Many people who have a piece of property that they’re not using ultimately decide to rent it out. After all, the National Multi-Housing Council says as of last year, 35% of American households were comprised of people who were renting a property as opposed to owning it, so judging from that statistic alone, it seems it should be fairly easy to find tenants. If you’re feeling ambitious and have enough time to spare, self-management could be a possibility for your property. Keep reading to learn about a few common mistakes, so you can avoid them in your own situation.
Failing to Document Everything
Although renters’ rights vary by state, you can do a lot to protect yourself simply by creating a detailed tenancy agreement. Unfortunately, many people don’t put very much effort into this aspect, and that’s a decision that can be very costly in the long run. Try kickstarting the process by finding a rental agreement online. Those will help you cover your bases and make it easier to see if you’re leaving something out. However, keep in mind that universal templates won’t be specific for your property, so you should merely use them as guides.
Try to anticipate particular issues that could come up during your relationship with a tenant, and cover them within the agreement to avoid uncertainties later. For example, if you don’t take time to either forbid or permit a tenant to have dogs, don’t be surprised if you show up one day and find yourself having to deal with all the negative sides of furry companions.
Being a Poor Communicator
Communication is something that should be outlined during your first meeting with a tenant. Let him or her know the best way to get in touch with you if something is wrong, or there are questions. Also, do your part by giving notice if you plan to stop by for any reason, such as to make a repair. If you don’t take time to keep communication smooth with tenants, that could set you up for a rocky road ahead.
Regular communication also makes you seem more accessible, so tenants should be more likely to let you know right away if there are issues, instead of avoiding a maintenance problem that could be even more costly and inconvenient if not repaired promptly.
Forgetting to Disclose Important Information
If an area of your property is affected with substances like mold, lead paint or asbestos, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not fit to rent, but it does require you to let tenants know, or potentially risk getting fined. The United States Environmental Protection Agency partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to spell out specific guidelines about lead-based paint that come into effect on residences built before 1978. Protect yourself by staying informed about any substances that you may need to talk about with potential renters. It only takes a few minutes, and could save you from a hefty penalty.
The mistakes above are a few of the most common errors, but certainly not the only ones that people make. If you’re ready for all the challenges of managing a property on your own, make sure that you’re fully aware of everything that’s necessary to safeguard your own livelihood while also giving tenants a safe and comfortable place to live.