Letting out your place as a landlord can be a rewarding way to earn income and get something back for your property investment. The key is to know what you’re doing so you can make a profit off of your place.
Know the law
Fair Housing Laws are the backbone of all tenant/landlord relationships. Violating these laws can result in serious issues for you down the line while keeping to them will make sure you are safe from liabilities and lawsuits.
Educating yourself about the law and what it requires will take a little time, but it is time well spent. You’ll find out what you can and cannot ask prospective tenants, how to make sure you are protected from any charge of discrimination, and how you can reject an application safely.
Be careful of pets
Pets are a two-way street. On the one hand, sometimes getting a pet makes people more responsible and easier to work with. Pets are good for our health, and many responsible pet owners can be fully trusted to watch out for your property interests, even as they live with their animals.
On the other hand, pets can wreak havoc in a property if tenants aren’t responsible. It can take years for the smell of cat pee to go away, even if you have the carpets changed. Make sure a background check doesn’t turn up previous issues with pets and rentals and don’t be afraid to charge an extra cleaning fee.
Automate your rent collection
These days, there’s no need to do rent collections in cash or by check. Checks can bounce, get lost in the mail, or be stolen. If you wait for cash, you’re more vulnerable to tenant claims that they can’t pay or requests to wait an extra day.
Online payment is fast and easy. It helps your tenants remember when rent is due, and it helps you keep better track of your income, tax issues, and which tenants are behind.
Never forget a background check
These days it’s possible to automate a lot of landlord issues. From a free rental application online to a background check, there are lots of resources to take some of the burdens off your shoulders.
With online applications, you can get the basic information you need from tenants so you can quickly weed through applications. With online background checks, you can find out about criminal histories, financial situations, and any past issues with previous landlords.
Find out how much to charge
Rental amounts are a tricky subject. If you charge too much, you’ll price yourself out of the market and have trouble finding a renter. Tenants are also constantly on the lookout for a better deal, so turnover will be high. On the other hand, if you charge too little, renters might assume there’s a problem with your property.
You can figure out fair rents in your area by going through local listings. Check out some of the properties and make sure your rent is falling into the median range for what’s available and comparable on the market.
Be prepared for evictions
Evictions are never pleasant. As with natural disasters, it’s always better to be prepared than to have to scramble to make a plan at the last minute. Hopefully, you’ll never have to evict a tenant, but if you do, you’ll be glad you were prepared.
Make sure you have a lawyer involved so you don’t violate any tenant rights. Know what you can and can’t do, and always be willing to negotiate if it will save you money. An eviction could easily cost a month’s rent, so if a renter isn’t too far behind, it could be worthwhile to give them a little time.
When you’re ready to rent out your property, make sure you know the law, think carefully about how much to charge, and prepare for anything that might happen. If you keep on top of things, you’ll be sure to make a profit on your investment.