Resource's for Owners & Residents of Rental Property

Here’s a look at the top areas where property managers and landlords should never cut corners. The few dollars you could save wont be worth the resulting damage, violations and liability.

5 Investments You Should Make For Your Rental Business

1. Tenant Screening

Why do some tenant screening reports cost $10 while others cost $25? Don’t they all provide the same information?

The truth is, the price of your tenant screening reports will directly reflect the quality of information you are receiving. The more expensive the report, the more accurate and detailed the information will be.

When evaluating a tenant screening service, ask them how detailed and inclusive their credit, criminal, and eviction history reports are. In some cases, a tenant screening company will only pull a criminal report in one state or county. If your tenant has a dangerous criminal record in another state, you would never know.

Tenant screening with the right reports is the BEST way to protect your investment. Saving a few dollars on a weak report could cost you $3,500 in eviction fees, according to a report by TransUnion. Instead, relay the cost of a $15 tenant screening premium package onto your tenant in an application fee. If the tenant complains about paying a $15 application fee, it could be a red flag that he/she has something to hide.

2. Routine Maintenance

Your renters are relying on you to provide them with working appliances and property features, like water, heat and a roof, that are safe and well maintained. Let’s not forget that it is the law to provide a habitable dwelling for your renters, one that is safe, warm and has working water (both hot and cold!).

Renter-occupied households can cause more wear and tear on your property, so you might be surprised by how often you need to repair or replace property features.

Make sure to keep up with your appliance service schedule and hire vendors that will provide a thorough inspection and proper repair. Screening your vendors for quality of service will benefit the lifespan of your appliances.

3. Inspections

Rental property owners are advised to perform 4 types of inspections per year per property. If you are cringing at the amount of overhead that would require, we don’t blame you. Inspections, however, give you the opportunity to identify problem areas at the property before they become a big, expensive problem.  

Regular inspections will protect your property from preventable damage due to weather, age and the occasional tenant-related issues. You need to know what is going on with the properties you manage and that you do not merely take a tenant’s word for it. Deceitful tenants may outright lie about damage for fear of repercussions, and careless or ignorant tenants may not think to mention problem areas that could benefit from swift attention.

You can try using helpful rental property inspection applications to streamline the process.

4. Evictions

Did you happen to catch that evictions can cost $3,500 in damage, lost rent, court filings, and legal fees. Yuck! Wouldn’t it be easier to change the locks and refuse to let a non-paying renter back into the property? WRONG!

Lock-outs are illegal and one of the universal landlord laws that each state adopts. While it seems easy, cheap, and obvious to just change the locks on a delinquent tenant, you could end up owing your bad renter money in long run. Plus you could extend the actual eviction process and the tenant could end up staying longer on your property, for free!

In fact, it’s not just the "no lock-outs allowed rule" you need to follow when it comes to an eviction. You need to follow each step of the eviction process properly or you risk prolonging the process and potentially owing money. It’s much safer to hire an attorney and have him walk you through the illegal eviction process.

5. Technology

Pencil and paper is very inexpensive and Google even provides a free version of Excel! Who needs to spend money on software for managing rentals?

The truth is, you will experience challenges if you ever want to grow your business when resist adopting a program, like property management software, that will help you manage your rentals.

If you have only a few rental properties, look for a free landlord software. If you have more than 10 properties, you can typically find a great rental software for about $1/unit.

Property management software is designed to make your life easier.  in the rental industry. It has features that help you collect rent, organize your books, receive maintenance requests, pay your owners, screen your future renters, and post vacancies online. And it all automated, requiring minimal effort on your part. That means extra time you will be saving.

So instead of looking at the cost of property management software as a road block and an expense you could cut out by doing it yourself, consider the time savings you will be investing in.

Property managers and landlords need to understand the valuable parts of their business that make them money and provide the best return. Prioritizing, tenant screening, inspections, maintenance, legal evictions and technology will leads towards the greatest chances for success.

Posted in:General
Posted by Norbert Huston on April 28th, 2017 3:55 PM

Housing Wanted: The Perfect Pet-Friendly Rental

Anyone with a furry friend knows that pets are more than just fun to have around--they’re part of the family. Pet owners can also tell you how difficult it can be to find a rental that they love where their pets are greeted with open arms by property management.

If you find yourself in need of a rental for yourself and man’s best friend there are a few tricks to know to find the perfect pet-friendly rental.

Limit Your Search:

Searching for a pet-friendly rental and not limiting your search results beforehand is begging for tears of frustration. Renters with pets can find themselves sifting through dozens of options where the landlords are, for various reasons, simply unwilling to budge on their no-pets rule.

Don’t waste your time vetting through all the options out there, instead search specifically for pet-friendly rentals. Aside from the standard craigslist search, there are a couple ways to do this:

  • Use Humane Society’s PAW Database: Pets Are Welcome (or PAW) is a way for renters to search for available pet-friendly properties. However, the selections are limited, and renters need to keep in mind that even pet-friendly rentals may have specific breed and size restrictions that prevent certain pet owners from residing there.
  •’s “All Filters” selection: The specific filters on Trulia can help pet owners narrow down their rental search even further by selecting only listings that allow cats, small dogs, large dogs and other pets. Furthermore, owners of more than one type of pet can ensure that they are looking at listings that allow both cats and dogs, for instance.

Come Prepared:

Pet-friendly rentals are notoriously limited, making them increasingly more competitive. Just like you will want to prepare a rental resume for yourself, you should consider preparing an additional resume for your four-legged roommate as well.

Include pertinent information including your pet’s breed, weight, vaccination records, and a brief description of your pet’s personality. If your pet has undergone any obedience classes, this will also be important to note.  A pet resume will help your landlord get to know your pet, and it conveys that you are a responsible and prepared pet owner. If possible, alongside your pet’s resume, include a reference letter from your current landlord, current neighbors and even your veterinarian.

Many landlords are apprehensive of certain breeds of animal because of their overall reputation to be destructive or aggressive. A good pet resume can show an uncertain landlord that your pet is well behaved, does not disrupt the neighbors, and is fully taken care of medically.  

Keep breeds in mind if you are a renter and are considering getting a pet. Certain aggressive breeds will never be allowed in rentals because a landlord's insurance forbids it. Dogs like pit bulls, terriers, chow chows, rottweilers, and huskies are on most breed restriction lists.

Give Yourself Time:

Finding the perfect rental is always a time consuming task, and finding one that allows pets can be even more difficult. Keep that in mind, and give yourself enough time to truly find one that fits your--and your pet’s needs. Be sure to allot additional time for the search, and try not to be discouraged if it seems more difficult than your non-pet owning days. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to move by a set date, look into other options to extend your search time, such as using a short-term rental service or bunking with a generous friend.

Sweeten the Deal:

While it is not a guaranteed solution, if you find yourself in love with a particular rental, the right pet owner and the promise of additional security deposits or pet rent, could be enough to sway a landlord that was on the fence about allowing certain breeds of pets, or pets at all. This is true for single-family rentals, as current residents in an apartment will already be following the restrictions, making it more difficult to alter a policy.

In these instances, having a well-prepared resume and a reference from your current landlord is imperative, but you should also consider offering additional compensation so the landlord feels his investment will be fully protected.

Offer to pay a pet rent, or a higher security deposit, and offer to get renters insurance (if you don’t already have it) to protect from any liability a pet may cause. While this may be more cost up-front, the good news is, renters insurance is relatively inexpensive, and you can get your security deposit back as long as the unit remains in good condition throughout your tenancy.

Pet rent and pet-specific deposits however do not always boast the same claims; be sure you understand what would be refunded at the end of your tenancy, and what just becomes part of your bill.

Finding a rental can be a struggle, but with these tips, a little preparation and a well-behaved four legged friend, it truly is possible to find your dream rental.

Posted in:General
Posted by Norbert Huston on February 16th, 2017 6:18 AM

10 Reasons Why My Rental Application Was Denied

by Kaycee Wegener

rental application was deniedIn a tight rental market with scarce availability and high rents, getting approved for your dream apartment can be as hard as actually finding one that fits your budget.

If you keep finding yourself scouring rental listing and filling out applications only to get denied again and again, it might be time to change your strategy.  Landlords establish tenant screening criteria to find themselves a qualified renter who will pay rent on time and take care of the property.

Here are the top 10 reasons your rental application is getting denied.

1. You didn’t act fast enough

While it might seem advantageous to look at as many available properties as possible, make a list of pros and cons and then submit an application to only your favorite, this strategy can waste valuable time. In a competitive rental market, an apartment may only be available for a couple hours. Renters should be ready to submit an application as soon as they find a place they like and are qualified for. Once you find a suitable rental property be ready to submit your application and have all the move-in fees available that day.

2. You didn’t act professional

It is important to remember that your landlord is running a business and your interactions with him should be professional. Even before you submit a rental application, your future landlord or property manager will treat all interactions with you as a pre-screening process, from emails, phone calls, and appointments.  Always act courteous, professional and show up on time. If you are late, rude or sloppy, the landlord may choose not to rent to you because he has reason to believe you will not treat the property appropriately or your rental relationship with respect.  

3. You didn’t follow directions

Did the rental advertisement ask you to call to set up an appointment, but instead you knocked on the door and disturbed the current tenants? Did the landlord ask for a copy of your driver’s license but you didn’t submit one?

If you can’t follow the directions on a rental advertisement, your landlord has reason to believe that you will not follow the directions or rules outlined in a lease agreement. For this reason, your landlord can legally deny your rental application. Make sure to read directions carefully and show your respect for the landlord’s requests right away to set yourself up for a great landlord-tenant relationship.

4. You lied on your application

Never lie to your landlord about income, references, or your criminal background. Landlords and property managers have access to tools to check your employment, credit and criminal history. If you lie about anything on your rental application, a property manager or landlord will find out and deny you. Some lease agreements even state that a landlord has grounds to terminate a lease and move forward with an eviction if they discover that any information on a rental application was untrue after you were approved and moved in. 

If you are worried that your criminal background or credit score will not get you approved for a rental house, you should be upfront with the landlord before they waste their time processing an application that will get denied. They may allow you to have a co-signer and still live in the rental home, but if they find out you lied, you are bound to get denied.

5. Your credit score is bad

Rental housing providers use your credit score as a major part of their tenant screening process to determine your financial responsibility and evaluate whether you will pay your rent on time. They look at your debt-to-income ratio and if you have any outstanding bills. To a landlord, if you did not pay your power bill and it went to collections, that could mean you won't pay your rent in the future.

If your credit score is bad, start taking steps to improve it now. You can also ask any future landlords if they will approve a co-signer or accept a higher security deposit.

6. You were convicted of a dangerous crime

It is illegal for a property manager or landlord to deny you rental housing for having a criminal record or simply for being arrested. However, you can be denied rental housing if you have been convicted of a dangerous crime that would put the property, community or other tenants at risk.

7. Your references didn’t check out

Landlords and property managers rely on references to verify your employment and rental background. If you provide your landlord with your employer’s name and phone number, they may Google the company and call the number listed online to double check the validity of the information you  provided. If it turns out that you or the “reference” you listed do not work, it will be a red flag that you lied and you will get denied.

Your future landlord will also call your past landlords or property managers to find out what you were like to rent to. They are looking for information on whether you paid rent on time, if you damaged or maintained the property, and if you ever caused any problems in general. If your past landlord give less than stellar references, there is a chance you will get your rental application denied.

8. You don’t make enough money

This requirement seems pretty straightforward, however, some renters still find themselves stretching a paycheck and applying for properties they cannot afford. While some landlords will list the income requirements on the rental advertisement, others just assume that renters will not apply for properties out of their price range.

The industry standard for income requirements is typically that a tenant needs to make 3x the asking rental price. While you may think your $3,000/monthly paycheck can completely cover your $1,200/monthly rent, your landlord will not and you will most likely get denied. To figure out how much you should be spending on rent, divide your monthly take-home paycheck by 3. Don’t forget to include utilities in this figure.

9. You have pets

Despite the fact that over 70% of renters have pets, the majority of rental properties do not allow pets in the property. If you have a pet, you rental application may get denied. Savvy landlords will look at your clothes to see if there is any pet hair on it or even request a home inspection of your current rental to double check that you do not have any pets. Never try to sneak in a pet, because you will get discovered and face an eviction.

Save pet ownership for when you own your own home, or only apply to properties that have a pet-friendly policy.

10. Your car is messy

Taking a casual peek in your car is a trick that some landlords employ to see how messy you are.  If your car is full of clothes, fast food containers, toys, etc. it will tip off the landlord that you might be a very messy tenant and cause potential damage to the property, whether from excessive wear and tear, or an unintentional infestation from garbage accumulation. Remember to always present yourself in the best and most professional light possible and clean up your car before heading to an apartment showing.

Landlords want to get their property rented fast so they can start collecting rental income right away. But they will not do so at the risk of approving an unqualified renter. Make sure you stand out to your future landlord or property manager by taking steps to avoid all the rental application denial reasons above.

Posted in:General
Posted by Norbert Huston on January 13th, 2017 8:46 PM

TENANTS:  10 Reasons Why Your Landlord Hates You!

Having a great landlord-tenant relationship is imperative to a a great renting experience. Maintaining a great relationship with your landlord means that you will not have to experience a negative interaction regularly, and moreover, will display that you are a great tenant and worthy of attention should an issue ever arise. Ensuring that you are not damaging your relationship with your landlord is vital.

The reality is, however, most renters are damaging their landlords’ perception of them without even knowing it. Here are the ways you are likely guilty of raising your landlord’s ire (and what you can do to change it.)

  1. White Lies:

    They may seem small at the time, but saying things like “the check is in the mail” and “sure, we totally read that maintenance checklist you gave us!” can add  up to some big issues in the future. White lies tend to add up fast and can give you the reputation of being a flake--at best.

  2. Late Rent:

    This one is fairly obvious, but is often the most pervasive. Give your landlord a reason to love having you as a tenant and avoid costly late fees. Pay your rent on-time, every time. If you come across extenuating circumstances be sure to inform your landlord as quickly as possible, they may be dependent on your rent to supplement the property's mortgage.

  3. Breeding Dust Bunnies:

    If your place is less of a clean sanctuary and more of a breeding ground for dust bunnies, chances are, your landlord won’t be impressed. Keeping the place clean shows respect for the landlord’s property as well as prevents against additional wear and tear due to layers of grime or mold. Not only will your landlord thank you for keeping the place clean, but so will your body, untended allergens can wreak havoc on your health. Make it a point to do daily and weekly spot cleaning, as well as deep cleaning regularly.

  4. Neighbor Squabbling:

    Your neighbors might have an annoying streak that makes you want to squabble, but running to your landlord for any small issue will likely become very irritating. While it’s important notify the police if something illegal is occurring or you feel in danger, unless it is written into your lease, your landlord is not required to mediate small issues. It might be tempting to complain to your landlord, but making him or her feel like a parent of young children who can’t get along will probably get your on their naughty list. If you find that your neighbor plays loud music late at night, your best course of action is to be cordial and politely ask for a compromise. Sometimes a conversation is all it takes to resolve an issue.

  5. Hidden Housemates:

    Whether your extra roommate is your BFF or your newest furry friend, having an uninvited guest stay permanently (without your landlord’s permission) is a sure-fire way to damage your relationship with your landlord. Not only can this kill your chances to make your landlord adore you, hiding a pet or roommate could set you up for legal action. If you can’t live without a pet, be upfront and ask your landlord if it’s a possibility, mitigate their concern by offering to pay a pet deposit and offering to take your new friend to obedience school. For new roommates, ask if your landlord would be willing to allow a new person if they pass the same tenant screening you went through to acquire the rental.

  6. Failing to Communicate:

    If you aren’t communicating with your landlord when there is an issue, you are bound to set yourself up for problems down the road. Delivering the notice that rent will be late, your pipes are leaking and other unwelcome messages will be much more easy to swallow when there is still time to deal with the problem before it creates an unmanageable issue. Giving your landlord notice that your rent will not be on-time allows them to try to plan accordingly, and ensuring that maintenance issues are reported immediately upon noticing them gives your landlord time to make all the necessary arrangements to address it before it becomes an emergency.

  7. Ignoring Maintenance:

    One of the benefits of renting is not worrying about maintenance issues that homeowners have to address. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook completely. Nothing will cause issues more than failing to care for the space like it was your own. This means ensuring that the HVAC is not damaged because the filter was not changed regularly, or that pipes are prepped for winter cold.

  8. Neglecting Renter’s Insurance:

    Your landlord may not ask you to get renters insurance as a requirement of tenancy, but it will certainly color their opinion of you as a renter. Renters insurance is surprisingly inexpensive, and can protect your valuables, and your landlord’s property should you damage the rental due to negligence. Knowing that you have an insurance policy in place will allow your landlord to rest easier, and will certainly put you in a better light as a dream tenant.

  9. Overlooking Lease Terms:

    Whether you pay attention to the specifics or not, you are bound to the agreement listed on your lease. Ignoring the details of your lease terms will guarantee a rocky relationship with your landlord, and could result in additional fees or even an eviction.  Pay attention to small details in the lease like who is responsible for snow removal, the use of nails when decorating your apartment or if you are allowed to keep indoor plants. These small rules may seem stupid or meaningless to a renter, but your landlord may have a perfectly valid reason for the clause, and failure to follow it can be grounds for eviction. 

  10. Constant Complaining:

    Alerting your landlord when there is a maintenance issue that needs to be addressed is one thing, but constantly requiring special attention is another. While you may not find yourself out of a home if this is your only bad habit, you could certainly find yourself greeting a frowning face when interacting with your landlord. Keep your complaints to a minimum and remember that you are not your landlord’s only priority.

Having a great relationship with your landlord can make your tenancy a breeze, and can put you first in line to keep your dream apartment when your lease is up for renewal. While there may not be such a thing as a dream tenant, you can come as close as possible by avoiding these mistakes.

Posted in:General
Posted by Norbert Huston on December 29th, 2016 3:55 PM
Making Your Home Cozy for the Winter 

Whether the weather is frightful or delightful outside, you can make your home a warm and safe place with the following tips.

Candles: The flickering lights from candles can make a home feel more inviting in the wintertime. And scented candles, from cinnamon spice to pumpkin pie, can make your home feel even cozier.

Throw Pillows and Blankets: Add fluffy pillows and blankets to your sofa or your bed.

Dine by a Fire: Forbes Magazine recommends moving a table next to the fireplace while you enjoy a warm, home-cooked meal.

Add Colors: Warm, dark colors—especially on rugs and other textiles—can transform a bland room into a wonderful winter abode.

Shine a Light on Your Favorite Items: recommends arranging beloved objects, such as photographs and other keepsakes, under a lamp or next to one of your candles. By drawing attention to them, you can warm yourself up on the inside. 
Posted in:General
Posted by Norbert Huston on December 7th, 2016 12:04 PM


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