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Property Management Blog

Published on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Eviction Rules for Property Management

A property manager is expected to be well versed with the laws that govern asset dealings. He is expected to advise the owner on the different rules of dealing with residential or self storage tenants and also arrange for legal help both for the owner as well as the tenant as and when required. If the owner wants to evict a tenant he needs to follow a procedure as prescribed by the legal authorities of his city or state. There are certain facts that he needs to be aware of.

          • Before filing an eviction lawsuit the owner of the asset must first terminate the tenancy legally. This involves him sending a written notice to the tenant about the termination. This notice should be in agreement with the tenancy contract that was signed by the tenant at the time of occupation of the asset.
          
          • On behalf of the owner, the property manager can file a lawsuit against the tenant if the tenant refuses to vacate the asset even on the expiry of the notice period. However, if the tenant shows signs of improvement by paying the monthly dues on time and by maintaining his home well, the owner does not have the right to evict him. A tenant who does not comply with the terms of tenancy as set by the owner of the firm is called an unlawful detainer.

          • There are very elaborate state laws for ending the tenancy. Ending the tenancy can be done by furnishing different types of notices for termination. The owner or the property manager has to follow the prescribed legal procedures for terminating the tenancy. There are specific formats in which the termination papers have to be written and sent or given to the tenant.

          • The owner, though having supreme authority over his asset cannot ask to vacate his tenant without sufficient reason and that too one that is recognized by the legal system of the place where the asset is located. There are certain causes that one needs to look into in order to terminate tenancy. One of the most common causes is that of the tenant defaulting payments of his monthly dues. Usually the owners are supposed to give a notice only when the tenant is a habitual defaulter. For those tenants who rarely make such mistakes and who usually pay their dues in time, the owners are supposed to show a bit of leniency. This kind of a notice is called Pay or Quit notice.

          • The property manager can be empowered to give a cure or quit notice to the tenant when he flouts any of the terms and conditions that he has agreed to in his tenancy contract. In such a situation, the tenant is given a time period to rectify his faults, failing which he is given the tenancy termination notice. If he disobeys the notice an eviction lawsuit can be filed against him.

          • In some states, under certain conditions the tenant can be given an unconditional quit notice. This is usually the most damaging form of notice for the tenant as he is not given the chance to stay further regardless of any reasons. This notice is administered when the tenant does not pay his monthly dues repeatedly or exhibits behavior that he has been warned for earlier.

      The property manager can issue the unconditional tenancy termination notice when the tenant damages the premises of the asset that he has occupied severely. This kind of a notice is also given when it is found out that the tenant has engaged in some criminal or illegal activity.

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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