The role of a landlord requires that you understand the various components of real estate property management. One of them is Tenant Placement – the art and science of finding quality tenants.
Step 1 – List the rental
Although this may sound simple, far too often landlords think that posting a “To Rent” sign on the lawn or in a window of their property perfect tenants will magically appear. Wrong! Instead you need to actively market your rental to the audience you would like to rent to. Hiring a realtor who specializes in rental properties is a time saver. If you are a do-it-yourself person, make sure you give yourself enough time to find a new renter before your current renter’s lease expires.
Step 2 – Have quality photos
Bad photos are a turn-off. Just like when you sell a house, you want to make your rental shine before listing it. Consider staging it and getting professional photography done to make it look its best. The higher quality the listing photos are, the more some renters may be willing to pay.
Step 3 – Show the property
If you have a realtor, this will be handled for you; if not, you’ll need to show it yourself. In either case be sure to follow all tenant laws when showing a property that is still occupied. Laws vary from state to state, so find out your state’s law.
Step 4 – Carefully review applications
During the review process, make certain that all of your evaluations comply with fair housing rules. As part of your evaluation criteria, you will want to complete a background and credit check, contact their listed referrals, and review their rental history.
Step 5 – Accept or reject an applicant
Once you make the decision that an applicant is qualified, the new tenant will have a set period of time to pay the security deposit and any other move-in fees. This is also a great time for the new tenant to apply for renter’s insurance – something you, as the landlord, should verify before the tenant moves in.
If you decide that the applicant is not qualified, then you should let him or her know as soon as possible. There are federal laws around housing safety and anti-discrimination laws. These often protect renters while they are apartment hunting, so be sure to be clear on these early on. Check with HUD for all landlord tenant laws, and specifically research the Federal Anti-Discrimination Law, Federal Housing Law, and Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Step 6 – Set rental policies and write a lease
Although you can find a basic lease contract online, there may be issues specific to your situation that are important to include. In addition, you have some decisions to make about your rental policies such as – will you allow pets and want to include a pet deposit, what will the process be when a tenant wants to break a lease? You want to make sure the lease agreement is fully legal and doesn’t have any loopholes you haven’t thought of. If you are a first time landlord, consult with a lawyer to make sure you are going about how to rent a property the legal way.
Final thought. For some people owning a rental property can be a brilliant personal financial move; however not everyone is in that group. It’s up to you to decide if you have the right personality and management skills to become a successful landlord.
St. Petersburg Communities
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one of them and are thinking of selling, call Estelia today!
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol