Whether you became a landlord unexpectedly through an inherited property, or you’re ready to get into the game for investment purposes, knowing where to start as a landlord can be daunting. While the internet has all the information seemingly at your fingertips, knowing where to find the best resources for landlords--ones that are both reliable and free to use--can be a chore.
This roundup of our favorite resources will assist you with whatever rental-related questions you may have, from navigating local laws to tips on tenant screening.
Nolo.com is an excellent place for landlords and property managers to find information on legal matters. It is a publisher of self-help legal books and software, but it also provides a large amount of free information, including a legal dictionary, and research guide.
For landlords, there is a ton of information on security deposit laws in each state, explanations on Federal Fair Housing regulations, and more. Nolo is a must-reference source for any simple legal matter you may need clarification on.
No one can provide more practical and emulatable advice to a beginner than other members of the industry who have been there. Successful landlords and industry leaders coming together to provide expert advice is a priceless tool that new and experienced landlords alike should seek to leverage.
Sites like Let’s Talk PM, BiggerPockets, and ActiveRain provide excellent forums for growth and opportunity for landlords to get answers to burning questions, enhance your understanding within the industry, and network with peers.
There are some areas in the rental business where a new landlord can prudently opt to DIY and then there are other areas where it is best to refer to a professional. Legal forms and agreements should always be reviewed by an attorney.
ezLandlordForms and LegalZoom are two sites that offer the hands-on landlord a way to ensure that their legal documents are valid and tailored to their state, while not hiring an attorney to walk them step-by-step through the process of creating a new form.
LegalZoom, provides non-landlord-specific legal forms. If you find yourself needing assistance with starting a corporation, LLC or partnership, this site will streamline the process and make it simple to follow all application steps in your area.
ezLandlordForms provides most forms necessary for landlords and property managers to start and operate a business, and all of their forms are reviewed both by landlord peers and attorneys in each state. While it may be easy to find free sample leases online through different venues, ezLandlordForms made this list purely because their forms are state-specific. There are few things worse than finding out a standard lease agreement you found on the internet was rendered invalid because your state laws prohibit certain clauses. Having a legally solid lease agreement is a vital building block for protecting your investment.
Managing a rental property requires ongoing education. Whether you are the landlord for one unit or a small portfolio of properties, it’s important to stay abreast of industry news, keep actively learning about trends and new laws, and seek to refine any areas within your current business practices that could use improvement. Sites with free and regularly updated information in the form of blogs or newsletters are ideal ways to keep yourself informed within the industry. Realtor.com, Rentec Direct, National Apartment Association (NAA) and Trulia are excellent resources for just this purpose.
Trulia and Realtor offer continual insight to both landlords as well as regular homeowners, and have a diverse range of articles that will surely answer any questions about investing, owning or renting your property. NAA and Rentec Direct’s blog both have an untold amount of educational articles directly pinpointed at informing the landlord or property manager of any information they need to know. Regularly checking in with any of these sites and their respective blogs or newsletters is a surefire way catalyse your growth and understanding of the property management industry.
Every landlord starts somewhere, and everyone was once a beginner. Ensuring that you have the best possible resources at your side is what will separate you from those that were not able to find strong footing within the industry. For this reason, new landlords should make seeking reputable industry information a priority.