Becoming a landlord comes with an inherent responsibility and isn’t for the faint of heart. Often times, the job means opening yourself up to late night maintenance calls, tenant issues and possibly even potential legal issues if you’re not adequately prepared for the job.

Owners sometimes assume to be a landlord one simply collects monthly rental checks. However, the responsibility of being a landlord can be much more complicated than it appears. Your end goal is to get the highest return possible on your investment. The only way to reach prosperity is knowing what the job entails from the inside out.

To be a successful property owner one must find qualified tenants, handle tenant complaints and maintenance requests, conduct inspections and be available at all times. In order to effectively manage a rental property, owners need to not only understand the various real estate laws, but encompass great organizational and management skills as well. Owning rental property is a tough business and if an owner can’t get these essentials down, it’s likely their investment will not prosper.

California is a very tenant-friendly state meaning that it’s crucial landlords understand and stay within the rental laws. Knowing state and federal laws associated with landlords and tenants is a part of the gig. However, it’s up to you, as the landlord, to take the initiative and educate yourself on these matters.

For instance, one of the main responsibilities being a landlord entails, is understanding how to treat the tenants and applicants you interact with. However, in order to do this, you must know to abide by all Fair Housing laws. Knowing these laws is a landlord’s best protection against any possible claims. So, try taking a class to help educate you on these matters.

Once you have tenant in your property, you need to make sure it is habitable. It’s a landlord’s responsibility to provide a safe and livable space for their tenants. Before the tenant moves in, it is up to you to make sure the home is current with all housing codes and rental laws.

Inspect all appliances such as the dishwasher, refrigerator, oven and stove to make sure everything is in working order. Check all switches, receptacles and faucets; anything people use on a daily basis. Additionally, ensure that the plumbing and heating works properly.

Maintenance is a major component to the overall profitability of any investment property, so don’t overlook these items before tenancy. Underestimating maintenance issues can not only be hazardous for a landlord, but costly as well. Anything can happen at any time and you need to be prepared to deal with any emergency that may come up.

In short, it’s a landlord’s responsibility to respond to their tenants in a timely manner and provide them with a safe, habitable environment. Same holds true for the tenant as it is their responsibility to pay the rent on time and take care of the home for their landlord.

Being a great landlord and understanding the responsibilities involved with the job is paramount to the success of your property. If you need more information, feel free to contact Stokley Properties or your local Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County property management company.