Copyright 2021 FRED GRUNEWALD
Pay attention to your investment
No one will pay attention to your investment property like you will...including your property manager.
When I moved overseas in 2006, I hired a professional manager (haha) to look after one of my Bellevue multifamily properties and they failed miserably.
I returned back to Bellevue unannounced on a business trip and could immediately see someone with a mental problem was occupying my property. Trash strewn in the front yard and old newspapers and flyers on the front porch obviously hadn't been moved for months. The car in the driveway was unlicensed and broken down with bags of garbage occupying the entire vehicle. I knocked on the door to find a sloppy disheveled man AND A DOG. The tenant told me he lost his job and girlfriend and he was depressed...and had gotten a dog even though he knew it was not allowed. I gave him notice that I would be returning the next day WITH THE MANAGER to set things straight.
My property manager had lied to me and said they drive by my property occasionally and everything looked great! I was boiling mad!
Even if you manage your own property, pay close attention to the warning signs that could mean bigger problems.
Look at the front door
look at their vehicle
peak in the windows
Ensuring your property is safe for your tenants to occupy is your legal responsibility. Even if the unsafe conditions are created by your tenant, you must rectify them one way or another – by taking care of the problem or warning the tenant to fix the problem or face eviction.
Hoarding is a fire hazard and creates an environment for infestations. It should be fairly obvious if your tenant is hoarding too many possessions or never taking out their garbage. A property filled to the ceiling with trash is very difficult to clean out.
The exits in the property should be clear of any obstructions, as should any fire escapes. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should have fresh batteries and be in working order. Check the wiring for any signs of wear and tear that could be hazardous.
Signs of infestation
Infestation can be expensive to eradicate and represents a health hazard to your tenant. It’s your responsibility to get rid of infestations on your property, regardless of how they got there – except in the case of gross tenant negligence. In these cases, you have grounds to evict.
Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for evidence of infestation For mice and rats, listen for any scurrying in the walls or ceiling, and check for frayed wires and other signs of chewing. For other pests, ask your tenants if they’ve noticed any signs. Cockroaches and other insects are most noticeable when they’re spotted behind appliances.
Performing thorough, regular property inspections is key to protecting your property, your tenants, your finances, and yourself. When you inspect, you want to be sure not to miss anything; which is easier said than done. Take away the stress of inspections and save yourself money and time by getting professional assistance if you don't have experience.
If you live out of the area, I suggest having a friend take exterior photos a couple times a year just to insure your property manager isn't spending their idle time playing solitaire on the computer...like mine did- Fred Grunewald