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Property Management Blog

Published on Saturday, March 28, 2009

Concerns With Rentals

 Living in hired accommodations is usually made out to be living in subordination to the owner of the accommodation. Well, the tenant should know that she should definitely abide by the rules set by the owner, but only as long as they are fair enough. A tenant need not stretch herself much to oblige to each and every command of the owner if she is not comfortable by doing so. There are certain issues related to rentals that are addressed out here.

Many times the owners compel the tenants to sign some documents which may be related to the facilities that they offer. The owner might be sending a notice regarding the amount of electricity or water a tenant has used in a particular month. He might be also notifying the tenant about revised rates of monthly payments and about any new rules that he might want to implement currently.

It should be borne in mind that the tenant of the rentals has the right to refuse signing any document if he wishes to. According to the present rules governing the owner and tenant rights, any modifications introduced by the owner should come with a minimum of a one month period of notice. Abrupt notices should not be given and if given, the tenant has the full right to not refuse consenting to the clauses laid out in the notice.

It is rather a convention that notices are meant to be implemented as soon as they are sent to the recipient. It is not mandatory that the recipient sign the notices in order to make them functional. The owner on the other hand has the liberty to send the tenant as many notices he wants to, in as many ways he wants to, at any point of time. He can e-mail a notice, send it by post, deliver it personally to the tenant at the rentals or send it to the tenant in any other way; simultaneously.

For leased accommodations, any modifications can be made effective only after the termination of the lease period. If implementing the changes is mandatory, it should be done with the consent of the tenant. In any case, the tenant should not be compelled to sign any document against her will. However, if a leased agreement gets converted to a monthly tenancy plan, the notice period should be of thirty days.

There are certain norms to be followed by both the owner and the tenant of the rentals regarding the usage of utility facilities. These norms might differ from state to state. In some states, the house owners need to provide accommodations with utility features like the gas stove and electricity. But the tenant is required to pay the bills for these personally. The owner can opt to pay the bill on behalf of the tenant and ask the tenant to pay him a predetermined amount every month for the provided facilities. The clauses regarding the payment of the bills should be clearly stated in the contract signed between the owner and the tenant and should be strictly followed.

If the owner of the rentals agrees to pay the bills for the tenant and there is no mention of the maximum limit of usage, the owner cannot charge the tenant extra money for heavily using any of the resources. For limited usage of the resources by the tenant the owner should specifically mention the relevant clause in the tenancy contract and charge the tenant more if he uses the resources beyond the mentioned limit. 

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Author: Web Master

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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