Colorado Property Management Blog – Real Property Management Colorado
Real Property Management Colorado is the market leader when it comes to residential leasing and property management services. We have leased and managed several thousand properties in the Denver and Colorado Springs markets. We provide both tenant placement services if the customer chooses to manage their own property and full-service leasing and property management.
Landlord-Tenant Communication Should Be Professional
The relationship between a landlord and their tenant should be strictly professional. Your tenant is a customer, in a sense, and should be treated as you would any other business relationship. This means maintaining a respectful and unemotional communication style. Smile and maintain eye contact when meeting face-to-face. Be aware of your non-verbals, such as crossed arms or other offensive or aggressive body stances. The key is to be friendly yet firm.
Keeping things professional is a good way to set up a productive relationship from the get-go and helps maintain order when things get rough. If you have a hard time interacting with your tenant in a professional manner or don’t have the time to do so, consider hiring a property manager like Real Property Management Colorado to maintain that relationship for you.
Be Flexible With Communication Styles
All of us have different preferences when it comes to how we like to communicate and be communicated with. Some prefer email or text, others phone calls. Some of us just want to meet face-to-face. When it comes to landlord-tenant communication, being flexible in how you communicate with your tenant can make a world of difference. Find out how your tenant prefers to be contacted, whether that’s phone, email, text, or even by mail. Some people rarely check their personal emails, so it may be more effective to reach out to them in a different manner. Some people prefer multiple means of communication, such as a follow-up email after a phone call. And while there are certain situations that require a specific type of communication method, be sure to communicate with your tenants in a way that you know they’ll receive the message.
More is Better
Over-communication isn’t always a bad thing, especially when relaying important information. You want to make sure that your tenants understand exactly what you’re telling them and that the conversation hasn’t been misinterpreted. Make sure you communicate clearly and effectively and that everyone involved understands exactly what you wanted to say. This means using your tone and body language as effectively as you do your words.
Remember We’re All Human
People in general want to build positive relationships. It’s just part of human nature. Keeping that in mind can be a great way to establish an effective landlord-tenant relationship that benefits all parties involved. So remember, keep it professional, communicate in ways that work for everyone, and ensure your message is clear. And at the end of the day, remember we’re all human.
There’s not much that compares to a nice open kitchen, but when your rental doesn’t have as much space to play with, how do you keep it from feeling cramped? Before you start knocking down walls or shopping contractors for a full-scale renovation, take a look at these tips for making the kitchen in your rental feel bigger!
Empty Kitchen With White Wooden Cabinet
#1: Paint it White!
White paint is a great way to make any room feel bigger, your kitchen included. Since white reflects light, it can make a room feel bigger and brighter even if there’s really not that much space. Match your countertops with a similar light color and try painting or matching bulkier items so that they blend in with the walls. A universal color scheme can create the illusion of more space, which is a win-win for you and your tenants!
#2: Try Horizontal Lines
Horizontal lines can make a space feel wider and more open. This can be accomplished with the flooring in your kitchen, like hardwood floors. Just be sure to try to align the panels horizontally from the entrance to the back of the room to create the right effect.
#3: Bright Lights
Nothing makes a room feel smaller than dull and gloomy lighting. Bright lights create the opposite effect. Take advantage of natural lighting if you have it by replacing heavy curtains with light-weight and sheer options. Add bright fixtures and if possible, try lights above, below, and inside cupboards.
Two Black Wooden Bar Stools Near Table and French-door Refrigerator
#4: Shiny Appliances
Shiny appliances reflect light, which furthers the wide-open feel that white walls accomplish. Shiny appliances, like stainless steel, also provide a new and modern feel. This can be a big plus!
In smaller kitchens, storage can often be lacking. Adding a few touches that add storage to your kitchen space is another way to make the room feel bigger by decluttering the space. Walk shelves, pegboards, magnetic holders, or any other space-saving organizers are all great options for freeing up space.
White Wooden Kitchen Cupboard
When it comes to your rental’s kitchen, creating the illusion of extra space is a great way to attract renters without breaking the bank on a complete remodel. So if it’s time to do some updates to your rental, consider these few ways that can help your rental’s kitchen feel bigger and brighter!
Denver is still a top pick for renters across the US! According to AparmentList.com’s most recent Renter Migration report, Denver is the #2 destination for migrating renters. Ranking just behind Tampa, FL, the report showed that 55% of renters looking for homes in Denver were coming from out of state. And those within the Mile High City looking to relocate elsewhere still choose to stay in the Centennial State.
Denver is Still Hot!
So what’s the long story short? Despite recurring news of unaffordability, Denver’s flow of new renters hasn’t slowed down. With a thriving job market, beautiful scenery, and abundant activities, it remains a desirable destination for many. And with Denver’s home prices out of reach for many, those looking to become part of the Mile High City turn to renting. Renting for many is also the preference, choosing flexibility and savings on maintenance costs over owning their own home. And where are these people coming from? According to the report, New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC are the “first, second, and fourth most common locations for inbound searches to Denver.” This is great news for landlords, as the flow of potential tenants hasn’t dwindled.
Is Everyone Staying?
Some stay and some go, but according to ApartmentList.com’s report, those looking to leave Denver don’t leave the state like many of those moving here. Instead, many renters who have found the Mile High City too pricey have turned to other local markets, including Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Greeley. The report also showed that 69% of renters looking to relocate searched nearby neighborhoods within the Denver Metro area.
The Highs and the Lows
While Denver has enjoyed popularity, not all metros attract as many renters from out of state. Detroit, Michigan, for example, ranked at the bottom of the 25 metros surveyed by ApartmentList.com.
You’ve done the hard work to find the right tenants for your rental property. You’ve screened them, collected the deposit, signed the lease, and handed over the keys. So what happens now if you need to gain access? Be it for repairs, inspections, or walk-throughs of any sort, etc., gaining access to your occupied rental comes with strings attached. It’s not as simple as just walking through the front door anymore.
Gaining Access and Tenant Rights
Once a property is leased, a tenant’s right to peacefully enjoy the property kicks in. Essentially, this means you as the landlord can’t stop by whenever you want. There are steps that must be followed before you set foot in your occupied rental. So what do you do?
Whether maintenance repairs need to be addressed or you need to have an appraiser stop by to complete your refinance, proper notice must be provided to your tenants. Many locations require a landlord to provide “reasonable notice” before entering the property. The definition of what’s “reasonable” varies depending on where you are and upon the situation, so it’s important to do your research. For example, reasonable notice for a non-emergency situation may be 24 hours, while emergency situations may require less or immediate access in order to preserve the condition of the property or for safety reasons.
The length of time required depends on state and local laws as well as your lease language, so be sure to check what’s required PRIOR to signing the lease. Your lease should also clearly address your ability to gain access by including thorough and well-written re-entry and access provisions. If you’re unsure how to proceed, review your lease and any access laws with a real estate attorney to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases.
It’s Their Home
Regardless of the fact that you own the property, it’s the tenant’s home. Invading their space by not following proper access procedures can come with hefty consequences. Make sure to do your homework, review your lease with proper counsel, and address gaining access with your tenants.
Spring and Summer in Colorado is hail season. Not only can hail storms hit with little warning and can range in size from pea to softball, the damage caused can be quite extensive no matter the size. Last year, Colorado ranked #1 for hail damage according to Farmer’s Insurance, costing homeowners billions in repairs. So what steps can you take to protect yourself and your property?
#1: Find Shelter
The first and most important step to take when hail strikes is to protect yourself. If you’re inside, stay away from windows and don’t go outside until the storm passes. If you happen to be outside, AAA Colorado recommends seeking out the nearest sturdy structure. If you can’t find any available shelter, find something to protect your head. If outside, stay away from trees, where winds and hail can cause limbs to fall and increase the risk of hurting yourself.
#2: Protect Your Car
If you’re out driving when hail strikes, find a covered spot or pull over immediately if none is available. Driving during a hail storm can increase the risk of broken windshields and windows. Make sure to contact your car insurance provider to make sure you have the right coverage, too.
#3: Protect Your Home
The best protection for your home and rental property is a sturdy roof. Have your roof inspected annually to check for damage and wear. Being proactive can save you tons. And when it comes time to replace the roof, consider using materials that can withstand severe weather. Talk to your roofer about what options are best for your home.
#4: After the Storm
When hail strikes, be sure to report any damage to your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Remember when hail strikes, it affects multiple homes, so the sooner you get your insurance involved, the sooner you can begin to fix any damage.
It’s a situation that is all too common in residential property management. Move-out day finally arrives. The tenant has vacated the property and you’re ready to complete the move-out inspection. You open the door and stop, mouth agape. It’s dirty. The carpet and paint are damaged. You’re frustrated, but console yourself with the thought that the tenant is responsible for all of the damage.
Or are they?
The answer may depend on how old the item is.
Useful Life Expectancy
One fact that many first-time landlords forget is the rule of useful life when assessing property damage. If an item has exceeded its useful life expectancy, odds are you won’t be able to hold the tenant responsible for the repairs. Many courts will rule in favor of the tenant in these situations. If that happens, you’re out the cost of the repairs and potentially triple the amount you charged the tenant for wrongfully withholding from their deposit. This is where hiring a property management company comes in handy.
So what exactly is useful life? It’s essential exactly what it says: “the amount of time during which an item is considered good enough to use.” Every item in a home has a useful life expectancy. Carpet, paint and appliances all wear down over time with normal usage. And with a rental property, the standard number of years can be different given the increased number of occupants coming and going. This means that if an item exceeds its useful life expectancy, charging the tenant for the repairs may not be an option.
Real Property Management 04-09-15
So what is the best course of action for landlords? Property inspections and evaluations are #1. Monitoring the condition of the interior of your rental property on a regular basis can help catch potential problems ahead of time and create a timeline for how items are wearing down. Keep track of when you last replaced certain items and make a schedule for when those items need to be replaced based on their useful life expectancy. A rental is an investment, which means you have to continue to put money into it to get a good return. Lastly, hire a property management company like Real Property Management Colorado to manage your rental for you. We have all the experience, knowledge and resources to expertly manage your investment property and guide you on the road to successfully navigating useful life and property damage.
To furnish or not to furnish? It’s a question just about every landlord asks when it comes time to advertise their rental property. And just like any other part of property management, there are a lot of pros and cons. So how much should you include with your rental property?
The Furnished Rental Basics
Just about every tenant expects some level of furnishings to be included with a rental property. Kitchen appliances are a given. Many tenants prefer to have a washer and dryer included. Blinds or some type of window covering are usually expected as well. These are the furnished rental basics. However, when it comes to bigger items, the question of whether or not to offer a rental furnished has a few additional points to consider.
Short Term or Long Term?
The first question to consider is how long you’re leasing your property for. Most tenants looking for long-term rentals come with their own furniture and don’t necessarily want yours. On the opposite side of the spectrum, those seeking out a short-term, corporate, or vacation rental expect it to be furnished. They don’t want to unpack and repack repeatedly.
Pros and Cons
When it comes to offering a standard long-term rental, there are more cons than pros for furnishing a rental. While you do have the potential to collect a higher rent for a furnished unit, the increased revenue may not outweigh the increased risk and time associated with furnishing your rental. The first thing to consider is tenant taste. By requiring tenants to use and maintain your furniture, you drastically reduce the pool of potential tenants looking at your property. They may like the property but are turned off by the prospect of using and maintaining your personal items instead of their own. Are you willing to let your property sit vacant that long just to keep the furniture in place?
And what happens if the furnishings are damaged? Many tenants move or store items left behind so they can use their own instead, so what happens if they do so incorrectly? Not only do you have to conduct a thorough inspection of the property prior to move-in, but a list of all included furnishings and pictures of their condition is a requirement. Not only does this take up a significant amount of time, but all of the other considerations for move-out apply as well when it comes time to process the tenant’s deposit. What constitutes as normal wear and tear vs damage to your items? How do you prove it? Odds are you’re not going to be able to keep track of every ripped fiber, ding, scratch, scuff, etc. on your furniture.
When thinking about whether or not to furnish your rental, think smart. Weigh all of the pros and cons, the type of rental you’re offering, and how much extra time you’ll need to invest if you do want to furnish it.
Evictions are an unfortunate part of property management. No landlord wants to go through the lengthy and expensive process, but knowing how to navigate it is a must. If an eviction does become necessary, make sure you’re aware of any and all local laws surrounding the removal of tenants and that you have a solid case should things go sour. If questions arise or you’re not sure how to proceed, consult a real estate attorney for further guidance.
Evictions aren’t as simple as telling tenants to leave and changing the locks on them. In fact, the whole process can be both time-consuming and expensive. The first step in the eviction process is providing the tenant notice. There are also situations where the tenant must be allowed time to cure the issue before an eviction notice can be served. Be sure to research all legal requirements in your area and consult an experienced landlord-tenant attorney of the proper steps.
Alternative Steps Prior to Eviction
Because evictions take time and money, it may be beneficial to see if an alternative resolution exists first. What’s their history? If it’s your tenant’s first time being late on the rent, send them a reminder. We all know how busy life can get. Hopefully, it’s just a one-time issue.
Follow-up with your tenants quickly and professionally. Maybe it’s something as simple as a bank error or they just forgot to submit payment. Either way, make sure to act fast and remain firm when rent doesn’t show.
If you’re dealing with a difficult tenant and don’t want to proceed with an eviction just yet, try offering them an out. In some situations, it’s better to get the problem tenant out and begin looking for a new one rather than going through a time-consuming eviction.
If you’ve exhausted all resources and the problem still exists, it may be time to begin the eviction process. Be sure to follow all laws surrounding the proper steps for evicting your tenant. If you’re unsure how to proceed, consult your attorney for further guidance.
Real Property Management 05-07-15
Evictions can be ugly, but Real Property Management Colorado can help guide you through the process and we do our best to keep the headache to a minimum. Our team is has the knowledge and expertise to help walk you through the process should problems arise and our legal team is always ready!
** Please note this post is for informational purposes only and not substitute for the advice or service of an attorney. Please consult with an attorney for any questions or information on the legal requirements and steps for proceeding with an eviction.
There are many pros and cons when it comes to allowing pets in your Denver rental, but it’s definitely a choice that should be carefully considered. Both Denver and Colorado as a whole have frequented the “Most Pet Friendly” list over the years and odds are that’s not about to change. So when it comes to deciding yay or nay on allowing pets in your rental, what should you consider?
No Pets Allowed
There are many landlords who choose not to allow pets in their investment property. While they steer clear of potential pet damage, saying no to pets actually has a few consequences. Studies show that over 70% of renters in the US have pets. When looking for a rental, many pet owners will filter their search to exclude properties that don’t allow pets. This means that you reduce the amount of exposure your rental ad gets by saying no to Fido. Seventy percent is a pretty huge pool to miss out on. With fewer people looking at your ad, you can expect your vacancy period to last longer which means money lost out of your pocket.
What About Pet Damage?
One of the biggest causes for concern that landlords have in regards to pets is the damage they cause. Scratched floors, stained carpets, ruined landscaping, etc., can easily cost a pretty penny to repair and can sometimes exceed the total of the deposit. However, studies show that the damage caused by pets in rental properties isn’t much higher than the normal damage caused by renters who didn’t have pets. With that in mind, collected an adequate pet deposit is usually enough to cover the damage.
If you’re on the fence about allowing pets, there are options available that don’t reduce the pool of renters who will look at your property. There’s the ever-common “Pets Negotiable” phrase, which allows you to accept pets on a case-by-case basis. You can also add specific language in your ad to allow what you’re comfortable with, like “small dogs only” or “one dog allowed” or “no vicious breed” etc,. If you’re leaning towards saying yes but are still wary of the potential damage, you can always charge a higher pet deposit, pet rent, or non-refundable pet fees. There’s really no limit when it comes to tailoring your options for allowing pets, except when it comes to service and assistance animals of course.
Pets vs Service/Assistance Animals
Under Federal Fair Housing Laws, service animals and assistance animals cannot be refused. Since they’re not considered pets, you can’t charge additional fees or deposits for a tenant who has a service/assistance animal. Make sure you know the difference or else you might find yourself on the wrong side of a Fair Housing violation. You can read more on the difference between pets and assistance animals here!
Allowing pets in your rental not only opens you up to a larger pool of tenants, but can lead to higher tenant retention, too. Pets are family for many and make a house feel like home. And if your tenants are happy where they’re at, they’re less likely to leave. But allowing pets also comes with its own risks. Pet damage can be an issue, and there are certain liabilities that landlords incur when they allow pets in their rental. So when it comes to answering the pet question for your Denver rental property, make sure to choose wisely and consider all of the facts before making that decision.
Managing a rental property isn’t as easy as simply throwing up a “For Rent” sign and waiting for the perfect tenant to walk through the front door. There are a lot of moving pieces, many of which include complex legal items. One wrong move can cost you big, so the question of whether you should hire a property management company or manage your rental on your own should be considered carefully. To explain just how complex property management is, let’s go over just what property managers actually do.
Advertising and Screening
The first step to managing a rental is having someone to rent to. The pitfall that many DIYers fall into is renting to the first interested party that shows up. Some of them choose to do so WITHOUT screening. Believe it or not, but 50% of DIY landlords don’t conduct a criminal background check, a little over 40% check the sex offender registry, and 23% said they never or rarely complete a background check at all! This is startling considering that your rental is one of your biggest investments you own. Putting the wrong person in your home can lead to huge consequences, massive headaches, and sometimes legal problems. Professional property managers not only advertise across multiple platforms, but conduct extensive screenings on all interested applicants. They check credit, national criminal (including sex offender and terrorist watch lists), and rental and evictions history. They also check each applicant’s income to make sure they qualify for the property. Experts recommend that a tenant make at least 3xs the amount of the rent.
Navigating Legal Ropes
Property management can often feel like walking a legal tight rope. You have to keep everything in balance and stay on the right side of the many laws surrounding renting your home or else you might fall into a heap of legal trouble. Knowledge is key. You have to know all landlord and tenant laws, including Warranty of Habitability, Colorado’s Law of Quiet Enjoyment, Federal Fair Housing, and tenant privacy laws just to name a few. And if that isn’t enough, these laws are constantly changing as new situations arise. Knowing these laws help to keep you out of legal hot water and is an essential part of property management. This is why hiring a professional property manager can be a huge benefit. Property management is their job, which means they have to keep up to date with all state and federal laws. They also have the resources available if legal situations do arise, including sticky tenant situations, evictions, and more.
Rent collection is the ultimate goal of leasing your home. After all, you have to pay the bills and want to have some form of income flowing in. A professional property manager not only collects the rent, but can offer many different options for payment. Online payments, tenant portals, check processing, etc., are all part of the property management solution to help tenants pay on time and provide convenient 24/7 access to do so. Not only do they collect rent, but they also know how to deal with tenants when they don’t pay. Having a clear and firm payment policy helps, and when tenants don’t pay, a property manager knows the steps required to obtain payment or begin the eviction process if necessary.
Regardless of how well you keep your rental property, maintenance repairs will always pop up. Appliances wear from normal use, things break or get damaged, and systems need attention and preventative care. A property manager not only needs to be constantly available for tenant calls and requests, but knows who to contact when maintenance is needed. You need a vendor for any and every potential situation, i.e. handymen, electricians, plumbers, etc. It also helps to have back-ups for each vendor in case they’re not available when emergencies arise.
Property management has many ins and outs. Finding a tenant is only the first step in a long road. Having someone who knows all of the twists and turns is a huge benefit that many savvy landlords and seasoned investors choose instead of doing it on their own. So when it comes to putting the “For Rent” sign up again, consider hiring a professional property management company like Real Property Management Colorado. We have the knowledge, skill, and time to manage your investment so you can spend your time on what’s most important to you.