Are you a landlord? Easy ways to protect your investment.

My mother is in an assisted living facility. To help pay for her care, we rent out her home. Recently, we experienced damage in the home, as a result of frozen pipes (we live in New York). Without going into details, I realized there is more to being a landlord than just receiving a rent check every month.

A few precautions can save you a lot of heartache:

1. Make sure you or your real estate agent completes a employment, rental, credit and criminal history check on prospective tenants. Ask for a picture identification for each adult who will be living on the property.

2. Address the issue of appropriate behavior on the property in the lease, including any illegal activity.

3. Visit the property regularly.

4. Make sure neighbors have your phone number to contact you in case of an emergency or other concerns they may have.

5. If there is more than one owner, make sure tenants have contact information for each owner.

Take the time to research information on how to properly select a tenant. Even if you are an experienced landlord, you might learn something that will save you aggravation, money and time.

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