During the 1990’s my husband and I decided to obtain investment property. We wanted to use it as additional income and eventually as part of our retirement. We slowly added to our inventory learning as we went. I am continually learning and tweaking our lease to cover things that come up. The following is some of what I have learned over the years.
1. I always validate the references on the tenant’s application.
Reverse search the phone number to make sure it matches the name of the previous landlord.
Check county records to verify the name of the landlord matches the name of the reference, unless you are calling a property management company.
2. Call the potential tenants prior landlord to the one they are currently renting, they may give more information than the current landlord.
3. Look in the court records to see if the potential tenant has been evicted from previous rentals, or if the potential tenant has felony convictions.
4. Drive by your investment property regularly. If you see cars parked on the grass, or trash in the yard. Stop and address the situation. If the outside looks bad, the inside is probably not much better.
5. The rent is due as per contract, follow the contract. If you allow the tenant to split the rent or pay late without consequence that is what they will always do. You need to make sure paying late is not an option.
There may be times that the tenant will call stating that they have an issue where they cannot pay rent on time. Always get some money, even if it is only a small portion. Tell the tenant up front that they must communicate and be truthful.
If you do not hear from the tenant and do not have rent by the 5th of the month, put an eviction notice on the door (in Oklahoma know as a 5 day notice to vacate). Do NOT wait. The longer you wait the more rent you will lose. When I have had to issue a 5 day notice, I usually get the rent within the 5 days required or the tenant moves out.
If you the tenant does not pay or move out, then take future action and go to court before you lose more rent and potentially have more damages.
While screening the tenant properly and monitoring your property will alleviate the majority of problems, it is not a guarantee you will never get a bad tenant or have issues.
If you would like to explore the possibilities of investing in properties, let me know. I would be happy to help you.
This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice on renting property please seek legal advice. If you’re interested in purchasing investment property, feel free to call me at 405-213-2992.