8 Crucial Responsibilities Landlords Like You Must Know

Landlord Duties And Responsibilities

So, you have decided to rent out your property. As a landlord, you have several responsibilities, and your duties do not end after you have screened and selected your tenants. Actually, this is but the beginning. Through the details given below, you will learn more about the typical responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, and knowing these things will allow you to avoid serious mistakes in the future.

1Property Maintenance

One of the primary duties of a landlord is to ensure that the property that he is renting out is clean and well-maintained. As a landlord, never forget that you will have no source of income if you do not have a property. This property is your investment, and it is a tangible investment that you should care for and maintain.

Whenever a problem comes up, see to it right away; this is the mark of a good landlord. Be involved and be a hands-on landlord because this will allow you to understand better how rental properties need to be managed. Once the property for rent is ready, it is also essential to schedule an inspection. This is an important part of the renting process. Through inspections, damage, issues, and other problems that may cause accidents are noted and taken care of.

2Property Inspection

An inspection document will provide details about the property for rent, and any type of damage is noted, no matter how small, even minor scratches on the stove. Both the renter and the landlord must then sign the document. It is also essential for the landlord to double check the property carefully before his new tenants move in. Naturally, the area should be clean and in good shape. Some experienced landlords also take photos of the rental property; through this, they are able to keep a record of how things looked before the renters moved in.

When taking photos, you do not have to have the film developed as soon as possible. You can put the camera aside and have the film ready in case a dispute arises between you and the new tenant, particularly during the time he moves in. You can use more affordable disposable cameras. The photos will be your insurance, and such will provide evidence in case your new tenant causes damage to the place.

3The Importance Of An Inspection

It is always prudent to schedule a thorough inspection during the move-in time. The inspection report will contain helpful details, especially if a tenant causes harm to your property, which will then entitle you to collect for damages. The report must be very detailed, and it must include descriptions regarding the condition of each room or space.

It's helpful to note down noticeable damage on the report, such as carpet stains or scratches or cracks on the wall. This detailed report will actually be beneficial to both the landlord and the tenant. Taking note of problems and other deficiencies are important.

4Why Require A Tenant Report?

Most landlords give their tenants some time, mostly a few days after moving in to submit their own report. The time will allow the tenant to take note of all damage and other possible issues regarding the house or unit that he is renting. Aside from providing the landlord and tenant an accurate record about the overall condition of the rental property before renting and after the move-in, this document also gives the landlord helpful details regarding what needs fixing.

Perhaps little scratches won't be repaired right away. However, some issues need to be addressed as soon as possible. In addition to this, the landlord must share all relevant details to the tenant before this person moves in, such as how to efficiently adjust the cooling or heating system.

5Informing Tenants About The Facilities

It's highly likely that your tenant won't know every facility that's already in your rental house. This is why it's crucial for you, as the landlord, to inform your tenant beforehand about what facilities or appliances he can use and give him instructions regarding how to properly care for these. Also, don't forget to tell the tenant about where all the safety mechanisms are located and how these are activated. It's also better to check if all available equipment or tools are working and in good condition.

There are also specific details that a landlord is obligated to share with his tenant. For instance, the new tenant must also have the numbers of emergency services and public utility companies that are providing services to the property. Typically, a landlord lists down all these details in a piece of paper and gives this to the tenant.

6What Is Included On The List?

The list must provide helpful details to the new tenant, such as the numbers of utility companies as well as cable or phone service companies, nearby schools in the area (for a tenant with children), and other important info. It's also imperative for the tenant to have his landlord's contact number so that he can get in touch with him at any time. In case there are common areas, as in the case of condos, smoking and other activities may be banned.

A new tenant must know and must be willing to follow all these rules. Perhaps a tenant can only use the laundry facility during specific hours, or maybe there is a stipulation that children are not allowed near or in the pool without being supervised by an adult. It is also within the legal rights of a landlord to ban smoking within the rental units.

7Set Your Requirements On Your Property

A landlord determines what is acceptable or not when it comes to his rental property, which means that he decides whether or not a tenant is allowed to have pets or how many guests the tenant can have at one time, for example. Smoking can also be banned within the whole property, and this restriction must be clearly stated in the contract. Prohibiting smoking in the entire premises of your rental property or the common areas is not considered discriminatory.

In case a tenant breaks the terms of the lease, he cannot use that defense. If you do not want any pets in your rental space, you can also include a clause regarding that in the lease agreement. It is a must to have a written policy, like clearly stating "no pets allowed," but you cannot ban companion animals as declared in the Americans with Disabilities Act. To get around this rule, some people may claim that they need their animals/pets for emotional support; in such cases, the animal could be considered as an assistive aid rather than a regular pet.

8When To Waive Certain Policies?

In case a tenant is disabled and requires a companion animal, it becomes a must for a landlord to waive his "no pet" policy so that the said tenant will be able to enjoy the use of the unit or house that he is renting. Moreover, discriminatory policies against families violate the law. According to the law, a landlord must not discriminate against families with children, unless his property is classified under certain federal regulations.

Fair Housing laws prohibit landlords from refusing prospective tenants based on their familial status. "Familial status" pertains to having one or more children under eighteen who lives with the parent (or parents) or legal guardian. This is a protected status that also applies to pregnant women or parents who are currently seeking custody for children who are still minors.

Perhaps, the details above have helped in opening your eyes about the different factors to consider when it comes to becoming a landlord. The positive thing here is that, although your being a first-time landlord can be pretty tough, things will get easier as you get the hang of it. So, don't be scared about renting your property because you are daunted about what's involved. Just think about how being in this business could change your life, and all the sacrifices will be worth it once your property starts generating income.

About Author

Jackie Wing

Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."