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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 Agua Dulce can be an exciting and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, to become a successful owner of a rental business there many things to be considered. Suppose you are an Agua Dulce rental property owner who will lease your property for the first time. To make your business experience successful, you need to fully understand the basics of leasing strategies and, even more importantly, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To get you prepared for this business, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide covering the basics. By following a few simple guidelines, you are more likely to make your first experience a positive one.

Screening Process Basics

One of the first and most important steps in leasing your rental property is finding the right renter, by using a good screening process for each applicant. In the screening process, you need to gather important details from your prospective tenant to help you determine the right tenant for your business. First, request that they fill out an application that includes the names, birthdates for all intended occupants, including those under 18, five years of employment history, at least three references, Social Security numbers for all adult applicants, and other important information about them. Then, run a background check on each one or call and verify the information of their application. If possible, contact any previous landlords and get details on their renting history. It may take some time, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will encounter unpleasant surprises or problems in the future.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, it’s important 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 dependent on your state’s laws. As you create the rental ads, be careful to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as stating you will not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. Then, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants based on the information they provided 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 important not to assume that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners are required to make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, should they be required. By definition, 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 otherwise meets the criteria for renting your property, accommodation should not be a reason to turn them down. In some cases, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the understanding that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In other situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if found reasonable, you will need to consider or allow. This includes allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Lastly, it’s important to know that there may be different and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities for neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you should take the time to research 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. Why not entrust this important task to an Agua Dulce property manager? At Real Property Management Traditions, we offer clear and anti-discrimination 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 661-266-1400 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.