Responsible Landlords Help Fight Blight
Responsible landlords help make good neighborhoods. Conversely, irresponsible landlords contribute to neighborhood blight. Two responsible Little Falls landlords were interviewed for this article—one is a resident, the other lives in Rhode Island.
Q. How do you ensure that your rental units are prepared and safe for occupancy?
A. Ensuring that rental units are safe for occupancy is vital. Meeting all federal HUD guidelines and local code standards helps ensure the condition and safety of the property. Landlords should be willing to live in their rental units.
Q. When occupied, how often do you inspect your units for proper care and maintenance?
A. The landlord or building manager should collect monthly rents in person. This allows for the opportunity to speak with each tenant and address issues that may arise. Personal contact and landlord accountability are key.
Q. What % of rental income do you devote to property repair and upkeep?
A. Roughly 15% of all rental income is devoted to property repair and upkeep. This allows for timely larger repairs that arise.
LANDLORD / TENANT RELATIONS
Q. Do you require references from past landlords?
A. References are always required as part of a rental agreement; employment and credit histories and background checks are also helpful, as are discussions with previous landlords about the prospective tenant’s adherence to previous rental agreements. This helps avoid problems.
Q. How important is it to respond promptly to tenant complaints about necessary repairs?
A. Critical. The need to address necessary repairs is important, not only to safeguard property, but also to overall landlord / tenant relations. Tenant dissatisfaction can result in property abuse. It is a two-way partnership. Tenants must have confidence that their unit will be cared for as promised. Ignoring landlord responsibilities can lead to a domino effect that can destroy the relationship with the tenant and possibly result in property damage.
Q. What comprises an effective landlord / tenant contract?
A. Length of agreement, rental price, time of payment, conditions that are required to be followed, pet policy, safety precautions, an emergency contact list, and steps for problem remediation are all important. These items must all be spelled out and agreed to before occupancy begins. Each tenant must also have renters insurance. Tenants are entitled to a safe and quiet environment. In building smoking is prohibited.
Q. Have you ever had to evict a tenant? What steps did you have to follow?
A. Yes, generally through mutual agreement. If not, NYS law requires that: 1/ a non-payment petition must be filed in City Court, 2/ Tenant notice must be served by a third party, and 3/ a court date is set. In City Court, the judge hears both parties and then makes a ruling about what next steps have to be followed.
Is Little Falls a good place to own investment property?
Yes, generally. Little Falls has some great neighborhoods, easy access to stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, parks, recreational trails, and a lot of interesting history.
Do you require security deposits and any other “up front” payments beforehand?
Security deposits and first month rents are required when the rental lease is signed before occupancy begins.
How do you determine what rent to charge?
The number of bedrooms, property condition, ease of access, and other amenities determine the rental price. Rents in Little Falls typically range between $500 – $850 per month.
Q. How effective is the City’s rental registry law?
A. This seems to be well-enforced and I have no issue with this law and I hope that it has helped cut down on irresponsible landlords who allow properties to become dilapidated.
Q. How important is effective municipal code enforcement?
A. Effective code enforcement can help ensure responsible property maintenance, which helps all homeowners in our community.
IN SUMMARY, GOOD LANDLORDS:
- Follow the law
- Maintain their property
- Value good tenant relations
- Respond promptly to complaints
- Live up to rental contracts