First Person: 3 Myths About Renters

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Last week over coffee a friend told me he had planned to rent out a house he inherited. But he changed his mind after another landlord told him "the truth about renters." Being a property manager, I was interested in learning the truth about renters myself, so I asked for the secret. My poor, misinformed friend went on to tell me a few things that simply are not true.

Don't let these myths scare you away from becoming a landlord and losing out on some great income potential.

Renters Always Damage Rentals

To be honest, I've seen my fair share of damages in five years of managing properties. For example, once a renter accidentally spilled bleach on the carpet. Another renter knocked a hole in the wall opening a door too quickly. But most of the time when a renter moves out it looks like no one has ever lived there at all.

There is a risk of damages when you rent a property, but I've learned that most renters don't cause damage, and the ones that do rarely cause problems that need expensive repairs.

Renters Take Off Owing You Money

This one "truth" sounded more like a bitter response to a bad experience in my opinion. I've had dozens of renters and less than six have left owing any rent. The majority of my renters stay throughout the lease and pay everything they owe in full.

Renters want to protect their rental history as badly as you want to protect your investment business. They're unlikely to leave you holding the bag. But if they do - you can deduct that money from their security deposit or sue them in civil court. Either way, you'll get what you're owed.

You Never Know What You'll Get

This is true to some extent. You can't be 100 percent sure that a renter will pay on time and leave your rental in perfect condition, but you can make an educated guess. The problem is many private landlords don't realize that they can ask the tenant's permission to perform a background and credit check before they let them move in.

There are several companies that perform tenant screening. This screening will look for past law suits, evictions, criminal history, and rental references. Many companies make the process even simpler by offering a grade of the tenant's history. Tenants with an "A" rating are unlikely to cause you any problems.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More From This Contributor:

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First Person: What to do When a Tenant Doesn't Pay


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