Know your rights & your tenant's!
Welcome to the Landlord Advisory page, where you will find very valuable information about being a landlord & leasing your rental properties. The information presented here is not legal advice, but real-world advice that will prepare you to succeed and getting the most from your property investment.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
If you understand what to do, rental property can build wealth!
Many new Landlords, abandoned their illusion of owning rental property, after experiencing setbacks with tenants or their property. The main reason? A lack of knowledge and not following some basic principals, when purchasing and leasing property.
Rental properties can be very lucrative, and those that own rental property, appreciate that it has it's challenges. Landlords have to stay on top of the law, manage tenants, collect rents, screen new tenants and write new lease contracts and are also responsible for maintenance and repairs of their properties. This can be a tall order, but if done correctly, it can secure your financial future, especially when reaching retirement age.
Finding good income producing properties requires knowledge!
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in becoming a new landlord, is finding profitable properties. Not all properties make a good investment! Some can become money pits, if you fail to do your homework. A good investment property should provide a decent return, after all expenses have been calculated on an annual basis. Failing to properly account for all expenses can lead to a loss or a poor return on the investment. To learn in detail about the best practices when considering real estate as an investment, I recommend you read Thomas J. Lucier's book, The No-Nonsence Real Estate Investor's Kit. It has real-world advice about profiting from real estate investments. You can also call us for guidance on locating, analyzing and purchasing income producing properties. We can teach you how to properly analyze investment properties, so you can maximize the return on your rental property and how to avoid leasing mistakes.
Good tenants vs bad tenants. Knowing the law matters!
As landlord, you need to follow and abide by Federal laws, pertaining to housing. Failing to know the rights of tenants can results in hefty fines. The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) introduced meaningful Federal enforcement mechanisms. It outlaws: Refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin. Therefore, you should have a screening process in place that is consistent with Federal laws and affords you protection against housing complaints or lawsuits, by potential or current tenants.
We recommend that you screen all prospective tenants, to avoid leasing to potentially problematic tenants, who may have a shoddy history of paying their rent. Make sure to avoid making comments or asking questions verbally or in the application, which can be construed as discriminatory.
What can you ask potential tenants in a rental application?
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Your application form can asks potential tenant(s) & co-applicant the following:
The legal name of the prospective tenant and any co-applicant.
Their current address, monthly rent payment and years living at location.
Their present landlord's name and contact information.
Personal references, from at least two persons.
Employment information- Name of current employer, the address, name of supervisor and telephone number, position, time at company & annual income. If there is a co-applicant, ask for their employment information too.
Ask for the name, address and phone number of an "Emergency Contact" person.
Make sure to include language in the rental application, which authorizes you to verify their employment status and permits you to contact their current landlord and personal references.
Additional information you can request from a prospective tenant(s).
Apart from the rental application you can ask the prospective tenant, any co-applicant or anyone who will reside in your property who is 18 years or older to provide you with a copy of their driver's license or government issued identification card. This will be helpful to confirm or cross reference the address entered in the rental application.
Make sure the applicant(s) or anyone who is 18 years or older provides you with a criminal background check, which they can obtain for a nominal fee from any police station.
Check the prospective tenant's or co-applicant's employment, credit, criminal and for any history of evictions, for free.
To avoid asking prospective tenants for their social security number and taking on the responsibility to safe-guard their personal information, you can use a third party service to check the creditworthiness of your applicants, their employment status, criminal history or for any past evictions. I really like TransUnion's "no-cost" tenant screening website for this purpose. https://www.mysmartmove.com You can create an account with TransUnion, which is absolutely free, then email the prospective tenant / applicant(s) an email invitation, to the online applicant screening form. You can choose to pay for the screening or have the applicant pay the screening fee.
If you want to avoid having to show and screen applicants, hire us!
Often landlords don't have the time to show their rental properties to multiple prospective tenants and undergo the screening process with many applicants. We can take care of all the details, so you don't have to. Our fee is considered a business expense, which you can use to off-set your tax liability on the property, come tax time.
Working with contractors to make repairs or building alterations.
Another thing to consider when you are a landlord, is the cost of major repairs or alterations to the existing structure. When hiring a contractor, it's crucially important to understand the terms written in the contract, so you can protect yourself against losses. Most people believe that the contract provided by the contractor cannot be altered. This is not so! Most of the time, these contracts favor the contractor and not the owner of the property. You need to make sure that certain provisions are included, so your project is completed correctly and on time. Call us if you have any questions regarding what your contract should include. We will be happy to help.
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