Being a landlord has never been easy – from bad tenants to legal battles, landlords deal with all sorts of potential problems. One of the easiest ways to avoid these issues is to develop a check list that helps you navigates through it all.
Here are a few items to include in the checklist:
– Check what your state and local area allows for you to charge a tenant. While most areas allow you to charge first month’s rent and a security deposit, what you can charge varies by state legally. This may include last month’s rent, a pet fee, or what’s known as an application fee. It’s important to stay up to date, so you do not get into legal trouble.
– Carefully screen your possible tenants. I cannot emphasize enough about it, as this can make or break an entire tenant-landlord relationship. You will want to avoid people who are known for not paying their rent, or for being kicked out of previous rental agreements. You might also want to find out whether the tenant has a job with regular income enough to cover the rent.
– Do a walk-through of the area that will be rented out. Make note of any maintenance concerns, or other troubles that the tenant may have.
– Make sure you can outline your specifications and agree on them with the tenant. While most landlords go with a very standard lease for their state and area, you may have further stipulations that need to be agreed upon.
– Always check the lease yourself before allowing a tenant to sign it. Always update the lease regularly, as there may be new agreements or laws in place that you need to keep in mind. Consult an attorney if necessary.
– You will want to make sure tenants know phone numbers to call for any needed maintenance, including plumbing and electrical repair. This will stop tenants from having to contact you in case of an emergency.
– If you are personally taking on the responsibility for much of the maintenance, you need to follow through in a reasonable amount of time. Do not underestimate the amount of work. Seek help from professionals, as your time might worth more than the money you would have saved by DIY.
– If your tenant has decided to move out, make sure to get an address where they can be contacted in the future. This will solve two problems – you will have a place to forward their mail to if you receive any, and you will be able to forward the security deposit to them in a timely manner.
– Return the security deposit in a timely manner. State laws vary regarding last month’s rent and security deposit. If you charge for a security deposit and last month’s rent, consider keeping them in an escrow account. Usually you will have 30 days to return a security deposit.
How Tenantify can help?
Tenantify empowers landlords to make informed decisions by verifying tenant’s employment and income. Tenantify is different from a traditional tenant screening service, as we focus on tenant’s current financial situation and assess tenant’s ability to make monthly rent payment. It should not replace the traditional credit check, but we believe that employment / income verification is superior because it reveals tenant’s current (rather than past) ability to pay.