Tenants Archives | Pyramis Company


Quality tenants are one of the keys to our success and we want our tenants to be well-informed. Simply paying rent isn’t where their responsibility stops. They should be helping to take care of the home they’re renting, too. We have a lot of good material for tenants regarding safety, tips, and relocation. When it’s time for them to move, we want that to be as painless as possible.

How to Be on Good Terms With Your Landlord

Renters often underestimate the power and importance of building a good relationship with their landlords/property managers and the ways that it can affect their day to day living experience. Although disputes between landlords/property managers and tenants are not uncommon, it happens much too often for anyone’s liking and causes turmoil for both parties involved.

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Are You a Knowledgeable Landlord?

Owning a property that you lease out doesn’t necessarily mean you understand all of the ins and outs associated with being a landlord. Most owners wouldn’t necessarily believe that they are doing anything unethical. In reality, they may not be treating their tenants fairly according to rules and regulations set out by the government. This can have serious repercussions if your tenant is adamant and better versed in landlord laws than you are.


Alternatively, an unknowledgeable landlord may be allowing their renters to walk all over them. Anytime the tenant cries out that they are being treated unfairly, you may give under the pressure and complaints. Knowing that you’re in the right can give you the peace of mind to make fair and ethical decisions, regardless of how your tenant feels about them or you.


Test out your knowledge of being a landlord with these frequently asked questions to see how you stack up.


Is credit a valid way to screen for tenants?


Absolutely. Checking the creditworthiness of a prospective renter isn’t considered discrimination. They are applying to rent your home which incurs a specific recurring expense on a monthly basis. Banks would check their credit if they were to apply for an auto loan or a mortgage to ensure that they have a history of repaying debts responsibly. Similarly, landlords can request a credit check of all applicants. Property management companies can help you with that.


The exception to this answer is if you make the decision to screen credit based on some other factor such as appearance, lifestyle, or the type of car an applicant drives. Adding requirements for some applicants that aren’t standard procedure for others would be considered discrimination.


Can you pop into the property anytime you feel it’s justified?


The answer to this question really depends on the laws for your specific area. In most cases, landlords are required to respect a tenant’s right to privacy. Simply because you have a key to the property doesn’t mean you can waltz in whenever you feel like it. Imagine how you would feel if you were the one living in the home. What if your landlord walked in on you dancing around the kitchen in nothing but a pair of socks?


Besides being an obvious issue of common courtesy, privacy considerations are protected by local and state laws in most areas. You will want to look into the specifics for your area before scheduling an inspection of the property.


Do you have to allow pets in the home?


The short answer to this question is generally no. A tenant isn’t necessarily given the legally-protected right to own a dog, cat, or even an aquarium full of exotic fish. Landlords should first and foremost be concerned with protecting their home long-term. If they don’t feel like a pet deposit could cover the potential damage done to the home by an animal, they aren’t required to allow tenants to have one.


If your tenant has a service animal, whether it’s a seeing-eye dog or an emotional support animal, it is considered discrimination to refuse an assistance animal. You also are not allowed to charge a pet deposit in this scenario, as it is considered unfair. The Fair Housing Law protects individuals who require an assistance animal under certain circumstances.


While it may seem unfair to you as a landlord, an assistance animal is considered a necessity for the disabled or handicapped individual who owns it. They don’t have the option of abandoning the animal and still maintaining their quality of life. Tenants who have a valid claim to the use of an assistance animal can request an investigation from a government agency if you deny them this right.


Do you have to rent to tenants who have children?


Unless your property is located in a retirement community or qualifies for status as a “seniors only” home (ages 55 and over), you can’t deny tenants based on their children. This includes basing a decision on the number of children that you will allow in the home. Landlords don’t have the right to discriminate based on the size or makeup of the family.  Landlords must adhere to Federal Fair Housing as well as state and local occupancy standards.


Are tenants required to do all home maintenance?


Not only will the courts refuse to support a tenant being required to perform all maintenance, it really isn’t in your best interest as a landlord either. Performing or supervising some of the home maintenance allows you to identify areas that may be a problem. You can ensure that tasks are completed properly, allowing the home to remain habitable.


Holding tenants responsible for all maintenance can leave landlords in the dark when it comes to major issues or shoddy workmanship. Without attention, you may end up with legal trouble for renting out an uninhabitable home.


How does the law define habitability?


The legal definition of habitable can be rather long and confusing, but it really boils down to one simple idea: the property must be safe to live in and tenants must be able to live there in relative comfort.


Before you panic, this doesn’t mean that you need to provide a fully furnished rental or restore the granite countertops. Luxury tastes aren’t taken into consideration when it comes to the idea of relative comfort. Instead, landlords should be concerned with whether or not the home is going to protect renters from the outside elements and have the basic amenities like electricity, plumbing or working bathrooms, and running water.


Patch the leaky roof and make sure that the water comes out clean. If the light switches spark when you turn them on, enlist the help of a qualified electrician. You can pass on repairs and changes that are more cosmetic in nature, as you are only required by law to make the property habitable.


Can a landlord ask leasers to vacate their rental?


Yes, landlords are well within their rights to ask tenants to vacate a property even if they have a current lease. However, the date by which they must leave the property has to be past the expiration date of the current lease agreement. It does not have to be extended far past the end of the lease though. Even just a single day will suffice.


Attempt to be considerate with this request though. Give your tenants advance notice that they are being asked to vacate the property at the end of their lease.


Do you know what you don’t know?


Did you get a perfect score on this short pop quiz of commonly asked questions for landlords? You may have known a few things about managing your own property, which is great. If you didn’t have the answers to these frequently asked questions, it may be time for you to do a little research into tenant laws and regulations in your area.


Until you’re faced with a specific situation, it’s hard to know what you don’t know as a landlord. Taking the time to research the specific laws for your area will give you a leg up as a successful landlord. It will prevent you from needing to be rescued in the future.


Being knowledgeable about your role and responsibility as a landlord is essential to protecting yourself and your tenants.




Working with the Military

Working with the military is a key aspect for most major property management companies in San Antonio. Whether an active duty member is deployed during times of international crisis or they’re simply relocated to another military installation, the instability can create additional headaches when it comes to housing for members of the armed forces.


If you’re an active member of any of the armed forces, you may have already experienced the turmoil that relocation can create. Depending on the order, it’s possible that you will know if you’re likely to return to your home in just a few years or months. It’s possible that you will even remain close enough to keep an eye on things, but not close enough to reside in the property.


Fortunately, you have the option of renting out your home and entrusting its care to property managers. What are the major benefits to hiring a property management service instead of selling your home when you move?


  1. You gain a source of very passive income.


If you choose to maintain your current home and rent it out in your absence, you are automatically generating a source of income each month that it’s occupied. Most landlords will charge more than their mortgage payment to cover the cost of future repairs, maintenance, and the potential headache of dealing with renters.


Many military members are becoming “accidental landlords” and handling all of the headache on their own.


Particularly when you hire a property management service like Pyramis Company, you take much of the headache out of the equation. A small monthly fee and leasing agreement fee is taken in exchange for finding and vetting potential tenants, collecting expenses from renters, and handling routine property inspections and maintenance.


You’re required to give the final seal of approval on major home repairs, but the company is capable of finding and hiring the contractor to complete the work. Communication can be completed through email or Skype depending on your specific needs and capabilities.


All you have to do is enjoy the extra monthly income and be responsive if the property manager needs your attention. This can mean a huge increase in your income that can be used to afford rent in a more expensive area or to give you more expendable income. You can even invest more in retirement or save up for exotic vacations.


  1. You don’t have to worry about the condition of the home.


Even if money is no object to keeping the home, you may still fret over the condition of the house in your absence. Things can quickly go awry if you don’t have someone actively checking on the property and ensuring that it’s still in great shape. What happens if a pipe bursts or some faulty electrical wires start a small fire?


A property management company will perform routine inspections of your home. Your friends may do a casual drive-by of the home on a regular basis, just to ensure that all appears well from the outside. You can tell a lot about the interior state of affairs simply by looking at the front yard. Details can be made out through the windows, the grass may be overgrown, and there may be trash all over.


These are all signs of a much larger issue that would warrant an indoor inspection.


If it’s being requested by you, a property manager may also perform routine spot checks and inspections upon your request. They can’t show up unannounced and invite themselves in due to privacy restrictions, but they can make a habit of inspecting the overall condition and maintenance of the interior.  


  1. You can still keep your dream home.


Sometimes service members know that they will return to a specific base or location within a given timeframe. In these cases, it doesn’t make sense to sell their dream home when they will only be gone for relatively short amounts of time. It won’t make sense financially for you to cover the cost of your mortgage and rent in a new city though.


Finding a renter while you wait is a great way to ensure that you have a comfortable and familiar place to return to in the future. A property management company is responsible for finding a tenant who is creditworthy and trustworthy to pay the rent on time each month. They should be examining applicants for several criteria, including:


  • Credit scores
  • Valid sources of employment and income
  • References
  • Ability to pay security and pet deposits, if applicable


They also provide the necessary documents to protect your investment and outline the renter’s specific obligations. Your largest asset is better protected when you enlist the help of a property management company to find qualified renters. After all, you won’t have time to traipse back and forth from your new home while you interview and allow prospective tenants to tour your old property.


By finding a trustworthy renter who is capable of paying their rent in a timely manner, you can afford to cover the cost of your new rent and the mortgage of your dream home.


  1. You can easily make the decision to sell the home.


Perhaps your best-laid plans didn’t quite pan out the way you thought they would. Things can change in an instant, especially for military members. Your plans to return to your dream home in the next two years could be radically altered with the news that your contract has been extended. You may be subsequently deployed overseas for an extended period of time. The possibilities are endless and oftentimes unpredictable.


When you find out that you won’t be returning after all, it may make more sense for you to let the property go. Coming back just to hire a realtor, show the house, and handle inspections can be a burden that you don’t have the ability to carry right now. Property management companies can typically transition smoothly into the role of actively listing your home for sale instead of listing it for rent.


Consider how quickly a property management company could turn around and list your home for sale. Unoccupied homes have the potential to be listed on the market in as little as 24 hours, if you’re forced to make a decision quickly.


Military families and homeowners are frequently faced with difficult decisions regarding property ownership, particularly when ordered to relocate. You can ease some of the burden of these decisions by enlisting the assistance of qualified professionals. Property management can help you to earn extra money and keep your dream home in great condition all at the same time.


The best part is that you can focus on getting your family settled in a new location instead of dealing with the stress of renting out your home.




Should Family or Friends be Tenants?

The question may inevitably arise at a family dinner or over coffee with your closest friend. They’ve noticed that your rental property has been vacant for a little while, and their lease is almost up. Your property is in the perfect spot, has the gleaming granite countertops they’ve been wanting, and it falls perfectly into their budget. Won’t you consider allowing them to sign a lease instead of some unknown tenant?


At first glance, it seems like a reasonable request. You certainly do know your friend or family member better than someone you find through third-party advertising or a rental property management company. Entering into a lease with someone you hardly know can fill landlords with trepidation and rightfully so. Horror stories abound of tenants who destroy homes, never pay rent on time, and end up creating a huge headache for property owners.


Would renting to family and friends offer you more security in the long run?


It’s tempting to simply give in to the wheedling request of your friends who want to rent your property, even if they’re willing to pay the full market value. However, experience tends to point to the fact that not all friends and family members make the best tenants. Before you dive into a contract that could cost you a precious relationship, consider how well you truly know and trust this person.


Are your friends or relatives trustworthy?


Ask yourself a few questions to determine whether or not they are truly trustworthy to live at your property. Here’s a few examples to get you thinking about your relationship with them and their personal history:


  • Do they keep up with their current home or apartment in terms of maintenance and cleanliness?
  • Have they ever complained about their current landlord refusing to repair very minor issues or damages that they personally caused?
  • Is there a time in the recent past where they were late paying rent on a regular basis?
  • Have they ever been evicted from a property?
  • Do they go through frequent periods of unemployment?
  • Do you know what their income is and whether or not it is reliable on a monthly basis?


At the end of the day, you need to treat your friend or relative the same as you would any other prospective tenant. Do you feel like they would be a responsible person to trust with such a valuable investment?


In most cases, a property management company will handle a screening process to judge applicants on how creditworthy and trustworthy they appear to be on paper. Companies will often conduct a credit check, call references, and perform a background check at a bare minimum. Other suggestions and criteria are also considered, including their employment and their income level each month. All of these key items have a serious effect on whether or not they will be reliable and responsible tenants.


Since you already know this person quite well, consider your answers to the above questions. You should be able to answer all of them and then some before you make a decision to rent to family members or friends.


Are they looking for a favor?


There’s a small chance that your friend or relative really just wants to do you a favor by leasing your property. They know you’re desperate for the house to generate some income instead of sitting vacant. They happen to be between leases at the moment, and it seems like perfect timing. If this is the case for your situation, then leasing to your friend may not be such a bad idea.


On the other hand, it’s also fairly likely that your friend or relative is looking for you to give them an extra favor. Maybe they’re hoping that you’ll discount the rent, waive your typical security deposit, or allow them to bring along their dog even though you hate pets. Take extreme caution if you can tell that the conversation is quickly heading in the direction of favors.


Making one minor concession to your standard lease agreement and terms can open the door to bigger requests in months to come. Particularly if you’re quick to agree, you set the precedent that they can alter rules based on their previous relationship with you.


This begins the descent into murky waters when it comes to bigger issues like property maintenance and collecting rent.


Suppose that you were willing to waive the typical security deposit because you believed your cousin was a responsible tenant who would care for the home as if it was his own. Three months into your agreement, he’s suddenly short on money this month and can’t make the full rent amount. Would you be willing to accept anything short of the agreed upon price?


Because you already demonstrated that you’re willing to make changes based on your friendship, you oftentimes set the stage for failure moving forward. Renting to a friend or family member who is solely looking for convenient favors means that you may be asked to compromise in far too many scenarios. You won’t want to allow them to take advantage of you, but you also don’t want to make family holidays awkward or ruin friendships.


Do they know how much you make on your rental properties?


Perhaps you’ve had a detailed conversation with your friend in the past about how much income your property generates on a monthly basis. If this is the case, then they already know just how much you’re paying for the property and how much wiggle room there is in the rent. Even if it doesn’t start out as your friend looking for a favor, they know deep down that you’re making money off of their monthly expenses.


The more money you make on the rent, the more likely it is that it can lead to lasting resentment as the agreement carries on.


Money isn’t something that is frequently discussed in polite conversation, so this topic may be the silent elephant in the room. They know you’re making a decent source of passive income from their expenses, so why wouldn’t you be able to afford to replace things that they want upgraded?


You make so much extra money each month from the property. Couldn’t you afford to cut them a little slack on the rent each month?


The most common problem for landlords who rent to friends or family members is the resentment that sometimes follows. Tenants feel bitter because you’re making money off of them, while you feel resentful because they aren’t caring for your property.


What does it really boil down to?


In general, it isn’t a great practice to rent your property to a friend or a family member. There’s a lot of risk involved in the process with little payoff or potential reward. Some individuals may find success with this method of occupying their rental homes, but others regret losing close relationships over something as minute as a rental agreement.


If you do choose to rent to a tenant you know, be sure that you handle the lease as a strictly professional relationship. You should have a lease agreement in writing, outlining their responsibilities, your responsibilities, and the terms associated with property. Collect rent on time each and every month without exception. You may need to come to terms with the fact that you must be willing to evict them if it comes down to it.


An alternative to renting your property to friends or family members on your own would be to facilitate the agreement through a management company. A property manager can go through the motions of securing rent each month, conducting the home inspections, and coordinating repair work. While it may not be enough to salvage the relationship, it does allow you to be one step removed from the heat of major conflicts that can arise.


Take the time to really reflect on how valuable this relationship is to you. If it’s a friendship you simply can’t live without, it probably isn’t worth the risk of renting to this person. Explain that you value your relationship with them too much to put both of you in that situation. Make it a firm policy so that it doesn’t come across as favoritism by renting to a different friend in the coming weeks.


In the end, you need to do what it is best for your long-term investment and for your friendships. Making a wise decision today can make both of you happier in the months and years ahead.




Why Renting May Be Your Best Option

Confused whether to purchase or rent a house? If you have financially prepared yourself for owning one, especially for your family, then being a homeowner fits you. On the other hand, if you are not ready for any obligations that come with buying and owning a house, renting a house may be your best option.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of benefits in renting a house especially if you are not yet ready to face the challenges of purchasing a house. Here are the main reasons as to why renting can be advantageous on your lifestyle and age:

Renting Allows You to Be Flexible

The special thing about renting is it allows you to be flexible. Most leases are for 12 months. In case your lifestyle and job requires you to move from one location to another from time to time, then renting a house is your best option.

This way you get to interact socially and gain friends. This experience allows you to be flexible about your environment and the people around you.

Lastly, you get to be more responsible since you have to take care of the house that you’re renting. It may not be your primary responsibility, but since you’re living on another person’s property, you will learn necessary cleaning of the place.

Renting Spares You from Taxes and Repairs

Worried about repairs and maintenance costs of the house that you’re renting? Worry no more as you are spared from handling and paying these obligations.

These will be managed by the property manager, and the costs will be shouldered by the house owner as these people are well-versed in handling multiple properties.

Also, any necessary upgrades or renovations in the house are not your concern as such maintenance is also the responsibility of the house owner.

With renting a house, you do not have to stress yourself from breaking your savings on property taxes or insurance payments because these are obligations of the homeowner.

Electricity and water bills are essential things that you have to pay, and normally not handled by the homeowner or the property manager.

Renting Lets You Save Money

As mentioned, property taxes and house repairs will not give you a headache. Instead, you will be able to save your time and a lot of money when renting a house.

That said, you can invest your savings into exciting things like a health insurance for your parents or a vacant lot in your local area that you’ve been eyeing.

Indeed, house rental frees you from significant financial obligations when renting a house. As a result, the experience allows you to set aside money that you can use for a worthy investment or emergent situations.

Is Renting a House the Best Option?

No matter your decision- buying a house or renting one, both have their specific benefits. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before making a wise decision.

If you are a college student and you want to pursue your education in a big city, it means you have to relocate and find a place to stay.

Without a doubt, renting a house with your classmates or peers is the best option. The same goes when you are assigned to work in another city for a few months.

Managing multiple properties can be arduous to some extent. Let us help you today!