What to Know Before Becoming a Landlord
You think owning a house is easy? Try becoming a landlord! There’s more responsibilities and headaches when you decide to rent your home out and hand those keys over to a tenant. You’ll be able to avoid simple mistakes that first-time landlords make with the help of these tips.
Before becoming a landlord and deciding to rent your home out in D.C. here are some tips:
It’s important that you know about the landlord-tenant law, a lot of states have different rules that can cover things like security deposits and how much time you need to give your tenants when you need to the move out. There are laws like the habitability and anti-discrimination laws that you should also know about, just because you’re not sexist or racist doesn’t mean problems can’t arise.
Living near your tenants
This isn’t always the case, but ideally its best to live close to your property therefore you’ll be able to check on it every now and then to be able to check on maintenance and what needs to be repaired. Also, it can be cheaper at times because sometimes you can do the repairs yourself without needing to call anybody.
Background check on potential tenants
Before you let anyone rent, you need to do a background and credit check. Now, for some people and places they like to see proof of income and ask for at least two recent paystubs as well as their renters history if they’ve previously rented before. If you can, its best doing all of these but the most important is credit and background check. There are online services where you can do these screenings at which is at your convenience.
Along with tenant-screening what you should know before becoming a landlord is to also interact with your potential tenants! Talk to them over the phone, text them, and also meet them in person and possibly have a brief interview with them. By doing this interview you’ll be able to let them know your expectations and rules and also know what they expect and what they’re looking for as renters.
Don’t be too friendly!
What I mean by this is don’t be too friendly to where your tenants get too “comfortable,” to where they don’t pay rent on time. This is a no, no! It’s okay to let them try to help them out as far as giving them a week or so if they’re late on their payment the first time, and if this is the case there should be a late fee added onto the rent due. But if this is a reoccurring issue, be sure to warn them and let them know that it isn’t acceptable and there will be fees added if its late.
Inspect the property
This kind of goes hand in hand when I said try to live fairly close to your tenants or property thats being rented. If not, maybe have a family member or someone you trust to check up on the property regularly. When giving your tenants documents to sign, be sure to include “regular inspections every three months” written so that tenants know or are aware that you’ll be checking up on the home. Now, I didn’t say pop up on them, be sure to give them heads up that you’ll be stopping by.