When a tenant claims bankruptcy, it can put you at financial risk

What Are Your Rights if a Tenant Claims Bankruptcy?

Owning an investment property can be a successful and fulfilling project. Not only can you own and maintain a piece of property, you can use it to increase your monthly and yearly earnings. However, dealing with tenants isn’t always easy. While most landlords worry about tenants paying rent and taking care of the property, there is another fear all landlords should be aware of. When a tenant declares bankruptcy, it can put you at financial risk. What can you do to protect yourself? Here is what you need to know to protect themselves and their investment.

 Know the Type

Tenants are able to declare two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as a “straight bankruptcy” and allows individuals to discharge large amounts of debt. This debt is typically accumulated through credit cards, loans, and utility bills and is known as “unsecure” debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as “reorganization,” and this is when an individual can take their debt and consolidate it in different ways so they can make several years’ worth of payment to debtors. The type of bankruptcy your tenant files will determine how much money you will be able to collect, how long the process will take, and even what legal contact you may have with the tenant during proceedings.

Expect a Stay

While a bankruptcy is being looked over by the court, most judges will award a stay to the tenant. A stay is essentially a block that does not allow any debtor to take legal actions against the individual filing for bankruptcy. During this time you will be unable to obtain unpaid rent through the legal system and you may be unable to evict. You may also be unable to have certain contact with the tenant, including phone calls or importune visits. Most stays do allow you to enter the property for typical maintenance and health and safety checks. An attorney will be able to tell you all conditions of any stay or injunction during the proceedings.

Know What You Can Evict For

A stay can be temporarily lifted and give you the right to evict a tenant under specific terms, one of them being knowledge of illegal action taking place in the property. Illegal drug use and endangering other tenants are both valid reasons to evict even during the bankruptcy process. Always ensure you are informing the court and an attorney about what you are doing and why with official letters.

File your Claim Immediately

If the tenant filing for bankruptcy has not been paying rent and you wish to collect, you will have to file a claim with the court. Your claim letter must include the current balance and proof of that balance. Once proceedings conclude, if there is money available to pay you the court will contact you with a date when you can collect.  

Navigating the bankruptcy process with a tenant can be a difficult and confusing process. However, you don’t have to go through it alone. At AZ Residential Management, we’re here for landlords no matter what’s happening at their properties. Our professional and dedicated team will provide consistent property management and we allow you to professionally and efficiently communicate with tenants about everything payment for maintenance.

Get your rental home ready for winters with these four tips

4 Tips to Get Your Rental Property Ready for Winter

Every year it feels like winter is becoming sneakier as it creeps up on us suddenly. Even in the warm climate of Arizona, those freezing night temperatures in central and northern Arizona lead to tenants shivering in their cold rental homes and apartments while they try to turn the heat up. If you own a rental property in the area, you want to make sure your tenants are kept comfortable while your rental home withstands the possible winter storms rolling through the region. Use the following 4 tips offered by AZ Residential Management to get your rental ready for whatever weather comes to the area this winter.

1. Exterior Inspection

Perform an exterior inspection of the house to look for issues with the roof, window, door and exterior walls. Ensure gutter systems are clear of debris and fastened tightly.

Also, you should make sure to check the roof area and walls for potential holes created by small animals, such as ground squirrels and chipmunks. Seal up any holes that you find and continually inspect the area and remove pests to prevent them from trying to reenter. Then evaluate the roof condition and the lifecycle of roofing materials. Consider repair or replacement of a poor quality roof before the winter arrive to prevent leaks and further damage.

2. Sealing Doors and Windows

Caulking around doors and windows can become cracked or loose due to age and weather. To prevent drafts, inspect the caulking around window frames and doors. If you see any moisture damaged wood, remove the wood and install new framing. Then seal windows with the appropriate caulking. You should also remember to inspect and seal around exterior vent pipes.

3. Yearly Heating System Maintenance

It’s always a great idea to have your heating and cooling system inspected twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall before winter arrives. Have your mechanical systems evaluated by a professional heating and cooling company that specializes in the brand of equipment that is installed. The technician should also check the thermostats to ensure they are operating correctly.

You should have them inspect all ductwork and vents into the home to clear them of any dirt, dust, debris or obstructions. Fix broken or loose ducts to ensure the heating system runs efficiently.

4. Property Upkeep

Most of the property upkeep before winter will consist of clearing leaves and trash from the property to prevent windblown debris. You should never forget to drain outdoor water pipes to prevent the lines from freezing and cracking.

After dealing with the pipes, you can place furniture and other items into storage to prevent them from becoming damaged from the wind. You should also inspect outdoor stairs and railings for problems that need to be fixed before the winter weather arrives.

With constant year-round upkeep and maintenance offered by AZ Residential Management, it becomes a simple task of getting your rental property ready for the winter. Create a safe and comfortable home for your tenants.