Thinking of renting out your Pittsburgh rental property? If you are, it can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. If you do it well, being a landlord can help provide you with the financial freedom that you want.
Being a landlord, however, isn’t all about cashing rent checks at the end of every month. In today’s article, we’ll provide you with tips on how to successfully rent out your house in Pittsburgh.
1. Acquire some Basic Real Estate Skills
Running a rental property business requires one to have some basic skills. Having a basic understanding of real estate and what’s involved in being a landlord will be vital. Some of the basic skills you’ll want to acquire include:
- Knowing how to market a rental property
- Knowing how to select the best tenant from a prospective tenant pool
- Having knowledge of Pennsylvania landlord-tenant laws
- Knowing how to maintain a rental unit
- Knowing how to determine the optimum rental rate
Once you have mastered these skills and, ideally, have had hands-on experience, then you’ll be on your way to self-managing your property. Otherwise, hiring a professional property management company may be the best option for you.
2. Understand the Responsibilities that Come with Being a Landlord
Landlords have many responsibilities. How well you perform these responsibilities is what can make all the difference. Here are just some of the things you’ll be responsible for as a landlord:
- Providing your tenant with a property that meets the minimum safety, health, and structural codes
- Maintaining the peace and quiet
- Providing all the amenities promised in the lease
- Responding to maintenance issues in a timely manner
- Treating your tenant with respect and fairness in accordance with the Fair Housing Act
- Notifying your tenant before making any changes to the terms of the lease agreement
- Providing your tenant with reasonable notice prior to entry – usually, a 24 hours advance notice
3. Draft a Solid and Legal Lease Agreement
Having a lease agreement helps protect you and your tenants. Creating a solid one will help you avoid many issues and conflicts with your tenant that can occur during the tenancy.
Be clear on your expectations about rent-related terms. For example note how much the dollar amount is when it’s due if there are late fees, if there’s a grace period, and more.
You’ll also want to share important policies with your tenant. For instance, what’s your policy on pets? If you accept them, let them know about any restrictions they must abide by such as the number of pets allowed.
Once you’re done with the drafting process, have a professional examine the document to ensure it abides with the state’s leasing law. Lastly, before a prospect can sign it, make sure to go through it together with them so that they know what they’re signing and agreeing to.
4. Make All Necessary Repairs
Would you want to rent a property that’s in a dire state of disrepair? Of course not! No one would, especially a quality tenant who you should be targeting for maximum ROI.
So, before listing your property, go around and make sure everything is functioning normally. Make sure all your appliances are working as they should make any necessary repairs to ensure the space is habitable and clean the space.
Not only will this ensure that you’re meeting your duties as a landlord, but it will also set a precedent for the tenant moving in, letting them what the property should look like throughout their stay.
5. Determine the Optimum Rental Rate
How much to charge your tenants isn’t determined through guesswork. It’s something that you should determine using specific criteria. The right rent should be attractive to tenants. It’s also one that will ensure maximum return on investment.
As a general rule of thumb, use the 1% Rule as a guiding principle. The rule states that the monthly rent collected on an investment property should be equal to or greater than 1% of the property’s purchase price.
So, if you bought your Pittsburgh rental property at $300,000, then the monthly rent amount should be at least $3,000 in order for it to be worthwhile.
6. Familiarize Yourself with Pennsylvania Landlord-tenant Laws
Among the many responsibilities you’ll have as a Pittsburgh landlord are legal ones. So, to avoid any legal trouble, read and make sense of the tenancy laws in Pennsylvania.
One legal responsibility that will fall onto your shoulders is maintenance. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure their rental property meets the minimum habitability standards. So, once a tenant notifies you of a maintenance issue, you’ll need to act fast to fix the issue.
Another responsibility you have is treating your tenant with respect and fairness regardless of some protected classes. This is a requirement under the Fair Housing Act. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, nationality, and familial status.
Other responsibilities include:
- Abiding by the state’s security deposit rules
- Following the Pennsylvania legal eviction process
- Abiding by the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
7. Hire an Experienced Property Management Company
If you have found the prospect o self-managing a rental property daunting, then hiring a property management company may be the best solution for you.
A good property management company will help you in all aspects of management. From filling vacancies and screening prospects to collecting rental payments, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
When renting out your house, you need to ensure that you fully understand what you undertaking. You have to prepare your property for long-term tenants, learn and stay up-to-date on rental laws and manage day-to-day issues that arise during the tenancy.
If you need assistance, DeSantis Property Management can help you maximize the value of your real estate investment. We’re a full-service property management company that can provide you with all the help you need to run your property successfully. Get in touch with us today!
Disclaimer: This piece is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact a licensed attorney if you have any legal questions or need help.