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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 Chesapeake can be a thrilling and rewarding investment. However, unlike other types of investments, there are numerous things you need to learn to shift from a property owner to a landlord effectively. For instance, consider yourself a Chesapeake rental property owner getting ready to lease for the first time. In that case, you must first fully comprehend the basics of leasing strategies and, even more seriously, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To get you started leasing your first property, we’ve put up a comprehensive guide that involves the basics. By following a few straightforward guidelines, you will increase your chances of having a pleasant first encounter.

Screening Process Basics

One of the first and most significant procedures in leasing your rental property is picking the ideal renter. Furthermore, the best approach to do that is to have a good screening process for every applicant. To verify whether your prospective tenant is the one you’re seeking, you should collect some data from them. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application that incorporates the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the house, even those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. You’ll also need to gather Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check per person. Afterward, call and verify the information on their application. Preferably, contact any previous landlords and request information on their renting history. It may require some effort, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will experience unpleasant surprises later on.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, make sure to avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on reasons like race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; note there may be other protected classes dependant on your state’s laws. Therefore, when creating your rental ads, it is imperative to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as declaring that 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 deliver and not on other criteria. By maintaining professionalism and utilizing an unbiased screening system, you can stay clear of discriminating against any potential renters.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

Correspondingly, it is significant not to presume that somebody with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners are anticipated to give “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, should they be needed. 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. At times, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the expectation that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In certain situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if deemed reasonable, you will need to allow. This includes allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Finally, it’s important to know that there may be different and extra Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, make an effort to research all applicable laws in your region and craft your processes in line with them.

Comprehending most of the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be complicated. So why not entrust this important task to a Chesapeake property manager? At Real Property Management Hampton Roads, we offer clear and anti-discriminatory 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 757-395-4274 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.