7. Have your lawyer prepare your rental contract package.
There are professional tenants that specialize in ripping off landlords based on loop holes in contracts, missing addendums, handling of monies, wording in the contracts, etc. There are lawyers that specialize in protecting tenants from being evicted improperly. Things you should be aware of if you are a Landlord:
- Make sure a Real Estate Attorney reviews your rental contract with the proper disclosures.
- Learn the local Eviction Laws and Process in your area.
- Disclosures - Make sure you have all the proper disclosures attached to the rental package.
8. Never, never ever give or tell your tenants your HOME telephone number, address and that you are the owner of the property.
This is the best advice I can give you: Stop being cheap and hire a Rental Management Company. These companies act like a buffer between you and the tenant. If you properly placed your asset into an Asset Protection instrument - like a Land Trust, it is very difficult to submit a law suit if the Management Company doesn't know who the owners are.
9. Check Liens & Violations on the subject property before handing over security deposit refund.
I had a tenant that was evicted by Section 8. She had her son on the lease and was arrested twice for drug possession. Section 8 does not play when it comes to the law. Break federal law go to Club FED! So anyway, she wanted her deposit back NOW! I mentioned I needed time to inspect the property first before I gave back anything. Well, she threw a fit and tossed herself onto my truck so I couldn't leave. Wow, why was she acting this way? I eventually gave her the money back but I found out why she wanted the money back so quickly. The next month I sold the house and the Buyer's Title Company found a Pet Bull Violation. I had to pay $500 dollars to remove the violation. As I recall, I remember the Pit Bull Puppy but never thought anything about it. Even though I had "NO PETS" clause on the lease, the Landlord has to enforce the contract or you will PAY the consequences.
10. Make sure you get forwarding address when tenants leave.
You may need to forward their mail, send a bill for cleaning up their mess, security deposit refund or a letter with photos as to why you are not giving back their deposit or they owe you money. Get the address the day they hand back the keys. Make sure they paid their final utility bills, especially the water.