The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

August 19, 2013

Real estate Q&A: Poor credit score shouldn’t necessarily disqualify tenant

Question: I relocated overseas for my job and want to rent out my house while I’m gone. Who can I get to help me do this and what should I watch out for?

Answer: Being a landlord is not without its difficulties. But with proper planning, and a little luck, it can be very rewarding.

As an absentee landlord, you’ll need to find a licensed real estate broker to help market and lease the property. You’ll want to look for a broker with plenty of experience in screening potential tenants and managing properties. The most important part of renting a property is finding good tenants.

I recommend reviewing their credit histories. But remember that people are more than a credit score. The Great Recession forced many consumers into bankruptcy and foreclosure, so don’t let that automatically disqualify a prospect. But you should find out the circumstances behind the problem and whether the issues still exist.

Do background checks to see if they had prior evictions or other warning signs that they might not be the best people to live in your home. Be picky. It’s much better to leave your home vacant a few extra weeks than spend months evicting a bad tenant and repairing the house.

Once you have rented the home, make sure your property manager gets all repairs done quickly and keeps the tenant happy. By showing that you care about the house, your tenant most likely will take better care of it, too. If your tenant does miss a payment, it’s best to take swift action. While I do recommend trying to work with your tenant during a temporary hardship, don’t let him or her take advantage of you.



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. Send him questions online at http://sunsent.nl/mR20t7 or follow him on Twitter GarySingerLaw.

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.


 

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