Landlording for Dummies

6 Replies

Hello,

My Husband and I recently decided to rent out our old house when moving into a new one. We know we can absorb both mortgages if needed and will still live close by. We found tenants and they will be moving in on the 1st of September. I want to make sure we are doing all the right things both for us and out new tenants. We have signed a lease agreement that was approved by our attorney and had the city come and inspect the property to obtain our rental license. I do have a few specific questions I hope I can find help with:

1. How do we ensure the tenant has the utilities put into their name, and that they are current with their bills (not shut off)?

2. How do we validate renters insurance (we did require this in the lease agreement)?

3. Any advice or suggestions would be very appreciated.

Thank you!

@Sandy Spence

Great questions and I am sure that you will have many more as you move along in this process.  BP is a great place to get those answered.

1) Utilities - You should have the utilities turned off on Sept 1st from your name and should have instructed the tenants that they will need to have them switched to them by Sept 1st.  I would add a line item to your lease to that effect so they sign that they understand.

2) Insurance - When they get renters insurance make sure they list you as an additional insured.  That way you will receive a letter if the policy is cancelled or renewed.  

3) Suggestions - Make sure to set the right expectations with them at the beginning.  Rent is due on the 1st, late of the 5th and eviction starts x number of days later.  Maintenance issues will be handled depending on severity.  Emergencies are addressed right away but a minor issue will take a few days.  Make sure you get a copy of any tenant/landlord documents from your Real Estate Commission so you know the laws.  Another option would be to hire a Property Manager to handle all of this for you.  Make sure to interview the Property Manager as they are not all created the same.

Good luck.

@Sandy Spence Awww, I wish you would have asked these question before you signed the lease. But it's always a good time to learn.

At this point, make sure you understand every term in your lease agreement and start off being extremely strict. You can loosen up after your first year but not before.

Best to you.

Check with your utility companies, they may have a program where landlords get copies of overdue bills.  Once we get an overdue, we call the utility company weekly to keep tabs on the status.  Monthly drive-bys to look for evidence of people living there (not abandoned), lights still on, and water working help you from getting blindsided as well.

Originally posted by @Al Williamson:

@Sandy Spence Awww, I wish you would have asked these question before you signed the lease. But it's always a good time to learn.

At this point, make sure you understand every term in your lease agreement and start off being extremely strict. You can loosen up after your first year but not before.

Best to you.

 Thank you Al, I wish I would have asked them first too! I already made some mistakes - like saying yes to a dog with no additional security deposit. I just read up on that one! 

Originally posted by @Michele Fischer:

Check with your utility companies, they may have a program where landlords get copies of overdue bills.  Once we get an overdue, we call the utility company weekly to keep tabs on the status.  Monthly drive-bys to look for evidence of people living there (not abandoned), lights still on, and water working help you from getting blindsided as well.

What a great idea Michele, I would never have even thought to ask. I'll call them Monday. Thank you!

Originally posted by @Mike Ritter:

@Sandy Spence

Great questions and I am sure that you will have many more as you move along in this process.  BP is a great place to get those answered.

1) Utilities - You should have the utilities turned off on Sept 1st from your name and should have instructed the tenants that they will need to have them switched to them by Sept 1st.  I would add a line item to your lease to that effect so they sign that they understand.

2) Insurance - When they get renters insurance make sure they list you as an additional insured.  That way you will receive a letter if the policy is cancelled or renewed.  

3) Suggestions - Make sure to set the right expectations with them at the beginning.  Rent is due on the 1st, late of the 5th and eviction starts x number of days later.  Maintenance issues will be handled depending on severity.  Emergencies are addressed right away but a minor issue will take a few days.  Make sure you get a copy of any tenant/landlord documents from your Real Estate Commission so you know the laws.  Another option would be to hire a Property Manager to handle all of this for you.  Make sure to interview the Property Manager as they are not all created the same.

Good luck.

 Thanks Mike! I am really going to have to look into a Property manager or make my husband do it :) 

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