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rental ownership information
Old 10-01-2014, 07:47 AM   #1
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rental ownership information

I have a house that I have owned for 15 years with one of my children living there. he has decided to buy a bigger house. I was wondering if any of you had any ideas on where to look for information regarding owning a rental property and the regulations or laws involved. I rented this to family but with no lease or rental agreements. I am absolutely clueless about how to proceed. does rental property have to have some kind of licensing or inspections in iowa? where can you find the necessary paperwork, lease agreements, etc. any information on where the pitfalls might be, what to watch out for, how to screen potential renters, utilities transfers, etc. anything in your experience that you watch out for in particular. thanks

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Old 10-01-2014, 08:07 AM   #2
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www.nolo.com for forms, etc. Also, some county libraries are helpful, although they generally are far more interested in serving tenants than landlords.

Check to see if your state and/or county maintains a landlord-tenant law web site. In Maryland, for example, the laws and regulations can vary from county to county. This site was helpful to me - check to see if Iowa/your county attorneys general maintain similar sites:

Maryland Attorney General - Consumer Publications - Landlord and Tenants

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Old 10-01-2014, 08:47 AM   #3
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In my area (PA), the local government has an inspection/licensing law for rental property that only applies in the city limits. Your county may or may not have such a requirement, check the governmental web sites.

For tax purposes, you need to get familiar with IRS Pub 527

http://www.irs.gov/file_source/pub/irs-pdf/p527.pdf

If renting to family, you need to be careful that you are charging a fair market rent for your area. See page 18 of the above publication. If renting to family (as defined in the pub) at less than fair market rent, the house may be considered as used for personal use and not as a rental (with a profit motive) and hence your deductions may be limited (or none allowed).
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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We have to pay a city business tax here in San Diego. We purchased the legal documents through Ca association of Realtors. For credit checks we use a service through Equifax that the prospective tenant purchases a credit report and shares it. I'll post that info this afternoon. We're close to a high tech business area so applicants have been vetted by their employers.

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Old 10-01-2014, 12:59 PM   #5
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Correction to what I wrote above. It's not equifax - it's experian. They have a program where you can register yourself - and if you have prospective tenants email addresses - you send them a request through the experian site to pay for their own credit report -then share it back to you.

Advantage to the tenant - if they're applying for more than one apartment - they can use it for several landlords. Advantage to the landlord - the tenant pays for the credit report - so you can't be accused of ripping them off. (It's not uncommon for landlords around here to "credit check" lots of tenants - but really just take the credit check money.)

The link is
Experian Connect - Credit Report and VantageScore for Consumers and Small Businesses

We found it was a quick way to weed out people who were looky-loos vs serious about renting. Looky-loos didn't put cash down for a credit report.
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