“Your Guide To What It Takes To Be A Landlord” written by Mike Marko
Do you have what it takes to be a landlord?
Being a landlord is more than just accepting tenants and collecting rent. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for your obligations and responsibilities.
If you want to be a landlord, you need to pay attention to every detail. The success of the rental property business depends on how you work as the landlord.
There’s a lot of work involved here, from maintaining common areas to arbitrating disputes when tenants bump heads with each other.
In fact, were I to list all the tasks involved, you’d probably think being a landlord is a tiring job.
Well, that’s true. But once you get the hang of it and pick up the tricks that come from experience, it gets much easier.
So, do you still want to know what it takes to be a landlord?
Let’s find out in this blog post! Today, I’ll talk about what it takes to be a landlord.
What It Takes to Be a Landlord
What it takes to be a landlord? Commitment, among other things.
After all, there’s a lot of things to do in a rental property business. You have dozens of obligations and responsibilities! I’ll talk more about that later in this blog post.
Because first, you need to understand your job as a landlord. Then, you’ll have a better sense of the duties involved.
Understand Your Job as Landlord
Know what it takes to be a landlord? You need to understand your job.
Being a landlord will require most of your time. It’s not like going to an office where you punch time clocks and work regular hours.
This requires your service 24/7. There will be days when you don’t have anything to do and days when you have a lot to do.
Landlords are required to attend the needs of their tenants at all times. You need to resolve any issues that arise in your property.
For example, you need to answer the calls and messages of your tenants. If there’s something that needs to be fixed immediately, you need to do it right away.
You have to be committed to be a successful landlord. Be serious in fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations.
That’s what it takes to be a landlord. After all, the outcome of your tenancies depends on how you act as the landlord.
Know What You Can’t Do
Want to learn more about what it takes to be a landlord? You need to know what you can’t do.
There are laws and rules that landlords and property owners must follow. These are often referred to as rental laws.
The rental laws may vary in each state. However, here are some laws that are always present in each state.
For example, there are certain questions that you shouldn’t ask. You can’t ask a potential tenant things like “Are you gay” or “Are you disabled”. Those types of questions are discriminatory.
To avoid asking questions that are discriminatory, you can check Fair Housing Laws. They can give you an idea of what is considered to be discriminatory behavior.
In addition to that, you can’t dictate how the security deposit will be used. Rental law governs the handling of your tenant’s security deposit.
The rental laws in your area also determine how you’re going to return the security deposit to the tenant.
Observing laws like these is part of what it takes to be a landlord. You should know that you cannot enter the rented property without notice too, for instance.
If you wish to enter the property, make sure that you have a valid reason. You must serve a notice that tells the tenant that you’re going to enter the rented property.
That’s what it takes to be a landlord. You need to know your limits so you won’t get any complaints from your tenants.
Know How to Choose Tenants
Here’s another crucial point in what it takes to be a landlord. You need to know how to choose tenants!
You can choose the tenants for your property. However, you must treat all potential tenants equally.
That’s because there’s a law called the Federal Fair Housing Act. This was made specifically to prevent discrimination against choosing tenants for the property.
According to the law, the landlord’s decision on rental application shouldn’t be based on the following:
- Race or color,
- National origin,
- Familial status, and
Each state has its own Fair Housing Rules that you must follow. Be sure to check rental laws in your area before you start choosing tenants.
That’s what it takes to be a landlord. You need to have knowledge about rental laws in your area.
Know How to Screen Tenants Properly
Here’s more information on what it takes to be a landlord. You have to learn how to screen tenants properly!
The tenant screening process is important. It helps you choose the right tenants for your property.
The screening process will check the background and credit history of the tenant. This gives you an idea if they’re a good renter or not.
Landlords can’t just screen some potential tenants either. Every potential tenant needs to undergo the proper screening process.
The potential tenant must fill and sign a rental application first. The rental application must inform the tenant that their information will be used for tenant screening.
Transparency on processes like this is also part of what it takes to be a landlord. You don’t want to break a law by doing a background check on someone sans consent.
Conducting the Background Check
That brings us to yet another thing to be covered if you want to learn what it takes to be a landlord. You need to know what a background check is and how it works.
The potential tenant must agree to your tenant screening process. This is needed before you begin the background check. That’s because you’re going to use the information of another person.
Want to know what it takes to be a landlord? You need to be wise in your choice of tools or business partners — which means you need to pick a good background check company.
It’s best to hire a background check company like SmartMove. They can verify and gather information about the potential tenant in an instant.
Here’s the information included in a background report:
- Personal Details,
- Full Credit Score,
- Address History,
- Employment History,
- Public Records,
- Eviction Records,
- Criminal Records, and
- Fraud Indicators.
The information that you’ll get from a background report will give you an insight into the potential tenant’s behavior.
H4: Conducting a Credit Check
You need to learn what a credit check is too if you want to learn what it takes to be a landlord.
The credit check will give you an idea if the potential tenant can pay the rent on time and in full. The credit report will show you the financial activities of the potential tenant for the past 7 years.
Here’s the information presented on a credit report:
- Identifying Information: This is basic information about the potential tenant. This includes their name, current, and past addresses, date of birth, Social Security Number, etc.
- Credit History: This includes details about the potential tenant’s financial activities. It also includes their bank accounts, credit card accounts, and loans. This part will also tell you how long each of their accounts has been active.
- Public Records: This part lists things like known evictions, bankruptcies, etc.
- Inquiries: This will show the names of other people who have requested the potential tenant’s credit report.
Understanding these things is part of what it takes to be a landlord. Learn how to use the information you see on the credit check as it can help you avoid tenants with financial problems.
Know How to Prepare a Rental Agreement
You need to learn how to prepare a rental agreement. It’s part of what it takes to be a landlord.
It’s important to know how to make a rental agreement. Landlords and property managers need to provide an agreement before the new tenant moves into the rented property.
The agreement contains information about the tenancy. It includes details about the tenant and rented property.
Also, your agreement with the tenant contains terms and clauses for renting the property. It should contain rules about responsibilities for repair and maintenance.
Details about the use of security deposit should be included as well. That’s what it takes to be a landlord.
You need to prepare a rental agreement that contains all of the important details about the tenancy. The agreement will prevent misunderstandings.
Make sure that you make the right rental agreement for your tenant. Remember, that’s what it takes to be a landlord.
To help you with that, here’s the information you need to add to your rental agreement:
Information About the Tenant and Rented Property
This is part of what it takes to be a landlord. You must learn what information to add to your rental agreement.
The rental agreement must clearly specify the names of the people involved in the tenancy. The people whose names are listed on the agreement are required to follow the terms and policies of renting the property.
Some rental agreements also have a description of the rented property. This is needed so the tenant knows how they will leave the rented property.
Rental laws require tenants to return the rented property to its original condition before moving out. The description of the property in the agreement can help with that.
This sort of specificity is part and parcel of what it takes to be a landlord. It prevents “grey areas” from arising and spares you the trouble of misunderstanding.
Details About Payments
You also need to know the details that you need to add regarding payments. A bit of business sense is always part of what it takes to be a landlord, after all.
All rental agreements contain details about rent, security deposit, and other fees. Be sure to add the total amount of rent and your preferred forms of payment.
If there are additional fees added to the base rent, include those as well.
Responsibilities of Both Parties
I said earlier that specificity in legal documentation is part of what it takes to be a landlord. That’s why you also need to be sure to specify the responsibilities of both parties in an agreement.
Who’s going to pay the utilities? Who’s going to pay for the maintenance and upkeep?
Include it in your rental agreement. Being specific about obligations and responsibilities helps in preventing misunderstandings.
That’s what it takes to be a landlord. You must learn how to make your tenants happy on their rented property.
Know How to Handle Lease Break and Eviction
Do you have what it takes to be a landlord? You might — if you know how to handle lease break and eviction.
Lease break happens if you or the tenant decides to end a tenancy agreement early. On the other hand, eviction is the process of removing a tenant from their rented property.
Keep in mind that not all tenancies end properly. A lease break is always a possibility because of various reasons.
Landlord-tenant relationships sometimes go south. This often results in a lease break and eviction.
Handle Lease Break Properly
Want to know what it takes to be a landlord in the face of a lease break? You have to have professionalism, for one thing.
Lease breaks happen because of various reasons. If the lease break is committed by the tenant, be sure to evict them properly.
If you’re the one who causes the lease break (say due to property sale or transfer of ownership), you need to inform the tenant of the pending change and reasons to vacate the property.
It’s best to ask for help from a rental lawyer. They can help you handle lease breaks properly and professionally. Apart from that, rental lawyers can also help you evict a tenant the right way.
Reasons for Eviction
Do you have what it takes to be a landlord? Make sure that you have a good temper!
If you don’t like a tenant, you can’t just remove them from their rented property. You need to follow the proper way of evicting them. Also, you can’t remove them without a valid reason.
Evictions are common in the rental property business. They usually happen because of the following:
- The tenant consistently fails to pay the rent on time,
- The tenant breaks a term or a clause in the rental agreement.
- The tenant is doing damage to the property that can bring down its value.
- The tenant becomes a serious nuisance by disturbing other tenants and neighbors even after receiving warnings.
- The tenant uses the property to do something illegal.
Always remember that you can’t evict a tenant without a valid reason. Check rental laws in your area to see the valid reasons for evicting a tenant.
Respect for the law and the rights of others is part of what it takes to be a landlord.
What it takes to be a landlord? You must know how to follow the proper eviction process.
If you’re about to evict a tenant, get help from a lawyer. Rental lawyers will assist you in removing the tenant.
The eviction process starts by giving an eviction notice. The eviction notice states the reason for eviction.
The notice also explains the possible solution to fix the problem. Allow your tenant a specific amount of time to fix the issue.
If they fail to fix the problem within that time period, ask the rental lawyer to file a case for eviction.
If you win the case, you can get help from authorities to remove the tenant.
Final Thoughts on What It Takes to Be a Landlord
In this blog post, I talked about what it takes to be a landlord.
Being a landlord is not like a typical job. You won’t be working for 8 hours a day for 5 days.
Being a landlord is like a commitment.
You need to be present whenever your tenants need you. That’s what it takes to be a landlord.
If you want to be a landlord, be sure to know how a rental property business works. You need to learn how to pick and accept tenants.
In addition to that, you need to learn how to create a rental agreement. You also need to learn how to handle events like a lease break and eviction.
These are just some of the things that go into what it takes to be a landlord. If you have more questions on what it takes to be a landlord, leave them in the comments below.
If you need help marketing your business online then check out IM Consultant Services.
Disclaimer: This commentary is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be taken as investment or trading advice under any circumstances. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilizing methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses any person may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisers. By using this web site or any information contained in it, the user specifically and expressly agrees that no advisor-client relationship is created between said user and any author, owner, executive, or principal of this web site by either use of this web site, or by any information, product, or service offered by or on this web site. No express or implied guarantees or warranties as to investment or trading results are made, and any perceived insinuations of such are hereby expressly disclaimed.