“What Do I Need to Know About Being a Landlord” written by Mike Marko
Are you thinking of renting out your properties?
If you do, then the question “What do I need to know about being a landlord” may have come up several times. And let me tell you, being a landlord is not an easy task.
There are many things that you should know to ensure a good property business. A landlord has many responsibilities.
And before you start, you have to understand all your responsibilities. If you don’t, you put yourself and your business at risk.
That’s why it’s wise to stay on the safe side and do your research about the industry first. To help you with that, I’ll discuss some of the things that you need to know about being a landlord.
How to Be a Good Landlord
To be a good landlord, you have to know what your responsibilities are. You also have to view your tenants as customers.
So, if I’m asking what do I need to know about being a landlord, here’s one answer that I can give you right now…
It’s important that you treat this as a business and not a hobby. It’s easy to not treat it like a business because you don’t really do anything when your property is occupied.
If you want to succeed at being a landlord, however, you have to continuously look for ways to improve your business. There should also be a focus on customer service.
As a landlord, you also have to have a solid understanding of the rules and laws in your industry.
In short, there are many duties and strictures to being a landlord. One of your first tasks is to be aware of that, and to give the job the respect it deserves.
Having the mindset of a serious business owner is only your first step to becoming a good landlord. There are many other things involved, as I said above.
Here, I’ll talk about the things that you should know that will help you answer your question on what do I need to know about being a landlord.
These are the most important answers to the question “What do I need to know about being a landlord”.
Be Familiar with a Landlord’s Responsibilities
As I mentioned, it’s important that you know your responsibilities as a landlord. In fact, there are a lot of responsibilities that you should be familiar with.
One important responsibility of a landlord is the Warranty of Habitability. Simply put, this is the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit to a tenant.
The property should be fit to live in. Aside from that, it should be compliant with all state and local building and health codes.
Another thing that a landlord is responsible for is ensuring that the property is safe from crime. To fulfill this responsibility, a landlord should provide a safe structure as well as reliable locks on doors.
There should also be lights in dark or low-lit areas the building. This is as much a matter of safety as it is of security.
It’s also the landlord’s responsibility to make repairs (particularly structural ones or ones not caused by tenant recklessness or activity) when needed. And it should be done in a timely manner.
Last but not least, it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the property as well.
Find Your Rent-Price Range
There are a lot of answers to the question what do I need to know about being a landlord. For me, one of the most important ones is knowing and setting the right rent price.
It’s likely that you’re dependent on the monthly income that you’ll get out of your property. That’s why you need to know how much you should charge for your rent.
The 1% rule is common advice on the subject. It means that you should charge 1% of the property value of your home every month.
However, it’s best to determine your base rent by calculating the total cost of the property each month and the maximum amount you charge should be driven by the market.
You can do this by adding your monthly expenses such as mortgage, insurance premiums, taxes, and other costs that you may face in the future.
It’s also best to check out the market to help compare prices in your area. Newspapers also have local listings that you can check out.
Keep in mind that a lower rent may earn you less but it will let you minimize the amount of time your property is vacant.
Consider the Fact That You May Have to Fix Things
Just like with the question what do I need to know about being a landlord, there’s no ONE perfect answer. And in the world of rental properties, there is no perfect tenant.
So, this means that somewhere along the road, you may need to fix a few things in your property.
If you’re not a handyman yourself, consider buying a home warranty that covers major repairs and appliances.
To be a good landlord, you have to anticipate these things and be ready for them.
The chances are high that every time a tenant leaves a property, there’s bound to be some things that need fixing. So why not prepare for it ahead of time with a warranty?
Have Ground Rules
It’s your property, so you have every right to set the rules. It’s important that you set them up before you let tenants in.
Also, it’s important that you discuss every rule with a potential tenant first before signing anything. You and your tenant should be on the same page to avoid any issues in the long run.
Having a set of ground rules for your tenants will prevent them from abusing your property. If you have clearly established ground rules, tenants are less likely to violate them for fear of eviction.
Your rules will also allow you to take a legal action against a tenant. This is important, especially if a tenant repeatedly commits the same violation or worse, does it on purpose.
Rules may include a limit to the number of people who can live in your property, curfews, etc.
One of the most important ground rules that you have to set is the details for late rent. Should a tenant pay late, how will you penalize him/her?
There should also be a rule for your right of entry. Set rules on how and under what circumstances you can enter the property.
Garbage removal is something that should be set as well. It might seem like a minor issue but it could cause major problems in the long run.
That’s why you have to impose a proper garbage removal rule before you let a tenant occupy your property. You can do this by thoroughly explaining how and when garbage is collected in the neighborhood.
Some landlords impose quiet hours. This is more common in multi-family properties with nearby neighbors.
Finally, if you will be allowing pets on your property, you should set some pet policies as well.
As I mentioned, there’s no perfect tenant. Thus, it’s impossible these days to find a tenant with perfect credit.
So to answer your question of what do I need to know about being a landlord, you have to be realistic. That applies when you’re choosing tenants to live in your property.
You have to remember that good credit isn’t all you need. In fact, it’s better that a tenant has a good rental history.
As a landlord, you should treat all potential tenants equally. Keep in mind that there’s the Federal Fair Housing Act too, which prevents discrimination against particular classes of people in housing.
Also, you have to choose a tenant who’s stable. Their application form can say a lot about their stability.
Aside from being realistic, never forget that you have your gut instincts too. These could lead you to the right tenant for your home.
Sure, you can do all the screening in the world… but sometimes your instincts are enough to determine a person’s character. So, if you feel off towards a particular person despite their good credit history and what-not, trust that.
I’m not saying that you should forget all about the screening process. But I’m reminding you that you should also know how to trust your gut.
Final Thoughts on What Do I Need to Know About Being a Landlord
In this post, I talked about some of the most important things that will help you become a good landlord.
I often hear a lot of people ask “What do I need to know about being a landlord”. In this post I talked about some of the best tips that I can give you.
To recap, to be a good landlord you have to:
- Know your responsibilities,
- Have a good rent price,
- Consider that you may need to have to fix things,
- Have ground rules, and
- Be realistic.
Being a landlord isn’t easy at first but once you get the hang of things, it’ll flow naturally. Always remember to treat it as a business!
If you find yourself constantly asking what do I need to know about being a landlord, then it means that you’re willing to improve and that already is a huge step!
Doing thorough research about what do I need to know about being a landlord will help a lot.
You may also ask other landlords that you know and ask about their experience. Ask for any insight they may give you that will help you with your chosen business path.
So, now you have the answers to your question “what do I need to know about being a landlord”.
If you have any further questions about my answers to “what do I need to know about being a landlord”, you can leave your comments below.
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