Renters and the Single-Family Home

People choose to rent instead of buy for a variety of reasons. It could be that finances prohibit a home purchase. Or it could be that they were scared off by the housing bubble. Or perhaps the American Dream is changing so that home ownership is no longer part of it. But many people still want the space, yard, and neighborhood that comes with living in a house. These people rent.

If you’re a landlord of property manager dealing with single-family homes, you are in a unique situation and likely face unique problems. For example, people who rent homes tend to stay there for a long period of time. And when people stay in a home for years, they tend to think of that home as theirs, even if it isn’t. The good news is that you won’t have to deal with a lot of turnover. The bad news is that you might end up with paint colors that you would never choose yourself. Be sure that you’re clear about your expectations when it comes to decorating.

On the other hand, renters might not have the same pride in the property as they would if they were owning it, and this can be clear to neighbors and the homeowners’ association every time they look at the overgrown, weed-infested yard. Make sure you and your tenant discuss who will be responsible for yard care and if your tenant takes on that responsibility, do monthly drive-bys to make sure they’re holding up their end of the deal.

Pets are a big issue. Most people renting an apartment will assume the building has a pet policy, but people renting a single-family might not make the same assumption. Have a clear policy in place and make your tenants aware of it. And be sure to keep in mind that allowing pets means you might have to repair scratches and replace carpet before re-renting the house.

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