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How do I Become a Landlord?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Becoming a landlord isn’t usually very difficult. A person who wants to become a landlord typically just needs to own a property to rent out and have a lease form to document the rental agreement in writing. A landlord may rent out residential or commercial property. In some cases, a person may even have more than one property and offer both commercial and residential rentals.

A person who wants to become a landlord will typically have to do a bit of research before getting started. For example, he’ll usually research local laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships as well as national regulations. For example, these laws cover such matters as the amount of money a landlord is allowed to collect as a security deposit, the types of background checks he can perform when choosing a tenant, discrimination, and legal methods of handling an undesirable tenant. Such laws typically cover both a landlord's rights and his responsibilities.

It’s important for prospective landlords to know the law and take it seriously. Some landlord-tenant mistakes could easily cause a landlord to lose money. For example, if a landlord does not return a former tenant's security deposit within a specified amount of time, he may be required to pay the tenant additional monetary compensation. Likewise, there are penalties for issues such as discrimination. Refusing to rent to a minority or an individual with a child may result in a lawsuit.

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Some aspiring landlords already own property they hope to rent out. Others may purchase property for the specific purpose of renting it. Either way, a person who wants to become a landlord should check building codes and requirements in his area, making sure his rental property is up to code. In some places, a landlord may even have to pass an inspection before renting his property. In others, tenants may take landlords to court for code violations.

Insurance is also an important consideration for a person who wants to become a landlord. He may do well to ask a local insurance agent for help figuring out which types he needs. Depending on the laws in his region, he may require his tenants to obtain renter's insurance to cover their personal property. This may not, however, completely excuse him from liability in the event of an accident, fire, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Once a person has learned the legal requirements for becoming a landlord and adhered to them, he may set a rental price for his property and begin to advertise it. After screening applicants, he can then choose one and have him sign a lease for the rental property. Most landlords also collect security deposits from new tenants, guarding against the non-payment of rent and tenant-caused damage to the rental property.

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