Top 10 Landlord Rental Property Tips
1. The first step is to screen all tenants thoroughly. You must check their references, credit history and their backgrounds before renting or leasing them any properties. It is the usual experience of landlords that those tenants who don’t pay their rent regularly will trash your place.
2. Proper handling of security deposits is very important and many landlords neglect this aspect. Your system of fixing, collecting, holding and refunding security deposits must be fair and streamlined. As the security deposit is also meant to guard against any damages, the condition of the property before the tenant occupies it should be inspected and well documented so that there are no disputes about the security deposit at the time of refunding it.
3. Having all the important terms of tenancy or lease properly written down and agreed upon is extremely important if you want to avoid future disputes. The rental or lease agreement must include all eventualities including handling of complaints, repairs and the terms of your entry into the property during its occupancy, apart from the standard terms. You don’t wish to be accused of trespassing, do you?
4. You must attend to repair needs promptly to maintain a good reputation in the market. Neglect of repair and maintenance of the property can prompt the tenants to withhold rent or carry out the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the rent. They can also leave the property without notice and they will be legally entitled to do all these things.
5. You must respect your tenant’s right to privacy and give prior notice before entering the premises. The law requires at least 24 hours advance notice. Even if you are the legal owner of the property you can be accused of trespassing if you enter the premises while it is occupied.
6. The premises should be adequately secure. Tenants should feel secure and secure premises will improve the demand for your property. Things like proper lighting and a well trimmed landscape will greatly improve the security of the place without costing much.
7. There have been many instances of landlords being legally held responsible for environmental health hazards in the premises which the tenants were not aware of at the time of occupying the rental property. Presence of such things as mold, lead, etc. must be intimated to the tenant at the time of leasing the property out.
8. You must be adequately covered by insurance against any eventualities by purchasing adequate property and liability insurance. You can face losses due to fire, flood, vandalism or burglary. You may also face liability for injury, discrimination etc. and being covered against any lawsuits by adequate insurance is thus very important. Consult with your insurance agent for standard cover designed for landlords.
9. If you are in the rental business and have many rental units then choose your property manager wisely. You will be held responsible for you manager’s actions. You cannot ward off criminal or financial liabilities by using your manager as an excuse. Therefore make sure that manager’s duties and responsibilities are clearly spelled out. A thorough check of the manager’s references and background before hiring is a must.
10. Disputes about repair, rent and other matters can arise in some cases. Try to resolve all disputes amicably by discussing the disputed matter directly with the tenant. If differences still remain then you can try third party mediation. Third party mediation programs that are publicly funded are also available free of cost. If disputes still remain unresolved then consult a good lawyer about the best course of action to take.