As a landlord, you began investing in real estate to make money, but, if you’re not careful, you may end up paying out more in expenses than you’re making. The lease can be much more than a rental agreement. It should be used to help you protect yourself against mounting upkeep costs that should be the burden of your tenant.
Include a Guest Clause
The largest cause of property damage is people. The more people you have occupying a unit, the greater the wear and tear on the apartment. For this reason, it’s important to have a clause that designates just how many people can live in the unit. You can and should also add a clause limiting the number of guests that can stay overnight in the unit. As a part of that guest clause, include a clause that states that the tenant is responsible for any damage or other liabilities caused by guests of that tenant.
Put a Cap on Utilities
If you’re paying for the utilities, be sure to include a clause in the lease about the tenant’s privileges. The best way to handle this situation is to designate a number, such as $50 for gas, and state that the tenant is responsible for paying overages. If the tenant knows he’s responsible for paying the difference, he’ll be much more concerned with conserving resources.
Include Property Inspections
While most leases do have a “right to entry” clause, you might want to consider specifying routine inspections. This is the best way to protect yourself as the property owner. By making a routine inspection occasionally, you can ensure there are no serious damages to the property, unregistered tenants, or unapproved pets. This is your property and you have the right to ensure it’s being cared for in a proper way.
This means going into detail in the lease on how the property is to be used. If you don’t want tenants using the fireplace, state that in the lease. Also point out that using utilities in a way other than intended is prohibited. This way, if their son throws a toy down the toilet and that creates a costly plumbing repair bill, the tenant will be held responsible for paying it. This is added protection against damages caused by the tenant.
If there’s anything that concerns you in renting out your property, you should make a point to mention that in the lease. This is your opportunity to let your tenants know what is and isn’t acceptable. By providing detailed clauses in your lease, you can ensure your property will be well tended and you’ll be spared the costs of paying for damages.
So-called “Granny Flats” might just be the next big trend in real estate rentals. Formally called “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADUs) and more informally known as “mother-in-law apartments”, these homes were given their nicknames on the basis of their small size, and for their placement on the grounds of an otherwise single-family home. They were initially meant for and primarily used by aging grandparents, parents, young adult members, nannies, caregivers, or others who need a self-contained living area big enough for one or two people.
There has been a popular surge of interest in tiny house living, especially with our current trend towards multigenerational housing and the financial barriers the housing crisis poses to more traditional accommodations. CityLab estimates that by 2020, ADUs will take off in popularity as more units enter the market and provide a ready accommodations alternative for those seeking affordable housing.
Some granny flats are miniatures of full-sized housing units and have complete kitchens, while others are limited to a small refrigerator and a microwave. If needed, high-tech monitoring allows remote access to check on the inhabitant and even a timed medication dispenser along with other devices that can monitor the health and well-being of the older person.
Because of the ADU’s limited size, it is recommended to have a “great room” that combines the dining room, the living room, and the kitchen. If the room has high ceilings and a visual connection to the outdoors, it will make the space appear bigger as living quarters that fit much better into the budget of the elderly who have limited income.
Research has shown that senior citizens do best when they have social contacts, so living close to younger family members makes that possible and enjoyable for grandparents, who may also offer some child care and transportation to relieve the parents.
Are There Barriers?
Check municipal statutes, building restrictions, zoning laws, neighborhood covenants, and other pertinent regulations. It may not be too difficult if you are converting a garage or other existing structure, but building a new structure can be overwhelming due to the expense and the above laws. A prefabricated or modular building may be the answer, but this type of structure is prohibited in some communities. Some homeowners have tried to use the ADUs as rental units, but deed restrictions and zoning laws usually ban renting.
In 2017, California adopted legislation that minimized the laws on providing separate parking spaces for ADUs on property and reduced other law provisions. For example, that allowed Los Angeles to go from issuing 142 ADU permits in 2016 to approximately 2,000 in 2017. Cities that have ADU-friendly legislation are seeing and uptick in demand for ADUs.
About Jason Cohen Pittsburgh
Jason Cohen is a real estate investor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He created Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, a group of real estate enthusiasts committed to helping others invest in real estate, and he has thrived in the area since 2002.
As Jason’s career has grown and flourished, so has Pittsburgh itself — transforming from an industrial “rust belt” city into a major cultural center abundant with high-end multi-family rental properties. Jason has seamlessly handled the dynamic nature of Pittsburgh and of the real estate industry in general. A research-driven professional, he consistently enables smart and profitable investments in the area, helping to transform modest properties into high-end rentals in Pittsburgh’s hottest neighborhoods.
Jason Cohen first entered the world of real estate shortly after his graduation from college. He started out by investing in distressed properties in Pennsylvania. After some experience working full-time for a real estate company, he decided to pave his own path in the industry. He has worked as an independent real estate agent and developed the Jason Cohen Pittsburgh team ever since. The team consists of highly qualified investors, property managers, leasing agents, and contractors.
Over the course of his career Jason has become highly proficient in acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, multifamily real estate investments, asset repositioning, real estate management, real estate brokerage, and new construction. He has excelled in high-level investment strategies, but is also no stranger to “ground work” when it comes to the industry. He is well-versed in each step of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh’s unique system: researching local areas and investing in properties, performing renovations to transform these properties from dilapidated eyesores into high-end units, and ultimately repositioning the properties for maximum profit in renting and selling.
Jason Cohen Pittsburgh is the group of choice for anyone who needs advice, analysis and due diligence, and general expertise in matters of investing, whether they are short-term or long-term. Jason Cohen Pittsburgh has dealt with properties in a variety of neighborhoods throughout parts of Pittsburgh, including the South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon, and Regent Square. Each and every one of these locations, paired with Jason’s overall knowledge of real estate investing, has allowed him to play a part in restoring Pittsburgh’s place as one of the most popular cities in the United States.
This blog will share news, updates, and insights regarding Pittsburgh and its real estate market from the perspective of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh. Stay tuned!