What are some legal concerns I might need to know about regarding renting out a guest house on my property.?

Asked by Caramel, West Los Angeles, CA Sun Jul 19, 2009

Should I have a lease? Should I ask for deposit? Also first and last months rent? Credit history? Thank You

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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Aug 1, 2009
I would recommend you take a look at this website it concerns Landlord and Tenant laws http://www.www.dca.ca.gov. This site will explain some of the Laws concerning Renting.
You should most definitely have a lease. Then tenants should be screened their credit and DL checked for background information. First , Last and security deposit is customary. Will you handle this property yourself? You might also consider Property Management .
1 vote
Anthony Vu, , Los Angeles, CA
Tue May 3, 2011
Yes, you should have a lease. That will clearly state all the rules and reduce any liability for you. You should also do a thorough screening of all applicants (ie, credit history, employment, references, etc.) For me, this part is most important as you do not want to be stuck with a bad tenant. You can google online or even go to http://www.westsiderentals.com to find a free lease agreement or rent application.

Definitely ask for a deposit, it's like "insurance" (ie, tenant doesn't pay rent or tenant moves out and makes damages, you can take out of their deposit). You can ask for first & last month's rent. But keep in mind, you may have to be flexible. You might be in a situation where no one can afford 1st/last month's rent, deposit, moving cost, etc. so you could work out a payment plan, etc.

This is just the gist, but I hope it helps. Good luck.
0 votes
Wallace S. G…, Other Pro, Charlottesville, VA
Tue Sep 28, 2010
Check on the "innkeeper" laws of your state. If you rent it furnished for a short period you may by-pass landlord/tenant laws all together and fall under the hotel/B&B/guest house category. May have to pay more in taxes and licenses; however, renting through an 800 reservation service who takes credit cards may well eliminate a LOT of headaches and get you more $$$ in the long run!
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Danny Mahelka, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Thu Aug 12, 2010
Most definitely have a lease! Also, you need to do a credit and a background check on the new tenants. It is usually customary for the potential tenant to pay the fees for those services. Many apartments will ask for the first month's rent and a security deposit of about equal value. Depending on the credit of the tenant, you may want to have last months rent as well. If this is your first time renting, make sure you talk to a lawyer before you start.
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Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Mon Jul 20, 2009
Caramel, I suggest that you use an attorney in CA to resolve your issues for your first rental of your guest house. You need to get the process right the first time, so you do not end up learning from your mistakes. This is particularly true because you are living so close to your tenants. I speak from experience. I am a Realtor & I have been practicing law for 30 years in Ohio. So many people do not want to retain an attorney, because "they" cost too much. Then, they have to retain an attorney to fix the problems they have created. I can tell you it is much cheaper to retain an attorney in the beginning that it is to fix mistakes.
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun Jul 19, 2009

Yes, you should have a lease, request a deposit, as well as the first and last month's rent. Additionally, it would be advisable to consult with your accountant regarding this undertaking. They will be able to advise you from their perspective.

Good luck
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Jul 19, 2009
Yes all apply best have a realtor who can assist you with all particulars, you want all in writing for tenant / property owner abide by executed lease agreement.

National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Mortgage Loan Officer, Credit Repair Lecturer
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