There are a lot of people around the United States who rent, rather than own, their homes. It has been estimated that at least 42.58 million apartments and houses are rental properties. At least one third of all renters move each year. If you want to offer apartments, stand alone houses or townhomes for rent, there are some things you can do to have a better experience.
- If this is the first time you rent out a property, you have some learning to do. Start out by talking to other people who have townhomes for rent. You need really understand the time commitment and how much work you will have to do every week or month. If you are looking to get into the business of being a landlord, you should also think about how much you like dealing with people. If you are not a people person but have a property (or more than one) that you would like to rent out, you may want to hire someone to deal with your tenants and their needs.
- Know what you can spend. When you have rental properties, you have more expenses that are associated with their management than you may realize. You now have to concern yourself with the maintenance expenses for your residence and your rental property. Before you list your property online and with real estate agents, do a search for prices for similar properties in your area. If you have a townhome, look up townhomes for rent. Should also make up a list of all of the expenses for all of your properties. Do not forget to factor in your insurance, maintenance, the mortgage and any other costs.
- Get to know all you can about your tenants. When you talk to the plethora of people who respond to your listing, you may want to run a background check, get a credit history (or require a cosigner) and check out their social media sites and channels. There are some organizations that can help. One such organization is the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA). This can get you the data you need to make the right decision.
- Learn the law of your area. Different areas have different landlord-tenant laws. In Washington, DC, for example, the law is written in a way that tenants have a lot more rights than many even realize. By contrast, Florida has laws that are much more landlord friendly. Tenants who stop paying rent in DC, can cost their landlords a lot. You need to know what your rights are in these circumstances before you rent your space. You can also structure your rental agreement differently to mitigate any loses from bad tenants.
- Make sure everyone is insured. You need to make sure you can get the best homeowner’s insurance for your property but it is also a good idea to talk to your tenants about their insurance options. Accidents happen. You may have the most responsible tenants who never pay their rent late. Even if you do everything right, their toaster oven can malfunction and burn the place down. Accidents can destroy the property and that is why making sure everyone has the right insurance so everyone is protected.
- Have a pet policy. It is no secret that Americans love their animals. At least 70% of all people who rent their homes have pets. When you list your property, whether you have furnished apartments for rent or townhomes for rent, you need to decide what animals will be accepted. Most pet owners have cats or dogs but even within those, there are variations. You can set weight limits or charge a pet fee or even monthly pet rent. Just decide what is best for your property.
As a landlord, you have some responsibilities but so do your tenants. You can have a better experience with your various properties such as the townhomes for rent when you know all of the rules. Being a good landlord is not jus a question of finding the right tenants and cashing the rent check. If you maintain your properties, you will get a reputation for being a good landlord and will get better tenants.