Buying and owning single-family rental properties in Fort Worth can be a superb and rewarding investment. However, unlike other types of investments, there are several things you need to distinguish to successfully transfer from a property owner to a landlord. What if you are a Fort Worth rental property owner getting ready to lease for the first time. In that case, it is vital to first fully comprehend the basics of leasing strategies and, even more outstandingly, the laws that now apply to you and your tenant. To help you get started leasing your first property, we’ve constructed a comprehensive guide that incorporates the basics. By following one or two easy guidelines, you can improve the probability of having a pleasant first encounter.
Screening Process Basics
Maybe the initial and most ideal approach in leasing your rental property is picking the correct renter. And the appropriate way to do that is to have a good screening process for every applicant. You’ll need to gather some data from your prospective tenant to assist you with choosing if they are the ones you’re searching for. At a minimum, request that they fill out an application that contains the names and birth dates for all intended occupants of the home, involving those under 18, five years of employment history, and at least three references. It is also a good idea to get the Social Security numbers for all adult tenants and run a background check on everyone. Then, call and verify the information on their application. If needed, contact any previous landlords and acquire info on their renting history. It may take a lot of effort, but the more research you do before you sign that lease, the less likely you will encounter unpleasant surprises from this day forward.
As you advertise for and screen renters, you have to avoid discriminating against potential tenants, even unintentionally. It is illegal to discriminate against a tenant dependent on qualities like race, sex, color, national origin, religion, handicap, and familial status; remember that there may be other protected classes depending on your state’s laws. When composing your rental ads, be careful to avoid using language that might qualify as discrimination, such as expressing that 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 depending on the information they give 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 necessary not to assume that someone with a disability is automatically not a good candidate for your rental property. Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, property owners should make “reasonable accommodations” for their tenants, if needed. 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 achieves the criteria for renting your property, accommodation should not be a reason to turn them down. In other instances, the accommodation a tenant requests may be something they will install and pay for themselves, with the awareness that they will return the property to its original condition upon move-out. In certain situations, the tenant may request an accommodation from you that, if deemed reasonable, you will need to grant. This involves allowing service and emotional support animals in the rental property, even if you have a strict policy forbidding pets.
Finally, it’s important to know that there may be different and additional Landlord/Tenant laws that apply in other cities or neighborhoods. Before leasing your property, you should take the time to research all applicable laws in your area and craft your processes in line with them.
Absorbing all the laws and best practices of leasing rental properties can be problematic. Then why not entrust this important task to a Fort Worth property manager? At Real Property Management Meridian, we offer clear and anti-discriminatory 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 817-678-8787 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.