Susan Ormont - RISK VERSUS REWARD: A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE

• Light bulbs. zhis might seem insignificant, but tenants should hold responsibility for maintaining and updating lightbulbs, as necessary. But it needs to be in the lease. • Phone/Internet. Avoid potential disputes regarding phone and Internet expectations by clearly stating the terms in your lease. If you don’t have a landline hookup, then say so, and be sure the tenant agrees. If you won’t provide Internet access or guarantee high-speed Internet, then say so. • Drain stoppage. If a tenant plugs up the toilet, are they responsible for addressing and fixing the issue, or are you responsible? Include this in the lease. • AC filter. Who’s responsible for maintaining the air- conditioning filter and changing it regularly? Put it in the lease! • Lock-out charge. If you don’t include this component in your lease, then you’ll be getting keys for tenants whenever they accidentally lock themselves out as well as allowing yourself to be disrupted at any hour to let the tenant back inside. Most landlords charge a lock-out fee of between $50 to $100.

19. Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Complaints

You absolutely need to have clauses in place that protect you in the event of an HOA complaint. Imagine you don’t have in place a rock-solid lease that properly addresses this, and your tenant, whom you’ve vetted, isn’t who you thought and starts breaking rules, damaging your property, and disrupting your neighbors. The HOA c omes d own on you, demanding that you fix the i ssue because i t’s your property, and nothing in your lease protects you against HOA complaints.

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