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The Importance of Performing Inspections at Your Tampa Rental Property

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No matter how thoroughly you screen tenants, routine inspections are a must for any Tampa landlord. Routine rental property inspections will help you realize the best possible rental income, protect your investment and maintain your property in good condition.

There are five types of rental property inspections that you should be doing at your Tampa rental property.

 

5 Types of Rental Property Inspections

 

·      Move-in Inspection

As the name suggests, this type of rental property inspection is conducted when a renter moves in. It’s probably the second most crucial step that you should do after a successful tenant screening process.

A move-in inspection should take place after the tenant has the keys but hasn’t quite yet moved in. For a tenant, a move-in checklist helps document any property damage present prior to their move-in.

For a landlord, the checklist will be crucial when assessing property damage when the tenant moves out.

·      Move-out Inspections

A move-out inspection is like a move-in inspection. The purpose of a move-out inspection is to check for possible property damage caused by the tenant. A tenant will be liable for any property damage that was not present when they were moving in. The damage must, however, be in excess of normal “wear and tear”.

An example of a property damage exceeding normal wear and tear is fading or yellowing of paint. Normal wear and tear isn’t caused by the renter’s abuse or neglect. But rather it’s a deterioration that occurs over the course of their tenancy.

Property damage, on the other hand, results from a renter’s negligence or carelessness. An example of a property damage is large holes in the walls. In such a case, you have a right to deduct the costs of fixing the damage from the renter’s security deposit.

·      Drive-by Inspections

Drive-by inspections help Tampa landlords make quick assessments of a property’s condition and management. A drive-by inspection helps check for such things as structural damage and unattended landscaping.

Unlike a normal inspection, a drive-by inspection doesn’t require any prior notice to the tenant. This helps you get to see the property as it would be on any normal day.

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·      Routine Inspections

Just as the name suggests, a routine inspection helps ensure that the property is clean and safe.

Routine inspections help identify common issues like illegal activity, unauthorized tenants, deferred maintenance, unauthorized pets, and safety issues.

·      Preventative Inspection

A preventative inspection helps prevent minor issues from morphing into serious ones. Ideally, it should be conducted quarterly. Similar to a drive-by inspection, Tampa rental laws don’t require you to provide prior notice.

When conducting a preventative inspection, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Flooring, stairs, and transition strips – They should all be level and sturdy. There shouldn’t be any damage, cracks, squeaks or creaks regardless of the type of floors or surface.
  • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and similar types of safety equipment.
  • Fences and landscaping structures should be in place and in good repair.
  • Exterior windows, doors, skylights, and so on – They should open and close properly.
  • Areas of sponginess, signs of pooling water, cracks, or staining.

The aforementioned inspections are necessary whether you manage the Tampa rental units yourself or use a local Tampa property manager. During a rental property inspection, it’s important that you adhere to the Florida landlord-tenant laws. For example, before entering a tenant’s rental unit, make sure that you give adequate notice. Generally, most states, including Florida require that you give a 24 hours’ notice.

 

Why Perform Inspections at Your Tampa Rental Property?

 

·      Helps Build a Strong Landlord-Tenant Relationship

As you carry out property inspections, you get to know the concerns your renters have. This helps build a solid landlord-tenant relationship.

A good landlord-tenant relationship is a two-way street. As a landlord, you seek to receive a timely return on your investment. Tenants, on the other hand, desire a good quality of living.

·      Helps to Determine If There’s Need for Repairs

During the rental property inspection, check for leaking faucets, toilets or drainage systems. You could also request your tenants to notify you of any maintenance issue.

·      Helps to Figure out Who Your Renters Are

Unauthorized renters can create problems. Routine inspections help ensure that your Tampa rental property is only occupied by qualified renters. That is, tenants who’ve passed your tenant screening process.

Though, ensure that you check what Florida rental laws say regarding guests.

·      Helps to Check for Safety Hazards

As a Tampa landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental property is habitable. It should adhere to safety and health codes.

If safety and health standards aren’t in check, your tenant could file a lawsuit against you. In the lawsuit, they could claim that you have “constructively evicted” them. In such a case, they would, among other things be legally justified to break the lease early.

During the inspection, check for safety hazards such as overgrown landscaping, overloaded electrical outlets, malfunctioning smoke detectors, and so on. Also, make sure you respond immediately whenever a tenant raises issues regarding their safety.

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·      Helps to Check for Criminal Activity

A routine inspection can help you figure out if there are criminal activities such as drug manufacturing at your Tampa rental property.

Signs of drug manufacturing range from uneven melting on the roof, odd smells, and covered windows.

·      Helps to Ensure That Tenants Are Complying with the Terms of the Lease

Once a tenant signs a Tampa lease agreement, they are contractually obligated to adhere to all terms until they move out.

A routine rental property inspection may help you unearth common lease violations. For example, unauthorized subletting and unapproved pets.

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·      Helps Save Money

Routine inspections help identify problems early. This’ll help you save money, as you are able to fix issues early before they become serious and costly.

·      Help Show Your Tenants That You Care About the Property

This, in turn, makes tenants take good care of your property.

 

A rental property is a huge investment. This is why you will spare no effort to ensure that it is in good condition at all times. If you find the inspection process a bit daunting, then it would be best to hire a competent Tampa property management company to do it for you.

Security Deposit Laws in Florida

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In Florida, many residential rental agreements or leases require a security deposit. Usually a month’s rent, a security deposit is a dollar amount that’s collected by the landlord to protect against property damage due to a tenant’s negligence or carelessness.

When it comes to security deposits, Florida landlords and tenants both have certain basic rights. These rights are specified under Florida landlord-tenant law. Landlords must comply with these laws when handling a tenant’s security deposit.

Here’s a quick rundown of the security deposit laws in Florida.

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Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Florida

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Florida is one of the largest states in the country by population. Recent estimates say there are over 20 million people living there. Out of this, 13.3% are renters. To help bring order to the millions of tenants and landlords in the state, Florida has put together an extensive landlord-tenant law.

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Best Elementary Schools in Tampa, FL

tampa-florida In Tampa FL, you’ll find scores of great schools. They range from private schools to partnerships and attractor programs. If you’re a parent living in or moving to Tampa, know that your child has plenty of educational options to choose from.

In no particular order, here are the best elementary schools in Tampa, FL.

 

Grady Elementary School

Grady Elementary School is a public elementary school in Tampa, which is currently headed by Ms. Kristine Dosal. To date, the school has a student population of 458 and boasts of a myriad of extracurricular activities including sports and arts.

Notable awards the school has received include:

  • First in the District on SAT-10 scores for reading and math (first-grade level)
  • Third in overall FCAT scores for the entire Hillsborough County School district
  • First in Area 1 FCAT scores
  • PTA Principal of the Year for Hillsborough County

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Guide to Tenants’ Rights in Florida

In Florida, Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes governs residential tenancies. Whether you live in a rental property near the beaches of Miami or all the way up in Tallahassee, you’ll need to know about your rights as a tenant. These rights cover different aspects, from landlord entry to the security deposit.

Here’s what you need to know about your rights as a tenant in Florida.

 

1.    Florida Tenant’s Right to Have Residence That’s in Reasonable Condition and Code-Compliant

rental-property-keysThe law of habitability is designed to protect tenants. Essentially, it makes property maintenance the responsibility of the landlord. Under Florida Statute 83.51, landlords are required to comply with all local building and housing codes. Otherwise, you have the right to withhold rent or terminate the rental agreement until the issue is resolved.

Florida building and housing codes that landlords comply with include:

  • The roof must not leak.
  • The stairs must be in good condition.
  • The walls must be weather-tight.
  • All houses must have working flushing toilets.
  • Ceilings, outside walls and inside walls must be in good condition and free from rodents.
  • Window panes cannot have holes or cracks.
  • There must be adequate garbage storage containers and disposal facilities.

For more information, check Florida’s laws on habitability and residential property.

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Best Places to Live in Tampa for Families

Are you moving to Tampa, Florida? Then who better to tell you about the best places to live than a Tampa property management company. Tampa Bay, Florida’s seven-county region is located on the west coast. This area supports a diversity of lifestyle options for families. Residents of Tampa Bay are able to enjoy a laid-back beach life coupled with the amenities of a vast metropolitan region.

The district offers fascinating museums, three professional sports teams and an array of dining and entertainment joints. Whether you are looking for quiet golf course communities, majestic horse farms, big city downtown living or just historical neighborhoods, Tampa Bay provides a mix of all these, like nowhere else.

 

1. Seminole Heights

Seminole-HeightsIf you are a young parent looking to start a family in a traditional neighborhood with white picket fences, tree-lined streets, and quaint porches, then Seminole Heights is the place to be. This neighborhood is known for its excellent sense of community. It has plenty of fun activities for children like Bo’s Ice Cream or The Lowry Park Zoo that hosts frequent events for kids and families.

This family-friendly neighborhood is filled with an eclectic array of housing units, including shabby chic homes and renovated bungalows. Also, when your little ones are old enough to start school, there are three primary and secondary school options to choose from.

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What You Need to Know About Breaking a Lease in Florida

 

In most cases, tenants that have signed a lease have the intention of staying for the full duration indicated on the lease agreement. However, some circumstances can’t be avoided. For example, something that comes up during the lease period that causes the tenant to leave before the lease is up.

This can be a complicated scenario for both renter and the landlord. In this article, we are a going to cover the relevant Florida landlord-tenant laws plus a few tips when it comes to breaking a lease in Florida.

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11 Reasons Tampa Is a Great Place To Live

Rated as a top city to move to, Tampa Bay area is home to the best living Florida has to offer. Most people living in Florida consider the Sunshine State a little slice of paradise. So are you considering a move to Tampa? And wondering what it’s like to live here? Well, here are the 11 compelling reasons that might make you call it home.

 

1. Weather

WeatherWith lots of sunshine and average temperatures of 73 degrees, the weather is enjoyable all year-round. When it’s snowing up north, Floridians are usually in shorts and flip flops.

Best of all, with no snow to shovel and less leaves to rake, you will have all the time you need to enjoy the amenities Tampa has to offer for recreation and relaxation.

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Guide to Buying Tampa Investment Properties

Quick Guide to Buying Investment Property in Tampa (2)

Ready to buy Tampa investment property?

 Investing in real estate has many great advantages that other types of investments just don’t provide. As the Tampa housing market improves, real estate investors reap the benefits of increased equity and positive cash flow. Plus, these gains are safe from state and federal income tax.

To avoid common mistakes when investing in Tampa property, it is a good idea to do some research and think through a few things before you make a decision. Here are some considerations. (more…)

What To Do When Your Tenant Stops Paying Rent

Tenant Stop Paying Rent

Owning rental property in Tampa is a great way of ensuring a steady, stable income. If you secure reliable tenants, through proper tenant screening, collecting rent is very simple. Unfortunately, in the rental management business situations occur when one or more of your tenants stop paying their rent.

Naturally, as the landlord, you will feel inconvenienced, and even demand that the individual either pays up or vacates the premises. Though you have the right to the property, it is prudent to know how to handle such a situation. Otherwise, you might end up facing costly and protracted legal suits.

So, when faced with such a scenario, what is the best approach for a Tampa landlord? (more…)

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