If you’ve purchased a great rental property and insured it, you’re ready to begin renting the property. That can be a tricky thing sometimes and includes a lot of steps. Hiring a property management company, especially if it will have a lot of renters is a good idea. If you decide to manage the property yourself, however, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Thoroughly check all references and select your tenants wisely—Check everyone who applies and get rid of those you feel may damage the property. Look at credit reports to be sure a tenant can afford the amount of rent you are charging. Check to see if they’ve ever been evicted. If they have, they might not be someone you’ll want to take a risk on.
- Put Safety First—Even if the laws in your area don’t require it, you should have both carbon monoxide and fire detectors on each floor of your rental property. Prospective tenants will appreciate the gesture, and it may save both lives and your investment from disaster in the event of a fire.
- Make Personal Inspections—You should check the property randomly to make sure you approve of the way the property is being maintained. You should look at the inside as well to make sure no damaged has been caused and see if repairs are needed. If you’re going to inspect when the tenant isn’t there, make sure you give them adequate notice. Check the guidelines in the area the property is located, but the time is usually 24-48 hrs.
- Prepare a Maintenance Checklist—It can be difficult to keep up with things like the furnace, sprinkler system, septic tank, etc. You should know the last time each one was checked. Making a checklist can help you keep up with things like that. It can make sure they are working properly and can possibly prevent having to spend a lot more money later if a small detail is not checked properly.
- Tell the Tenants if you have Problems/Concerns—Talk to the tenants immediately if there is an issue with the property. If not, they may cause extensive damage. Tenants should be informed of the rules, regulations, and proper practices for basic things like toilets or overloading circuits. Making it available in the lease or a letter when they move in can help prevent unsafe practices. Also talk to them if a complaint of any kind has been reported.
- Prepare a Form for Tenants to Put Improvement/Repair Requests in Writing—Sometimes these requests for improvement may be something as simple as their desire to paint a room a different color or put new door handles on the cabinets. If you have no objection to that, you can approve it. It is a good idea to see that they know how to make that improvement. Sometimes they may think they know how to do things they don’t and cause you more harm than good. For repairs, make sure they are listed and that you are notified immediately.
- Leases—You can’t just write up anything and have your tenants sign it. You have to make sure the lease you write and the requirements of the lease are within state legal requirements. You can get an attorney to help with preparing the list. They can help you make sure everything is spelled out and legal before you have your tenant sign.
- Review the Regulations for Tenancy Terminating—When a tenant fails to pay rent or breaks another rental/lease agreement, you are faced with the dreaded task of terminating the lease and evicting the tenant. If it is necessary, you should notify them as quickly as possible. The eviction process can often lead to long, drawn out court disputes, and putting off the notification can only make the process even longer than it has to be.