How do I rent out my condo? What steps do I take? How do I legally protect myself? How do I check credit?

Asked by Nicole, Oceanside, CA Sat Sep 20, 2008

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James Baker, , 92008
Mon Sep 22, 2008
Hi Nicole! I'm assuming you are going to be a first time landlord. Being a landlord can be a daunting experience. First review your HOA documents and find out what restrictions you have agreed to in regard to renting your home.

Second, open a checking account for your new business. It is important that you treat your rental as a business and hopefully as a profitable one. The bank account will serve to document your expenses and income accurately. If you use the account only for business it makes your new status as an tax paying investor much easier.

Third, Figure out who will be most interested in renting from you. If your place is near Camp Pendelton for instance, a Marine family may be your client base and that is who will be attracted to your home.

Forth, place a nicely made sign in the most conspicuous place on the property. That may be a window on the busiest street or entrance to the garage area. Many renters will drive the neighborhood where they want to live. Signs on garage doors work well but may distress some of your neighbors. Call me if you want to know why.

If you get no response, you will need to cast a broader net, i.e. advertise in PennySaver or newspaper. This can get expensive but pay with your new account so you can receive credit on your taxes.

When you find a candidate, be sure that you control the situation. Don't let them sway you from your aggenda with their stories. Make them fill out a credit application which you can find a many office supply stores or online. Look at it and be sure they have included their Social Security Numer, California Driver's license and that they have signed the bottom near the statement that allows you to investigate their credit. Without that, you cannot have one of the Credit checking services run their credit check. This will cost you a few bucks, if possible eliminate the ones that you know will not be suitable, such as hunting dog owners since you only have a small patio, etc.

Be ready for your new tenants destroying parts of your home. You will probably need to paint the entire home after every tenant moves on. This shouldn't be a problem if you find tenents that will stay, and then take care of them. This is why you need to be selective. So, get a substancial non-refundable cleaning fee in addition to a refundable security deposit. Your agreement should include that they professionally clean the carpets prior to refund of the deposit, make them show the receipt because when the carpet is wet you cannot tell if they did a good job.

If you are moving from the area, hire a professional rental management company to watch over your investment. Call me for more ideas, (760) 445-1534.
1 vote
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat Sep 20, 2008
Your best bet is to hire someoen who is in teh business of renting homes. They can assist you in finding more than potential renters to choose from, they will check the credit, past landord/rental history, job and income verification. if you want to do it your self you will need tio take a deposit, make it refundable only if you do not apporve them, check their credit online, call their job, call their old or current landlord. get 3 references and call them. make sure you collect first months rent and 1 month securrity deposit. Most importantly make sure you have a lease or rental agreement that covers you in every situation. good luck
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1 vote
Gawphotostud…, Home Buyer, Oceanside, CA
Sun Jan 27, 2013
I am looking to rent a Condo in the Boynton Beach area which is a intercoastal community
0 votes
Ginger Jones, , Yuma Commerce Center, Yuma, AZ
Thu Sep 24, 2009
You can never under estimate the value of a great property manager. Just like a great agent. Some are better than others. Make sure you ask about any current or past litigation.
0 votes
Sfr, , Los Angeles, CA
Fri Jun 19, 2009
James Baker do not make illegal suggestion.

Under California law, a lease or rental
agreement cannot say that a security deposit is
“nonrefundable.”77 This means that when the
tenancy ends, the landlord must return to you any
payment that is a security deposit, unless the
landlord properly uses the deposit for a lawful
77 Civil Code Section 1950.5(m); Portman and Brown, California Tenants’ Rights, page 14/2 (NOLO Press 2005).
0 votes
Nick Rhea, , San Diego County, CA
Sat Sep 20, 2008

I am currently helping some clients rent out their house so they can purchase another one. It is a service I provide free to clients. I am happy to answer your questions and can assist with the application process, where to advertise, lease agreements, insurance, etc.

Nick Rhea
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Sep 20, 2008

Are you looking at annual or seasonal rental? One of the keys to getting responsible renters is collecting a healthy damage deposit in addition to at least a month in advance. Insist on the rent being paid on time and implement some sort of consequesce for tardy rental fee.

With seasonal rentals, one big advantage is your ability to get in on a regular basis to check on the condition of the unit.

Whatever guidelines you implement make sure you have an attorney review them and put them in writing. Tenants must sign this document and agree to adhere to your rules.

Good luck,
0 votes
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