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From Homeowner to Landlord: Tips for First-Time Accidental Landlords in Walnut Creek

From Homeowner to Landlord: Tips for First-Time Accidental Landlords in Walnut Creek

Home prices, mortgage rates, and rents are up, so if you're among the 85% of homeowners who secured a mortgage below 6% in recent years, you probably think you're sitting pretty.

What if you suddenly had to move for work or other reasons? Giving up your mortgage only to pay a higher rate seems like a bad idea, so it only makes sense to rent out your home instead.

That's exactly the internal conversation that most accidental landlords have before signing up their first tenants. Keep reading for tips on what to do if this happens to you.

Know Your Local Laws

Every state has different laws that affect both landlords' and tenants' rights. In California, these laws favor the tenant. You must familiarize yourself with legislation applicable to:

  • Rent control
  • Application fees
  • Tenant background checks
  • Discrimination
  • HOA or condo association laws
  • Eviction proceedings

Once you're thoroughly versed in the dos and don'ts surrounding rentals, you're ready to start marketing your home.

Screen Tenants and Get Security Deposits

The first step in finding tenants involves setting a fair rental according to local norms. Conducting a rental analysis using comps is the best way to do this.

If you don't know how to do this, a property manager can help you come up with a good rate and market your property via the correct channels.

Don't sign a tenancy agreement with the first person who completes a rental application. You must consider several applicants and screen each one to find the best fit for your investment property.

Background checks will reveal important information like criminal history, employment, identity, and tenant history.

When you've found a good tenant, get a lawyer or a broker to help you set up the paperwork and ensure you ask for a fair security deposit.

Perform Regular Property Inspections

Finding good tenants is one thing; keeping them happy takes work.

Routine property inspections help you keep tabs on the state of your home and attend to any issues promptly. They're also an opportunity to connect with your tenants.

Good landlord-tenant relationships help ensure that your tenant renews their lease, helping you avoid expensive vacancies. Regular property maintenance protects your investment and prevents expensive repairs and replacements.

If you don't live close by, hiring a property manager to carry out inspections, take care of maintenance, and see to your tenant's needs is the next best thing to doing it yourself.

Technology, like owner and tenant portals or property management software, will also help streamline communications and maintenance requests.

Help for Accidental Landlords

Becoming a landlord can get complicated without the right team on your side. That's why most accidental landlords hire a property management company to assist them with renting out the family home.

Blue Line Property Management can assist every kind of accidental landlord along the way, whether you've inherited property or need to rent your home due to a move.

Get in touch to benefit from our expert service and years of experience in the California Bay real estate rental market.