Investing in residential real estate for an income stream is an excellent addition to any portfolio, provided some care is taken to minimize risk and headaches. One battle you’ll face is reducing vacancy time by having a process in place for securing quality tenants. This is not the end of things, however, as avoiding tenant disputes is critical to retaining tenants and also keeping a reputation in your community, so you can continue to appeal to quality tenants. While a real estate lawyer is beneficial for handling the documents for closing on the property, there are other tips you can get from them about real estate law for avoiding tenant disputes. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Set Clear Expectations- It might surprise you how many tenant disputes come up because of miscommunication. Your real estate lawyer can assist you in drafting a clear and understandable lease document so your tenants know their responsibilities and rights. It is also not a bad idea to have a tenant handbook that covers frequently asked questions, how to submit a maintenance request, any community regulations, and tenant responsibilities such as changing the HVAC filter.
- Handle Maintenance Promptly- One of the biggest complaints that tenants have is not getting maintenance taken care of in a timely manner. If they feel you ignore them, they are less likely to renew.
- Respect Privacy- Showing up at a rental property unannounced is highly discouraged, and you should never enter the premises when they are not there unless a prior arrangement has been made for a repair or maintenance issue.
- Check Tenants Well- There are so many avenues at your disposal to screen tenants, including credit checks, criminal checks, employment verification, income verification, and checking with past landlords. Take care not to discriminate, however, so be sure to discuss real estate law with your real estate lawyer so you follow federal and state fair housing laws.
If you are in need of a real estate lawyer to assist you with becoming a real estate investor, don’t hesitate to contact us at Jones, Childers, Donaldson & Webb, PLLC. We recommend contacting us at the very beginning o the process so we can assist you with closing on the residential or commercial property you have selected for your portfolio. We look forward to serving your real estate law needs.