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

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 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

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

Can Landlords Effectively Screen Applicants Online?

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

Avoiding Discrimination as a Landlord

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

Landlords and Real Estate Licenses

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

Can You Deny Prospective Tenants Based on Their Jobs?

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

Top 10 Twitter Accounts You Should Follow

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

Top 7 Facebook Accounts for Landlords and Property Managers to Follow

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

Popular New Trends Landlords Are Using

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

The Legal Issues with Informing Other Landlords of Bad Tenants

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

Compliancy as a landlord

Whether you’re renting an apartment in New York City or offering a house in California, you must remain compliant. Your specific responsibilities depend on the state and locality of your rental property, but there are some general requirements in place nationwide. Here’s what you need to know about being compliant in the U.S.: Know Your State and Local Laws Most states, cities and towns post landlord-tenant laws on a website, while others may have a pamphlet you can get at a lo ... Read More

Limitations of traditional background searches

Flaws in traditional background searches have long been a common sticking point when it comes to topics such as gun control and immigration. As the National Association of Professional Background Screeners says, “There is no single government database containing complete and up-to-date records regarding a person’s criminal history.” These types of searches also fall short with tenant screenings, but if you understand the limitations of traditional background searches, you can b ... Read More

Tips to Extend the Rental Season

If you have a rental in a vacation hot spot, you will probably be faced with a peak rental season and a slow season. Landlords often worry about their rentals sitting vacant during the slow times of the year, fearing a possible painful loss of income. Nobody wants to lose money on a rental investment, and there are several tips that you can take to help extend the rental season and keep your income flowing. Tenants – If you want to keep your rental unit rented year round, be extra pi ... Read More

How to Screen Applicants That You Can't Meet in Person

Landlords have to be smart about accepting new tenants. The screening process is a vital, as it keeps your property well maintained and your other tenants happy. However, it's sometimes not feasible to meet with an applicant in person, whether you manage your properties from afar or if the tenant is applying from a distance. Despite this distance, there are still numerous ways to properly screen remote candidates, through video conferencing services like Skype. Remote Pre-Screening Fir ... Read More

Need the tenants out -- but have a lease? Here's what to do next!

Most landlords have experienced the annoyance of a tenant breaking a lease before the term is up. There are also situations, though, when you may need a renter to vacate your property prior to the lease's renewal date. While several methods exist to evict prior to the renewal date, only a few won't land you in hot water. By following the appropriate legal avenues, you stand a good chance of evicting your tenant. What Landlords Can't Do It's just important to identify techni ... Read More

How the Top Presidential Candidates Could Impact the Real Estate Market

Soon a new president will be elected, and the race is starting to heat up. For landlords and property owners, it’s important to understand how the 2016 presidential race will impact the industry. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Jeb Bush are leading in polls in a very crowded field, and each has different views on the real estate market that could affect you if elected. Donald Trump Donald Trump’s name is synonymous with real estate, the industry in which he m ... Read More

Donald Trump and Real Estate

Presidential candidates are making their views known before the debates, which is prime time to figure out how these views could affect the real estate and property management market. While it could take time for major shake-ups in laws and regulations to really impact your bottom line, knowing about the political views of candidates gives you time to prepare. The Republican candidate Donald Trump comes from a background with extensive real estate experience. His father, Fred Trump, handled ... Read More

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