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Accidental Landlord Tips – How to be a Tampa Landlord

An accidental landlord is one who inherits a property, or doesn’t intentionally invest in real estate in order to rent it out. Maybe you own a home in Tampa and you’re leaving the area, but instead of selling the property, you’re going to hold it and rent it out. Or, a family member has passed away and left you a property. When you’re left with a home that you decide to rent out, you need to be prepared for everything from tenant screening to emergency maintenance. We have some tips today on how to manage your new responsibilities as a landlord.

Get to Know the Market

Many accidental landlords are in the same city as the home they’re renting out, but if it’s not a familiar area to you, take some time to study the market. Perhaps you’ve inherited a Tampa rental property but you live in Orlando or even out-of-state. You’ll need to know what tenants are looking for in Tampa, and you’ll also need to know what market rents are and what sorts of local and state laws you’ll need to follow. Take a look at other rental properties in the neighborhood. Determine how much they are renting for, who is in place renting them, and what kind of upgrades and amenities are offered. You’ll need this information to be competitive.

Prepare the Property for the Rental Market

Before you write an ad and market it for rent, you need to make sure it’s move-in ready. This means the entire home must be cleaned out and cleaned up. There should be no personal belongings left behind, whether they belong to you or the people who were living there previously. Prospective tenants will want to move their own possessions into an empty space. Don’t leave furniture, linens, or small appliances behind.

Clean the home professionally as well. Hire a company that will pay strict attention to detail. You want the ceiling fans dusted, the baseboards scrubbed, and the appliances pulled away from the wall to clean out all the crumbs and dust.

Finally, make sure everything in the property is functional. You don’t want to rent out a property that isn’t working. Fix any outlets that don’t have power, check window locks, replace damaged carpet or old appliances, and test all the toilets and tubs.

Market the Property Online

Online advertising offers the best chance at attracting good tenants fast. Use all the popular rental sites, including Trulia, Zillow, HotPads,, and Craigslist. Make sure you provide high quality pictures, detailed descriptions, information on the rental price and terms, and your contact information.

Be available to show your property to interested tenants. Answer questions, offer applications, and follow up to be sure you get someone in place quickly.

Screen Tenants Carefully

Once you have some applications, you’ll need to do the tenant screening properly. If you don’t have the resources to check nationwide eviction records, criminal histories, and credit reports, work with a property management company that can help you. It’s important to verify everything on a tenant’s application, including employment and income. Talk to former landlords.

Ongoing Property Management and Maintenance

After you find a tenant, you’ll need to sign a lease, collect a security deposit and address any other issues such as pets, parking, and utilities. Make sure you have a maintenance plan in place because things may happen in the middle of the night or while you’re on vacation. You’ll need reliable vendors and a reserve budget to pay for repairs.

After you find a tenant, you’ll need to sign a leaseThese are just some of the few early things you need to consider as an absentee landlord. You need to be able to collect rent on time, enforce your lease, conduct inspections, and respond to tenant issues. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re not sure where to start, contact us at Real Property Management Instant Equity. We can show you how to have a more successful rental experience.


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