Writing a Clear Rental Contract

Hand signing a rental contract.Before you put out an ad for the apartment or home you want to rent, make sure that you have a rental agreement ready for people who show interest. A rental contract is a must-have for anyone wanting to lease property. It offers protection for the rental unit and for you as the owner, and also protects tenants. This contract is a legally binding document, so take care to include everything that you want to the renters to know so that you cannot be held liable if something goes wrong.

The most important information should appear right at the beginning: the move in and out dates, dates when payments are due and when they are late, the fees for late payments, the security deposit amount and what it can be used for, what furniture or appliances are in the apartment or home on the day the renters move in, and information about utilities. Renters need to know what they are expected to pay for and what services are included. For example, if you don’t provide Internet to the property, this will need to be in the contract so that your renters are aware and can make their own arrangements. (more…)

Going (and Saving) Green

Think green slogan.You may think that “going green” requires an extensive, expensive overhaul of your property. There are some quick, relatively inexpensive fixes that you can do yourself to save money. As a property owner, it’s a good idea to update even if you’re not the one paying most of the utility bills—your property will be extremely appealing to potential renters, and in the event that the home stands empty for a period of time, it won’t cost you a lot of money to keep it inhabitable while you wait for new tenants.

One easy, inexpensive fix is to install low-flow shower heads and faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen. At a cost of about $15, you can decrease water bills by $45-100 a year. Another way to save is to lower the water level in toilet tanks. Having these features makes the property appealing because of the savings renters will experiences. (more…)