Your Money Matters: Tips for renters and for landlords

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Mayank Garg


Learn the Law
Landlords and renters should learn about the state- and city-specific laws and ordinances regarding residential property rentals. They should learn about the appropriate disclosures and regulations, laws surrounding application fees and deposits, eviction procedures, and maintenance requests and how to handle them.  These laws vary by state and city, so make sure you know your facts.

Deliver the Details
For a landlord to get prospective tenant leads, he/she should be as detailed as possible in their property description on listing websites. Add at least five pictures of the property (more if possible). Try to post listings on major listing sites, as well as regional listing sites that may be able to secure quality leads.  Renters should be wary of listings that only have one or two photos and lack a detailed description.

Look for the Right Lease
Having a leasing agreement that’s in compliance with the city and state residential laws is crucial. Landlords and renters should both be careful about using free agreements that are found online or elsewhere.  Look for renowned local/national landlord associations or realtor organizations that can help provide accurate leasing agreements or get in touch with a real estate lawyer to make sure that the lease you are signing is compliant.

Ratify your Renter
Vet your prospective tenant(s) well before you complete a lease agreement. This can be done by:
Making sure that the prospective tenants really are who they say they are (look at their government issued ID).
Running a soft credit check to make sure the potential tenant pays their bills regularly.
Verifying the tenant’s income by requesting a copy of their paystub or other supporting document.  Make sure the tenant can afford rent.
Performing a criminal and eviction check on the prospective tenant to make sure you have completely vetted the potential tenant.
* Tenants should be prepared to show valid ID, current and/or previous paystubs, and list references.

Ratify your Landlord
Make sure the landlord really owns the unit (verify with management).
Make sure you receive information regarding any security deposit that may be held during the rental period.
Be sure to ask for Move-in/Move-out and maintenance procedures to avoid future confusion.

Establish “House Rules”
Establish clear move-in and move-out procedures, communicate rent payment method and due dates, and provide any documentation on building rules to your tenant.  Also, landlords should clearly explain procedures for maintenance requests and approval processes to their tenants so it is easier for both parties to take care of issues during the rental life cycle.

*If any of this information is not included up front, tenants should inquire prior to signing a lease.

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