From the moment you started living on your own, you probably rented before buying your first home. Whether it was an apartment, townhome, condo, or room, you more than likely weren’t ready to buy a home and the next best thing was to rent.
Some people are firm believers that buying a home is the best option because you’ll have something in your name that you can call your own. Others believe that renting is the best option for them simply because renting comes with fewer responsibilities.
If a pipe bursts and floods the kitchen, all the tenant has to do is contact the leasing office to put in a maintenance request or inform the landlord of the incident and it will be taken care of without the tenant paying for anything extra out-of-pocket. Buying a house would mean that the homeowner would have to come out-of-pocket for that repair, and the majority of the time, most people don’t have the necessary funds available to take care of emergencies like that…
In fact, according to ABC News, 40% of Americans don’t have $400 saved for emergencies. So when a house emergency such as burst pipes or an overflowing toilet arises, lots of households are left with no resources to help them out.
As a landlord over a rental property, you’re the one who takes on those responsibilities… And true enough, you’d wield lots of power like naming your own rent asking price (as long as it supports the market) and being the point of contact for any and all things related to your property, but with this real estate power, there are indeed some serious responsibilities you need to be aware of.
The responsibilities associated with being a landlord shouldn’t be anything to turn you away from such a financial opportunity… the rewards are much greater. For example, you’re more than likely going to finance your rental property, which is a financial risk… But if you find the right tenant, price your property reasonably, and buy in a growing market, you’ll be able to start profiting from your property in no time!
But to be a good landlord and be ready for the responsibilities you’re going to take on, you have to be well informed. If you’re considering entering real estate investing, here are a few common landlord responsibilities you need to be aware of and should expect.
Responsibilities Every Landlord Should Be Aware of and Expect
Ensuring Your Property is Habitable
Ensuring that your property is habitable means that the property is fit to live in and free from hazards; in other words, ensuring the property is compliant with all state and local building codes as well as all local and state health codes.
So what exactly makes a property uninhabitable? Well, everything from disruptions to things like power and water to anything that threatens the safety of your tenants like broken windows or infestations like mold or pests.
Here’s a brief checklist of habitable responsibilities to be aware of:
- Making sure the property is structurally safe and weather-proof
- Providing power and water facilities
- Complying with building and health codes of the state and local area
- Completing maintenance requests in a timely manner
- Maintaining an environment free from infestations
Ensuring Your Property is Safe From Crime
No one wants to live in an unsafe neighborhood and you shouldn’t want to buy a property in an unsafe neighborhood as well, so the safety aspect starts with the purchase of your property, essentially. You need to conduct proper research on the neighborhood you’re thinking of buying in, speak with law enforcement to get statistics on the crime rate there, and check the severity of the types of crimes committed there.
You also need to conduct a thorough background check on all prospective tenants applying to rent your property out. Of course, you can’t fully stop crime from entering your property but things like a security system, driveway lights, and even outdoor motion-sensored lights will help lower the likelihood of your property and tenants become the victims of crime.
Tending to All Maintenance and Repairs
As a landlord, tending to maintenance and repairs will be one of your biggest responsibilities, but it can be a smooth process if you are very specific in your leasing agreement. There are certain maintenance and repair concerns that are definitely your responsibility but then there are some that are the responsibility of your tenants.
Typically, the major issues like plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling are the ones you’re responsible for. Also, structural issues are your responsibility as well.
There are many more responsibilities you can and should expect as a landlord but these three are some of the major responsibilities that take more precedence over the others. Make sure you’re compliant in these three areas and the other responsibilities will be a breeze.