If you have recently started working as a private landlord, you need to understand what you are getting yourself into. There are lots of things to know regarding your responsibilities and what you should tell tenants. With a third of landlords struggling to pay the bills due to missed payments, you’ll need all the help you can get. Here is a shortlist of some of the most important things you need to know and do as a new landlord.
Get the Best Insurance Possible
When you operate a business where you rent to tenants, there are so many moving parts and so many opportunities for problems. Many of these problems are pretty common ones, while others, you might not see coming. Because of this, you need protection for your property and yourself. The smart thing to do is to get landlord insurance, which is a comprehensive policy that protects you and your building against any liabilities you might face. These policies are created by professionals who have seen everything that can happen against a landlord and the coverage was created as a shield to protect against it.
Get Experienced Help on Your Staff
You might be a novice at being a landlord, but that does not mean that you should not have anyone with experience around you. Make sure that everyone you hire to help you manage your property, has at least a decade of experience in the property management business, and has dealt with a range of tenants. Even doing your research online will give you useful insights on common landlord questions.
Set Up Strict Rules and Always Do Things By the Book
Your tenant contract sets out the rules for how tenants are supposed to perform. The contract should be created by a reputable real estate law firm who knows your needs and how to create strict legal laws. Tenants should understand their obligations when renting from you and that you will enforce any rules as they are written. Never let any tenant break the law or you will open yourself up to other tenant demanding to be able to break that and other rules. Before you know it, there will be chaos. You also open yourself up to potential liabilities that your insurance provider may not cover.
Do Not Let Unauthorized People Stay on Your Property
Your lease agreement spells out who will be living in the apartment, and you should maintain a strict policy that no one not put on the lease will live at your building. You can allow for short visits from close friends and family, but if you notice someone staying an extended period of time or moving in furniture ask to have that person included on the lease. This is a safety precaution and also gives you the ability to ask for this person’s identification. It also helps you to make sure that the tenant does not have more pole living in the unit than the lease says is allowable.
Have Clear Rules Around Garbage Removal
Garbage can be a big problem for landlords, and tenants need to be told clearly in the lease what the expectations are for any garbage they create. Tell each tenant when and how garbage will be removed and where garbage should be placed for removal.
You Might Have to Work Long Hours and Weekends
With any luck, things at your property will run smoothly, but more likely than not there will be some issues that do not happen or get fixed during normal business hours. If your property is residential, people living there might need to have immediate service if for say the heater stops working in the middle of the night during the winter. You are obligated to respond to these types of issues immediately no matter the hour it occurs. This can make for sleepless nights. Again, hopefully it won’t happen often. But take steps to improve your work-life balance where you can.