Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

Being a first-time landlord exposes you to new challenges but there are ways to ease the transition. It’s vital for new landlords to form good habits and create efficient systems to help reduce stress. These systems can also lead to plenty of savings by avoiding costly mistakes.

With an effective management system, you can properly handle your rental properties and respond to critical situations, especially property emergencies. Being organized leads to cultivating good relations with the renters where they trust you more and be happy enough to stay as long-term renters.

Below are tips you can adopt that are advantageous for landlords managing a rental:

Bookkeeping System

Since you’re managing a rental business, you need to organize your paperwork to make it easy to keep track of your expenses and profits. It also helps you calculate tax deductions when you have your invoices and receipts within reach.

Many accounting softwares are available that can help you record your finances. It’s important to track your finances in order to review your business strategies and make crucial adjustments when needed.

Written Lease

You may think that verbal agreements are hassle-free but when conflicts arise, it can be hard to prove the tenancy terms and conditions in court, whereas a written lease agreement provides proof of the terms.

a person on a sofa reading papers

A written lease is accepted as legal proof and also clarifies the rights and responsibilities of the two parties, including the property policies to follow and property inspections to expect.

It’s recommended to put everything in writing when speaking with a renter so you can remember the recent agreements. You can also verify what a tenant stated by reviewing the notes you took during a meeting.

Tax Filing

No matter the type of rental unit you own, you’re still expected to pay your corporate tax. Consult a tax expert to help you in tax preparation. Rental payments are your source of income while property repair costs are categorized as expenses. These costs can be tax deductible so you’ll be paying reduced taxes but you need the guidance of a tax professional.

Fixed Business Hours

First-time landlords can often have a tough time balancing their personal and business life. However, you don’t have to spend all your time managing your rental property in order for it to be successful.

You can create boundaries between landlord and tenant by following fixed business hours. It’s true that emergencies can happen which may require you to work outside of normal business hours, but making these exceptions shows your tenants that you care about their wellbeing in emergency situations.

shaking hands over a desk

Keeping a healthy work schedule to limit burnout. Let your renters know your fixed business hours and update them on any changes to your contact information. Reassure them that you’re available when urgent situations occur, but non-emergency cases will be addressed during regular business hours.

Avoid Renting to Family

Although in theory, it might appear to be advantageous to rent to family and friends, it can also pose an issue since boundaries might be ignored. Rules may be bent in an effort to remain in good relations which can upset the other renters who must adhere to the property policies written on the lease agreement.

Some friends and family members may also request to pay the rent a bit later. It can be hard to refuse them given that there’s a personal relationship at stake. You don’t want to risk having a conflict or communicating with them about residency in an inappropriate manner.

However, relatives and friends are more likely to skip out on rent and create awkward situations when you try to confront them about it. Accommodating family members and friends in your rental spaces may create difficulties and can make it tough to enforce the lease agreement.

Conduct Tenant Screening

Some landlords may be tempted to skip screening their renters since it requires gathering several documents and assessing and verifying income, credit score, and employment. The tenant screening process protects landlords from welcoming problem renters.

two people sitting across from one another with papers and a laptop between them

You want to avoid renters who are delinquent when paying the rent or damage your rental unit through neglect or abuse. Make sure to review a candidate’s records of eviction, bankruptcy, and crime to ensure you’re accommodating a good tenant. Research the tenant history and reach out to former landlords for more information that can lead to a better decision.

Be Clear About Lease Violations

Mentioning how you address tenancy violations helps in lease enforcement. Renters must know the consequences of their actions so they know what to expect. For example, if they’ve been reported for public disturbance due to excessive noise, they’ll know whether they’ll be given a warning or be evicted from the rental space.

Renters must be informed if penalties will be collected or if an activity can result in outright eviction. Being clear helps to minimize confusion and encourages more compliance with property policies. Clarity in the lease agreement is something landlords should do, but often skip over.

Walkthrough Inspections

When a tenant moves in or out, make sure you perform a walkthrough inspection. Taking photos is essential so you have evidence of the property when tenants move in and move out. When you prepare documentation before a renter stays in the rental unit, it’s easy to compare the before and after the tenancy.

a small family and a person in a suit looking at a living room

Any damages beyond wear and tear can be easily determined. The party that caused the property damage will then need to pay, creating minimal disputes.

Design a Pet Policy

Whether you accept tenants with pets or not, you should specify the rules in the lease agreement. If you accommodate them, outline the policies clearly and be specific about the pet restrictions, required pet deposit, and pet insurance. Detail your pet screening process, while ensuring that pet policies are clearly outlined to make it easy for pet owners to adhere to the agreement.

Bottom Line

By following the tips cited above, first-time landlords can minimize their risk exposure. If you’re looking for a professional property manager to look after your rental space and create better systems, contact get MULTIfamily Property Management today! They can also help market a vacant rental property, prepare a lease, collect the rent, and maintain your rental home.