One of the few silver linings to the recent housing crises is the large inventory of low-priced homes. For some poeple, this has been the perfect time to invest in residential real estate and become a landlord. However, as a recent newspaper article points out:
A new landlord must be aware that the laws were written to protect the tenant, who is seen the “underdog” in the landlord/tenant relationship. From a legal standpoint, a landlord needs to make sure that his lease contains required warnings and complies with the proper font size, which is set by law. He needs to understand how to document the condition of the property and how to handle a security deposit. He needs to be fluent with proper eviction procedures, since using a “self help” eviction remedy can cause the landlord to get sued!
In addition, there can also be physical dangers for novice landlords. It is important not to give away too much personal information about yourself or the home when advertising a house for rent. If the house is vacant, it could be vandalized or stripped of the copper and appliances. A landlord must also consider how and when to screen potential tenants and how to show the house while protecting his personal safety.
Form Your Team of Professionals!
Finally, the wise landlord will build a “team” to help him run his new business. He will want to have a list of reliable tradesman to help maintain the home and respond to emergencies. He will want to have a good relationship with the city in which the home is located and the inspectors that will inspect the home for compliance with local zoning and building codes. The landlord may want to use a licensed realtor or property manager to help locate and screen prospective tenants. The landlord will certainly want to have an accountant and attorney on his team to help trouble shoot problems before they occur.
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