Protect Your Investment: Hiring a Trusted Property Management Company

December 07, 2023 | By Charleston Property Company
Rental Contract is being filled in with a white model house and a set of keys by its side

Investing in property means more than finding high-quality renters and setting a rental price; it also means protecting that investment. In this brief overview, we'll discuss various ways to protect your investment with tips from the best property management in Charleston! This ensures you're maximizing and protecting your investment with advice from the pros. 

Discover how to protect your investment effectively by selecting the right property management company for you in Charleston, SC.

For Rent Real Estate Sign in Front of House

Create and Follow a Smart Tenant Screening Process

When creating a tenant screening process, finding high-quality renters is easier. These residents also tend to take care of your properties like they own while paying rent on time. Because receiving significant applications isn't uncommon, screening helps boil them down to who is and who isn't a good fit.

Ideally, you want to find renters who will pay their rent in full each month. These residents also shouldn't have a criminal background or risky rental background. According to South Carolina's Fair Housing Act, you cannot ask applicants about their color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, or sex. However, you can inquire about the following on a rental application:


  • The potential renter's full name, current address, Social Security number, and other pertinent personal information: This information is essential for conducting thorough background checks, verifying identity, and assessing creditworthiness. Moreover, it helps ensure that the tenant has the financial stability to afford the rent while providing security against potential property damage or lease violations.

  • Information about their current employer and previous employment history: Provides insights into the applicant's financial stability and reliability. A consistent employment history suggests a steady income, indicating that the tenant is likely to meet their rent obligations promptly. Moreover, contacting their current or previous employers can provide additional verification of the information provided, ensuring its accuracy and authenticity.

  • Income verification documents that prove employment: Provide concrete evidence of a potential renter's financial stability and ability to pay rent consistently and punctually. This can help property owners ensure that they're entrusting their investment to reliable tenants, thereby minimizing potential risks associated with non-payment or delayed payments.

  • Criminal history background: This step aids property owners in assessing the risk level of potential tenants, helping to prevent potential property misuse or violations. It's important to remember, however, that certain legal restrictions may apply in using this information, and it's always crucial to treat all applicants fairly and impartially, in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

You can run into hot water if you must carefully manage these criteria! If you need help completing effective screening, working with an expert property management company like Charleston Property Company is an excellent idea to ensure the process is handled correctly.

Write a Strong Lease Agreement

One of property owners' most detrimental mistakes is using a prefabricated lease agreement they find online. It isn't uncommon for these agreements to favor the renter—not the property owner. These prefabricated leases also don't guarantee that they follow South Carolina law.

Instead, write a strong lease with a property management company or attorney. That way, you're sure you're receiving protection should anything go wrong. A strong lease also outlines what you require during a renter's residency.

Examples include:

  • Writing a lease that's comprehensive enough to cover all situations that might arise
  • The expectations you have for the renter, including the date rent is due
  • An outline of what you are responsible for throughout their residency
  • Ensuring the lease's details are written according to South Carolina law.

Learn About Rental Laws

Ensuring you follow South Carolina's laws regarding rental properties is critical. Not only does the law outline your responsibilities as a rental property owner, but it also details how to run your rental business correctly. You'll find information about the responsibilities you and the renter have regarding upkeep and other requirements.

Examples of what you'll find in this law include:

  • Property owners must disclose information to renters regarding who is authorized to act on their behalf, like a property management company, in the lease or rental agreement.
  • The law stipulates no limit regarding how much a property owner can charge renters for a security deposit, but there are other security deposit restrictions (Article 3: Section 27-40-410).
  • Renters have five days under South Carolina law to pay overdue rent or move unless otherwise stipulated in the lease or rental agreement. Make sure you are aware of the landlord tenant laws.

Perform Regular Inspections

Each time you buy property, you must protect that investment. A great way of achieving that goal is by completing regular inspections. Completing these inspections ensures your investment property is maintained according to your requirements and standards!

Inspections also give you an in-person look at how renters treat your property and if they're following the rental agreement terms. If you need more time to perform regular inspections, work with property management companies like Charleston Property Management to complete this crucial task.

Before a renter moves in, performing an inspection is a good idea. One should also occur at least once during their residency and again when they move out. Get into the habit of conducting "drive-by" inspections regularly to determine if you want to renew the resident's rental agreement.

Human Hand Filling Rental Contract Form With House Model And Key On Desk

Before inspecting your investment property, be sure to:

 

  • Give your renters adequate notice: This respects their privacy and establishes a positive landlord-tenant relationship. It also allows renters to prepare for the inspection and upholds their tenant rights.

  • Explain why you're conducting the inspection: This fosters transparency and trust in the landlord-tenant relationship. It helps tenants understand that the inspection is not an invasion of privacy but a necessity to maintain the property's value and ensure their living conditions are up to standard.

  • Encourage residents to be home during the inspection: This allows the tenant to directly point out any issues or concerns regarding the property, making the inspection process more thorough and effective. Also, a tenant's presence can facilitate a better understanding of how the property is used and maintained daily, providing valuable insights for the property manager and owner.

  • Avoid taking photographs of the resident's personal property: This respects the resident's privacy and personal space and reduces the risk of potential legal implications related to invasion of privacy. This also ensures a more accurate and objective assessment of the property's state and any required maintenance.

Ensure There Is Good Maintenance

Good maintenance means your investment property is always in "move-in" condition. That includes no chipped paint, clean carpets, and everything in good working order. There should be no loose door handles, leaky faucets, or broken appliances. The grounds should also be well-groomed and landscaped if that falls under your responsibility as the investor.

After a renter moves in, the maintenance tasks don't stop: you must complete tasks weekly, seasonally, and annually. Leaving this care in the hands of a skilled Charleston property management company can save you the trouble and stress. You'll know that landscaping (as needed) occurs weekly, seasonal maintenance is maintained, and repairs are done upon request.

Routine maintenance generally includes the following examples:

 

  • Exterior: Check the exterior's paint, landscaping, roof, and windows.
  • Interior: Inspect, maintain, and repair heating and cooling systems, paint, smoke detectors, and the water heater.

Turn to a Charleston Property Management Company You Can Trust

We offer a full spectrum of property management services serving the Charleston area, and we understand how critical it is for you to protect your investment property.

Working with property management professionals like Charleston Property Company means you know everything is being handled appropriately, and every detail is accounted for. This is one way to protect your investment property from top to bottom without doing the work yourself!

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