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
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
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
Smokers make up 16.8 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
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
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
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
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 during a tenant screening?
1. Bad Credit
Weeding out bad credit scores can dramatically shrink your pool of potential tenants, but c ... Read More
A tradeline is any item on a credit report, whether positive or negative. Negative tradelines indicate credit-harming behavior such as paying bills late or having debts in collection. When you're screening potential tenants, negative tradelines on a credit report are a bad thing, but some are worse than others.
What Goes on a Credit Report?
Many landlords only look at the FICO score when they're screening tenants, and that may be all you need. A FICO score is effectively an overvie ... Read More
Every landlord has heard horror stories about tenants who have brought in bed bugs, dropped bowling balls through the floor, refused to leave the property, or some other atrocious lease violation that leaves the apartment in bad shape. These stories aren’t made up either – oftentimes you will find landlords who have had to deal with many bad situations like these and who, hopefully, have learned something from each one.
The good news is that by effectively screening potential rental ... Read More
How to Gather Information When Screening Rental Applicants Without Appearing to Discriminate
Landlords are not allowed to discriminate against applicants based on gender, age, race, religion, and other criteria. You are also not allowed to ask questions about those subjects. A seemingly harmless “How old are you?” could be taken the wrong way and land you in trouble.
Many landlords fear that the appearance of discrimination may prevent them from getting enough information in the ... Read More
Should Landlords Take the Plunge and Get a Real Estate License?
As a landlord, you've probably heard whispers about the tax advantages and other benefits of getting your real estate license. What you've heard is true: the tax advantages alone can justify becoming a real estate professional. However, if you have a full-time job or only own a couple of rental properties, the advantages are less clear cut.
Potential Benefits of Being a Real Estate Professional
Let's f ... Read More
Landlords can reject applications for all kinds of reasons. At the same time, they are not allowed to discriminate based on certain criteria. These two statements leave a lot of gray area for landlords when it comes time to review the applications of prospective tenants.
Requiring an Applicant to Have a Job
A landlord can require tenants to have jobs and to disclose their employment information. You are allowed to ensure that the people you rent to can afford to make the monthly rent payme ... Read More
It's a dream for many—achieve a steady stream of money that works for you while you do something else, like travel, work a different job, or stay home with the kids, but tax implications are everywhere and quickly become complex. There are many things you need to consider when evaluating the right mix between passive and active income.
Passive Stays with Passive
In the eyes of the IRS, passive losses can only come out of passive income, so if you see major losses from rental prop ... Read More
If you’re buying a home to live in for a while, it makes sense to purchase property that feels right to you: a home in the neighborhood you prefer, a home with the charm or vibrancy you’re looking for and a home that is easy on your eyes. However, if you’re buying a property for investment reasons, such as renting it out, the picture gets blurrier. Here are considerations to weigh when deciding to invest in a new property versus an older property.
When you&rsq ... Read More
There’s no question that social media plays a role in real estate these days. Buyers and renters use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to find properties, while landlords and sellers also use those platforms to market their properties. For landlords and property managers, another great use of Twitter is following accounts to keep abreast of news that’s important to them. Here are the 10 top accounts you should consider following.
@zillow: Follow the king of real estate lis ... Read More
Changes in the rental landscape can cause your vacancy rates to go up and down. Regulatory changes can make shifting tenants more difficult or change the timeline needed to provide notice to vacate. As laws change and the real estate industry expands and contracts, you need to stay on top of changes to know how to keep your properties full, without spending time tied up in court. The best way to do that might be through social media. These 7 Facebook pages can help you keep up with new laws, exp ... Read More
Credit reporting agencies (CRAs) prepare the reports that many landlords use to evaluate a prospective renter’s application. These reports include information like the applicant’s rental history and credit history. Landlords who do this must follow guidelines set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), meaning if they decide to reject an application based on information in the report, they must state so. If you’re a landlord who reports information about your tenants to a CRA, ... Read More
The rental market is strong in many parts of the country, thanks to a low 13.2 percent homeownership rate among millennials. However, these renters aren't looking for the types of rentals or features favored by previous generations. They're used to high-tech solutions, and they browse for these amenities. To appeal to this group, you'll need to identify and implement the features they seek; along the way, you can also discover time-saving options that help you run your property manag ... Read More
There are few things more frustrating than getting saddled with bad tenants because their previous landlord wanted them out. It would be easier to screen tenants who look great on paper but end up being nightmares if landlords could inform each other of bad tenants. The primary cause of landlords being unwilling to provide information on bad tenants is due to the legal risk. In the U.S., lawsuits can be brought to court for essentially any reason, even if the grounds for the suit are frivolous a ... Read More