have to be a month of rent. As I was scrolling through listings earlier for myself, I found one which was offering a free bike with a lease signing. Sometimes you will see ones that offer free pieces of furniture and although most people will know that it's just something the owner doesn't want to move, it is still a deal. See what you have and make it work for you.
2. Renovations. Even if you haven't recently redone the entire property, you can still mention small things that have been done. If you have recently replaced all of the screens in the apartment, then mention that! Perhaps you just put new blinds in. These are cheap but people will still love to see that word "new". It doesn't have to be something fancy to catch the eye of those who are looking through these listings, you just need to know what keywords to use. Mentioning newer features and renovations is one of those things.
Although this is a relatively short list between the two articles, it really can make all of the difference in the world for what you are trying to do. Apartment listings can run together after a while and you need to have something that can set yours apart from the rest. Try using some of these ideas and see just how much quicker you have a response that interests you.

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