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Leasing 101: A Comprehensive Guide For Property Investors

Landlord and Tenant Discussing Lease AgreementBuying and owning single-family rental properties in Sunrise Beach Village can be an agreeable and rewarding investment. Yet, unlike other types of investments, there are numerous aspects you need to consider to shift from a property owner to a landlord efficiently. Assume you are a Sunrise Beach Village rental property owner who is about to lease for the first time. In that manner, you need to first fully determine the basics of leasing strategies and, most importantly, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To get you started leasing your first property, we’ve collected a comprehensive guide, including the basics. By following a couple of easy guidelines, you can most likely make your first experience a positive one.

Screening Process Basics

Probably the first and most significant approach in leasing your rental property is finding the correct renter. You can achieve this by conducting a good screening process for each applicant. You’ll need to gather specific information from your prospective tenant to help you decide if they are the ones you’re seeking. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application that contains the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the house, along with those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. You will also need to ask for the Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on every individual. After that, call and verify the information on their application. Preferably, contact any previous landlords and gather information about their renting history. It could require some exertion, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will experience unpleasant surprises.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, it’s essential to avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on factors like race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; note there may be other protected classes dependant on your state’s laws. As you write your rental ads, be careful to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as stating you will not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. Then, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants based on the information they provide and not on other criteria. By maintaining professionalism and using an unbiased screening system, you can stay clear of discriminating against any potential renters.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

Likewise, it is advisable not to presume that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners should make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, if required. Accordingly, a reasonable accommodation is “a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” If your prospective tenant otherwise fits the criteria for renting your property, accommodation must not be a reason to turn them down. On occasion, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, considering that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In some situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if assumed reasonable, you should allow. This includes allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even though you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

After all, it’s important to understand that there may be several and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you need to invest time to research all applicable laws in your place and craft your processes in line with them.

Recognizing all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be problematic. Therefore, why not entrust this important task to a Sunrise Beach Village property manager? At Real Property Management Highland, we offer clear and anti-discriminatory screening and leasing services that help our rental property owners find the best possible tenants for their properties. Contact us today or give us a call at 830-637-7880 to learn more.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.