Since we work on a daily basis with owners and renters in the building, and often witness both the positive and not so positive experiences that arise from time to time, we are often asked for advice. Makes sense. Though, we won’t call it advice. Rather, tips or suggestions if you will, based on our experiences. So here are the top 5 “tips” we would give landlords:
1. CHECK REFERENCES – Some seasoned landlords would say talk to your prospective renters previous landlords, rental management companies – whoever they were renting from last – and similarly read your credit checks. Everyone lived somewhere before Park Tower except for the handful of those who were born here. And there is a good bet that you will get a good reading on someone from the folks who collected rent before you. And that goes for the credit check too. It has to be run, and includes information which can sometimes help you verify that the references you are given are accurate. If they do not have a reference, because they lived with parents or owned a home, those seasoned landlords would say be very cautious and rely on the credit check.
2. COLLECT A SECURITY DEPOSIT – Be very careful to handle a security deposit by the book (See the relevant municipal code). Many landlords who get caught without one have stories about getting served up all sorts of surprises like damages and fines. We have observed countless situations where a landlord is left without last months rent. AND we are aware of some situations where a landlord has agreed to use a security deposit against last months rent, then SUPRISE! The unit was turned upside down, or the renter broke the lease, moved out on the weekend and left Association fines behind them. Fines which get charged to the Unit Owner’s account. AND TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR UNIT; both before and after pictures go a long way to protecting you if you need to claim damages.
3. NO SMOKING PLEASE – Arguably one of our biggest complaints is cigarette smoke odors, not so lovingly shared between neighbors. And while the rules prohibit a residents smoke from penetrating the common areas or other units, unfortunately it is never as simple as telling the smoker they are breaking rules. There is no reasonable or practical way to make units completely air tight, especially since the building and units are not at all designed to be air tight. Even now Management and the Board are dealing with very stubborn renters who refuse to cooperate with requests to mitigate cigarette smoke entering neighboring units. So, to avoid possible fines and entanglements with neighbors and the Association, a “No Smoking” clause is suggested.
4. KNOW PTCA’s RULES – Before you even consider renting your unit, become familiar with the Association’s moving and leasing policies and procedures. We do have a helpful leasing packet that includes a checklist of the requirements and the various do’s and don’ts. But the process is much less challenging for everyone involved if you are familiar with what is expected from you, your prospective renter and the Association. The website library is still under construction, so for a copy of the PTCA Rules and Regs or the leasing packet, just send us an e-mail.
5. STAY INVOLVED AND COMMUNICATE – You do not need to be best friends with your renter. And you do not need a private phone line to our office. But communication is often half the battle to keeping things positive or just on an even keel. Keep your contact information updated with the office, including a cell phone number and e-mail address. And do not hesitate to call your renter from time to time to check in. Perception goes along way. Demonstrating you care and want your renter to have a positive living experience, can help maintain a positive relationship and may help ensure they want to leave on good terms with you and the building.
Hopefully these suggestions based on our experiences and encounters from day to day, can help you have a more positive experience if you are renting a unit.