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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 Ivins can be an interesting and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, there are a lot of things to keep in mind to successfully transition from a property owner to a landlord. Assume you are an Ivins rental property owner making preparations to lease for the first time. In that event, it is critical to first fully grasp the basics of leasing strategies and, even more importantly, the laws which already apply to you and your tenant. To get you started on leasing your first property, we have arranged a comprehensive guide addressing the basics. By following a few basic guidelines, you can improve your chances of having a first positive encounter.

Screening Process Basics

One of the first and most important steps in leasing your rental property is choosing the best renter. And the ideal way to do it is to conduct a good screening process for each applicant. To decide whether your prospective tenant is the one you prefer, you’ll need to acquire some information from them. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application with the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the house and those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. It is also necessary to get the Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on each one. After that, call and verify the information on their application. If achievable, contact any previous landlords and ask about their renting history. It could cost a lot of effort, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will encounter unpleasant surprises afterward.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, you should avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on factors such as race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; note there may be other protected classes dependant on your state’s laws. When preparing your rental ads, remember to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as announcing that you would not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. At that time, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants according to the information they submit and not on other criteria. By maintaining professionalism and applying an unbiased screening system, you can stay clear of discriminating against any potential renters.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

Similarly, it is important not to assume that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners are expected to offer “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, should they be necessary. 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.” Thus, if your prospective tenant otherwise meets the criteria for renting your property, accommodation should not be a reason to turn them down. Occasionally, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the condition that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In other situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if it is reasonable, you will need to allow. This covers allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Finally, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there may be different and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, it is important to research all applicable laws in your location and craft your processes in line with them.

It may be difficult to understand all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties. Why just not entrust this important task to an Ivins property manager? At Real Property Management Southern Utah, we provide 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 435-673-4242 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.