A lease often lasts for a fixed term, which is typically a year from signing the lease agreement. After the lease term ends, you must either; Move out of the premises Renew the lease with the same or different terms Continue living on a month-to-month lease agreement, in your Florida rental. Once you sign a lease, you are committing to a full term stay. Nonetheless, if circumstances change and you want to move out before the end of the fixed term, you may break your lease. For example, you may move out early if you become sick and need to be moved to a health facility, or if you have gotten married or divorced. However, specific Florida rental laws have been put in place regarding breaking a lease. Breaking a Lease in Florida Prior to the changes of Florida Statutes 83.595, the Florida Law was clear. It stated that if a tenant chose to break a lease by moving out before the end of the lease, the landlord had to accept the tenants choice. It also stated that although the tenant had left the premises they were still obliged to continue to pay the monthly rent unit the end of the lease's term. The law also explained that the landlord was allowed to charge rent until the rental had been rented out again. This method created challenges for landlords, like having to chase tenants down in order to get the monthly rent payments. The renters would be long gone and subsequently, their landlords would begin re-leasing efforts and charge the tenants for the vacant months. Under the new law however, during the signing of the lease, the landlord may choose to offer the renter the opportunity to lock-in a lease-breaking/early termination fee. Under the conditions that the fee is no more than twice the required monthly rent, and that the tenant submits no less than a 60 days’ notice. And of course, all of this must be provided in the Florida lease agreement. This fee is known as “Liquidated” or “preset” damages. It is collected in case the landlord doesn’t find a new renter within the two months of the original lease breaking. This fee is given to the landlord to help cover his or her losses. The landlord must present this option to the tenant at the time of signing the lease. The tenant can then decide whether they want to accept it or not. If the tenant refuses to accept, the law states that he/she should not be denied rental on this basis. A Tenant's Right to Breaking a Lease in Florida There are various reasons why you may choose to break your lease. However, as serious as some of these reasons might be, you may still be required to pay the remaining rent or the termination fee. The Florida Landlord-Tenant Law only allows four main reasons for breaking a lease before the end of the fixed term. They include; • A Call to Military Service One reason might be if you enter the active military service as part of the uniformed services. The uniformed services consist of the armed forces, commissioned corps of Public Health Service, commissioned corps of the national Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, and the activated National Guard. In this case, the federal law allows you to break a lease. However, you must submit a handwritten Florida lease termination notice stating your reason for breaking the lease. Your tenancy will reach an end, 30 days after your rent is next due. • If the Rental Premises is Unsafe or Violates Florida Health/Safety Codes You can break a lease under Florida Statutes Landlord-Tenant Law 83. 60. Law 83.60 focuses on the landlord’s ability to provide a habitable rental premise, under the local and state housing codes. These codes govern housing quality and dictate if sufficient hot water, heat, and locks were provided. Under this law, you have been “constructively evicted” from you Florida residence. In other words, the landlord has “evicted” you by providing inhabitable housing. Under no circumstance should you be required to pay any termination fees. You also have the right to move out before the lease term ends, if your landlord fails to take action after you have submitted a repair concern. • If the Landlord Invades Your Privacy or Harasses You According to Florida Statutes 83.53, your landlord must give you a 12 hours’ notice prior to entering your rental property. The law further states that if the landlord violates your privacy rights then you have the right to break your lease before it ends, without any further rent obligation. Shutting off your utilities, changing the locks without your knowledge or permission, or removing windows or doors are examples of unethical behaviors that fall under this law. How Can You Break Your Lease and Minimize Your Financial Responsibility? • Transfer the Lease to Another Tenant You can avoid paying the early termination fee by transferring the lease to another party. It could be a friend, family, or anyone looking to rent out a house or apartment. Simply approach your landlord and explain your intention to transfer the lease to another party. • Have a Talk with your Landlord If you wish to leave early but don’t want to pay the standard fee, you can try talking it out with your landlord. In this case, you need to be honest about your reason for leaving early (if the reason doesn’t fall in the Florida Landlord-Tenant Law). He/she might understand. However, you must inform him/her as early as possible so they have time to look for a replacement. • Consider the Termination Offers If you are in a hurry to move out but haven’t found someone to transfer the lease to, you can consider the termination offers detailed in your lease agreement. In most instances, breaking lease agreements usually requires the tenants to pay about 2 to 3 months’ rent or forfeit their security deposit. You can negotiate the termination fees with the landlord with the intention to have him/her reduce the fees and return your deposit. Again, provide a detailed and accurate explanation of why you choose to break the lease to increase the chances of the landlord reducing your termination fees. When to Seek Legal Advice After Breaking a Lease in Florida It is important to take legal action if you feel that your landlord is not acting within the law. Some ways that a landlord can take advantage of you include; charging you for breaking a lease, providing uninhabitable housing, or forfeiting your security deposit. In any of these cases, you should seek the advice of a qualified and reputable Florida real estate attorney who will help you file a lawsuit against your landlord. As long as you have the proof, your chances of winning the case are high.
One question many investors looking to buy properties here in Orlando often ask is which neighborhood should they invest. Having managed hundreds of properties in Orlando, I figured it would be a good opportunity to talk to you about five areas - Lake Nona, Kissimmee, Oviedo, Orlando and Winter Park. These are arguably the best areas for property investors to invest their hard-earned dollars. They have large employers nearby, have plenty of amenities, are in solid residential areas, and have newer homes. But why Invest in Orlando? Besides being a dream destination for tourists (thanks to Florida weather, beautiful beaches, and Disney World), Orlando also stacks up high in terms investment opportunities. In fact, it has been ranked as the third best investment location by Forbes. A recent report by Yardi Matrix showed that Orlando apartment dwellers faced rent increases about twice those of the national average during most of 2016. Furthermore, Orlando boasts the second highest rental yield in the United States. Its rental yield is almost twice as high as in San Francisco, according to a study done by Finder.com. All these reasons make it clear that Orlando is one of the best cities in the country for investing in residential real estate. Neighborhoods to Invest in Real estate in Orlando, Florida Winter Park Winter Park is an attractive area for investors looking to buy investment properties. It is Orlando's quintessential "old money" neighborhood. Museums and posh boutiques dot this charming enclave. From its bistros and shops to its farmer's markets and festivals, Winter Park has long been a hotbed for visitors and snowbirds. It's near great shopping centers, restaurants, exploration areas and more. The rate of unemployment in Winter Park is 4.30%, with job growth of 2.46%. Over the next decade, the future job growth is expected to be about 40.62%. Presently, the median household income is $56,995. In terms of Winter Park demographics, recent data shows the population stands at 28,771, with 87% and 7% speaking English and Spanish respectively. Another interesting fact is, the population density in Winter Park is 845% higher than the rest of Florida. The median price of homes currently listed in Winter Park is $779,950, with the median list price per square foot being $301. The median home value is expected to rise by around 3.2% within the coming year. Oviedo This community is on the east side of town, near the University of Central Florida. Because of the relatively stable economy attributed to several large employers, it is a desirable area for investors looking to put up rental units. Besides the University of Central Florida, other big employers include NES Global and Siemens. Oviedo is approximately 16 square miles in size and is located in eastern Seminole County. It’s a growing city that steadfastly maintains its small-town feel offering a farmer’s market and air-boat rides. Part of Oviedo's southern charm is the population of chickens that roam the downtown area. In fact, images of roosters are painted on all road signs leading into Oviedo. Some attractive places near Oviedo include Friendship Park, Sweetwater Park, Oviedo Bowling Center, Pappy's Patch, University Performing Arts Center, and Cup O' Pottery. The median household income in Oviedo is $82,259. According to recent data, the unemployment rate in Oviedo, Florida stands at 3.90%. Oviedo is home to 36,617 residents. There are 8,556 households out of which 70% are married couples living together, and 50.4% have children under the age of eighteen. The home value in Oviedo has gone up by 8.2% over the past year to reach $287,700. The square foot average price is $145. Lake Nona Lake Nona is also called Medical City, due to many medical centers and hospitals that have been built in recent years. Lake Nona is an attractive area for people who are commuting to their Lake Nona is an attractive area for people who are commuting to their workplaces in Orlando. Therefore, there exists a huge rental potential for property investors. Lake Nona has two neighborhoods. One with higher priced homes and one with more affordable properties. Both areas have a lot of investment potential. Originally conceived as a 7,000-acre golfing mecca, Lake Nona is an up-and-coming neighborhood attracting families from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Housing units range from townhouses to luxury homes. Some of the areas nearby that make it attractive to property investors include Moss Park, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, International Drive Area, and Sea World. The median income for residents between the ages of 25 and 44 in Lake Nona stands at $63,956. It is $36,091 for those under the age of 25, and $54,566 for those over 65 years. In terms of demographics, Lake Nona is home to 58,599 residents, with the male and female population being 28,541 and 30,058 respectively. Based on 45 home sales, the median sale price for homes in Lake Nona for the period between May 24 to Aug 23 was $400,000. The square foot average price was $170, representing a 4% rise compared to a similar period the previous year. Currently, the median rent per month is $1,995. Kissimmee Kissimmee is the county seat of Osceola County. It is a great area for investors looking to purchase an investment property, at an affordable price, because of the excellent neighborhoods surrounding it. Homes in these neighborhoods, unlike similar homes in Lake Nona area, generally offer lower home prices and lower property taxes. Kissimmee is next door to theme parks and exciting attractions of Orlando, FL. Thrill-seekers can enjoy flying warplanes, do zip lines, jet ski, and helicopter rides. Conservation lovers will enjoy kayaking on Lake Toho or Shingle Creek. Other weekend getaway attractions include Lake Tohopekaliga, extreme Jet Ski, Boggy Creek Airboat Rides and more. The median household income is $35,452. Currently, the rate of unemployment in Kissimmee is 5.2%, with job growth of 2.5%. In the next decade, the job growth is predicted to stand at 39.80%. When it comes to demographics there are 17,121 households out of which 37.4% have children under the age of eighteen, 47% are married couples, and 20.9% are individuals. Over the past year, home values have gone up by 11.9% to reach $239,500. Currently, the median list price per square foot in Kissimmee is $118. Conclusion As an Orlando property management company, we have the staff and resources in place to take care of your property. We take care of your property the way you would if that were your only job. We know what it takes to get and keep a home here rented, whether they are just single-family homes or large apartment buildings. If you're looking into real estate investing in Central Florida don't hesitate to contact us through email or give us a call at (407) 288-8283.
Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. Being home to Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios, there is no doubt that people from around the globe are fascinated with this city, making it the tourist capital of the U.S. However, most people don't realize that Orlando is also one of the best places to live. With one of the country's largest university's, a diverse population, cultural vibrancy, focus on arts and a thriving sports sector, Orlando is where you might think of moving permanently. Why You Should Consider Living in Orlando: Weather Orlando has amazing weather throughout the year. There are no long rainy seasons and no snow storms. Weather is actually one of the key reasons why people love living in Orlando. You can have access to warm weather all year round. People can enjoy the great outdoors, don’t need to worry about heating and can live a healthy and active life without any worries. Outdoor Activities Orlando has an abundance of outdoor activities, again mainly due to its great weather. The Atlantic Coast offers white sandy beaches with pristine blue water and plenty of water-related activities. There are also beautiful gardens, several recreational facilities, and sports complexes. The city is also home to some of the finest golf parks in the State. Work Opportunities Because Orlando has a thriving tourist industry there are many full time and part time jobs offered. It is very easy to find jobs in hotels, fast food restaurants, and the Disney Resorts. Since the city is always busy, most hotels and motels are always looking for staff to cover shifts. Investing If you are thinking of investing, then Orlando is just the city. There are numerous opportunities to set up your own business and penetrate untapped market segments. You can even enter the Airbnb rental business, buy a property to rent out to tourists or run a bed and breakfast. The opportunities are endless. Fun in the Sun Orlando is home to the world famous Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Theme park, the Busch gardens and the Epcot center. There are hundreds of restaurants and shopping plazas all over the city, which will ensure that you're never bored. If you’re looking for some fun in the sun for you, your partner and your family, Orlando offers the complete package. Food Orlando is one of most diverse cities in the country. A benefit of its diversity is that you have access to a large variety of different types of cuisine.You can find cafes, restaurants, bistros, diners, and top of the line 5 star restaurants which serve cuisine from all over the globe. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian or Indian or you simply want those homemade pancakes, you can find them in Orlando. Natural Beauty Orlando is simply one of the most beautiful places to live. It has great scenery, ample natural reserves, plenty of parks and green spaces and of course the entire Atlantic coast. Diversity Orlando has quite a racially diverse population. You can catch a glimpse of different cultures and traditions from all over the world because so many people from various parts of the globe are settled here. The diversity of this place has also resulted in people making extra effort to blend together and build a community that is cohesive and unified. Retirement Community There is a large retirement community in Orlando, which is well established. Adult-organized communities have their own support groups and many live within their own compounds with a leisure lifestyle. The city of Orlando has introduced many social programs and has worked hard to improve public services. Commuting is easy and the traffic is much less compared to other cities in the US. The best way to know Orlando is to take a short vacation and see the place for yourself. Away from the city, there's lots of affordable housing which can be rented or bought. Overall, this is a definite place to consider if you are considering moving to a new city.
We’ve all heard stories about tenant-landlord disputes, especially of tenants that make it very difficult for landlords to deal with them and evict them, if the need arises. That is why it is extremely important for all landlords to screen tenants, even if they have been recommended by family and friends. The biggest advantage of effective screening is that any warning signs of tenants who could be problematic in the future become apparent at an early stage. Here are some tips on tenant screening to ensure that you get the right tenant: Rental Application: Make all prospective tenants fill out a rental application. The information provided by the applicant will help you decide if they have the right profile and if they would be a good fit for you. Make sure that the application is based on recommendations by the Housing Agency and always follow your state’s rental and housing laws to ensure you are not sued for discrimination against any religion, race, income or gender. Identity Check: During the application process, it is generally recommended that you ask the applicant for photo identification. This is mainly for verification purposes. In addition, make sure that the application form asks for a driver’s license number as this information can be used to conduct a background search. Make a copy of the photo ID and also ask if the potential tenant owns a car and if yes, the license plate number of the car. Background Check: If you want limit the likelihood of ending up with a difficult tenant, always perform a background check. Do not fall for appearances or sweet talk as looks can be deceiving. A background check can reveal important things about your potential tenant including a history of skipping rent, damaging property, or any prior convictions. Credit Check: In addition to the background check, always perform a credit check as this will provide you with the individual's credit history. To do this, you will need to get the applicant’s permission as well as his or her Social Security number. Past Landlords: Ask the applicant to provide details about previous landlords including names, addresses and duration of stay. This will help you verify if the applicant has had any issues with landlords in the past. You need to call the landlord(s)to obtain this information. References: You should always ask for character references. However, since some tenants can provide bogus letters, it is always a good idea to ask for phone numbers and follow-up. Meeting in Person: Never ever rent out your property to a person you have never seen. You must physically meet him or her. We live in a digital world and even though most communication is done via email or phone, a physical meeting is vital. This meeting will tell you a lot more about the person’s personality, amicability and other oddities that an email or a phone conversation wouldn't uncover. Protecting Yourself: Always follow state laws when it comes to checking the background of potential tenants. Clearly state on the application form that the information provided will be used to perform a background and credit check. In addition, you should have a section where the applicant is required to give a signed consent for a credit check. Be honest and up-front. Background checks are quite common in the rental screening process. Code of Conduct: In the application form or lease agreement, always include the code of conduct and the expectations from tenants. Have the prospective tenant read the application and lease and go over each point with them. Many landlords just give the applicant the documents to review and get back to them. This does not mean that the applicant has read the information so make sure they understand the specifics of the agreement. The rental application must be signed and dated to make it valid. Judgment: Finally, before you accept any tenant, use your instinct to follow-up on the candidate. If you suspect anything odd or abnormal about their personal information or behavior, the onus is on to you to screen them properly. There is nothing worse than getting a bad tenant. The leg work you do prior to accepting the tenant can save you a lot of hassle and money in the long-run. Tenant screening is one of the most critical components of the rental process and should not be rushed or ignored. It is in the interest of both the landlord and the tenant to ensure that they are a good fit from the very beginning. If not, both parties suffer. If you would like help with your rental property don't hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to speak with you and see if we can be of service.
How you price your rental property influences the type of renters you will attract, as well as the amount of rental income you receive. It is no surprise that many landlords struggle to determine just what that rental fee is. While a low rental price will appeal to many tenants, it will limit rental income. Similarly, charging a higher amount to maximize profit may repel quality renters, keeping your units vacant longer. A long-drawn-out vacancy translates to a significant loss of benefits and rental income. So how does an Orlando, Florida landlord determine the right price for his or her property? Know the Pricing Red Flags The first step to setting the right rental price is to determine whether your price is too high or too low. If a week after listing the vacant property no one makes inquiries or prospects inquire but do not show up, chances are your price is too high. The same may be true if people come to view the property but decline to fill out an application . However, if within the first day of listing the property you receive multiple inquiries, and the prospects are in a rush for you to take a holding deposit, your rental price is likely too low. Understand the Rental Pricing Determinants The price of rental properties in Orlando, Florida depend on several factors. Major factors include the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lease duration, inflation rates, location of the property, as well as the type of housing unit i.e. a single family or multifamily unit. Minor rent price determinants include the amenities and fixtures in the property, the lease clause, laundry, utilities, appliances, HVAC systems, cleanliness of the unit, and whether the property is furnished, has a lawn, fence or parking space. Research Listings Prices As a landlord, the easiest and quickest way to determine the right rental price is to check the property listing platforms. They provide valuable information such as how much owners want for their properties. Some of the popular platforms available for use include: Craigslist, Zillow Rent Zestimate, Cozy Rent Estimate, Trulia Market Overviews, Rentometer, and the multiple listing services, Realtor.com. Consult a Professional Another effective way of arriving at a rental price is to consult with a rental property expert. It could be a fellow landlord, a real estate agent, a property manager, or members of a Rental housing association. If you decide to talk to a property owner or association member, look for one with assets that are comparable to yours. The units should be similar in type, number of bedrooms, and square footage. If you prefer to work with a real estate agent or property manager, make sure that he or she has sufficient expertise and experience in handling rentals. Compare Real Rent Data Although the listings platforms provide a guide on how much you could charge, the prices they indicate are not necessarily what the landlords ultimately receive. They are merely an expression of what the owners hope to get. Hence, you need to investigate the rent listings' prices further to ascertain the actual rent fees. An excellent way of comparing rent data is by using Rent Estimate platforms which will help you to calculate rental prices with absolute confidence. They are basically a rent calculator, which gives you a recommended rent estimate based on similar properties in your area. It is a good idea to run a rent survey on several platforms like Cozy, Zillow and Rentometer. The guesstimate report will provide valuable information including; The rent estimate for your property The Confidence Score The estimated local vacancy rates and the precise rental amounts of comparable units, and The historical Orlando Florida rent trends. Once the calculations have been completed, the resulting reports from each of these platforms can be compared to the actual rent price of your property. It is likely that your rent will either be higher or lower than the results of these platforms. The Rent Estimation report makes it relatively easy for a landlord to determine whether his or her rent prices are under or above market rate. As a result, he or she can adjust the rent to a competitive rate to attract quality renters.
What You Need To Know When Buying An Orlando Investment Property So you're looking to buy investment property in Orlando? Real Estate investing is a viable investment strategy which boasts of superior advantages over any other type of investment out there. When the housing market turns around, an Orlando real estate investor can enjoy not only a positive cash flow but also the opportunity to benefit from increased equity in the property. Moreover, you safeguard those gains from both the state and federal income tax. It's worth noting that for you to enjoy these benefits, you should diligently think through a few things about the Orlando property in question to eliminate any chances of making common property investment mistakes. Here are some of the things you should do. Study the Metrics When getting into any property investment, you should assess its ability to generate wealth. Take the time to explore the factors that can either promote or inhibit wealth production. Such variables include historical growth trends, demographics, vacancy rates, where the residents work, the population growth rate, as well the kind of renters likely to look for property in the area. Similarly, be on the lookout for red flags such as a dominant employer downsizing, as that can affect your tenants’ ability to pay rent. Armed with this information, it becomes much easier for you to purchase the kind of property that people living in that community would want to lease. You'll be able to predict the demographic that is likely to be looking for a home in Orlando - young professionals, retirees, or families - and invest in the type of home they'll be interested in renting. Analyze the Rent Your primary goal for purchasing investment property is to earn rental income. Be diligent before making a decision. Conduct a rent assessment on the property to determine its realistic profit potential. To do that, calculate how much money you need to be earning from the investment, and verify whether the property in question has a realistic potential of generating that figure. In depth research on what comparable nearby units demand as rent, and surveying the prevailing occupancy rates of those houses might prove useful at this stage. Inspect the Property Many first time investors hardly take the time to examine the actual status of the property they want to buy. Consequently, they end up with a home that demands unending costly repairs. Save yourself the agony and hire a competent home inspector to evaluate the property to learn its true condition. Some of the features you should review include the roof, electrical systems, plumbing, smoke and fire sensors, insulation, as well as the drainage. Even though you can conduct the inspection by yourself, getting a pro will ensure that you only invest in a property that is safe, habitable, and complies with the local building codes. Saving you from pricey and countless property maintenance headaches. Assemble a Team Prosperous property investors in Orlando rarely work alone. They have a network of professionals to help with the day to day running of the investment. These professionals include a competent real estate agent well versed in the local market, a qualified appraiser for evaluating the assets, a reliable financier, and an attorney who specializes in real estate. Also, they have certified electricians, painters, plumbers, roofing experts, and service and maintenance contractors. Having a team of reliable experts is invaluable. If you feel like the challenge of managing all these professionals is daunting, hiring a property management company might be a prudent option as the manager will handle this for you. Critically Evaluate Cash Flow When purchasing the rental property, it is critical that you consider all the costs likely to affect your cash flow. These include property maintenance, renovation, repairs, and management expenses. Find out what these costs are and whether the rental income will be more than enough to meet those obligations and still leave you with a desirable amount. If you decide to hire a property manager make sure to factor in their fees when calculating your cash flow. Interviewing your property manager ahead of time and asking detailed questions about their services and fees will help avoid surprises. Craft an Exit Strategy Rental property investing involves more than just buying the right asset in the right neighborhood and at the right price. You also need to have the ideal exit strategy that will help you to sell or flip the property at the acceptable time and price. Whether you choose to purchase the property for renting or flipping, you need to factor in financing and renovation costs into your exit strategy. For instance, if your mortgage has an adjustable rate or a balloon payment, the best exit strategy is to dispose of the property beforehand. Know Your Options At times, for one reason or another, your exit strategy might fail. It could be due to the flooding of the local rental market, or the bottom falling out of the property market just as you are about to sell. Whatever the reason, it is prudent to have in mind a few options that you can pursue. For instance, you could offer an existing tenant a lease-purchase deal, or sell it to an interested property investor at a slightly below market rate. In both scenarios, you will have the opportunity to cut your losses and get rid of the asset promptly. These are just a few tips to help you avoid unnecessary costs and get you going when buying Investment property in Orlando. Seeking the advice of a competent property management company can make the exercise much more rewarding. If you're looking for guidance buying an investment property in Orlando or Central Florida give us a call today!
A rental property can give you passive recurring income and a stable future, or it can be the source of untold misery especially to a new landlord. Many first time owners, end up having nightmarish ordeals with their investments for many reasons. For instance, they may not know how to attract or screen quality renters, how to craft self-serving rental agreements, or even how to keep the occupants satisfied and happy. As a result, such landlords end up with problematic tenants who do not pay rent promptly, are always causing trouble, or damaging the property. If you are a first-time landlord wishing to succeed, here are a few tips to help you do that. Provide a Quality Home The condition of your property influences the type of tenants you attract. If your property looks outdated, dilapidated and broken, then high-quality renters will shun away from it. Take your time to keep your units clean, durable, and appealing at all times. You can do that by performing repairs each time a tenant moves out, upgrading it using high quality materials and carrying out routine property inspections and maintenance. You also want to make sure your property is a safe place to live in. It should comply with all the relevant housing codes, while the utilities should be in perfect working conditions. Remember this is going to be someone's home. If you're looking to attract high quality tenants, you need a high quality property. Your Rental Property Is Your Business A defining distinction between those who run a successful real estate investment and those who fail is in how they manage their rental units. Experienced landlords view their property as an investment, from which they hope to earn impressive returns. These owners handle the property like they would any other business. Only that in this instance, the renters are the customers. Your rental property is your business. Be professional, organized and objective in all matters relating to your investment. Familiarize Yourself With The Fair Housing Laws A common challenge for most first-time landlords is learning the state and federal laws they need to abide by. Unless you derive pleasure out of standing in front of a judge or paying hefty fines, you need to be conversant with the Fair Housing legislations in your state. Knowledge on matters such as the “Protected Class, will keep you from discriminating against any renter by their color, race, religion, age, sex, handicap, national origin, or familial status. As a first-time landlord it's essential that you educate yourself about Landlord-Tenant laws. Don't Jump At The First Opportunity To Fill Your Rental When a tenant moves out of the property, the first instinct for most landlords is to find another tenant as soon as possible. In their haste, many landlords end up renting their property to unqualified tenants. Avoid falling into such a trap by being patient enough to wait until the “right” candidate comes along. Understandably, you will be concerned about the loss of rental income. However, what is the use in hurrying to fill the units only to end up spending massive amounts of time and money on endless conflicts and repairs? Be patient, apply effective advertising strategies, and be diligent in your tenant screening. Define Your Perfect Tenants It is not just sufficient for you to look for renters. You should have a clear image of the type of occupants you want in your property. For instance, one with a stable income, a particular family size, as well as desirable credit ratings and tenancy history. Most first-time landlords undermine the importance of such a step only to end up with tenants that cause them issues. When defining your ideal tenant be careful not to discriminate against any candidate. Being knowledgeable of the Fair Housing rules will prove useful here. Price your units correctly A primary reason why many first-time landlords struggle is their inability to charge the correct rental amount. Even though the right price of rent is relative and dependent on many factors, it is critical that you do not overprice or under price. Overpricing will seem like a rip off to potential renters, while charging too little will be unprofitable. Fortunately, it is not impossible to determine the right range. You need to research the market to ascertain what amount similar properties are renting for. When setting the price, also take into consideration how it will affect your financials such as fixed and variable expenses. A quick search on websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Rent.com can help you determine the going rental rate in your area. Thoroughly Screen Prospects One of the most common struggles for first-time landlords is their inability to vet or research the tenant before handing over the property. If you want to have a rewarding experience, never allow anyone to occupy your investment before they pass through a thorough tenant screening process. The vetting should involve the prospects filling out a formal rental application as well as being put through credit and background checks. You should also talk with the applicant’s employer, previous landlord, and neighbors. Proper due diligence can save you from many painful tenant headaches. If during the process you identify inconsistencies or concerns, be firm and disqualify the candidate. Have a Legally Binding Rental Agreement You have every right to dictate what goes in your property, provided you adhere to the state’s laws. You do this by developing a legally binding rental agreement. This legal document defines the roles, responsibilities, and liabilities of both you and your tenants. The tenant must then sign the document as a confirmation that he or she agrees to abide by those terms. Make sure the contract sufficiently addresses elements like the rental amount, rental payment date, security deposit, pets, property usage, maintenance, inspections, tenant evictions, termination and much more. The rental agreement will you to communicate to the residents what your expectations are. But most importantly, the rental contract becomes a reliable point of reference in case of disagreements. Set Practical Rent Collection Procedures There is no doubt that your success as a landlord largely depends on your ability to get the tenants to pay the rent on time. You need to come up with safe and convenient methods for them to remit the rent each time it is due. For instance, instead of encouraging cash payments you should adopt automated payment solutions. Furthermore, come up with novel ways to motivate the tenants to pay their rent on time. Conclusion Evidently running a successful rental property business involves a lot of work. Not only do you have to learn the legalities of dealing with tenants, you also have to learn how to effectively attract high quality rents. However, if you follow the tips you've just learnt and continue to educate yourself, you can have a very profitable investment even if you are a first-time landlord.
Many Orlando landlords question the need to enlist the services of property management companies. To them, hiring a manager may seem like an unnecessary cost. However, engaging the services of a professional real estate manager has many financial, social, aesthetic as well as health benefits, which more than justifies the cost. We’ll discuss some of the advantages of contracting an Orlando property management company. Benefits of working with a rental manager: 1) Helps free up your time When you decide to hire an Orlando property manager, essentially what you are doing is transferring all the responsibilities of handling the day to day affairs of your investment. That includes making your property habitable, advertising vacancies, screening prospective tenants, creating the lease agreement, signing the contract, collecting the rent, among many other tasks required to successfully maintain a rental investment.All these tasks take a lot of work. What this means, is that you have more free time to attend to other equally important issues such as spending time with family, friends, and business. If you’d like you can even spend your free time looking for additional real estate investment opportunities. 2) You save money Even though hiring an Orlando property manager has a cost, the amount you spend is negligible compared to the sum of money you will save and also make. Some of the ways in which a property manager will benefit you include ensuring your property is always occupied and reducing the amount of problematic tenants by implementing their professional tenant screening processes. Over time, this will lead to having only high-quality tenants and reduce the amount of uncollected rent. The property manager also arranges to have a legal lease agreement drafted up that prevents costly landlord-tenant disputes and ensures that the residents pay their rent promptly. Furthermore, he or she will arrange to conduct routine inspections and property maintenance exercises, which will keep the property safe, appealing and in need of minimal repair services. When it comes to evictions, a property manager has adequate skills and experience to do so in a peaceful and diplomatic manner, devoid of disputes, or legal arbitration. 3) First-hand access to Orlando Real Estate Resources Property management companies have their ear on the ground, and they are always up-to-date with the latest rental property innovations, legislations, regulations, tools, and resources. When you hire an Orlando property management company, you gain a free-pass to access all these resources first hand. As a result, you enjoy a competitive advantage. For instance, you will be informed of any changes in state regulations even before they go public. You will also be aware of soon to be vacant or on sale properties, as well as tenants who are shopping for your kind of units. 4) Unsolicited expert advice Once you contract a rental manager in Orlando, he or she will always be at your disposal. Consequently, you will always enjoy free advice and tips on how to make your rental investment successful. For instance, the manager could guide you to draft a legal lease agreement that works in your favor, suggest to you the ideal location for property investment, hint to you what kind of housing units to construct and even how to handle errant tenants and lawsuits. In contrast, if you do not hire a property manager, you will have to pay each time you need to consult or use their service. 5) Connection to a Network of Relevant Industry Players Since an Orlando property management company is constantly working within the real estate industry, they naturally havean extensive network of industry players. These include licensed and insured vendors, policy makers, cleaners, landscaping experts, plumbers, maintenance and repair contractors as well as property owners. You, therefore, will always have within your reach the contacts of reliable and affordable service providers. A great benefit is that all, of these contractors are qualified, which gives you and your tenants the assurance of receiving quality services. 6) Professionalized Investment One of the secrets of having a successful rental property investment is to treat it like a business. That is the greatest benefit that a property management company can offer. A great property management firm will make every aspect of the rental business, right from the advertising to tenant evictions, professional. They will ensure that your rental property complies with all relevant laws, statutes, and regulations and that it has a well-crafted legally binding lease agreement. Furthermore, the firm will set up systems and structures to ensure that everything works seamlessly. For instance, that tenants pay their rents promptly, report their concerns or give suggestions on how to make the tenancy relationship better. In addition,a good manager will often have a full-time emergency response team for attending to emergencies. While hiring a professional to manage your property does come with a cost, there are many benefits you receive that will end up saving you money in the long run. If you’re interested in learning more about Orlando property management services we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. 7) Access to their professional business relationships Property managers are here to make your life simpler. At the end of the day, they strive in improving your rental property’s ROI. When you work with a professional property management company, you also gain access to their professional business relationships. These means that you have access to other local businesses that can help you when certain needs arise. When owning a rental property, you may need access to a lawyer, accountant, contractor, mover, furniture supplies store, etc. Whatever the case, as time passes and you slowly build a trustworthy relationship with them, you may ask them who else might be able to help you.
The following article is a guest post provided by Aparna Sunil from LocalLawn, an Orlando Lawn Services Company. We hope this article helps our property owners and tenants with their lawn care If there is something called easy weeding tips, then this is it. Tips and tricks for effective weed control The adage that a weed is merely a plant in the wrong place, although true, is often very difficult to accept. Ask any gardener and they’ll tell you that the one thing that baffles and daunts them is the sight of weeds on their lawn. Let’s face it; weeds are a nuisance in every garden. There are unwanted plants that lurk around uninvited and contend with your carefully-nurtured grass for water and food supply. I mean, there are times when I feel they’re nothing short of evil predators. Ferociously opportunistic, the nature of all weeds is to do whatever it takes to feed and thrive- even if it comes at the cost of choking and overpowering less robust plants to death. As much as I used to despise the wrecked wildflower at one time, over the years, I’ve learned to accept them more consistently (honestly, I don’t think I had a choice). You see, surprising as this might sound, I’ve realized that they have a few advantages (I can understand the disbelief but it’s true). If not among your vegetable or flower beds, many weed flowers act as food sources for predators and I mean the actual ones such as wasps and hoverflies that in turn feed off pests such as aphids. In fact, vast tracks of agricultural land continue to be infested by pests simply because they’ve been treated with the strongest weed killers in the market. With no weeds to feed on, the pests turn their attention to carefully-nurtured plants for food (I mean, it’s not like they know the difference between uninvited weeds and desirable plant life). As hard as this might be to digest, the greater fertility of your weed population, the healthier and better conditioned your soil and plants will be. Now, that doesn’t mean you let them grow until they take over your entire garden space (which they will if left to their own devices). It simply means you find a ratio and take them out strategically, while leaving some of them as bait for pests to feed on. Finding an organic way out Trust me; the thought of simply dousing weeds in glyphosate (a not organic but effective weed killer) has crossed my mind many times, especially when they’re really getting on top of me. However, having done that before and having watched the adverse effect it has on other plant life, I’ve changed my ways for good. Over the years, I’ve endorsed balanced, holistic, and organic ways to get rid of weeds and can vouch on the world of difference they’ve made to the health and vitality of my garden. Now for the good stuff- while there isn’t one easy solution (we’re talking about pure-bred survivors so what do you expect?), a combination of the following ways should have you covered: Tip 1: Use Mulch Use organic mulch (decayed leaves as well as a combination of mushroom and garden compost work like a dream) and cover every piece of bare soil with it. If you aren’t too keen on aesthetics, then you could also opt for straw hay, shredded bark, and their likes). I am and therefore stick to aesthetically-appealing ones. Using organic mulch will improve the fertility of the soil and suppress weeds. Tip 2: Weed with a Hoe Use your favorite hoe (the long-handled gardening tool that’s mainly used for weeding) to slice through the roots of any weeds just below the surface of the soil. The trick is to do it little-by-little but often enough. Now did I mention anything about consistency and patience being the two traits that marks the sign of a true gardener? Tip 3: Weed by hand Yes, I mean you get down on your knees, dig your hands right into the soil and get every scrap of weed with your fingers (you can use a hand fork too). Although not the most enjoyable aspects of gardening, in time, you’ll learn to develop the patience and might even get a kick from pulling them out with your bare fingers (sinistrous I know but it happens). Tip 4: do whatever it takes but do at the right time In your battle to stop weeds from taking over, it’s crucial, and I repeat, absolutely crucial to cut, hoe, mow, trim, pull (I simply mean you do whatever it takes) to stop them from multiplying. Using an integrated approach and a combination of the above tips at the right time can help you stay as weed-free as you possibly can at any given point in time. Give us a shout. We are waiting to hear from you. While the above best practices are effective and deliver great results, they cover only a fraction of what we know and would love to share with you. If you live in Orlando, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve got just the right lawn and landscaping services for you. Having been in the industry for several years now, we’re passionate about lawns and would love to share our expertise with you. For us… this is serious business.
Every landlord dreams of having high-quality renters who will pay rent promptly and take good care of the property. Luckily for Orlando property owners, it is possible to get such tenants by making your rental units attractive and putting in place thorough tenant screening procedures. Once you find quality residents, it’s important that you continuously treat them well, to keep them from becoming problematic. Here are practical tips to ensure a smooth relationship between you and your tenants. Set clear rules early A primary source of conflict between landlords and renters stems from unclear rules, where both parties are not sure of what their roles and responsibilities are. For this reason, be kind to your tenants and give them clearly defined guidelines of what you expect of and from them. You should not wait until the tenant moves into the premises for you to introduce the laws. Make sure to include them in the lease agreement. Besides being to the point, the rules should be realistic and in compliance with both the legal and fair housing laws. Moreover, once you have set the rules, do not go changing or adding new ones while the contract is underway. Help your tenants understand your rules It is not enough just to have clearly written rules for your residents. What may seem clear to you, might be confusing for your tenant. Therefore, you need to ascertain that your tenants have understood what the rules are and that they consent to abide by them. The best way for you to do this is by sitting down with your your tenant and going over the rental agreement with him or her. If they have any questions or concerns, be ready and willing to clarify them or direct them to an attorney if it is a legal question. Sitting down and explaining the rental agreement not only helps to explain the rules but also contributes to identifying and addressing contentious issues that have the potential of escalating into conflict. Encourage prompt rental payment One of the perks of having high-quality Orlando tenants is the uninterrupted flow of rental income. You want to make it easy for your clients to pay the rent each time it is due. For instance, instead of insisting that they use a single rent payment method, you could give them multiple options, such as automated payment systems, or bank standing orders. By so doing, a tenant will use whichever solution he or she feels is safe and convenient. You could also consider rewarding residents who pay promptly, as an incentive for them to continue making timely payments. Lastly, always issue your residents with rent payment receipts as an acknowledgment that you have received their payments. Charge your units reasonably The undoing of many landlords is their desire to make quick money. As a result, they either price their units exorbitantly high or they charge them at a below-market price to attract tenants, only to increase them ruthlessly once they find a renter. While that might seem like a novel strategy, it is likely to blow up in your face. Your renters will perceive you to be unscrupulous, and they will refrain from renting your units. Instead of charging exorbitant or hiking the rent unnecessarily, consider keeping up with the prevailing market rates. You should only increase the rent when it is justifiable and only after giving fair notice. You should be keeping up with market rates and determine the rental rate for comparable units. Respond to their concerns promptly Nothing transforms a high-quality Orlando tenant into a problematic one faster than reports or complaints that go unanswered. Many residents interpret this as a sign that you don’t care about them and that your only concern is the rental income. Consequently, they will try to lash back at you by deliberately delaying and at times withholding the rent. If you wish to keep your residents happy at all times, put in place measures for addressing their concerns each time they arise. Better still, why not schedule routine property maintenance to help identify and address any potential concerns before they arise. Do not enter their premises unannounced Even though you own the property, making spontaneous visits to your tenants is unwise. Courtesy dictates that whenever you wish to visit the units, be it to inspect them, carry out routine maintenance or for any other reason, take the time first to inform your occupants. In addition, states have strict rules that are governed by statutes regarding the noticing and entry of units. The only exemption to this rule is in the event of an emergency situation. It is best to review your state statutes and entry requirements for Landlords. Remain personable but professional Since your Orlando rental property is your business, your tenants are your trading partners. For this reason, be careful not to confuse the relationship. Even though you want to establish and maintain good rapport with your renters, be careful not to get too cozy with them. Friendship and business hardly go well together. Always remember that first and foremost your priority is your business relationship.