Ask McEnearney: As a landlord, what are the most important issues to know about renting?

This week’s Q&A column, sponsored and written by McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria, is a bit of a departure from our usual format. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact us at 703-549-9292. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: As a landlord, what are the most important issues I need to know about the renting process?

Answer: In our recent column, What do I need to know before renting a home?, we shared suggestions from the Realtor® perspective for tenants about the rental process. These tips were part of a lively discussion at a McEnearney Associates “Masterclass” featuring several of our top agents who have made a name for themselves as rental experts — both for tenants and landlords — as well as staff from our Property Management team.

This week we follow up with some important recommendations for Landlords.

For Landlords

DO: Follow all Fair Housing requirements. Your Realtor® is bound by a professional code of ethics and will ensure that the public is treated fairly during the leasing process of your property. Fair Housing violations can be reported to the local Realtor® association and may result in fines. Learn about your Fair Housing requirements and explore resources for VirginiaD.C. and Maryland, and ask your agent for clarification on anything you have questions about.

DO: Understand the difference between pets, emotional support animals and service animals. Tenants with registered support animals and service animals do not fall under “no pets” provisions. Virginia has a helpful brochure that outlines what qualifies for what and how tenants with service animals must be accommodated, and you can see D.C. and Maryland guidelines here.

DO: Consider accepting Housing Vouchers. The lack of affordable housing is a growing problem throughout the country and is felt by many in our region. Housing vouchers — awarded to eligible tenants after a complex and thorough screening by government and housing officials — ensure that low-income, elderly, disabled and other housing-insecure people have access to a decent, safe, and sanitary place to live. Landlords who participate in voucher programs will receive government subsidies for a portion of the rent and tenants will pay the difference based on their voucher award. This ensures consistent payment with tenants who have already passed federal and local screening processes.

Because of the lack of landlords who participate in subsidized housing programs, there are some voucher recipients who have been waiting several years to find an affordable home match. We encourage landlords to speak with their agent to find out how they can be part of helping many deserving tenants find a place to call home.

DO: Work with a Realtor®! It may seem like a landlord could put a “For Rent” sign in the yard and wait for qualified applicants to roll in without any help from an agent. But good Realtors® know that the right presentation, careful application screening processes, and a professional approach to onboarding a tenant can make all the difference between a smooth move between tenants and a logistical leasing nightmare. Count on the expertise and market knowledge that a seasoned agent brings to assist in the successful renting of your valuable investment!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703.5499292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria