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Want To Be a Landlord? Here Are Some Important Dos and Don’ts

Owning rental property  and obtaining passive income by receiving monthly rents can be quite lucrative, however it can also be a disaster if it’s not handled properly.

Whether you’re in  Fairfield County Connecticut or any other area, perform your due diligence PRIOR to offering a lease to your prospective tenants.

Most experienced Landlords will ask for a credit check, but how many search public records? Or have someone perform that type of search? What about a sex offender check? Have you ever thought about that possibility, and how it may stigmatize your multi-family home for other prospective occupants who may perform that check?

You may also want to consider paying a visit to the tenant’s current home if they are local. Is it clean? Well kept?

As far as I know, sex offenders are not considered a “protected class”, and neither are felons. Your initial application should always ask the uncomfortable question-“Have you ever been arrested, and if so, when, and why?”
Are there any hazardous materials in the home you are about to rent out where someone can become ill as a result of living there? Even if the home has been rented with no complaints, or concerns for many years,it does not mean that the home is toxic-free. Remember that tenants are a lot more “lit-happy”- or more amenable to filing a lawsuit than there ever were before, with scores of hungry attorneys looking to create a large case, and award. Try not to become case law.
One seemingly minor item? *a smoke detector*. If it is not working, and a fire occurs, you can be in big trouble- morally, ethically, and financially. Perform periodic checks, and write it down.

……and last but not least, do not discriminate. It is illegal to discriminate in Connecticut on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, sex (gender), marital status, age, sexual orientation, learning disability, physical or mental handicap, disability, disorder or retardation (including but not limited to, blindness or deafness), familial status (families with children under 18) and lawful source of income.

Judy Szablak