Eviction Advice for Property Management

2 Tactics Property Owners Can Use to Achieve Low Eviction Rates

A recent study suggests the Southwest region of the U.S. (including Arizona) is one of the top three areas for rapid growth in the rental markets. The cost of rentals has risen almost 9% in a single year, and demand has increased by almost 5%. These statistics may make landlords and rental property owners feel like rejoicing, but other industry statistics might give them pause.

For instance, rental rates are climbing much faster than incomes, and this means that adjusting rents to demand may end up creating a very limited pool of qualified potential tenants. With research showing that rent now takes up more than 30% of the average renter's income, fewer and fewer applicants will be able to qualify.

In fact, national trends indicate that more and more renters are but a single paycheck from eviction and some are forced to find roommates (even if this is breaking the terms of the lease) in order to make ends meet. This puts the landlords and property owners at risk because few roommates are approved or even screened to reside on the premises.

Fortunately for landlords in the Phoenix area the statistics are not so bleak. Here, the rent to income ratio has remained more even, which means more extreme actions are not as common. Nevertheless, the aforementioned eviction trend still illustrates a major issue and suggests that landlords need to take evictions more seriously. Two ways to do this include:

  1. Performing an in-depth screening of applicants to be sure that their income to debt ratios will not prevent them from being able to pay the rent.
  2. Reevaluating rental rates and whether these rates are competitively priced.

These two criteria are the groundwork that will determine whether many landlords and rental property owners will be able to keep their properties occupied. However, when we look at the screening of applicants, we need to understand it may also take a lot more legwork than ever before. Not only has the screening process become more time consuming, but the average number of calls on well-priced vacancies are much higher.

In many areas renters are now starting to think smaller and more affordable, and this means that even landlords who once struggled to find applicants will be able to enter into competition with larger or more amenity rich properties.

Breaking the eviction cycle

For any landlord who is trying to avoid evicting a tenant (and it should be all of them!), it is important to lay the groundwork up front. For example, at Active Renter Property Management we minimize the chance that our owners will deal with evictions by conducting a criminal background check, verifying employment, investigating the applicants rental history, and checking their credit. While this is a lot of work, it is worth it to avoid the eviction process that will affect your bottom line.

Once the groundwork is laid and you have found the right tenant it is important to keep an eye out for red flags. For example, one of the first signs of trouble is consistently late rental payments. One thing we do for our owners is notify tenants to let them know that their payment is late, collect penalties in addition to the rent, and let the landlord know of the problem.

For self-managing owners, this is an important step as well. Once this red flag appears, it is important to keep an eye on tenant payments and maintain an open line of communication with the tenant. If communication occurs often between the owner and tenant, it is possible to work together to avoid an eviction, which is ultimately beneficial for both parties.

In sum, eviction trends may be on the rise, but if you take the right steps you can eliminate the chance of an eviction occurring before your tenant is even in the property. Once they are there, it is important to keep an eye on their payment behavior and work with them to avoid an eviction. Of course, evictions are inevitable as a property owner, every once and awhile you just have a tenant who won't pay, but if you keep these tips in mind you should be able to keep that to a minimum and make your life a whole lot easier.

Citations:

L. Choi. (September, 2014). The rise of single‐family rentals in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Retrieved from http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/files/rb2014-the-rise-of-single-family-rentals-az-ca-nv.pdf

M. Huffman. (August, 2015). Percentage of income needed to pay rent at all-time high. Retrieved from https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/percentage-of-income-needed-to-pay-rent-at-all-time-high-081715.html

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