Management Tips For The New Income-Property Owner

Before you buy that income property, take a moment to acquaint yourself with the many responsibilities that come with it. Those who are new to the landlord/tenant relationship often underestimate the level of commitment involved. If you have big dreams of buying a second home, renting it out, and having easy income for the rest of your life, you should know that it's rarely that simple. Collecting a monthly rent check comes with big responsibilities, and if you understand them going in, you'll have a clearer picture of exactly what your role should be. 

The rules for renting out a residence vary from state to state, but you should familiarize yourself with the big ones that pertain to tenant safety. Typically, as a landlord, you'll be responsible for making sure your building meets a number of standards:

  • It must not contain high levels of lead. Many states require property owners to have a lead inspection done before the property is rented for the first time, and then every time you have a tenant turnover. In the event of a long-term tenant, you may be required to have an inspection performed regularly once every several years. If you're having work done on the exterior of your rental home, you may be required to notify neighbors who live close by. To find out exactly what you're responsible for as far as lead management, contact your local health department. 
  • It must be up to fire code. Often, this requirement means adding doors or windows that open easily, that are a certain size, or that are manufactured to be fire-resistant. If you're renting out your basement, for instance, the interior door that separates your living space from your tenant's living space may need to be replaced with a fire door that's manufactured to help slow the spread of fire between adjacent living quarters. Check your local building codes for specifics. 
  • Repairs must be completed in a timely fashion. If your tenant's water pipes freeze or their air conditioning unit breaks down, you must get someone in there right away to fix the problem. If you don't, you face a number of consequences: the tenant can call their own repairman and foot you the bill, they can break the lease legally and move out, or they may be legally able to withhold rent until the problem is resolved. A good property management company, such as Condominium Management, can help make the regular care and maintenance of your building much easier. 

Only after learning all there is to know about responsible property management, should you make the informed decision of whether it's a good fit for you and for the families who might rely on you in the future to keep them safely housed.