How to Rent Out Your House

You always have the option to rent out your house instead of selling the property. This option is often exercised by individuals who must move out of a home at a time when selling the property would result in a financial loss. Renting your home is about more than finding a tenant, however. It is a legal process that requires attention to detail.

Obtain Legal Zoning

The first thing you need in order to rent your property is a permit. Your home may already be zoned properly to be rented out. However, in most cases, there is no documentation to prove this fact. If you were ever to get into a dispute with a tenant, this could result in problems for you. Start by checking with your city regarding the process to rent out a home. You will likely need an inspection, and you may even need to make some changes to the property in order to get the permits needed.

Consider a Property Management Company

While you are not living in your home, there may be issues that need to be addressed. For example, maintenance concerns or appointments at your property will need to be managed. If you will be away from the property and cannot fulfill this need, you will need to hire a management company. For a fair price, a good property manager will handle everything from showing your home to potential renters to contacting contractors if any repairs need to be made.

Secure Personal Property

You may have some property that will be remaining in your home in your absence. In this case, you will need to ensure the property is secured prior to allowing renters in the house. Most owners use what is often called an "owner's closet" for this purpose. This should be a storage facility in the home or on the property that can house and protect your belongings sufficiently. The storage facility should remain locked in your absence.

List Your Property for Rent

Listing your property properly is the key to ensuring it remains rented. Today, renters generally use the Internet to search for potential homes. Ensure your home is well-photographed for renters to browse. You will want to highlight key features, such as its being "legally zoned and inspected" and its square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms and any upgrades that may be appealing. Listing your home on the correct sites is essential. For example, there may be a local rental website in your area with paid listings.

Determine Rental Contracts

You cannot simply rent your home without going through the steps of a legal contract. The tenant has rights, and you have rights. These are both protected by law, and a contract is the best way to assure the rights are stated and secured. You can start with a sample rental agreement. Sample agreements may be found on the website for the department of consumer affairs in your state. Make sure to modify the contract to your standards. For example, if you do not want to permit subleasing, this must be explicitly stated in the contract.