6 Common Lease Violations
While renting is a rewarding enterprise, you won’t always have model tenants. Leases are put in place for a reason – whether it is to maintain the value of a property or keep people safe. When renters decide to break the terms of their contract, landlords may be forced to take action.
In order to learn how to handle lease violations, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the most common violations.
1. Unauthorized Pets
Four-legged friends can be an important part of the family – but they can also be quite a hassle. This is why many landlords prohibit pets to some degree. Pets can cause damage to the property and annoy neighboring tenants.
2. HOA Conflicts
If your property falls under the jurisdiction of an HOA, renters must stay up to code. These often involve things such as making sure the property is free of trash and limit your external storage.
3. Smoking Indoors
Indoor smoking can be a damaging and dangerous habit. It can discolor home interiors, lead to burns, and leave a lingering odor.
4. Noise Disturbances
While being noisy doesn’t lead to structural damage, it can damage the atmosphere of your living complex. Loud tenants can lead to unhappy neighbors and visits from law enforcement.
5. Long-term Guests
Especially if you offer a flat rate for utilities in your rental agreement, unauthorized, long-term guests can be bad for business. It’s not unusual for a non-renting guest to be overstaying their welcome. Some renters may even take it upon themselves to sublet without your permission. The popularity of services such as Airbnb has made this even more common.
6. Damaging Decorations
While there is nothing wrong with making a living space more personal, some decorating can lead to damage. Something as simple as hanging up a couple of pictures can cause countless holes in the wall.
What to do if a renter breaks a clause in the lease agreement?
The moment a tenant violates a lease, you should begin taking measures to protect yourself. There are different approaches you can take depending on the severity of the violation.
If you notice the violation during the renting period;
- Keep Evidence: Always be sure to save original copies of all of your contracts and get proof of any relevant information. This includes taking photographs of the property before tenants arrived.
- Notify the Tenant: Send a letter to your tenant alerting them of their violation and offer them time (minimum a week) to correct the problem. This is a legal obligation if you decide to take matters further.
- Eviction: When violations aren’t corrected or are continuously repeated, you are within legal grounds to file for an eviction.
If you only recognize the violation (or failure to correct the violation) during the inspection following the end of a contract, you may withhold all or a portion of the security deposit. If the amount is not enough to cover damages, you can consider taking your case to small claims court.
Tradewind Properties is here to help you take the headache out of managing your rental property. As a Tradewind client, your most difficult task is checking your monthly statement. Contact us!
Monitoring and managing utility usage.
If you own a property, you know that managing utility usage can feel like nothing short of a headache at times. Owning an income-based property might make this headache feel like a full-on migraine. With a little bit of planning, knowledge and know-how you don’t have to let utility expenditures balloon out of control.
Troubleshooting a water leak
- A water or plumbing leak is something no one wants to experience; however, they happen. Train yourself, maintenance staff and tenants alike to identify and report things like a dripping faucet or running toilet. Additionally, be on the lookout for paint that is peeling or a musty/wet smell in an area that should be dry. Finally, a spike in the water bill is a pretty good sign there’s a potential leak.
- If you suspect a leak, it’s time to call a professional, but you can potentially confirm a hidden leak by turning off every water fixture, faucet and appliance that uses water (for say six hours or so) and noting whether or not the property’s water meter readings rise during the time these are turned off.
- Living in Minnesota means your heating system is probably working overtime for at least six months of the year, then of course your cooling system has got to kick it into gear. A smart thermostat can be a worthy investment. They are designed to make temperature adjustments based on a resident’s detectable patterns, that way you’re not paying to heat an unoccupied property. Further, you can always fine-tune manually and monitor as necessary so you or your tenants are not surprised with a huge bill.
Efficiencies with energy consumption
- Whether you’re renting your property or not, the efficiency of your utility usage should be high on your priority lists to improve costs. Fortunately, there are both quick and easy ways to reduce costs as well as those that require a little more initial investment.
Installing LED fixtures
- Want an easy win, win? Consider changing old, incandescent lightbulbs to LED. Not only can they cut the electric bill by almost 25 percent, they last almost 10 years requiring much less maintenance.
Upgrading to Energy Star appliances
- If your appliances are old, it might be time for an upgrade. Initial costs of replacing these appliances (think refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers) might seem high, but you’ll save on energy costs and new appliances could help drive more potential renters to your door.
Consider air leaks
- You can probably guess that air leaks are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to energy inefficiencies, but how do you find them? While a visual and physical inspection can easily tell you where your building is leaking air, you can hire a professional to do a thermographic test that uses an infrared camera to locate those more invisible areas of air leaks.
Tradewind Properties is here to help you take the headache out of your rental property utility management, Contact Tradewind Properties. We are here to help!
When considering becoming a landlord and renting out your property, you may be wondering how insurance will help you manage the risks of your new arrangement.
Landlord Insurance is a specific type of coverage for this situation, and, along with working with a good property management company, is one of the best ways to be fully prepared to be a landlord.
What’s Covered by Landlord Insurance?
Each insurance company is different, and coverage will differ. Talk to your insurance agent for full details. But in general, Landlord Insurance may help you in the following situations.
- Fair Rental Value Coverage. This is the biggest difference between home insurance and landlord insurance. If your property becomes uninhabitable for a reason that is covered, Landlord Insurance should cover your lost rental income while repairs are being finished, usually up to 12 months.
- Dwelling Coverage of your rental property from fire, hail, vandalism, and other dangers.
- Coverage of other structures on the property, such as garages, sheds, etc.
- Coverage of Items that you own on the property, like appliances, furniture you’ve provided, or even tools you keep there.
- Liability Coverage; Legal Counsel and Medical expenses should someone become injured on the property.
Some insurance companies will offer discounts for certain circumstances, such as:
- New/ Recently-Renovated Home Discount, for rental properties newer than approx. 13 years old, or newly renovated.
- Multi-policies Discount, for those covering several properties, or a property and car, for example.
- Protective Devices Discount: may apply if you use a security alarm, a sprinkler system, deadbolts, fire extinguishers, etc.
Other Questions Insurance Companies May Ask
In order to determine the right coverage for you, your insurance company may want to know some additional information.
- Do you currently live in the same home as your tenant?
- How many properties are you renting out?
- What type of unit are you renting out?
- Do you rent out your property intermittently, or on a regular basis for longer periods of time?
If you have any questions about becoming a landlord, or about landlord insurance, Contact Tradewind Properties. We are here to help!
We’re proud to announce that Tradewind Properties has been named in the Top 50 Veteran-Owned Businesses by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
“Veterans bring an excellent blend of hard work and ingenuity to our team. They are tested and results-driven, with excellent team-building skills,” says Brandon Martin, Owner and Real Estate Broker at Tradewind Properties.
“It was an honor to be named to the Top 50 Veteran-Owned Businesses List by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Many of the core values that I developed from the Navy ring true in the day-to-day operations of running this business. As a staff, we put a strong emphasis on working together and being accountable.”
This is the first year that Tradewind Properties has been included on this list.
Tradewind Properties is also included in the list of the Top 50 Veteran-Owned Businesses according to the American Registry.
See what sets us apart in real estate investment and property management.
As someone who recently moved I realized why a lot of people hate moving so much. After moving I took some time to think of some things that would make a move that much easier and less stressful.
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What is the weather supposed to be like? Do you have enough space at your new place for all of your stuff? If you plan these things out in advance you can avoid many of the hassles of moving; like moving in the rain and hail all day, like I did.
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We’ll be posting new tips and information, investment opportunities and industry trends to help our readers take full advantage of the latest developments in the real estate and housing market. The Twin Cities rental economy is more active than ever, and we’re here to bring you the latest from the front lines.