One key to being a successful landlord is taking the time to pick the best tenants and keeping the rental property maintained. If you do not have the time to keep up a property on your own, or if you own several rental properties, you can quickly become overwhelmed.
The ten tips provided below are the most common ways to ensure your success as a landlord.
1. Always check references. Recurrent problem renters are usually quite accomplished at giving a good impression and can fool even the most jaded landlords. Always ask for references and take the time to follow up on them.
2. Get it in writing. In order to protect your interests and the interests of your tenants, get everything in writing. This means everything from a rental application to a code of conduct. If a tenant needs to have something fixed in their dwelling, ask them to provide the request in writing in addition to telling you on the phone or in person. This will help you with you income tax deductions and create a history for each tenant.
3. Provide a clean and secure residence. Keep the grounds of the property clean and free of debris. This will help you with property liability and keep your rental property looking its best. Depending on the location of the rental property, you may want to provide extra security measures. This can help keep your tenants safe and secure, and may even lower your insurance premiums.
4. Pick your managers carefully. If you do not have the time to personally manage your rental properties, you will need to hire a manager. But your success as a landlord will hinge on your choice. Make sure to hire the absolute best person for the job.
5. Get insured. Make sure that you have the maximum amount of rental insurance, property liability insurance, and any other type of insurance that may be required in your state. This can help protect you from devastating losses.
6. Make repairs promptly. Your tenants deserve to have decent living conditions. In the case of furnaces and other necessary appliances and fixtures, repairs simply cannot be put off. Try to imagine yourself in your renter’s position. Could you live without running water for three days?
7. Respect the privacy of your tenants. Adhere to your state’s guidelines for entry into a rented dwelling. Most states require at least a 24 hour notice before a tenant is required to allow their landlord to enter their rented dwelling.
8. Do not discriminate. Follow the Fair Housing Administration Act when you screen prospective tenants. A discrimination lawsuit is extremely costly and completely avoidable. Give everyone an equal chance to rent your property, regardless of their race, religion, or beliefs.
9. Have a well-drafted lease. It is imperative that the form of lease you use with tenants be well-drafted and pro-landlord-oriented. For a well-drafted form, check out the sample Residential Rental Agreement at the Forms & Agreements Center.
10. Always be fair. In addition to avoiding discrimination, strive to treat all of your tenants fairly. Try to understand their position and keep in mind how they may perceive your actions. While you may not be able to get along with everyone, having a good rapport with your tenants will reduce vacancy problems.