When you’re working with a professional Fort Worth property management company, you have the advantage of a thorough tenant screening process. You know your property managers are combing through credit reports, criminal histories, financial documents, and talking to former landlords. There’s no reason for a landlord with a property manager to choose his or her own tenant.
We understand the inclination – you want to know who is living in your property, and it will make you feel better if you can hand-pick your residents.
Today, we’re explaining why that’s not a good idea.
Fair Housing Laws and Tenant Placement
If you pick your tenant without the help of a property manager, you could find yourself unintentionally violating fair housing laws. Perhaps you wouldn’t pick a family with a small child because the neighbors have two Pit Bulls who run around the streets off-leash. That’s considerate of you, but it’s also a fair housing violation. Maybe you’re looking for female tenants because you think they’re cleaner or you want to choose a Christian tenant because there’s a church at the end of the road. All of those decisions would get you into fair housing trouble.
You probably don’t think of yourself as someone who would discriminate. But, the law is pretty specific, and if you choose or don’t choose a tenant because of things like familial status, disability, race, color, sex, national origin, or religion – you could find yourself involved in an expensive lawsuit.
Emotional and Instinctual Decisions
Another risk to picking your own tenants is that you’ll make an emotional decision or a decision based on a gut feeling. We respect emotions and intuitive thinking, but when it comes to putting a resident into one of your largest investments, we prefer data and analytics. Some of the landlords we meet want to place someone that they like.
It’s important to like your tenants, but it’s more important to have your rent paid on time and the terms of your lease followed. You’d rather have a tenant who maintains your property than a tenant who’s your Facebook friend.
Property managers treat your home like a business, and they won’t make decisions based on who they like or what they think. They’ll use the information that’s gathered and make an unbiased decision about who qualifies and who doesn’t.
Renting to Friends and Family
For some landlords, choosing their own tenant means putting a family member or a close friend into the property. This is not impossible to do effectively, but it really requires a firm level of separation. Your property manager will still need to screen that friend or family member to ensure he or she is qualified to rent your home. There will still be a lease in place and the rent that’s collected will be consistent with the market.
Renewal screening checks are important to preform as a landlord, and that goes for when your tenants are friends or family as well. It’s important regardless of relation to keep tenants that respect your property and benefit your investment, and if you end up needing to evict your tenants, it will be much more difficult if you know them so closely.
Renting to friends and family isn’t a good idea. But, if you do it, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a property manager so there’s a buffer between you and your personal relationship.
When you need help placing tenants or you have questions about property management in Fort Worth, please contact us at McCaw Property Management. We’d be happy to serve as your resource.