Increasing rent occasionally is essential to cover your rental expenses and maintain the value of your rental property. However, Visalia landlords need to be careful while increasing the rent because a) California has strict rent control laws and b) sudden rent increase might result in your tenants moving out. To avoid this, you should know how to tactfully increase the rent without putting off your renters. Here are some ways in which you can increase rent for your Visalia property.
Bring Your Rent Up To the Market Value
The easiest way to increase your rent is to understand the market rent in your area and bring your rent up to the average price. It varies according to the neighborhoods, location, size, and quality of your unit. For example, the average apartment rent in Visalia is $1,502 for 937 sq. ft., and the highest rent for an apartment is $2,400.
You can visit other properties in your neighborhood to know what other landlords are charging for their properties or, you can browse online websites such as Zillow and Trulia to know the average market rent in your area.
Increase Rent With Utilities
There are two ways to go about this. You can either include utility costs in the rent or you can charge a fixed rent and set up a Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) to charge separately for utilities.
The advantage of including utility costs in rent is that it allows landlords to charge more than the market rent. Tenants who do not have time to pay rent and other bills separately often welcome this approach as it saves them the trouble of keeping track of multiple bills. However, as utility costs may vary from tenant to tenant, you may end up undercharging or overcharging tenants with this approach.
The second way is to have fixed monthly rent and charge for utilities with RUBS. RUBS tracks the usage of utilities by tenants. Landlords can charge the tenant according to their use of utilities, which ensures fair distribution of costs.
Watch Out for Rent Control
Rental control is an ordinance that prevents excessive rent increase and protects tenants from evictions due to non-payment of rent. The law varies from state to state. California has a statewide rent control law, commonly known as Assembly Bill 1482. Under this law, Visalia landlords can increase rent up to 5%, plus the local rate of inflation, in a year.
Consider Charging for Inspections
Landlords can charge for the regular inspections they conduct to assess the condition of the property. Apart from the move-in and move-out inspections, landlords can periodically check the unit to identify any damages before they become a problem. These can include checking for Visalia health and safety parameters, such as whether the smoke/CO2 detectors are in working order if there are any leaks under sinks, and whether general cleanliness guidelines are being followed.
The reports from these inspections can be a qualifying factor as to whether or not the landlord should renew the lease.
Proactive Maintenance Services
Our observations show that tenants are likelier to pay 25% higher rent if you provide additional facilities and proactive maintenance in your rental property. With consistent focus on improvements, such as landscaping the exterior, upgrading the kitchen, fixing the leakage problems, cleaning the roof, checking filters, heater, and HVAC systems, landlords can create several opportunities for increasing rent. The added advantage here is that it benefits the tenants and makes them consider renewing the lease as well.
Increase Rent With Lease Renewals
As a landlord, you can increase the rent when the lease agreement is up for renewal. However, you need to send a notice to your tenants about the rent increase for the year. Also, make sure you comply with the Visalia housing laws while raising the rent at the time of lease renewals. You tenants must agree to the rent you have decided.
At The Equity Group, Visalia, we can assist you in rent increase with a rent match system and comparative analysis of your property. We gather authentic data about current rent increases in the market, look for the listing prices on the websites and the rent in your locality. You can hire our property managers to figure out what your property is worth in the current market scenario and figure out the best way to increase rent for it.
If you want more guidance in this regard, contact us at The Equity Group.