There are good tenants and bad tenants. A tenant that is paying his rent on time and taking care of the property is valuable and every effort should be taken to retain them. Dramatically raising the rent or deferring maintenance can cause a good tenant to move and you are left with a chance of lost rent or not finding a replacement tenant as good as the present one. If there has been a thorough screening of a prospective tenant (credit check, references and verification of income and employment), then they are usually going to be a good tenant. It is important to remember that bad things can happen to good tenants. They can lose their job, get divorced, or have an emergency and if you are helpful and understanding of their situation they will often be willing to assist with getting the property re-rented.
Bad tenants (usually those not thoroughly screened) are those that continuously pay late, sneak pets and unauthorized roommates into the property and don’t take care of their responsibilities of maintaining the rental unit. Written requirements addressing these issues should always be included in the lease agreement. Eviction for non-compliance of the lease is always costly after the tenant has possession of the property and can result in lost rent and damages.
There are good and bad owners of rental property also. Good owners appreciate a good tenant and quickly address maintenance issues. They will reimburse a tenant for materials who is willing to make minor repairs themselves. A good owner will upgrade appliances, carpet and paint as needed. Bad owners are those that do not keep up with needed repairs and maintenance or those that expect a tenant to pay for the replacement of aging or worn out items not damaged by the tenant. The Florida Landlord Tenant Act protects tenants as well as owner’s rights. Despite these Laws, sometimes issues need to be resolved in the courts when an owner and tenant can’t agree on a deputed issue.
Believe it or not, there are good and bad property managers. The best property managers are those that have been in the business for a long time and have kept up with their education and belong to professional management organizations such as The National Association of Residential Property Managers. Florida managers must hold a Real Estate license and it helps if they specialize in property management and not sales. There is so much to learn through experience and seasoned managers have seen the tricks and know how to avoid problems that can be costly to an owner of rental property. Bad managers do not concentrate on management, do not communicate with their owners and are not proficient in the rules and statutes of rental management. They do not diligently screen tenants and properly enforce the rules and statutes entrusted to them.
What about the ugly? An ugly property will not rent. Clean and paint, replace worn out carpet and appliances, and make sure the yard is cut, edged and hedges trimmed. A clean well maintained property will reflect a good owner and produce a good tenant that cares about where they live. An ugly run down rental unit reflects a bad owner that doesn’t care about his property or a tenant relationship. Usually, anyone wanting to rent a property in poor condition is probably going to be a bad problem tenant.
-J. Matthew Scheel | Owner of Sundance Rental Management, Inc.