Landlord shouldn’t try to be friends with tenant

10/31/2014

Landlord shouldn’t try to be friends with tenant

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Oct. 30, 2014 – Question: We recently bought a new home and will rent out our existing property. Can you please give some advice to a new landlord? – Julio

Answer: Renting property can be a rewarding business – if you approach it correctly.

When selecting your tenants, be very picky. Do credit and background checks and make sure their employment and financial pictures are stable. It's better to take longer to find a good tenant than to have to evict a lousy one.

Once you have a tenant, don't try to be friends with him or her. This is a business relationship. If you go golfing with your tenant every Saturday, how will you feel if the rent payment is past due and you have to post a warning notice on the door? If the payment is late, you must take immediate action. Don't get in the habit of accepting excuses.

A good landlord immediately responds to the tenant's request for repairs and maintenance. Also, save all of your receipts. These expenses can help offset the rent you receive on your taxes.

The landlord-tenant statute is not hard to understand. Familiarize yourself with it. The procedures for enforcing the lease are set forth step-by-step in the statute. Make sure to have a good lease form that is current and state specific. Entering and exiting leases can be intimidating for beginners, so don't be afraid to seek help from a qualified real estate professional.

About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program.

The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Copyright © 2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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