How To Become a Landlord

becoming a landlord

Image by Living in Monrovia via Flickr

You’ve just bought a second property with plans to rent it out, or you’re holding on to your property until the housing market improves. Either way, you don’t want your property to just sit there – you want to rent it out. If you’re a first-time landlord, here’s a quick guide on how to go through the rental process and find renters for your property.

1. Prepare your property.

You have a home or apartment you’d like to rent out, but is it in good, habitable condition? Follow habitability laws by making sure your rental unit is in clean, safe condition. Perform a thorough maintenance check or hire an inspector to make sure it’s up to your state’s standards.

2. Get landlord’s insurance.

Homeowner’s insurance won’t cover your property completely if you’re renting it out, especially since renting out your property presents more liabilities. Protect yourself from any renter-caused damage, accidents, or injuries that occur on your property by shopping for the best policy for your property. Also encourage your tenants to get renter’s insurance when they move in since landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover the renter’s property.

3.  Price your rental.

Do your research by looking at rental listings in your area. What is the average price for the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, property type, and location? Determine a competitive rent for your rental property so you can start advertising your property.

 4. Decide if you want to lease the property or rent it using a month-to-month agreement.

Depending on which you choose, you’ll need to draw up a lease or a rental agreement. A formal lease is the legal document that establishes both the tenant and landlord responsibilities for the length of tenancy. Make sure your lease is in accordance with the law, and you both you and your tenant go through it together before signing.

5. Advertise your vacancy.

Use the local newspaper, Craigslist, or the help of an agent to find a tenant. Make sure your rental listing is detailed, accurate, and includes clear photographs of your property. Photographs and video tours will help give your ads more views, resulting in more qualified responses.

6. Complete a background check on your applicants.

Once interested renters have filled out your rental application form, use their information to run a background check. Lead qualification will help you weed out poor tenants, leaving you with financially responsible, long-term tenants.

Once you’ve selected your tenant and signed the lease, you’re now a landlord. It’s your duty to make sure your property is maintained and everything is in working order – look into hiring a property manager if you have multiple properties to keep track of or don’t have the time to do it all yourself.