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Becoming a landlord, whether you are renting out an entire property or just the spare room in your house, can be a great source of income. It can also be daunting if you have never done it before. We’ve compiled 10 easy tips for first time landlords who are looking to stay educated before they take on new tenants.

  1. Screen Tenants – screening tenants properly before committing can save you a lot of trouble. This means asking for a credit check, past landlord references, and proof of employment at the minimum.
  2. Make Rent the Priority – make sure that your tenant takes the rent deadline seriously. Write out specific expectations for when the rent is expected in the lease and what will happen if it is late, and have hard deadlines that the tenants must live up to. If they don’t pay and stop responding, be prepared to start eviction proceedings. Many other landlords recommend collecting rent online, or at least having it as an option, as it speeds up the process.
  3. Market your Rental Effectively – the best way to become a landlord is to get tenants interested in your property, and the best way to do that is through marketing. The best way to do this is online advertising through websites where tenants can search for your property. Make sure to have good pictures of the property and details about the listing that would catch the eye of anyone searching – parking situation, provided appliances, pets, etc.
  4. Know Fair Housing Laws – a big part of being a landlord is being aware of laws and how to stay within them. Fair housing laws should be the top of the priority list, as there can be big consequences if you violate them.
  5. Hire reliable help – as a landlord, you will be the first contact if anything goes wrong with the property. For this reason, it is good to have a reliable team behind you – composed of everything from a plumber to a handyman to a landscaper. Having people you can trust will make it easier to handle most tenant complaints.

If you are trying to become a landlord, it is worth educating yourself thoroughly before you start, either by seeing if there is a class offered or looking into the most recommended books on the subject.