Property management in a normal market is a complex industry. There are several complicated moving parts from understanding the current real estate market to staying informed of changing leasing and fair housing laws. Now, take that complex market and add the impact of COVID-19, and property management has become a moving target.
What do you need to know regarding leasing and property management in Austin during the COVID-19 concerns?
Tenants who are having trouble paying rent or other fees due to COVID-19 complications can establish a temporary, flexible payment plan with property owners and landlords. As a Texas REALTOR®, you can access the agreement form by clicking here.
Although tenants have the right to ask for assistance in payments, they cannot refuse access to the property in fear of virus-related consequences. They must follow current agreements for entering the property, and if property owners choose to screen those viewing the home, they must follow fair housing guidelines. However, if the tenant is at a higher risk of developing an illness, they may have different rights. When considering accessing a home with a fearful tenant, property owners and managers should move slowly and carefully with respect for the safety of everyone involved.
Residents struggling with the effects of current health concerns may find themselves well underwater; however, the Texas Supreme Court has suspended all eviction hearings through May 18th, 2020, as well as put other restrictions in place such as prohibiting posting evictions through May 25th, 2020.
An owner and property manager must pay close attention to evolving guidelines in handling tenant nonpayment issues. As health concerns twist and turn current tenant rights and leasing laws, income property owners need to stay up to date on the latest legislation.
If you have questions or concerns regarding property management and rental homes, please do not hesitate to contact Dona Brown with Talk Property Management. Our years of experience make us a reliable resource in Austin. 512-721-1094.
Real estate investing is a fun opportunity, but in order to make sure you’re successful, you need to be the best landlord and property manager you can be. Not sure where to begin? We’re here to help.
- Lease targeting – Schedule lease end dates for times when the market is going to be particularly full of potential tenants looking for a new place to live. This decreases your risk of having open spaces and no tenants to live in your properties.
- Plan ahead – We all know that problems spring up when we least expect them, so be prepared. Make a plan for how you’ll take care of repairs when you’re out of town and be sure to set aside 10% of your rental income for unexpected repairs and emergencies.
- Happy tenants are the best tenants – Make sure that you take care of any repairs promptly and that you are easy to communicate with. Keep the property in good shape and stay respectful.
- Have office hours – This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one listed. Have designated hours that you can be reached and encourage your tenants to contact you during those specific hours.
- Encourage good behavior – If a current tenant refers another great tenant, be sure to reward them with movie tickets, a gift basket, or a discounted month of rent to thank them.
- Inspections before and after moving – Document the home before a tenant moves in and after they move out, and consider going a step further by taking video logs for your records. Have the tenant document and sign off on any damages they see before moving in.
- Ensure you’re insured – Check with the state to make sure you have all the proper insurance needed for your properties.
- Make payments easy – A lot of people find that paying rent online is easier and more reliable, so look into if that may be an option for you.
- Competitive rental rates – Keep a pulse on what rental properties near you are charging and take into consideration your location. You want to be charging close to what others in the area are as well.
- Have a team behind you – It takes a village to raise a baby, and it takes another one to take care of a home. Make sure you have professionals you can count on to help you with repairs, answer your questions, and give you legal advice.
These ten steps are just the beginning to properly managing your property. That’s why we’re here! We make it easy to keep your investment secure and make sure everything is running smoothly. Take the stress out of owning multiple homes, and let TALK to do the heavy lifting for you. Give us a call or email us with any questions.