The eviction process is no fun for either party involved in the lease agreement. It's a costly and time-consuming procedure for the property owner and stressful for the occupants as they seek alternate accommodations.
Once you factor in the legal procedures, follow-up calls, and administrative processes, it can take a massive toll on your confidence as a property owner and cut into the all-important cash flow.
However, as long as you're proactive, discerning, and cool-headed in the screening and pre-placement stage, there's a lot you can do to mitigate the risk of eviction in the early stages of the property investment journey.
This blog looks at the top strategies for eviction prevention and how a leading Seattle property group can help you screen tenants for occupant placement success.
Leading Strategies For Eviction Prevention
Our Seattle property management team understands that the best way to handle eviction is to avoid it! Save the headache and hassle of future evictions from lease violations with our leading preventative tips below.
Ensure Your Tenant Screening Process Is Thorough
Running a potential resident screening process is relatively standard practice in today's rental market.
In your check of every applicant, remember to take into account the following:
- Credit history: When running a credit history check, you can request that potential residents provide their rental history or locate this information online. Check for debts or any legal black marks against their financial history.
- Background check: Reach out to references or check for a history of criminality to determine if the resident is suitable for your property.
- Personality or reference check: While property owners must avoid denying a tenant based solely on a personality clash, a more personal check—a reference check—can be determined by speaking with referees or previous landlords about past behavior in rental properties.
- Criminal history: As part of the background, illegal activity should be top of the list. These can be conducted through an online service.
- Employment history and income: Checking verifiable income is the top way to avoid any payment problems—ask for proof of pay, a tax return, or a W-2 form. The standard procedure is to request three months of evidence of previous employment.
When screening tenants, it is advisable to contract the services of an experienced Seattle property management group to ensure the process doesn't violate any laws, is sufficiently thorough, and ticks all the right boxes. Property managers have the tools and experience to screen potential residents with complete competency.
Maintain a Strong Relationship With Tenants
If you've attracted quality residents for your property, then it makes sense you'll want to keep them around for as long as possible. Keeping the following recommendations in mind to help reduce your instances of evictions.
Maintain Efficient Communication
The key to efficient communication is maintaining open lines of contact where information can be shared quickly—ideally with a response time no longer than the 24 to 48-hour range.
This means going digital through a chat function on social media or an app or text message, or setting up a secure portal for residents to reach you efficiently. Don't be afraid to diversify the communication channels, as residents may feel more comfortable emailing for some matters and texting for others.
In addition, take the time to meet with tenants face to face and get to know them better.
Set Clear Expectations
A property manager will recommend ensuring clarity on how the property should be treated, plus establishing clear guidelines regarding details such as your pet policy, smoking, date of rental collection, etc.
This means setting written guidelines and making them easily accessible to your residents. Outline grounds for eviction and when a notice of eviction will be served if more severe expectations or rules are breached.
Remember always to be courteous and record all history of communication for effective records. Keeping a cool head and maintaining professionalism go a long way toward better landlord-tenant relationships!
Keep Up With Routine Maintenance and Repairs
If you're not sure of the general standard for maintaining rental properties that keep tenants happy, familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal health and safety standards, including time frames for maintenance emergencies. Then, break down additional routine tasks into time blocks. For example, smoke detectors should be changed yearly.
After adverse weather conditions such as big storms, be aware that there may be leakage problems or draining issues—so be prepared for these. Remember that a property management company can also help you keep track of routine maintenance or other repairs.
Have a Plan For Financial Hardship
There are several external pressures on renters, including inflation and a rapid increase in the cost of living. If tenants struggle to cover the rent, be open and honest with them and determine a contingency plan.
When financial issues are at play, and a renter can't pay rent, consider meeting in the middle while they catch up, like establishing a payment plan.
You can also warn about the next steps when the rent is late, as failure to provide a warning or steps such as an eviction notice letter can be deemed illegal. This notice gives residents thirty days to leave the property.
Trust a Seattle Property Management Team to Prevent Eviction
Eviction prevention is necessary not only for a rental property owner's financial health but also for social well-being and minimizing stress.
Locating, screening, and placing tenants can be a lengthy process, but it can save a lot of time and money down the road. Rather than leaving it up to chance or missing an essential step, nailing down the right tenants from the beginning can lead to happiness and real estate investment success.
Property managers are experienced, legally sound, and know how to pick the right tenant for your investment property. Reach out to the team at Real Property Associates to learn more about how our expert team can find the perfect residents for your property and reduce evictions!
If it happens, be prepared beforehand. Get our free "Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist" for our expert tips when eviction becomes necessary.