Atlanta Property Management Advice: How Criminal Activity in your Rental Property Affects You
You have worked hard to make sure you have screened your tenants using a very detailed, well-proven screening process. In fact, you touched on all credit, criminal, employment, eviction, and rental history. By all standards of qualification, you have found yourself the perfect tenant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end up that way. So, what happens when you rent your Atlanta property to someone who participates in criminal activity in the residence?
Follow up on complaints
As the landlord, or Atlanta property management company, you have a responsibility to maintain the property and to look out for the safety of others. If you choose to rent out your home, then it is up to you to effectively screen your tenants. Inviting tenants into your property that bring criminal activity can damage the surrounding homes and neighborhood, as well as endanger nearby individuals.
If neighbors or other tenants reach out to you or your Atlanta property management company to advise of odd smells, peculiar activity, or suspected drug use of one of your tenant, it is important that you do not ignore them. Being made aware of suspected criminal activity puts you requires you to investigate.
Screen your tenants
Whether you do your own tenant screening or you use an Atlanta property management company, make sure that your tenant screening covers criminal backgrounds, as well as other key statistics that can give you a visual picture of the type of tenant the candidate will be.
Use your lease
New tenants must always sign a lease. This document allows you or your Atlanta property managers a place to write any rules that the tenant must abide by. Reviewing and having both parties sign can make the lease a legally-binding agreement.
Your tenant should be made aware of what behavior and activity will not be tolerated. In addition, should the tenant fail to follow the rules laid out by the terms of the lease, the tenant should understand the consequences. Let your tenant know – in writing – what he or she is risking should they decide to partake in illegal activity in your Atlanta rental property.
Keep in touch
Tenants sign a lease and look forward to moving into their new residence. That should never be the last time they see you. Just as a child will try to steal cookies from a cookie jar when mom isn’t looking, tenants will try to get away with things they otherwise should not – if the landlord or Atlanta property management company isn’t looking!
Of course you want your tenants to love and respect their rental property and you want them to feel at home. Making yourself sporadically visible to maintain the property or contacting the tenants every now and then to check in can lessen the chance of illegal activity.
Think about it – most people will not try to commit a crime if they know they have a good chance of being caught. Don’t give your tenants that chance!
Remember to protect yourself with these steps
Let’s face it, being a landlord brings responsibility. You must lookout for the well-being of your property, your tenants, and those nearby. If you know about criminal activity taking place, you have a duty to report it. Keeping known illegal-activity a secret and letting it continue can bring about the risk of consequences for you.
So, it is important to remember the steps you can take to avoid this scenario.
- Tenant screening – make sure you know who you are allowing to move into your rental property before they move in.
- Listen and follow up on complaints – neighbors and other tenants live near your tenant daily. They will likely see suspected criminal activity before you. Due to possible rumors or neighborhood tiffs, you never want to act on a complaint without first investigating. Ignoring these complaints can leave you in some hot water should authorities discover crimes being committed that you could have prevented.
- Don’t be a stranger to your tenants. Let them know you take your job seriously and you will be stopping by to ensure everything is running smoothly with their rental.
- Put it in writing – always make sure your lease states what is not permitted on the property and what the penalty is should the tenant disobey the rules.
Don’t let the ill intent of others affect you or your livelihood. Take steps now to make sure you do not encounter issues involving criminal activity in your Atlanta property rental.