Both uninformed property managers new to the industry and uneducated tenants can fall into the trap of leasing myths and misinformation. There are many rumors circulating out there about what can and cannot happen with a lease, and it is important for everyone dealing with a leased property to understand the realities.
Myth: A resident can’t be evicted in the winter.
Reality: If a resident has failed to pay the rent, and the property managers have taken all of the necessary legal steps, then a resident can be evicted at any time of year – even in a state that has a cold winter climate.
Myth: A lease automatically terminates at the end of the term.
Reality: If neither the property manager nor the resident has given notice that they will be leaving when the lease term expires, then the leasing transaction has not ended. It is assumed that the existing arrangements continue until other information has been relayed. Neither resident nor property managers need to specifically notify the other if things remain status quo.
Myth: Property managers always have the right to increase rent.
Reality: While the specific guidelines vary by state, the general rule of thumb is that property managers can only increase the rent once per year, and that the increase is no more than a set percentage dictated by the state. Provided rent increases fall into those parameters, then property managers can proceed. Of course, property managers can change the rent amount when a new resident comes into the property without any limitation.
Myth: Residents always have the right to withhold rent payments.
Reality: Even if the property manager has not been providing all the promised services, a resident cannot simply withhold their rent. They do, however, have the right to address the issues in a legal venue. There are extreme cases where refusal to pay rent is allowed—for example, if the property is uninhabitable due to lack of necessary maintenance that is the property management’s responsibility. As a property manager, you should stop and take notice if a resident is refusing to pay their rent until you accommodate their request. After all, tenant satisfaction is a big part of your industry. However, don’t let them manipulate the situation.