5 Legal Tips Every Property Owner Should Know
One challenge that every landlord and property owner should take the time to do is learn the ins and outs of legal protections and potential issues. While this is a lengthy journey, there is always a great place to start. To help you dive in, here are five legal tips every landlord or property owner should know.
1. Screen Your Tenants
The ability to properly trust your tenants is not only positive for peace of mind, but it also dramatically decreases the risk of legal battles and headaches later on. This goes deeper than surface-level introductions.
Financially, collect as much information about your potential tenant as possible. This includes credit scores, proof of income, and prior rental history. In addition, be sure to conduct a background search either on your own or through an outside company so you are aware of any prior charges or convictions.
The depth of your requirements is up to you, but keep in mind that more secure requirements lead to safer investments.
Ultimately, feel comfortable in not unconditionally accepting the first tenant who applies. If something feels off or risky, it is well within your right to decline an application.
2. Put Everything in Writing
The more you leave to oral agreements, the riskier your landlord-tenant agreement becomes. Any discrepancies will be incredibly difficult to fight if you don’t have written proof. This is why it is important to get all important agreements and information in writing. Make sure this includes:
Completed application (references, contact information, employment information, etc.)
Contract containing the terms of the lease
Condition of property (appliances, walls, floors, windows, etc.) upon move-in
3. Leave Room in Your Budget
Wear and tear happens, and when you are a property owner, that puts you in charge of replacements and repairs. If you have a snug budget with little room for error, a broken appliance or natural disaster could be a financial nightmare.
Generally, the recommendation for budgeting for these issues is roughly 25% of rents. Also, be sure to set aside time in your schedule to handle any problems.
4. Get a Security Deposit
Possibly one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your property is to collect an upfront security deposit from your tenants. Some tenants are more responsible and respectful of property than others, and repairing damages and messes upon their move-out can get expensive.
Not only will require a security deposit ensures that any potential damages will be paid for, but it will also encourage your tenants to treat the property well in the first place.
5. Learn Your State Laws Regarding Tenants’ Rights
Thoroughly understanding the rights your tenant has will also help you to better understand your rights as a landlord. Not all states have identical laws regarding the tenant’s rights. In fact, there may also be applicable city or county laws to take into consideration. These laws cover things like:
If you are a new property owner or landlord, learn your rights and protect your assets by contacting Onyx Group Legal today for a free consultation. Our team is here to provide the knowledge and experience needed to ensure you exercise your rights as a landlord or property manager.