Being a landlord often involves learning by doing, and sometimes by failing and learning from what didn’t work. But the beautiful thing about the internet is that you can search for tips from those who have already made those mistakes and learned what works.
That’s what today’s article is about: pro tips for rental property owners of every experience level but especially those who are more new to the game. So let’s dive in.
Online scams are a very real thing, so protect any pictures and information you share in listings. Watermark your images by putting your phone number on them to prevent others from stealing them and making a fake listing to scam potential renters (which you will then have to deal with if they show up on your property thinking it’s their new home).
And avoid posting your exact address. Instead, give an idea of the area by listing the nearby intersection. Just mention in the ad you’re doing this to avoid scams, and tell callers know you’re happy to provide the exact address after screening them.
Your lease needs to be detailed and specific. Avoid basic, barebones leases that could work for anyone — those aren’t going to protect you enough. Consider how you feel about pets, parking, smoking, etc. on your property. How will you set the rules? Spell everything out, and make sure your attorney takes a look at any additions you make before you have the tenant sign.
And remember that depending on where you live, there may be specific landlord-tenant laws that you have to follow and include in your lease. If you’re unsure, refer to your property manager for the specifics.
Then, go through the lease with your new tenant. Go through and explain each section, answering any questions they might have. This protects you in case there are any problems or complaints that come up.
Put everything in writing to avoid confusion and always have record of what you said. Email might be okay as a legal form of communication, depending on your state, but mail definitely is. So if you want to be sure you’re communicating in a way that is official by law, send any notices or reminders by mail.