Landlord Checklist for letting a property
Is this your first time renting out your property? If you have no idea, don’t worry: we’ve all been there at some point. Being a landlord is a challenging endeavour but is equally as rewarding if you know what to do.
Screening tenants, penning rental agreements, and collecting rent can be a pain to do, but you don’t have to worry too much.
If you’re looking to grow your real estate business, you need to start learning how to be a great landlord. Here’s a 6-step guide that should help you with setting up your rental. There’s a lot to learn if you’re going to take in tenants, so better get started now.
Learn Your Local Rental Standards and Laws
The first move that you need to do as a landlord is to learn all the tenancy and rental standards within your location. Depending on where you live, your city and even your state will have a variety of compliance standards that you need to follow.
Making sure that you know these can save you a lot of time and money on legal issues.
Legally, a rental property needs to meet certain safety standards, including providing a clean and safe living space. Make sure that your property is in good condition, free from any kind of harm and damage.
Keep the electrical, plumbing, roofing, and everything in working order for them to have a good quality of life.
Go to your local government office and check if they can give you a copy of the housing and rental laws in your area. You can also take landlord courses that will teach you details that you need to know to legally protect yourself in case of a dispute.
Prepare Your Documents
Now that you know the housing standards that you need to follow, you need to start preparing important must-haves as a landlord. Many of these are documents that protect you and your tenants from any harm or damages, including ones that come from your tenants.
There are many essential documents that you need to prepare, as well as profile material for your tenants. These include:
- Rental agreement
- Rental application
- Credit and background checks
- Legal documentation
- Business phone number and email
- Dedicated bank account for every tenant/property
Many of these, like the rental agreement, are best if they are vetted by a qualified attorney to make sure everything is airtight.
You would also need to prepare a few extras that may help simplify your search for tenants and the expenses that come with being a landlord. These include expense management software, property management software, and even your marketing plans for your rental business.
Get A Landlord’s Insurance
Before you decide to rent out one of your properties, it’s important to protect yourself from liabilities. Landlord insurance is a valuable policy that will cover everything that homeowners’ insurance will not. Most of these insurance policies will have different types of coverages, depending on your needs.
Most insurances have several core coverages that make your life as a landlord that much easier. These include coverage for property damage, liability protection, loss of rental income, and even temporary inhabitability for the property.
You can also add additional riders to make the entire insurance policy worth your while. Some policies allow you to add flood damage, missed rental payment protection, and even renovation after damage.
Landlord insurance does not cost a lot, so having this level of protection is among the absolute minimum you need to do.
Make Your Lease Agreement Legally Airtight
Now that you have your landlord insurance and learn the law, you need to start building the lease agreement. As we noted before, a lease agreement does not have to be written by a lawyer.
Then again, you want to be sure that your entire contract protects you and your investment, which means a trained legal expert can be useful in making the draft.
A lease agreement should, at the very least, include:
- Names of all parties involved, from tenant to landlord
- Terms of agreement
- Amount of rent, as well as the process of collection you will do
- Length of tenancy
- Landlord’s right of entry
- Terms for security deposit and other fees
- Maintenance agreement
- Illegal activities prohibition
- Prohibition of disruptive behaviour, as well as penalties and eviction notices
- Property damage accountability
- Limitations on tenancy, including approving/banning pet ownership
At the very least, have a legal expert go through your lease agreement and make sure it’s clear and detailed.
Many rental horror stories come from experiences where their lease agreement did not provide adequate legal protections to the landlord.
Collect The Rent and Security Deposit
A crucial but exciting step in this checklist is getting the agreed-upon first month’s rent, as well as the last month’s rent and security/damage deposit.
Collecting this money is a must and should give you a good idea of what the average landlord feels. With that said, you still need to be smart about it.
For starters, keep the security deposit in a separate account, especially if you’re charging for last month’s rent. Once you get the property inspected for damages, it’s important to sign off on the security deposit as well as any interests that the money incurred.
Prepare For The Move-In
Once you’re paid for the rental and have all documents cleared, you need to prepare for the move-in. Start by asking your tenants when they plan to move in, as well as what kind of support you can give them.
If you have previous tenants, change the locks of your property and give the new keys to your tenants once they reach your property.
Have a few documents ready, which vary depending on where you live. These include a copy of the lease agreement, your contact details and identification, government checklist, safety certificates, and even deposit protection schemes they’re using.
In some situations, some tenants may request extra details, like changing the colour of the rooms or ways to accommodate disabilities. Make sure the conditions are in the lease, as well as the fees associated if you’re charging for the re-paint.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re an avid property investor or someone who’s looking to become a full-time landlord, being a first-time landlord takes time and effort. A lot of the way is paved for you, so make sure you follow this checklist we made for you.
We’ve made the entire process much easier. There will be one or two details that you might need to fill in yourself, but this guide should cover many of the bases to get you ready to become a responsible landlord.
Author: Kat Sarmiento (Content Writer)
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