I have multiple condos I live in and want to start renting one of them out when I'm not in town for 3-6 month timeframes. I'll be renting it out myself. What do I need to protect myself?
Do I need some kind of deposit, if so what % of the rent? What kind of rental agreement should I have them sign? What kind of insurance do I need to protect my belongings and condo from damage or theft? How would I screen the tenant? Anything else I need to be aware of?
Check out vrbo to see what the going rate is for the area. I am looking at starting a vacation rental in the next 18 months or so. I would see what your competition is doing and do the same or undercut it.
Thanks Elizabeth. I was wondering more in terms of what I do after I find the tenant. What I have to have them sign, etc?
I think some of your questions will depend on how long you expect the typical tenant/guest to be staying in your rental. For just a week or two is a vacationer and would be more like the kind of "contract" you sign when you check into a hotel. If you use AirBnB or VRBO or one of those kind of deals, your guest does agree to terms on the website when they accept your listing, which includes protections/agreements for you.
You can always go with a set deposit amount required or a credit card hold. If you prefer a set deposit, I think anything more than whatever the one week rental amount is would be side-eyed. But use those same sites to check out what the local competition is doing. Alas, there isn't much screening in this type of scenario, other than possibly reviews about the guest on the travel site.
If you are looking to rent more to a short-term tenant...one month or more...I would really treat it just like you would any other tenant as far as screening and charging a one month's security deposit.
I laughed when I saw you are in Miami :). The one and only time I have been a short term tenant was when I evacuated to Miami after Hurricane Katrina. I rented a furnished condo in Bal Harbor on a month-to-month basis, but had to be out by Dec. 1st because she had a regular guest who rented from her for the entire month of December year after year.
She rented her place by the week or the month. I'm not sure if she ever rented it by the day. I don't know what she did for weekly renters, but the lease I signed with her for the monthly rental was basically like any other lease I've signed. First month's rent and one month's security deposit was due at the signing.
I plan on starting a vacation rental business in the next 18 months. I plan on having all the same requirements as I do for my long term tenants. The only difference might be credit and back ground check. If they are there more than a 28 days than I would do background/credit check
If your going to be out of town, I would have best property mgmt. company in Miami find you a qualified tenant, and then give you security deposit and have them pay via bank deposit/ACH etc..You just paying them to locate you a tenant, and then you can take over and deal with tenant.
Can you tell us more about your condos, @Ray S. ?
Here are some answers to your questions:
What do I need to protect myself? Do I need some kind of deposit, if so what % of the rent?
I would recommend doing a lease agreement with all tenants with background checks. Take a deposit and/or Accidental Rental Damage Insurance (ARDI) to cover damages. Companies will offer a corporate letter of financial liability in some cases along with a credit card to hold for damages.
What kind of rental agreement should I have them sign? Residential lease agreement with terms that cover the short term scenario and furnishings in the unit. There are few differences to a traditional non furnished 1 year agreement.
What kind of insurance do I need to protect my belongings and condo from damage or theft?
ARDI can help with damages but not theft. A landlord policy is recommended to cover theft, loss of rent, etc.
How would I screen the tenant?
Use a service like Smartmove, https://chbo.mysmartmove.com/ to screen tenants and use google to gather details about the tenant or company.
Anything else I need to be aware of?
I would check all tenants out in the same manner. Once you have a process in place it is easy to determine who will be a good candidate or not. Good thing about renting to corporates is they typically are low maintenance and funds are paid by company.
Let me know if you need any further help.
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