One of the most important aspects of being a landlord is protecting your rental property. If you are a beginning landlord and this is your first time renting out a property, you should perform some basic tasks before you allow tenants into your house.
Rental Property Insurance
The insurance you get as a homeowner is not sufficient to cover the expenses of renting out your property. Most landlords prefer to get the landlord’s rental insurance for their property which covers many of the damages and repair costs associated with tenancies. Most rental insurance policies do not cover any personal belongings you might leave in your rental apartment or home but they do cover the home’s structure, medical expenses and personal liability.
Before you rent out your property, it is a recommended practice to screen prospective tenants in order to ensure you do not rent out to any problem individuals. It is important to follow the law in this regard. For example, Massachusetts law dictates it is unlawful for a landlord to deny tenancy on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, color or race. The tenant screening process involves filling out a rental application, interviewing the tenants and performing various background checks. Make sure you do not ask prospective tenants questions that might reflect any discrimination on your part as a landlord.
While it is not possible to predict human behavior, screening tenants is your best bet at getting good tenants who will pay their rent on time and not leave your rental property in shambles when they leave.
Draft a Solid Lease or Agreement
The lease or agreement will detail each element of your relationship with the tenant and outline the responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. Your lease should comply with fair housing, rental, health and safety, and tenant and insurance laws of Massachusetts. MA landlord and tenant laws outline a set list of rules to follow when drafting a lease and include details of what a lease can and cannot have.
Immediately Address Maintenance Issues
The landlord is responsible for taking care of any maintenance issues like leaking pipes, faulty heating or insufficient water. The tenant is required to inform the landlord of any such issues so you can get them fixed as soon as possible. Sometimes, the problem is small and doesn’t cause any problems to the tenant so landlords ignore them. This is a huge mistake.
Regular maintenance is necessary to avoid large expenses on repairs later on. Make sure you deal with even the smallest of issues immediately. This is where having a property management company helps. A landlord with a regular job and other responsibilities cannot take care of all such issues himself and hiring a professional property management company really takes a load off your back.