When you buy a property with the intent to lease it out to a tenant, you do not do this assuming you'll lose money. Owning and renting property is a business (though some landlords mistakenly treat it as a hobby), and people go into business to make money. Some situations that may cause you to lose income may be out of your control, but there are many that aren't. There's no reason to lose money where you could have prevented it.
Quality tenants are one of the best ways to hedge against unforeseen costs. These are the tenants that have a good track record of paying their bills on time, a salary that will cover the rent and then some, and fantastic recommendations from prior landlords. In theory, these are the people that will work well with your property, keeping it clean and tidy. They should pay rent on time and in full as well as be a good neighbor to those that they live around. Conducting a thorough tenant screening is the best way to snag a quality tenant, but skipping this step may cost you more than you're willing to pay.
When you accept a tenant into the property you'll need to be well aware of the laws that govern your relationship. These may be federal or local (or both), but in the end you must abide by them or you'll find yourself paying fees and in potential legal trouble. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to Housing Laws.
Always make sure that you respond in a timely manner to maintenance requests. Not only will a sluggish reply time irk tenants, but it could allow a relatively small problem to grow into a larger (and more expensive) problem that neither of you would want to deal with. Make sure that your lines of communication are open and clear with your tenants so that you can always respond promptly to their needs.
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