Accidental landlords are those who never intended to become a landlord but were gifted or bequeathed a property that they now have to take care of. They have no experience managing rental properties or any experience being a landlord, and that could cause problems since they are unaware of many things.
Are you in such a situation? Well, we wanted to outline some mistakes that accidental landlords tend to make, so you can avoid them and not end up in financial distress because of them.
1. Not Charging Enough for the Property (Or Too Much)
The problem with being an accidental landlord is that you are unsure of exactly how much to charge monthly for a rental property. You might be worried that if you charge too much you won't get tenants that stick around. Or if you end up charging too much for rent, you won't get any offers.
Research online on similar properties to yours and then match them when it comes to how much you charge. This way, you can stay within acceptable limits, not going over or under.
2. Not Screening the Tenants Properly
This is the most important thing that a landlord can do before handing over the keys to a potential tenant. You will want to do your due diligence by conducting a background check, a credit check included.
All this allows you to reassure yourself that the tenant you have chosen is reliable and will pay on time, without causing you too many issues.
3. Not Following Local Rental Laws
There are many local bylaws and state laws that you have to follow as a landlord, and you need to be aware of them. Just because you are an accidental landlord, you can't use that as an excuse to get out of any fines or repercussions if you end up not adhering to tenant rights.
4. Not Drafting a Proper Lease Agreement
Your lease agreement, if done well, is what will protect you from any harm down the road. That's why it's important to make sure you draft a good lease agreement, including every term that you can think of. It's better to have it written down on the agreement than to leave it out and regret it later.
5. Not Paying Attention to Property Maintenance
Property maintenance will ensure that your tenants are happy staying in your property, and this regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of your property as well. It's important to have a schedule for it so you don't forget about something that needs to be fixed, replaced, or repaired.
Do a Great Job Despite Being Accidental Landlords
Accidental landlords, if they avoid all the common mistakes mentioned above, can do a fantastic job of managing their rental properties. Being a landlord isn't easy though.
And if you aren't interested in learning about real estate or being a landlord, then hire a property management company to take care of your properties for you. Contact us if you wish to learn more about how a property management company can help you.