Recently, we have been getting letters from the city of Dallas asking us to register all our rental properties. You may have received these letters as well. This is because the new Dallas Single Family Rental Program requires that rental owners register and renew their rental properties annually. The City of Dallas will also conduct a comprehensive inspection every five years.
This is nothing new to the Dallas/Fort Worth area as a whole, but it is new to the city of Dallas. It’s nothing to worry about; they are just playing catch up with the rest of the municipalities around here. Most of the communities have had some sort of landlord registration or rental property registration for at least 10 years. We have never had too many problems with this, and if anything, it shows that the community cares about the homes and the people who live in them. You’re required to provide a safe and secure home and not take advantage of tenants.
City of Dallas Rental Registration and Inspection
With the Dallas single family rental program, there are certain requirements that your rental properties need to meet. These are not uncommon things; in fact they are mostly common sense, and you’re probably already doing them. As a landlord, you want to provide a safe home to your tenants, so why wouldn’t you take care of these things?
On the city’s website, there’s a two-page checklist for you to review and use as a guideline to prepare your property. To register your property as a rental home, you’ll need to meet with an inspector. When you do have the inspector come to your home, you’ll have a clear and straightforward way of knowing whether you passed. Many of the items on this checklist are things you would handle on your own; just to keep your property well-maintained.
For example, you have to make sure there are no water leaks or faulty appliances. Your home cannot have a roof that’s leaking. Things of that nature will be inspected because the city of Dallas just wants to make sure you are held accountable for a safe and habitable rental property. It keeps the community protected and your tenants safe.
At McCaw Property Management, we take good care of our properties. Therefore, it is rare that the city would ask us to do something in addition to registration. We have the experience to help you register, and ensure you stay in compliance with the Dallas Single Family Rental Program.
Crime Prevention and Lease Addendum
City requirements now include that you insert a crime prevention lease addendum into any lease agreement for your single-family rental homes. This is actually kind of nice because it gives us an extra teeth when we need to evict a tenant for criminal behavior.
With this new rule, we are not only permitted to evict a tenant, but required to evict a tenant if any of these things are happening at the property:
- Aggravated assault
- Criminal gang activity
- Discharge of firearms
- Manufacture, misuse, or selling of drugs
- Manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages
If you look at that list of activity, you can probably agree that tenants engaging in that type of behavior are not the type of tenants you want in your home anyway. With this requirement, the city of Dallas is empowering landlords and property managers to remove tenants who putting your property and other people at risk.
The paperwork required to register your rental home can be a little bit daunting, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our office is very well-versed in these laws and the things that Dallas requires when it comes to registering rental properties.
Fees and Opportunities
Don’t be afraid of this. The fee to register is typically around $50, and you can build that into your rent. Everyone’s rent could go up $5, and then you have your fee at the end of the year. Another positive thing about this is you get the opportunity to be the good guy. You can show these cities that landlords are not bad, evil people. When the inspector meets with you, be sure to provide a comfortable environment. Don’t be hostile or argumentative. Just show them that you care about your home and your tenants, and they’ll be good to you. They may rise to your level if there’s the potential for a conflict. So, be friendly and thank them for making sure you’re running a good property.
This is just the way it’s going to be the foreseeable future, so landlords will need to roll with it and be prepared. If you need further advice on this or anything regarding property management in Dallas-Fort Worth, please contact us McCaw Property Management, at 817-491-2553.