? If youre a new landlord or youre thinking of renting out a property, youll likely welcome some tips to help you get started on your new venture.
Equal Access to Housing
The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) implements and enforces federal laws as well as establishes policies that give every American an equal right to fair housing. As a landlord, you cannot deny an application due to the applicants nationality, color, race, sex, religion or family status. Doing so could constitute discrimination and a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Moreover, you cannot impose your personal views on prospective tenants. For instance, you cannot state your opinion regarding a couples sexual orientation. When renting to individuals with disabilities, if you cannot make the necessary accommodations due to financial reasons, you must allow the tenant to make certain needed modifications, like installing a wheel chair ramp, at his own expense.
Managing the Property
You can manage the property yourself or hire a management company. Landlords who choose to hire a managing service dont have to worry about screening applicants, background checks or maintenance issues. Property management companies already have their systems in place and a network of maintenance personnel who often work at discounted rates due to the volume of business involved. If you hire a managing company, expect to pay up to 10 percent of the monthly rent.
Get a Maintenance Crew
?If you choose to manage your rental business yourself, its a good idea to create a contact list of maintenance professionals who you can contact when issues arise. For example, find at least three plumbers and three air conditioner technicians. If a problem arises and the first contact cannot respond right away, you have other contacts. Its important to take care of maintenance issues as soon as possible.
?Record all expenses associated with your rental properties for tax purposes. For instance, save all your receipts dealing with repairs or lawn maintenance. You can deduct money spent on the mortgage between tenants, but you have to make a concerted effort to rent the property. If you place ads online or in newspapers, its a good idea to save a copy of the ad to prove that you attempted to find a renter.
?Factors to Consider
Charge competitive rates. Inquire about other rental properties comparable to yours in your neighborhood. Dont forget to factor in emergency repairs and expenses associated with getting the property ready for new tenants. Another factor to consider are potential legal fees should a tenant break his lease agreement.
Overall, its important to become familiar with Landlord- Tenant Law to avoid possible legal problems. Hire a managing service if you prefer not to deal with problems associated with running a rental business.