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Investing in Boston Metro rental property can provide lucrative income, but it also requires a good deal of responsibility. Recently, we found some good advice for landlords in an article from Inman News, with tips supplied by Jacob Grant Property Management. We’re sharing some of them with you here, along with our own insights!

Treat your rental like a business. Being a landlord requires diligence, organization and planning. You should have repeatable processes and procedures to cover a variety of situations. For example, how will you handle maintenance requests if you are out of town? Are you setting aside 10% of your monthly rental income for upkeep and repairs?

Screen prospective tenants. It’s far easier to refuse a problematic tenant up front than to evict them later. Contact prior landlords and verify the applicant’s rental history; a recent, prior eviction is a red flag. Use the same screening procedures and background check procedures on all applicants equally. As a rule of thumb, a tenant’s income should be about three times the cost of monthly rent. If you have a minimum credit score requirement, be consistent in how you apply this. Follow Fair Housing laws at all times!

Get legal advice about your lease documents. What is the legal limit on a security deposit amount? How much notice is required before you can increase the rent – and how much of an increase is permitted? It’s essential to know your legal rights and obligations as a landlord, and have appropriately-worded lease contracts.

Document everything. This includes saving both approved and denied rental applications. Also document all repair orders, tenant complaints and resolutions, pet policies, visitor policies, common area use, “quiet hours” and codes of conduct. Document the consequences of late payments and causes for eviction very clearly, and be sure the tenant signs off on them and has copies for their records. Do not rely on verbal agreements or human memory!

Price your rentals according to the market. Consider joining a landlord association to stay on top of market trends. Consult with real estate professionals. Research rental rates in the area for units that have similar features and amenities to yours.

Do not present yourself as the owner. Consider setting up an LLC or other business entity. If you are managing the property yourself, it’s far better to have tenants perceive you as a middleman than the owner, especially when there is a contentious situation.

Making paying rent a positive experience. Offer electronic payments. Provide a receipt and say “thank you.” Reward consistent on-time payments with a gift card.

Be a good landlord. Respond promptly to repair requests, even minor ones. Keep the property in good condition and conduct regular maintenance; don’t wait for things to fail. Provide adequate notice if you need to enter the property. Allow reasonable quality-of-life freedoms such as decorating.

Thinking of becoming a landlord? We can help you evaluate Boston Metro commercial real estate for your purposes! You will benefit by using the expertise of an experienced commercial real estate broker who understands the market.

Whenever you are thinking of buying or leasing Boston Metro commercial real estate, we can help you find the ideal property. Please contact us today for expert guidance!

Jay Nuss
Jay Nuss Realty Group, LLC
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