It is one of AOA’s goals to support you in making your business of providing housing for others more profitable, easier and more enjoyable! We also aim to provide information from which you will discover at least one idea that will help you make and/or keep more money than ever before.
Our commitment to you is to assist you in becoming as successful as possible in all that you do!
Below are a few of the most common questions and hints to help your business of landlording.
___ Did you know that a Federal Fair Housing law requires every property with four or more units to have a Federal Fair Housing poster displayed in a conspicuous location on the property? It can be in the rental office or some place that is visible to residents and prospective tenants when they apply. To be in compliance with this law, the poster must be a minimum of 11 inches by 14 inches.
___ Do you use the “two people per bedroom PLUS ONE” rule for your vacancies? National groups are now filing discrimination suits against owners who are restricting occupancy using only “two people per bedroom” as a rule. HUD ruled that families with small children should be accommodated, so if you haven’t adopted the PLUS ONE rule, do so immediately. It could save you lawsuits and/or fines.
___ As you are allowed to deny applicants with recent, serious criminal history, you must immediately stop:
- Denying all people with criminal history
- Denying people with just one charge or arrest
- Having time periods longer than 7 years for most types of crimes, and even shorter for some
You should also accommodate requests to “ignore” minor criminal acts like drug possession or non-violent felonies for applicants who have completed a treatment program. There should be an appeal process for anyone who contests denial and wants an opportunity to explain the mitigating circumstances. When faced with this, please seek legal advice.
___ If your building is under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles rent control, you must also post the L.A. Rent Control Notice to Tenants which can be found on www.aoausa.com (alphabetical list of forms)
___ Have you created your written Criteria Qualification List to hand out to applicants along with your application? Get an application and apply your list to each applicant 18 years or older to avoid discrimination lawsuits. (sample copy on www.aoausa.com’s alphabetical list of forms.)
___ Do you make sure an application is filled out completely AND signed? You may not run credit/eviction reports without your applicant’s signature.
___ Do you always, as required by law, give your prospective tenant a written receipt for screening fees when received? The 2016 maximum you can charge for screening fees is $46.67, but you should only charge your out-of-pocket costs. (AOA form 147)
___ Did you know it is against the Fair Credit Reporting Act to discuss results of a credit report with rejected applicants?
___ Do you send the required Tenant Rejection Notice (adverse action) in writing? Does that notice have the proper, required language? (AOA form 140)
___ Have you used (seen?) AOA’s Applicant Screening Package? (Form 100S)
___ Do you completely fill out the Move-In / Move-Out Checklist (AOA form 131) in the presence of your new tenant BEFORE they move in? Did they sign it?
___ Do you take photos of the move-in condition?
___ Do you make it a rule to never make exceptions and give keys to prospective tenants before the rental agreement is signed and full monies received? (AOA 101-Series)
___ Did you know that in buildings built before 1978 – all new residents must receive the EPA Lead Base Paint Booklet when signing a new lease? (available on www.aoausa.com)
___Are you aware that resident managers are considered employees and a recently passed law entitles them to sick days? Are you compensating them according to the law? (See Attorney Dale Alberstone’s column each January and throughout the year for updates.)
___ Do you have an updated, professionally drafted Resident Manager Agreement?
___ Did you know that a Comfort/Service Animal Agreement can be enforced? (AOA form 122) If you have a copy of an outdated Comfort/Service Animal Agreement that asks for an additional security deposit, destroy it immediately. You may not ask for a security deposit for comfort/service animals.
___ Are you aware that if rent is due on the 1st and not paid, and you have a grace period of three days for a late fee, that you should still serve a 3-Day or Move Out on the 2nd of the month – the day after rent was due? (AOA form 103 series)
___ When a tenant gives you a 30 day notice to vacate, you are required and MUST offer them a “pre-inspection” walk-through no sooner than two weeks before the actual move-out date. This gives your tenant a list of items that will be deducted from their security deposit if not corrected/repaired before move-out. Are you familiar with AB2330? (AOA form 135)
____The AB2330 Initial Move-out Inspection and Final Inspection should be noted in writing on AOA’s form 131 – the Move-In / Move-Out Inspection Checklist. You did perform the move-in walk-through, right?
____ Are you aware that it is the owner/manager’s responsibility to inspect and ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly functioning? Are you conducting regular unit inspections? (AOA form 139)
____ Are you familiar with all of AOA’s forms? They are designed to make your life as a landlord easier, from processing applications for move-in to sending the security deposit refund letter when a tenant vacates. (AOA form 133)
___ Are you getting the best and paying the least for your credit, eviction and background reports? AOA’s “4-Star” Tenant Screening Package is only $15.95 and you receive:
- TWO Nationwide Eviction Searches
- Choice Of Experian Or A Transunion Credit Report
- Instant Nationwide Criminal Search
- FICO Score
- ABC Credit Report Card
- Sex Offender Search
- America’s Most Wanted Search
- Terrorist Search
- Narcotics Traffickers Search
- Public Records
- Civil Judgments
- Social Security Verification On Credit
- Consumer Information
- Consumer Trade Lines
- Account Payment History
- Account Payment Obligation
- Account Credit Availability
____ Are you, as a member of AOA, set up to run these reports? If not call your nearest AOA Office and ask for the Compliance Department.
___ Did you know that AOA has a “Group Insurance Plan” that has saved money for many owners? Please call and see if we can save you money too!
If there is a topic you would like to see covered in the AOA magazine, please feel free to send your requests to [email protected] and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Patricia A. Harris is Senior Editor of the AOA News and Buyers Guide.