Should I Allow Tenants to Paint my Rental Property

Should I Allow Tenants to Paint my Rental Property

Many property owners choose to paint their rentals in neutral colors such as in shades of gray or white. This is because these colors have mass appeal, they are easy to maintain, and they work with many different design schemes.

That said, you may have tenants who wish to repaint the property in another color. When this happens, you have to decide whether or not you will allow them to do so.

In this article, we are going over the pros and cons of allowing tenants to paint the property, as well as other important points to note.

Do Landlords Have Painting Responsibilities?

As a property owner, you are required to keep the property safe and habitable. When the painted walls become unsanitary, it’s your job to repaint the walls and restore a healthy environment inside the rental.

If your tenants want to repaint the walls in a different color for aesthetic reasons, this is not allowed. However, if your walls are painted with lead-containing paint, your tenants may request for you to replace the paint. That’s because, when lead is involved, the situation stops revolving around aesthetics.

Should you Allow your Tenants to Paint?

Often, if tenants want to change the wall color in the rental property, they won’t ask you to do it. Instead, they will want to do it themselves.

There are 3 ways you can respond to this type of request:

#1: NO – Don’t Allow them to Paint the Property

If you don’t want to deal with the stress of having your tenants repaint the unit, you may politely and respectfully say no.

If you want to give your renters another option, you may allow them to use removable wallpaper instead of paint to change the wall colors. This type of wallpaper isn’t supposed to leave traces or damage once it’s removed. That said, be wary. There are numerous stories posted online that show that this isn’t always the case.

wallpaper home

If you have high-quality tenants, chances are they will understand your decision. Be sure to explain your reasoning in a polite and friendly manner.

#2: YES – But Under Certain Conditions

You can allow your tenants to paint the property while establishing certain conditions beforehand.

Here are some ideas for your paint policy:

  • No woodwork. You could forbid your renters from painting wooden surfaces. Painting wood requires a correct technique and it’s easy to create substandard results without proper knowledge.
  • Color agreement. You must agree on the suitable colors before the tenant paints the unit. You don’t want to be surprised by your tenant when they unveil the new color design in your rental property.
  • Repainting fee. You can charge a repainting free. However, be sure that it’s allowed in your state or locality. This fee covers the repainting that you’ll likely have to do when the renter vacates the unit.

#3: YES – Allow Them to Paint the Property

If you trust your tenant, you can agree to let them paint your property without any conditions. While this is a risky move, giving them a resounding “yes” makes sense in some situations.

For instance, if you’re certain that these tenants are long-term renters, allowing them to paint the unit isn’t a bad idea.

Even if you agree to an unconditional yes, you should still agree on the colors before they start painting. Similarly, you should make sure that they use high-quality paint and have at least some prior experience with interior painting.

brushing paint wall white

What Happens if your Tenant Paints without Permission?

The worst-case scenario involves your tenants painting the property without your permission. Your lease agreement should have a clear clause in it that outlaws such activities.

If they break the lease through illicit painting activities, you can deduct repainting costs from their security deposit. That said, if the tenant repaints the unit back to the exact same color scheme before vacating the property, you may not have the legal right for any deductions.

The Final Word: Tenants Painting Your Rental Property

Your tenants may insist that they want a color change in your property. It’s likely that they will offer to conduct the painting job themselves. Such situations have three possible approaches that you can take as a landlord.

  1. You can unconditionally allow them to paint the rental. This decision comes with a set of risks. Your renters may not have the proper experience to carry out a high-quality paint job. Roller bumps, paint on trim, and paint spills can seriously decrease the appeal of your property.
  2. You could set specific conditions that they have to meet in order to paint your property. For instance, you have to agree on the colors and if it’s legal in your area, you could charge a repainting fee from them. Still, these conditions won’t mitigate the risks of a bad paint job.
  3. Since you don’t have any responsibility to allow them to paint your property, you can always opt for a strict no. But when you have a hard time finding new tenants or the particular renters seem like a perfect long-term match, denying them the painting could financially backfire.

If you have further inquiries, feel free to contact T-Square Real Estate Services, Inc. today!

The Pros and Cons of Living in Bellevue Washington

The Pros and Cons of Living in Bellevue Washington

Bellevue is the 5th largest city in Washington. It’s also regularly labeled as one of the best places to live. Surrounded by lovely parks and recreational waterfronts, Bellevue lives up to its name, French for “beautiful view”.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy being in Bellevue for many reasons. However, as with every city, there are also downsides to living in Bellevue. T-Square Properties has made this list to help you decide if living in Bellevue, WA is right for you. 

Pros of Living in Bellevue, WA

1. Weather 

Bellevue is blessed with a moderate climate. This translates to having little snow in the winter, and extreme weather is practically non-existent. On the other hand, there are plenty of rainy days in the summer. July and August are the warmest months in Bellevue while December and January are the coldest.

2. Employment and Economy

Young professionals are often drawn to Bellevue since it’s home to several big employers such as the Bellevue School District, Bellevue College and Overlake Hospital Medical Center. Popular businesses like Boeing, Microsoft and T-Mobile also have operations here. The technology industry is booming in this city, with plenty of companies starting offices here.

3. Transportation 

In Bellevue, the transportation system is also superior, with plenty of options to move around. There are light rail commuter lines, biking lanes and buses. In fact, ride-sharing is encouraged in this city. Another unique but efficient mode of transportation in Bellevue is a water taxi.

4. Housing Market

belleview wa

If you’re planning a move to Bellevue, there are many neighborhoods to choose from that offer different lifestyles. For those who prefer a country style of living, you can choose to live in the Bridle Trails neighborhood where woods and pastures are abundant.

If you’re more into a contemporary city life, you can opt to live in a mixed area setting where shops and offices are combined for accessibility and convenience. These neighborhoods include West Bellevue and Downtown. 

Furthermore, Bellevue neighborhoods are safe & diverse.

5. Business-Friendly

A highly-educated workforce combined with a superior quality of living makes downtown Bellevue, Washington ripe for startup businesses. It’s particularly friendly to the technology business sector, making this city a compelling location for entrepreneurs. 

It is also a great place to buy an investment rental property. Click here to read more about property management in Bellevue, Washington.

business in belleve wa

6. Part of 100 Best Places to Live

Earning the 10th spot on a list of 100 cities, Bellevue scored high in terms of livability. Thanks to its quality schools, diversity, walkability and plethora of outdoor recreational activities, Bellevue is consistently voted as one of the best cities to live. Culture-wise, Bellevue also has a wealth of art and music venues, festivals and museums available to nourish your cultural needs and interests.

7. Cuisine

When it comes to dining experiences, Bellevue ranks at the top. Whatever your cravings are, there’s bound to be something for you. If you are fond of going on gastronomic adventures and exploring global cuisines, Bellevue is the place to be, as there are plenty of choices to choose from. There’s also a range of options for every budget. You can try fancy dining places, food trucks, food stalls and local restaurants that cater to families.

If you prefer to cook on your own, Bellevue also has popular local farmers’ markets where you can have your pick of organic ingredients. The Bellevue Farmers’ Market aims to provide support to local family farms. You can stock up on delectable local honey, cheeses and meats. They also offer an array of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood.

8. People 

Another great thing about staying in Bellevue is its diversity and friendly population of about 147,599 people. Additionally, most Bellevue residents are well-educated and have earned a college degree or higher.

9. Cultural Entertainment

As mentioned earlier, residents in Bellevue can enjoy multiple parks in the area. In fact, there are over 30 parks to choose from, along with botanical gardens, beaches and golf courses.

things to do in bellevue wa

You’ll never run out of things to do, whether you’re in the mood to shop or eat or see a cultural performance. There are numerous exhibits and programs you can check out at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Parks in Bellevue:

  • Bellevue Downtown Park
  • Chandler Park
  • Clyde Beach Park
  • Evergreen Park
  • Ivanhoe Park
  • Lakemont Community Park and Highlands Park
  • Hidden Valley Sports Park
  • Newcastle Beach Park
  • Lewis Creek Park

Other Attractions:

Cons of Living in Bellevue, WA

1. Traffic

bellevue pros and cons

Traffic congestion can be frustrating to residents in car-centric Bellevue. Luckily, you can choose to bike or walk to your destination since Bellevue’s transportation options are plentiful. If you work in nearby Seattle, you’re in luck; the commute from Bellevue, Washington to Seattle is only a few miles.

The natural environment also makes the walking option more attractive. Residents can also take advantage of the excellent transit system in the city.

2. Overcrowded Schools

Since the population of Bellevue is quite large, the schools can be overcrowded and competitive. District officials, however, have provided solutions and implemented a maximum for general education classrooms.

Thus, overcrowding is being managed by officials who are always working to address this issue as the population grows year after year.

3. High Cost of Living

With plenty of major businesses and progressive development going on, the Bellevue, Washington cost of living is naturally quite high. As a more upscale city, rent prices and house prices can be more expensive in contrast to other cities.

However, Bellevue also offers plenty of free things to do so it does not cost a lot to entertain yourself around the city.

These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of Bellevue living. This list is not extensive and nothing can replace the experience of living and discovering the interesting things this city has to offer.

How to Convert Your Home Into a Rental Property

How to Convert Your Home Into a Rental Property

Would you like to convert your residence into a rental?

Homeowners turn their property into a rental for many reasons. Sometimes owners discover that they can’t sell their property at a satisfactory value. Renting it out makes more sense from a strictly financial point of view.

In other cases, people are moving from their current residence into another or they just want to boost their monthly cash flow. Whatever the train of thought, it’s entirely possible to change your life by putting a new rental property on the market.

Below are the top tips to make the most out of converting your home into a rental. Follow these practical suggestions to turn your plans into a passive income success story.

#1: Fix All Issues

Tenants want to move into a property that is fresh and functional. For most homeowners, this means conducting at least some repairs to get everything in working order.

You may not be aware of all the problems in your home. That’s why hiring a professional home inspector is a good step to take before converting your home into a rental. You can use the inspector’s report to create a prioritized list of the necessary repairs.

While these fixes will cost you money, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll avoid upkeep and emergency repair requests down the road. Plus, fixing things sooner is always less expensive than waiting for things to get worse.

#2: Sort Out Your Mortgage Situation

How long have you lived in your primary mortgage? This is an important question because all mortgages come with a legal agreement in which you state how long you intend to use the property as your primary residence.

This period is usually one or two years. Before it comes to an end, you can’t turn your property into a rental. The worst-case scenario of ignoring this requirement would be getting mortgage fraud charges.

Understand your current mortgage

Additionally, you need to consider the mortgage needs of your next primary residence. Make sure that you have an option for qualifying for two properties at the same time. You’ll need a specific mortgage product for that to happen.

#3: Switch Your Insurance Policy

Your standard homeowner’s insurance will be invalid once you convert your primary residence into a rental property. Fortunately, switching from one type of insurance to another won’t be an issue.

Keep in mind that there will be a price difference between the two insurances. It’s highly likely that your new policy costs more than the former one, but the exact price depends on multiple factors. On average, the landlord’s insurance is 15-25% higher than the homeowner’s plan.

Here are some of the factors that determine the price of your insurance plan:

  • How old is your rental property?
  • What is the location of your rental?
  • How many rental units are you managing in total?
  • Is it a short-term or long-term rental?

As another note, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your tenants’ personal belongings. They need to obtain renter’s insurance for this kind of protection. For instance, when a fire damages their items, it’s the renter’s insurance that will cover their financial losses.

#4: Understand the Taxation Laws

Converting your home into rental property means that there will be some changes to your tax situation. This is the moment to consult with a professional who knows the ins and outs of property taxation in your unique, personal circumstances.

be aware of changes to your taxation

Since the rental income is taxable, you should understand how this can change your tax rate. However, when it comes to taxes, you’ll reap some benefits too. These are the deductions that will become available to you:

  • Landlords insurance policy
  • HOA fees, if applicable
  • Mortgage interest
  • Expenses related to repairs
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities, in case you pay them yourself

#5: Obtain the Required Permits

Many localities have requirements for obtaining a permit if someone wants to convert a private residence into a rental property. The system for obtaining these permits has been put to place for ensuring the safety of tenants.

In most cases, someone from the local government will pay a visit to your home. The inspector will check whether the electrical system, heating and other components of the property match the required standards.

#6: Consider the Perks of Professional Property Management

Some homeowners-turned-landlords find that hiring a professional property manager made their lives much easier. This is an especially important question for people who will move far away from their homes after converting them into rentals.

An experienced property management company will take care of all the landlord challenges. They will collect rent, draft lease agreements, handle legal matters, take care of the paperwork and conduct regular maintenance.

Professional property management firms will walk you through any eviction needs as well. These are legal processes that pose a challenge for every new landlord.

Note that hiring professionals straight from the beginning cuts your risk of dealing with evictions at all. Reputable companies screen all the applicants to ensure your rental units are filled with only qualifying tenants.

The Bottom Line: Converting Your Home into a Rental

Converting your current home into a rental property carries the potential of generating considerable extra income. All of this recurring cash flow allows you to grow your wealth.

a rental property generate passive income

Before you make the big decision to list your rental property online, there are numerous points that you should think about first. These practical steps will help to make your rental business plan successful:

  • Make sure that converting your home is legal under your mortgage terms.
  • Consider the benefits of hiring a professional property management company.
  • Make all the necessary repairs and do any upkeep chores before listing your rental.
  • Check the permits that you need to obtain from your local government.
  • Chance your homeowner’s insurance policy into the landlord’s insurance.
5 Reasons to Get a Rental Inspection

5 Reasons to Get a Rental Inspection

Rental inspections are a smart idea for renters who are considering signing a lease for a home. Most renters don’t realize that they can get inspections on a rental property before deciding to become an occupant.

Just like typical home buyer’s inspections, rental inspections are designed to help provide clarity on the property and to rule out or discover any defects.

Here are five reasons why you should get a rental inspection.

1. An inspection determines the condition of the property

property inspection benefits

While most rental properties are owned by people who take good care of them, especially if it’s managed by a professional property management company, some other landlords do not take very good care of their properties.

In addition, there are owners who take good care of their property, but have renters who do not care and wreak havoc on the home.

Either way, an inspection can help you decide if the property is in good living and working condition or not. There can be hidden issues that you might not notice when doing a tour of the property but that a home inspector will be able to find.

After having lived at a property for a little while, people typically start to notice problems. Once they are already living there and paying rent, getting the landlord to fix problems can take a while unless they are urgent issues.

2. Damage detection

If there have been previous renters who did not take care of the property, the inspector will find the damage that has been done and take note of it.

While the owner may decide not to fix it, you will still have a record of the damage that was there before you move in. This is important for when your lease ends, because you have proof that it was there before and that you are not the cause of the damage.

This information can also be used as a negotiation tactic with the homeowner and can be a reason for a lower monthly rent, or a lower security deposit.

If the homeowner is not willing to budge on price, you can negotiate with them on a move-in date after the problems have already been fixed, and not before.

 

3. Safety purposes

home inspection safety

Home inspectors are professionals, and have been trained and are experienced in looking for any unsafe elements in a home. While there may be no visible damage, there can be underlying problems that are hidden from view.

These problems can include:

  • Foundation shifts, causing the house’s structure to become unstable and increasing the potential of collapse.
  • Trees that are old and too close to the home.
  • Flammable building materials used in the construction of the home.
  • Faulty electrical wiring that could cause a fire.

A home inspection will give you peace of mind that a house that looks fine really is.

 

4. Health

Home inspectors also look for health hazards when doing an inspection. Mold, termites, and radon are some of the most common findings in home inspections and can be very harmful to health if left untreated.

Mold can be undetectable if it is growing inside of walls, but is still very dangerous to breathe in constantly. If there is mold in a home, the homeowners might not even know about it. Mold can begin growing on the outside of homes and then creep itsway inside through the cracks and drywall.

Radon is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas that can be lethal when concentrated in a home. Radon is one of the most dangerous things that home inspectors can discover in a home.

However, radon can only be detected by specialized equipment and certified radon inspectors, so you might never know that it is there, until it is too late.

5. Peace of Mind

why should you get a property inspection

In the best case, the rental inspection will come back without any defects, and the home will be good to go!

Not only will this give you peace of mind, but you will be able to have a record of everything that the home inspector may have found to show the homeowner.

This will make getting any repairs done quicker and easier, because your requests are backed by a professional and recorded in an inspection report. There are many reasons to get an inspection report, but the biggest reason is that it is a tool for buyers to use to help them make a decision.

Oftentimes, renters find a property that has everything that they want, but they still have trouble deciding for fear of being stuck in a lease with a problematic home. An inspection will allow renters to find out everything they need to know before making a decision.

Although many renters don’t realize that they can get a rental inspection, it is becoming more popular as people learn that there are tools like home inspections that help them be safe with their money.

Despite COVID-19, Americans are Still Managing to Pay Rent

Despite COVID-19, Americans are Still Managing to Pay Rent

With the current Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation and causing unemployment to rise, many property owners are worried that their tenants will not be able to pay the cost of rent in the coming months.

However, a recent survey by NARPM found that most American renters have paid their rent on time in the past few months, despite the pandemic. This may be in part thanks to the stimulus payments being given by the government.

T-Square’s own Kellie Tollifson had the pleasure of speaking on a press release by Think Realty on this subject. You can read their article here.

10 Best Bellevue Neighborhoods for Families

10 Best Bellevue Neighborhoods for Families

So you finally made the decision to move to Bellevue, Washington! Congratulations on your first step to becoming citizens of the city that USA Today voted the second-best place to live in America! 

Bellevue living is great because it’s one of the few places that merges the homeliness of a small town with the affluence of a tech center. Its lush green spaces and quaint neighborhoods will make you forget that you are in a big city.

You may be asking: what county is Bellevue in? The answer is King County, Washington. Bellevue is French for “beautiful view” and it lives up to that name.

Wedged between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, this city offers citizens and visitors the best of three worlds: the buzz of a high-tech city, the tranquillity of country trails and the comfort of beaches within walking distance.

It’s one of the best cities in Washington state for families, and offers many fun things to do.

Trying to decide where to live in Bellevue WA? Nearly all of the city’s neighborhoods would meet and exceed anyone’s expectations, as they are the best places to live in King County WA. There are 24 neighborhoods in Bellevue, and to help you settle on one, we here at T-square Properties have compiled this list.

Here are our picks for the best neighborhoods in Bellevue, based on factors that are most important to families.

#1. Somerset

Somerset sits 1000 feet atop Somerset hill. This elevation gives residents a great view of Seattle, Olympic mountain and Lake Washington. Its proximity to routes I-90 & I-405 means easy access to work, shopping & entertainment centers.

bellevue WA county

It has Coal Creek Natural Area and Cougar Mountain trail system nearby. There are four elementary, four middle, and two high schools in Somerset, among them distinguished public schools.

The median income in Somerset is $132,161, while median Rent is $2,519.

#2. Enatai

Enatai offers the most of both city and country living. Close to Lake Washington, it has easy access to Interstates 190 and 1405, and is minutes from Bellevue Downtown and less than 15 minutes from downtown Seattle.

Most homes are single-family units, with some recently-built multi-family homes and condos. It is a close-knit community with influential neighborhood associations.

The median household income is $83,235 and the median rent is $1,482. Since 2002, the district has undertaken and completed the rebuilding of its 18 schools.

#3. Bridle Trails

If you love horses, Bridle Trails is where you want to be. The area is heavily wooded, with 28 miles of trails running through the Bridle Trails State Park. Though predominated by single-family lots, on 148th Avenue NE, a short distance from Microsoft’s campus, there is a strip of apartments and condos.

Bridle Trails is a ten-minute drive from Overlake, a booming tech center, and has many outlying communities. Schools include Cherry Crest Elementary School, Odle Middle School and Sammamish High School.

The median household income is $109,486, and the median rent is $1,886.

#4. Meydenbauer

washington state best places to live

The neighborhood is named after Meydenbauer Bay, an inlet of Lake Washington. It lies close to Downtown Bellevue, which means quick access to amenities and entertainment. Meydenbauer has several public beaches, a city marina, the Meydenbauer Yacht Club and a ferry service to Seattle.

Most homes are condos or single-family units, and strong neighborhood associations help preserve the area’s character. Median household income and median home value is $125,502 and $798,100, respectively.

The median rent is $1,818 and there are three elementary, two middle, and one high school in the area.

#5. Lakemont

Lakemont sits between Bellevue City and neighboring Issaquah City, though most of it lies in the former. It lies on the North face of Cougar Mountain and is a mix of single-family and multi-family homes, with planned/luxury communities on the slopes of the mountain.

Lakemont is ten minutes from Factoria Mall and Newcastle Shopping area, and minutes from Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. It has five elementary, five middle and three high schools. Residents also have access to the Issaquah School District.

Median household income is $163,075, and median rent is $1,070.

#6. Tam O’shanter

This is a golf course community on the edge of Lake Sammamish in Northeast Bellevue. Homes here are a mix of new luxury developments, small/large mid-century homes, single/multi-family units and condos. There is a zip line where residents can play or exercise, and regular events are held by the homeowners’ association.

It is 15-45 minutes to the Eastside or Seattle, and a short distance from Bretton Wood. Both Tam O’shanter and Bretton Wood share Bennett Elementary, one of the best schools in the state of Washington.

Median household income is $120,536 and median home value is $599,600, while the median rent is $2,229.

#7. Newport Hills

Newport comprises four distinct communities, some of which face the waterfront, while others lie adjacent to route I-405. Because it serves as a migratory corridor for wildlife, it has naturally scenic views, along with the natural wilderness of the Coal Creek Natural Area.

best places to live in seattle area

Residents can choose between the Bellevue School District and the Renton School District, with four elementary, two middle, and three high schools in the neighborhood itself. Homes here are a mix of single/multi-family homes and condos.

Median household income is $115,846, median home value is $534,733 and median rent stands at $1,835.

#8. Eastgate & Factoria

These are located along I-90 and its intersection with I-405. The area has a mix of office and retail spaces, with multi-family communities joining single-family neighborhoods. Factoria Marketplace has a variety of retail services, entertainment places and restaurants.

There is easy access to all of Bellevue via the Eastgate Park & Ride transportation hub. Some of Bellevue’s best schools are found here, such as Puesta Del Sol Elementary School (which offers immersion in Spanish) and the award-winning Newport High School.

Also, there are many continuing education centers and degree-awarding institutions in the area, plus Bellevue City’s Zip Line.

family activities bellevue

#9. Woodbridge

Woodridge is another community with great view of Lake Washington, Downtown Bellevue and Seattle. The homes are carefully designed to avoid the uniformity of tract housing and maximize the hillside view.

Woodridge has its own community swimming pool. Woodbridge has easy access to Downtown Bellevue, and Factoria Marketplace, as well as, routes I-405 and I-90.

#10. West Lake Sammamish

The neighborhood of West Lake Sammamish faces Lake Sammamish and Phantom Lake. In addition to its waterfront houses, there are homes with panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains. Despite all the shoreline activities, biking and walking trails, West Lake Sammamish retains much of its small-town appeal.

That’s the end of our list, although it’s by no means exhaustive. There are many other nice Bellevue neighborhoods that we have not mentioned, but these are simply our picks for the best family neighborhoods.

You should not worry too much about choosing a neighborhood for your family. When it comes to living in Bellevue WA, you can hardly make a wrong choice. You just have to go ahead and make the move!

If you’re looking to buy an investment property in Bellevue, consider taking a look at our Bellevue Property Management services.