Atlanta Property Management Companies Make Investing Easy

Do you want to invest in real estate? Maybe you already own a rental property, but you want to expand your portfolio. As one of the most experienced Atlanta property management companies we have seen how much smart investors can make in the rental property market. Now is the perfect time to invest in an Atlanta rental property. If you aren’t sure how to get started in real estate investing the first step is to research your options. Below you can read about a few of the different methods for investing in Atlanta real estate.

Should I Flip or Buy and Hold?

Flip or Flop, Flipping Out, Zombie House Flipping, Masters of Flip, there are countless TV shows about flipping houses. Investors buy a home, fix it up, and sell it for an enormous profit. Once you sell your first flipped home you can roll some of the profits into the next purchase and keep moving up from there. There are many investors who find success in flipping houses, but just as many who barely break even. If you choose to invest in real estate by flipping houses there are some things you should know. Top Atlanta property management companies recommend taking these steps:

  • Be Patient: Don’t purchase a house if it is a good deal, wait around for a house that is a great deal. Savvy house flippers patiently wait for the perfect home at the perfect price. If you aren’t patient you may end up in the hole.
  • Brush Up on Your Handyman Skills: “Sweat Equity” goes a long way when flipping houses. If you can wield a hammer you can save some serious money. But be careful not to take on any job that requires a licensed professional.
  • Stick to a Budget: One reason many house flippers lose money is that they go over budget. In order to stick to a budget you need to know which repairs offer the best return on investment.
  • Manage Your Time Wisely: House flipping is all about time management. Unless you paid cash for the home you will be paying down a mortgage every month, including interest. Every month the home is under construction you lose money. Factor in the time your home will be under construction and on the market when you create your initial budget.

Buying and holding is the alternative to flipping homes. Our Atlanta property management company has seen real estate trends come and go, but the buy and hold method remains one of the best ways to make a profit in real estate. While this method does not bring the same kind of instant gratification as flipping does, it can make you more in the long run. Smart real estate investors find a home that appeals to renters, in a good neighborhood, at a good price. In many real estate markets property owners are able to charge enough in rent to cover their mortgage principal and interest, real estate taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Even property owners who just break even after their costs will make money in the long run because of the equity they build.

There is not one “right way” to invest in real estate. Some handy investors love the rush that comes with flipping homes. Others enjoy the stability and guarantee that comes with buying and holding rental property. One point remains true for every investor; real estate is one of the best investments you can make. Before you decide to purchase real estate have a plan in place for flipping or holding.

Why Atlanta Property Management Companies Recommend Single Family Home Investing

NPR recently reported on a new trend in real estate. A large number of people are choosing to rent single family homes, even when they can afford to buy. In fact, home builders are jumping on the bandwagon, building communities of single family rental homes. Why are so many people choosing to rent instead of buy? Most renters enjoy the freedom that comes with renting. Buying a home means choosing to stay put for the foreseeable future, or losing money if you decide to move. Some younger renters saw their friends and relatives lose houses during the housing crash and are afraid of losing their home if another recession hits. 

Beyond the current trends there are other reasons to invest in single family rental homes.

  • Appreciation: Single family rental homes tend to appreciate more over time than multi-family rental properties. If you plan to sell at some point in the future you will likely get more from your single family rental home.
  • Outside Maintenance: According to most Atlanta property management companies, tenants of single family rental homes are responsible for landscaping and other outdoor maintenance. Property owners are responsible for this aspect of multi-family rental units.  
  • Location: Single family rental homes tend to be in nice, quiet neighborhoods, close to good schools. 
  • Less Turnover: Tenants who rent single-family homes typically sign longer leases than tenants of apartments or other multi-family rental units. 

While there are many factors that go into making your rental property a success, single-family rentals tend to be a stable and predictable investment. In addition, when you work with experienced, professional property managers you can avoid expensive mistakes that may put your investment at risk. To learn more about our full range of services for single-family rental homes visit this page.

Investing in Multi-Family Rental Units

Duplexes, quadruplexes, or smaller apartment buildings can also be a good investment for individuals who want to make a start in real estate investing. But there are big differences between single-family rental properties and multi-family rental units. Before you dive in and purchase a multi-family rental unit consider these pros and cons from Atlanta property management companies. 

  • One Mortgage, Multiple Units: A multi-family unit can be bought with one mortgage, which can be a benefit if you plan to purchase other properties. Most banks put a cap on the number of mortgages you can hold. With a multi-family unit you can use have one mortgage bringing in several income streams.
  • Overall Costs: While the cost to purchase a multi-family rental unit is almost always more than purchasing a single-family rental home, some maintenance costs are lower. For example, owning one quadruplex versus four rental homes means only one roof to fix.
  • Vacancy Days: Vacancy days are expensive, no matter what type of property you own. However, with a multi-family unit vacancy costs are offset by the income you generate with your other units.
  • Appreciation: As we stated above, single-family rental homes tend to appreciate better than multi-family rental units. If your plan is to sell sometime in the near future, a multi-family rental unit is probably not the best investment for you.

Of course, it is worth noting that with more units you are likely to have more problems. The day-to-day aspects of property management are multiplied with each new tenant. Most Atlanta property management companies will tell you there is no “right” investment for everyone. If you are considering investing in real estate, think about how much time, money, and effort you want to put into it so you can decide if single family rentals or multi-family rentals are right for you.

Guidelines for Buying Rental Property

When you decide what type of rental property you want to purchase, how do you find the right one? As experienced property managers we know a thing or two about what makes a rental property a good investment. Oftentimes the property owners we work with are simply turning their former family home into their first investment property. This can be a great way to get started in real estate investing, but it is not right for everyone. If you are considering this route talk to our experienced property managers to help you decide if it is right for you.

Picking a single-family rental home to purchase is different than picking a home for your personal residence. You need to think like a renter in order to get the best return on investment. Atlanta property management companies can help you narrow your search for the perfect rental based on their local expertise. In general, your rental home should include these things:

  • A location close to good schools, restaurants, and public transportation.
  • A fenced-in yard.
  • Laundry hook-ups.
  • Three or more bedrooms.
  • Built in the last 20 years.
  • Good curb appeal.

Look for a home that supports a family lifestyle. Homes that have unusual layouts, small backyards, or are located on busy streets are more difficult to rent out. When you think you have found the perfect investment property make sure you check local regulations and HOA bylaws before you purchase it. Unfortunately, we have seen over-eager investors purchase a property only to discover they cannot use it as a rental. 

Get Started With Specialized Property Management Atlanta

Ready to start investing? Don’t lose money on your investment by making common, avoidable mistakes. Specialized Property Management Atlanta helps first time and veteran investors make more money on their rental property. Unlike other Atlanta property management companies we are offer full-service property management. That means we take care of everything during the rental cycle. To learn more about investing in Atlanta real estate call us today at (404) 596-8454. 

How an Atlanta Property Manager Can Help You with Untidy Tenants

Trash piled up around the house, wet towels laying on the floor, dishes stacked in the sink. We can all be untidy from time to time, but when does it change from being a little messy to living in an unsafe space? One of the most important, and most tension-filled, aspects of property management is communicating with your tenants about keeping the rental home clean. An unkempt home will bring down your property’s value, and can lead to expensive clean up when your tenant moves out. In addition, seeing your investment property deteriorate because of an untidy tenant can be frustrating. So, how do you deal with an untidy tenant? Read below to find out how the top Atlanta residential property management recommends handling this situation.

Dealing with an Untidy Tenant Versus an Unsafe Tenant

At what point does a tenant move from being untidy to being unsafe? Before you talk with your tenant about their cleaning habits you need to determine if they’re just untidy or if they are creating an unsafe living environment. A tenant who leaves dirty clothes lying around or doesn’t clean the toilets more than once every few months may gross you out, but chances are they won’t cause permanent damage to your rental home. However, if your tenant’s behavior makes your rental home hazardous you should step in to explain the tenant’s responsibility. Examples of hazards include: 

  • Messes that attract rodents or other pests
  • Animal urine or feces in the home
  • Mold growing in wet areas
  • Anything that blocks air vents or a furnace intake

Your property manager will check for cleanliness during a routine property inspection. Property inspections are always scheduled beforehand with the tenant, and most of the time your tenant will straighten up in preparation for the inspection. If your Atlanta property manager notes pests, a persistent bad smell, or other hazardous conditions during a scheduled inspection it may be time to sit down with your tenant and talk about their behavior.

What are Landlords and Tenants Responsible For?

According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook a landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure of the property, keeping utilities in working order, and ensuring the tenant has safe access to the property. A landlord must also keep the rental home in a safe and habitable condition, and respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner. A leaky roof, broken windows, or rotten siding all fall under a landlord’s responsibility.

Your tenant is responsible for most of the daily aspects of maintaining the rental home. Cleaning up after a pet, taking out the trash, and making sure the home is generally tidy all fall under the tenant’s responsibilities. If there is any question about who is responsible for a certain aspect of maintaining the rental home you and your tenant should first consult the lease agreement. In order to avoid confusion we write clear and concise lease agreements and review them with the tenant before signing.

How Your Atlanta Residential Property Management Company Communicates Expectations

Hazardous conditions can oftentimes be avoided through clear communication about tenant responsibility. Most lease agreements state a tenant is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the home. Some tenants only need a gentle reminder of their responsibilities, which is why routine inspections are so important. Talk to your property manager today if you have concerns about your tenant’s cleanliness. They can schedule a routine inspection to check the state of the home. They will take note of lease violations and the general state of the property to give you peace of mind. Property inspection reports are available 24/7 through your online owner portal.

It is also important to remember that security deposits exist in part to cover expenses beyond normal wear and tear after your tenant moves out. If you have an untidy tenant who is not causing hazardous conditions you may need to be content knowing you can use the security deposit to hire a cleaning crew, replace some carpets, or repaint. However, if your tenant’s behavior causes expensive or irreparable damage it is time to communicate expectations as laid out in the lease agreement.

Why Atlanta Property Managers Need to Know About Hoarding

Hoarding is a hot topic, with numerous television shows dedicated to the disability in the last decade. What do property owners and managers need to know about hoarding? Since 2013 hoarding has been a defined mental disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines hoarding as, 

“Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items, and to distress associated with discarding them. The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g., family members, cleaners, authorities). The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others). The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willi syndrome). The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, decreased energy in major depressive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).”

Hoarding can be a difficult disorder for Atlanta residential property management companies to navigate. Property owners are required to make sure their property is safe and habitable. According to the DSM-5 hoarders accumulate possessions in a way that makes their living areas unusable, which often means emergency exits or air vents are blocked. Hoarding can also lead to insect and rodent infestations, mold, and other hazardous conditions. However, hoarding is a recognized disability protected by the Fair Housing Act, and as such reasonable accommodations must be made for tenants who struggle with hoarding.

What to Do if You Discover Your Tenant is a Hoarder

If your renter is diagnosed as a hoarder he or she can request reasonable accommodations in order to stay in the rental home. What are reasonable accommodations in this scenario? Here is what we recommend:

  • Sit down with your tenant to create a plan. Be respectful at all times while you work out a strategy to get the home back into shape. Give your tenant a reasonable amount of time to address the problem, and make sure both parties sign a written agreement before moving forward with a plan to clean the space.
  • After the specified time you or your Atlanta property manager must inspect the property. If nothing has changed you can consider eviction. According to the Fair Housing Act a landlord can deny housing if they can prove keeping the tenant would put undue financial or administrative burden on their rental property business. Hoarding can cause additional financial and administrative burden by leading to code violations and property damage. 
  • Even if your tenant has cleaned and disposed of enough items to satisfy the agreement, hoarding habits may return. You or your property manager should perform regular property inspections. Be respectful and sensitive to your tenant, and create a new agreement if the hoarding gets out of hand again. There is no limit to the number of times a tenant can request reasonable accommodations for their disability.

An experienced, professional property manager can help you deal with a tenant who is hoarding. Oftentimes a property owner can let their emotions get in the way of acting fairly toward their tenants. Your Atlanta residential property management company acts as a third party, enforcing the lease and any other agreements respectfully and in accordance with the Fair Housing Act. If you suspect your tenant may be hoarding talk to one of our property managers. We can help you speak with your tenant and create a plan that works for everyone.

How Professional Property Managers Take Care of Your Rental Property

One of the advantages of hiring professional property management is the peace of mind you gain. Our property managers are experts at caring for your rental property. As part of our full range of property management services we perform regular inspections to check for lease compliance and maintenance issues. In addition, we perform cost-effective maintenance, such as periodic AC and heating system check ups, to extend the life of your rental home’s systems. 

At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we want you to enjoy your investment, not worry about it. We take care of the day-to-day aspects of property management, as well as the once-in-a-while tasks. Our property managers know how to communicate clearly and respectfully with tenants, leading to less turnover and fewer evictions. We remind tenants of their responsibilities, and check in with them regularly.

If you are considering hiring an Atlanta property manager contact our office today. Our clients often tell us the money they save by working with property management experts more than offsets the cost of our management fees. Additionally, some management fees are tax deductible. And working with full-service property managers means you can sit back and relax knowing your investment is in good hands. To get started today call our office for a professional rental management quote at (404) 596-8454.

Keep Your Rental Safe and Up to Code with Atlanta Property Management

According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook landlords are required to keep their rental units in a safe and habitable condition. Most of us have heard horror stories of unsafe rental properties. Hazards like faulty electrical wiring, mold, and rodent infestations are a landlord and tenants worst nightmare. As a rental property owner you should be aware of potential hazards at your property, both for your tenant’s safety and your own protection from liability. Our Atlanta property management company can help you keep your investment secure through regular inspections, efficient repairs, and expert knowledge of housing codes. 

Atlanta Housing Codes

Why are housing codes and requirements important to know? As a rental property owner you could be liable for damages if you are made aware of unsafe living conditions and do nothing to address the problem. Local, state, and federal housing codes are in place to keep renters safe and healthy in their home. Knowing what constitutes unsafe living conditions will help you react quickly and efficiently to your tenant’s maintenance requests. In Atlanta, property owners must maintain the structural integrity of the rental unit, keep utilities in working order, and ensure their tenants have safe access to their unit. If your tenant submits a request in writing stating that an aspect of your rental property is unsafe it is your responsibility to fix it in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in you being held liable if your tenant is injured.

Property owners are not responsible to fix any defects noted during move-in, as long as the defects do not make the home unsafe. For problems that arise during a tenant’s lease, your tenant is responsible for submitting a maintenance request as soon as possible. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we make maintenance requests simple through our online tenant portal. In addition, our property managers are available 24/7 for emergency calls. After you or your property manager are made aware of the maintenance issue you must respond within a reasonable time. The Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook states that a “reasonable time is determined by the seriousness of the condition and the nature of the repair.” For example, a busted pipe that is flooding the home will require a faster response time than an interior door handle that has come loose. No matter how serious the request, your best course of action is to respond immediately. Slow response to maintenance requests is one of the major factors in tenant turnover.

In our decades of experience in property management we have dealt with countless requests from tenants. So what does responsive, efficient property management look like on a day-to-day basis? If your tenant submits a maintenance request to you or your Atlanta property management company stating the front door is defective and will not stay closed or lock, you should respond and fix the door the same day. If you wait a week to visit the property and fix the door, and in the meantime the tenant is harmed as a result of the defective door, you could be held liable for the injuries. This is because you were made aware of the issue, but did not respond in a timely manner to ensure the habitability of your property. 

Not every aspect of rental home maintenance is the property owner’s responsibility, but it is important to know what is. Property codes are varied around Georgia, so if you own rental property in multiple cities, chances are there are different requirements for each property. Our team of experts has worked in Atlanta and the surrounding areas for decades. We know the ins and outs of local, state, and federal housing codes and will help you keep your property safe and habitable.

How Specialized Property Management Atlanta Keeps Your Home Up to Code

Making your home rent ready is the first step to ensuring a safe and habitable space for your tenants. Before you put your rental property on the market your home should be completely ready for a new tenant to move in. During our make ready process we will identify all potential hazards inside and outside of the rental property. Hazards include buckled carpets, loose railing on stairs and balconies, and hot electrical outlets among other things. We will also ensure your home is up to code and includes required safety features such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and easily accessible entrances. 

In addition, we perform regular property inspections during a tenant’s lease. Inspections are done to ensure the property remains up to code, and address any maintenance issues. For example, a small leak under the sink may go unnoticed by your tenant, but given long enough will result in water damage and mold. Our property management experts know how to identify safety problems before they turn into safety emergencies. Routine maintenance, such as AC and heating system check ups, extend the life of your home’s systems and save you money in the long term.

Sometimes tenant behavior can put your rental property at risk. For instance, if your tenant has unplugged all the smoke alarms in the house both person and property are at risk. During routine inspections our Atlanta property management team will address risky tenant behavior and clearly express expectations and responsibilities. Our team also checks for lease compliance and will note issues such as unauthorized pets or roommates. Oftentimes lease compliance issues are a simple matter of miscommunication. However, left unchecked these issues can turn into serious hazards at your rental property.

Making Your Home a Safe and Happy Place to Live

Meeting health and safety requirements is just one way to make your rental property stand out in the Atlanta rental market. Adding a few extra, inexpensive safety features can result in fewer vacancy days, help your tenant feel secure in his or her rental home, and lead to less turnover.

Every home should be rekeyed between tenants, and we always take this step during our make ready process. These days keypad entry locks for front doors and garage doors are popular, secure, and easy to use. If you choose to install these on your rental property make sure you or your Specialized Property Management Atlanta team change the codes between tenants just as you would change the door lock.

Some tenants feel more secure in a home with a security system, however most security systems require a monthly fee. As a property owner you are not required to provide a security system or keep a system in working order. If your tenant wants to add a security system they should contact you or your property manager to discuss the details, and be prepared to pay the monthly fee. Some landlords will offer to pay for the start-up costs of a security system, then leave the monthly fee up to the tenant. 

Outdoor flood lights are another easy and inexpensive way to make sure your rental home feels safe and secure for your tenant. Most hardware stores and online markets have a variety of flood lights to choose from. Motion-detecting outdoor lights are also easy to find and install. 

How Specialized Atlanta Makes Running Rental Property Easier

Knowing the ins and outs of property code can be tricky. That is why our team of specialized experts is on hand to help. When you choose to work with our property managers you benefit from the hard earned knowledge and years of experience we have. 

In addition, we make your life easier by taking care of day-to-day tasks so you don’t have to. Our comprehensive Atlanta property management services include: 

  • Communicating with tenants about rent payment, maintenance issues, and more.
  • Providing clear instructions regarding what maintenance a tenant is expected to perform, and what tasks the property owner is responsible for.
  • Performing routine inspections and maintenance so your home is safe and secure.
  • Maintaining a list of trusted, licenced vendors so you know who to call when you need help.
  • Overseeing efficient make ready procedures so your home is prepared for a new tenant as soon as possible.
  • Responding quickly to emergency calls as well as non-emergency maintenance requests.

Your rental property should be a safe and happy place for every tenant who lives there. With our help your home will be up to code, free of hazards, and well maintained.

Our property managers can also help you decide which upgrades will give you the best return on investment. Our knowledge of the local rental market provides insight into what renters are looking for in a home, and which safety features will be worth the out of pocket expense.

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today

Are you ready to start making more on your real estate investment? With our comprehensive property management services you can avoid common landlord mistakes that will put your property at risk. Whether you are a first time investment property owner, or you are simply tired of dealing with the headache of self management, we are here for you. To request a quote for professional rental property management call (404) 596-8454

Four Atlanta Rental Property Management Horror Stories

Sometimes the property owners we work with come to us at the beginning of their investment property journey. These property owners know real estate is a great investment, but they don’t want to deal with the hassle of Atlanta rental property management. Others seek out property managers after they have acquired too many properties to manage efficiently on their own. Unfortunately, some property owners only decide to hire a property management company after they have had a bad experience that cost them hard earned money. To help you understand the advantages of professional property management at every stage we put together four landlord horror stories, and explain how you can avoid them.

Horror Story #1 – Toilet Trouble

Responding to plumbing problems is just part of the job as a property owner. Unfortunately, nature calls at every time of day or night. Property owners need to be ready to respond to plumbing calls, and work to fix the problem or call in an expert. But every once in a while you may encounter a situation like this.  At 1am Tenant #1 calls frantically, explaining his toilet backed up and now it is overflowing everywhere with sewage. You tell him to turn the water valve on the back of the toilet and wait for you to come help. When you arrive at the rental home the sewage is several inches deep in the bathroom, and has seeped through the ceiling and into the downstairs living room, soaking the carpets. Cleanup takes several hours, and you leave with just enough time to get ready for the work day.

Solution #1 – Let Atlanta Property Management Services Take Care of It

Our comprehensive property management services include responding to emergency maintenance calls, even in the middle of the night. You never need to lose sleep because of a maintenance emergency. We will work to make sure the problem is addressed thoroughly and your tenant is happy with the solution. In situations like the one above we will assess the damage and bring in vendors, such as carpet cleaners, when needed. It is also important to look into why the toilet overflowed in the first place. If the toilet was faulty chances are the tenant knew it was acting strange and waited too long to call in a maintenance request. Our simple online tenant portal makes these requests simple and helps you to catch small problems before they turn into huge issues.

Horror Story #2 – The Cat Lady

Pets are a sticky issue with rental property owners. Most of the time a pet deposit or pet rent with cover the cost of any repairs related to allowing pets at your rental property. However, tenants sometimes break the rules when it comes to pets. Before signing the lease Tenant #2 asks if you can bend your one pet policy since she has two cats. Requests like this are common, and everything else in her Atlanta rental property management screening is fine. She signs a lease for two years and you perform an initial walk-through. Tenant #2 never puts in a maintenance request, and always pays her rent on time. Toward the end of her lease you drive by the property and notice a window is broken, so you contact her to schedule a time to fix it. When you arrive you see that instead of two cats she has closer to 40 living in the home. The carpet is filled with cat urine and the smell is terrible.

Solution #2 – Perform Regular Inspections for Lease Compliance

If you only visit your property at move in and move out you will most likely encounter situations like the one above. Regular property inspections, biannually or quarterly, lead to a higher rate of lease compliance. When our property managers inspect a rental property they perform routine maintenance, and check for compliance issues such as additional residents or pets living at the property. Tenant #2 most likely moved in with the original two cats, then added more cats over time without telling her landlord. At a routine inspection the property owner would have noticed the additional pets. The issue of too many cats could have been addressed quickly and respectfully before too much damage was done to the property.

Horror Story #3 – When Atlanta Rental Property Management is Lax on Screening

Vacancy days are expensive, but evictions can be even worse. Proper tenant screening can help you avoid situations like this. Tenant #3 fills out a rental application for your property, which has been on the market for six weeks. In order to speed up the process and reduce vacancy days you only perform a background and credit check. Two months into the lease the tenant asks to pay half the rent at the beginning of the month and the rest two weeks later. During routine maintenance and inspection you discover your tenant has trash littered everywhere and an insect infestation. By the sixth month of the lease your tenant has stopped paying rent and the pests are taking over, despite your warnings that the tenant needs to clean and hire an exterminator. You decide to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent, an expensive and time consuming process. Additionally, you spend thousands of dollars getting rid of the pests, repairing items the angry tenant broke before leaving, and getting the property ready for the next tenant.

Solution #3 – Thorough Screening is Part of Atlanta Property Management Services

Serving an eviction is every property owner’s nightmare. But one aspect of evictions that most owners don’t factor in is maintenance and repairs left from angry tenants. As experienced property managers we know that placing the wrong tenant is usually more expensive than waiting around for the right fit. Placing a tenant with poor credit, bad references, or insufficient income is simply a bad idea. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we take care to properly screen every tenant with a background check, credit check, income verification, and employment verification. Additionally, if you’re going to bend the rules to allow for things like split rent payments you must agree in writing and enforce firm due dates with late fees.

Horror Story #4 – Move-In Day

Move-in day is a big deal for tenants and property owners. On top of getting their keys and moving boxes tenants should expect to do a thorough walk-through of the property, and receive instructions from the property manager. However, move-in day can sometimes coincide with other plans you have. When Tenant #4 moves in you happen to be out of town on vacation. If you don’t have a trusted Atlanta rental property management company you may ask a friend to cover move-in procedures. Your friend takes a check-list to go over, but skips through some important points, including the fact that the fireplace is not in working order. A few days later your tenant decides to light a fire in the fireplace. The home fills with smoke and Tenant #4 calls the fire department. Just when you begin to relax into your vacation you receive a call about the fire. The home is saved, but there are substantial damages.

Solution #4 – Hire a Property Manager and Enjoy Your Vacation

Property owners who self-manage often tell us that they feel worried about their property every time they go out of town. Murphy’s Law dictates that as soon as you begin to relax away from your property, something will go wrong. With professional property management you don’t need to worry about the state of your property. The property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta are available 24/7 for you and your tenants. We handle walk-in procedures, emergency calls, and every other aspect of property management. Our Atlanta property management services are comprehensive, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your investment.

How to Avoid Landlord Horror Stories 

Managing your own rental property comes with a steep learning curve. In a perfect world, with perfect tenants, your property will succeed easily. You will never encounter a tenant who doesn’t pay rent, brings in too many pets, or breaks the law in your rental home. But that isn’t the world we live in, and more often than not you will experience the negative side of self-management. Every situation above could have been prevented by hiring experienced, professional property managers. 

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today

When you’re ready to talk with our property managers call for a professional rental management quote. Our team of experts will help you make your rental property investment into a success, cutting costs without cutting corners. We take care of every part of the rental cycle, which includes inspecting, marketing, showing, screening, signing, collecting, maintaining, renewing, moving, and reporting. Whether you already own rental property, or you are just starting out in the business, working with our property managers will help you get a better return on investment. Let go of the stress and hassle of Atlanta rental property management by letting our property managers take over. To request your professional rental management quote call (404) 596-8454.

How Atlanta Rental Property Management Helps You Comply With Housing Laws

As a rental property owner, you are expected to know the ins and outs of property management from day one. Things like: how often to inspect your home, when to perform routine maintenance, how to screen tenants, and even how to process an eviction. One of the trickiest parts of Atlanta rental property management is navigating federal and local housing law. The Fair Housing Act guarantees equal access to housing for specific sets of people who often experience housing discrimination. Violating the Fair Housing Act can lead to an investigation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and steep fines. What laws do you need to be aware of as a rental property owner? Read about the Fair Housing Act, local Georgia housing laws, and more below. 

What is the Fair Housing Act?

The Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1968. This law protects individuals from housing discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, family status, and disability. Everyone should have equal access to housing and violating the Fair Housing Act comes with serious consequences. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, if an investigation shows you have violated the Fair Housing Act you can be ordered to pay up to $16,000 for a first violation, in addition to other penalties. The prospective tenant claiming discrimination can also choose to bring a civil case to court and request compensation. 

Examples of Discrimination By an Atlanta Rental Property Management Company

What does discrimination look like? It is based on treating some individuals different than everyone else. It can sometimes looks different than you think, which is why we included the following examples of discrimination. 

Example 1

A prospective tenant named Rebecca sets up a walk-through to see a rental home. When she arrives she has a service animal with her. The landlord says there is a no pet policy at the rental property. Rebecca responds that her dog is not a pet, it is a service animal. The landlord asks what the nature and severity of her disability is before stating the no pet policy is strict. Rebecca asks for the reasonable accommodation of allowing her service dog despite the policy. The landlord refuses and Rebecca leaves the walk-through disappointed.

Refusing to make accommodations for a tenant with a disability is discrimination. According to the Fair Housing Act, service animals are not considered pets, and in most cases allowing service animals is considered a reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. To reject a tenant because of a service animal, a landlord must prove that the animal would cause an undue burden for their Atlanta property management services. This burden can include administrative, financial, or health and safety concerns. In addition, while landlords can ask for documentation proving the animal is in fact a service animal, they cannot ask specifically about a tenant’s disability. 

Example 2

An Asian man moving to Atlanta contacts a property management company to show him rental homes. The man has already picked two neighborhoods he wants to look at because of their proximity to his office. The property manager tells the man he would probably feel more comfortable in another neighborhood and takes him to see a house across town, almost an hour away. When they arrive, the man notices the majority of residents in this neighborhood are Asian. Steering someone to specific neighborhoods based on their race is a form of racial discrimination. The man can report his experience to the Department of Housing and Urban Development so they can investigate the property manager.

Example 3

Amar, an Indian Sikh man wearing a Dastar, or turban, walks into a property management company’s office. He tells the manager he saw a listing online for an apartment for rent and asks to see it. The manager informs him the apartment has already been leased, and there are no more vacancies. He says if Amar leaves his phone number the Atlanta rental property management company will contact him when there is a vacancy. After Amar leaves, a white man wearing western clothing enters asking about the vacancy. He is immediately shown the apartment and signs a lease. 

Refusing to show a rental property because of someone’s race, national origin, or religion is discrimination. No matter what your religion, race, or national origin you are guaranteed equal access to housing under the Fair Housing Act. In cases like the one above, HUD investigates and often finds a pattern of discrimination. 

Discrimination sadly happens every day in Atlanta and around the United States. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta, we are proud of our commitment to following the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act. We do this not only because it is the law, but because everyone deserves equal access to quality housing. For more information on the Fair Housing Act including more examples of discrimination visit this page.

What Local Housing Laws Apply to Atlanta Property Management Services?

According to Atlanta Municipal Code, individuals are protected from housing discrimination according to “race, color, creed, religion, sex, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, age, and disability.” (source). Atlanta Municipal Code expands the Fair Housing Act by adding gender identity, age, color, creed, domestic relationship status, and sexual orientation. Accepting or denying a prospective tenant’s application can be based on employment verification, credit check, criminal history, and sex offender status. Here are a few more examples of what not to do as an Atlanta property manager.

Example 1

Alex and Emma are looking for a rental home, and set up a showing with a property management company. When they show up to the rental home, the manager comments that he thought Alex would be a boy, when in fact she is a girl. He asks if they are roommates or related, and they reply that they are dating. During the showing, the couple is excited about the home and want to start the application paperwork right away. The manager calls the next day to tell them they didn’t qualify. The couple is distraught, and wonder if their sexual orientation had anything to do with the Atlanta rental property management company’s decision. After all, they have great credit, rental history, and more than enough income to cover the rent.

If Alex and Emma choose to file a complaint with the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission, they may find out their instincts were right. After an investigation, they learn the manager who showed them the rental home has a history of turning away homosexual couples.

Example 2

Robert is a single dad looking for a rental home to share with his two teenagers. On the phone with the landlord, he explains that he is looking for a three-bedroom single-family home, but doesn’t go into detail about his kids. During the showing, Robert tells the landlord his kids are 15 and 17, and he is excited that they will each have their own room in their new rental home. Upon hearing the kids ages, the landlord informs Robert he doesn’t rent to families with teenagers because he had a bad experience with a tenant who had teenagers several years ago. The landlord is discriminating against Robert and his children when he refuses to rent to them. It is illegal for him to deny housing on the basis of Robert’s children’s ages. 

Atlanta property management services should be open to everyone in our community. The way an applicant looks, their beliefs, family status, age, disability, or identity should never factor into whether or not their rental application is accepted or denied. Individuals who feel they have been discriminated against due to one of the above statuses can complain to the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission in addition to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the City of Atlanta, if you are an applicant who as experienced discrimination, “you may be entitled to financial relief, including compensatory or punitive damages. The discriminatory actor may also be required to pay your attorney’s fees and court costs if incurred. You may also be entitled to injunctive relief (access to the property at issue or a comparable property), but MOST IMPORTANT, the housing provider will have to stop the discriminatory practice against you and others.” (source).

How Atlanta Rental Property Management Can Help You Comply with the Law

Do all the federal and local laws sound confusing to navigate? That is because they are! One reason many of our clients decide to work with us is that we are experts in landlord and tenant law. Our property managers work hard to ensure they are treating each and every tenant fairly and adhering to Federal and local laws. 

The Specialized Property Management Atlanta team is ready to help you make your rental investment into a success. In addition to being experts in landlord and tenant law, we take care of every part of the rental cycle. From making your home rent ready, to performing cost-effective maintenance we are with you every step of the way. To discuss your rental home and receive a quote today, call us at 404-596-8454.