Getting Off on the Right Foot
Screen your prospective tenants well:
Contact previous landlords, not just the current one; inquire whether rent was paid promptly and what condition the unit was left in. HAC can provide you with the name of the tenant’s last landlord.
Run a credit check.
Drive by the tenant’s current unit to see how they care for the property.
Ask your tenants if they are in good standing with the utility companies.
Ask tenants if they have ever had difficult relationships with their neighbors and how they handled it.
Prepare your lease with care. Declare how many people may reside in the unit and list prohibitions, such as smoking and pets.
Familiarize yourself with Massachusetts General Laws regarding tenancies. An excellent reference is Property Management Manual for Massachusetts Rental Owners published by Hampden Hampshire Housing Partnership. Contact HAC’s Leased Housing Department to purchase this manual.
Always walk through the unit with the tenant before move-in. Prepare a “Statement of Condition” report, which you and the tenant should sign and date. (NOTE: This statement is required by law if you collect a security deposit.)
Photograph or videotape the condition of the unit before move-in.
Give your tenants the name and phone number of someone to contact for emergency repairs.
Show your tenant where the fuse box and other important utility areas are located.