The Accidental Landlord’s Guide

accidental landlordYou may have recently become an accidental landlord due to an inheritance or forced into the landlord role just to cover the mortgage or an investment that may have gone wrong. Maybe you ended up with two homes after getting married or you inherited a home from a deceased family member? Or, maybe you ended up moving for work, or due to a life change –and you’re left wondering what to do with your previous house? Accidental landlords don’t start with the notion of becoming a landlord. They end up backing into that role.    What should you do when you inherit a house? Inheriting a house may seem like winning the lottery, but you need to be prepared and understand the financial and emotional decisions involved with this new property.   There are 3 paths to choose from in this situation.

  • Sell it
  • Move into it
  • Rent it out

It is safe to say that a landlord’s journey into a rental property is different. Whatever your circumstance maybe it is advisable to do your research when you find yourself in the position of an accidental landlord. However, not everyone will have this luxury to research and plan.    Here are four things from The Accidental Landlord’s 2020 Guide to consider if you have found yourself in the position of being an accidental landlord.

  1. Landlord Legal Obligations
  2. Utility Bills
  3. Do you have Rogue Tenants?
  4. The Right Team

1) Landlord legal obligations

You inherited a house and now what? Well, there are a lot of legal obligations landlords must adhere to but becoming an accidental new landlord can prove to be overwhelming.  You have to consider the safety aspects of the administrative duties. Failing to comply with these legal obligations can quickly and easily lead to prosecution. Don’t be that person!  When you become a landlord, it will be your sole responsibility to keep the rental property in a good, habitable condition for your tenants. The most in-demand aspect of being a landlord is responding to maintenance repair requests on the property promptly. The timeline may vary due to different states’ timelines for responding to repair requests along with different rules on things like security deposits, the eviction process, and notice for entry. Don’t waste your valuable time trying to learn and understand all of the legal aspects of property management. Each real estate market can differ drastically depending on the city and state. Let the local experts, our team, make sure that all of your full compliance is in line with the state’s legislation.

2) Utility bills

Well, it is never recommended for landlords to include the costs of utility bills in the rent. Doing so could potentially turn away your valuable tenants. But let’s say you find yourself in this situation as an accidental landlord. It can get messy and very complicated if the bills exceed what is budgeted. Above all, it can be difficult to predict energy usage as it can vary from tenants and fluctuate dramatically, particularly due to seasonal climate changes. Therefore, it is important that you handle this situation accordingly. For this reason, that is why it’s much easier to let your tenants take responsibility for the utilities under their own account.    With our expert guidance, we will ensure that all the utilities (gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, broadband, council tax, etc.) are transferred over to the tenant(s). Our team of expert property managers will make sure it’s stated in the tenancy agreement that your tenants are responsible for paying utilities.   At Southwest Florida Property Management, we will contact each utility provider to ensure the accounts have been transferred over. This is to ensure your protection in the event the tenant falls behind on their utility bills, they will be held responsible, not you.

3) Do you have rogue tenants?

As an accidental landlord, you may find yourself in the perilous situation of having a rogue tenant. It is an underbelly of being a landlord.   So what exactly is a rogue tenant?  In the property management business, we refer to rogue tenants as “long-term guests.”   “Rogue tenants are individuals who have taken up residence in my property without approval or permission, and perhaps even changed their mailing address to receive mail at my rental property.”    –Landlordology   If you do find yourself in this situation you will need expert assistance with this issue. If you are new to the scene, chances are you have not experienced a head-on collision with a rogue tenant. As an accidental landlord, you may find that a tenant is a rent dodger or someone who is a chronic hoarder. Either way, handling situations like these will require expert strategies to resolve the issue.     The reality of rogue tenants can often have alarming details. The Southwest Florida Property Management team will handle all matters to prevent and prepare you as a landlord for this day! Our expert team will give thorough referencing, insurance policies, and regular inspections to the property. If you do find yourself with a rogue tenant, then you might want to take advantage of our FREE Consultation. Call us today for further details and assistance with any issue you are experiencing.

4) You will need the right Team

Finally, when it comes to overseeing your property, you don’t have to go at it alone. Especially if you inherit a home that still has a mortgage is forced upon you. Yes, you may know of people who do it themselves but after a while, all the work will add up. What if you have multiple rentals to manage –or properties that are located out of town? Can you justify all the tasks and responsibilities associated with property management?    When you have become an accidental landlord you will need a good property manager to help with this and this is where we come in. Southwest Florida Property Management operates off of transparency and mutual trust.  You will also need additional help to streamline the process along with the property manager. An accountant is crucial and will be needed to do the taxes; a real estate agent who will help provide investment advice and having the right team overall will make becoming an accidental landlord easy.

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