TRS News

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Tenant Eviction in Houston – How to Deal with Bad Tenants and Late Payments

The number one rule to remember when you have tenants who aren’t paying rent on time is that it’s better to work with them than to evict them immediately. Your biggest cost as a homeowner with rental property is turnover. There are a number of costs associated with preparing the property for a new tenant, you have no rent coming in during a turnover and there are maintenance and repair expenses as well as utilities. So many expensive things happen during a turnover. We don’t want you to pay for those things, so we always recommend that you work with these slow paying tenants.   Read More »

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Property Management Laws and Regulations – What Houston Landlords Must Know

As a landlord, you are bound by a number of federal, state and local laws that pertain to your rental property. We are all subject to the Texas Property Code. There is an entire chapter specifically dedicated to landlord tenant laws. It covers what those laws are and what you can get in trouble for. Basically it serves as our bible for properties. If you don’t know this section of the property code, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble. Here are some of the things that are really big for us:  Read More »

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why Should I Pay for Professional Property Management in Houston?

We talk to a number of landlords and rental property owners in Houston who want to know why they should pay for professional property management. It might seem simple enough to manage and maintain a rental property on your own, but there’s actually a lot of time and knowledge that’s required to do it well.  Read More »

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Family Can Become Your Worst Tenants – Houston Property Management Education

Having a rental property is having a business, and you have to make decisions based on what’s best for that business. Renting to family members and friends can cause conflicts and require you to choose between your business and your relationships. A family member living in your property might require a little tough love, and that can be difficult.   Read More »

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

How to Find a Good Property Management Company for Your Houston Rental Property

There are a few specific things you want to talk about when you are interviewing and selecting the right property management company for your Houston rental property. We’re sharing some of the best tips to help you start your relationship in the right direction.  Read More »

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Best Tenant Screening in Houston – Professional Advice for Homeowners

Landlords and homeowners who manage their own rental properties really need to know how to properly screen tenants. You never want to just move a tenant in without checking that person’s background and qualifications. It’s important that you always do a professional background screening. We’re telling you about what we do at Terra Residential Servicesbefore we approve a new tenant for one of our properties.  Read More »

Friday, May 27, 2016

Why Work with Terra Residential Services – Professional Property Management in Houston

Terra Residential Services is a professional property management company in Houston, Texas and we’re talking about why we are best choice when you’re looking for someone to take care of your single family rental property. We are a full service single family property management company, which means you don’t have to do anything except maybe answer the phone when we call.  Read More »

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 2012: Fair Housing and the Rental Process

It is crucial, when renting a property, that property managers and owners avoid discrimination. There are many pitfalls, and it requires good policies, procedures, and practices, to prevent unwanted Fair Housing complaints.

Fair Housing actually began in the United States in 1776, with the Declaration of Independence, which states, "all men are created equal." Unfortunately, despite this solid foundation, discrimination existed, and, subsequently, it led to the enactment of many federal laws that directly affect rental housing. Some of these are the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, and the 1990 American with Disabilities Act.

Based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap, a landlord cannot:   Read More »

Thursday, March 01, 2012

March 2012: The Security Deposit vs. Normal Wear & Tear

If you have 100 property managers in a meeting, the majority will agree that settling a security deposits dispute is one of the more difficult tasks in property management, particularly when it comes to determining "normal wear and tear," also referred to by some as "ordinary wear and tear."

Why does this become such a difficult problem? It is because there is NO clear-cut definition for this phrase in legislation. It becomes very subjective, depending on the party or parties involved. You will get different viewpoints from a property owner, a property manager, a judge, an attorney, a vendor, and mostly likely, an opposing view from the tenant. Tenants are prone to use this term, particularly in court, to defend any type of damage, large or small. The burden of proof usually falls to the landlord to show that the damage is not "normal wear and tear."

The laws that govern the security deposit vary from state to state, but the term "normal wear and tear" generally describes the allowable amount of use of a rental without the tenant being financially responsible for repairs or maintenance. A certain amount of "normal" use of the rental unit will result in an anticipated and reasonable amount of wear that will result in the need for repair, replacement, or other maintenance work.

The law generally will rule the tenant should not be responsible for these costs because it is normal maintenance and the cost of being a landlord. However, neither the courts nor the legislators have defined exactly what "percentage" of this maintenance is the owner's responsibility or that of the tenant.

How do you determine what to do about a "normal wear and tear" issue in a security deposit? It is not easy, but there are definite steps to avoid or reduce the problem.   Read More »

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February 2012: Handling Tenant Issues

In a perfect world of landlord/tenant relations, the rent is never late; there are never maintenance problems, emergencies, or any other difficulties; tenants are never angry. However, this delightful scenario is generally not the case and difficult situations take serious consideration and action. However, as your Property Management Company, we normally serve as a buffer between owner and tenant during unpleasant events.

When facing an angry tenant, it is not wise to point out that you have not caused their problems and they are being unreasonable. Ignoring tenant demands, maintenance issues, or emergencies will only escalate matters at hand. As professional Property Managers, we know there are key steps to take when facing difficult issues.

Determine the Problem
First, you need to define the problem as clearly as possible. Taking the time to listen patiently to the angry tenant can reveal there may be more happening than the immediate issue. Example: a tenant is unreasonably angry and threatening non-payment of rent because the dishwasher quit working. Of course, this is unreasonable for a non-emergency repair. Then they reveal they are worried about a very bad performance review at work; the dishwasher was simply the catalyst for their outrage because they fear losing their job and the ability to meet their rental obligations.

Implement a Plan of Action
Next, taking steps to resolve the issue as soon as possible is vital when faced with an angry resident. Delays or avoidance of the situation will increase the tenants' aggravation and could possibly give them grounds for future legal action.

Keep the Tenants Informed
During any difficult situation, it is important to keep the residents informed, by written or verbal communication until you achieve resolution. If they feel no one is responding to their problems, they will only become more antagonistic. Example: a scheduled dishwasher repair can help diffuse the tenant's anger; then, discussing their financial concerns and options on what to do if they lose their job may reduce their anxieties and hostility.

Always Follow Up
Showing the tenant that you have enough concern to verify that a repair was successful, an emergency resolved, or to inquire about their welfare can make a big difference in the landlord/manager/tenant relationship. In addition, finding out in advance there are still more problems to solve could prevent more conflicts with the tenant.

Most tenant issues work out peaceably. However, there are times when problems can escalate and the services of an experienced attorney in landlord/tenant law are required for resolution and expediency.

Document the Events
If another issue arises with the same tenant, or the same problem reoccurs, it is important to show what action items took place. Keeping an orderly and complete record of everything, such as work orders, paid bills, written correspondence, verbal conversations, and more, is a necessity.

The way to resolve tenant issues is to listen, plan a course of action, communicate, follow up, and document all actions. This is part of our commitment to provide "professional property management" for your investment.   Read More »

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