images (7)Super Bowl XLIX is coming to Arizona February 1, 2015 and homeowners are gearing up to cash in by renting their homes for the big event.  Some homeowners will use a home rental service or property management company, while others will handle transactions on their own.  Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises homeowners to proceed with caution so an expected cash windfall doesn’t become an unexpected cash outlay.  One of the first things to consider is the amount of risk versus the amount of income.  Super Bowl guests are in town for a party, so consider the risks of strangers in a private residence who may be drinking, smoking or rummaging through personal items. Before hanging the “for rent” sign, BBB suggests homeowners keep the following tips in mind:

Handling the rental process yourself:

  1. Start with an application. Require renters fill out an application allowing you to conduct a background and credit check.

  1. Use a rental agreement. Generic rental-agreement templates can be found online. Specifically, include the rent amount, due date, security deposit, length of lease, and full contact information.

  1. Collect a security deposit. The security deposit should be at least one-and-a-half times the rental amount or request tenants get damage-protection insurance.

  1. Call your homeowners insurance company.  Not all policies cover damages by a renter or tenant, so check if your coverage is sufficient, or if a special policy to cover the short-term rental is needed.

  1. Take inventory. Conduct a walk-through of the property before renting and remove all valuables such as jewelry, money and electronics. Conduct a final walk-through before the tenants leave.

  1. Change front-door locks, before and after the rental of the property.

When hiring a company to manage the property rental:

  1. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org, before signing a contract or paying a fee.  An attractive website or advertising on Craigslist is no guarantee that the business is legitimate.

  1. Contact the Arizona Department of Real Estate to make sure the company is licensed to conduct real estate transactions in Arizona.

  1. Know how vacancy listing services work.  Most listing services have fees such as service, host, and guest service fees or value-added taxes, which will impact the amount of rent received. Read the fine print to fully understand the fees and services.  Be very cautious if up-front fees are required, especially by wire transfer or money order.

  1. Get everything in writing. Document all fees involved and services to be provided. Some renters may expect extra services, such as maid service.  Does the rental company arrange for the extra services? Is there an extra charge?  Is it the homeowner’s responsibility?  Who is responsible for advertising the property? Who provides the key and entry, and who is responsible for collecting the key and conducting a walk-through before the guests depart?

For a list of companies you can trust, visit searchbbb.org.

Elaine Cullen, Director, Mohave County
Better Business Bureau serving Greater Arizona

Main Office: 60 S. Acoma Blvd Ste B102, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403  | 928-302-3701
Phoenix: 602-264-1721 | Yavapai: 928-772-3410 | Yuma: 928-919-7940

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