16 Common Jacksonville Landlord Problems - And How to Overcome Them
Jacksonville landlord? From late night repairs to bad neighbors to pests and more, the last thing you want is to spend your evenings or weekends solving your tenant’s problems.
Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming. Instead, take a look at our list of 16 common Jacksonville landlord problems and how to overcome them.
Problem #1: Your Tenant Does Not Pay the Rent
Constantly dealing with non paying tenants eats up your time and can stress you out.
How to overcome: Enforce your lease agreement. Tenants either pay or face eviction. If you’re using a property manager such as Navy to Navy, they can handle the messy details if worse comes to worse.
Problem #2: Your Tenant Isn’t Happy with Repairs
Before dismissing a tenant’s dissatisfaction on repairs, review the work yourself.
How to overcome: One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to review any sort of contractors ahead of time.
Problem #3: Your Tenant Does Not Keep Up the Property
Not only is a messy property unsightly, you could have local inspectors poking around your property and potentially wind up cited and fined.
How to overcome: Again, enforcing your lease agreement may be your best bet. Most lease agreements include a property maintenance section; make sure yours includes a section on cleanliness. If a tenant won’t comply, they may be out on their rear.
Problem #4: Disputes Over Deposits
In the United States, there are laws which regulate what a landlord can and cannot deduct from a security deposit upon a tenant vacating the property. Improper handling can result in a very sticky (legal) situation.
How to overcome: Education here is your best friend. Educate your tenant early on (such as at the initial time of signing the rental agreement) about deposit laws. If this dispute arises when the tenant goes to leave and you had a good relationship, you can always negotiate with him/her which could help keep your name in good standing.
Problem #5: Access to Property Problems
According to Florida law, in most cases, property owners must give tenants notice before entering the property. In the case of repairs, this window is at least 12 hours.
How to overcome: Avoid this potential problem entirely by giving proper notice (12 hours minimum for Jacksonville landlords) and knowing your rights as a property owner. If there is an emergency, for example, you have the right to enter the property without the tenant’s consent.
Problem #6: Damage Disputes
As a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your rental property is a safe, inhabitable dwelling and complies with all local building and health codes.
How to overcome: Conduct regular inspections to ensure that the property is structurally sound and has adequate water, electricity, and heating/cooling. Be sure to keep the property well-maintained and clean.
Problem #7: Communication Problems
Tenants who are never answer calls or are always unavailable can cause you a lot of frustration.
How to overcome: Set ground rules for how and when you communicate with your tenant. If required check-ins need to occur, be sure to note this in the rental agreement or in one of your addendums.
Problem #8: Problems with Neighbors
Just because the neighbors are party animals—or just plain animals—does not mean that your tenant is.
How to overcome: The easiest solution is to talk with those noisy neighbors to come to some sort of solution or compromise. The other is to install soundproofing. (Jacksonville area landlords: Make sure to check out this list of Jacksonville construction companies and contractors - members of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.)
Problem #9: Pest Problems
Pests can quickly damage and devalue your property, and no tenant wants to live in a pest-infested home.
How to overcome: The best thing you can do? Take the preventative step by having regular pest inspections. If your tenants tell you that there is a pest problem, call an exterminator immediately.
Problem #10: Roofing Issues
Not only can a leaking roof cause tremendous damage, the resulting water damage, mildew, and mold is a major health hazard and a costly repair.
How to overcome: Regular inspections are your best friends; always opt to go with preventative methods. (And don’t rent out your property if you have any of these issues.)
Problem #11: Broken Appliances
If an appliance breaks that affects the safe habitability of the property—such as a broken air conditioner during the Florida heat—you will need to have that repaired ASAP. This does not, however, go for every appliance on the property.
How to overcome: Any appliances you provide, be sure to have both an appliance addendum and a repair addendum in place in your rental agreement. When a non-necessary appliance on the property breaks, compare it to what is listed on the addendums and verify what is covered and who covers the repair costs.
Problem #12: Violation of Rules
While rule-breaking is great for rock music, this isn’t so great for you or your property. There’s a big difference between small squabbles with your tenant and outright disrespect. If you don’t allow smoking in your home, for example, but your tenant smokes anyway, that’s a violation of your rules.
How to overcome: Always have a written contract. Specify the conditions of the lease and helps to layout the next steps in the event the tenant violates part of the lease.
Problem #13: Past Due Utilities
Many landlords do not monitor the payment of utilities, especially if in their names. That can end up as a costly oversight.
How to overcome: Make sure that the lease is clear that all utilities must be paid each month, if the utilities are in your name. A better way to avoid this? Have all utilities listed in the tenant’s name.
Problem #14: Illegal Use of the Home
Not only is the tenant breaking the law, if this problem isn’t nipped in the bud, your property could end up with a bad reputation later on down the road.
How to overcome: Depending on the severity of the illegal activities, you can formally ask the tenant to cease engaging in these illegal activities, with a failure to comply resulting in eviction. However, if the illegal activities are more severe in nature and you’re afraid to confront the tenant directly, consult your local Jacksonville law enforcement agency and let the pros handle it.
Problem #15: Bad Tenants Sliding Through Your Screening Process
An application might not reveal all prior tenant problems. Sometimes, a bad tenant can slide through your screening process anyway.
How to overcome: While you can’t unring the bell, setting up a more thorough screening process—or having a professional property manager like Navy to Navy handle the screening—can help minimize the risk of future bad apples. One good step to take is to always speak with the potential tenant's previous landlord(s).
Problem #16: Your Property Has a Bad Reputation
Rental property develop bad reputations for lots of reasons. Tragic accidents, crime scenes, noisy neighbors, illegal activities, and general disrepair can all leave your property as a place that leaves MUCH to be desired.
How to overcome: Regular property inspections and carefully screened tenants will help reduce the risk of a bad reputation. You can’t stop everything but you can at least stay ahead of the worst of any problems.
Wrapping it all up
When you rent out your property, problems are an inevitability.
Property management is a critical part of owning and profiting from rental properties. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy.
To be a great landlord, you are required:
to investigate potential tenants and complete the screening process
deal with bad tenants
market your property correctly, so it doesn’t sit vacant (costing you money)
deal with damages/repairs (even at 2 AM)
and handle the eviction process, should it be required
If you’re considering renting out your home and won’t be around locally to handle tenant complaints—or maybe you don’t have the patience for it all—a property management pro like Navy to Navy can make life easier for you. A great property management company knows the local laws, how to handle evictions, good contacts for inspections and repairs, and will handle all tenant issues in a timely fashion.
Renting out your property doesn’t have to be a painful, time-draining experience. Hiring a professional, well-rated Jacksonville Property Management Company can be an easy way to make passive income while maintaining low-stress.
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Navy to Navy Homes
4540 Southside Blvd, Suite 702
Jacksonville, FL 32216