The History of Electricity Deregulation

In 1935, Congress passed the Public Utility Holding Company Act, which limited electrical companies to certain geographical areas. Along with gas companies, the law forced electrical suppliers to shed any subsidiaries they might have. As a result, electrical consumers ended up being tied to their local utility company, accessed via a state-owned network. The Start of Deregulation The regulated system remained largely unchanged until the 1970s, when the oil crisis led Congress to enact the ... Read More

The Top 7 Legal Documents Every Landlord Must Have/Keep

There are definitely certain documents (both legal and non-legal) that all landlords and property managers must have on hand for situations like new applicants, evictions and more. Listed below are the top seven legal documents every landlord and property manager must have. 1. Rent or lease agreement This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many new and even experienced landlords don’t have a solid rent or lease agreement contract available. Here are a few basic ... Read More

Can You Spot These Common Application Red Flags?

You can get a good feel of a prospective tenant by having a phone conversation with them before meeting, but there are some things that you won't figure out until you have a rental application in hand. These applications are an important part of the screening process, but some landlords simply accept these applications at face value. There are numerous red flags that may not stand out, but if you ignore these tell-tale signs, you could be in for a world of hurt. Numerous Mistakes on Ren ... Read More

5 Warning Signs That You Shouldn't Take A Particular Applicant

As a landlord, it’s clear that not all tenants are created equal. Some don’t pay their rent, some break their lease and others are perfectly reasonable tenants who pay their rent on time. Often, you can save yourself some serious hassle by screening them thoroughly from the very beginning. Often, the warning signs are subtle and other times there’s a big red flag that should be obvious to any landlord. Here are seven warning signs that you need to pay attention to for every app ... Read More

Effective Skype or Phone Interview Questions

Technology has changed the way landlords work, and if you've been in the business for more than a few years, you've already seen some far-reaching changes. Just imagine what a landlord would have said a decade ago, for instance, if they were asked to do a Skype interview. Now, however, Skype and phone interviews are the norm. When conducting these types of non-traditional interviews, though, it's important to ask the right questions. What is your income level? There are plenty ... Read More

4 Work-Arounds When A Tenant Applicant Doesn't Have Strong Credit History

While every landlord dreams of having a tenant with great credit history and awesome references, there's a good chance that you find someone who's just starting out and doesn't have a strong credit background. Weak credit histories have become a fairly common phenomenon in recent times, with banks and lenders pushing out more loans than people can repay. Or perhaps your tenant is a student with a part-time job who doesn’t have a credit history -- yet. That doesn't mean you ... Read More

Reasonable Modifications to A Rental Property to Accommodate a Disabled Tenant

As a landlord, you may be faced with a disabled tenant who has recently suffered from an auto accident, stroke, or some other life-altering event. In such a situation, you will automatically start to wonder what reasonable modifications you should allow your tenant to make to your rental to make his life easier. What Are "Reasonable" Modifications? In most states, a disabled tenant can make reasonable modifications to his or her home to make it more disability friendly. As a land ... Read More

When Should You Deduct from a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is often, but not always, equal to one month of rent. Ideally, it helps the landlord or property manager pay for any repairs or cleaning that the property needs when the tenants move out. When the cleaning is over, the landlord sends their tenants a check for what remains from the deposit. It sounds simple, right? Unfortunately for novice landlords, it's hard to know exactly what to charge to a security deposit. Any miscalculating -- whether accidentally or on purpose - ... Read More

What You Need To Know About Accommodating Tenants With Disabilities

For landlords who encounter a tenant or applicant with a disability, it’s important to be familiar with federal and state law regarding housing and disabled persons. That means not only understanding what you can and can’t do in relation to disabled tenants, but also being familiar with what kind of modifications and allowances to your property you may be required to make if you have a disabled tenant. Here is the information you need to make sure you properly accommodate disabled te ... Read More

What Property Owners Need to Know about the ADA

People with disabilities often struggle with everyday activities that most of us take for granted. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was created in 1990 to help make life easier for disabled people. The ADA applies to rental properties as well, and landlords should be aware of pertinent ADA guidelines. Some of the laws vary depending on when the property was built. Homes, apartment and condos for rent that were built before the ADA took effect (January 26, 1990) have slightly differ ... Read More

How to make working with disabled tenants easy

 There's no need to feel intimidated by regulations for working with disabled tenants. With some commonsense application of the rules, you can expand your available tenant pool while complying with requirements. Working with renters who may be disabled is easy, as long as you keep a few things in mind. Start with the Application From the beginning, it's important to know that it's against the law to ask discriminatory questions in regard to an obvious disability or questio ... Read More

How To Work With A Tenant Who Has A Service Animal

At some point, a landlord may come in contact with a tenant who requires a service animal due to a disability. That’s why it’s important to understand the laws guiding service animals, what your rights are as a landlord, and what your requirements are when it comes to accommodating a service animal. The Laws Surrounding Service Animals According to federal and state laws, tenants with a disability are entitled to a service animal. In fact, while most laws usually refer to &ldqu ... Read More

Have a Tenant with a Disability? Here's What You Can Do and What You Can't

When you are the landlord or property manager of rental properties, there are going to be times when members of the disabled community want to rent from you. When this happens, it's important to know that there are certain things you must and must not do. Don't Ask About the Disability When someone who is either physically or cognitively disabled fills out an application to rent one of your properties, you must treat the application the same as an application from an able-bodied pe ... Read More

Dear New Tenant...

You could just hand your new tenants the keys, but it's a good idea to put together a welcome kit to help them get settled in. Your locality may also require you to provide them with information about the landlord-tenant relationship and how housing disputes are addressed. Getting Ready to Move In Give your tenants the numbers they need to contact service providers to have utilities, telephone, and cable turned on. Let them know how to schedule their move in date and if there are any r ... Read More

5 Often Overlooked Methods of Preparing for New Tenants

After acting as a property manager for a certain amount of time, bringing in new tenants becomes second nature to most. You put the property on the market, meet with several potential candidates, do the appropriate screening, and select the big winner. There are several aspects of preparation, though, that are sometimes overlooked. Putting more focus on these steps can make your life far easier. Offering an Early Notification Discount Rarely do landlords think of this, but how much easier ... Read More

Learning from other landlords

Networking is important in almost all professional fields. Most of the learning you will do will happen on the job, of course, but the most successful professionals also cultivate relationships outside of the workplace. As a professional, you can learn more about advances in the field, hear about new opportunities and have a chance to get feedback on your ideas. If you are already doing this in the workplace, why not extend it to your work as a landlord? Networking is arguably even more imp ... Read More

5 Signs That a Renter is Going to Vacate Before Their Lease is Up

We all wish for wonderful tenants who pay on time and stay until the end of their lease. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and renters will sometimes break their leases and vacate early. Here are some common warning signs of tenants who may vacate early, so you can better prepare for these situations: 1. Be a Good Listener At times, a tenant will communicate something with you that indicates that they intend to leave. Perhaps they’ve asked you what your policy is for breaking a le ... Read More

Top Rental Investment Cities in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest region offers a quality of life that is unmatchable in the rest of the United States, due to its abundance of natural wonders. Once a backwoods of timber and industry towns, the area is now attracting people from all over the world who are health conscious and want to pursue an "outdoor lifestyle". For those looking to buy rental properties in the Pacific Northwest, there are an incredible variety of places where prices are still low but the outlook remains strong ... Read More

Easy Solutions for Common Maintenance Problems

One of a landlord’s most important responsibilities is to keep the property in good repair. Developing some useful preventive maintenance habits can go a long way toward keeping things running smoothly and fixing small problems before they turn into costly repairs. Clogged Drains Clogs inevitably develop in sinks and tubs, but there are some effective proactive steps that you can take to keep this from being a recurrent nuisance in your rental properties. Begin by installing drain sc ... Read More

The Benefits of Investing in Austin Rental Properties

Austin, Texas has a lot going for it with its "Keep Austin Weird" slogan. There's all types that find their home here, from a vibrant art culture to a number of tech companies. It's been declared as one of the best rental markets to invest in, causing plenty of landlord attention to be turned to this growing city. So what exactly makes Austin the place to put your rental investment dollars? Younger Population Austin has several large colleges nearby, resulting in an overall ... Read More

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