Being a good landlord is more than simply being friendly to your tenants. As a landlord you are running a business and should protect yourself from any legal issues that could arise while also providing a safe and acceptable environment for your tenant. If you fail to comply with the law, you could face serious legal issues, not matter how nice you are.
Before a Tenant Moves In
Before a tenant moves into your rental unit, there are several key things you should do. First you must be aware of how much you can legally charge your tenant, including rent, security deposit and fees. Once you know what the law allows you to charge, be sure to run a background check on any potential tenants. Again, you must be aware of the law and any restrictions that apply. For example, you can run a credit and background check but you must get the applicant’s written permission first. The team at CheckPoint Screening can help you conduct legal background checks to provide you with the necessary information for making the best decision about a tenant.
Signing a Lease
The lease is one of the most important aspects of the rental process. The lease outlines your expectations before the tenant moves in. They will then sign the lease and legally agree to abide by your expectations and requirements. You can include information about trash disposal, quiet hours, when rent is expected to be paid, penalties for late rent, restrictions on smoking and even rules about what can and cannot be left in the unit’s outdoor space. Be as clear as you can in the lease so there are no issues later.
Maintenance is your responsibility as a landlord. Laws have been put into place that restrict the timeframe a landlord has to fix certain issues. As a landlord you will have to be prepared to be woken up early in the morning for an emergency maintenance issue. Be sure that all tenants have an emergency contact number in case of a maintenance emergency, such as a burst pipe. Fixing such issues quickly will not only keep your tenant happy but better protect your investment.
When your tenant moves out you should make sure to get a forwarding address. Legally you will have 30 days to return the tenant’s security deposit. There are specific laws dictating what you can and cannot use the security deposit for. For example, if the tenant left large holes in the walls you can withhold part of the security deposit to pay for the damage. However, you must be very clear about why the tenant is not receiving all of the security deposit back.