Being a landlord can be challenging, especially if you are starting out. There are a bunch of things that you ought to know, to save yourself from the legal hassles. Here are the ones that you need to know most.
1. Write & Make a Record
Putting everything in writing may not seem very important while you are at it, but it will prove to be very beneficial in case you encounter any dispute. The most important thing that you need to write down before anything else is the lease agreement that is made between you and the tenant. You can check out and download different lease agreements from Form Pros.
If there is some dispute between you and your tenant, you can use this agreement as a reference later on. If you don’t have such a document, you will find it difficult to prove anything legally. If you present the lease agreement to settle down the issues, your rights are more likely to be protected.
2. Make use of a security deposit
A security deposit is the amount of money that has to be given to you by the tenant before or as soon as they move in. This money can be used to repair the damage that the tenant causes, and also to pay for the additional cleaning processes.
Making your tenant undergo this process sends a humble message to them that you care about your property, and you do not want any damage done to it. It will also give them a gentle hint that they are supposed to use your property with the utmost care. Otherwise, they will lose the security money that they have provided you with.
For this process, you need to use a Renter’s Inspector Worksheet, have the tenant fill that out, and make sure he agrees to the terms and conditions before moving in.
You can download such forms from Formpros.com; this is a website that deals with legal issues and documents. You can also find legal help from there.
3. Look for the Financially Stable Tenants
Always remember one thing, the process of finding a potential tenant is a lot easier than evicting a tenant that refuses to pay rent or creates issues before doing that. Make an online rental listing, and tell your potential tenants about your property and its rent. Tell them everything in that listing, ranging from what your property looks like, to the documentation process. By doing so, you will be able to attractthe tenants that are most relevant to your property.
The next thing you ought to do is to check their financial stability and their ability to pay the rent. Of course, the law is not going to let you go through any damage if the tenant refuses to cooperate. But it is a lot easier to find a decent tenant and live peacefully with them instead of going through disputes and hassles.
4. Understand the Rights that you have as a Landlord
It isn’t just the tenants that have rights. You have to understand your rights as a landlord too. For one, you are allowed to go inside your property for a maintenance check after notifying your tenant. Also, you can evict the tenant if they are not complying with the laws. Make sure you keep in touch with the laws of your area. The tenant-landlord laws are different everywhere, so they cannot be generalized in this article.
5. Understand the Rights that your Tenants have
Just like you, your tenants have rights too that you are supposed to protect. Then again, these laws differ from place to place, so you will have to keep in touch with the laws of your area to know the rules.
6. Consider it a Business
Dealing with your rental property should be considered a business, and you have to stay professional with your tenants at all costs. You need to undergo a thorough legal process before letting your tenants move in, like the lease agreement ad the security deposit, and much more.
To maintain your business, you will have to abide by the rules and laws of the federal state. You have to make sure you follow all the rules if you want to avoid any legal issues. Purchase the landlord insurance if you want to protect yourself from any unfortunate occurrences, like theft, or pipe bursts. You will not have to bear the loss this way.
7. Keep the Maintenance in Check
One good way to avoid problems is to eradicate the circumstances they might flourish in. Before you begin looking for tenants, check if your property is a safe, decent place to live. Doing so is worth your time and money. Check for things like:
- Smoke detectors
- Vents, if they are build up free or not
- The piping for combustion
You also need to be wary of the maintenance once your tenant begins to live in your place. Make sure you are prepared and ready for unexpected situations by having professionals like contractors, locksmiths, and plumbers on call.
8. Set the Price according to Trend
You will have to do a little research if you want to know what will be the fair price of your property. Remember, you don’t want it to be too high, but you don’t want it to be too low either. If the price of your place is in accordance with its location and quality, then you are more likely to attract good tenants and quick.
Before setting the price, you need to keep your finances in mind. You have to consider your rental expenses, and then compare them to your rental income. Rental expenses mean property taxes, mortgage payment, HOA fees, insurance fees, etc. by doing so, you will be better able to see how your rent is going to contribute to your monthly budget.
9. Tenant Screening is Important
There is no point in making all those preparations if your tenant is going to act up nonetheless. You need to conduct tenant screening if you have to make sure that the tenant is going to protect your property like it is theirs.
For selection, filter out the tenants that you think are good, from all the applications that you receive. To make sure that they pay you properly each month, without delays, see to it that they don’t have any criminal record, and a decent rental background.
10. Ask for a Rental Application
The rental application will be responsible for providing you with valuable information about your tenant, for example, their name, the address of the place they are currently living in, why do they want to move to your place, their monthly income. Make sure you ask smart questions, so you only gather the most valuable information.
11. Ask for a Credit Check
This is the best way to check the financial responsibility of the tenant. If you find any bankruptcy filing, undue payments, eviction history, or notable debts, then consider them red flags. Avoid progression in these cases.
These are the legal tips that you need to keep in mind before you proceed to rent out your property. It is always a good idea to do a fair share of research so that you do not have to encounter any issues later on, in case of disputes.
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