Welcome to Property Management Orlando.
If you own a residential rental investment property in Orlando or Kissimmee or you’re thinking about buying one, an important decision you’ll be making is whether you should manage your rental property yourself, or if you should hire a property management company in Orlando to help you.
Several things are worth thinking about when you’re deciding how to manage your property. Here are three of the most important issues to consider:
1. How Will You Find Good Tenants?
There’s no point in owning a rental property if you’re not going to have tenants paying rent. And finding good quality tenants should be one of your highest priorities. An ideal tenant will pay rent on time, respect the house rules, and let you know when something needs to be fixed. To find a great tenant you need to have a solid tenant screening process in which you run a credit check and criminal records check. You also need to verify employment status and income, and contact the applicant’s current and previous landlord.
Obviously this process requires some organization and time. You’ll need to take into account Fair Housing Act requirements (at the federal, state, and local levels) and you’ll need to keep good records. Some of the process can be tracked online, and applicants can even apply online using one of several different services.
Alternatively, you can consider hiring a property management company to take care of finding a good tenant for your rental. Although these services do come with a fee, if you don’t have the time or the inclination, they can be worth it.
2. Do You Have a Good Team to Help You?
By a “good team” I mean do you have service people and professionals you can call when something goes wrong with your rental property. Many rental owners find that they need the following contractors:
- plumber (24-hour service)
- electrician (24-hour service)
- pest control
If you don’t have a good team in place, word-of-mouth is often the best way to start. If you have any friends or acquaintances who also own rentals, ask them if they would be willing to share their list of maintenance and repair contractors.
Even if you do have a good team of people, if you don’t hire a property management company to run your rental property, you can still expect to receive maintenance and repair calls at any time of day or night. You’ll either have to contact one of your contractors to come out and help, or try to fix the issue yourself.
If you’re not handy, or if you don’t want to deal with coordinating repairs and maintenance (and any notices to tenants that are required when you enter the rental property), a property management company can provide help you’ll need.
3. Are You Familiar with Orlando’s Landlord-Tenant Laws?
Several layers of laws govern landlord tenant law in Orlando. Federal laws include the Fair Housing Act which is designed to prevent discrimination in housing. These laws often overlap with state and local fair housing laws, which can make things a little complicated. State landlord-tenant laws will govern things such as notice requirements for events such as terminating a lease or raising rent. They also address many other facets of landlording, including evictions, maintaining a “habitable” environment, and safety issues. Great resources for landlord-tenant laws in Orlando include:
- Florida Landlord-Tenant Statutes
- The Florida Bar Association
- Orange County Clerk: Landlord Tenant Obligations
Of course, there’s more to owning a rental property in Orlando than finding good tenants, putting together a good team, and being familiar with applicable laws. You need to have some extra time, be relatively organized, and you need to have some people skills. In addition, you need to be willing to have difficult conversations with applicants and tenants. Many people find that owing and managing a rental property is a rewarding, lucrative, and relatively low maintenance experience. And others decide they’d rather pay a little every month to have a professional property management company handle the details.
What’s right for you?