WASHINGTON – March 11, 2009 – Homeowners who decide to rent out their properties have to stop thinking of themselves as homeowners and instead consider themselves as running a small business, experts say.
Thinking like a businessperson means focusing on the monthly cost of maintenance, mortgage and taxes, as well as being aware of landlord-tenant regulations and avoiding liabilities.
Here are key issues to consider:
- Set a fair rent. Setting the right price will make it more likely that a landlord will be able to keep the place rented.
- Understand landlord-tenant rules. Running afoul of landlord-tenant regulations and rules regarding security deposits can be costly.
- Screen applicants. Eliminating potential tenants who can’t pay or who won’t take care of the property is very important.
- Lay out the rules in a lease. Widely available sample leases can help. If you have questions, ask an attorney.
- Consider a property manager. Despite the expense, turning the job over to experts can help a landlord come out ahead.
- Talk to the condo association. If the property is a condominium, be prepared to deal with a host of regulations.