January 25 2019
If you’re considering a property management career, something you’ll quickly realize is just how important your lease paperwork is. A lease is a kind of contract, and it sets out requirements for both the leaser and the property’s management team. That’s why it’s absolutely essential for you to understand exactly what’s on the leases you or your company hand out to your residents. If you don’t, you may end up in trouble with your manager or even find yourself on the wrong side of a civil lawsuit.
1. Make Rent Payments Easy
The centerpiece of any lease is the payment the renter makes to the management. In exchange for this payment, management handles the cost of the building, property taxes, insurance payments, major repair costs, possibly some utilities, and so on. Most leases have a clause about late fees to encourage residents to pay on time, but you should also make it as easy as possible for that to happen.
Make sure there’s a public drop box on the property where residents can deposit their checks even when the office is closed. Have a card reader in the office so people can pay with debit or credit cards. Set up an online payment system that can accept direct transfers from bank accounts. You should also provide a payment window of several days to give people more opportunities to remember the payment and get the money they need.
2. Be Specific About Subleasing
Life can often get complicated when it comes to roommates and family members. A bad roommate may need to leave in a hurry, a good friend might need a place to live for a month or two, or a child might move out and a family finds itself with a spare room. These sorts of things happen all the time, and so your lease agreement should be very clear about subleasing, adding new people to the lease, and removing people from the lease.
If you allow subleasing, you should make sure anyone who stays in one of your units goes through the same screening process you put regular leasers through. You may also want to impose a fee to prevent your residents from doing it too often.
There are plenty more tips and important facts about leases, but these two are essential no matter where you want your property management career to go. From apartments to single-family homes, it’s important to create solid leases, be specific about who gets to go where, and make sure it’s as easy as possible to make rent payments on time. Do that and you may find your property management career taking off.