Monica from Fleishman-Hillard sent us a really neat piece courtesy of the National Apartment Association that lists ten smart things you can do to protect yourself if you are or are considering renting space to a visitor. It’s good information whether you’re subletting an apartment or if it’s your own house.
The best tip in my not-so-humble opinion is this one: “If you currently rent your home and are thinking of sub-letting it for the week – check with your landlord to make sure you are legally allowed to do so before you post your advertisement. ” It doesn’t elaborate on the important part of this: if you’re in violation of your lease your insurance may not cover you if there’s an emergency.
The full list after the jump.
Douglas Culkin, president of the NAA says “As one-time landlords prepare to lend their keys to strangers, it is important to be smart and safe about renting your home during the Inauguration – or what starts out as a short-term lucrative income boost can turn into a nightmare. By taking some basic precautions, people can leave their homes feeling like they have done their due diligence to ensure a smooth renting experience.”
Before you turn over your keys, here are some Inaugural Renting Tips to consider:
1. Draw up a basic, legally binding agreement to secure payment that includes a damaged property clause. Get 50% deposit in advance.
2. Give strong consideration to doing a background check of the resident. It costs about $30 to $40 and can be done in minutes. Search for “resident screening” to find a vendor. Incorporate the cost of the screening into what you are charging for “rent.”
3. Make sure you’re protected with insurance – if someone injures themselves in your home you may be libel. Check your policy.
4. If you currently rent your home and are thinking of sub-letting it for the week – check with your landlord to make sure you are legally allowed to do so before you post your advertisement.
5. Make a duplicate set of keys. Send them via an insured carrier service but do not include your home address anywhere in the package in case it gets lost or stolen before reaching it’s intended recipient.
6. Change the locks after they leave. It costs approximately $150 to $175 in parts and labor to do three locks in the DC market. Incorporate this cost into what you charge for rent.
7. What about pets? If your lease agreement allows them, you’ll have to decide if you want to let a renter bring their pet for the week but be clear if no pets are allowed so there are no surprises upon your return.
8. As a courtesy, alert your neighbors who will see strangers entering and exiting your home during their stay so they don’t call the police.
9. You’ll exchange emergency numbers with your renters, but in case you are not immediately reachable leave a second local emergency contact number, especially if you plan to leave the area.
10. Clean out the fridge, make some closet space, etc. Schedule to have a cleaning company come before the renters arrive and after they leave. No one wants to see the other’s leftovers.