Maybe you were lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a condominium in the greater Boston area when you got your first job. Now, years later, you are planning to get married and the condo is too small for you and your partner. You've been researching family-friendly neighborhoods to move to, and you're considering holding on to the condo and turning it into a rental property as an investment. After all, there are thousands of Boston college students that don't live on campus so it should be relatively easy to find someone to rent it.
But before you take the plunge into becoming a landlord, there are a few things you should consider.
Read Up on Boston Landlord Laws
You will want to familiarize yourself with landlord laws because they can be complex. For example, in some circumstances, a rental property will have to be inspected by the Board of Health to verify it meets sanitation codes and safety standards. While landlords can raise their rents once a current lease expires, the eviction process in Massachusetts is incredibly difficult and tends to favor tenants. You will also have to understand Fair Housing Laws.
Being a Landlord is a 24/7 Job
Being a landlord doesn't simply mean you get to collect rent once a month and then never think about the property again for another 30 days. Issues will come up, and unfortunately, they always seem to happen when it's the most inconvenient time. A tenant may call you to report that the basement is filled with water after a heavy rainstorm, or an old furnace may suddenly quit working when it's in the middle of a cold January night. You are always "on-call" as a landlord.
Repairs Must Happen
Speaking of broken furnaces, as a landlord you should be prepared to have some type of emergency fund available when and if something does go wrong. Renters can cause unbelievable damage because they might not maintain or care for your property the way you would. Whether it's regular wear-and-tear that causes something in your property to fail or something a tenant does to cause damage, in many of these situations, you will have to cover the costs of the repairs or replacement.
You Will Need to Know a Little of Everything
As a landlord, you will wear many different hats. You will need to
- understand real estate laws;
- be able to either make repairs yourself or know who to hire to make repairs;
- collect rent;
- negotiate; and
- investigate future tenants.
Sandonato Law Is Here to Help
Sandonato Law has built a reputation of helping landlords in the greater Boston area for many years. If you are considering becoming a landlord and have questions, or if you are already a landlord and you're having problems with a tenant, Sandonato Law can provide sound, trusted advice. Initial consultations are free, so either call 781-964-1218 or fill out our contact form right away.