The ins and outs of being a landlord


Owning your own property is a great accomplishment. Becoming a landlord can be a business opportunity and a great way to further your financial stability.

However there’s more to the job than just picking up a big rent check from your tenants at the end of the month.

Making sure that you understand how to be a successful and fair landlord is important, so here are some tips to follow.

Learn local laws

Having your property ready to go is one major step that you’ve likely completed already. However, you need to do more than simply usher in tenants to occupy the space. Learn the local laws about owning property; someone who can assist you is a expert in property law. Property law covers both commercial and personal property, and your legal advisor can help you understand documentations such as leases or building and zoning laws.

As a landlord, you need to abide by fair and just laws, giving your tenants a home where everything is not only in working order but properly maintained. Your lawyer can also help make sure your property abides by fair housing laws, and they can protect you from legal troubles. You want to be fair and non-discriminatory when selecting tenants, and doing so can require background checks, credit histories, security deposits, and references from former landlords.

If the property is owned by you, you can choose not to obtain these, but it’s typically a good legal step to take. Screening your tenants can help eliminate any issues in the future, such as tenants who habitually can’t make rent or unauthorized subletters. In those cases, a subtenant pays part of the rent to the tenant, who includes this in the monthly payment, but the subtenant’s name is not located on the lease. However, in some states, subletting is not allowed. You can specify whether or not you allow it on the lease agreements.

Hire a super

If you own a larger property, you may want to consider hiring a superintendent. When something goes wrong and needs tending to, this professional is on call 24 hours a day.  Responsibilities of a super usually include holding onto the keys in case a tenant locks themselves out, and they act like a first responder to issues on the property. A super also typically gives tours of the space you are renting.

You can look for a super who can be more integral than just your overseer: you can find one who also does repairs. The super can make sure issues such as maintenance during inclement weather get done (like snow removal) and keep the property well-landscaped.

Improve your lease

Another important issue you should tackle is a clearly written lease. You can have a paper copy to give out or utilise a free rental application program online. A lease doesn’t just protect the landlord, but the tenant as well. You can draw up a document for a month-to-month lease or a specific time frame such as a year. The terms of the lease are binding and include the rules of the complex and how much you owe for the allotted time period.

When creating the lease, you can discuss the legality issues with your lawyer to protect all parties. Keeping records can help if there is ever a dispute, or at least a guide to refer to if there are questions about what people can and cannot do in the property. This is also a good place to explain how much the security deposit is and what is required to get it back when the tenant moves on.

Being a landlord can be rewarding and, at times, stressful. You can be fair but still stern on what you desire from your tenants. It can be easier for everyone if a good and respectful relationship is created, with tenants who respect your space and trust that you’ll take care of problems that arise (within reason). Making sure everyone is happy and everything is running smoothly can help you gain and retain more tenants for many years to come.