By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
Image source: BiggerPockets
Leasing your residential property is not as complicated as it may seem, provided that you are well-equipped with the right knowledge and resources to successfully navigate the processes (and sometimes complexities) that are expected from such a venture. Here are a few tips to get your started:
- Know your rights and responsibilities and those of your tenant(s). The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act governs the rental agreements in Alabama. The law sheds light to the most common issues landlords and tenants face, such as disputed claims or rights, territorial application, obligation of good faith, tenant and landlord obligations, limitation of liability and noncompliance with rental agreement, among many others. Note that the Act does not govern occupancy that is:
- Under a contract for sale
- Under a fraternal or social organization
- Conditional upon employment
- Considered as a condominium
- For agricultural purposes
- Transient (in a hotel)
- Medical, geriatric, educational, etc. in nature
Opting no to educate yourself on housing laws can result to serious consequences if you violate them, intentionally or not.
- Conduct research within the area. Gather data about prevailing costs, association rules, and estimated amount of real estate taxes for leased properties, to name a few.
- Seek expert opinion before drafting the Terms and Conditions of the Rental Agreement. Leave the legal issues into the hands of a property management expert. The extra investment will help you prevent costly mistakes and save you money in the future.
- Ensure that the basic Alabama Landlord Forms are always available on hand. Some of these include Addendum to Rental Agreement, Extension of Lease, Notice of Entry, Complaint Form (Statement of Claim) for general and specific property cases, Sublease Agreement and Notice of Termination of Tenancy.
- Know what to ask and how to investigate your prospective tenants. Failing to judge a tenant is one of the most common mistakes newbie landlords make. For starters, you should know why the tenant is moving, when the move-in date is, and who will be living in the property. Ask for proof of income and request for a letter of recommendation from their previous landlord if possible.
Leasing your property requires good judgment and patience. If it becomes too much for you, you can always get in touch with highly-trained specialists who are ready to meet the challenging demands of property management.