This article was posted on Sunday, Feb 01, 2015

The following tip is shared by a regular contributor to Thanks Roy(AL)!

Do You Use Moles/Spies Near Your Rentals?

The following tip is shared by a regular contributor to Thanks Roy(AL)!
I have rental houses scattered all over town. In every neighborhood that I buy a house in, I make it a point to get to know the neighbors (mainly homeowner types) that live next door or across the street to my rental property.  

When I am done rehabbing a house and got it rented, I will give my card to any of the neighbors who I have established some type of bond with. I tell them to call me if my new tenants start doing something unusual that you think I need to know about. Some landlords would call this a “spy network”, however, I just refer to these underground people affectionately as my “moles”.
Just yesterday, I got a call from a mole telling me my tenants across the street had a U-Haul trailer in their driveway last Saturday and it appeared they are moving out. My reaction was,
“Great news, now I don’t have to evict those deadbeats that stiffed me this month.”
Do you have any kind of spy network set up?  I do reward my moles, but not with money though.

Do You Use a Realtor to Help Fill a Vacancy?

While opinions differ among landlords on whether to use a Realtor to help fill a vacancy (most of respondents on our website shy away from doing so), one landlord/Realtor gave the following advice on
Nobody screens better than you (rental owner), but I am a Realtor, and I only use MLS for advertising my rentals.  I’m happy to pay the commission.  However, I screen all the applicants myself.
I think using a Realtor has many advantages.  The biggest advantage is that when an agent takes on a lease client, they do some form of screening to avoid wasting their time. Also most undesirables don’t use agents so it automatically screens them out. The agents show the house so I don’t have to worry about it.
Use an agent, but do your own screening. Be up front with that expectation when hiring. 

- Advertisers -

Send Bills/Invoices to Tenants Regarding Judgments  
The following tip is shared by a regular contributor to  Thanks NE(PA)!
Well, it worked the first time I tried it. I got a judgment two months ago on a guy that skipped town. I then started sending a monthly bill for the judgment amount of $792.00, stating that it was “Due Immediately.” I have sent two so far.

Today, GRANDMA calls explaining to me that her dear grandson lost his job and she wants to start paying the past due bill! I asked what she has in mind, she said she could do $25 per month. I said I don’t know if that will work but I’ll ask my boss and get back to her. I do the math. $25 into $792 is 31 months. That’s too long.

In the past, I have spread out filing fees with tenants over three to five months. So I decided to try it here. I called dear, old Granny back and told her that “they” have done payment plans in the past and will send her out some paperwork and she can choose the best method for her.
My paperwork consists of the following:

An explanation of what is owed and why the judge said it is owed. I follow that with four options on how to pay: 

  • A one time payment for a 20% discount of $633.60
  • Six monthly payments for a discount of 10% for monthly payments of $118.80
  • 12 monthly payments for face value of amount owed in monthly amount of $66.00
  • 18 months with an additional convenience charge of 10% for a fee of $48.40 

Hey, the tax people do it!!! 

HINT # 1 When I have done this in the past, the 18 month option is typically chosen

HINT # 2 “The Greedy Become the Needy.” I’ll gladly knock 20% off to get it in one month. We’ll see if Granny starts paying. 

Use Facebook to Pre-Screen Rental Applicant Callers

The following tip shared by contributor to Thanks Travis(OK)!

Here are four steps I use everyday to pre-screen callers:

1. They call my Google voice and leave a message
2. Using their phone number I search Facebook looking for their account and full name
3. I look for pictures of pit bulls (or other big red-flags)
4. If no pit bulls, I search their name on county court records

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.