Managing rental properties is never an easy task. Essentially, owning a rental property makes you a landlord by default. In addition to paying property taxes and insurance premiums, you need to follow landlord-tenant laws to the letter.
In Texas, landlord-tenant laws are strict in some areas more than others, but there’s no room for error. A simple mistake can cost you thousands of dollars and you might even lose an eviction case against a problem tenant.
If you own rental property in Texas, you can’t afford to make even the simplest mistake. The way around it is to work with a property management company. Have you considered hiring a property manager?
Here are 6 reasons to do so immediately.
1. A property manager will be the landlord
The number one reason to hire a property manager is to hand over your landlord duties. Being a landlord is the most tedious part of owning rental property and you’re better off outsourcing the job.
Imagine never having to collect rent, advertise a vacancy, answer an emergency call at 3 am, clean a unit, make a repair, or serve a notice to vacate. That’s what life is like when you hire a property manager.
Property managers know the law
In addition to taking cumbersome tasks off your plate, a property management team will have extensive knowledge and experience with Texas landlord-tenant laws. For instance, they’ll know exactly how to serve a tenant with a notice to vacate and will handle evictions professionally.
Most property management companies have an attorney on retainer, so if something new comes up, they can ask for advice. However, most issues that arise are pretty common, including property damage, returning security deposits, and collecting late rent.
It’s important to handle even the most basic tenant interactions according to the law because problematic tenants who sue tend to bring up every perceived injustice in their lawsuit.
2. Non-paying tenants can be difficult
Have you ever tried to collect a late rent payment from a difficult tenant? Sometimes tenants are late by no fault of their own when their paycheck doesn’t line up with when rent is due. However, some tenants just don’t pay their rent on time.
If you’ve ever tried to collect late rent from a difficult tenant, you already know it’s a losing battle. Having a property manager can help mitigate this problem and possibly even eliminate the issue altogether.
You need a system to prevent non-paying tenants
Property managers have effective systems to manage rent payments that begin with their first tenant interaction. When signing a lease, a property manager will make sure the tenant knows late rent won’t be tolerated. They’ll explain how late fees work and will make it clear that late fees won’t be waived.
In addition to setting the example from day one, property managers will follow through with enforcing every aspect of the lease. They won’t let tenants off the hook even for a $20 late fee. This sets the example that rent cannot be paid late, which will deter many people from simply being lazy about making their rent payments.
Ideally, a property manager will also thoroughly screen tenants to prevent bad tenants from renting in the first place.
3. You don’t want to manage an eviction alone
If you ever come to a place where you need to evict a tenant, you’re in for a wild ride. Evictions are messy and don’t work the way you might think. For instance, you can’t just tell your tenant to leave in 30 days and have them escorted off the property when they don’t vacate. Evictions are a formal court process that can be highly complex.
Texas evictions are highly procedural
Evicting a tenant in Texas requires giving your tenant notice to vacate according to the law, which varies based on numerous circumstances. For instance, you can’t evict a tenant with a current lease unless that tenant has violated the lease or has created some kind of danger defined by the law.
All evictions must follow a strict protocol and begin with serving a valid notice to vacate. If your tenant doesn’t leave, then you can file an eviction lawsuit in court. Your initial notice to vacate must be worded properly and delivered according to the law.
If you fail to serve this first notice correctly, your eviction lawsuit will be thrown out immediately and you’ll need to start over by serving your notice properly. You can avoid this by working with a property manager who understands the law inside and out.
4. You can’t afford to violate the Fair Housing Acts
Violations of both the Texas state Fair Housing Act and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) carry steep penalties, including fines. If you don’t adhere to the FHA, you’re risking plenty. The worst scenario is that a problem tenant might win the right to remain living in your property.
5. You want good deals on maintenance and repairs
With a property management service, you’ll get great deals on repair and maintenance services. Property management companies usually contract exclusively with reputable, local companies and contractors to perform work at a discounted rate. This guarantees those companies more business and they offer a discount in return.
6. You value your sleep
Who wants to answer the phone at 3am to learn about a bathroom screen that popped off and is hard to get back into place? That’s not an emergency by any means, but sometimes tenants don’t think before they call their landlord in the middle of the night.
When you hire a property management company, they’ll field all of your emergency calls, including the calls that aren’t really urgent. You’ll be able to sleep through the night without having to worry about being disturbed for something trivial.
Make your investments easier with a property manager
There’s no need to do everything yourself when you can hire a property manager. The freedom you’ll gain makes the cost of services worth every penny.