Tips to Resolve Landlord -Tenant Dispute

by 29, July 2012 21:19

Landlord-tenant disputes are a common phenomenon in a renting process.  Being a landlord is not an easy task and your duty and responsibility does not start and end at collecting rent from your tenants every month. Similarly, the duty and responsibility of a tenant is not limited to paying rent on time. Both landlords and tenants should be accustomed to landlord and tenant laws so as to avoid future disputes.

Renting out your property to an eligible tenant who will take proper care of your property is the most challenging task for you as a landlord. Using land lord tools and resources are not always sufficient to trace out a responsible tenant. There are several landlords and property management companies in Dallas and Houston who are successful in their business because they know the skill of keeping great tenants to make the most out of their rental property.

The basic reasons behind landlord-tenant disputes are as follows:

  • Hike in rent
  • Ignoring repairs
  • Non-payment of security deposit and
  • Violation of the rental agreement

There can be several reasons behind a landlord-tenant dispute but such disputes can be resolved promptly through mutual discussion and understanding rather than approaching the law. In fact, litigation should be your last choice when the circumstances are escalating beyond your control. Both landlords and tenants should follow certain common guidelines to stay away from legal tribulations.

  • Be aware of your rights as well as responsibilities.
  • Abide by the federal, state and local law.
  • Ensure that the terms and conditions are precisely stated in the rental agreement.
  • Make sure that you read all the terms and conditions mentioned in the rental agreement before signing it.
  • Both landlord and tenant should keep a copy of the rental agreement with them for future reference.
  • Always maintain written record of repairs request and keep copies of receipts of payments

As a responsible landlord or property management company, you should abide by the following guidelines:

  • Utilize a strong, legally compliant rental agreement.
  • Conduct a background check of the prospective tenant.
  • Do a reference check by calling up the previous landlords.
  • Insure the property is up to property code
  • Be prepared to do preventative maintenance and periodic maintenance on the property and appliances.
  • Document payments and conversations to provide accurate notes of issues
  • Understand your obligations as a landlord under the Texas Property Code and local ordinances

Legal obligations are quite daunting that can lead you to pay a substantial amount of money in court fees, legal cost, and time. Therefore, knowing the law and abiding by it helps both landlords and tenants to steer clear of unpleasant conflicts thus avoiding costly landlord-tenant conflicts.

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Tips to Sell Your Home in the Current Housing Market

by 29, July 2012 20:57

The current real estate market in Dallas and Houston is no doubt favorable for the buyers but at the same time it has made selling a stressful task for the sellers. There are countless homes that stay in the market for a long period before they get sold. Moreover, due to the increasing number of foreclosures, the home values have also gone down terribly.

If you are a seller who is planning to sell your real estate property, you should be careful to stay away from the common mistakes done by sellers while selling their homes.

1.    Accept Your home may have lost value in this market: The value of your home must have been a lot higher in the past; however home values have gone down significantly in the recent times (though reports indicate that prices are creeping back up). Therefore, you should keep this fact in mind and list your home at the current real estate price. If your home is priced higher than the current market price, it will no doubt sit in the market for a longer period till you reduce its selling price.  In addition to not selling it, you will incur cost for maintenance and mortgages, the longer it sits.

2.    Decide an appropriate price by getting the facts: In order to know about the right selling price, you should do some market research to investigate the sales of comparable homes, the price cuts and how long the homes have been sitting in the market. These factors would help you decide the right price for your home. In order to decide the appropriate selling price, it is also important to evaluate your property and compare it to the homes available in the market for sale. You can also take the help of a real estate agent to know the demand of the potential home buyers who are planning to buy a home. Based on the requirements of the potential buyers, you can assess if your home has all the required features to allure the buyers.

3.    Hire an experienced real-estate agent:  While hiring a real estate agent ensure that you hire an experienced agent who is familiar with the area as well as its housing market and one who possesses exceptional marketing skills to promote your house in the housing market.

4.    Allow buyers space while showing your house: This is a grave mistake often committed by sellers and agents. While a prospective buyer tours your home, you or your hired agent should not follow him/her. This helps them to judge the home better.

5.    Use social media to promote your house:  Finding agents and real estate brokerages who are up to date on technology will help imrove your chances of selling. More people are searching online and using technology to find properties than ever before, and this number is not going to go down in the future. For example, utilizing social media and the Internet from cites like YouTube,  Facebook and twitter can help your chances by increasing the marketing exposure for the  home.

6.    Clean your house before showing it to the prospective buyers: It is highly essential to clean your house and keep it in spick and span before each potential buyer visits your house. A clean and tidy house plays a crucial role in attracting buyer.

These are some of the tips that you should keep in mind while selling your home. You should be extremely careful while selling your home as mistake can delay and reduce the possibility of selling your home in a timely manner.

Categories: Sell Property
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Tips to Dealing with Difficult Tenants

by 25, July 2012 22:56

'A tenant slashes his landlord across the stomach when the latter got into an argument with his tenant while collecting the rent’.

You may have come across such threatening stories about violent situations occuring between tenants and their landlord. Not all tenants behave this way, but obviously, landlords sometimes face aggressive situations or difficult situation with their residents. 

As Investment Property Managers, we often come across landlords in Houston and Dallas facing the problem of evicting difficult tenants. Our eviction team has handled several eviction hearings and has assisted several distressed owners in Houston and Dallas to carry out the eviction process smoothly. The following tips would help you to deal with or avoid hostile tenants:

It goes without saying that proper background checks (criminal, eviction, and credit) and reference checks are highly essential before renting out your property to a new tenant. You should be assured that you are leasing your unit to a responsible and qualified person who will not be a threat to you or his neighbors. It is imperative to conduct proper screening of your prospective tenants before leasing your property to prevent all future calamities.  Often times,  prospective landlords will feel our criteria as their property management company are too difficult and strict, but our goal is to reduce risk that a tenant who may not be a quality individual obtains the keys.  Many owners do not realize that a eviction is a prolonged process that can cause a lot of heart ache and anger, and therefore preventitive measures in screening are preferable to having to deal with evicting a tenant.

Once a tenant has moved in, the steps to follow include:

Inform the tenant:
The first step is to inform your tenant that he/ she is violating the terms and conditions mentioned in the lease. Ideally, they should be informed over the phone and this conversation should be followed by a letter along with the copy of the lease. Don’t forget to highlight the violation in the rental agreement.

Settlement with a tenant: Foreclosures through out America have forced many banks work to remove occupants of a property through settlement (Cash for Keys) programs. This is done to avoid the scenario escalating with prolonged legal issues and reducing property damage. If you believe that the tenant will move out with minimal issue, then you may want to negotiate a relet fee or way to obtain your property with minimal.

Notice For Eviction Process:
If a phone call does not work as a reminder, then you may have to initiate the eviction procedures. For example, if your tenant has not bothered about paying the rent, then provide them a notice to vacate giving him/her appropriate notice to pay the rent or vacate the house (these terms are governed by your lease and state law) by certified mail.

Let the law handle the eviction:  If you feel unsafe during the proceeding, then let the legal process play out and stay away from your property during the eviction process.  Often times, you can file a  “Writ of Possession” after the eviction period,  if you are unsure that the tenant has vacated the premises, and a Sherriff can accompany you to the property to gain access. Do not try to circumvent the process by illegally locking the tenant out, cutting of utilities,etc, as it is both illegal and will only escalate the hostility.

Know your legal obligations: The best way to deal with violent tenants is to know the law of the land and to be aware of the terms mentioned in the lease. While making a rental agreement ensure that it specifies the time when the tenant should pay the rent, additional late fees and activities that are not allowed in the unit.  You should know if working with a tenant for a minimal payment may negate the eviction proceeding.

The following video cites a horrifying incident about a violent tenant who bit off one of the fingers of his landlord after an argument.  Being a landlord does not always have to end in violence or negative situations, but it is something to understand that it can be difficult.