How to Find Good Tenants

rental property in maryland or washington dc

Finding the right tenants in the Maryland location, Virginia location, or Washington DC location is essential to having a good renting experience.  Your property is an asset and you need to be able to trust your tenants to take good care of it.  Approaching the search for tenants in a businesslike way is the key to finding the right people. Here are some tips to help you fill your rental with good tenants.

Know the Law

Every state, town, and county has its own rental laws.  Make sure you understand the laws for the location your property is in.  This will help you create a lease document that is lawful and fair for both you as the landlord, and your tenants.

Select Advertising

Advertising your open property is a must to finding the right tenants, but be selective where you post your listing.  There are sites such as rentals.com or zillow.com that may charge you a fee for your post, but will bring you better results than free sites such as Craigslist.  Put up a sign in the window or lawn of the property, and advertise locally in stores or newspapers. Provide details and the rent to get responses from people who are actually interested.

Application

Always have a rental application asking for names, social security numbers, income, and previous landlord references.  Run a background check on potential tenants. Many renters expect to pay for this, so you can charge a one time fee to do so.

Strong Lease Agreement

Spend the time before you look for tenants drawing up a strong lease agreement that clearly details the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenants, late rent fees, occupants, and terms for evictions.  Even if something seems obvious, spell it out in the lease.

Set the Bar High

Just because ten people have applied doesn’t mean you have to choose one of them.  Don’t lower your standards for a tenant just to get your property rented. Keep looking until you find a tenant you feel good about.

Landlord and Tenant Laws in Maryland

Rental agreement, lease agreement for maryland

When it comes to renting a house in the Maryland location, every state has its own laws laid out for both landlords and tenants.  These laws protect both parties in various situations and provide the framework for rental agreements. If you’re looking to rent a house in Maryland, here are a few of the most important laws you need to know.

Security Deposits

Maryland law puts a limit on how much money a landlord can require for a security deposit.  A landlord cannot hold more than two months’ rent as a deposit and is required to return money owed within 45 days of the tenant vacating the property.  A landlord who asks for more than the total of two months’ rent is breaking the law.

Withholding Rent

Did you know that in some cases, it is within your rights to withhold your rent?  A rental agreement between a tenant and landlord lays out all the responsibilities of both parties.  If the landlord does not uphold their end of the bargain, you can hold your rent money until they do.  For instance, if a landlord refuses to take care of an imperative repair, such as a broken water heater, you can keep your rent until they do.

Tenant Protections

A number of laws are specifically geared toward protecting the tenant.  One example a law that protect tenants from retaliation of the landlord when practicing their legal rights.  If a tenant complains to the authorities about unsafe living conditions, landlords are not allowed to take action against them.  Evictions, handling abandoned property, and fair housing rights are also all covered through Maryland laws.

In addition to state and federal laws, Maryland cities or counties could have their own laws as well.  When looking for property to rent in Maryland, take the time to read tenant/landlord laws for the state as well as the county and town you’re looking to move to.  

Free Lease Agreement Template

Rental agreement, lease agreement for maryland

So you’ve bought your first rental property. You spent months of researching homes, crunching numbers for positive cash flow, visiting homes on the market, calling realtors, negotiating with loan officers, considering property management companies, reading countless rental property tips blogs, etc. The process was tough, but you’ve made it to the next phase: landing your first tenants.

After positing rental listings on Craigslist and Zillow, you’ve found some potential rental property tenants. You then realize: I don’t have a lease agreement! Real estate laws are complicated and vary from state to state and county to county. You don’t have the money to hire an expensive contract lawyer.

Don’t fret! 8 Day Home Sale has put together a Lease Agreement template. While this lease agreement template is tailored for Maryland, it is generic enough to apply to most states/counties. In addition to establishing a standard rental contract based on monthly payments between the landlord and seller, the lease agreement:

  • Enables the landlord to require a security deposit
  • Protects the landlord from liabilities i.e. breaking of local laws
  • Prohibits unsafe activities i.e. smoking
  • Absolves the landlord of appliance maintenance responsibilities

The lease agreement can be easily modified and clearly marks where details need to be filled in. The rental agreement template is available for download as a docx and pdf.

Download: .docx or .pdf