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Four Must-Haves for New Landlords

You’re ready to take on your new role as a landlord, and you’re motivated to be successful.

Equipped with the right tools and mindset, you can successfully manage your property, ensuring that your place remains well maintained and your tenants are pleased with their new abode.

These four must-haves will make your tenure as a landlord easier and more successful.

1. Detailed, Signed Lease

Get everything in writing before you hand over the keys.

A well-executed lease clearly outlines the rental agreement between you and your new tenants.

Should questions arise, both parties can defer to the lease to find clear answers.

Thus, a thorough and detailed lease is essential.

Draft an ironclad lease that includes the following information:

  • Names of all occupants
  • Start and end dates of the lease
  • Detailed fees, including monthly rent, security deposit, pet deposit, and cost of vacating early
  • Expectations for landlord and tenant regarding interior and exterior maintenance
  • Restrictions, from pets or long-term guests to cars parked on the street
  • Expectations when the tenant moves out, whether the tenants need to fill holes in the wall, clean carpets, or hire a cleaning service

2. Reliable Maintenance Services

Part of your responsibility as a landlord is to maintain the house. Your lease should outline those repair and maintenance activities, and you should be prepared for these inevitable problems to arise.

If you don’t plan on tackling the repairs and maintenance yourself, have a trustworthy team on call when a problem arises.

A general handyman can be helpful for sporadic and unexpected problems, such as a door that won’t latch when closed.

You’ll also want a trustworthy plumber in case a toilet runs or kitchen leak occurs.

Call your electrician when an appliance zaps out or lights unexpectedly blink.

Finally, if your lease states that you’re responsible for lawn maintenance, you will want to find a lawn care company to mow the grass and weed any planting areas.

By having a team of contractors on hand, you can quickly address any issues as soon as they occur.

Your tenants need working appliances and lights and functioning plumbing, and it’s your responsibility to promptly address any repairs.

3. Efficient and Open Communication

You can excel as a landlord if you are accessible. It is essential to maintain open lines of communication, and the communication starts with you.

Provide your tenants with a phone number and email address so that they have multiple ways to reach you.

Ask for the same contact information from them.

When you hand over the keys, ask your tenants how they prefer to be contacted – by phone or email – for any housing-related questions or concerns.

Respond to voicemails and emails promptly, ideally on the same day you receive messages.

Even if you cannot take care of a repair the day your tenant reports it, your efficient response to the problem shows that you’re willing and able to help.

4. Property Insurance

Even though you aren’t living in your rental, you still need to protect it.

Property insurance is available specifically for landlords and allows you to protect your investment in case of damage.

Landlord insurance is available on all property types, including duplexes, single-family homes, and row homes.

Landlord insurance coverage varies depending on your policy, but you can choose policies that cover everything from vandalism and natural disasters to personal injury and loss of rents.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014

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