Understanding Florida’s Security Deposit Laws

Security Deposit LawsEvery state has different rules when it comes to security deposits, and Florida is no different. Here are some of the top facts to know about Florida’s security deposit laws:

How Much Can Landlords Charge?

Florida state laws have no limits on rent or security deposit costs. However, most landlords in Florida will charge no more than two months’ rent as a security deposit. However, there may be city or county restrictions, so be sure you double-check and don’t charge more than your local government allows.

How Is the Deposit Stored?

In Florida, you can (legally) store a security deposit in three ways. The first is a surety bond, which is an agreement with a third party to guarantee the deposit amount. However, most landlords will place a tenant’s security deposit in either an interest-bearing or non-interest-bearing bank’s savings account.  (more…)

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How to Prepare Your Investment Property for Hurricane Season

hurricane shutterFor vacation rental property owners, hurricanes present one of the biggest dangers to your investment. But with careful planning, you can protect your property against tropical storms. 

Here are some useful tips for getting your property ready for hurricane season:

Use the Right Materials

Your investment property should be prepared to withstand the strong winds of a hurricane before the storm hits. Install windows or shutters that are rated to withstand impacts, and make sure all doors are hurricane-rated as well. 

It is also a good idea to have your property management company check the property annually to remove any trees that could put your property at risk. (more…)

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Tips New Landlords Should Know

Tips New LandlordsAre you a new landlord? Managing a rental property can be a great investment strategy, but there are some things you should know about the rental business before you jump in. In this post, we’ll cover some tips that every new landlord should know.

Establish a Screening Process

First things first:  You need to ensure your rental units are occupied by reliable tenants. A screening process with a credit screening and background check can weed out individuals who might not be the most stable renters. (more…)

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What Questions Should You Ask in Your Rental Application?

rental tenantScreening potential tenants can be a tall order. Since most rental agreements are one-year contracts, it’s important to determine which applicants will be reliable. However, it can be difficult to figure this out with a traditional application or a quick interview. 

However, there are some questions that you can ask prospective renters to help you in your search for long-term tenants. In this article, we’ll list some of the best questions you can include in your rental application.

What Date Do You Intend to Move In?

This basic question can ensure that your schedules align so that you can avoid gaps in the occupancy of your rental unit. (more…)

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How Much Cash Flow is Good for a Rental Property?

Much Cash Flow mary landThe startup costs associated with the development of rental properties can be steep. If you want to secure a steady cash flow, you need to be confident that your property holds value. However, quantifying a good cash flow is a highly individual process. 

With that in mind, here are some steps to determine how much cash flow is good for a rental property.

How to Calculate Your Cash Flow

When you’re calculating your cash flow, you need to account for the expenses associated with the property, as well as the gross income that the property brings in. In essence, your net income — the amount of money you have left after you’ve paid all of your bills — constitutes the liquid assets that you have available. (more…)

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The Complete Guide to Tenants’ Rights in Maryland

tenant right marylandThe state of Maryland goes the extra mile in protecting its tenants’ rights. Landlords that are looking to lease new property will need to keep the state’s codes in mind both when they establish their leases and as they invite potential renters to the property.

Fair Housing

Maryland State Code §20-101 notes that all tenants that are seeking to rent a property have the right to do so without facing discriminatory practices. This means that landlords may not bar new residents from housing based on their: (more…)

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Changes and Challenges of the Rental Market

While the real estate market experienced huge gains in the past year, the rental market had an almost opposite experience.  The massive disruption in the rental world, including financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, created rapid changes and new challenges for renters and property owners.

Fewer People Renting Due to Financial Difficulty

As Gen Z graduates have come out of college facing uncertainty due to the pandemic, many of them are holding off on making career decisions and moving away from home until they find greater stability.

Additionally, in the past year, around 3 million renters – most of them younger millennials and members of Gen Z – moved back home due to pandemic-related financial difficulties, which greatly impacted the rental market.

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What is the Difference Between a Property Management Company and a Private Owner for Rentals?

While property management companies and private owners have similar functions regarding rental property (like collecting rent, handling maintenance requests, etc.), there are distinct differences to understand before you decide to rent from one or the other.

An owner hires a property management company to handle basic tasks relating to the property:  Finding tenants, renting it out, providing maintenance, and more. In this case, a renter will probably never meet the actual owner. They’ll communicate with the property management company, which acts as a middleman between tenants and the owner. 

In contrast, a private owner or landlord may decide to handle all of these tasks independently.

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Determining the Value of an Investment Property

Investment properties can be a great way to generate income. However, not all properties are created equally, and it’s important to evaluate any potential investment to know whether you’ll make a sizable return—or if you’ll be saddled with a money pit.

Finding Comps

The first step in any real estate purchase is to find comparable properties in the area. The best comps have the similar square footage, the same number of bathrooms and bedrooms, and close proximity. Comps should also have been sold within the past year (although six months is a better time frame).

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How To Manage Tenant Repair Requests

Keeping your property in good condition is in your best interest, as well as that of your tenants, but making sure that repairs get taken care of quickly requires a system to manage requests effectively and efficiently. Here are some things to consider as you do!

Formal Vs. Informal

Before your tenants sign a lease, you need to decide whether you’re going to use a formal or informal repair request system. In an informal system, you’ll have tenants contact you directly via email or phone. While this can work for a small number of tenants, it can quickly become unmanageable as you extend out into managing multiple properties.

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