First time landlords need to focus on a lot, especially if they aren’t using professional property management in Austin. There are three specific areas that are especially important for DIY Landlords. These are evictions, insurance, and home warranties. Our most frequently asked questions come from these topics, so we’re talking about them today.
The most important thing to remember with evictions is that you must follow the correct procedures. No matter how right you are, if you don’t follow the legal process, you’ll be sent back to the beginning each time. That will be to create a drawn-out and very painful process. First, you need to post a notice to vacate and then after a set period of time, you can file an eviction. Attend the eviction hearing, win your case and then if it comes down to it, file for a Writ of Possession. That’s where the constable meets you at the property and physically removes the tenants and their things. You can change the locks and gain possession back. We don’t have to do this very often, but when you do have to do it, it’s important that you know how to do it correctly.
A word of advice on evictions: Don’t get emotional or do anything drastic. You can’t remove the front door of the house or shut off the power or do anything like that. Some leases allow for a landlord’s lien, where you can go into the property and take the tenant’s things. We don’t do that here because it’s another whole process that includes valuing the property, notifying the tenant and keeping a careful inventory. That is usually not a good way to win. Make sure you follow the right steps and if you’re working with a property management company, make sure they know the law. Your Austin property management company can represent you in court for nonpayment of rent. That’s the only reason Texas law permits a property manager to appear on your behalf.
When you move out of your home and begin renting it out, you need to convert your homeowner’s policy to a landlord policy. One of the most important things to look for in a new policy is that there is coverage for lost rent. If there’s a casualty claim at your property, the rent that you lose when your tenant has to move out is covered. That helps reduce your financial pain when you’re repairing your home. Also important is liability insurance. We require that our customers add us as an additional insured, and most companies will do that. If your insurance company will not add us, we can put you on our policy. if you’d like to ask why we need to be added, we are more than happy to talk to you about that.
Home warranties can be a great way to save money, but before you buy a warranty, make sure your Austin property manager will work with a home warranty. We work with all of them, but there are often things property owners don’t understand about them. Be aware of trip charges and what they are. Know what your out of pocket costs will be. More frequently, we are finding that companies require the homeowner to pay for Freon out of pocket in addition to the trip charge to fix an air conditioning system. Those things can negate the point of having a home warranty. Make sure you have a good one that your property manager can work with. Look at customer reviews as well. Once we take that service ticket and put it in the hands of someone else, we no longer have control over customer service. If the warranty company isn’t providing good service, it can alienate your tenants.
These are the most frequently asked questions we get from new owners. If there is anything else you’d like to discuss, please contact us at Austin Landmark Property Services.