An Informed Landlord Is a Successful Landlord

By : Nick Marr

How difficult could it be to be a landlord? If you are fortunate to be able to buy property that you will not live in, you simply clean the place up, advertise that it’s available and wait for the renters to beat a path to your door, right?

That is the way it works, if you leave out all the details of owning a property; making sure it meets local, county, and state requirements; repairing appliances and utility service; collecting money from someone who has lost a job… the list goes on and on.

So Much to Do

Yes, there is a lot to do to be a successful landlord, especially if you plan to own rental properties over a period of time while letting the renter help you pay down the mortgage. Some of the items on a landlord’s to-do list are legal requirements. Many property owners could have difficulty with these unless they have information provided by others who have experienced this business first-hand.

That’s why it is so important for businesses and individuals to make essential information available for those who have questions and concerns about the rental-property field. Fortunately, there is a lot of useful landlord information available, in both detailed form and as checklists that property owners can use on a day-to-day basis.

One of the most important steps a landlord will take should come right at the start of the ownership process. The owner should ensure that the space for rent will be safe and healthy for those who will move in. Covering these details will help reduce or eliminate conditions that might cause injury or illness to individuals. Eliminating situations that may cause the owner to be sued is the other major benefit of making sure the property is safe.

Safety Checks

These safety checks include gas utility, plumbing, natural gas, or propane gas service. Electrical service should be thoroughly inspected as well by a qualified electrician. Appliances should be checked regularly as part of this process. In addition to these utility items, the property owner is responsible for making sure the rental space meets the requirements for fire safety. Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are some of the basic items in this area.

Apart from making the property safe for human habitation, the landlord must stay informed as to the proper rents to charge, along with deciding how to collect damage-deposit funds and upfront rent. Setting the rent charge too high or making the requirements too stiff can turn away ideal tenants. It is also the owner’s responsibility to keep deposit funds and operating funds safe and available.

There are a number of other areas that are the landlord’s responsibility including decorating, painting, and furnishing the rooms. Some local and regional governments require a property owner to be accredited and registered in order to conduct business in this field. Owning property to let also involves having the proper insurance in place to protect everyone involved. If you want to be a landlord, educate yourself in all these areas and you will have a good start.