One of the most important reasons to hire a professional to manage your properties is the importance of the various legal documents associated with it. Everyone is familiar with leases (although few individual landlords have a good lease form), but there is actually a lot more documents that you really should be familiar with if you're going to manage rental properties. This is just a small sample:
- Lease Agreement
- Lead Paint Disclosure (for properties built before 1978)
- Government's "Protecting Your Family from Lead in Your Home" pamphlet
- Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Form
- Tenant application
- Credit reporting disclosure
- Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
- Tenant Move-Out Statement & Security Deposit Reconciliation
Failure to use the proper legal documents can land you in hot water. For example, federal law requires that the lead paint disclosure be provided and signed by both parties on any home built prior to 1978, and it has to contain the information required by the government statute. Along with the disclosure, a copy of the government's pamphlet about lead-based paint has to be provided to the tenant.
Other items may not be required by law, but will cause you problems if civil suit is filed. For example, if there are two tenants in the property and one of them leaves, if you don't do an amendment addressing the security deposit, you could end up with a lawsuit disputing who gets the security deposit and when.
The best thing to do is to hire a professional management firm so that these items are taken care of for you. Barring that, you should consult an attorney to make sure that the forms that you're using are sufficient. Give us a call if you'd like to hand over management of your property to a professional team that can take care of everything for you!