How to rent your home

Whether a small cottage in the middle of the Kentucky woods or fancy digs in the Pacific Palisades, every property has the potential to be an income earner. Knowing the ins and outs of realty and the law can make the difference between a renting experience that is effortless and one that is rife with drama. With the Internet as a convenient tool and a number of on-site places for resources, owners looking to lease their property over an extended period or those looking for short-term renters have many opportunities to do so.

Renting out a place can happen in two ways. The first is to rent the place out without the aid of a property manager. In taking on this responsibility, though, owners not only have to know the law but also must be well versed in handling problems that might arise when leasing a property. For those who are not familiar with the general responsibilities of managing a property, lack the time to manage a property or do not have the requisite realty experience, leasing through a property manager is much easier. For one, most property management companies take responsibility for maintenance issues, alleviating any worries regarding repairs. A property manager also determines the most appropriate rental amount and deposit, provides a legal rental agreement and finds and screens tenants. These services are in exchange for a monetary fee, usually agreed upon in the contract.

Collecting a rent check is great, but to avoid any problems before leasing, prospective renters might consider looking for renters with certain characteristics. These desired qualities are going to depend on the owner. For example, some might not care for renters with pets, but that might not be an issue for other owners. Some might find renting to unassuming families more desirable as opposed to renting to a bachelor or bachelorette who might throw wild parties and wake the neighborhood on a frequent basis. Questions regarding how the renters might treat the place, if they own a large dog or if they are smokers are important in determining an appropriate deposit and rental amount.

After taking these factors into consideration, prospective owners should take on the task of putting together a leasing agreement that addresses a rental amount, rental increases, late payments and other points of interest. If renting without the aid of a property management company, owners can visit a number of places online as a resource to find information regarding tenant/owner contracts. To determine the rental cost, a person can go to a number of online rental sites to see properties in the area and set a price for rent. Typically, deposits run about one month’s rent, with owners charging extra for pets and other factors that might contribute to property damages. Those renting their place out through a property management company will be given a copy of the standard lease with deposit information, in addition to rental costs for given neighborhoods.  Another important factor related to tenancy is the length of the lease. Some leases are month-to-month; some cover six months, and then there is the 12-month lease. Owners should also want to put stipulations into place just in case the lease is broken or the renter needs to sublet the property.

Other factors to keep in mind include preparing the property for rental, such as making sure that the property passes standard health regulations and ensuring that the homeowner has some form of home warranty on the property. Before allowing anyone to move into the place, owners should make sure that the home is tidy by painting the walls and having the carpets cleaned in addition to cleaning air/heating systems and other appliances. Owners should place all of the manuals related to how appliances work in a kitchen drawer for easy access. Finally, they should furnish to renters an itemized checklist that documents the condition of the property upon moving in. This documentation can include pictures.

While it might seem an easy task, renting a home requires more than collecting a check at the beginning of each month. Owners, whether renting on their own or through a property management company, should provide prospective tenants with the expectations, legal and personal, of living within the home while being responsible for providing a clean place to live for the cost of a month’s rent. Ultimately, providing tenants with reasonable expectations in exchange for an affordable rental translates into a pleasurable experience for both renter and owner. 

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