Is A New Landlord Bound By An Old Landlords Lease You Bought a Tenant-Occupied Property But Know Nothing About Property Management

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You Bought a Tenant-Occupied Property But Know Nothing About Property Management

Uh Oh. But not unusual.

Let me start by saying this Managing your properties starting from scratch is the way to go.

Why?

Because you need to know the laws and what you can and can’t do as an owner. Perhaps you have no interest in managing the properties yourself and plan to hire a management company right away. *Caution* – if you don’t understand property management, you won’t know how to hire a property management company or if they are doing a good job. I’m pretty confident when I say that most property management companies are no good.

Now, to the problem at hand – There is a tenant in your property!

1. When you bought the property, you must have received the tenant’s deposit and contract from the previous owner. If you haven’t, you’ve started wrong. If the landlord says there was no contract or deposit with the tenant, but the tenant says they had a contract with the previous owner, ask the tenant for copies of the contract they have. If they also can’t produce a contract, they don’t owe you anything about the previous terms.

2. Hopefully you got the tenant’s deposit because, when they move out, you want something to cover the repairs you’ll need to make, plus, you’ll be responsible for refunding any deposit they paid that isn’t used for unpaid rent or damages (even if they were paid to the previous owner who didn’t pass it on to you).

3. You are legally bound to keep any previous contracts and terms that tenants have (again, provided you have a copy of these agreements). Consumer protection laws protect the tenant and bind you to their previous agreements until those agreements expire.

4. If there is no contract, send all tenants your new contracts immediately. They are allowed to sign or move. You will then manage your property on your terms.

5. Owning a property and managing tenants are two very different businesses. You need to learn property management if you are going to have tenants. I wrote a book – The Essential Owners Handbook – available on Amazon which is a great starting point.

You own the property – you are responsible. You need good contracts and it is essential that you know your local laws and how to manage tenants.

6. When you decide to hire a property management (PM) company, know that they manage based on your documents and your rules. I owned a PM company for years and most owners came with their contracts and rules signed beforehand. Some allowed pets – some didn’t; some allowed smoking – some didn’t, etc., etc. We followed the rules of the owners. What you do with your property is up to you – the PM company enforces your rules (if the company is good… ).

Property and/or tenant management turns to contracts. And your local laws. Every state is different. Know your laws.

Furthermore, owning rental properties is a business. When any tenant is “bad” by falling behind on payments, start eviction IMMEDIATELY. I listen sympathetically to their reasons, but rules are rules and don’t bend for any, because if you yield to one, you must yield to all (consumer protection laws, again).

Have you ever bought a property with a tenant already in place?

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