Planning On Renting A Spare Property? Here’s What You Should Take Care Of

In the world of property rentals, there is a spectrum. Bad landlords and great landlords are to be found in any country, in any location, in both affluent and deprived areas alike. No matter what house or room you are letting out, as a landlord, you have a whole host of responsibilities for your tenant.

The monthly fee you charge them isn’t just a fee for the right to live there, it’s also a bonded contract that ties you to deal with their issues and maintenance woes. It is also a symbol of trust on the part of the renter that you will keep the property safe and up to housing code for them to live there.

As a new landlord or letter, it can be difficult to figure out just what responsibilities you have to your client, and how to be considered a ‘good landlord.’ No one intends to enter into a business relationship without aiming to hold up their end of the bargain, so most ‘bad landlords’ are a result of incompetence, ignorance, and lack of care.

[Photo courtesy of noona11/flickr.com]

This article will allow you to figure out if you’re on the right track, and if not, how to correct it.

Fees

To begin with, a new renter will want to identify how much the property will cost them, and what fees they will need to pay upfront in order to secure the property. This is where plenty of landlords and letting agents lose their way. ‘Signing fees, holding fees, administrative fees’ are all terms you might have heard if you’ve rented property yourself. These are, for the most part, meaningless, and renters know it too. There’s just no reason to charge a renter $50 to have the luxury of signing your contract, especially when they have a deposit and likely one or two months worth of rental investment to give you.

Try and limit these unnecessary fees as an independent landlord. If you’re going through a letting agent, discourage them from doing the same. It only serves to dissuade interest in your property and starts the whole business relationship on weird terms.

Health Code

It is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure your property is up to health code before your tenants enter. There should be no leaks, the boiler should be up to date and serviced, and the place should be well insulated. It should also be free of pests and other hygiene issues.

This is not to say it’s your responsibility to clean up and pay for any damage sustained by your tenant while they are in the property. If they take matters into their own hands to repair a fault and end up compromising the safety of the property, you are well within your rights to charge them for that or penalize their safety deposit sum. Lay all of this out in the contract so the tenants know what terms they should live under.

Safety

Your property should be secure and allow your tenant to live safely at all times. You should secure the property with combi-locks and strong window supports. If the property has seen better days, taking the time to review all the methods of security issues that could occur will be beneficial. It will also prevent unnecessary damage to your property.

Energy

You have a responsibility to provide your property with electric/gas and water. It is not your responsibility to include internet usage in the energy bill packages. You can come to an agreement with your tenant when the contract is being drawn up as to how they will pay for it. If they would like to change the service that they’re being supplied with, you must stipulate that they ask you, in writing, permission to change it.

Maintenance

Any repair faults of a sizeable quality should be dealt with from your own property. General wear and tear is bound to happen. Tenant induced damages are not your responsibility. Small fixes, such as light bulb replacement, should be taken care of by the tenant.

Be sure to hire the services of a professional repair or construction firm to help fix big issues at a moment’s notice. Always be quick to solve the genuine worries of a tenant, because holding out on these fixes might cause the tenant to withhold their rental payment, and that can be difficult for everyone involved.

Amenities

If the apartment is furnished, you must provide basic amenities. Providing good amenities like washing machines can help you raise the monthly rental cost justifiably, and can pay for themselves in a matter of months. Consider what would be best for your domestic requirements, such as weighing the home benefits of a gasoline vs electric pressure washer. It’s good to provide refrigerators, and you may need more than one depending on the number of people you bring into the property. If you’re letting out 8 rooms, 1 refrigerator is most likely not going to meet the requirements of those living there.

Despite living as a landlord, remember the times when you first moved out into your own rented apartments, and consider ‘would I be happy with the amenities that I have provided if I was living here.’ If you would be, you’re good to go.

Fair Use

If you decide to ‘bills inclusive’ in the monthly cost of the rent for your tenant, they should adhere to a ‘fair use’ policy. This basically prevents them from leaving the heating on all the time and racking up extortionate bills that through a contractual loophole, you’ll be responsible for. Stipulate clearly in your contract that a certain monetary amount if fine, but past that, the tenant should contribute more towards the payment.

Being a great landlord is as simple as identifying how you’d want to be treated if the roles were reversed. The renting relationship should be one of the best business relationships around if everyone upholds their side of the contract. A bad landlord is constituted as someone who doesn’t fairly adhere to their side. Remember, your tenants are living, breathing people, and have their lives to live. You’re not in the business to make best friends, but if your tenant respects you, be sure to pay it in kind. You’re sure to have a fruitful and lucrative relationship if you do this.


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