Tips for New Landlords

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Whether you’re renting out your property due to a change in your personal accommodation needs or as an investment, follow these tips from experienced landlords to make the most of your rental property.

Regardless of how keen you are to start making money, always verify your potential tenant’s credentials before you sign the lease agreement. Pay the necessary fees to obtain credit records, call references, and ask candidates to supply you with proof of income.  
Both the landlord and tenant should sign a detailed agreement that allows for all possible scenarios.  Many inexperienced landlords draw up their own contracts to avoid legal fees, only to later discover that they have left themselves vulnerable to liability.  It’s always best to seek legal advice to make sure the contact is sound.  Among other stipulations, the agreement should outline grounds and avenues for eviction should the tenant give you just cause.
If the rental is mortgaged, you should ensure that you have the financial resources to meet the monthly obligations yourself if the property doesn’t yield a steady income (such as when you are between tenants, or the current tenant fails to pay rent).  Budget for possible repairs and draw up a renovations schedule so you know how much income you can expect from the property.  
You should inspect the property regularly – both when it is rented out and when it’s vacant.  Small issues can become big problems if you fail to repair them.  Let the tenant know that you will be inspecting the property on a regular basis for the protection of both parties. 
Be firm and consistent in your application of the lease agreement.  Let the tenant know when conditions are non-negotiable. While it may be difficult to find a new tenant to replace a non-compliant one, poor compliance will cost you in the end.

Regardless of how keen you are to start making money, always verify your potential tenant’s credentials before you sign the lease agreement. Pay the necessary fees to obtain credit records, call references, and ask candidates to supply you with proof of income.  

Both the landlord and tenant should sign a detailed agreement that allows for all possible scenarios. Many inexperienced landlords draw up their own contracts to avoid legal fees, only to later discover that they have left themselves vulnerable to liability.  It’s always best to seek legal advice to make sure the contact is sound.  Among other stipulations, the agreement should outline grounds and avenues for eviction should the tenant give you just cause.

If the rental is mortgaged, you should ensure that you have the financial resources to meet the monthly obligations yourself if the property doesn’t yield a steady income (such as when you are between tenants, or the current tenant fails to pay rent).  Budget for possible repairs and draw up a renovations schedule so you know how much income you can expect from the property.  

You should inspect the property regularly – both when it is rented out and when it’s vacant.  Small issues can become big problems if you fail to repair them.  Let the tenant know that you will be inspecting the property on a regular basis for the protection of both parties. 

Be firm and consistent in your application of the lease agreement.  Let the tenant know when conditions are non-negotiable. While it may be difficult to find a new tenant to replace a non-compliant one, poor compliance will cost you in the end.

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