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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 Creve Coeur can be an overwhelming and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, there are several things you need to comprehend to move from a property owner to a landlord successfully. Assume you are a Creve Coeur rental property owner getting set to lease for the first time. In that situation, it is essential to first thoroughly know the basics of leasing strategies and, even more importantly, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To help you begin leasing your first property, we’ve accumulated a comprehensive guide comprising of the basics. By following a few basic guidelines, you are more inclined to make your first encounter a positive one.

Screening Process Basics

One of the principal and most essential actions in leasing your rental property is getting the best renter. And the way to do that is to have a good screening process for each applicant. You’ll need to accumulate some data from your prospective tenant to help you decide whether they are the ones you’re looking for. At least, request that they fill out an application covering the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the residence, incorporating those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. You’ll also need to get Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on each one. At that time, call and verify the information on their application. Preferably, contact any previous landlords and request information on their renting history. It may take some time, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will encounter unpleasant surprises in the future.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, it’s important to avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on qualities like race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; note there may be other protected classes depending on your state’s laws. As you compose your rental ads, think twice to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as affirming that you will not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. After that, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants as stated by the information they give and not on other criteria. By maintaining professionalism and using an unbiased screening system, you can stay clear of discriminating against any potential renters.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

Likewise, it is vital not to think that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners should make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, should they be needed. 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.” If your prospective tenant otherwise meets the criteria for renting your property, accommodation should not be denied to them. In other instances, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the awareness 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 judged reasonable, you will need to allow. This comprises allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Ultimately, it’s essential to know that there may be different and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you should take the time to research all applicable laws in your vicinity and craft your processes in line with them.

Recognizing all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be complicated. Why not entrust this important task to a Creve Coeur property manager? At Real Property Management Specialist, we offer 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 314-931-0300 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.

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