If you’re a landlord, then you’ve got to know the ins and outs of managing rental properties. You need to be able to manage your tenants, maintain your property and keep up with all updates in the industry. It’s not an easy job by any means! The following guide will give landlords some tips on what they should and shouldn’t do as a landlord:
DON’T Use Threats And Intimidation Tactics To Force Payment
Threatening your tenants is never a good idea. It’s also illegal! You should know that in most areas of the United States, you aren’t even allowed to deny access to the property when the tenant has paid their rent on time either.
Rent control laws vary by location, but most states prohibit landlords from refusing access to their own property. However, if your tenants are usually late with their payments and you want them out of your property, this can be done in other ways. You should find an attorney who can assist with evictions and have them deal with the situation for you. Doing this on your own can be dangerous and it can lead to bad blood between you and the tenant.
DON’T Reject Tenants For The Wrong Reasons
Rejecting a potential tenant for the wrong reason can end up in a lawsuit against you. Even if you think that the person is not suited for your rental property, it’s fine to discuss your reasons with them. If they feel that you have discriminated against them, then they can sue you for it. Some examples of what not to reject a tenant for are:
- Gender identity and sexual orientation
If you do reject a tenant for these reasons, then you are breaking the law. Potential tenants that have been rejected for this reason can find ways to get back at you. They could write about their experience on review websites, public forums, and social media, and they could even sue you!
DON’T Increase The Rent When You Like
Lots of landlords are under the impression that they can increase the rent any time they want. This isn’t true! If you want to raise the cost of rent, there are certain things that must happen before you can do so. These include:
- The property must be properly assessed to make sure that the current market value is accurate. If it isn’t, then you might have to pay back the difference
- The landlord and tenant must come to an agreement about the increase before any changes can take place
- You can only raise the rent to cover reasonable and necessary expenses that were out of the landlord’s control
Otherwise, you can be sued by your tenant for increasing the rent without a valid reason. The landlord and the tenant should have an open communication line to make sure that proper agreements can take place.
DON’T Change The Locks
Landlords are not legally allowed to change the locks for security reasons unless the new locks are given to all of the tenants. The landlord and the tenant should come to an agreement about changing the locks together.
If this does happen, then the landlord should give the tenant at least a 24-hour notice before they change the locks. The new locks should be re-keyed to all of the tenants and take note that you aren’t allowed to change the locks when a tenant has paid their rent in full for 30 days or more. Changing a lock without a tenant’s permission is a criminal offense!
DO Screen The Potential Tenants
Screening potential tenants is probably the most important thing that a landlord can do if they want to protect their rental property. They must be thorough and don’t try to judge people by their appearances or social standing.
You should request that all applicants fill out an application form to create a formal dossier on them. If there are certain things that you want to find out, then you can ask questions directly or have a third party conduct a background check on them. Make sure to check the following things:
- Credit history
- Employment status
- Evidence of eviction
DO Ask For Deposit
When you’re renting out your property, it’s important to make sure that your security deposit is covered. You can ask for a deposit in the form of refundable rent, which is usually equal to one month’s rent. This ensures that you are protected. The security deposit should only be used in extreme cases when there are damages done by the tenant to your property.
For example, you can use the security deposit to fix the carpet if it has been stained, but not just because you want to be lazy and save money. Asking for a deposit ensures that your property is properly protected and that both landlord and tenant are equally responsible for damages done by either party.
DO Have A Clear Set Of Boundaries
Landlords must make sure that they clearly define the boundaries of their rental property. This could include things like how many people can live on the property, whether pets are allowed or not, and if they will be responsible for any damages done by them.
If you don’t define what you expect from your tenant before they move in, then things could get complicated when the tenant does something that is outside of your boundaries.
DO Have An Insurance Policy
And the last thing that you should do as a landlord is to have insurance. If anything happens to your property or if there are damages done by the tenant, then you need to be protected. You can choose to have your tenant’s insurance policy cover it or choose to be responsible for the damages.
You can also use your security deposit in extreme cases when there is damage done by the tenants. Or you can have multiple property insurance that covers a wide array of cases. Insurance is important because it protects you financially in case of an emergency.
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of what it means to be a landlord. You can use the tips in this post to make sure that your property is properly protected and that you are living up to your responsibilities as a landlord.