5 Steps to Become a Landlord in Tampa, Florida

Successful Tampa landlords follow five specific steps in order to ensure they earn steady rental income and keep their properties well-maintained. These are things you must do if you want to manage a rental home in the Tampa market.

High Quality Tenants

Be highly selective when it comes to tenants. You don’t want to allow low quality tenants to sign a lease and move in just because you want to avoid a long vacancy. Take your time and choose the tenants who will pay rent on time and take care of the home. Check out the applicant’s background before you hand over the keys. This includes a credit check, criminal check and a review of employment and income. It’s also important to talk to former landlords.

Avoid Turnover

Once you find an outstanding tenant; do whatever you can to keep that outstanding tenant. Turnovers and vacancy cost you a lot of time and money. Statistics have told us that each vacancy costs landlords the equivalent of three months of rental income. You can’t afford that, so encourage tenants to renew their lease with you. They are more likely to renew when they have landlords who are responsive and fair. Take care of their repair requests right away and treat them with the respect they deserve.

Develop Vendor Relationships

Successful landlords are as selective with vendors as they are with tenants. Work only with vendors who are licensed, insured, reliable and flexible. You need a good team of vendors and contractors you can trust to get the work done correctly and at a reasonable price. If your tenant’s air conditioning goes out in the middle of the night during a Tampa summer, it’s going to get pretty hot and you’ll need a vendor who can help you right away. Look for companies and workers who will be available in the evenings and over the weekend.

Moving In and Moving Out

It’s essential to document the condition of your property before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Take a video of the entire interior and exterior of the house so you can prove how everything looks at each point. If a tenant tries to argue about what you withheld from a security deposit, you can rely on the video to support your claims that the property incurred damage or was not left clean. Photographs can also help, but we have found that video is easier to share with the tenant and provides an objective and dependable record of your property’s condition.

Use the Right Lease

Landlords can find sample leases anywhere on the Internet, but you want your lease to be enforceable, so Internet leases aren’t good enough. You need a lease that’s specific to Tampa and will protect you if you ever have the unfortunate experience of going to court with a tenant. The lease needs to be detailed and specific and it must comply with local, state and federal laws.

These five tips will help you be a successful landlord in Tampa. If you have any questions about any of them or need help managing your rental property, contact Hoffman Realty.

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