4 Tips for Competing with Your Neighbors - Condo Rentals

Condo rentals have become increasingly common in the wake of the 2006 collapse of the real estate bubble. Many property owners found themselves owning condominiums that nobody wanted to buy. Rather than let them sit idle, some of those owners chose to rent them out, allowing them to earn at least some income on their property and qualify for some tax breaks in the process. If you are a condo owner who wants to rent out a condo, there are a number of things that you will have to do that the process is a success for everyone involved.

Landlord's Responsibilities

Before you set out to turn your condo into a rental, you will need to understand your responsibilities as a landlord. While your tenants are responsible for basic upkeep, you are responsible for the more heavy-duty repairs. In other words, while they are responsible for keeping your condo clean and tidy, but your tenant complains about a broken heater, you will have to pay for its replacement. Depending on the location of the property, you may be able to buy landowners insurance to help cover the repair costs.

Setting Rents

If you think you can handle your responsibilities as a landlord, you will have to decide how much you will charge in rent. Rents vary depending on location and the building type. You should try to rent your condo at similar rates to other condos of the same type - charge too high and you won't attract any tenants, charge too low and you won't make any profit. You can get a sense of the average condo rentals by looking in your local newspaper's classifieds section or checking on line rental sites.

Advertising Your Condo

One you decided on the rent, it's time to find tenants. To do this, you will need to advertise your condo. You can do it by posting an ad in the same places as you would look up rental rates for other condos. You should make a point to buy ads in  your local print and online publications - that way, your condo won't be lost among thousands of other condo rentals in your city.

Writing a Lease

Once you have potential tenants, you and the tenants will have to sign a lease. Lease is an agreement between you and your tenants. When the lease expires, the tenants will have to leave your property unless the lease is renewed. If either party breaks the terms of the lease, the lease is automatically nullified. No two leases are exactly the same, but they should all include the following.

  • Monthly rental rate - how much your tenants have to pay in rent and when then have to pay it.  You have a right to designate a date on which the rental payment is due - it can be a specific date (every 15th day) or a specific time period (every last Saturday of the month).

  • Penalties for late payments - financial penalties that are levied if the rent isn't paid on time. You have a right to give your tenants a grace period, but make sure it's not too long.

  • Eviction requirements - circumstances under which you can evict the renter. This may include chronically late rental payments, vandalism and crime conducted on your property. 

  • Lease cancellation - both you and your tenants have a right to cancel the lease before it expires. Should that happen, one party must notify the other ahead of time, no later then the period designated on the lease.

When writing the list, make sure everything is written down clearly and in detail. If it's not on the lease, it's not enforceable under US law.



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