If you’ve purchased a property that you plan on renting out, you may think you have a fairly easy job. All you have to do is find someone to move into the property and collect their rent every month, right? While it might sound simple at first, being a landlord has a number of legal and financial challenges that can be very trying, especially if you’ve never owned rental property before. You have legal obligations to your tenants that you may not be aware of, and there are dozens of things that can go wrong. Here are a few tips for new landlords to help make the process easier.
Decide Who You’re Marketing the Property To
Once you have a property to rent out, you have to find tenants. While you may luck out and know someone in need of a home, you will most likely need to advertise. This is where it helps tremendously to know the neighbourhood and which demographics are likely to want to live there. If you’re near a university, for example, you might want to advertise mainly towards students. This means getting permission to put fliers up on campus or advertising in the local university newspaper. If you’re in a quiet neighbourhood with mostly older people, you may want to advertise more in newspapers instead of online, since some older people don’t go online much.
Make a List
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do to prepare your property, market it and be a good landlord. It might help to follow a useful landlord checklist. These lists give you a breakdown of everything you need to do to be a good landlord, including what licences you need and your legal responsibilities. Having lists like this can be especially helpful if you’re managing multiple properties, so you know what has been done for each property.
Have a Team in Place
As a landlord, you’ll be responsible for doing all the repairs and other maintenance needed on the property. You may also be responsible for the yard work and landscaping, although that may be negotiated between you and the tenant. Either way, if you’re not a handyman, you’ll need to have people lined up to handle repairs. This may include a plumber, an electrician, and other experts. When the property is vacant, you will have to handle the yard work, so you might have someone in mind for that, too.
Select Tenants Carefully
Some landlords accept the first tenant who applies for a property, but you need to be more selective than that. Otherwise, you may end up with tenants who leave the property a mess or who do not pay rent on time. Ask for references, and take the time to call them with a list of questions about the applicant. Even if the applicant has glowing recommendations from their references, make certain you collect the deposit and that it’s enough to offset any repairs you might have to make if the tenant leaves your property a mess.