If you are thinking about renting out your home to friends or to strangers, whether as a short term vacation rental or for a longer period of time, what steps should you take to prepare your home for rental? Shaun Isaacson, CEO of Creative Estates Israel, is an experienced property manager and offers the following tips.
- Clear up the clutter – store valuables and personal items off-site if possible, or in securely locked cupboards.
- Set your red lines – the minimum rent and rental period that you will accept, the maximum number of occupiers, rules concerning pets and smoking, and the security deposit that you will require to cover any possible damage.
- Fix all leaks and potential plumbing and electricity problems – get everything fixed and designate trusted maintenance people that your tenants should call in an emergency. Under Israeli law, the property owner is responsible for all plumbing and electricity issues.
- Organize insurance for your property and any contents that you own – tenants must have their own contents insurance. We recommend paying a higher premium to allow you to call your own maintenance people immediately, rather than waiting for the insurers’ team to turn up.
- Check that you have all the instruction manuals for your appliances and preferably arrange maintenance policies to get them fixed quickly and cheaply if they break down.
- Draw up a solid and legally enforceable lease agreement to protect yourself and your property, including who is responsible for paying bills, and penalties for late payment of rent.
- Set up automatic payment for fixed bills such as Arnona (municipal taxes), water, electricity, gas and Va’ad Bayit (building maintenance).
- Have meter readings taken at the beginning and end of each tenancy to calculate electricity, gas and water bills (particularly important for short-term rentals).
- Redirect your home phone line and consider disconnecting the phone – today very few tenants require land lines, but they may require internet and cable/satellite tv connections.
- Organize deep cleaning and painting for your home, and arrange for regular garden and pool maintenance and cleaning of outdoor areas by trusted companies.
- A home inspection and audit will help to highlight possible maintenance problems and also provide evidence of the state of every part of your property at the start of the rental period, in case of damage caused by tenants.
- Draw up checklists of furniture and kitchen utensils, for counting and checking at the end of each tenancy.
- When advertising for and interviewing tenants, insist on references, credit checks and guarantors, as well as the security deposit and payment of rent in advance.
With so many things to take care of, both before and during each rental period, you may want to consider hiring an expert to prepare and manage your property in your absences. Creative Estates Israel is experienced in fixing potential problems before they arise, and we are qualified to manage all the legal and financial aspects of rental arrangements. Talk to us today for a free no-obligation price estimate – curing your property rental headaches may cost less than you think!