Jacksonville Property Management Blog
Finding a good tenant for your rental property will determine whether you are a successful landlord or one who is constantly dealing with frustrations and disputes. The tenant screening process is an important way to separate the highly qualified tenants from those you’d be better without. Make sure you have a thorough and consistent process in place, and if you don’t – contact a property manager.
Providing an Application
Your screening process starts with a thorough application. Most tenants prefer to apply online because it’s fast, efficient, and easy. Make sure you use an application that has been reviewed by a property manager or comes from a reputable organization that supports landlords and property owners. It should gather all the necessary information and provide you with permission to conduct a background check, a criminal check, and a credit check.
Screening Criteria – Credit
Pulling a credit report is always necessary, but don’t focus too much on the credit score. What you’re really looking for is the credit history, so you can see whether this applicant pays bills on time or just lets them slide. You want to be careful of any tenant who has judgments pending from lawsuits or a lot of debt that isn’t being paid. Always check for past evictions.
Screening Criteria – Employment and Income
A good tenant is gainfully employed, and can provide an employer reference. You also want to verify how much income is earned. Generally, you’re looking for someone who earns at least three times the monthly rent. So, if you rent your property for $1,200 per month, you are looking for a tenant or tenants who earn at least $3,600 per month. Validate the income by speaking with the employer, looking at pay stubs, or collecting bank statements or tax records.
Screening Criteria – Landlord References
Talking to current and former landlords is an important part of the tenant screening process. This is the best opportunity you have to find out what kind of tenant your applicant has been in the past. Verify that the applicant did live there, and then ask how much rent was paid, whether it was paid on time, and if any damage was left behind after vacancy. You can ask if the security deposit was refunded and whether there were any pets or lease violations.
If you have questions about tenant screening or anything pertaining to property management in Jacksonville, please contact us at Heth Realty.
One of the best reasons to work with a Jacksonville property management company is so that you’ll have access to an expert in Florida landlord tenant law. If you’re not current on the local and state laws, you’re putting your rental property at risk and exposing yourself to a lot of liability from tenants and other parties.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Florida Landlord Tenant Act provides all the information you need on what you’re responsible for as a landlord and rental property owner. It also lists the tenant’s rights and responsibilities while living in your property. It includes the requirement that landlords provide a safe and habitable home and that tenants pay rent on time according to their lease. You should use this law for guidance when you’re screening tenants, signing leases, and conducting inspections throughout the term of the tenancy.
Handling Tenant Disputes
If a dispute arises with a tenant, you’ll need to refer to your lease first. You’ll also want to consult the landlord tenant laws so you know how to proceed without violating the law or falling out of compliance. Some of the most common areas of conflict include security deposits, tenant damage, and lease violations such as unauthorized pets or people.
The Benefits of Professional Management
Professional property managers spend a lot of time educating themselves on the details involved in all Florida laws pertaining to landlords, tenants, and rental properties. We keep up with changes in the law, and we partner with attorneys, insurance professionals, and tax accountants to make sure that you and your property are protected. Trying to manage your own home without understanding the Landlord Tenant Act is a dangerous enterprise. A single and unintentional mistake can have consequences that may cost you thousands of dollars. Whether you violate a fair housing law with your marketing materials, take too long fixing an important repair, or neglect to return a security deposit on time, you can be taken to court and forced to pay punitive damages. Work with someone who knows the laws so you don’t have to know them yourself.
If you have any questions about how to stay out of legal trouble, please contact us at Heth Realty. We’d be happy to tell you more.
Your best chance at avoiding tenant evictions is to thoroughly screen your applicants so you are sure to place a resident who is responsible and has never been evicted before. However, even good tenants can run into financial problems that may cause them to stop paying rent. The eviction process in Jacksonville, Florida is fairly straightforward. However, you must follow it carefully or risk spending more time and money than is necessary.
Serve a Three-Day Notice
As soon as rent is late, you should try to contact your tenant to find out if there’s a problem. Don’t waste too much time chasing your tenants down, however. Immediately serve the Three-Day Notice so you don’t stall the eviction process. The notice must state the amount that is owed, and the date that it is due before further action is taken. Serve this to your tenants directly, post it on the door, or send it via mail. If you send it by mail, you must add five days before you can move forward.
Filing a Complaint in Court
It’s possible that your tenants will pay what they owe within that three-day period. It’s unlikely that they will vacate the residence. If you don’t hear from them at all, your next step is to file for the eviction in court. You’ll need to go to the courthouse in the county where your rental property is located. You’ll get a hearing date, and the tenant will be served with a copy of your complaint. The tenants will have five days to respond to that compliant, and then both parties will show up for the eviction hearing. Make sure you bring all your documentation to that hearing, including the lease, your Three-Day Notice, and any accounting records that demonstrate what is owed.
Removing the Tenants
If you can prove that your tenants are in violation of their lease, the court will set a date that the tenants need to vacate the property. At that point, you can receive possession of the home, and begin getting it ready for new tenants. Sometimes, tenants don’t leave by the required date. In that case, you’ll need to contapixact the sheriff to physically remove the tenants and their belongings.
A Jacksonville property management company can help you navigate this legal process and prepare you to find and screen a better tenant. If you have any problems with tenants who aren’t paying, or questions about how to evict, please contact us at Heth Realty.
Rental property maintenance is part of being a landlord, and it’s a cost that you need to factor into your long term investment budget. Most maintenance and repair work falls into one of three categories; preventative, annual, and emergency maintenance. Make sure your tenants know exactly how to report issues to you, and be prompt about fixing the things that need attention in your home.
Managing Preventative Maintenance
The best way to keep your house maintenance costs low is by taking care of preventative maintenance. When you handle a small problem, you’re keeping it from becoming a large problem. For example, when a tenant reports that a sink is leaking, get a handyman over there to address the leak immediately. If you don’t, you’ll have water damage and maybe mold to deal with later on. Check for preventative maintenance issue when you’re inspecting your property and getting it ready for a new tenant. When you stay on top of these repairs, you save money.
Managing Annual Maintenance
Annual maintenance is also an important way to keep your repair costs low and your investment property in excellent condition. Air conditioning is critical in Jacksonville, because it’s very hot for most of the year. So have your cooling system serviced at least once a year. Clean out the gutters, and have your plumbing and electrical systems inspected. Setting up a schedule for annual maintenance will keep you on track and alert you to any potential problems that could become expensive.
Managing Emergency Maintenance
When you have the benefit of professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida, you don’t have to worry about emergency maintenance. Your property manager will take care of any anything that happens unexpectedly. If you don’t have a property manager, make sure you’re responsive to your tenants, even if it’s the middle of the night or a holiday weekend. Hot water heaters will explode, trees will fall through roofs and catastrophes will occur that need immediate attention. Without a property manager, you’ll need to be prepared to handle these stressful and chaotic situations at your rental property.
Using a Jacksonville property management company will ensure your maintenance and repair needs are taken care of swiftly and affordably. Your professional manager will know when to dispatch a handyman for a quick fix, and when a licensed and insured contractor is necessary to tackle a larger project. If you have any questions about handling maintenance at your rental property, or property management in Jacksonville generally, please contact us at Heth Realty.
One of the biggest mistakes that many landlords make is that they are reactive instead of proactive when it comes to collecting rent. Jacksonville property management companies like Heth Realty have the advantage of using rent collection software to make the process efficient, easy for the tenants, and successful in bringing in rent on time every month. When you’re collecting rent, be consistent and avoid letting payments slide because you want your tenants to like you.
Create a Consistent Rent Collection Policy
Your lease should indicate when rent is due, how much is due, and what the consequences are for late payments. When these expectations are clearly spelled out, your tenants cannot claim that they didn’t know where they were supposed to pay or when their payment was due. Enforce your rent collection policies and be consistent. If you let the rent come in late one month, you are essentially inviting your tenants to pay late every month. That’s not good for your relationship or your cash flow.
Treat Your Rental Property Like a Business
Sometimes owners will become friendly with their tenants, and then it gets awkward when you find yourself trying to collect late rent. Your tenant should not be your buddy. If you get emotionally invested in the relationship with your renters, it’s going to be difficult for you to run your rental property like a business. If you find that you cannot be professional and businesslike when it comes to dealing with your tenants and enforcing the rental due dates and late fees, you need to get professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida. A property manager can remove the emotional aspect of the relationship, and keep you out of the rent collection process entirely.
Have a Process for Collecting Past Due Rent
When rent is officially late, which means the due date and any grace period has come and gone, you need to immediately begin collecting past due rent. Send a letter, make a phone call, and do whatever your lease says you will do. If there’s a late fee associated, make sure you collect it. If you aren’t aggressive in collecting the rent that is owed, tenants will feel like they can take advantage of you, and you’ll be struggling to get the rent paid throughout the entire lease term.
We have an excellent process in place that ensures our landlords and property owners get their money on time every month. We use our rent collection software to track and accept online payments and implement a collection schedule when rent is late. If you’d like some Jacksonville property management help, please contact us at Heth Realty today.
Florida landlords need to be very careful when it comes to handling the security deposits paid by their tenants. You need to know how much to charge for security deposits, where to hold it, what you can use that deposit for, and how quickly you need to return it at the end of the lease period. If you don’t have any experience with security deposits, talk to a Jacksonville property management company. Otherwise, you’re taking on a lot of unnecessary legal and financial liability.
How Much to Charge for Security Deposits
Most landlords charge the equivalent of one month’s rent when they are collecting a security deposit. If you have a tenant with pets, or your screening process has revealed that this tenant is more of a risk because of poor credit or property damage issues in the past, you might want to charge a little more. There is no limit to what you can charge according to Florida law, but don’t make the deposit so high that you discourage otherwise good tenants from renting your property.
Holding the Security Deposit
You are required to hold the security deposit in a Florida bank, separate from your other funds. You cannot let the tenant’s money co-mingle with your own, and you cannot use those funds for your own purposes. If you hold the money in an interest-bearing account, you need to report it to the state monthly and pay the accrued interest to your tenant annually and at the end of the lease term.
Security Deposit Timelines
When the tenant leaves your property in excellent condition and you plan to return the full security deposit, you need to do that within 15 days of the tenant moving out. If you’re going to keep some of the deposit to pay for damage or repairs, you’ll have to send the tenant written notification of that intent within 30 days of the tenant moving out. Explain why, and provide a detailed accounting. If you do not pay attention to these timelines and requirements, you will have to give back the full deposit, regardless of the damage that was left. This is an area where property management in Jacksonville, Florida can help you. If we fail to manage the security deposit return properly, we will pay it back to the tenant so your own funds are protected. As experienced property managers, we handle security deposits and tenant disputes all the time, so we’re confident we’ll get it right.
If you have any questions about Jacksonville property management or how to collect security deposits, please contact us at Heth Realty. We’d be happy to tell you more.
Pricing rental property correctly is critical to avoiding long vacancy times and finding a great tenant for your property. If you’re not sure how to determine rental price, be sure to seek some Jacksonville property management advice. Many landlords price their homes too high, and that results in the property sitting vacant on the market. An unrented property costs you rental income. Others price their homes too low, which also costs you money and gives you a lower return on your investment overall. A few things can be done to ensure you’re in a competitive and profitable rental range.
Conduct a Comparative Market Analysis
In order to price your property correctly, you need to know what other homes are renting for. This will require you to analyze the current rental market and compare your home to those that are also on the market. Look at properties in the same neighborhood as yours, and similar in size, amenities, and condition. It’s very important that you compare similar properties only. It doesn’t matter what the four-bedroom house with a swimming pool is renting for when you have a two bedroom on the market.
Finding Relevant Data
Not all landlords know where to look when they’re finding home prices. It’s a good idea to check Zillow and rental sites like it, but remember that what a property is listed for is not necessarily what it’s going to rent for. They might be overpriced, and you don’t want to use incorrect estimates. This is one area where professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida can help you. Property managers spend a lot of time studying the market so they can accurately price the homes they manage. They will know how to price your property so that it rents quickly to excellent tenants.
Utilize the Multiple Listing Service
Another great resource that’s only available to real estate agents and property managers is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This will give you information that’s far more reliable than what you’ll find elsewhere on the Internet. You won’t have to worry about dated or delayed information that can be misleading. The MLS will give you a good idea of what tenants are willing to pay for a property like yours.
If you’re not sure how to set up a rental property and attach an accurate price to it, contact us at Heth Realty. We handle Jacksonville property management for owners and investors like you.
Before you list your home for rent, you need to make sure it’s in excellent condition so that prospective tenants will see it as a desirable place to live. This is one of the most essential parts of Jacksonville property management. Make sure you take care of any necessary maintenance, create outstanding curb appeal, and have a plan to keep it in outstanding shape while you’re showing it to potential residents.
Professionally Clean Your Rental Home
The best way to rent out a house is to get it as clean as it can possibly be. This is going to require more than running a vacuum and wiping down counters. You want to hire a professional cleaning crew to make your property shine. If it’s vacant, make sure all debris and items that were left behind by previous tenants are removed, and have everything thoroughly cleaned. The carpets, floors, walls, appliances, and fixtures should all shine before you put your property on the market.
Make Any Necessary Repairs
When you’re trying to figure out how to lease out a house, you need to understand that tenants don’t want to walk into a property that still needs work. They want to see the finished product. This means you need to fix anything that is broken and take care of maintenance items that might have been put off or ignored. Check the appliances and the electrical system and have the air conditioning unit serviced. Clean out your gutters, test all the locks on the windows and doors, and make sure everything is in proper working order.
Take Care of Upgrades and Updates
A fresh coat of paint and a few upgrades in landscaping will do wonders for your curb appeal. Use this as a guide to renting your house: take a look at the property from the street and ask yourself if you’d be interested in going inside to look around. If the answer is no, you need to make some upgrades that will make your property appealing to renters. Keep your lawn cut, trim back the weeds and the bushes, and plant some colorful flowers near the front door. Making upgrades and updates to your home does not have to be expensive. There are some minor things you can do before you put it on the market, and it will help you rent the property quickly to high quality tenants.
Our team provides property management Jacksonville, FL landlords appreciate. If you have any questions, please contact us at Heth Realty. We know how to set up a rental property, and we’d be happy to help you get your investment home on the market.
Heth Realty is a local company providing full service property management in Jacksonville, Florida. Today we’re sharing 6 reasons that you should consider working with us when you are looking for Jacksonville property management.
Access Our Knowledge and Experience
At Heth Realty, we have been providing outstanding property management to the Jacksonville area since 1970. We are a family-owned business familiar with the local market, and we understand what owners are looking for and what tenants need. When we manage your property, you can take advantage of all the knowledge, skills, and talents our team members have gathered over the years.
Leave all the Management Details to Us
Our team takes care of everything for you, from preparing the property for the market, determining the right price for the property, screening tenants, reviewing the lease, handling inspections and maintaining the home. We are the first point of contact for your tenants so you don’t need to worry about those phone calls in the middle of the night or while you’re on vacation.
Tenant Placement Services
If you’re an owner or a landlord who has the time and knowledge to handle the day to day management of your property, and you don’t need our full service option, we can work with you to place a high quality tenant who will pay rent on time and take care of your property. We are willing to customize our services to meet your needs.
Communication and Accessibility
We keep you informed of how your property is performing at all times. You’ll receive a report with your monthly rent, which explains all of the income and expenses associated with your property, as well as any maintenance or repair work that was required. If you have any questions, we always welcome you to call, email, or visit us at any time. We are in the office six days a week, and we maintain emergency contact information for tenants in case there’s a problem after hours.
Legal Knowledge and Protection
Our experience in rental home management services ensures we can keep your property compliant with all local, state, and federal laws. We know what is required under fair housing laws, and we can protect you through difficult situations such as evictions. Protecting your income and your asset is our highest priority.
Professional Affiliations and Leadership
At Heth Realty, we work closely with organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managements (NARPM). Our affiliations with professional organizations allows us to stay up to date on all the changes in the property management business, and provides us with 12-1013 Heth Realty Logo Final_PMStools and resources that help us care for your property more efficiently.
If you’re looking for professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida, we hope you’ll contact us at Heth Realty. We’d love to tell you more about how we can help you.
- Landlord Tenant Law
- Tenant Eviction
- Rental Maintenance
- Rent Collection
- Security Deposits
- Setting the Right Rental Price
- Getting Rent Ready
- Tenant Screening in Jacksonville: Advice for Finding a Good Tenant
- The Importance of Florida Landlord Tenant Law | Property Management Advice
- What is the Eviction Process in Jacksonville, FL? Property Management Education
- Rental Property Maintenance 101 | Tips for Property Management in Jacksonville, Florida
- Rent Collection Rules of Thumb | Policy Advice for Jacksonville Landlords