Turn Pennies into Dollars

Tenants often move while owing money and often don’t provide a forwarding address, yet they nearly always leave coins on the floors. Gather the coins and place them in an envelope. Then call the references listed on their rental application to ask for help with locating your former tenant’s new address. Explain that, after they moved, you found “some money” in the unit and you want to return it to them.

What Exactly Are You Looking for in a Tenant? 

One landlord asked; “When showing a house to prospects, what is your response when they ask, “What exactly are you looking for in a tenant?”   Two experienced landlords share how they respond.  One landlord said he tells them he is looking for someone who:

a) has income at least three times the rent,

b) does not have a history of evictions
b) will pay their rent on time and
c) will not destroy my property

Sometimes they will ask what I look for in a credit history. This can also be a red flag. I tell them I expect that folks will have bills and it would not be unusual that a credit report might show education loans, car loans or  medical bills for those who do not have insurance.  What I am looking for is a consistent pattern that they are making payments on these items as opposed to having them turned over to collection agencies. In the end (as I explain), a landlord is simply another creditor.

The next landlord said he is looking for someone who:
a) Won’t make me chase the rent and pay on time.
b) Will take care of the house like it’s their own.
c) If there is a problem, tell me as soon as possible so I can fix it, and it doesn’t become a bigger problem.
d) Will be a good neighbor 

That’s what I’m looking for; these are the expectations. I tell this to every approved tenant at lease signing. Sometimes I’ll throw in the “I will either be the best landlord you ever had, or the worst… it’s up to you.”

Screening Tip:  Compare Info on Pay Stubs

We all know that sneaky applicants conveniently forget to list previous landlords they stiffed. My screener recently found one this way – he compared the address on the pay stub to the application. Hmmm … that address was not listed on the application. He searched online property records and contacted THAT owner. Sure enough – that prior landlord had kicked out our applicant but did not take him to court. Hope this tip helps someone dodge a deadbeat!

Rental Issues to Address in Your Lease Each year, there are usually two or three enlightening discussions by landlords nationwide on our popular Q&A Forum regarding important rental issues to address in your lease. Currently, there is an active discussion on some of the best lease clauses to include and important issues landlords should address. In this discussion, 10 recommended lease issues to address include: 

  • Require all vehicles that are parked on a property be registered, insured and in working condition.  Require that any disabled vehicle needing more than 24 hours to be operational be cleared with management. 
  • No outside storage allowed. 
    • Rent is due on the 1st and must be received before 5 PM to be considered on time 
      • The security deposit cannot be used to pay rent due, even the last month of the rental agreement. 
        • All entertainment (i.e. Satellite dish) antennas must be pole mounted.  
        • No smoking in the unit by tenant or tenant’s guests or within 20 feet of the building. Any failure of the tenant to adhere to the above clauses is considered violation of the lease agreement. If evidence of smoking is reason for the lease violation, tenant will forfeit security deposit to pay for smoke smell mitigation.

          The tenant(s) acknowledge they are living in a multi-unit residential complex and shall conduct themselves and require their guests or agents to conduct themselves so as not to interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of other residents occupying the premises.

          The landlord maintains the right to allocate, assign and reassign the tenant(s)designated parking location(s).

While landlords have benefited greatly by adding clauses to their lease which address the above issues, please know that state laws do vary. So it is always advisable to check your state laws before adding new lease clauses to make sure any new clause does not conflict with landlord-tenant laws for your state.  

3 Ways to Avoid No Shows

One of the most aggravating things many landlords face is having a prospective resident set a time to meet you to look at a rental home, and then they do not show up. To avoid no-shows and avoid wasting your valuable time, landlords employ different strategies. Here were a couple of suggestions. 

1) Don’t schedule appointments for more than 24 hours in advance. I have phone screened applicants who want to see places on the weekend because they work long hours during the week. I tell them to call Friday night or Saturday morning to set something up and 9.9 out of 10 times, I will never hear from them. I’m not really chalking it up to them finding something else, but more that most people can’t remember past their last tweet or Facebook post.
2) Use a lockbox: Applicants go over, use the lockbox, they look and fill out application if they hadn’t already online. Doesn’t waste my time. Prior to the applicants coming over, I text some pics of our last vacant nicer home. Momma LOVED it and had her mate talked into it even before he viewed it. After they walked through, they call and ask if or when will their application be approved. Real time saver.

3) I just do open houses. Somebody always shows up so it’s not a waste of time and I feel that it is safer.

The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular www.MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, Founder@Mrlandlord.com To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at www.LandlordingAdvice.com where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.