The idea of becoming a storage host is pretty appealing. You are your own boss, you’re making extra money, and helping out people like yourself by letting them store their things or park in your unused space. These are just some of the reasons why the sharing business model is so popular with both renters and hosts. But before you embark on this new journey, do a little front end research to avoid making these landlord mistakes that other new storage hosts have made.

Bad Communication

To avoid any misunderstandings or tricky legal situations, you’re definitely going to want to have a set of written guidelines for what is and is not permitted on your property. Don’t get carried away here. There’s no quicker way to chase away a potential renter by imposing too many or unnecessary rules on them. They want and should be treated like a respected adult rather than an untrustworthy teenager. However, some clear guidelines that both parties can agree to will save everyone a headache down the road. Check out these steps for getting your property ready for some examples of reasonable expectations.

One Bad Photo and Poorly Written Description

We are lucky to live in a time when everyone has instant photo and video capabilities on our phones. So there is no excuse to post one bad picture of a dark garage and expect it to staring bringing in renters. Take several pictures from different angels. Shoot the pictures in the daytime with windows and doors open to let in natural light. Take pictures from inside and outside the space so potential renters can really get a feel for it. Get creative with your written descriptions. Instead of saying “Clean garage for rent”say, “Free standing heated garage with shelves to store all your camping equipment.” Good pictures and written descriptions can make all the difference in acquiring renters especially when you’re just starting out.

Ignoring Your Renters

Your renters have a right to privacy, certainly, but that doesn’t mean an occasional check-up isn’t a good idea. As a landlord, you have the right to make inspections on your property with proper notification for your renter. Usually a 24-hour written or verbal notice is sufficient, but check your local landlord laws to be sure. Don’t make the mistake renting out a garage or rental property and then never checking on it again. It can be a disastrous mistake. As the legal owner, the property is still your responsibility and all sorts of problems can arise from neglecting it. Most likely there won’t be any problems. Just in case, save yourself a ton of worry by keeping an eye on things at reasonable intervals.

Failure to Make Legal Disclosures

Check your local landlord laws to find out what you are required to inform a potential tenant about before they sign a lease. For instance, certain property hazards such as lead paint or asbestos are standard legal disclosures. Also there might be sensitive topics you have to be upfront about such as if a crime has been committed on your property, or if you are a registered sex offender, or if there is one living nearby. These details may or may not be a deal breaker for the renter, but failure to disclose certain things isn’t only unethical it can be illegal. Just be honest so that there are no surprises later. Failure to do so can leave you susceptible to a law suit or even jail time.

Being a storage host really isn’t that difficult. But part of being a good landlord is protecting yourself and your future renters from any misunderstandings, legal or otherwise. Good communication and few precautionary details can make sure you can both have a satisfying working relationship.

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