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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 Filer can be an enjoyable and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, there are many things you need to understand to successfully move from a property owner to a landlord. Imagine you are a Filer rental property owner getting ready to lease for the first time. In that circumstance, it is important to first fully understand the basics of leasing strategies and, even more importantly, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To get you started leasing your first property, we’ve gathered a comprehensive guide covering the basics. By following a couple of easy guidelines, you can surely make your first encounter a positive one.

Screening Process Basics

One of the first and most significant approaches in leasing your rental property is locating the right renter. You can do this by providing a good screening process for each applicant. You’ll need to collect certain data from your prospective tenant to help you find out if they are the ones you’re looking for. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application that includes the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the house and those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. You will also need to request Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on each person. At that moment, call and verify the information on their application. If possible, contact any previous landlords and inquire information about their renting history. It could take a long time, but the more research you conduct before you sign that lease, the less likely you will experience unpleasant surprises someday.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, you need 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. Therefore, as you write your rental ads, be careful to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as stating that you will not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. At that point, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants connected with the information they present 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

Similarly, it is necessary 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 must make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, if needed. Naturally, 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 matches the criteria for renting your property, accommodation must not be an opportunity to turn them down. Sometimes, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, knowing that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In certain situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if considered reasonable, you must provide it. This covers allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

In conclusion, it’s imperative to know that there may be different and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you should take the time to research all applicable laws in your area and craft your processes in line with them.

Knowing all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be a challenge. Therefore, why not entrust this important task to a Filer property manager? At Real Property Management Magic Valley, 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 208-734-4001 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.

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