How Not to Be a Nosy Landlord
As a landlord, it’s natural to want to keep an eye on your property and your tenant. But entering or inspecting your property too often could be viewed as an unwelcome intrusion into your tenant’s privacy. To avoid annoying your tenant, it’s important to know when and how you can enter a rental property – and when you can’t or shouldn’t. Good tenant relations are the cornerstone of owning successful single-family rental houses, and making sure you are not being a nosy landlord is one way to encourage quality tenants to stay.
Be Aware of Tenant Rights
As a rental property owner, you have a specific set of rights and responsibilities. But once your rental house is leased, your tenant also has a very specific set of rights. Violating those rights is one way to become the dreaded nosy landlord that no tenant wants. Some of the ways the law protects tenants are common sense, while others may surprise you. For example, some property owners don’t realize that you may not enter the property whenever you want. Even though you are the owner, once your tenant occupies the property you must give appropriate or adequate notice and/or request permission to enter. Constant unannounced visits are not only likely to annoy your tenant, but may violate some of their legal rights as well.
Visiting Your Rental Property
Of course, that is not to say that you can never visit your property. There are many good reasons why you might need to enter a leased rental home. Performing maintenance and repairs, completing move-out and other evaluations, and showing the house to prospective tenants are all reasonable reasons to properly request access to the property. However, how you go about making those visits – and how often – could make the difference between being a nosy nuisance of a landlord or a professional, conscientious one. For example, with a few exceptions, a property owner should give advance notice of any visit to the property. The amount of time legally required for this notice varies from state to state, so be sure to check your state landlord/tenant laws to ensure you are giving proper notice - usually no less than 24-48 hours in advance.
Maintain Positive Tenant Relations
In fact, maintaining a friendly but professional relationship is extremely important for rental property owners and landlords. Every visit to the property should be conducted with respect for your tenant’s time, belongings, and privacy. This includes documenting and discussing any problems you might encounter. One of the best ways to prepare your tenant for regular evaluations or other visits may be to include it in your lease. By managing your tenant’s expectations upfront, you can help prevent negative feelings about your requests for access.
Regular Property Evaluations
Still, some tenants may view any property evaluation as intrusive or excessive. For this reason, the question of how often you will be evaluating your property should be settled when the tenant signs the lease. Depending on your specific state laws and regulations, the experts at Real Property Management recommend conducting a regular property evaluation twice per year, with additional visits as needed. Less frequent evaluations may result in failing to catch potential problems before they become expensive repairs, while more frequent evaluations could be misperceived by your tenants as a violation of privacy. If twice per year doesn’t seem like enough, you may consider simply driving by to check on your property from time to time. It is, however, important to stay mindful of your tenant’s right to enjoy their home free from harassment and constant scrutiny. Regular property evaluations are a necessary part of keeping your property in good condition. But they take a significant amount of time, time that perhaps could be better spent on other aspects of your real estate investing business. Reclaim your valuable time by contacting your nearest Real Property Management office today. The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information and content are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact their own local attorney and advisors to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.