Who is Responsible for Rent If Your Tenant Passes Away?

One of the saddest and most complicated situations for a landlord is when a tenant passes away. You want to be supportive to the family, but you also have to maintain a business perspective. You need to understand your responsibilities and options if this should happen to you. Sole Tenant If the deceased is listed as the sole tenant on the lease, his or her estate is responsible for any expenses and outstanding rent. In some situations, the estate may be required to pay the rent up until t ... Read More

Handling Long-term Visitors

Your tenant tells you that a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse is moving in with them. Worse yet, they don’t tell you and you find out another way. Maybe it’s not a significant other, but a sibling, cousin or even a parent. What should you do? 1. Review Your Lease You must act right away or the new person could end up with the rights of tenancy. First, read your lease to see what was specified about overnight guests. For those who haven’t had this situation, they may want to ... Read More

Marketing Effectively to Prospective Tenants

Your property has certain selling points, and some of them probably seem obvious to you, such as a dishwasher, a walk-in closet, and a big backyard. You might think it makes perfect sense to highlight these amenities. But are these really what your prospective tenants are after? Just because you, as the landlord or the property manager, think a given feature makes a unit stand out doesn't mean that's actually the case. Since you view the unit from your unique perspective, you might be mi ... Read More

Pet Deposits and the Law

Even well-behaved pets can scratch up floors and walls, and dogs and cats can leave behind fur, dander or worse that you have to clean up when the tenant moves. A pet deposit is like insurance for any damages the pet may cause if the landlord fears that the damage may surpass the amount covered by the security deposit. It can be paid as a small monthly amount on top of the normal rent or as a one-time deposit on move-in, like the security deposit. However, you may want to take a different appro ... Read More

How are Credit Scores Calculated?

When screening tenants, one of the first things that you should do is run a credit report because the information that is in the report can help you decide whether to rent to a prospective applicant. A high score often means that the tenant will pay their rent on time every month, but a low score could indicate that the tenant might pay late or default on their lease. A credit score isn't the only thing that you should look at, but it is one of the most important factors. What is a Cred ... Read More

How to Dig Deeper Into a Credit Report

Many landlords and property management companies treat credit scores like they're a straightforward indication of the quality of a tenant, but this may not be the case. If you dig more deeply into a credit report and try to puzzle out the story it tells, you may find information that can mitigate the importance of unpaid bills, bankruptcies and so forth. But where do you go for the information that can help you figure out why a credit report looks the way it does? The Tenant You should ... Read More

Should You Ever Accept an Applicant with a Past Eviction?

An eviction raises a big red flag for any landlord. A prospective tenants that has already broken one lease might be more likely to break another. In most circumstances, an eviction on record is enough to warrant an automatic rejection of an application. That doesn't mean that you should always turn down applicants with an eviction. If you have trouble keeping your vacancy rates low, you might need to accept tenants with less than perfect records. When that happens, you should know when it m ... Read More

10 Options to Encourage Good Tenants to Stay

Lease-signing incentives are common, especially in competitive rental markets. However, incentives shouldn't just be used to get tenants into your properties; they should also be used to keep them there. Tenant turnover can result in thousands of dollars in lost rent, marketing expenses and make-ready fees per month, according to Multi-Family Executive. Retaining good tenants is good business any way you look at it. Incentives that appeal to your tenants' personal tastes, wants and needs ... Read More

What do you do when your tenants expect you to mediate their problems?

In an ideal world, your tenants get along without any problems. In reality, minor and major problems occur as a result of differing lifestyles, lack of communication, or inconsiderate behavior. Your tenants should handle most minor disputes among themselves, without requiring your input, as solving every issue that comes up between tenants could take a significant amount of your time. Some of your tenants may expect meditation with all of their disputes, though, and some situations require your ... Read More

What legal situations as a landlord require you to hire a lawyer?

You run into many legal situations as a landlord, from creating a rental contract to evicting tenants. Throughout the course of your property management career, you may run into complex legal situations that require you to hire a lawyer. While some of these situations could be handled without lawyer intervention, bringing in a lawyer makes it much more possible to receive a quick, positive outcome as opposed to handling it on your own. "Professional" Tenants These tenants have be ... Read More

What you should know about the current real estate market

When you want to expand your business and buy more rental properties, understanding current real estate trends is critical. Housing patterns can vary considerably from place to place and current events can change trends rapidly, but some general trends are at play that may be advantageous for your business. Low Mortgage Rates Mortgage rates in the United States have stayed low in 2015 and can be expected to do so in the future. The Fed has kept interest rates low because of precarious situ ... Read More

Should you allow smokers to rent from you?

Smokers make up 17.8 percent of adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. You broaden your potential renter pool if you allow smokers to rent from you, but you have to consider the long-term implications of having smokers in your rental property. Smokers are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, so you have complete control over whether these renters are allowed in your property without discrimination concerns. Long-Term Property Concerns When a ... Read More

How to handle threats from tenants

Bad tenants are a fact of landlord life. You do what you can to minimize the risk of bad tenants through credit checks and screening services, but a great tenant on paper may be a nightmare to deal with in person. Tenants may threaten you for several reasons, such as attempting to avoid an eviction, stopping you from realizing they're breaking their lease clauses, and attempting to intimidate you. How you handle threats from tenants depends on the situation and the consequences for taking ac ... Read More

Online Tools to Help You Make Your Listing Stand Out

Competitive rental markets require you to go beyond a basic listing to get renters' attention. You need a way to make potential tenants feel like they're already living in your property before they step foot in it. Use online tools to help your listing stand out from the crowd, especially among more tech-savvy tenant pools such as millennials. Floor Plan Creation A floor plan lets potential tenants know how much space they have to work with in your property, the general room config ... Read More

Best places to research local laws

As a landlord, you may have to deal with many tenants’ issues. You can’t possibly know every law that impacts your property and residents. At the same time, you don’t want to ask an attorney every time you have a question or concern. Because each state and even each city has its own laws, you need to know where to look when you require information. Even when you're researching local information, you must know the federal and state laws regarding the matter since those will ... Read More

Dealing With Noise Complaints

Living in a community means being considerate of those around you. As a landlord, you must ensure that your tenants maintain this basic courtesy for their neighbors. In return, you must deal with their complaints about others’ noise. Start Out Right The best way to deal with noise issues is before they happen. Include a section in your lease about noise and any rules or regulations to be followed. For instance, if there is a noise ordinance in your neighborhood, the lease must comply ... Read More

How to Handle Tenants that Hoard

Your tenants have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their home without you telling them how to act, but there are some lifestyles that threaten the health and safety of your property. Tenants who are very messy or who suffer from a hoarding disorder create an environment where the rental unit is unhygienic, a fire hazard and at risk for major property damage. You often don't have the option of simply evicting tenants for these conditions, as that action may run afoul of the Fair Housing Ac ... Read More

Reasons why an eviction may not show up on a tenant’s report

Evictions are major red flags on your tenant's credit and background reports, but they don't always appear on these reports. Most rental applications ask tenants about previous evictions, but it's rare for a previously evicted tenant to admit this information willingly. An eviction on record makes it more difficult to receive a rental application approval, so many tenants avoid disclosing this information upfront. You rely on your tenant reports to tell you whether there has been a p ... Read More

Things to watch out for if your rental unit is part of an HOA

A homeowners' association (HOA) is an organization responsible for handling upkeep of common areas and amenities, and sometimes governing community covenants. The HOA may only be responsible for handling common area landscaping and cleaning, or it may include covenants regarding acceptable use of your home or even the color it can be painted. If your rental unit is part of an HOA, or you're considering buying investment property governed by an HOA, you need to watch out for a few things. ... Read More

9 of the Most Ignored Red Flags in Tenant Screening

When you're screening potential tenants, it can be difficult to figure out what factors you should take into account. It's tempting to ignore some huge red flags in the interest of having a wider range of tenants to choose from or to give someone who otherwise seems worthwhile a chance. What are the factors you should definitely be paying attention to when you screen prospective tenants? 1. Bad Credit Weeding out bad credit scores can dramatically shrink your pool of potential tena ... Read More

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