I've said it before but I will say it again, Landlording needs to be treated as a business! There is a lot of Money and Liabilities on the table and we need to take the precautions we can to protect ourselves!
I recently sat down with the President of ezLandlord Forms, Kevin Kiene, to discuss what documentation we need to protect ourselves.
Listen in here:
Click here to Get the Forms Mentioned in the Video!
But Paperwork doesn't have to consume your life!
Tenant Management is almost an art that we have to practice in order to master it. I didn't know anything when we got our first rental. I didn't know where to get a lease from, how to rent a place, and I was totally freaked out the first time a tenant messaged me that there was a issue! Was I supposed to fix it? Was she? EEK! 😬
So I stepped my game up and got my Systems in place so I never had to struggle again!
All I needed was some good forms ensuring that I was up to date on Landlord/Tenant Laws, and an easy way to track the process! Now, I can sleep easily if I end up in legal action. Well, again that is... In the past 3 years, I have been to court for 4 different cases. I guarantee you that my documentation was what helped me win all 4!
Here is my process so you can incorporate as your own:
1. It all starts with a foundation!
Get a really good lease! I mean, how many times have you seen a question posted in Lady Landlords where the answer always comes down to "What does your lease say?" It is the source of truth when it comes your agreement with your tenants. So, it better be rock solid! Make sure to take your state and local laws into consideration too! Those keep changing so make sure to stay up to date on changes in legislation when you have lease renewals! Need help with getting an Up to Date State Specific Lease? Click here!
2. Document, Document, Document!
From the second a prospective tenant messages me, I started documenting. I ALWAYS use a Prescreening form even from the start! I even had a tenant lie on their pre-screening form and I was able to terminate their lease purely due to the answers on this form! That alone saved me thousands of dollars and a really big headache! I also use Move-In/Move-Out checklists to help verify any damage done in case I need to take funds from the Security Deposit. There are notices for everything from lease violations to late rent to notifications for inspections. All of these help tenants understand expectations and show proof that you did the right thing as the Landlord. Get your copy of these forms here!
3. Take action when you need it!
Don't hesitate to take action at the right time. Sometimes, we can let things go, but in certain situations, we, unfortunately, do need to evict or sue in small claims. And that's okay. Its the cost of doing business! It's what we sign up for when we buy rental properties. But we do need to exhaust our other options first. And that is what documentation can show us. Feel like you need more support managing your tenants and how to avoid sticky legal situations like these? Join the Wait List for our next Tenant Management Workshop coming soon here!
I am viewing a few new properties here in NY this week so keep an eye out in the Lady Landlords group for my analysis!