Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Landlord Tip

Lease Renewal Clause

When giving tenant the right to renew the lease, please consider this: If the tenants are bad or you decide during the tenancy that you do not want to renew the lease, always include the words, "Subject to owner's written approval".

If you did not provide for a rate of rent increase in the lease, this enables you to send a renewal with proper notice with an increase offer the tenant may or may not elect to stay for.

Read more about The LPA Lease at The LPA's Essential Forms.

Funny Landlord Story: "It's Too HOT in here!"

What's a Thermostat?

On a very cold winter day a neighbor called me to tell me that one of my tenants had their windows wide open. I pay for the heat. I immediately went to see my tenant who complained that she had the windows open because her apartment was unbearably hot. I glance at the thermostat to see that it is set to - 80 degrees!!!! As I point to the thermostat in an accusatory way, while attempting to control my temper, she says "what is that?" God bless tenants.

This story was provided by Massachusetts Rental Housing Association (MRHA)

The Importance of a Property Condition Report

A carefully documented Property Condition Checklist makes more of a difference than you may think!

The Property Condition Report may be used with or without a Security Settlement Statement, but I have had better success using both.

The document not only is a complete condition checklist at Move-In signed by the tenant, it also puts the tenant on notice that the condition has been documented, dated and acknowledged. It is very important for the landlord to establish the condition of the premises before the lease begins and after the term ends.

It will be very difficult for the tenant to argue the facts noted on this form which is signed by them!

Video and Photo reminder: Tenants are reminded that the premises may have been photographed and video taped prior to occupancy and also upon vacancy.

Includes a Security Settlement section to calculate any deductions

Using The Condition Inspection Report along with the Security Settlement Statement will afford maximum landlord protection. As long as your charges are legitimate and conform to your lease agreement, it is very unlikely that any deductions will be challenged by the tenant.

Click to view ALL The LPA's Essential Forms!! (They are ALL FREE to LPA Members!)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Do's and Don'ts - Tenant Move-out


What The LPA says you should do and what you should not do about:

Tenant Move-Out

  • tell the tenants that they will not be getting their security deposit back. Let them see that on the Security Settlement Statement.
  • return any security deposit until after tenant vacates and the rental has been inspected for damages

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Want to Rent Quicker?

Why Some Homes Rent Fast and Others Don't

Real estate rentals have always been a fast paced business for me. A rental can be closed from beginning to end all in one day whereas a home sale an take months of hard work, bank approval, appraisals, inspections, and more to complete before the closing. A lease agreement signing can be very quick, but a landlord should take the time to make sure the tenant is carefully screened first.

As a landlord, one of the stressful aspects of renting is you need it rented FAST! Every day your rental property is vacant, it is losing money, so you must rent it as soon as possible at the best rental rate possible to the best qualified tenant possible.

Landlords with difficulty renting ask the usual questions, such as,

  • What's wrong with my property?
  • Am I asking too much money?
  • Is is me? Do I smell?
  • Is it the rental market?

    The simple truth to all of those questions is... YES! (But I won't judge you on the smell. It may be a good smell) rent triangleTake a look at this crude drawing I made of a triangle. The 3 sides are labeled with "Fast", "Qualified", and "Best Price".
    It can be difficult to get all 3 sides of the triangle, but I'm telling you, you must!

    First, understand the important factors needed to procure a fast rental and also the reasons a rental does not rent quickly.

    It is usually a matter of how you look at things.
    Many landlords look at tenants as sub-human trash who don't deserve to live in as nice a home as the landlord lives in or should be willing to take what they can get since they are not in a position to be choosy. Well, while that may be true for a small percentage of the tenant pool, these days, most tenants are more choosy than ever and believe it or not, there are more quality rentals out there than ever before. Landlords have become competitive in attracting the better tenants by offering better rental units.

    Besides offering a quality rental you'd be happy to live in yourself, another thing to keep in mind ...

    Click here for the full article

  • Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Anticipating Move-outs - Instructions in Advance Do Make a Difference

    Minimize Move-out Damage with these
    3 Free Forms

    You will likely minimize damage and clean-up by using the Move-out Reminder Letter, Security Settlement Charges Guide and Move-out Cleanup & Debris Letter.

    move out instructionsMove Out Instructions Reminder Letter
    has become an important time and money saver. We send this form to the tenants about a week or two before they vacate. It reminds them specifically of certain tasks and cleaning they should perform in order to get a full security refund. This letter instructs the tenants how to lock up and secure the rental until it can be inspected by the landlord/ management, and also where and how the tenants should return all keys.
    We have found this form to be very effective and it helps tenants to be more cooperative on the way out.

    Move out clean up letterMove Out Clean Up & Debris Letter
    Have you ever wondered if the tenants would have done a better job vacating if you gave them specific instructions? Much like the LPA Move Out Reminder Letter, this reminds the tenants to not wait until their last day of tenancy to put out garbage and debris. They are urged avoid clean up charges and deductions from their security deposit and to make arrangements as soon as possible to get rid of their unwanted items, rather than leave them behind in or around the property.

    security deposit charges guideSettlement Charges Guide
    Alerts the tenant before or after tenancy what kind of move-out charges he or she can expect for damages, cleaning or neglect caused as a result of tenant's occupancy. Some landlords send this form along with the Security Deposit Settlement to show how certain deductions from the security were calculated. What many tenants consider "normal wear & tear" are really damages and neglect that they should pay for.

    click for MORE FREE FORMS

    How do I Get FREE Credit Reports for Tenant Screening


    How do I ...

    Get FREE Credit Reports when screening tenants?

    Credit reports have become one of the most essential elements in checking the background of a potential tenant. The days of the handshake rental lease are over. Today, renting to a person without checking his credit is like playing lotto. the odds of winning are against the landlord.

    One of the reasons many landlords I have spoken with don't do credit reports is because of the cost of running a credit report. What?! The cost of the credit report?? Well, yes. Believe it or not many people would rather spend thousands of dollars in lost rent and legal fees, renovation and aggravation than the cost of a $15.00 credit report because they feel lucky.

    Then again, there are those of us who know the risks are heavily slanted against us and will not rent without a full credit and background check on the potential tenant. We know that it is better to spend a small amount of money on the screening process rather than wanting to kick ourselves in the rear when the tenant burns us.

    You may be thinking, "yeah, I know all that, but the title of this article has the words "FREE CREDIT REPORTS" in it and that's why I'm reading it." Well that's what I'll talk about.

    There are 2 types of "Free Credit Reports" for tenant screening I'd like to tell you about.

    1. The kind provided by the tenants
    2. The kind you order and have the tenants pay for.

    Some landlords will require the potential tenant to obtain a free credit report on themselves to submit along with their rental application. Experian and the other major credit bureaus offer anybody a copy of his or her own credit report for FREE.

    Attention Tenants: As a tenant, being prepared and providing a recent credit report to a prospective landlord makes an excellent impression and greatly increases the the tenant's chance of being accepted over other applicants.

    Many landlords ask me, "Do I need the tenant to sign something in order for me to get a credit report?" The answer is yes. In most cases, it is illegal to obtain a credit report on another individual without that person's written permission.
    That is why The LPA Rental Application is what I always use. It provides the correct legal language that allows the landlord or his agent to obtain a credit report from any of the major credit bureaus.

  • Now, I'd like to tell you about the other kind of "Free Credit Report". This is the kind I always get. Years ago, I subscribed to a credit report reseller that provided credit reports by fax. Now I get instant online credit reports from Quick Check. That's the same credit bureau we now have on The LPA website. I feel the credit reports I buy from Quick Check Credit Reports are FREE because, my LPA Rental Application provides for a screening fee. I charge the applicant $25. per adult. Then, after verifying that the references and employment information on the rental application check out, I order the credit report which is instantly on my computer screen 2 seconds later. Did I pay for the credit report? Well, it's on my bill, but the tenant gave me the money to pay it! So I consider it a FREE CREDIT REPORT ! And that is what I recommend other landlords do too. Charge a screening fee. Use the LPA Rental Application if you don't already.