So you’ve picked out the perfect spot–whether you have a garage for rent, shed, attic, or basement–and you’re ready to rent your space for profitable extra income. Good decision. But before you take in your first renter, run through this checklist to make sure your role as a landlord will be a smooth one.
Clean It Up
Try to look at your unit from a renter’s first impression point of view. Is it clean and inviting to strangers or is dusty and kinda scary looking? Even if you are just renting your space out for storage purposes and not as living quarters, you want to make it look you care about your renters and their valuables that they are trusting you to store.
✔️ Make sure your rental space is clean, including windows, floors, ceiling, and roof, if applicable.
✔️ Make sure your rental space is well lit. Anything less is a safety hazard (and a potential lawsuit).
✔️ Make sure everything works: doors and locks, garage door locks and openers, windows, lights, fences, gates, and any security or alarm systems. Think of it in terms of dollars and cents: anything that looks ugly or unclean is going to be less likely to attract a renter.
Make sure your rental space is safe. You will be susceptible to a lawsuit if it isn’t. This means that there are no holes in the floors, broken floorboards, or nails sticking out of the walls. Make sure there are no electrical problems, if applicable. Shelving units are secure and will not topple under heavy weight or stacked boxes.
Think of it in terms of dollars and cents: Anything that looks ugly, unclean, or unsafe will be a reduction in price for your unit. When you’re ready to rent out your space, you want to make sure you can get top dollar for it.
Pictures say a thousand words and all that, so take several great pictures of your storage space. Make sure it is well lit and showcases all the awesome things your space has to offer a renter. Do you have windows and lots of natural sunlight? Then get a picture of that beautiful sunlight filling up the room. There may be an artist looking for studio space with lots of natural light. How will they find your space if you don’t tell them about it? Do you have a security system or heavy steel doors? Get a picture of it to entice those renters who are squeamish about lack of security and privacy.
At the very least, get a picture of:
– Street view of your garage or rental space.
– Width and length of the rental space.
– Any extra or special amenities.
The idea is to let your renter imagine themselves in your rental space. If they can imagine it, and they like what they are imagining, then they will be more willing to pay you for it to make it real.
This is the less fun part about being a landlord, but it is nevertheless important, and usually only has to be done once. Familiarize yourself with your local real estate, landlord and tenant, and tax laws regarding rental units in your area. Also, if you are not the legal owner of the property, then you must have your landlord’s permission in whatever capacity that allows you to legally sublet the space. If you are the homeowner, contact your home insurance company and ask them about any requirements that are needed and then follow through. You may also have to clear your plans with your Home Owners Association (HOA) if you belong to one.
It is unlikely, but possible, that after researching with your local government and community agencies, you may find out that you are not able to rent out space at all. Which would, of course, be disappointing, but at least you will have saved yourself a lot of legal troubles down the road.
Yes, paperwork and red tape are boring, but you will no doubt learn something you didn’t know before you started researching. At the very least, you will be a fully informed and law compliant landlord with the peace of mind that you have done everything in your power to provide a useful, and profitable, service.
– If you are not the property owner, check with your landlord and get written permission to sublet.
– Check local real-estate, tax, and landlord and tenant laws.
– Call your home insurance holder and your HOA (if applicable) and tell them of your plans. Do whatever they tell you to do.
Tell Your Neighbors
Let your neighbors, and anyone else who needs to know, that you are becoming a storage host so they are not alarmed to see people they don’t know going in and out of your garage, shed, or home when you’re not there. The last thing anyone wants is an overly zealous neighbor calling the police on someone who has every right to be there.
Have Rules and Information Available
It is absolutely acceptable to have a set of rules that all parties agree to beforehand to alleviate any misunderstandings later. When renters register on Hopperstock they already understand that contraband or anything illegal is not permitted to be stored on your premises. Beyond that, you may have other rules you want to pass on to your tenant.
– Hours of access. Write down, separately, any necessary codes to open a gate or set an alarm, or any other pertinent access information.
– Things that are not allowed to be stored on your property.
– Acceptable noise levels, during the day and after hours, especially if there is a noise ordinance in your neighborhood.
– Where to put garbage, how to treat refuse, oil, or hazardous waste.
– Any information regarding pets.
– Information regarding water, hoses, electricity outlets, fuse boxes, etc.
– Your contact information.
You don’t want to have too many or unnecessary rules. You’re not your tenant’s parent and no one will appreciate you acting like one. But some are important to ensure that you and your renter have a good working relationship. Make the rules available in your listing agreement and also post them on the premises.
List Your Space
Now that you’ve done all the hard work, head over to Hopperstock to register your space. You’ll want to get paid for all your efforts, so have your bank information handy so that Hopperstock can transfer funds to your account. Once you’ve listed your space, Hopperstock will advertise it by area and amenities in their databank so that renters can find you.
Once someone finds your space and they are interested they will contact you about renting. Be prompt in answering them, and answer honestly. If they want to come and inspect the property, let them, and answer all their questions to the best of your ability. Chances are if they are interested enough to drive out to your property they are willing to make a deal. You can negotiate on price if you’d like, but don’t be afraid to walk away if it doesn’t feel right. The right one will come along eventually.
Being a storage host is an exciting prospect that doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part provided you put some initial time and thought into the process. Go through this checklist before taking your first renter and congratulate yourself for becoming a prepared and knowledgeable landlord