First-Time Landlord? 5 Things You Must Know

Interested in being a landlord? Everyone starts in the same place, wanting to learn how to manage a property. With this in mind, it is smart to learn from experienced professionals who can teach you to avoid mistakes they have made, and fortunately for you, a lot of tenant property owners are willing to share where they went wrong.

  1. Your rental property is a business. Conducting good business means complying with all relevant laws to keep you and your tenants’ safe and secure. It also means keeping your investment in top shape to prevent problems before they occur. In fact, experts recommend setting up the property as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to shield your personal assets and gain tax advantages.
  2. Document everything about your property. Whatever your property’s condition, take pictures and videos before renters move in, or tenants move out. Keep all receipts of repairs done because of tenant issues. Compare the information to assess for damages. A documented record also protects if you need to defend against a claim filed by a tenant.
  3. Set the right rental price. Research your locale to determine competitive rates for similar properties. Then compare those rental amounts to your fixed and variable expenses. You should know how monthly rental expenses will affect your monthly revenue.
  4. Have a network of reliable contractors who can complete repairs correctly and promptly. Having contractors that are both trustworthy and skilled to do the work you need is like having a treasure chest of gold. It gives you peace of mind that the property and tenants are in good hands.
  5. Implement a tenant screening process. It won’t matter what you do if your tenants don’t pay on time. Require a rental application that provides all pertinent information including details on previous rentals and references. Be specific about how many people will live in the rental and whether there are any pets (if you allow them). Include a credit check and background screening, too.

These are merely a few of the recommended steps to take when becoming a landlord. For accurate and effective screening, why not contact Data Screening. The firm has knowledgeable staff to help with legal aspects of tenant screening and questions.


Data Screening is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that has offered business-to-business employment and tenant screenings to human resource professionals and business owners, including staffing companies, for two decades. Among other organizations, they are members of the ASA (American Staffing Association), SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and the NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners).


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