The home rental market at Mueller is strong right now – as with all of Austin, rents are increasing and vacancy rates are falling. Here are two simple snags to avoid when you’re thinking about leasing out your Mueller home.
1. Shooting yourself in the foot by using the wrong paperwork.
A friend of mine asked me if he needed a Realtor to lease out his garage apartment. These small Fonzie units are very popular, especially if they have a stackable washer dryer option. They are efficiency / studios with bed, bath, living and kitchen in under 600sqft, but they do have a separate entry and most landlords assign a reserved off-street parking spot to the unit. So my answer was that you could probably find a tenant without using an agent, just posting on the rentals topic of the community website, and maybe posting on craigslist if you were prepared to deal with the weirdos.
My friend then asked me for a blank copy of the lease that we’d used when I last found him a tenant. Now the challenge is that we used the Texas Association of Realtors Residential Lease. And if I’d have just forwarded him the link to the blank contract and signed a lease, he’d have been completely unprotected as his tenant(s) could have voided it at will at any time (see Section 33.G).
So it pays to either have broker representation or to use a form which is not copyrighted, or to which you have the rights.
2. Read the Mueller POA Rules, deed restrictions and covenants, and forward them to your tenants.
First – are you allowed to lease your home? Not if you’ve just bought a new home, or live in an affordable home.
Now how many of us actually read that CD full of documents that you get given when you buy a new house? It’s like reading the instruction book covering operating temperatures and humidity limits when you’ve got your new super-bad flatscreen 3D TV – it’s not top of the list. For most of us, reading the covenants and HOA documents takes a back seat to putting in a couch and a bed and cooking that first meal.
My point is that if you’ve bought a new home, you’re not supposed to rent it out for the first year. Of course, if there are extenuating circumstances or hardships then you can certainly appeal and be granted permission. The rules are to prevent speculators and investors from taking over the neighborhood. Presumably if you live here for a year, you get a taste for the koolaid and want to live here for as long as possible.
This doesn’t apply to homes with garage apartments (you can rent out the garage apartment from day 1 of ownership) but since the last of these sold over a year ago, it’s somewhat of a moot point.
Second, have you told your tenants about the rules they need to abide by? The key thing is this paragraph in the Mixed Use Rules and Regulations:
“Leases must be made subject to all of the Governing Documents, including these Rules, and an Owner is responsible for providing his or her tenant with copies of all of the Governing Documents and these Rules and notifying him or her of changes thereto.”
So you need to let your tenants know they’re in a HOA and they have to play by the rules too.
Let me know if you need any help securing a tenant for your home – I actually have a few people looking for properties to lease in Mueller in the coming months.
Sherlock Homes Austin helps people buy and sell homes at Mueller Austin too – 512 215 4785.