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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 Burbank can be a magnificent and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, there are numerous factors you must learn to shift from a property owner to a landlord effectively. Assume you are a Burbank rental property owner who is about to lease for the first time. In that instance, it is imperative to first thoroughly learn the basics of leasing strategies and, more crucially, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To help you get started with leasing your first property, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide incorporating the basics. By following a couple of easy guidelines, you can increase the likelihood of having a pleasant first encounter.

Screening Process Basics

One of the first and most ideal tasks in leasing your rental property is choosing the right renter. And the best approach to do that is to have a good screening process for every applicant. You’ll have to accumulate some data from your prospective tenant to assist you with deciding if they are the ones you’re searching for. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application that contains the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the house, particularly those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. You’ll also need to gather Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on everyone. At that time, call and verify the information on their application. Preferably, contact any previous landlords and get information on their renting history. It may demand some effort, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less chance you will experience unpleasant surprises sooner or later.

Avoiding Discrimination

As you advertise for and screen renters, it’s imperative to avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on characteristics such as race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; remember that there may be other protected classes dependant on your state’s laws. When writing your rental ads, be cautious to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as expressing 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 based on the information they give and not on other criteria. By maintaining professionalism and utilizing an unbiased screening system, you can stay clear of discriminating against any potential renters.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

Similarly, it is critical not to think that somebody with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners are needed to make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, if necessary. 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 a reason to turn them down. In other circumstances, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the condition that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In some situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if found reasonable, you will need to allow. This incorporates allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Ultimately, it’s imperative to understand that there may be different and extra 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 area and craft your processes in line with them.

Learning all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be a problem. So why not entrust this important task to a Burbank property manager? At Real Property Management Vision, we provide 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 818-233-8789 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.