Renting out your St. Louis home can be a great investment move because a large percentage of households in the city are occupied by renters. This means that there is a high demand for rental housing. Renters are attracted to the area because of the availability of jobs and a low cost of living, among other things.
When it comes to renting out a home, however, a lot is involved. It isn’t as simple as just placing a “For Rent” sign, getting a tenant, and receiving rent money at the end of the month.
In this article, we’ll provide you with 7 tips on how to rent out your house in St. Louis, MO for maximum return on investment.
1. Mastery of Skill is Key
Being a landlord, and being an effective one for that matter, requires a certain level of skill. In other words, just because you own a rental property doesn’t mean you are qualified to manage it.
Being an effective landlord requires one to have experience, commitment, and constant involvement. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to gauge your skills:
- Do you have an effective marketing strategy to minimize rental vacancies?
- How do you ensure that you’re renting to a quality tenant?
- How are you going to deal with maintenance issues?
- Do you know how to determine the optimal rent price?
- Do you understand your legal obligations?
2. Know Your Responsibilities
Being a landlord comes with a ton of responsibilities. Renting out a property isn’t all about collecting rent. There is more involved!
To begin with, you’ll be responsible for your tenant’s health and safety to some degree. According to the habitability laws in Missouri, there are certain minimum safety, health, and structural codes a rental property must meet.
Secondly, you have a responsibility to ensure that you respond to maintenance issues promptly. Specifically, you’ll have 14 days once you’ve been notified of maintenance issues, to make repairs. Another common responsibility landlords in Missouri have is providing amenities promised in the agreement.
3. Create a Lease Agreement
As a landlord, you also have a responsibility to create a legally binding lease agreement. A lease is a contractual agreement that binds both parties to the terms of the agreement for a certain period of time.
The benefit of having one is that it’ll help both parties understand their obligations to avoid conflicts or misunderstandings.
When drafting a lease agreement, it must contain certain important terms. One such term is details about rent. Don’t just state the dollar amount and skip to the next term. Let your tenant know about things such as:
- When rent becomes due
- Where it is to be paid
- Acceptable forms of payment
- Late fees (if any)
- Penalties for bounced checks
Besides a term on rent details, other must-haves include terms on occupancy limits, property changes, and restrictions on things like smoking and pets.
4. Take Care of Any Repairs
Renting out an attractive property comes with a bevy of benefits. For one, it helps attract the right kind of tenant. You may also be able to rent it out much faster as it’ll attract a large pool of prospective tenants. Finally, since it’s a stand-out, it can help you ask for a higher rent amount.
5. Know How Much Rent to Charge
One mistake new landlords make is undercharging or overcharging their tenants. The results are often not so good.
Overcharging on rent will have the effect of making a property less desirable to prospects. On the other hand, undercharging means not being able to maximize your rental profits.
So, to avoid doing either, consider hiring a professional. A good property management company will have insider knowledge of the prevailing rent rates in your particular St. Louis neighborhood. What’s more, they can also offer you advice on what you can do to maximize your income.
6. Understand Your Legal Obligations.
As already mentioned, landlords in Missouri have a bevy of responsibilities. And among these are certain legal obligations. Some are as follows:
Fair Housing Act
In Missouri, landlords are required to treat their tenants (both prospective and existing) respectfully and fairly. Protected characteristics include race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and familial status.
Warranty of Habitability
Landlords are legally required to keep their premises livable, under a legal doctrine referred to as “implied warranty of habitability.” If you fail to do this, your tenant may have several options to pursue. Including, withholding rent, or repairing the issue themselves, and deducting the costs from the rent.
Security Deposit Rules
Missouri landlords have certain rules they must abide by when it comes to their tenants’ security deposits. An example of such a rule is on the security deposit limit. The maximum-security deposit you can charge your Missouri tenant should be equivalent to the rent of 2 months. Also, the time limit for returning the deposit is 30 days.
Yes, as a landlord, you have a right of entry. That notwithstanding, you cannot enter your tenant’s rented premises as you like. You must have a legal reason to do so, as well as do so within reasonable hours of the day. Missouri, however, has no law regarding how much notice landlords should give their tenants before the entry.
7. Hire a Property Management Company
Do you still feel confident about self-managing your St. Louis rental property? If not, hiring a professional property management company is the right option. A professional manager will be able to keep your rental business legally compliant. What’s more, they’ll be able to help with tenant screenings, marketing, coordinating maintenance and so much more.
When looking to rent out your Missouri home, there are many things to consider. You need to ensure that you understand landlord-tenant laws, the eviction process, and much more. You also must ensure that you keep your property in good condition, respond to tenants’ requests and so much more.
Keyrenter St. Charles Property Management offers comprehensive property management services in St. Louis and St. Charles County. Our services are designed to help first-time landlords reduce stress and ensure maximum ROI. If you need help managing your rental properties, contact us today!
Disclaimer: This post is meant for educational purposes only. If you need legal advice please contact a licensed professional.