There are many different questions that both landlords and tenants have about the rules, codes and laws related to residential and commercial rental properties. Each state has its own laws and regulations related to rental property, tenants rights and landlord rights. Select your state from the drop-down menu below to see more specific information about the laws and regulations for rental property in your state.
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Landlord Tips, Tricks & Resources:
SCREEN YOUR TENANTS WELL:
Use a background check service to see if your prospective tenants have ever been evicted in court, have filed bankruptcy or have had repossessions or foreclosures. You can also obtain their credit scores and more using one of these types of online services.
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You will also want to verify the prospective tenants employment by calling their employer. Most rent to own appliance and furniture companies verify a prospective clients employment in this manner. You will however most likely only get to obtain the prospective tenants length of employment with the company. You will also want to verify the prospective tenants rental history if applicable. This allows the landlord to view late or on time payment histories.
Make sure your rental or investment property is covered by some type of home owners insurance policy. Make sure that you can obtain coverage for flooding and water damage or acts of nature if you live in an area known to have floods, heavy rain events, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.
SAVE SOME MONEY. REUSE AND RECYCLE:
A landlord can save money on repairs and upgrades to new and existing rental property by salvaging as many things as possible from a newly vacant property to a newly purchased investment property.
One thing you as a landlord might try to do is save the ceiling fans from newly vacant rentals or newly purchased investment properties.
You can clean the blades and fan motor housings to make them look new again. This of course would require that the landlord be a do it yourself type person, but you can also contract out this service and others like it for low rates. Most home cleaning companies will thoroughly clean the ceiling fans making them look new in appearance again.
PETS AND RENTAL PROPERTY:
If you allow pets on or in your rental properties you should always charge the tenant a pet deposit. We recommend five hundred dollars per animal.
Even a small animal inside the property could damage carpeting and other flooring and structural items inside. They can also damage air conditioning units and other exposed piping, wiring and woodwork exposed outside. The pet deposit would cover most things a pet could destroy during its stay.
Keep in mind that dogs that remain in a contained area such as a back yard will create trails over time. They will continue to run along the same path time after time and create a worn down area in the grass. It is possible for them to kill the grass in this area as well.
MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID ON TIME:
As a landlord it is ideal for a tenant to pay on time each month as determined in the lease agreement. If a tenant is late in paying his or her payment the landlord may charge late fees and court fees if the tenant is evicted. We recommend a landlord not allow any tenant to become more than two weeks or ten days late in past due rent. If the landlord allows this to happen he or she will most likely need to evict the current tenants. This will cost you court fees and down time on an investment property. Your ideal scenario in investment property is to have a minimal down time for any given property.
GET A PROPERTY BACK IN THE MARKET:
Place your rental signs in the front yard of the property and advertise in your local newspaper classifieds under the rental property sections. You can do this if you have a new property or a property that is currently undergoing an eviction.
If you have a legal question you can ask an on call attorney free legal questions 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Get connected with an attorney now. You can also search for investment properties and home owners or renters insurance by using our foreclosure listings service links makes finding investment property easy for new and experienced landlords alike.
Landlord Questions and Answers:
Q: Do I have to go through the court system and eviction process to remove a tenant that has not paid rent?
A: Yes. The law requires you as the landlord to go through a formal eviction proceeding before a tenant can be removed from your property. The eviction process usually takes less than 60 days to be complete. In some states this time period is less.
Q: Can I keep the tenants security deposit if they were evicted?
A: In most cases the judge will allow the landlord to keep the tenants security deposit for any past due payments in rent, cleaning fees and repairs that were due to the tenants negligence.
Q: Can I enter the property before the tenants have been evicted?
A: No. You cannot enter the property without written permission from a judge. At the end of the eviction process the judge will give you a form that gives you permission to enter the property and take possession of your property from the former tenants. If you enter the property without the proper paperwork or without going through the process of eviction you can be charged criminally for burglary of a habitation among other things depending on your state. It is best to wait until the eviction process is over.
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A home warranty is a protection plan that offers coverage for common home repairs. For a simple annual fee, this type of plan offers financial security from unexpected problems with your home appliances and systems. A home warranty is smart if: