No matter what you do, there will always be something that someone complains about. This may be something small like not being allowed to make more copies of the apartment keys, or it may be something completely unavoidable like a busted pipe behind the wall. This is especially true of older buildings or homes, as they do tend to have more issues with things like the plumbing and electrical. This will happen no matter how much renovation you do, as even brand new things can break down. What really matters is how you handle these complaints when they are presented to you. One of the first things that needs to be mentioned is that you should not get annoyed at your tenant for a legitimate complaint. For example, if it is the summer time and the air conditioner that you supplied does not work, that is something that your tenant may complain about. They will likely mention it to you and if this occurs, there is probably going to be annoyance from them as it is hot and finding out there is no refuge would get anyone angry. Firing back with more anger will not get much of anything done. Another thing that needs to be said is that you should always get back to these complaints as quickly as possible. Nothing is quite as aggravating as having a legitimate issue and not getting a response from someone as this is happening. While you may not think one of these complaints is really a problem, it most likely is if your tenant is mentioning it to you. While it is true that some people will complain just to complain, this is less common than most people will try to make you believe. While dealing with someone else’s complaint is not pleasant, it is something that you need to expect when you become a landlord. Hopefully there won’t be too many of them but you never know what is going to happen when a new tenant moves in, just like they won’t know what is going to happen when they move into a new place. Until things settle, the best thing that we can recommend is patience. Hopefully the complaints will calm down once your tenants settle into their new lives.
Summer is hot. While we all know this, it can sometimes seem like we forget just how hot it can get until it rolls around again. This week for example is going to see a heat wave for much of the northeast and there are advisories for a lot of locations. Given that this is the weekend before the Fourth of July, there is even more concern among those in the medical community in regards to heat related illnesses. One of the things that we recommend the most is to make sure that you can get into an area with air conditioning. If you own property, it is fairly necessary for you to have an air conditioner in the North Carolina summers. This holds true whether you own or rent your current residence. While there is no way for you to force your resident to use the air conditioner in your rental property, it is extremely important that you give them the option of it. Safe and clean air conditioners are imperative to the physical health of people given this area of the world during this time of the year. In fact, in 2016, 94 people died in America due to health related illnesses and Maryland has already recorded one for this year. It is certainly not something to put off. If your resident raises concerns about their air conditioner, you may need to fix or replace it yourself depending upon your lease. Remember that sometimes an air conditioner will still blow air out, but that doesn’t always mean that it cools. Listen to your resident when they talk about something like this, as it may be dangerous if they don’t have access to cooler air. This is true even if the air conditioner works well but there is something in it like mold. High levels of mold in the air can make a location uninhabitable and may cost you far more than the expense of a new air conditioner if it isn’t taken care of. Air conditioners are a necessity for many people, especially those at risk like the elderly or the very young. If you have a resident who doesn’t think that their air conditioner is working, listen to them and work together to get the issue resolved. After all, you would only need to deal with it the next year if you didn’t do so now.
If your rental property or apartment complex has a pool, it is likely more sought after than those that don’t. After an experience in my apartment complex, I can assert that these statements are not said lightly. Due to an unresolved issue with a certain resident, my apartment complex board of directors felt it to be safest to close the pool until the problem was taken care of. This caused a near riot among many of the residents who felt it unfair, despite it was due to a safety concern. Here are a couple of things that you can try to keep your pool area safe. 1. Have An Attendant. Many places will require you to have some kind of a pool attendant, even if they are not a lifeguard. This is for the safety of your residents, as the attendant can turn away those who do not live in the complex. Always make sure that the attendant can call someone in case of a dispute, though. 2. Require Paperwork. If you are a complex with many people, having your residents fill out paperwork is always a good idea. This may be anything from stating that they know the pool exists to a waver saying if they are hurt they cannot sue. My complex requires paperwork which, when submitted, gets you a bracelet that will let you into the pool area. This is a quick way of making sure that only those who live there can get in. 3. Test Daily. Depending upon your area, you may be required to test the pool water daily, weekly, or only on days the pool is open. For the best results and the most consistent results, however, we suggest you test the water daily. This will make sure that your residents are safe and that the water is always the best quality that you can make it. 4. First Aid Equipment. Pools can be dangerous, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit at the pool. These can help everything from small cuts to broken limbs. These are always good to have and we cannot suggest them enough. Having a pool on your property is always a great time, but a lot of work does go into them. Keeping them safe for everyone is something that we all want to see. It is always more fun when you know your residents are safe!
While the winter is known for creating weather that can really throw you off your game, the summer can do so as well. While thunderstorms may be nice to watch from the safety of inside, they can certainly be dangerous. Here are a couple of ideas for you on how to keep your residents safe during inclement weather. 1. Watch The Trees. Trees can attract lightning since they are likely the tallest things in the area. I was on a walk around my neighborhood over the weekend and saw a tree that had recently been struck by lightning. While I found the streak of black all the way down the tree fascinating, I also know how dangerous it can be. While any tree can catch fire after this happens, it is much more likely to happen if the tree is already dead. These trees are also generally lighter than others and may post a threat in high wind storms. Make sure to keep an eye on trees on your property and take down any that have died. 2. Power Outage Plans. Always encourage your residents to have a plan in case the power goes out. Suggest to them non-perishable food and to keep candles or flashlights on hand in case the power is out for an extended period of time. Sometimes the power can go out in extreme heat, so suggest a battery powered fan as well. While power outages can be fun for a little while, it normally isn’t too good if it stretches longer than an hour or so. Provide your residents with the numbers of the electric company as well so they can report any power outages and hopefully receive updates about when the power will come back on. 3. Out Of The Pool. If you have a pool, make sure that it is closed if there is any chance of a thunderstorm. Although people may complain if it is a hot day, it is better to make sure your residents are safe than in water when there is lightning around. While weather can be incredible to watch, we do need to remember that it can be extremely dangerous to be out in. Even if you are inside, some things may be concerning when it comes to severe weather. Make sure that your residents are safe, and they will almost certainly appreciate the concern.
We mentioned in a previous article that the summer is one of the most common times for people to experience break-ins at their homes. This is generally because criminals know that people travel on vacation around this time of the year. This basically leaves your home as an open invitation to these people if you do not take the proper precautions. Here are a couple of easy and cheap things you can do to make sure that you are not the target of a home invasion. 1. Let Your Neighbors Know. If you live close enough to someone where they can keep an eye on your house or apartment from theirs, let them know that you are heading out for a couple of days. This way, they will know that no one should be coming into or out of your front door. If they do see any suspicious activity or people, they can alert the police and hopefully minimize any damage that may be done. 2. Get A House Sitter. If asking your neighbors to keep an eye out isn’t an option, you may want to consider getting a house sitter. I did this a lot when I was a teenager for friends who were going away. This meant that the house was not empty and any pets could stay in the home which greatly cut down on any price the family would have to pay. Just make sure that the person is responsible and hide any alcohol or firearms if they are underage. 3. Have A Light Timer. One of the easiest tips that a house is vacant is a lack of lights on. You can purchase a timer from almost any store and plug it in so that it turns your lights on and off at certain times every day. If you want to get fancy with it, you can even get one that works through WiFi which you can control from anywhere in the world. These are three of the easiest ways to help prevent your home from being burgled. While nothing is foolproof or certain, these are some good places to start. Always remember to keep an eye out for those around you, especially if you live in an apartment building or complex. If someone else’s safety is compromised, yours might be as well.
Now that the weather is warming up, many of us are thinking and planning our vacations. Going to the beach, visiting family, or even just taking a couple of days away is something that we all look forward to after the winter each year. Hopefully you are in a position to take a nice, well deserved trip and are currently making plans or looking forward to something that has already been decided upon. Unfortunately, there is another thing that many of us need to think about over the summer. Thieves. Late spring and summer is the time that most burglaries occur. This is because criminals know that you are looking forward to leaving and may even be watching your home to see when you are gone. It often happens that burglars will even break into an area while you are at work, as rarely they will choose a location at random. While not every break in is preventable, there are some things that you can do to help combat any criminal activity that may occur at your home. One of the best things that you can do is let your neighbors know that you are leaving for a couple of days. This way they can keep an eye on your home while you are away and report any unusual activity to either you or the police. If someone notices that there is movement in your house and they know you are away, then they know the chances are that it isn’t you. This means that they may be able to thwart a burglary and it may actually protect your belongings. Even if all they do is bring in your mail, it can help to keep a target off of your home from the prying eyes of criminals. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be explaining a few ways that you can protect your property from people that have negative ideas. These articles will help you get ideas about how you can keep your possessions and home safe, even during this time of the year. It may also be a good idea to pass these along to your tenants, as you want to keep them and your rental properties safe as well.
Now that spring is officially here, there are a couple of things that you may want to start doing if you own a rental property. With the weather warming up and people venturing outdoors again after such a long and chilly winter, there are many different things to change or update to increase curb appeal. While there may be lists that are pages long of things like this for you to work on, here are a couple to give some thought to on those really nice days when you want to be outside. Power Washing. After the winter with all of the salt and dirty snow, your rental property may need a good power wash. Many places will rent out a power washer for a day and they are relatively cheap to operate as well as rent. Obviously it is better if you have a friend who owns one, and the beauty of social media is that you can easily ask around. Check classified ads if you are interested in buying one, you never know what will pop up! Planting. Getting your hands down into the dirt in the beginning of the spring can be a great feeling and extremely rewarding. You may want to plant a couple of flowers around the lawns or maybe a tree or two for shade. You may even want to create a memorial garden of some kind, either one that is for someone specific or one that others can use if you own an apartment complex. Perhaps you have been thinking about starting a communal vegetable garden. Ask around with your residents and see if there is any interest in keeping a couple of plants and herbs alive for the community to use. Paving. This is always a big one after a rough winter if you have an apartment complex with a parking lot. Plows and snow wreak havoc on asphalt, and so you may be thinking about patching some of those pot holes left behind. While it is certainly expensive, it will be more than worth it in the long run for you and your residents as well as any guests they may have over. These are only three things that you may want to consider doing now that the weather is warming up. Stay tuned for a couple more ideas if you want to keep improving your rental property.
With the advent of channels like HGTV, more and more people are beginning to think that they are home decorators and restorers. We see constantly that people are getting more steadfast in their ideas of what a good home is based upon television shows instead of looking around in person. While it isn’t always a bad thing to know what you want before you make an investment, this can give some property owners a bit of trouble if someone is determined to rent a place that looks like it’s off of Fixer Upper complete with farmhouse sink. Trends in homes come and go just like with anything else. Unlike with wardrobe changes, however, these aren’t as easy to bend to. They are also no where near as cheap. Right now, most people are looking for open floor plans as a base. While this is fine for people who are renting out newer homes, it becomes increasingly more difficult the older your property is. My parent’s house was built in 1964 and I cannot imagine a way that an open floor plan would be possible. A good friend has a house that dates back to 1887 and while you could create an open floor plan there, it would take so much work and destroy much of the charm that comes with older homes. So how do you balance between the actual structure of your rental property and modern trends that will likely change in a decade of so? Well, that’s fully up to you. Each property is different so only you can tell if it needs that drastic an upgrade or not. Sometimes something as simple as pulling down old wallpaper or updating a bathroom can give the area a fresh feel without having to spend thousands of dollars knocking out walls only to find that you can’t do what you wanted because one of them is a supporting wall. Making sure that you keep your rental home updated is very different than keeping up with every trend in home design. While you can do that if you have the time and money, it is normally best to go with a general feel and freshen things up every now and then. You may be amazed at what some fresh paint and tiles can do to a place, so give that a try before jumping to gutting your entire property.