Around Halloween, most people head to the local haunted house, fear factory or haunted jail for some extra chills and a shiver down the spine. However, landlords may experience some far scarier things that can give them nightmares for weeks.
Here’s a Halloween countdown of the 5 things that scare every landlord:
1. A Vacant Unit
A vacant unit means that there’s no income for as long as it is empty. This could be a few days, a few weeks or even a few months depending on what’s going on. While it’s necessary to have vacancies from time to time when turning a unit over, the shorter the stretch the better it is for any landlord’s bank account. If landlords are finding that the unit isn’t generating much interest with applicants, it’s time to take a good long look at the rental rate, the condition of the unit, marketing methods and even a neighborhood evaluation.
2. Late Rent
It’s every landlord’s worst nightmare–the rent due day approaches and they haven’t heard or seen anything about the rent. Unless the tenant is set up with an auto withdraw program every month, it’s always a risk that the landlord won’t receive the money owed and have to take the necessary steps. In the back of every landlord’s mind, when the rent due day with no rent passes, they wonder if this will be the month they’ll have to start the eviction process.
3. Discovering Damage
Landlords with investment properties can’t help but get attached to the rental units, even if it’s just pride in their business. When they discover that tenants have been less than respectful and caring for the property, it’s enough to cause frustration and concern. From damage to walls, windows and carpet to roughly used appliances, unreported plumbing issues or problems that have been hastily covered up, damage to the rental property is never a pretty sight.
4. Tenants Who Break the Lease Agreement
When tenants skip out in the middle of the night before the lease expires, it’s always going to make a mess of every landlord’s next few weeks. Generally, when they leave like this they are behind in rent, but even if they just up and leave without notice, it’s all too common that they aren’t interested in communication. It’s tricky to track them down if they don’t leave any forwarding information and landlords have to spend unplanned time figuring out what to do next. From determining that the unit is really abandoned to assessing damage, it’s going to create unexpected stress for landlords, no matter what.
5. Declining Neighborhood
Landlords always want to see the neighborhood where their investment property is located moving upward–improved schools, more successful businesses, fewer abandoned industrial complexes and business parks, and lower crime rates. When landlords start to see lots of vacancies in the area, plus a lack of economic development and community resources being put to good use, it can mean that the neighborhood is experiencing a decline. That’s never good for property values or for attracting high quality tenants. If the surrounding area isn’t going the right direction, landlords have a lot to think about in terms of changing their rental goals.
Hopefully, none of these scary issues will materialize for landlords this Halloween, but most are inevitable during the upcoming year or two. Smart and successful landlords will educate themselves in advance to know how to handle such situations so that the impact of these scary things will be minimized.