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Accidental Landlords: What to Do if You Become One

Accidental Landlords: What to Do if You Become One

The U.S. rental housing market is large and diverse, serving 44 million households in all parts of the country.

It is a dynamic ecosystem that caters to various rental income earners, including a unique group known as "accidental landlords." Every year, thousands of people find themselves pushed into renting out a property for the first time. While not everyone sets out to be a landlord, circumstances may lead them to this role.

Becoming an accidental landlord can be an intimidating experience. However, there are ways to navigate this new territory successfully. Below is a guide that explores what it means to be an accidental landlord.

What Is an Accidental Landlord?

Accidental landlords are people who become a landlord unexpectedly. This may be due to unforeseen circumstances. These include:

  • Failure to sell your current home
  • Relocating for work
  • Inheriting a property
  • Moving in with a partner
  • Facing financial difficulties

Tips for Becoming an Accidental Landlord

To become a landlord accidentally can be hard. Below are some landlord tips to help you navigate this role with confidence.

Research the Real Estate Industry

As a new landlord, you need to equip yourself with knowledge about the real estate industry. Research effective marketing strategies to attract potential tenants.

Familiarize yourself with the rental laws and regulations specific to your area. This will help ensure your property complies with all legal requirements.

Additionally, ensure that your property meets all building codes and safety standards. Failure to do so may lead to issues with local authorities.

Craft a Solid Lease Agreement

A well-structured lease agreement is crucial for a successful rental plan. Determine a reasonable rental price based on market research and prevailing rates.

Decide whether you will collect the first and last month's rent or require a security deposit. Clearly outline the conditions for refunding the deposit or possible penalties.

Set Clear Rental Terms

Apart from the rental price, your lease agreement should include several essential terms. This will help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts with your tenants. Some key aspects to address include:

  • Number of tenants allowed on the lease to prevent overcrowding
  • Clarify who is responsible for utilities such as water, electricity, and cable
  • Outline the maintenance responsibilities for the property
  • Clearly state the rent due date and any penalties for late payments
  • Include guidelines for lease termination notices from both parties
  • Address whether parties and large gatherings are permitted on the property

Embrace Tenant Screening

As an accidental landlord, you may feel compelled to quickly fill the vacant property to generate income. However, resist the temptation to rush the process.

Quality tenants are important for a successful rental venture. Thoroughly vet potential tenants by conducting background checks, verifying their employment, and contacting references. A reliable screening process can save you from future headaches caused by bad tenants.

Create a Tenant Portal

Creating a tenant portal is a great way to streamline communication. It enhances the overall renting experience for both you and your tenants.

A tenant portal is a secure online platform that allows tenants to access important information. This includes submitting requests, making payments, and interacting with you conveniently. Ensure you select the right platform to build your tenant portal.

Qualified Property Managers for Accidental Landlords

Accidental landlords can face unforeseen challenges. If managing the property becomes overwhelming, hire a competent property manager.

At Harland Property Management, we can help you take care of your property. Contact us today to get started.