Learn How to Collect Rent and Deal With the Eviction Process Without Attorneys

Collecting rent is one of those situations where I have to use some rules of thumb, some feeling, some gut to try to figure out whether it's time to go and do the eviction or do we try to work with the tenant and see if they can get caught up. Maybe it's a temporary problem. We can do a weekly or monthly payment plan and maybe we can get them back on paying again.

In the same token, if I don't feel it's going to happen, we have to go to eviction quickly. There's no point in waiting and spending two or three months waiting around for something that's not going to happen. That takes some gut feel and experience.

Know the Rules for Eviction

We'll talk about the eviction process. There again, just like the rules and regulations, you've got to be smarter than your tenants. You've got to know the rules better than they do, because if you don't, I guarantee you they will take advantage of you. They will tell you things that are not accurate and if you buy into it you're going to end up being their whipping post.

Now every state might be slightly different and I recommend you go to Google and search for your sate and landlord regulations and study them front to back. Knowing the rules and then enforcing them is the single most important thing in terms of collecting rent.

Should you use an attorney for evictions? You guys can do it better than an attorney can. They will do almost nothing for you except the fact that they're attorneys and they'll charge you $250-300 an hour.

I can probably out perform any attorney in this area and I can do it for $50 an hour for my clients, probably one sixth of what they'll pay an attorney.

How to Retain Tenants

How to work with tenants and try to encourage them to stay tenants, making sure that you're resolving issues with them in a friendly and professional way so they say, "Hey, yeah, I want to stay another year, two years, three years whatever."

If you are late with doing maintenance, you drag your feet, you try to find excuses why not to do it every time they call you, you don't return their calls, they got a little drip here and there, you don't fix it, do you think they're going to stay that second year after that lease runs out? I don't think so.

Again, you want to keep at it. You want to work within trying to keep the tenants as long as possible. Also, we have little things in our lease that encourage tenants to sign a new one-year lease. They can go month-to-month but there are some penalties - I wouldn't call it that - but just some things in that lease that make it more onerous on them as opposed to coming back to me and saying, "I'd rather have a new one-year lease than go month-to-month."

We probably have 75 to 80% of our tenants come back to us for a new one-year lease as opposed to remaining month-to-month. It's hard for you as landlords and owners to manage if you don't know beyond 30 days whether your tenant's staying or going. It's much nicer to have a one-year lease and you know that for the next 12 months at least you're going to get rent, so we'll talk about that.

I invite you to learn more about Property Management and get a free audio titled "Learn the 10 Success Secrets of Property Management Every Real Estate Investor Must Know to Manage Your Own Investments Properties for Maximum Profit and Avoiding Tenant Headaches" by going to http://www.realestatewealthtoday.com/PMS.html

Mike Lautensack is the owner of Del Val Property Management LLC, a FULL service residential property management company located in Philadelphia, PA.