At Gibson Group Management, we provide professional leasing and management services in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida. We see a lot of landlords make some common mistakes when they manage their own properties. We’ve decided to share a two-part video on the top 10 mistakes that landlords tend to make.
Today, we’re beginning with the first five mistakes in Part 1 of our series.
Mistake No. 1: Not Raising Rent
A lot of self-managing landlords never raise the rent. Often, they have the same tenant in a unit for many years and they’re afraid to raise the rent. Landlords are worried that the tenant will start calling for maintenance or becoming difficult if they have to pay more. But, if your tenant isn’t calling for maintenance, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no maintenance needed. They’re probably not calling because they don’t want their rent to go up.
Always raise the rent to stay competitive with market rates. You should be raising it once a year or once every other year.
Mistake No. 2: Never Doing Interior Inspections
Landlords say they’re scared to go inside a unit. It’s your property; don’t be scared. You should do periodic inspections annually. There’s no need to go to the property every month. However, you’ll want to get inside once a month to make sure the tenant is taking care of the unit. Look for deferred or unreported maintenance and make sure your resident isn’t a hoarder with 10 cats or dogs in a one-bedroom apartment.
At Gibson Group Management, we conduct inspections once a year.
Mistake No. 3: Allowing Tenants to Make Their Own Repairs
Don’t ask or let the tenants make their own repairs. If your tenant calls to report a leaking toilet and you ask them to fix it themselves and deduct the amount from next month’s rent, you’re setting a bad precedent. That tenant will start calling with a new repair every month, just looking to knock money off the rent that’s owed. Tenants may also do repairs incorrectly. That’s only going to cause further repair issues.
Mistake No. 4: Inadequate Tenant Screening
A lot of landlords collect rent and hand over the keys without getting an application, running a background check, or pulling a credit report. This is a huge risk. You have to know who is living in your property. You don’t know who the tenant is or where they work if you don’t do a thorough screening.
Sometimes, self-managing landlords don’t even have a lease. This is a huge mistake.
Mistake No. 5: Giving Breaks to Tenants
Another mistake is giving breaks to tenants. If there’s a resident you like and you don’t charge a late fee when that resident pays late, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. This is especially true when you don’t make the same exceptions for other tenants. All tenants talk to one another, especially in multi-family properties. If one tenant hears that a neighbor wasn’t charged a late fee but you did charge that person a late fee, you’re looking at a discrimination issue or a fair housing issue. Don’t do favors for one tenant unless you’re willing to do the same thing for everyone.
Make sure you check out Part II of this series, where we’ll continue counting down the list of 10 most common mistakes made by self-managing landlords. If you have questions about property management in Fort Lauderdale or South Florida, please let us know. Contact our team at Gibson Group Management.