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Real NEastate: First-time landlord

Q: I am moving to New Jersey, but I decided to keep my house in Crispin Gardens and rent it out. I figure I can make some extra money while I wait for the house prices to come up. What do I need to do to be a legal landlord?

A: That sounds like a smart idea if you are willing to take on the added responsibility.

Among others, here are five very important items you’ll need, or need to do, to be a landlord:

1. The City of Philadelphia requires potential landlords to obtain a Business Privilege License. To apply for that, you’ll need to have a business tax account number.

2. The city also requires a Certificate of Rental Suitability, which is $25.

3. You will need to make sure you pre-screen your tenants. Transunion has a good website for landlords to pay for credit screening of potential tenants.

4. Also, it would be helpful to you to review the landlord tenant laws so you understand the rights of your tenants and adhere to the law.

5. A lease! Don’t overlook this crucial document. Whether you decide to find a tenant yourself, or hire a real estate broker to do it for you, a well-defined lease will lay out the rules to protect you and your tenants.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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