Topic description: So you’ve finally made the decision to invest in Idaho real estate – congratulations! But now comes the hard part. That is, maintaining your investment property and ensuring it stays lucrative. The key to a successful rental, whether commercial or residential, is working with the right property manager.
If you’re new to property investment, you must first familiarize yourself with the general tasks of a property manager. From there, you will know what to expect from a property manager as well as know how to choose the best one for your property. You might even want to try your hand at property management as well. Here are the basics.
When looking for property managers and real estate brokers Idaho, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with their tasks so that you can choose the right person for the job.
Or perhaps you’ve just purchased a rental property and would like to manage it on your own. In which case, learning the basic tasks of a property manager can help you get started.
This task includes setting the rent, or determining how much to charge tenants. The state of Idaho doesn’t regulate the amount landlords can charge for rent or security deposits.
However, it is the property manager’s responsibility to set an amount that is a) commensurate with the size, location, and features of the rental unit, b) fair enough to attract tenants to the property, and c) high enough to ensure that all operational expenses are covered and that you are able to make a profit from the rental.
To determine the right amount, the property manager should study market trends and gather data on comparable properties, or comps, in the area.
Rent management also includes adjusting rent, or deciding whether to increase or decrease rent each year, and by how much.
Rent control is virtually non-existent in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest in general, making the region investor-friendly. With very little regulation, property owners and investors have the freedom and autonomy to make business decisions that can maximize their profits.
This means that property managers can increase rental fees each year and have more elbow room to adjust rates based on factors like housing demand, housing inventory, and more.
Likewise, increasing incoming population migration, greater demand for housing, career opportunities, and Boise’s overall desirability mean that rents continue to rise in the Greater Boise Metro Area.
However, for month-to-month tenancy, state law dictates that landlords give tenants a 15-day notice in Idaho should they decide to increase rent, as well as a three-day notice informing tenants to either pay the new rental fee or move to another location before the landlord can file for eviction.
Collecting rent is among a landlord’s most important tasks. To do this, they must set up an efficient and transparent system for rent collection that not only ensures optimal cash flow, but one that is also organized.
The property manager must set a date for rent collection every month and determine how much time allowance to give for late payments. They must also enforce penalties for late fees.
Tenant screening and management
The property manager must conduct a thorough financial, criminal, and rental background check on a prospective tenant.
Once they’ve agreed to let the tenant rent the home, they must conduct an inspection of the rental property with the tenant before they move in and before they move out.
They must also document the condition of the rental by taking pictures or videos of the living space before the tenant moves in and after they move out.
Other tasks include:
- Providing copies of the lease agreement
- Making sure that the tenant clearly understands their duties as stated on the lease agreement
- Providing receipts upon payment of rent
- Maintaining records of all fees and monies that the tenant has either paid or currently owes
The state imposes a limit on the timeframe within which the tenant’s security deposit must be returned, which is 21 to 30 days after a tenant moves away depending on the agreement between the landlord and tenant.
If they fail to retrieve their deposit money, tenants can take landlords to small claims court for $5,000.
Under Idaho state law, the landlord can evict a tenant under the following circumstances:
- The tenant violates the terms of the agreement
- Late payments
- The tenant rents month-to-month; the landlord can give them one months’ notice asking them to move
- The production, delivery, and unlawful use of a controlled substance within the premises of the rental during their stay
The property manager must give the tenant proper notice prior to eviction. This notice can last anywhere from three to 30 days.
A three-day notice spans three working days, not including weekends, holidays, and the day it was served. It is only permissible if then tenant has fallen back on payments, broken the terms of the agreement, or has engaged in the delivery, production, or use of controlled substances on the property.
Moreover, the three-day notice must state the following information:
- The amount that the tenant owes in rent
- Which lease provisions or terms the tenant has violated
- That they engaged in the production, use, or delivery of a controlled substance on the property
- That they have three days to pay rent, address the violation of the terms of the lease, or move out
If the tenant complies within three days, the landlord may not evict them. However, there is no remedy for engaging in illegal drug activity.
A property manager can’t issue a three-day notice if the makes timely payments and has fully complied with the terms of the agreement if they simply want to rent the property to another, more preferred tenant.
The landlord can issue a one-month notice if the tenant’s lease is open-ended.
If the tenant resides in public or subsidized housing, or receives housing assistance from the government, the landlord can only give them one month’s notice for good cause.
The property manager can’t evict a tenant if they have paid rent, and if the eviction is a form of retaliation for the tenant exercising legal rights like requesting repairs or forming a tenants’ association.
Property maintenance and repairs
It is the property manager’s responsibility to ensure that the rental property is habitable and secure. The rental must comply with city, county, and state regulations regarding housing conditions.
Tasks related to property maintenance and repairs include:
- Ensure that the rental has sufficient waterproofing or weather protection
- Make sure that the property’s plumbing, sanitation, electrical, heating, and ventilation are in excellent working condition
- Maintain the property to ensure tenant health and safety, such as installing working smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, and locks
- Return the portion of the security deposit that has not been used to repair the property as described in the lease agreement
Looking for property management services in Boise and the surrounding areas? The First Service Group Real Estate and Property Management is here to assist you. Contact us here. You can also reach Chris Todd at 208.343.9393 and Chris(at)FirstServiceGroup(dotted)com.