Being a landlord isn’t quite as simple as letting someone stay in your spare room or above your garage. Renting out a property or even just a room comes with its own sets of rules and laws that you need to be familiar with.
Here are a few legal concerns you will want to consider:
How and where you need to store the bond again varies depending on the region you are in. Some states do not have any rules about where you must store the security deposit. Other states require you to put security deposits in a separate interest-bearing account.
Certain states will also require you to give the tenant a security deposit receipt within 30 days of move-in. This receipt must show the bank where their deposit is being held and the annual interest rate.
There are several other legal traps that landlords often fall into. Be sure to perform thorough research when finding out what is legal and what isn't.
Related: How Does the Eviction Process Work
Screening your tenants is a vital part of being a landlord. Ensuring you only rent to good tenants will help secure your property’s income as well as help protect it against unnecessary wear and tear.
Related: How to Screen tenants like a boss.
Your number one concern when you are screening prospective tenants is to determine whether they can and will pay rent on time and in full every month.
Here are a few things to consider when screening tenants:
If for any reason you are a little uncertain about the prospective tenant, you can always get someone to co-sign the lease to ensure payment.
Owning a property comes with a whole host of expenses. When something breaks - depending on the severity of the issue, you may need to get a repairman out to fix the problem. This will probably be expensive.
Normally, the things that break are pretty easy to fix but every now and again a big expense will crop up. The chimney needs repointing or a pipe has cracked in the dead of winter under the house and needs replacing. These things can’t be avoided, they are natural parts of a properties life-cycle. This doesn't mean that fixing them isn’t going to cost you a pretty penny.
Having a budget set aside to cover these unexpected costs will mean you don’t have to worry about scraping together enough money for the fix, and you can get it done quickly to a high quality.
Being a landlord isn’t a 9 - 5 kind of job. There are no set hours. Some days may be a breeze, whilst others are immensely stressful and busy.
Emergencies can happen at any hour, and you’ve got to be prepared to handle them.
Plus, scheduling can become pretty difficult. When it rains it pours, so they say, and this saying is as true for landlords as anything else. For example, you go to one of your routine inspections, you notice that the gutters need a clean, and then the tenant starts pointing out things that need fixing.
What should have been a quick once over, turns into weeks of expense, organizing and paying for repairs.
Being a landlord requires some excellent time management skills.
One thing you can do is to set 'office hours'. The tenant can contact you outside of those hours only in an emergency. This will help you manage your time and stop you from spending your evenings on the phone or worrying about your rental properties.
Property inspections are one of the main ways you can safeguard your investment against bad tenants.
It is important that you keep track of the condition of your property and make a note of any maintenance issues or tenant damage that has occurred since the initial inspection in the property condition report.
Sticking to the guidelines set out for rent inspections by the governing bodies is also integral to reduce the risk of costly disputes or penalties.
A landlord’s life can be stressful. It can require you to work at all hours and when things go wrong dealing with them can be costly and time-consuming. However, it can also bring with it the reward of personal freedom that comes with being your own boss.
On top of this, a lot of people get on well with their tenants and find themselves building personal relationships with them which can be rewarding in its own way.
We hope you found this blog interesting! However, do note that it should not be used as a substitute for competent legal and/or other advice from a licensed professional.