Professional Property Management - You need it now more than ever

Professional Property Management – You Need It Now More Than Ever

Managing residential investment property has always been a challenging endeavor. Gone are the days of simple two page leasing contracts and rental applicants with pristine credit and references. Today’s market requires complex documents, far more thorough tenant screening, and a knowledge of process and the law that few small investors possess. Eviction moratoria, new rental laws, and various state and federal government actions have added layers of complexity that make compliance a full-time job. Even seasoned property managers struggle to keep pace with requirements which seem to change monthly.

Well intentioned efforts such as Virginia’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program have seen high demand and processing bottlenecks. To complicate matters, landlords were tasked to apply for rent relief on behalf of their tenants, making it necessary to gain the tenant’s cooperation to seek assistance. Applications for rent relief can take up to 45 days to be processed, meaning landlords are placed on “hold” for up to 6 weeks even if the application is ultimately declined. Tenants who choose not to seek assistance are still essentially “eviction proof” by state and federal moratoria. It’s been a very difficult period for small landlords, for whom a loss of rental income for 60 days or more can be catastrophic.

There have also been additions to Fair Housing law and new protected classes which have broadened protections for prospective tenants based on military status, source of funds, gender identity, and sexual preference. Additional screening and individual assessments are now required for potential tenants who have a history of criminality or who have been impacted by domestic violence or sexual abuse. The screening process is not a simple “yes or no” proposition as in the past.

While housing subsidies have been around for many years, it is becoming compulsory in many areas of the country for landlords to do business with those programs. Dealing with state and local housing programs adds a layer of administrative oversight and complexity that inexperienced landlords can find frustrating and difficult to navigate. Knowing the differences in how subsidized tenants must be qualified and how to interact with the program providing some or most of their rent eliminates a lot of stress and potential for lost rental income.

Other rental management compliance items include occupancy inspection requirements which vary based on locality, laws concerning numbers and location of smoke alarms and certification, as well as a program of thorough routine property visits that document condition and help with planning for capital expenditures in addition to identifying routine maintenance needs. In the post-COVID era, finding good, reliable vendors who are insured, licensed, and reasonably priced is another challenge for smaller landlords who cannot entice top quality contractors with the promise of frequent and ongoing business.

Landlords often struggle to tell their tenants “no” and lack the knowledge to push back when tenants challenge policies or claim that the law supports their position. Tenant relations can be one of most challenging aspects of handling rental property, particularly if you don’t have the ability to consult attorneys at little or no cost or lack solid leases and associated documents that have been tested in the courts.

How do you avoid fair housing violations, wrongful evictions, and the red tape associated with housing programs while attracting and properly vetting the highest quality tenants to a well maintained home? Hire a professional property manager. While no rental experience is guaranteed to be without incident, an experienced property management team is your best insurance to minimize losses due to non-compliance and non-payment. At The Real Estate Group (TREG) we have access to top landlord and tenant attorneys, the latest contracts and forms, and an array of licensed, insured contractors to ensure your investment in rental property is maintained and rented to eligible, qualified tenants. Contact our team today to discover why TREG PM is the RIGHT CHOICE for rental property management.

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