Before handing over the keys to your rental property, screening potential tenants is an absolute must. But when doing so, it is also essential that you follow the proper steps in terms of what is permitted, and what is not.
While the state of Florida does not have set guidelines on what you may or may not ask a potential renter, there are certain guidelines set forth by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) that can provide you with a good idea of how to proceed.
For example, when screening a tenant, you are not allowed to ask them about their:
- National origin
- Family status
However, you can – and in fact, you should – obtain consent to run a comprehensive background check on the individual (or individuals), as well as a verification of rental history. Doing so can prevent a long list of possible problems down the road.
In addition, unless you are renting out a property for at least twelve months or more, Florida does not require written rental agreements. Here again, though, having such an agreement can help to ensure that the rules are more closely followed – and if they are not, this type of agreement can also outline any penalties that may be incurred.
Just some of the items that should ideally be covered in a written rental agreement include the dollar amount of monthly rent, the due date for the rent – as well as the additional amount due if the rent is late, and how much notice you need to give tenants before you increase the rent.
Because managing and maintaining rental property can take up a great deal of time and resources, having a property manager on your side can be beneficial. If you own investment real estate in Central Florida, then contact us for more information on how a property manager could benefit you.