Being a first-time landlord can be an intimidating experience. This is mainly due to how many factors and considerations you must make when entering the property management and/or the property ownership field, some of which include rent collection and consistent maintenance of the property. You can spare yourself from a variety of unpleasant surprises by educating yourself about this occupation. These tips can help you make your transition to this field into a smooth one.
Prioritize Rent Collection
Perhaps the most important thing you should know as a new landlord is to prioritize timely, completely rent payments above all else. Rent is your main source of revenue, and just like any employee in any profession, you should be fairly compensated for your work. Rent collection is also necessary to afford the maintenance of the building and other services. Be willing to work with a tenant who communicates, but otherwise, you should be strict when it comes to collecting rent. Several factors depend on it.
Know Fair Housing Laws
Another important bit of advice for newcomer tenants is to maintain accurate knowledge of Fair Housing Laws, which protect specific tenants from discriminatory guidelines. Certain laws vary by state, but there are also some federal protection laws that apply across the nation. Violating these laws, even by accident, can place you in legal trouble and cost you money and reputation. Even an action in a lease is not protected if a judge finds that the action violated these laws. Take the time to study Fair Housing Laws, both federal and state-specific, and consult with a lawyer knowledgeable in landlord-tenant law to ensure that you stay compliant to anti-discriminatory laws.
Screen All Future Tenants
The eviction and replacement of a tenant is a process that consumes too much time and money. You can mitigate this inconvenience by setting up a strict and detailed screening process for all prospective tenants. Even if this function is handled by your property manager instead, you should still make sure that the potential tenants meet all these requirements. Some of the important factors in a questionnaire or screen process include credit records, employment history, criminal background, financial information, and references from other landlords. Make sure you set up and hold consistent standards to avoid unintentionally discriminating against a candidate.
Keep Records for Everything
A good rule of thumb as you start operating as a landlord is to keep records of nearly everything you do in this position, such as rental applications, maintenance requests, contracts with tenants or vendors, leases, documents relevant to taxes, and several others. Keeping these documents organized can assist you whenever that information is required in the future, such as tenant disputes or tax payments. Everything you do should have a paper trail, both for organizational reasons and to protect yourself legally. Make this process easier by going paperless. Property management programs can help you digitize these documents for easier storage and access.
An efficient, high-tech property management system can make this job easier than before. Contact Home365 today to learn more about how you can make the renting process less painful and more rewarding.