“Tips for Being a Good Landlord in Ohio” written by Mike Marko
Being a good landlord in Ohio isn’t rocket science. That said, it does require you to do your due diligence.
If you don’t, there’s a fair chance you’ll make mistakes that can cost you tenants. Worse, some mistakes may even lead to you being taken to court!
Being a good landlord means running your business lawfully, conscientiously, and professionally. When you do that, you’re likely to have fewer vacancies and better occupants for your rented property.
But what if you don’t know where to begin when it comes to being a good landlord?
Well, fortunately for you, that’s the topic of today’s article. Here, I’ll show you the must-know tips for being a good landlord in Ohio.
The Most Important Tips for Being a Good Landlord
There are a lot of things to keep in mind if you want to be a good landlord. In fact, we’d likely end up with an entire novel if we had to set them all down!
So in the interests of keeping things manageable, I’ve distilled the advice on being a good landlord into 7 tips. These are the most important things to remember if you want to know how to be a landlord worth your salt.
Note too that since some of these deal with legal matters, there’s a possibility of them changing sometime in the future. New laws may be introduced at any time that touch upon the same things.
That said, all of the following tips are current at the time of writing. If you’re ready, let’s begin!
Observe Fair Housing Laws
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is applicable to Ohio landlords. It states that landlords can’t discriminate against tenancy applicants based on these things:
- Familial status,
- National origin, and
Note that this doesn’t mean you can’t say no to any applicant whatsoever. It merely means you can’t say no to them based on any of those things.
Being a good landlord still means ensuring that your tenants are ones likely to treat your property and agreement well.
For example, if you reject an applicant based on his extremely poor credit history, you’re still being a good landlord — and most importantly, a lawful one — then.
But being a good landlord means being fair about how you deal with applicants, as the Fair Housing Act stipulates. Remember that when you do the following things:
- Advertise your requirements for tenants for a vacancy,
- Interview applicants for it, or
- Even post forms to be filled out for it.
Be Clear on Security Deposits
Security deposits are often a legal sticking point for many novice landlords. They don’t bother checking the laws in their states before setting terms for them or seeing if deposits are even permitted in their area.
For what it’s worth, you’re allowed to collect security deposits in Ohio. You can even require them as a way of assuring the future tenant that you won’t rent the vacancy to someone else before he moves in.
Clarify in your lease or rental agreement what you can do with the deposit, though. In Ohio, you can use it for repairs to the property for damage caused by the tenant, or even past due rent.
However, you’re required to give the client a written document notifying him of that. You should also give him that notice within 30 days of the tenancy’s termination.
Being a good landlord means being transparent about such things. Otherwise, you could suffer from allegations of misappropriation of funds and the like.
Respect Your Tenants
Respecting tenants should be a basic tenet of being a good landlord. That means treating them as you yourself would wish to be treated.
If a tenant complains about something that needs to be repaired and which lies in your purview, for instance, you should fix it ASAP. Imagine how you yourself would feel if your landlord delayed the resolution of an issue that was his responsibility.
Being a good landlord in this way also means respecting tenants’ rights. For example, mind your tenants’ rights to privacy.
In Ohio, this means you can’t enter a rented property whenever you wish, even if you do own it. You can only do so in cases of demonstrable or justifiable emergency, or (more commonly) after giving a tenant notice of it at least 24 hours in advance.
Fail to do this and you don’t just miss out on being a good landlord — you can even be sued and made to pay damages!
Budget for Maintenance
No matter how well-made your property is, it will require maintenance at some point or other. The more regularly you maintain it, in fact, the longer it will last.
That means you should plan your operating budget with a portion set aside for maintenance from the start. It’s unpleasant to think about expenses for your business, but it’s necessary for being a good landlord.
It can also prevent you from scrabbling to raise funds for an urgent repair that’s adding to your vacancy rate later on. Being a good landlord means being on top of things, and if you have a maintenance and repair fund from the start, you’ll manage better.
Document Everything Pertaining to the Business
This can be challenging, but it’s worth it. If you’re documenting everything about your business, you’re safeguarding it from future issues — and thus, being a good landlord.
Keeping tallies of costs for repairs, for instance, can help you manage your finances better. It can also help you account for deductions made to things like security deposits later on.
Keeping receipts of rent payments also helps you manage finances better… and prevents you and tenants from losing track and getting into conflict over that.
The same applies for keeping copies of your lease or rental contracts. They can serve as references if ever you need to prove or inspect something, even in court.
No one wants to end up in a courtroom for their business, of course. Nonetheless, being a good landlord means being prepared for all eventualities, so you might as well have the evidence ready to support your side, just in case.
We already said earlier that part of being a good landlord is fairness. Well, that applies to a lot of things besides accepting tenancy applicants.
You have to be fair in how you treat tenants as well. Avoid being noticeably generous with one tenant while being extremely strict with another.
That can help you evade charges of discrimination (which is never part of being a good landlord). It can also help tenants feel as though they are treated fairly.
Furthermore, your consistency should extend to your enforcement of rules. Don’t just suspend a rule in your lease or rental agreements whenever you feel like it.
If you do, it may make tenants feel as though the rules are flexible and can be broken regularly. You don’t want to encourage that behavior if you’re at all concerned with being a good landlord.
Get Help When Necessary
There are tasks in being a good landlord that you may not be able to manage by yourself. When that happens, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
Go to landlord-tenant law specialists/lawyers whenever you’re uncertain of a legal point, for instance. Or consult a more experienced landlord if you need help screening applicants for a tenancy.
You may even seek a property management company if you find yourself unable to discharge your duties temporarily. A property manager can take over for the moment, although you will have to pay for that convenience.
What matters is knowing when you need help and not being ashamed to ask for it. That’s being a good landlord because it means you’re putting your business’s health ahead of your own ego or fears.
Final Thoughts on Being a Good Landlord
So now you know what goes into being a good landlord in Ohio.
A good landlord is someone who observes the laws relating to his industry in the state. It’s also someone who is mindful of the fact that tenants should be treated respectfully and appropriately.
Moreover, being a good landlord means being someone who budgets and prepares for property maintenance, knowing it to be part of the job. A good landlord also documents everything relating to his business.
Furthermore, being a good landlord means being consistent and fair in treating tenants as well as enforcing regulations. It also means being unafraid to ask for help from others when needed.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to being a good landlord. If you have any suggestions of your own, of course, I’d love to hear about them too!
Just leave any tips you have for being a good landlord in the comments below. You can also leave questions if you need clarification on the tips I gave for being a good landlord.
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