Friday, February 27, 2015

Considerations for Becoming a Landlord

Florida is full of residential real estate that appeals to those wanting to invest in rental property. Doral real estate is no exception. In Miami-Dade, Doral is full of affordable properties that make for excellent rental property and is on a huge upswing in terms of residential developments in the works and under construction.

Being a landlord can be very profitable but involves many responsibilities.  Here are a few tips to follow if you are considering becoming a landlord:

Vet Potential Tenants. Remember the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Too often, novice landlords look at the appearance of potential tenants and make a snap decision on leasing property to them. It is important that even they have the most attractive, well-kept look (or the grungiest for that matter), you do a full background check on potential tenants to ensure you have a successful relationship with the people who lease your Doral condominium or home.

Follow the Rules. Just like with any other legal agreement, it is very important to follow the rules.  There are strict Florida tenants’ rights in place to which landlords must adhere.  This applies to anti-discrimination laws, disclosures, eviction rules, and more.

Provide a Detailed Checklist.  A checklist of everything in the rental property should always be given to your tenant upon signing a lease.  Ask your tenant to go over each every item on the list to make sure there are no issues.  The list should include any imperfections like a stain on the carpet in a bedroom.  At the end of the lease, once the tenant has vacated the property, go through the same list to check each item once again.  If there are any issues that were not present at the beginning of the lease, you can address them with your tenant and come up with a plan to correct them.  This helps to validate retaining any portion of the deposit. It is important to take into consideration normal wear and tear that comes with living there.

Always Have a Current Lease in Place. If you keep a current and detailed lease in place, you can avoid a ton of problems down the line.  The lease should lay out every facet of the lease in terms of when and how much to pay, responsibilities of each party, lease termination, etc.  The Florida Bar provides a detailed lease agreement (and other forms) for landlords to use as their agreement with tenants. Another suggestion is to use an attorney who is very familiar with Florida real estate laws.

Fix What Needs to be Fixed. One of the most important parts of a good landlord-tenant relationship is honoring the lease agreement.  If something for which you are responsible breaks or quits working, get it repaired or replaced.

Respect Your Renters’ Rights. One of the biggest parts of being a landlord is respecting your renters’ rights.  In Florida, there is a set list of tenants’ rights (Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act) that landlords must follow.  In particular is the right to privacy.  Even though landlords have a right to enter the property, they must give adequate notice to their tenants prior to entering the leased property. In Florida, the law states that 12 hours is adequate notice but many landlords suggest usually 24 hours is considered adequate.  This includes when making repairs or replacements.

Know the Appropriate Steps for Eviction.  No one wants to deal with an eviction but it can happen.  When dealing with an eviction, it is best to consult with an attorney to ensure that every step is followed to the letter of the law.  There have been many instances where shortcuts were taken or steps were omitted that delayed the eviction process sometimes extensively.  

Work with a Licensed Broker.  A lot of Florida real estate brokers have a property management department in their offices who work with rental investors.  Property managers are typically well trained in the rental process and can help to ensure that you have a positive experience. The fee involved is usually worth its weight in gold. This is always a good idea especially if you are unsure about the details of the rental process not to mention manage the properties.  

Follow These Steps
There are so many opportunities to buy Doral condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes for the purposes of rental investments, and most tenants hold up their end of the agreement without any issues.  But as with any kind of agreement, there are those who turn out to be not so great.  

With the right process in place, hopefully, you will get lucky and have tenants who go above and beyond to treat the residence as if it was their own. When you hit the jackpot with a great tenant, you want to do everything to keep them happy.   

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