LIABILITY & PITFALLS TO AVOID – There are certain things you can do to limit your liability when renting your property.

Are you up to date on the law? See the Landlord Tenant Act.

Make sure that there is no debris in or around the unit.

Be aware of mold issues and the law regarding it.

Ensure that there are no missing broken or loose walkways, steps, railings, doors or flooring.

Ensure that all utilities are in good working order.

It is vital that all doors, locks and windows open and close properly for ingress/egress, and for security.

Make sure all rooms have a smoke detector in good working condition with 5 year batteries.

The law on Lead Based Paint on units built prior to 1978. Please make sure that there is NO loose, chipped or flaking paint due to possible lead based paint causing illness. We have a booklet on this free of charge.

All appliances supplied by owner must be in good working order.

All property owners should carry basic “liability” insurance on a rental & have tenant carry renter policy with owner/managers listed as additional insured.

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For my Ann Arbor investors

Ann Arbor: It is illegal for the landlord to include a cleaning waiver as part of the lease without compensation to the tenant.
Ann Arbor City Housing Code prohibits cleaning waivers; however, it does not prohibit agreements between landlord and tenant that provide for the tenant to clean the unit in return for compensation. –

Ann Arbor Landlords / Investing

Landlords of Ann Arbor city limits have significant additional duties over federal and state statues. You may wish to visit this site:

Forget The Single-Family Homes: Buy an Apartment Complex

Here’s a nice article outlining the realities of competing with large investors for homes, vs the economies of scale aquiring a multi-unit or complex. I started my experience with 20-30 unit complexes back in the `70’s and come from a numbers perspective while advising on the day to day challenges and rewards. On to the article:

Before becoming a landlord, add up the costs

One of life’s luxuries is being able to afford a vacation home.

….“Thankfully I was well within the guidelines for debt-to-income ratio and credit score.” The beach condo is a joint investment with his father, Bob, who has bought and managed rental properties for years. They expect to collect as much as $3,500 per week during peak summer season from vacationers, but before Lebda took out the mortgage from a bank in the Lending Tree network, he also calculated anticipated costs, including maintenance, marketing and insurance premiums…

more

Especially interesting are the comments section

Had No Savings at 40, but Retired by 60

  • I tore up all of my 13 credit cards
  • I got on a budget
  • I took advantage of my company’s profit sharing and 401(k) options
  • I purchased rental property

At 40, I was able to purchase my first rental property in Pennsylvania for $8,000. With my wife we paid cash for the house. As an old Victorian home split into three apartments it grosses over $1,500 a month. Within a few years, I built our rental income to over $85,000 a year including selling a few properties at a profit.

(oh ya, rental property…. full story)

Loophole allows bypassing taxes

You read that right. Over assessed property in Detroit goes to tax sale and the same owner buys it back – taxes wiped out.

http://www.businessinsider.com/detroit-landlords-skirting-tax-debt-rebuying-foreclosed-homes-2011-9

The tax sales about MI all have a little different flavor. But never dull to the investor !