With laws changing every year, Landlords can’t afford to manage their rentals without support

  It seems like every month there is a new story about a rental property law changing, a landlord being sued by a tenant, or a landlord being issued a six figure fine. The relationship between a landlord and a tenant seems to be one of the most litigious business relationships that exists. Even if you only own and manage 1-2 units it can seem like a full-time job just keeping up on all the regulations. Being a property investor and being a landlord are two very different jobs and it’s not realistic to be an expert at both.
            I have owned a property management company (IRCEnterprises.com) for almost 10 years, served on executive boards of LL support associations for 8 years, and I have been a LL instructor / educator for 5 years. Even with all this experience I am constantly studying LL/T law and continue to come across situations that are new to me.
            75% of the time being a landlord is simply accepting rent, scheduling repairs, and doing the occasional inspection. Eventually you will have a tenant that doesn’t pay their rent, violates the lease, needs a rent increase, or that you need to move out so you can upgrade the unit. If you use the wrong form, calculate your notice expiration incorrectly, or simply don’t know your local regulations; it could cost you thousands of dollars. Nobody will send you a reminder and the courts expect you as the landlord to know the law. Ignorance of the law isn’t a worthy defense.
            The most important expense to all LLs should be their membership with a LL support association like the Oregon Rental Housing Association (OregonRentalHousing.com), Portland Area Rental Owners Association (PortlandAreaROA.com), and the Northwest Real Estate Investors Association (NorthWestREIA.com); to name a few. Below are 5 reasons why EVERY landlord should be a member of a support association.
  1. Education: The costliest mistake a landlord can make is simply not knowing the current law that applies to the situation. These associations typically have 2-8 meetings and classes each month that focus on education.
  2. Support: With most associations, they truly want to help landlords be good, law abiding landlords. Whether it is at monthly Q&A meetings or simply being available via phone or email you can get help with your specific situation. They will be able to walk you right through the proper way to handle your situation, mistakes to avoid, and ultimately the best way to handle a situation.
  3. Forms: These associations also provide access to legal forms for landlords to use that are updated yearly to make sure they are always in accordance with the current laws. Most of the eviction cases that I see tenants win are due to the landlord using an incorrect form or didn’t fill out the form properly.
  4. Legislative Representation: The landlord support associations do most the fighting for landlord rights at the legislature. They will also keep their members informed about proposed laws that will affect their business. When the timing is best they will alert you so that you can contact your representatives to make sure that your voice is heard.
  5. Quality Vendor & Service Provider Referrals: Many of these associations have advertising members that provide services & discounts to landlords. At the meetings and classes, you will also get to network with other landlords. If you are a smaller landlord that doesn’t send enough business to a contractor to get their “white glove” service, then you need the contacts you will make at these meetings. You will be able to find that company that you need without just rolling the yellow pages dice and hoping that they are good at their job and charge fair prices.
           I really can’t express how important it is that ALL landlords need to be members of a support association. If you aren’t a member, then you need to hire a professional property manager that is actively staying up to date. Whether it is the botched eviction, lawsuits, or fines, the risks of managing your properties without support is simply way too high.
Christian Bryant
President – IRC Real Estate & Property Management