The decision to purchase single-family homes, townhomes, or condos for sale in Irvine and become a landlord is a big one. You aren’t just accepting rent payments in exchange for the use of your home. You’re also responsible for maintaining the property, handling repairs, responding to tenant concerns, and more. Here are 6 important tips to get you started on this journey and better handle the business side of your venture.
1. Screen Tenants Carefully
When you are your own property manager, good screening is essential for smooth and easy tenancy. Proper screening can’t eliminate all potential concerns, but it can weed out tenants who have had issues with other landlords. Your general screening practice should include a credit check and background check before contacting the tenant’s employer and previous landlords. You can then move on to an interview.
2. Understand Discrimination and Fair Housing Laws
There are many laws governing rental properties, especially when it comes to discrimination. Fair housing laws are designed to ensure everyone has equal access to housing. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on sex, familial status, national origin, religion, color, race, and disability. California law further prohibits discrimination based on marital status, sexual orientation, and personal traits or characteristics like a tenant using public assistance. You need to comply with these laws in screening as well as conversations and advertising.
3. Be Available, But Not Too Available
It should be easy for tenants to get in touch with you if there’s a concern you need to address. Always respond to emails and phone calls promptly, but don’t feel like you need to be chained to your phone. Set clear hours for communication and be available as much as possible during regular business hours. Let tenants know they should only call outside these hours with a true emergency.
4. Build a Team
You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try. The more resources available for you and the tenants, the better your business will run. As you gain experience as a landlord, develop a list of contacts like trusted repair companies, lawn care companies, an accountant, an insurance agent, and possibly a leasing agent.
5. Offer Multiple Ways to Pay Rent
Your rent is your revenue and should be a priority. To increase on-time payments, consider offering several ways for tenants to pay rent. You can accept rent payments by mail and face to face, but you can also offer automatic withdrawal or an online rent payment service. Remind tenants they can even pay through their bank’s online bill pay system, which allows them to schedule rent as a recurring bill with the bank mailing you a check. Enforce a good rent collection policy. Your lease should clearly state the exact amount of rent, when it’s due, acceptable payment methods, the grace period, and the consequences of a late payment or bounced check.
6. Take Before and After Photos
A common mistake first-time landlords make is failing to make a record of the property’s condition at move-in and move-out. This step isn’t just important for tenants. It can also protect you if you need to withhold the security deposit for damage or file a lawsuit. If you’re looking to find a home in Irvine that you can rent out, get in touch with the trusted local agents at OC Residential. Our agents can help you find the best properties for your needs. Call 714-454-6304 today to schedule an appointment.