|Dear Resident, We Are Not a Bank
One property manager was sharing with me that she has several past due residents, who were about to be evicted, were asking for more time to pay. They promised that a check (tax refund, payroll check, etc.) will be coming in the next week or so. The manager wanted advice on how to respond. I suggested that she memorize the following words, and be ready to state them in a very business like, “wish-I-could-help-you” manner:
Tenant Screening Tip Using Pennies
So I know we’ve all run into the scenario of finding loose change when tenants move out of our units. What I find interesting is it seems that the amount of money I find is in direct correlation with the amount of damage that the tenant caused. The more money I find, the more damages there are. So now it’s a habit to scan the unit right after move out to see how much I might be spending on repairs. I always make it a point to pick up any loose change and put it in my piggy bank to use for vacation money.
On my last move out, I picked up all loose change on the inside of the house but on the sidewalk outside there were two pennies laying on the ground in very plain view. I thought I would try an experiment and leave them there to see if the neighbor next door (the house is a duplex) would pick up the pennies. Now this tenant is always struggling with paying rent on time and the house is not kept all that clean. After two weeks, the pennies were still there. Not surprised.
I started showing the unit a couple months ago and thought I would leave the pennies there to see if any prospective tenants would see the pennies and pick them up or leave them. As I was waiting for the first prospective tenant to show, I was watching her as she walked up the sidewalk. She spotted those pennies right away and excitedly told her friend that she found two pennies and picked them up and put them in her pocket. Needless to say I rented to her. I was just in her place a week ago and everything is spotlessly clean and organized. How interesting!
Are You Disclosing to Residents If There Are Shared Utilities?
Oftentimes, I run into landlords who think it’s really no big deal if a very small part of the utilities that a resident is paying for is actually for something that benefits more than just the one resident (i.e. electric bill that covers a utility room, shared porch light or even an additional small apartment).
One landlord shared that in his area there are shared meter laws and that the landlord needs to show compensation for any utilities paid by the tenant outside their rental unit.
Top Ten Landlording Tips
1. Once you buy, the most important step is tenant selection so SCREEN well. [Use AOA’s low-cost, thorough screening services!]
2. Make your properties mechanically sound before renting.
3. Inspect units every six months.
4. You get what you allow. If you allow your tenants to pay late without consequences, they will take full advantage.
5. Document everything.
6. Don’t take landlording advice from people who are not (happy, wealthy) landlords.
7. Know the landlord-tenant laws for your state. [AOA sells California’s Landlord Law Book at a discount to members! Buy one today!]\
8. Plan ahead. Cover all the “what ifs” you possibly can BEFORE they happen.
9. Keep some reserves on hand.
10. Join your local landlord association – [AOA] – (or renew your membership).
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, [email protected]. 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.