Landlord Tips & TricksIn a down economy, people are thinking of creative ways to save money and make some extra cash. If you are considering renting out one of your properties, keep these five helpful tips in mind.

As a landlord, you should be sure to:

  1. Screen your tenants-- as with any contractual relationship, learning as much about the other person can prove beneficial for both parties. Screening tenants includes checking their credit history, references, and additional research into their background.
  2. Sign a lease-- get your agreement in writing. Whether the tenant is signing a month to month lease or a year long commitment, make sure that you have all of the essential terms written down. This can protect both parties should a dispute arise. These forms are readily available online, or you can have a Landlord Attorney draft one for you.
  3. Obtain insurance-- a standard Homeowner's policy typically excludes any events occurring as a result of a business venture, meaning you will need additional property insurance. This can protect you from lawsuits by tenants for things like injuries or alleged discrimination. It can also ensure that your property is protected from things like damage due to the tenant or natural disasters.
  4. Make repairs--aside from potentially losing qualified tenants, you may encounter legal troubles which result in tenants being able to deduct the cost of repairs from the rent, or in some cases withhold the rent entirely. Keeping the property in a good state of repair will help to maintain a good landlord tenant relationship.
  5. Resolve disputes without litigation-- you should make attempts to resolve conflict with your tenants as amicably as possible without resulting to litigation. In person meetings can help ensure that things are not getting lost in translation through email or other textual communications.

Be sure to check out LawInfo's Landlord page for additional information, or to find a qualified Landlord Attorney.