Saturday, August 9, 2014

Landlord Screening Tip

Require Photo ID:
When screening an applicant, ask for a copy of a picture ID or drivers license. Make sure the person in front of you is the same person on the application and credit report. - The LPA

Preparing for Your Tenants to Move Out

What do I do when my tenant wants to leave?
(This article contains 3 FREE form downloads!)

When a tenant wants to terminate a tenancy, it is done in one of two ways. Either:

  • in accordance with the lease agreement, or
  • in violation of the lease agreement.

    If your tenant wishes to vacate tenancy properly, it usually means giving you, the landlord written Notice to Vacate in a time-frame outlined by your lease agreement. Normally this allows the landlord enough time to prepare and find a new tenant for re-rental.

    The usual steps a lease abiding tenant would take to terminate tenancy are: Click for the full article

  • Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Understanding a Credit Report Piece by Piece

    How to Read and Understand a Credit Report

    How good are you at reading credit reports? I've been reading credit reports for almost 3 decades on prospective tenants, so it never occurred to me that this would be a stumbling block for many of our new credit report customers. If it is new to you, it can be confusing, but don't worry.
    It is very easy!

    We dissected a TransUnion credit report to show you one section at a time the components and what they mean.

  • Section 1: The first section of a TransUnion Credit Report, is "Applicant Information".
    This should be checked against the applicant information on your rental application.

    Quick Check Credit Reports Report Section1

  • Section 2: The "Credit Summary" is a brief breakdown of the credit report account (tradeline) statistics.

    Quick Check Credit Reports Section2

    click here for the full article ...


    Quick Check Credit Reports, Inc.

    If you haven't already, please take the opportunity to quickly set up an account with The LPA's Quick Check Credit Reports! Quick Check is a simple, fast way to access online credit reports while saving you money!

  • NO sign-up or set-up fees,
  • NO membership fees,
  • NO compliance fees
  • Just instant reports at lower prices!

    Special Tenant Screening Discounts for LPA members. See our price list!

  • How do You Prepare to Show Your Rental?

    "Fail to prepare; prepare to fail."

    Having Your Rental Property Show Ready is Only Part of Being Prepared

    Have you ever found yourself at a rental showing appointment and realized that you forgot to bring the rental application(s)? How about meeting the prospect in the evening and realizing that you meant to replace some light bulbs to better see the unit?

    Here are a few tips on having your rental "show ready":

    • Make sure the unit is ready to be shown. Clean and empty, if unoccupied. Clean and neat if occupied.
    • If showing an unoccupied rental, have all burned out light bulbs replaced, so evening appointments so prospects can see the property after work..
    • Bring a can of air freshener. This helps, especially on units that are closed up or have odors.
    • Have a container of disposable wipes and/or paper towels. Often while waiting for your appointment to show up, you may discover a need to wipe certain smudges or dirt.
    • Make sure the front door is clean and if there is a screen or storm door, that the window is clean. It's always good to have a pack of Windex wipes with you too.

    "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression!"

    Here are a few tips on being prepared for your appointment:

    • Remember the keys! In the excitement of having an appointment, it is amazing and how many people meet tenants at the rental only realize they forgot the keys! It can be an embarrassing waste of time.
    • Have a supply of rental applications with instruction on how to submit the completed application unless it is submitted on the spot. You may also decide to have business cards, flyers or other handouts for the prospect.
    • Remember to bring the prospects information and phone # with you in case you need to contact them in the event of delay or the prospect's lateness.
    • It is a good idea to have a notepad for you to take notes and a supply of pens with you for applicants.
    • Bring your cell phone. Not only for safety, but also in case of delays or other business reasons, such as checking with your office to reassure the applicant that the unit is still available.
    • What other things can you use on an appointment?

    5 Common Landlord Mistakes

    Most landlords enter into a rental relationship with a tenant with good intentions and positive expectations. Like a chef who assembles and cooks a gourmet dish, a landlord also must consider the elements of a rental transaction with a tenant and the rental property.

    In order to find a good tenant, we need to first understand the qualities or ingredients that a good tenant is made up from. Once we understand what ingredients we are looking for, we can carefully screen applicants with the right ingredients in mind. The LPA has a few tools that can help you determine if your applicant has the desired qualities you are looking for in your screening process.

    So What Are the Trouble Causing Recipes for a Landlord?

    1. Not Pre-Screening If you have lots of free time and enjoy spending countless hours talking with unqualified tenant prospects and then showing them your rental property, taking rental application after rental application, then don't pre-screen your applicants.

      If you value your time and prefer to focus only on qualified prospects, you need to have a pre-screening system in place that will allow you to easily weed out the unqualified, while still attracting the better possible tenants.

    2. Incomplete Screening / Lack of Credit Report As a successful landlord, you want to make sure you have done a thorough screening every time you consider accepting a new tenant. If you're like me, your mission is to find something wrong with the applicant. I try my best to disqualify every applicant based on the information on the rental application, past landlord or employment references until I either find something or don't find anything that will eliminate the contestant.

      Failing to make a thorough screening check can make you kick yourself later and usually will.

    3. Succumbing to pressure and Overlooking Red Flags Often newbie and experienced landlords are pressured to get a unit rented in order to make the payment. We find ourselves rationalizing red flags we recognize as danger signs, only to accept a sub-qualified tenant. You and I know that we may have bought ourselves a little time, but it almost always comes back to bite us... in spades.

    4. Lack of a Solid Landlord Lease My real estate attorney told me long ago that in the absence of a good lease agreement the law is written to side with the tenant, so if you want to protect yourself against a particular tenant issue, you'd best address it in the lease. The LPA Lease was written to address a large variety of landlord tenant issues; many of which will never happen- unless you don't have the clause in your lease- then Murphy's Law may prevail.

    5. Fear of or Refusal to Enforce Broken Lease Covenants Having a well screened tenant who signs a good landlord lease is great, but being protected by a good lease, and having a tenant honor that responsibility can be a whole different story.

      Often, when issues concerning tenant responsibility or expense arise, the tenant's first impulse is to call the landlord and ask that the landlord fix the problem. But it's covered in the lease, you say? Yes, but most tenants have convenient memory loss when it comes to their responsibilities according to the lease agreement. That is one of the reasons I created the LPA form, the Lease Obligation Reminder Notice which allows the landlord to enforce the terms of the lease by politely bringing the tenant's attention to certain items and covenants in the lease agreement that may have been overlooked or forgotten about. The notice is great as a preventative measure for many issues.

      It is also important to be able to nip an issue in the bud and tell the complaining tenant straight out that "That issue is your responsibility. You'll find it in your lease under paragraph # 8. Thanks for being on top of things. Please let me know when you have it taken care of."
      Good tenants are proud of being good tenants, and enjoy demonstrating it in their care for the property, so I very rarely have a problem with them.

    Ingredients to Prepare and Maintain a Good Tenancy

    About the author:
    As a Real Estate broker / investor in New York, John Nuzzolese has been involved with rentals and investment property since 1979. Besides owning and operating two real estate businesses, he is president and founder of The Landlord Protection Agency, Inc. , an organization specializing in helping landlords and property managers avoid the hurdles and pitfalls and expensive blunders common when dealing with tenants.

    More information on The Landlord Protection Agency is available at