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Thread: Renting: Advice/Tips

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    Renting: Advice/Tips

    I'm looking for some advice on renting a house(as the owner, not the renter). Maybe some other Geezers out there have done this before and could offer some advice to a newbie? We are buying a new house, and will be renting our current one out. I've been working feverishly on minor repairs and updates that I've been procrastinating on for years, and am getting close to finalizing everything. My main concerns with renting are:

    1. Finding responsible, respectful tenants. Anyone have any tips on background checks, references, etc? I can see where this could be the hardest part.

    2. Maintenance. The house has a large yard, which is quite a task to mow and maintain. Don't know if I should expect the renter to take care of it, or do it myself. Maybe include it in the rent price? What to do if the yard isn't being maintained?

    3. Inspections. I'd like to be able to look the place over periodically, to make sure the tenants aren't trashing it. Also check the furnace, sump pump, appliances, etc. I was thinking maybe every 3 months, but I don't want to seem pushy or annoying.

    4. The lease. I'm planning to require a one-year lease, first and last month rent up front, and of course a damage deposit. Anyone have a good sample lease that you have used in the past, and had good luck with? I have some ideas for my lease, but it would be nice to have input from someone with experience.

    Any other tips or hints?

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    Gamertag: Lux Devil 67 Lux Devil 67
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    Not to discourage you, but my brother-in-law has been renting out his house. It's been a nightmare and now he's looking to sell it outright.

    He had a lawyer write up a basic lease.

    The problem with references is that they come from the person wishing to rent. If they're bad tenants, the current renters may give you a great reference just to get rid of them. And they're not about to give you bad references.

    Plus, its a nightmare to evict people should it get to that.

    Get at least 2 months security and make monthly visits to make sure they haven't skipped on you or are making a mess of the place.

    Most of the time its just a question of luck in finding decent tenants.

    Good luck!
    "You have nice little berries" - Angel


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lux Devil 67 View Post
    Plus, its a nightmare to evict people should it get to that.
    While it's never particularly easy to evict a tenant, the laws actually vary wildly state to state. Some states (Mass, for instance) have so many tenant protection laws that it's nigh impossilbe to evict. Other states come down more solidly on the side of the property owner. It really depends on 1.) your particular state's laws & sometimes 2.) your county or city's ordinances.

    Sample lease documents are usually available through your local .gov website.

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    Have you considered hiring a managment company? They handle all that stuff, for a non-trivial fee of course, but if the fee structure is ameniable to you, it takes a lot of the hassle out of it for you.
    Last edited by SquidgeyFlint; 07-03-2012 at 11:27 AM. Reason: typo
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    Thanks for the input guys. I don't want to hire a management service, as I don't want to hand them all the profits the rental brings I'll do a little more research locally on the laws etc., and maybe speak to a lawyer about the lease. This will be a big learning experience for me, I'm just hoping everything goes smoothly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lux Devil 67 View Post
    The problem with references is that they come from the person wishing to rent. If they're bad tenants, the current renters may give you a great reference just to get rid of them. And they're not about to give you bad references.
    One of the possible ways to get around this conundrum is request references, yes, but also get the addresses of the last three places the potential tenants have lived & do some data collection yourself. Lux is completely right: any reference from a potential tenant is going to be a good reference & any reference from said tenant's current landlord should be taken with a grain of salt. However the tenant's previous two landlords no longer have a stake in anything (and perhaps even have a legitimate beef if the tenant was bad & didn't pay for damages) so you're more likely to get honest reviews. Likewise, if the tenant doesn't provide solid information on where they have been living the last five years and/or there are any gaps or excuses like "Um, I was out of state", "Um, I was staying with a friend", "Um, I moved back in with my parents" that's a good sign that they're probably hiding something.

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    Good point, I was also considering criminal background checks. Not sure how much that costs or how to go about it, though.

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    I'm just shocked at squidge's use of the word "amenable", even though be spelled it incorrectly. Hey, but what the hell!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lux Devil 67 View Post
    I'm just shocked at squidge's use of the word "amenable", even though be spelled it incorrectly. Hey, but what the hell!
    Maybe you need to check your dictionary Lux...

    Matt as per lawn care, any place I've rented from (only twice in my life) they said upfront they would maintain the outdoor portion of the property but if I did it that would knock $100 bucks off my rent per month. We put it in writing exactly what I would be responsible for (lawn cutting, snow shoveling, etc.) so that I had a safety net if someone complained. I didn't do much gardening so they provided me with plants and I just had to water them (which was easy).

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    I've considered this, but I don't want to raise the rent price to cover my work on the yard, for fear of scaring off potential renters. Also, I don't want to reduce my planned rent amount. There is also a problem if the renter agrees to do the work in order to get the reduced rent, then decides not to do it. More food for thought...

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