There are many landlord responsibilities to be aware of when deciding to rent out rental properties – here is what you should know.
Many people choose to invest in a rental property and become landlords with the idea of earning income without actually having to work. So you buy a rental property, let tenants move in, and sit back collecting rent. Simple, right? Wrong.
While the idea sounds fantastic, the actuality of it is not. The truth is that there are a handful of landlord responsibilities – and they take on a lot of work. It does not take much time for those new to the industry to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Understanding Your Landlord Responsibilities
If you are considering investing in a rental property or you are currently a landlord who is feeling the struggle, putting a few practices in place can help you tremendously. When it comes to landlord responsibilities, here are nine things you should know.
1. Perfect the Art of Tenant Screening
Before new tenants move into your rental property, they need to be properly screened. You are looking for high-quality tenants with steady employment, a positive rental history, and a good credit score. Of course, the specifics of what you require will vary on your own preferences or the tenant’s personal situation. The idea is to thoroughly screen your tenants to weed through those that may cause problems or not be able to afford the rent. Watching out for scammers is essential, too.
Having a screening process in place helps reduce risk and brings you peace of mind.
2. Maintain Open Communication with Your Tenants
Communication is key when it comes to your landlord-tenant relationship. They need to know that they can count on you to respond when they reach out – and you need to know the same. You must be available for your tenants and share your preferred method of communication. Knowing they can count on you increases the chance that they will properly care for your property.
3. Address Repair Requests ASAP
As a landlord, you do not want to hear that a repair is needed at one of your properties. It is just one more thing you have to take care of. However, you must address these repair requests as soon as possible. Not only does it mean they will call you next time something else breaks, but it also keeps you from facing major repair bills.
Minor repairs, such as a leaky faucet, can be an easy fix. However, if left alone, this small plumbing issue could turn into a major, more expensive repair down the road. Not to mention, this lack of action may be disheartening to the tenants – who may not call you the next time a repair is needed – which can cost you big time.
4. Keep Yourself Organized
With so many responsibilities, landlords need to be organized. This is even more important if you have multiple properties. Tenant applications, signed lease agreements, repair orders, move-in / move-out reports, rent payments and receipt, and so on all need to be maintained and organized for each tenant at each property.
It may be overwhelming at first, but finding a system of organization will help ease the burden a bit.
5. Make Sure Your Lease is Legal, Effective, and Thorough
Many new landlords jump online and print off a generic lease agreement. If you want to protect yourself and your rental property, you want to make sure you have a well-written, thorough, and legal lease. Consider speaking to an attorney or a professional within the field who can guide you with this process.
Your lease is a contractual agreement between you and the person(s) living in your rental – and it is there to protect you.
6. Be Proactive with Property Maintenance
Maintaining your properties regularly can help reduce the need for major repairs. And it can help you stay focused without having to worry about additional issues arising. Have a set schedule throughout the year when preventative and/or routine inspections is to be performed.
7. Stay on Top of Market Trends
You are a landlord, but you are also an investor. Therefore, you need to stay on top of market trends to ensure that your property is set at the right rental amount to reduce vacancy while also keeping you from selling yourself short.
8. Have a Clear Understanding of Applicable Laws
There are laws that landlords are to know and have a clear understanding of, such as fair housing laws and landlord-tenant laws. Unless you want to find yourself in hot water, do your due diligence and know the law as it applies to you at the federal, state, and local levels. This also includes understanding eviction laws, as well as when and how to use them.
9. Be Respectful and Courteous
Most importantly, tenants want a landlord who is respectful and courteous. They are renting a property from you, but they do not need to be made to feel less than you. Speak kindly. In addition, respect your tenant’s right to privacy while residing in your property.
How a Property Manager Can Help
Renting properties is a lot of work with many landlord responsibilities. Even the most well-seasoned landlords can get overwhelmed with the stress that owning rental property brings.
The best solution? Hiring a property manager. After attempting to handle everything independently for a while, many landlords decide that hiring a property manager can bring a sense of relief.
A property management team professionally handles rental properties, which means they have everything down to a science. Thorough tenant screening, repairs and routine maintenance, rent collection, an effective lease agreement, and more follow and tried-and-true process to gain and keep high-quality tenants – while keeping landlords happy and free.
At Real Property Management Evolve, we are the best property management team in the greater Phoenix area. We make it our job to know the laws, the current market and strive to reach nothing but the best for your rental properties.
If you are a landlord who is new to the arena or find yourself feeling overwhelmed from all of your landlord responsibilities, a property manager can help. It is what we do.