This article was posted on Monday, Aug 01, 2016

Red Flag if Rental Applicant is Not on a Current Lease!

When screening and verifying prospective residents, the general consensus among landlords is to consider it a red flag if a rental applicant is neither on the lease nor paying rent at their current residence in which they are vacating. For example, if the applicant is merely living with a friend or relative, where the friend or relative is on lease but applicant is not, that’s a potential red flag.

In a landlording discussion, one landlord stated, “If the applicant was a minor, then there’s no need to be on lease. If the applicant was not a minor, then why weren’t they on the lease? – Red Flag!” Or as another landlord puts it, “This counts as strike one! (if we get to) strike three, NEXT!”

Leasing Tip: Respond With a Question 

Phone Technique – If there’s one thing to remember on the phone it’s this: It often helps to answer a question with a question. It’s a great way to stay in control of the conversation, and makes it easier to ask for an appointment. The more you know about the prospect the better you can sell your product and satisfy their needs. Converting more telephone calls into walk-in traffic will increase your overall traffic and as a result, your sales!

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Take Caution With Maintenance Fees!

One state’s Attorney General alleged that a landlord charged non-refundable redecoration fees (adding up to over a half million dollars). These fees were written into lease. However, the Attorney General said it violated the law.

A word of warning: To avoid possible and similar lawsuits, in my opinion landlords in “any” state should take note of the following comment made by the Attorney General when considering clauses in their lease regarding maintenance: “…A rental property landlord is responsible for 100% of all property maintenance costs, outside of actual, direct damages caused by tenants that go beyond what can be considered normal wear and tear…”

Stop Losing Profits in Damages! 

I think the reason why many of us fail to prosper as much as we should is because we think like small-time “Mom ‘n Pop” landlords in terms of repairs and charging residents a fair amount for damages.

How many times have you swallowed the cost of missing light bulbs, broken/missing door knobs (that were brand new!), broken toilet seats, busted mini-blinds, cracked mirrors, chips in windows, scratches in hardwood flooring, tears in vinyl and shrugged it off as “the cost of doing business”?

The better question is this: Do BUSINESSES consider those things a cost of doing business? According to my property manager friend, if an item didn’t wear out from normal usage, the owner EXPECTS them to charge the residents because otherwise they will be the ones eating the cost. (That’s what pros do!)

One Landlord’s Key to Growth! 

Folks ask us all the time how do we grow. It is important to set a Monthly Cash Flow Goal. As rental owners, we know how cash flow SHOULD come in every month.  The key is that I check it daily or more than once a day.  I mark it down on a white board.  I go through a routine where I check the account and mark it down.  If I add a house, I bump up the goal of how much cash flow I want to maximize.
Got an empty rental?  Uh oh, I better get moving to get it filled with a qualified resident.  If I get judgment payments coming in, it adds even more excitement. Having a cash flow goal has really helped us focus on the money.
We know our expenses (and work to improve them). Daily, weekly, and monthly cash flow goals add up to big year-end numbers. I hope this helps some dreamers out there.  Landlord up!

Send Periodic Text Blasts to Residents! 

One landlord shared her idea of setting up an automated and scheduled text blast to her residents a few times a year in hopes of reminding them to do some basic maintenance that is their responsibility per the lease. Items she and other landlord suggested including in the text blasts were:

  • Every three months – a reminder to change the furnace filter.
  • Twice a year – test and check batteries in the smoke detectors OR inform residents that the property manager is coming to test the smoke detectors, which allows for a preventive maintenance check.
  • Sending weather preparation reminders (i.e., bad storm coming – clean up yard projectiles, make sure windows are tightly closed, and report water infiltration).
  • Upcoming vacancies – thereby let your residents help you fill your vacancies!The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.