Learn to Manage Your Own Rental Property

Managing your own rental property means you need organizational and management skills, as well as a good working acquaintance with real estate matters. Among others, the major things you have to take care of as a landlord includes advertising unoccupied property for rent, screening the best or most trustworthy candidates for your property by asking for written applications with credit and employment references, showing successful candidates available property, evaluating prospective tenants by inspecting their backgrounds, credit histories, personal references and employment histories and organising frequent maintenance and repair services for the property (you will have to supervise these activities for proper service). You will also have to obtain liability, theft, fire and other insurance on the land, make sure your tenants comply with your policies and procedures, conduct inspections of the area frequently and, very importantly, establish and uphold an effective system of collecting rental payments and security deposits.

Managing your own rental property successfully includes a lot of hard work, but you can ultimately make great profit out of the venture. A good landlord provides his or her tenant with a written residential tenancy agreement (lease), which you can purchase from most stationery suppliers. They also provide a list of all entry costs, ensure the residential premises are clean and fit to live in and make sure the required smoke and security alarms are installed and activated.

Other ways to manage your rental property successfully is to complete three copies of a condition report at the start of each tenancy and give two copies of the completed report to the tenant, at or before the beginning of the tenancy. Your tenant is required to review the report, indicate whether or not they agree with the listed descriptions of the condition of the property, sign both copies and return one to you within 7 days. Make sure to explain the procedure to your tenants. You should also issue receipts for all payments made by your tenants, except where rent is paid into an account by direct debit or electronic transfer.

It will be your responsibility to pay for municipal rates, land taxes and water service charges, as well as to keep the property secure and safe at all times. To keep your tenants happy and to create a friendly relationship, make sure that there is always peace, quiet and privacy for your tenants. Neither you, nor people you authorise to enter the property, should disrupt their lives.

When it comes to giving notice about certain things, a landlord is only authorized to enter the leased premises at certain times and ‘dropping in’ unannounced, except in an emergency, is not permitted. For example, to carry out a general inspection of the premises, the tenant must be given at least 7 days notice and only four inspections can be carried out in any 12-month period. For effective property management, you should give your tenant 60 days notice if the rent will be increased.

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