Tips for Being a Successful Landlord in Michigan
Michigan is home to amazing scenery that’s filled with natural beauty. It’s surrounded by water and it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family, with lots of opportunities for lake trips or the latest Lansing sporting event.
So naturally, becoming a landlord in Michigan is a great way to make extra money. You just need to carefully vet your tenants, oblige with the rules of the state, and be sure that you’re insured. Read on for some helpful tips.
It is easy to get caught up in someone’s life story when renting a unit to them, but you have to remember to always protect your interests. You are the homeowner and you are responsible for the structure of the home as well as the mortgage, if there is one. Ensure that all eligible applicants fill out a rental application so you can perform a background check on them.
The rule of thumb is for the tenant to make two and a half times the amount of rent as their income. Not only should you ensure that the tenant has a steady income, but you should also check their credit rating and call their previous landlord to see what type of recommendations they have.
Rules of the state
Before becoming a landlord, it is advisable to read all of the applicable laws for landlords in Michigan. Incorporate any relevant laws into your lease to make sure that you are covered.
For example, some laws require the landlord to give 15 days notice to tenants to move out and others require 60 days. But if you indicate a suitable amount of days in your lease, once signed, your tenants will have to oblige. This way, you’re covered and your tenants will know your expectations from the initial lease signing.
It is never a good idea to surprise your tenant with a shocking term that will upset them, because that may make your relationship much more difficult. There is nothing worse than an angry tenant. Angry tenants can neglect to pay rent or even damage your property.
Insurance is very important with regards to your home, even (if not especially) if you’re renting it out. Having property insurance will safeguard the structure of your home, but not the contents that belong to the tenants. It is important to let your tenants know that if a catastrophic event occurs, such as a fire, their belongings won’t be covered under your insurance.
It might be wise for you to put a stipulation in the terms and conditions of your lease that the renters must have their own insurance. If you do not want to make renters insurance mandatory, you can at least place a clause in the lease stating that you’re not responsible for their belongings. You never know when a break-in can occur or when a tornado decides to veer down and crumble your property. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Before getting into the landlord business, be sure to protect yourself and your assets by securing great tenants, knowing both their rights and your own, and ensuring your tenants are aware of what will happen if they do not have renters insurance. Always be upfront with your tenants and let them know their rights and responsibilities before they sign their lease. If you do, you’ll have a great relationship with great tenants, and they’ll be more likely to resign the lease.
Claire Peters is a contributor to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner and Baltimore Post-Examiner.