Becoming a Landlord

How to manage a rental property to create income

Before you decide to rent your property, consider the responsibility involved.

While benefits such as tax breaks and extra income can be enticing, being a landlord can be a lot of extra work. In the end, only you can decide if it’s right for you. Below are some things for you to consider.

Being a landlord means you must:

  • Understand the landlord-tenant laws, tax laws and local property rules
  • Increase your homeowner’s insurance (contact your insurance agent for advice)
  • Maintain your property and make repairs
  • Screen tenants
  • Create a lease
  • Set a price
  • Collect rent
  • Know how to deal with problem tenants

You can hire professionals to help you properly screen tenants and create a fair lease agreement. And, you can always hire a property manager to maintain the place. Indeed, you can choose to do as little or as much of the landlord duties as you want. However, if you have the time, energy and expertise, the more you do, the more money you will make or save. 

Call Yourself a Landlord

Let’s assume you are ready to take on the responsibility and become a landlord. Here are some of the next steps you’ll need to take. 

Prepare your home.

  • Thoroughly clean your home to demonstrate that you are a responsible landlord – and to increase its perceived value
  • Make sure all appliances are working and in good condition
  • Make sure all structural and mechanical items meet local codes

Set the price.

  • Consider the location
  • Compare to similar rentals in the area
  • Balance price with the risk of the property sitting empty
  • Don’t forget to add the cost of utilities as applicable. You will need to decide if you want to manage the utilities yourself and charge a flat fee or make your tenants responsible for paying them

Advertise your home.

Post the rental advertisement on reputable websites. You can also post at your local grocery store, coffee shop or church if you like.

Remember, this article is just the beginning. You should also learn as much as you can about renting properties by reading other articles and talking to other landlords in your area. If you do your homework and educate yourself – and if you’re willing to take on extra responsibility - you could generate enough income to cover your bills and possibly even earn a profit.  


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