Renting unsold home is last resort

January 19, 1992|By Isabel Forgang | Isabel Forgang,New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An article in the Real Estate section on Jan. 19 included an inaccurate description of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act. The federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status (families with children) or national origin.

The Sun regrets the error.

An article in the Real Estate section on Jan. 19 included an inaccurate description of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

The federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status (families with children) or national origin.

Under Maryland statute, marital status is also a protected category.

Local jurisdictions may have additional provisions. For example:

In Baltimore, these are age, ancestry and sexual orientation.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

In Baltimore County, age is a covered provision.

In Harford County, age, occupation, political opinion and personal appearance are covered.

In Howard County, age, occupation, political opinion, sexual orientation and personal appearance are protected categories.

Anne Arundel and Carroll counties have no additional categories.

Questions regarding the Federal Fair Housing Act may be directed to Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. at 243-4400.

NEW YORK -- You're moving. The papers are signed. The boxes are packed. There's just one hitch: Your old place hasn't sold yet.

In this market, if you can sell your home at all, you'll likely take a loss.

Should you rent it out until the economy picks up?

Only if you're desperate and aware of the perils, some specialists say.

"The most important factor is the very significant risk of losing money because some renters skip town, and it's rarely worth the time and effort to go after them," says real-estate lawyer Simon Wynn. As the economy worsens, that danger increases. Mr. Wynn relates a recent case where a client had to sue her own brother to recoup back rent.

But at a time when many homes sit on the market for close to a year, renting may be the only option.

L If that's the case, take steps to safeguard your investment.

Careful screening of prospective tenants is essential, but how do you find the tenant in the first place? List your home with real-estate brokers, or put an ad in the paper yourself.

"I advise starting with a broker on an exclusive basis," says Joann Coviello, vice president of ETC Management, a building-management firm. "Give them a standard 90-day exclusive and they'll be more motivated to bring in tenants. If you try to do it yourself, you'll have to be available to take phone calls, show the unit and screen the tenants."

The broker's fee can range from one month's rent to 15 percent of a year's rent. The broker should also do a credit check, which will cost the landlord anywhere from $25 to $100.

If you live in a co-op or condo, first check the building's bylaws. "Each building has a different set of rules," notes Ms. Coviello.

Under federal law, you cannot discriminate on grounds of race, creed, color, national origin, sex or age, Mr. Wynn said. In some cities, such as New York, you cannot discriminate against people with children or on the basis of sexual preference. You can say no to people with pets.

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