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3 Mistakes Agents Make When Renting Out a Client’s Home

When it comes to renting out a client’s home, real estate agents play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and successful process. However, there are common mistakes agents make that can hinder this process and lead to potential issues farther down the line. This is especially true if the agent is relatively new to handling rental units. As such, it’s important to be aware of what to avoid along the way.

In this article, we’ll explore three key mistakes that real estate agents often make when renting out a client’s home and discuss ways to avoid them.

Letting the Client Pick the Tenant

One of the most common mistakes agents make when they’re working toward renting out a client’s home is allowing the client to choose the new tenant without proper screenings taking place. Though it’s understandable that clients may have preferences, it’s essential to emphasize the importance of thorough tenant screenings. Performing adequate due diligence when selecting a new tenant helps all parties involved when it comes to avoiding things like late rent payments, damages done to the property, and even evictions. Agents should take the time to educate their clients about the right criteria to use when selecting tenants, including credit checks, rental histories, and income verification. 

Fair Housing Laws

Another very important aspect of the tenant selection process is compliance with fair housing laws. Allowing the client to select new tenants without thorough screening processes may very well lead to unintentional discrimination. 

Discriminatory rental practices based on a tenant’s race, color, religion, sex, disability status, familial status, or national origin is prohibited by law. Because of this, agents need to ensure that their client’s rental policies and practices are in line with these laws. This way, the client can avoid facing serious legal consequences. Providing training and resources on fair housing laws can help agents and their clients effectively navigate this complex terrain successfully.

Listing the Home Before the Owner Moves Out

While many real estate professionals want to list rental properties as soon as possible, being a little too proactive is one of the biggest mistakes agents make. Listing a home for rent before the owner has time to move out can lead to logistical challenges and inconveniences for both the owner and potential tenants.

It’s crucial for real estate agents to carefully coordinate with their clients in order to ensure that the property in question is ready to rent. This includes reviewing necessary repairs, cleaning services, and staging before listing the home on the market. By waiting until the property is vacant and in optimal condition, agents can attract more qualified tenants and effectively streamline the rental process. 

Letting the Client Implement a No Pet Policy

While it’s understandable that some owners may prefer not to allow pets in their rental properties, implementing a strict no-pet policy can be detrimental. One of the biggest mistakes agents make revolves around neglecting to discuss pet policies with their clients. For one, limiting pets can reduce the pool of potential clients and result in longer vacancy periods. 

Real estate agents should take the time to advise their clients to consider allowing pets in rental units. After all, it’s acceptable to require pet deposits, pet rents, and breed or weight limits when it comes to pet policies. This way, clients can keep their tenants happy and cover their bases to prevent potential damage to the unit.

Emotional Support Animals

When it comes to pet policies, it’s also important for agents to educate their clients about the distinction between pets and emotional support animals to ensure compliance with fair housing laws.

Under the Fair Housing Act, tenants with disabilities are entitled to request reasonable accommodations, including emotional support animals. This is true in most cases, even in properties with no-pet policies in place. Real estate agents must understand the legal requirements surrounding emotional support animals and advise their clients according to the law.

Failing to accommodate tenants with disabilities can result in costly legal disputes and damage to the client’s reputation. Agents should work closely with their clients to develop policies and procedures for handling requests for emotional support animals while ensuring compliance with fair housing laws.

Bonus Mistakes Agents Make: Neglecting to Replace Smoke Detectors

One often overlooked component of renting out a property is ensuring that all of the smoke detectors in the unit are in proper working condition. Though this step isn’t necessarily a real estate agent’s responsibility, failing to remind clients about this safety protocol can be one of the biggest mistakes agents make. 

Neglecting to replace outdated or malfunctioning smoke detectors can create serious risks for tenants and expose property owners to liabilities. Because of this, it’s wise for real estate agents to make sure their clients have all their bases covered. Agents should remind clients to regularly inspect and replace smoke detectors as needed in order to stay compliant with local regulations.

Avoiding the most common mistakes agents make can help real estate professionals successfully navigate the process of renting out a client’s home while protecting those they represent and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. By prioritizing thorough tenant screenings, fair housing practices, and careful planning, agents stand to enhance their reputation and build positive long-term relationships with clients and tenants alike.

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