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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 Pawtucket can be a challenging and rewarding investment. But unlike other types of investments, there are many things to be considered to become a successful rental owner. If you are planning to become Pawtucket rental property owner who leases his/her property for the first time. In that case, it is important to know first the basics of leasing strategies and, importantly, the laws in your state regarding leasing that may apply to you and your tenant. To get you ready in this business, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide covering the basics. By following a few simple guidelines, you are might be able to become a successful rental owner for your future business.

Screening Process Basics

Finding a suitable renter is one of the most important steps in leasing your rental property. To find a good renter you must good screening process for each applicant. For your screening process, first, you need to collect personal information from your prospective tenant to help you determine whether they are the ones you’re looking for. You need to request that they fill out an application that includes the names, birthdates of all intended occupants of the property, including those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. It is also useful to gather Social Security numbers for all adult tenants. Then, do a background check on each one or call and verify the information of their application. If possible, contact any previous landlords and get details 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

When advertising 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 factors like race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; remember that some may be protected classes dependent on your state’s laws. As you prepare your rental ads, be careful to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as stating you will not rent to people with children or those who live on government assistance. Then, as you collect applications and screen tenants, fairly assess your applicants based on the information they provide 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

Similarly, it is important not to assume that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners are required to make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, should they be required. 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 the reason to turn them down. In some cases, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the understanding 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 deemed reasonable, you will need to allow. This includes allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.

Finally, always remember that there are Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities for neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you should take the time to research applicable laws in your area and craft your processes in line with them.

Understanding all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be a challenge. Why not entrust this important task to a Pawtucket property manager? At Real Property Management Providence, we offer clear and anti-discrimination 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 401-272-3300 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.