Over the years that you own a Portland Oregon rental property one situation that you may encounter is finding out that one of your tenant’s guests has taken up residence in the rental property.
Sadly, this happens more often than most owners know. The good news is that it’s easy to deal with long term guests especially if you protect yourself before renting your property.
In this article we will break down how you can make sure that your tenants follow your lease agreement and also don’t allow any of their friends to over stay their welcome.
How To Prevent Guests From Staying Too Long
Include Appropriate Language in the Lease Agreement
If your lease agreement doesn’t already include a clause about long-term guests, it’s time to amend it. Make sure you are clear about overnight guests and your expectations. For example, you may want to state that one or two guests staying for less than 7 consecutive nights don’t need permission, but any guest who will be staying longer than 7 nights must get written permission from the landlord.
Another option is to limit the consecutive nights that a guest can stay to 2 or 3. This can prevent boyfriends or girlfriends from slowly becoming permanent residents without your knowledge. Yet another example might be to limit guests to no more than 14 days in a 6-month period. No matter what you decide, make sure the language is clear and that you are in compliance with any state laws.
- Treat Subletting Differently
Too many landlords have gotten burned by tenants who sublet to others or run a “hotel” business on the side via Airbnb. Subletting should have its own clause in the lease agreement, and should clearly state that it is either not allowed or else outline your conditions for it. Many landlords nowadays are expressly forbidding temporary paying guests via Airbnb in the lease agreement as well.
- Talk With The Tenant
If the tenant approaches you to request permission for a guest to stay past your agreed-upon terms, listen to what they have to say. You may consider granting permission for an out-of-state family member who is visiting, but not their out-of-work buddy who needs to crash somewhere. If you do give permission, make sure you are both clear on the terms of the stay and when the guest will be leaving.
Make sure to follow up with the tenant to ensure the guest is indeed gone. Before granting permission, remind the tenant that they are responsible for the guest’s behavior, including any damages to the rental. If the tenant wants to add a roommate or live with a significant other and you tentatively agree that it’s ok, start the application process the right way with the guest and take it from there.
- Act Quickly
The biggest mistake you can make is to delay any kind of action once you discover or are told about a guest. Some landlords who might worry about a confrontation take a wait-and-see approach, hoping the guest will go away on their own. Obviously, this is a less than ideal way to manage your property, and you need to be more assertive in finding out what’s going on. Once you learn the gist of what’s happening with the guest you can make your next move, such as reminding the tenant about the guest rules, asking the guest to fill out an application to be added to the lease or to start the eviction process against your tenant for breaking the lease agreement.
- Give Warnings and Eviction Notices When Necessary
As much as you may not want to, you may be faced with an increase in problems from the long-term guest. Some of the more common issues that might arise include abuse of parking, noise, damage, and using community equipment (laundry) and areas (swimming pool or clubhouse) that is expressly reserved for tenants. For each violation, deliver a written warning to the tenant, who is responsible for all guests on the property, short- or long-term. Even if the tenant is “innocent” of the problems, they are still responsible and must get the warnings. Lease violations should trigger your eviction process as well, even if the issues stem from the guest and not the tenant.
Hire A Portland Oregon Property Manager
Did you know? Hiring a property manager is the most effective way to ensure that your best interests are represented at your rental property so that you won’t encounter problems like long term guests?
Here’s what a property manager will do for you:
The first way we help you with your home for rent in Portland Oregon is by finding the right tenants for your rental property and then maintaining a great relationship with that tenant so they will want to continue renting your single family home, condo or townhome for years to come.
We Do More Than Collect Your Rent
Besides just collecting rent, we will also set the “correct” rent for your property for rent in Portland Oregon so you can earn the most rental income possible from your property. Once the rent is collected we will also deposit the funds into your account, or mail you a check in a timely fashion, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with tenants yourself.
One of the most common “complaints” among owners is that they never have enough time for themselves or their families since they are always busy dealing with repairs or maintenance issues for their properties.
We simplify the process of owning a home, condo, townhome or single family home for rent in Portland Oregon by handling all of the ongoing maintenance issues for you so you can focus on living your life without having to deal with the possibility of another call for help from your tenants again.
Besides the reasons to hire a property manager, mentioned above, some of the other key points or reason for hiring a professional property management company to manage your rental properties include the following:
1. No More Wake-Up Calls
There’s a problem at the rental, and as the landlord, it’s your job to fix it. With a property manager, you’ll be able to say goodbye to late-night emergencies. When a problem arises, the property manager will get the call and respond accordingly.
2. Turbocharged Tenant Sourcing and Screening
Property managers have access to a wealth of resources that enable them to find new tenants faster, helping you to keep those vacancy rates down. Not only that, but they’re also able to thoroughly screen tenants. They know what to look for and what questions to ask.
3. Regular Maintenance and Repair Help
With a property manager, you don’t have to be the on-call maintenance person/gardener/pool boy anymore. Your property manager will perform routine maintenance for you, preventing small issues from getting out of control. When repairs are in order, the property manager will show up on-site at the first sign of trouble. Since they deal with this type of thing all the time, they’ll also have a database chock full of vendors and contractors who do reputable work at fair prices.
4. Avoid Messy Legal Problems
Keeping up with landlord-tenant law can be tedious and quite costly if you’re not up to speed. New regulations are constantly coming into effect, and staying out of trouble depends upon your compliance with these laws. A professional property manager should be experienced with landlord-tenant law and able to navigate the various complexities to make sure you stay on the right side of it.
5. Get the Income Balance Right on Your Properties
According to Rent.com’s 2014 Property Owner and Manager Report, 85 percent of property managers reported raising their rental rates in 2013. An experienced property manager who knows the market is familiar with that sweet spot: the amount of money that you can realistically charge without risking longer vacancy rates.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Property Without Having to Watch It
Whether you’re a long-distance landlord or just down the block, keeping a close watch on your property is important. Having a property manager means that your home will be checked on routinely. This is especially important during vacancies, as empty properties are prime targets for vandals. A property manager will be able to keep the property well-maintained, giving it a lived-in, occupied appearance.
7. Stop Being the Bad Guy
As a landlord, it’s your job to enforce the terms of the lease. Unfortunately, though, this is easier said than done. When a tenant brings in one too many dogs or there’s an issue with smoking indoors, things can get ugly. With a property manager, you don’t have to show up and try to reason with the tenant who’s arguing the merits of turning backyard trees into firewood. Instead, let your property manager handle it.
8. Never Hear “The Check’s in the Mail” Again
The check is always in the mail! As a property owner, you depend on the rent arriving each month on time. When this doesn’t happen, there’s often a tremendous amount of time and effort involved with tracking down the rent. Letting late rent slide can create a situation where the tenant is able to live in your property rent-free, for as long as it takes to evict them. A property manager will be your no-nonsense rent collector and will take immediate action if the rent is late. They’ll document all steps taken and remain in compliance with the law.
9. No More Dreaded Evictions
Evictions are the bane of every landlord, and understandably so. There’s a tremendous amount of red tape surrounding the lawful eviction process, and no, changing the locks while the tenant’s out just isn’t an option. A good property manager is on the ball and able to handle evictions for you — quickly, efficiently, and in compliance with state code and regulations.
10. Have the Freedom to Invest in Better Housing Markets
Finally, property managers make life easier — so much easier, in fact, that you may be tempted to get yourself a few more rental properties. With a property manager, you’ll even be able to invest in properties that are out of town; since you won’t be managing them yourself, it won’t matter where you invest. This allows you to take advantage of more affordable or growing housing markets.
Owning a rental property can be a great investment. But, as you can see, having a property manager can make your life so much easier. If you own rentals but are feeling overwhelmed, do yourself a favor and look into getting a property manager to take some of the load off.
Get Portland Oregon Property Management
For property management in Portland Oregon contact us today by calling (503) 515-3170 or click here to connect with us online.