To inspect or not inspect… the side sewer
Recently, Ali and Jason were buying a home in the Ruston area of Tacoma, and having their home inspected, they were given the dilemma of should I, or shouldn’t I expend the money for a sewer inspection. As luck had it, they chose the correct answer. And, yes we did have the sewer video scoped. Luck continued on their side, as it turned out in the scoping, that 54 feet of their sewer pipe was crushed and trapping solids in their lines…
For the mere cost of $220 it saved them the cost of replacing and going through the side sewer nightmare. That nightmare can run from $5,000 to $20,000, dependent upon the fix.
Apparently, homes built before 1950, the piping of choice was clay or Orangeberg, a tar paper consistency, which over time tends to blister, erode, and crush down, leaving the homeowners with a basement or home backed up with a sewer overflow hazard.
In thinking about what to write this week, explaining what a 3 day notice is and how to use it came to my mind. Most of my investors really struggle with serving a notice to their tenants. Do not be afraid! Once you have dealt with this notice, you will see how easy it is to use.
A 3 day notice is the legal notice you give to a tenant when they are late in paying their rent. The notice is a pay or vacate notice and they are always mean sounding. But it covers your tail as a landlord especially if you have to walk through the whole legal process. Think of this notice as a reservation of your legal rights. The 3 day notice is the start of the legal process. You serve the notice after your lease’s grace period is over. For our rentals, the grace period is up on the 5th of the month. On the 5th, I fill out the notice, send copies to my servers for posting on the house and mail a copy of the notice. The notice gets posted to the door or served to the tenant on the 6th. Then I have to wait 3 days. If the tenant has not called me or paid the charges, then I proceed with the legal process.
You are probably wondering do I always serve the notice? My answer back is absolutely! If one of my tenants has not paid the rent, you can guarantee I will be completing a notice for them. Even if I talk with them and make an agreement, I always serve the notice. Most of the time I try to forewarn the tenant about the notice and let them know if they abide by our agreement, then the notice will be satisfied. Often, this is as far as the process goes. Then we can all move on to next month.
As a landlord, this notice is the only way to protect yourself from a tenant who fails to pay the rent. This is the first step on the legal process and the only way to start the process, too. Like I tell all my investors, “Never be afraid to serve the notice when the rent is late, regardless of the reason behind it”
Over the weekend, I had a great discussion with a property manager about some common questions I get concerning tenants. This particular discussion lead to a question I hear frequently. “My tenant is not great about paying on time, but does pay the rent.”
My mantra is a firm but fair policy. Our leases provide a 5 day grace period for paying the rent, which is due on the 1st of the month. If the tenant pays within the grace period, there is no late fee. If the tenant pays after the grace period, there is a $60 late fee plus a daily fee. The way a landlord protects themselves is to have a policy of always send out a 3 day notice for non-payment of rent(regardless of the reason). This is the landlords only protection to start a legal process if the tenant does not pay. In the 13 years of managing properties, I have found if I stick to the terms of the lease, my tenants pay on time or they will communicate with me about what is going on. The other lesson I have learned (the hard way) is to be very consistent with 3 day notices!
Stay tuned for more rental management tips…
Over the last years, I have been actively involved in the management of rental properties. It always shocks me to talk with rental owners who have a few properties that seem to be doing alright, but they always dread the phone call at the beginning of the month or chasing the tenant about the rent.
In searching for an informative way to help our investors become experts at their rental management, I have decided to share some tips on what I have learned as a manager.
If you have any specific questions you would like answered, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Porch is a website (and app!) as well as a local Seattle start-up. Porch allows you to look up historical information your property. Perhaps more importantly, this helpful tool shows you the repair, renovation and update projects performed in your neighborhood. You can see what was done, which professionals did the work (as well as their ratings) and get a quote for your project. A simple, quick way to research contractors near you!
The selling process isn’t easy to understand. That’s why you need a broker! To get a better idea of what we mean, check out this wonderful infographic brought to us by the financial planning application, Mint.com.