Tips when Renting Out Your Property
Renting can be a little intimidating. There is a lot of information to remember, and you never want to choose the wrong tenant, or you may find your situation getting worse instead of better.
These 6 tips will help you make sure you pick out a prime tenant and don’t stay off-topic enough to break any housing laws.
Keep reading so that you can feel more confident when renting your property for the first time.
Make sure you understand all housing laws
Before moving forward with any tenant, make sure you fully understand the housing laws in your area. States, towns, and counties all have specific and different laws that make it complicated to rent out.
By making sure you read and understand the laws surrounding renting out a property, you can make sure you don’t violate any of them when renting out or making a lease agreement. This is important as it helps you make sure you are fully protected and will not face legal action from your tenant.
One of the biggest, and the first one you have to worry about, is the Fair Housing Law. This law makes sure that renters aren’t being discriminated against. There are many federal reasons a landlord could discriminate against a tenant, such as:
● Family Status
● National Origin
States may have additional protections such as:
● Veteran/ Military status
● Gender identity
● Source of income
● Criminal history
● Sexual orientation
However, other laws are also important, such as laws surrounding the eviction process and how to break a lease early.
Always screen tenants fully
Screening tenants is a lengthy but important process when renting out to people. Having a bad tenant can cause serious issues such as unpaid rent and problems with evictions, and you may find yourself losing money instead of making it as you hoped.
Though it can be costly to get a background check on potential tenants, it is worth the cost to have a bit more peace of mind.
There are four main steps you should take with any potential tenant before deciding to allow them to rent the property.
Ask pre-screening questions
As you screen more tenants, you will start to get an idea of questions that work well for you. However, with first-time renting, it can be a little confusing about what kind of questions to ask.
Some good ideas to get you started are:
● Why are you moving
● Will you agree to a background and credit check
● Are there any issues I should know about before I conduct those checks
● When are you able to move in
● What is your monthly income
● How many people live with you
● Do you have any pets
● Does anyone in your household smoke
● Have you ever been evicted
● Have you ever broken a lease agreement
These questions and more can allow you to get an idea of your potential renter and what to expect when they move in. These questions may seem invasive, but they are crucial to make sure you get tenants that you can trust to live on your property.
However, there are also questions you can’t ask. It is important to learn these to avoid asking questions that can get you into serious trouble.
Collect information about your tenants
Next, you will want to have your tenant fill out a rental application, or you will need to gather important information about your tenants by asking some of the questions above. Mostly, you want to make sure you have important contact information and enough information on each person living there to conduct background checks.
Written consent to background and credit checks is also a good idea, as it helps you protect yourself in case of any legal problems that occur.
Even if you only have one person officially on the lease, you want this information about every person over 18 that will be living in the house so that you can make sure there aren’t any shady family members.
Get a background check
Next, you will want to conduct a background check on everyone over the age of 18 that will be living in the house. Mostly, you want to check for credit history, criminal history, and eviction history.
Getting these three checks allows you to see if they have a history of late payments or have a lot of debt. You can also see if a tenant has been previously evicted or if there are any other issues with previous landlords. Finally, you can see if they have been convicted of a felony, whether or not it was related to their housing.
This can allow you to make an informed decision about your tenant and other people living in the house to see if they are responsible enough to handle renting your property.
Finally, you will want to conduct a reference check. Getting references from the tenant and taking time to call some of them up allows you to get an even better idea of how people see your tenant. People like their boss and past landlords can give you ideas of what to expect about their work ethic, if they are likely to keep a job for a while, and how they behaved at another rental.
Having a tenant that doesn’t regularly pay their rent or bills can be worrisome. After all, you still have to be able to pay off the mortgage, as well as any other issues that pop up on the property.
Many landlords also suggest talking to the tenant in person if you haven’t already at this point. They may be able to explain some red flags to make them a little more trustworthy. Life sometimes happens, and people have to make some tough choices. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a second chance.
The British Landlords Association is a national landlords association for residential & commercial landlords. Join us today membership for the year is only £69.95
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