Becoming a landlord is a difficult role to step into--even harder is becoming a landlord to a family member. It is always tricky to find the balance between your personal relationships and your business transactions. One way to keep things from getting messy is to involve a property manager. By putting a professional between you and your relative, you will be able to create an effective buffer between the real estate and your relationship, in addition to other benefits.
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Talk with your family members about the reality of renting a property to them. This is as much about allowing them to ask you questions as it is an opportunity for you to get clear on what you expect from this situation. Be very clear about your needs--home maintenance, security, payments, lease terms, etc. By getting clear on all of this information up front, you avoid complicated misunderstandings further down the road.
Get in touch with a property manager. One way to find a quality property manager is to speak to a real estate agent. Ask her opinion on the local property management companies, then contact those companies for quotes. Set up a meeting to interview your potential property manager and clarify what each company offers.
Contact your family member to let her know the name and contact information of the property management company. Provide your family member with a document explaining what services the property manager will provide, including rent collection and maintenance. Be clear that your tenants should contact the property manager regarding any of these issues.
Let the rental company take care of your property and your tenants. According to ManageMyProperty.com, "Property managers have an advantage because tenants realise that they, unlike the owner, are only doing their job and are obligated to enforce the lease terms." By hiring a property manager, you take the emotion out of the monthly transaction so that you are protected from any awkwardness brought about by being both the landlord and family member.
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