Landlord Inspections: The Do’s and Don’ts of Apartment Inspections

Maybe you’re suspicious one of your tenants is breaking the lease’s pet policy. Maybe you just haven’t checked in with them for a while.

If so, you may ask yourself: can a landlord do random inspections? Well, the answer isn’t an easy yes or no.

As a landlord, you can drive by, walk by, or bicycle by your property anytime. But you cannot walk into the property unannounced. We’re here to walk you through the do’s and don’ts of landlord inspections.

Legal Reasons to Inspect an Apartment

Apartment inspections need to be performed for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at those situations in which you can legally enter and inspect an apartment.

Maintenance and Repairs

Your tenant might ask you to service or repair something. Typically, landlords are only permitted to enter the premises during “reasonable hours.” That varies from state-to-state.

Any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is usually considered reasonable. Those hours are within normal business operating hours.

However, when a repair is specifically requested by the tenant, you can enter and perform the necessary service at any hour that is mutually agreed upon.

In a scenario where the tenant has not requested maintenance or repair, but you still need to perform it, give them 24-48 (dependent on state and local law) hours’ notice of your arrival. Additionally, make sure to come at a time that falls within the scope of “reasonable hours.”

Decorations, Alterations, or Improvements

Can landlords do random inspections to address the aesthetic? As a landlord, you have the right to make aesthetic changes as you see fit. This is different from maintenance or repairs. That’s because it’s not something that you need to do to maintain the unit’s habitability.

For example, you might want to repaint the front porch or install new light fixtures. In these cases, stick to the “reasonable hours” rule. Make sure to give your tenant proper notice.

Showings

You have the right to show the unit to prospective tenants. Again, be sure to notify your tenants in advance. This gives them the opportunity to ensure that they’re out of the apartment during showings or give the unit a good once-over, if necessary.

Keep in mind, with millions of Americans working from home due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to schedule a showing during the workday. If that’s the case, you’ll need to work with your tenants to schedule a time that works for them without disturbing their work. You could also “show” prospective tenants your available units via 3D apartment tours.

Lease Violations

Though you may have done your due diligence, there’s always the chance that you may have a tenant that is egregiously committing lease violations. Whether you suspect there’s an illegal subletter on the premises or that your tenant has willfully ignored your no-pet policy, you have a right to check it out.

As it goes for all instances in which you may want to enter the unit, give notice. If you find that your tenant is committing lease violations, you may need to serve a notice to quit.

Move-in/Move-Out

It’s essential for landlords to conduct move-out inspections to assess the damage, if any, that the last tenant is responsible for. Your findings will dictate how much of a tenant’s security deposit you’ll refund back to them.

Upon move-in, inspections enable landlords to confirm the condition of their unit. Then, they can make any necessary repairs before their new tenant officially moves in.

Extenuating Circumstances

While the previous reasons to perform an apartment inspection were very clear, there are also extenuating circumstances in which an inspection can be legally performed. These include:

Court Orders: If you’ve obtained a legal order granting you permission to inspect one of your units, then you can legally perform the inspection. Typically, the order may stipulate a specific date and time that you can perform the inspection.

Tenant Abandonment: Keep in mind that the requirements to be considered “abandonment of a property” are different state by state. If a unit has been abandoned, you’ll need to remove any remaining possessions. Be sure to document the abandonment.

Tenant Violation of Health/Safety Codes: Not only does this put the tenant and others at risk, but it can also lead to significant damage to your property in the form of a pest infestation.

In Case of an Emergency: For example, a fire, gas leak, water leak, burst pipes, or an extreme weather event that may threaten the safety of your tenant gives you license to make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

Do’s of Landlord Inspections:

Give Proper Notice of Any and All Inspections (24-48 hours)

Also keep in mind that, even after giving notice, you can only enter a tenant’s unit during “reasonable hours.” Typically, though this varies by state, a time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is considered to be within the scope of “reasonable hours.”

It’s even better to give even earlier notice than the recommended time frame. That’s the case especially in cases of routine inspections that you’ve scheduled in advance.

There are real legal consequences for failing to give notice. Those include arrest, fines, and legal action being taken against you.

Avoid this by giving written notice, leaving a note on the door or in the mailbox, or sending notice via email. Those methods are sufficient and serve as proof that you adhered to the law.

Schedule Property Inspections a Few Times Throughout the Lease Term

There’s no magic number for this. It’ll depend on the length of the lease (we recommend no more than quarterly for a year lease).

What’s the rationale behind scheduled, incremental inspections throughout the duration of a lease? Well, it ensures that maintenance and safety standards are up to date without being excessive.

Remember: Purpose, Professionalism, and Tenant Privacy

If you must enter a tenant’s home to perform an inspection, consider purpose, professionalism, and tenant privacy. State your purpose upon your arrival, give proper notice as a professional courtesy, and respect your tenant’s privacy by ensuring that you don’t overstep.

Document All Routine Inspections in the Lease Agreement

If you have a policy that allows for inspections over a set interval of time, then you need to document that in the lease agreement.

It’s imperative to discuss these provisions when you’re face-to-face with the tenant at signing. This way, everyone knows what to expect ahead of time. It’s much better than having tenants, who haven’t read through the lease, be caught off guard by your routine inspections.

Be Smart and Reasonable

Just because the law is on your side, doesn’t mean you should completely disregard the importance of a good tenant-landlord relationship. If you’re continuously notifying your tenant that you’ll be stopping by, it’s likely to frustrate your tenant over time. If you’d like to increase your rate of renewed leases, limit your inspections.

Don’ts of Landlord Inspections

Breach a Tenant’s Right to Quiet Enjoyment

The right to quiet enjoyment is legally protected. For tenants, this means that they can peacefully enjoy their homes, bar entry from landlords, and that the landlord is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. Entering the apartment without permission or not giving notice would breach this right.

Show Up Unexpectedly

Outside of an emergency or extenuating circumstance, you need to give tenants proper notice. If your state has a statute that describes a specific notice period that you must give to tenants before entering their homes, then you must always adhere to it.

Remember that a tenant may refuse entry to a landlord that has not given appropriate notification. Additionally, avoid requesting inspections outside of reasonable hours: typically, 9-5.

Ignore State and Local Law

Laws regarding apartment inspections vary in different states, so it’s imperative to be up-to-date with your knowledge of current inspection law. For example, Alabama requires a two-day notice. Connecticut requires reasonable notice. New York has no statue on a state level.

Give a Vague Notice

When you are letting your tenant know you’ll be coming by, stipulate a date and time. Don’t leave the “when” up in the air. Be sure to state your purpose for entering.

Are you coming by for a showing? Are you repairing something? Or is it a regular inspection? Fill your tenant in on the details for your upcoming visit.

Final Thoughts

As a landlord, you’re ultimately responsible for the upkeep and condition of your property, even when you’re renting it out. Though you’ve gone through the process of thoroughly screening all tenants, there’s always a chance that your tenants may not keep their apartment in top-notch condition. That’s where landlord inspections come in.

Whether your tenants don’t report a leak which ends up causing extensive damage or you simply want to perform a routine check-in, you have a legal right to inspect your property.

However, you must comply with the law when you do. Typically, this means giving proper notice and not entering a unit without permission from your current tenants, except in emergency circumstances.

Can landlords do random inspections? The answer is yes if you follow the above advice and adhere to local laws, your lease, and best practices.

10 Rental Property Red Flags You Should Never Ignore, Winston Rowe and Associates

These are problems are structural in nature. And by that, I’m not talking about the actual foundation of the building, but something that is relatively unalterable about the property. Some of these problems may be at least partially fixable at a reasonable price, such as the point on storage. Others are not, such as the location or floorplan. But these are not items you can simply and easily add to a repair list and make them go away.

With that in mind, let us begin our list:

1. The Proverbial War Zone

I wrote an article about how to analyze the crime risk for a potential deal that I would recommend reading to evaluate which areas are proverbial war zones. Furthermore, I wrote another article on why most investors (and all newbies) should avoid properties in D areas. The gist of it is that properties in such areas will usually cost more to maintain than the rent they bring in. And the risk is much higher, to boot.

Remember, square foot for square foot, a new roof or furnace will cost the same in D neighborhood as it does in an A neighborhood. If the rent is too low, it simply won’t cover the cost of such repairs. And add to this that crime is more common in these areas. It will take a long time at $500/month in rent to cover the cost of an A/C condenser that decides to grow legs and walk off. Tenants in these areas are also more likely to fall behind on their rent or do significant damage to a unit. While there are plenty of good tenants in rough areas, unless you specialize in these types of rentals, really rough areas should be a deal breaker.

2. Terrible Schools

Often, terrible schools go hand in hand with war zones, but not always. Some areas, particularly densely urban areas, have bad schools but some quality areas where most of the people who live there send their kids to private schools. While I personally find this dynamic to be tragic, there’s not much you can do about it as a real estate investor.

Bad schools is definitely more of a red flag than anything that would resemble a deal breaker. But after safety, the most important thing people look for when looking to rent a property (at least a family-sized property) is the quality of the school district. So keep this in mind. http://www.GreatSchools.org is a good place to go to evaluate any given school district.

3. Houses With Only One or Two Bedrooms

I hesitated to even include this because it is absolutely not a deal breaker. But it is worth noting that one and two-bedroom homes are not what any family is looking for, so with these types of houses, you will generally have a more transient clientele. Now, with some such houses, you can add a bedroom, which can be a great value-add. But with others, there simply isn’t the space. Small houses can be risky, and the tiny houses movement is too likely to be a fad to be worth investing in as rental property.

That being said, I have heard of one investor who specifically looks for one-bedroom homes and rents (mostly) to elderly people, and he does very well with it. For our part, we have plenty of two-bedroom houses, and they do just fine. But you definitely need to know what you are getting into with such homes.

4. Huge Units

A 3,000 square foot house does not often make for a great rental. Again, this is not an always proposition, though. But for the most part, the maintenance and turnover will be much higher on such large properties simply because of the sheer size of it. Furthermore, most people looking for such a house will be buyers, not renters.

We find our sweet spot to be around 800 to 1,500 square feet for houses.

5. Huge Lots and Rural Properties

I put these two together since they tend to go together. Now, a big lot is a good thing. But if you are looking at anything too large, especially over an acre, I would start to get nervous. For one thing, that’s a lot of yard maintenance to deal with upon turnover. Furthermore, most people don’t want to take care of such a large yard themselves, so you will turn off a good number of potential tenants. Or you may get a tenant who simply won’t take care of the yard, and then you will start getting letters from the city.

Rural properties are also difficult to manage since they will generally be far away from you. I’m not a fan of rural properties in general (although, for some, I’m sure it’s a very profitable niche). But my advice would be that if you want to invest in rural properties, they make for better flips than holds most of the time.

6. Any Sort of Environmental Problem

OK, another major disclaimer—this could be a goldmine for a savvy investor who will buy what others won’t. But if you have toxic waste dump or an underground leaking oil drum or the unit is going through meth abatement, unless this is your specialty, move on to the next one.

7. Tiny Bedrooms or Kitchen

There are some instances where you can fix a tiny bedroom or kitchen by removing a wall here and adding a wall there. But often, there’s no economically good way to do it. Some old houses are just designed in a way that makes me think the architects were on LSD—even though that drug hadn’t even been invented when those properties were built. I’ve seen massive and useless hallways connecting one tiny bedroom to another in a 1,200 square foot house with no conceivable way to add a third bedroom. It’s endlessly frustrating.

But it’s important to note that potential tenants do not decide on which property they are going to rent by plugging the amenities and specs into a spreadsheet and running a logarithmic, covariate algorithm that takes the least-squares regression of the hypotenuse to determine the best value. They make their decisions based on emotion and livability. Tiny bedrooms are a huge turnoff for anything other than the third bedroom, which is often used as an office, library, or nursery. A master bedroom is a huge plus, but the first and second bedroom need to be of decent size (at least 10 feet by 10 feet or something equivalent).

And they say that kitchens and bathrooms are what really sell houses. I think the kitchen is particularly important, and a tiny kitchen that cannot be expanded or opened up is a huge turnoff. Not necessarily a deal killer (remember, every property has some value), but it’s a big red flag.

8. Awkward Layouts

Can you only get to the bedroom from the kitchen? Is the only bathroom right next to the kitchen? Can you only access the garage from a bedroom? Is the only door to the backyard through a bedroom? Is the second bedroom only accessible from the first (which, I should note, means it’s not a bedroom)? Is the only access to the unit’s only bathroom through one of the bedrooms in a unit that has more than one bedroom?

Maybe you can fix these problems by moving a wall or whatnot. Maybe you can’t. If you can’t, that is a major problem that seriously affects the properties sale and rental value. And tenants, like homeowners, generally don’t like awkward properties.

Obviously, it doesn’t mean the property is worthless, but it is another major red flag.

9. No Storage

Say you have a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with no garage, basement, or bonus rooms. You need to note that the lack of storage is a big negative to potential tenants. Not a deal killer, of course, but a red flag nonetheless. The best remedy, we have found, is to add a shed in the backyard. Both Home Depot and Lowes sell such sheds at reasonable prices. But this is an imperfect solution at best. So be careful with a house that has no storage.

It’s safer to buy apartments with minimal or no storage, particularly with smaller units, as 1) the tenant doesn’t need a lawnmower or anything like that since they are not responsible for the lawn and 2) it’s less likely to be a family living there, so the person likely has a lot less stuff.

10. Local Governments That Hate You Simply Because You Exist

OK, that may be a bit of hyperbole. But it’s extremely important to know how landlord-friendly any municipality you intend to buy in is. Some cities require landlords to have annual property inspections, which are both expensive and arduous. Are you willing to put up with that? Other cities, particularly on the East Coast, have eviction laws that are so strict, it can take three months or even longer to evict a non-paying tenant. I’ve even heard of it taking as long as a year, especially if the tenant knows how to game the system.

For a rather extreme example, here’s how Global Property Guide describes the eviction process in the Netherlands:

“Landlords can only give notice in strictly defined cases, and it is extremely difficult for owners to evict tenants once they are established. Only the judiciary, and not the landlord, can terminate the contract, and only after the landlord has given notice of from three to six months. Where the contract is for a fixed period of time, he is restrained from giving notice except towards the end of that period.

“Limited arrears in payment of rent are in general insufficient grounds for a rescission of the contract; only an order for payment can be achieved. In the case of arrears of up to three months, rescission will be denied. Nuisances committed by tenants tend not to be a good basis for eviction; they tend to be denied by tenants, and the court procedure is costly.”

If there’s anyone from the Netherlands who would like to correct me on this point, I’m all ears. But for now, I’ll probably pass on investing there.

On the same note, HOAs can be similarly difficult and anti-landlord in some communities. We’ve all heard of the petty tyrants that have rises to power in some HOAs. Such properties are generally to be avoided.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, it’s once again critical to remember that there really is no such thing as a deal killer. After all, I for one would be willing to buy any property in the country if they paid me a billion dollars to do it. But there are major red flags that will kill most deals. When looking for rental properties, the above list are some of the big ones to watch out for.

Cash for Keys – Could it Work for You?

Cash for keys may soon be on the rise. It’s an idea that might appeal to many landlords who want to incentivize tenants to leave their rentals and avoid a drawn out eviction process.

Cash for keys, in concept, is a simple, straightforward process, legal in all 50 states. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an agreement, entered into voluntarily by a landlord and tenant, in which cash or other value is provided to the tenant as an incentive for them to hand over the keys and move out of the rental.

Some landlords are already engaged in cash-for-keys contracts. It’s perfectly legal to do so even while state and federal eviction moratoriums are in place, as long as it is done in a non-threatening, voluntary and non-coercive manner on the part of the landlord. To be safe, consultation with an attorney, or the MassLandlords Helpline, is recommended before initiating or entertaining any cash-for-keys proposals.

A renter may also suggest cash for keys independently, without any prompting from the landlord, which can result in a move-out agreement.

Cash-for-Keys Mortgage Foreclosures vs. Rental Evictions

Cash for keys gained popularity during the housing crisis in 2008. Real estate owners, who represented banks, offered cash to underwater and nonpaying homeowners by the millions in heavy hit communities, in Florida, Southern California and other regions. Offering the strapped homeowners cash to vacate their homes saved banks from going through the costly and time-consuming process of foreclosure.

Over the years, landlords have also begun using cash for keys as a way to entice nonpaying renters, for example, to leave their residences instead of filing eviction notices, spending months in housing courts, sitting on empty rentals and paying court and other costs. Some landlords have also used cash for keys to encourage paying tenants to leave a unit that they want to renovate or sell, or vacate for other reasons.

For the purposes of this article, we refer to cash for keys between landlords and tenants.

Now or Later

It’s important to note: cash for keys, while it may be the answer for some landlords, is not a panacea for those with problem tenants, for example, nor an arrangement to be entered into lightly.

Landlords embarking on cash-for-keys agreements now, while eviction moratoriums are in place and courts are not hearing most housing cases, will have no recourse in the event tenants don’t comply with the agreement. Make certain both parties are entering the contract in good faith, are well-informed of their rights, and of the contract’s stipulations.

In some cases, it might be in the interest of landlords to hire a mediator to work with both parties – landlord and tenant – to negotiate an amenable agreement that all will adhere to throughout the process. If you opt not to hire a mediator, make certain that tenants know their rights in a cash-for-keys agreement, to avoid them from backing out of a deal later when they’ve received advice from others.

Eviction Pileup

Potentially looming at the other end of the state and federal eviction moratoriums now in place is a significant number of evictions. This situation could be avoided if the state government were to take legislative action, such as that proposed by MassLandlords, to guarantee housing for the long term. But short of further legislation, the eviction backlog could become substantial.

Conditions may also be affected by pending bills, such as HD.4878, a bill in the state legislature, sponsored by Reps. Kevin Honan and Mike Connolly, that could effectively lead to rent cancellation for a large percentage of landlords.

Easy Math

Evictions are almost always expensive. The total bill for an eviction in Massachusetts can tally more than $5,000, considering lost rent, attorney, court and constable fees, repairs and cleaning costs. In the next couple years, that amount will likely increase as courts become backlogged and may delay summary hearings for months (i.e., more lost rent).

The math is simple in a lot of situations:

A) Wait months or more than a year for your eviction case to be litigated while a nonpaying tenant occupies your rental (and possibly degrades its condition), then forfeit thousands of dollars in court costs, lost rent and attorney fees?

Or B) Offer your tenant a few thousand dollars to move out peacefully and quickly? The savings between cash for keys and an eviction can range from the low thousands to five figures in some outlying cases, even considering attorney consulting fees.

Meanwhile, you could have your rental reoccupied with a paying tenant within a month or two. Not to mention all the headaches you could avoid.

A Tough Pill to Swallow

 For some landlords, paying cash to a nonpaying tenant who owes thousands of dollars in back rent and may have damaged your property is anathema. Like rubbing salt in a wound.

But providing housing is a business, first and foremost. And while it may be emotionally difficult to hand over a pile of cash to a tenant who has given you headaches since the day they moved in, it may be the wisest business decision.

Some landlords also question the ethics of a cash-for-keys agreement. They argue that the practice could have the long-term effect of increasing squatting and rent delinquency by encouraging bad players to force landlords to hand them cash just in order to get them out of their property and avoid legal fees and headaches.

That scenario is possible in a few situations. But in the wake of coronavirus, the overwhelming percentage of delinquent renters will be the result of the pandemic response and economic downturn. There has always existed a fraction of squatters and intentional nonpayers gaming the system. It’s impossible to say how much that fraction could increase because word spread that cash for keys is a way to extort some cash from landlords.

Creative Solutions

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and response, once eviction moratoriums have been lifted, many landlords will be positioned to serve eviction notices as soon as they can to their delinquent tenants. In many cases – especially for tenants who have not suffered a loss of income but instead have taken advantage of the eviction moratorium to get free housing – eviction might be the logical course.

But for many other tenants – such as those who stopped paying rent because they lost jobs and income during coronavirus and response – landlords might consider alternatives to eviction, especially for good tenants who have regained employment and resumed rent payment.

Alternatives might include working with tenants to come to a compromise that will extend the tenancy for the long term while forfeiting some back rent. You could renegotiate back rent payments, for example, or restructure payments with some owed funds added in. Partial rent forgiveness might also be a prudent solution if it saves the arduous process of eviction.

But if you decide as a landlord that the relationship with your tenant is untenable, then cash for keys may be the better alternative.

How to Offer Cash for Keys

The process can be simple, but it depends on a few specifics. At its simplest, cash for keys is a transaction directly between landlord and tenant. No courts, constables or intermediaries needed.

(When court-enforced evictions are possible, however, cash-for-keys agreements may be entered into the court record. This action would give you a back-up plan in case your tenant doesn’t comply with the agreement.)

As stated above, hiring an attorney or mediator, or consulting the MassLandlords Helpline, might be a prudent step, at least to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises, and to provide additional assistance in case the court becomes involved.

As much as possible, try to keep emotion out of your cash-for-keys communications. It’s a business transaction, and in most cases will be a win-win solution (i.e., the least bad outcome) for landlord and tenant. Focus on the benefits.

Step 1: Draft a plan

Jot some parameters on paper, or use the MassLandlords Agreement to End Tenancy form to outline a proposal. Include a proposed amount to offer your tenant to incentivize a quick move-out. Decide on an amount to offer beforehand (see below).

This step offers an opportunity to be creative and flexible within the agreement. For example, you could offer, as part of the payment, to cover moving costs for your renter. Or maybe your cash-for-keys offer doesn’t involve actual payment at all, rather you could offer to forgive all the back rent owed in exchange for a voluntary move-out.

You might consider two or three offers that correspond with faster move-out schedules. If you want your tenant to move out sooner than later, you’ll likely need to offer a higher amount of cash.

This is an abstract that could be shared with an attorney for those who work with one, as recommended.

Step 2: Initiate a conversation with your tenant, either in person or via phone

Present your case and proposal evenly and clearly, as you would with a business proposition. There is no need to mention eviction during this conversation, especially if your intent is just to empty the rental for renovation or sale.

Outline the cash-for-keys concept, emphasizing the benefits to your tenant (i.e., cash in hand, no eviction record to hamper future efforts to find rental housing, etc.).

Your tenant might try to negotiate or counter-offer. Keep negotiation to a minimum. If an extortionist tenant suspects that you are vulnerable or willing to pay more to get rid of them they may take you to the cleaners. Choose a fair amount to open with and try to stick close to that figure.

Assuming your tenant agrees to a cash-for-keys settlement, spell out the agreement with your tenant, or share the MassLandlords Agreement to End Tenancy, a brief and convenient form that provides fields for the essential information and signatures.

Include the amount (or services) you will pay renters to move out. Include the date and time they agree to be vacated from the apartment – meaning all possessions are removed from the unit and any common areas, keys have been delivered to the landlord or agent, and the unit has been left “broom clean.”

Both you and your tenant must sign two copies in duplicate so you each have a signed record of the contract.

Step 2a: Escrow the money

 Whether or not you hire an attorney or mediator to assist with your cash-for-keys process, we recommend that you set aside the agreed cash amount for payment upon contract completion. To keep it simple, landlords could place the cash amount in a separate account and pay it out to complete the contract. You could also have your attorney or mediator escrow the cash and oversee the payment at your direction.

This is a step that removes emotion from the payment process, which can be a difficult step for some landlords. It also assures that tenants, who have voluntarily moved out as part of the cash-for-keys agreement, won’t have to wait for payment or chase the landlord to receive the cash owed them.

Step 3: Complete the contract

The cash-for-keys contract is completed when the rental is vacated at or before the agreed upon time and date, satisfactorily cleaned, and keys are in your hand.

Do not hand over any payment or order release of escrowed funds until those conditions are met. If your tenant has not met those conditions by the designated time (i.e., they are still moving out or cleaning beyond the time you both agreed), you have the option of considering the contract void.

Once you have the keys, the unit is in your possession, you have inspected the apartment to your satisfaction and paid your tenant the amount you agreed to, the contract is completed.

How Much to Pay?

First, as a comparative exercise, calculate how much you project an eviction would cost you. You will need to build in more months than usual of lost rent because of the backlog of cases after the eviction moratorium is lifted. For example, if your eviction is delayed six months or more due to the backlog of cases, your costs will increase substantially.

Also think about how much an eviction would cost in normal times, with little or no court backlog. One rule of thumb is to halve that amount as a cash-for-keys offer.

Consider rents and move-in costs for similar apartments in your community. Would $2,700 cover first and last month’s rents plus security deposit? If so, that may be your starting figure, and could present a strong incentive for your renter to leave.

In early conversations, ascertain your renters’ needs. Could they be out in a week, or will they need longer? Would a higher cash offer incentivize an earlier departure?

You could consider a tiered offer with one amount for a 60-day move-out, another offer for a 30-day move-out, or a higher amount to move out in a couple weeks or less. Keep the conversation going over several days or weeks to allow both parties time to consider and address underlying concerns.

Contract Complete

On move-out day, once you’ve been handed the keys to the apartment and inspected it, have your tenant sign a final clause saying they have received the cash payment. If the payment was escrowed and distributed by the bank, be sure to get a record of that payment.

Before handing over or releasing the cash payment, be very sure to conduct that final inspection.

As a last step, it is recommended that you immediately change the locks, as usual with an apartment transition. Having the keys handed to you from the tenant doesn’t mean they didn’t at some point have copies made.

Thousands Saved

Cash for keys isn’t for everyone in every situation. It needs to be approached thoughtfully and thoroughly with all bases covered from a legal standpoint.

If you find yourself lamenting the pile of cash you just handed over to an undeserving tenant in exchange for keys to your property, consider revisiting your calculated eviction costs.

Focus on the potential thousands of dollars you just saved, and your freedom to now locate a better tenant.

6 Tips for Setting Rents, Winston Rowe and Associates

If your rent is set too high, the property can sit on the market and you will miss out on monthly rental income.  And if the rent is set lower than the competition, simply put, you will leave money on the table.

Whether you own or manage one rental property or hundreds of rentals across the country, you need to be able to set fair market rents confidently.

As we know, rents vary greatly from market to market, but can even differ from one street to the next within a single neighborhood.  Obviously, numerous variables impact the rent you can charge for your rental unit, including location, type of building (duplex, apartment building, etc.), size/square feet, age of unit, number of beds/baths, and amenities (i.e. parking, AC, pool, roof deck, and so on.)

Don’t be fooled that any one rent comp, property manager, or local real estate agent can tell you the perfect fair market rent for your property.  We recommend that you tap into a handful of resources to help you set rents confidently.

1. Find some rent comps to give you a starting point

Check local apartment listings using the local newspaper, online apartment guides, or websites like Craigslist and Rentometer to get a feel for the “going rents.”  Rentometer can give you historical rent trends for the area and a good starting-point rent.  You can further refine the rent from there by using some of the suggestions listed below.

2. Stay up to date on the economic and business activity in the local market

Is it thriving? Are stores closing down?  Economic activity is one of the key drivers of rental housing demand and it can affect the rental market in unique ways. For example the current economy in Boston, Mass., is hot! Rental housing is in high demand, leading many renters to forgo amenities and perks in favor of securing a lease. This means that landlords can afford to make fewer concessions when negotiating.

3. Check occupancy rates for your area

Are the occupancy rates trending upward? Good! The stronger the desirability of a rental, or neighborhood, typically the higher the occupancy rate – and higher market rent. It’s a question of supply and demand.  Factors that can affect occupancy rates include local millennial population, employment trends, housing supply, and new construction growth, rent prices, and the location and  condition of the rental property.

4. Chat with a local real-estate professional

Talk with an industry professional about their take on the market or a specific neighborhood. Local experts (property managers, brokers, agents, appraisers, and lenders) are especially good at identifying the drivers of housing supply and demand unique to your market – jobs, local ordinances, building permits, zoning for a new apartment building, etc.

5. Use “rent per square foot”

Whenever possible use square footage as a benchmark for searching rent comps. This allows you to encapsulate into a single number all the subjective variables of rent, and provides you with a basis for comparison across different units, locations, amenities, and so forth.

6. Check your local apartment or rental-housing association

These are great resources for research. They may provide information about local rent levels – past, present, and future. This is especially important for real-estate investors and developers.

Making sure your property is renting at (or close to) fair market rent is as much of an art as it is a science.  However, with the 6 tips for setting rents along with good current and historical rental data and a thorough understanding of the local market and market conditions, you can set rents with confidence!

What is Rent to Income Ratio and How to Calculate It, Winston Rowe and Associates

The Importance of Rent to Income Ratio

A rent to income ratio determines the monthly or annual gross income a tenant must earn to be able to afford rent each month. This ratio is a useful and simple tool that helps tenants as well as landlords enter into a smooth rental agreement.

Using an income to rent calculator, landlords can analyze the ability of tenants to pay rent each month. As a result, it simplifies the process of tenant screening and shortlisting applicants.

Calculating Rent to Income Ratio

Here are two commonly used ways to calculate this ratio:

Calculate net income against a fixed rent percentage

This will help you determine the maximum amount you can afford to pay in rent each month. The industry standard is 30% of your income. In other words, no more than 30% of your annual income should go toward housing costs.

Its mathematical representation looks like this:

(Net earnings per year / 12) X 0.3 = Maximum monthly rental income

For example, suppose an applicant earns $150,000 per year. The income to rent ratio will be:

(150,000/12) X 0.3 = $3,750

Now, if the rental site asks for $4,000 per month, the applicant would fail to meet this condition. This is because their maximum monthly rental income does not reach the required limit. Therefore, the landlord might not find the candidate eligible for renting.

Use a ratio multiplier

Another method to calculate the rent to income ratio is to multiply the monthly rent value with a ratio multiplier. In this method, the standard multiplier is 3. This means that the applicant should make at least three times their gross monthly income to cover rental expenses. The math would look like this:

Monthly Rent X 3 = Minimum monthly rental income

Let’s consider an example to better understand. Suppose you are interested in renting an apartment that asks for $3,000 per month. Three times this rent amount becomes $9,000. This means you must gross a minimum of $9,000 per month in income to be eligible for consideration.

Pros & Cons of Rent to Income Calculations

Each month, a tenant’s paycheck likely goes toward many different bills and obligations. By gaining an understanding on how much monthly income is remaining, you’ll get a better idea of the ability to pay.

When landlords are recruiting good tenants, the rent to income ratio plays a very important role. It is the primary way to determine income requirements to rent properties based on monthly or annual earnings. This helps ensure that the tenant is able to afford rent each month.

As a landlord, you might not want to invest your time on ineligible tenants for your property. Calculating the gross income to rent ratio is an important step toward securing the right people for your rentals. Rather than going through the hassle of the screening process, use the rent-to-income ratio as your simple criteria instead.

However, ideal rent to salary ratio situations are not always as favorable as they sound. We know a lot of people aren’t that consistent in paying rents. Whereas, applicants who may not satisfy the income to rent ratio could be more responsible when it comes to paying rent on time.

Plus, some complexes make their income to rent apartment policies 3:1 . This might look like a lucrative option but in actuality, it prompts to a significant decline. Some tenants demonstrate a consistent ability to pay rent while others, with higher rent to income ratio, fail to provide steady deposits.

On the other hand, the 30% rule is a popular guideline for determining what percentage of income should go to rent. However, there are two big flaws associated with this rule. First, it doesn’t account for inflation and rising rental prices. Although rent prices are climbing more rapidly in some areas than others, average wage growth has been relatively flat since 2007. So, while rental rates are climbing, incomes aren’t necessarily keeping pace.

The second problem with the 30% rule is that it’s not personalized to your situation. It doesn’t take into account, for instance, how much student loan or credit card debt you might be paying off. Moreover, it also does not consider how much money you’re earning, your financial goals, or the condition of the real estate market where you are planning to rent.

Alternative ways to calculate rent to income ratio

As a rule of thumb, your income should be 40 times your rent, which is basically the same as 30% of your total salary. Almost every rent to income ratio calculator you find online uses this alternative way to calculate the ratio.

For example, suppose your income is $100,000 per year, the amount of rent you can afford each month can easily be evaluated as 30% of your total income divided by 12.

The math will look like this:

(0.3 * 100,000) / 12 = $2,500

Alternatively, you can divide the net amount by simply 40.

( 100,000 / 40) = $2,500

How Landlords Can Protect Themselves?

Calculating rent to income ratio might seem quite effortless and manageable, but it might partly hold a deficit for the landlord. Why? Because the landlord is not able to acknowledge the total worth of the tenant because of unspecified sources of income. The potential tenant may seem to have other financial obligations like loan percentage, fixed rate for insurance, and indemnification.

Even after thorough screening, some people may delude and provide false income documentation. In any case mentioned above, the landlord is fully granted the right to access all additional financial information of an applicant. Tenants should likely provide all credit card details with a proper financial report.

Before letting in a tenant, make sure that all the certified funds, cashiers’ checks, money orders, and records of all previous taxes of a year are officially provided. Even if your tenant qualifies as per the 30% rule, they may be overburdened with extra expenditures. In such cases, landlords need to assure ways to protect themselves.

Here’s how landlords can protect themselves:

Set up recurring rent payments

Auto-pay services provide a convenient method of direct deposit with rent deduction on a specified date. It also provides more assurance of getting paid on-time each month if payments are set up to recur.

Request a large deposit as a backup provision from any uncertainty or loss

A larger security deposit offers greater security because it can cover the landlord’s losses in case of damages or missed rent. Also, introduce several methods of rent payment. Get rent default insurance coverage to keep your income stable and regular.

Specify a co-signer on the lease

The co-signer is responsible to pay the dues in case the primary leaseholder cannot. The landlord should vet the co-signer as thoroughly as the tenant.

Run a thorough background check

Check the tenant’s background and inquire about past rental history. Also, check what your tenant presents as evidence. Cross-check all the references provided. Verify and validate all means of income sources. Gather data regarding any individual or collective payments or transactions. Once the property is rented, conduct routine inspections to prevent huge problems.

Rent to income ratio can benefit the landlord and tenant in many ways. It can help with budget planning for tenants looking to comfortably afford their rent. Whereas, it can prevent landlords from having tenants who may have difficulties paying their rent.

However, when it comes to screening and shortlisting a tenant, the rent to income ratio may not reveal enough about the tenant, their level of responsibility, or honesty. Therefore, all landlords should be running tenant credit checks, in addition to, calculating rent to income ratios.

A Comprehensive Guide for Apartment Manager

Apartment Building Lending No Up Front Fees Winston Rowe and Associates

With growing sizes of building complexes, apartment management is becoming one of the most challenging jobs. As an apartment manager, you are not only responsible for maintaining the building but the owner and tenants as well.

The main task of an apartment manager is to improve the client-tenant living experience. They need to reduce costs and increase profit whenever possible.

Many property managers often face many challenges when trying to manage rental property. It’s essential that the management of a property run smoothly just like any other business.

If you are an apartment manager or owner struggling to do your job, these quick tips will guide you through managing an apartment efficiently. So let’s begin then.

Important Points to Consider for Apartment Manager

1. Following the Housing Laws and Policies

2. Securing Your Property

3. Making the Apartment Desirable

4. Selecting the Right Tenant

5. Maintaining and Upkeeping the Society

6. Resolving Resident Complaints Immediately

Important Points to Consider for Apartment Manager

1. Following the Housing Laws and Policies

Some specific laws and regulations govern the professionals responsible for managing properties. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations which needs to be strictly followed.

In recent years, there have been reported cases of property managers where their actions have resulted in the unauthorized practice of law. That’s why apartment managers should work closely with legal counsel. It will ensure that they don’t unintentionally violate the law.

Get in touch with the lawyers who are familiar with the housing field. They will guide you through relevant policies. Let them know about your intentions and what you plan to do with the property.

Furthermore, take advice on tax liabilities and potential credits related to renting properties.

We would suggest that meet two to three lawyers in the beginning. Talk to them about your renting plans and then,  decide with whom you can work for a long time.

Hiring a good lawyer will ensure that you always stay on the right side of the law.

2. Securing Your Property

Owning a residential rental property is a wise investment. But at the same time, it can be quite risky especially if you are new to this field. Without the right building insurance, you can face severe financial loss if something goes wrong.

The primary concern for any apartment manager or owner is the protection of the property from catastrophic events. Your apartment complex insurance should protect you against losses, damages, liability claims, and other issues.

Property insurance can seem complicated at first. But you can always take the help of your lawyer and insurance agent to guide you through.

Also, you should know that the insurance coverage and its cost vary. It depends on factors like the building’s location, type of construction, and more.

Some of the risks that apartment building managers/owners have to deal with:

    Liability for tenant, employee, and visitor injuries

    Theft or vandalism

    Advertising liability

    Fire, storms, and other catastrophic damage

    Invading the right to privacy

    Loss of rental income

    Discrimination lawsuit filed by disgruntled tenants

    Any allegations of fraud or misconduct by tenants

You can tailor the insurance policies to one’s need to address the risks as mentioned above.

3. Making the Apartment Desirable

You can’t ignore the fact that for each day your property stays vacant, you lose potential rental income. If you want to attract quality tenants, make your apartment as desirable as possible.

How do you do that? A few simple fixes to help you make your property desirable to prospective tenants.

    The first thing any tenant would look at is the exterior paint. If it is not at par, the tenant may not even want to come inside. A few ways how you can fix it:

        Add some quality landscaping to increase the property’s curb appeal

        Remove chipped paint and get a new coat of exterior paint

        Repair broken banisters and replace torn window screens

        Keep the compound clean. Remove trash, weeds, and debris

        Make sure the lawn and shrubbery are well-manicured

    If you want to charge a hefty amount in monthly rent, then, of course, you would have to go the extra mile. Provide luxuries that many tenants would be gladly willing to pay for. For instance, you can consider adding an in-house dryer, energy-efficient appliances and more.

These small tricks will help bring in the quality of applicants.

4. Selecting the Right Tenant

The next step in the apartment management process is selecting the right tenant.

Renting out apartments can be stress-free only if you have the right tenants. For that, you would need to advertise the vacancy to let people know about your rental space.

I. Advertise the Empty Space

Even in places with high housing demands, advertise your space stating all the facts and your requirements. This will help draw the right kind of applicants to your rental house.

The ad should contain information such as your contact number, details about your apartment, and what up are looking for. Some of the places where you can advertise it are:

    Post it on newspaper

    Display it on Internet classified sites

    Connect with a real estate broker

II. Screen Tenants

Of course, you are not allowed to discriminate your tenants based on caste, creed, race, sex, etc.

However, you should screen tenants before renting your apartment to anyone. Make sure that they are financially sound to pay your rent and do not have any criminal background.

Otherwise, unsystematic screening and tenant selection often result in some significant headaches. You might end up with a tenant who pays the rent late or not at all and poorly maintained the place.

Your screening criteria should be the same for all. It should include:

    Run a background check on each applicant to ensure that they won’t conduct any illegal activities in your apartment

    Obtain a credit report to see if they can afford your rent and will be able to pay your rent on time

    Ask for references from previous landlords or other personal references if any

III. Get it in Writing

Once you have chosen your tenant, make sure that you have a lease agreement in place. It should contain all the terms and conditions agreed by both the parties.

Having it in writing will protect both you and your tenants in case of any conflict in the future. The rental agreement helps create good relation by specifying things. It includes clauses like how and when you handle tenant complaints and repair problems, notice period if the tenant decides to leave, and more.

The lease agreement should contain the following information:

    The names and signatures of the tenant(s) and landlord

    The starting and ending dates that the property will be rented

    Rent costs and due dates

    Policies on security deposits and lease termination

    The tenant’s responsibility to maintain the unit and pay for damage caused by any neglect

    Strategy and procedure for dealing with tenant’s complaints and repair request

    Mention the restrictions if any on tenant alterations on their apartment without your permission

    Information on any environmental hazards present at the property

    Other optional policies as required

You can always find lease templates online or even talk to your lawyer about what information to put in one.

Furthermore, a written agreement helps in running the property smoothly and enhance resale value. Make sure that the tenants are aware of all the clauses included before signing the lease.

IV. Ask For Security Deposits

Security deposits are used to cover the expenses in the event of any damages or other faults with the apartments when a tenant moves out. To avoid any dispute over the security deposit when the tenant moves out, it’s better to inspect and document the condition of the unit before they move in.

Specific regulations are governing the policies regarding security deposits. With the help of a lawyer, establish a system of setting, collecting, holding, and returning security deposits.

Also, check with your state’s Landlord Tenant Act to know how long before you can return the deposit and/or a settlement statement.

5. Maintaining and Upkeeping the Society

At times it may become difficult for the apartment manager to choose between areas which need more focus than others. But thanks to the technological advancement, the apartment management software that comes to our rescue.

Using society software, you can streamline all operations and handle it from a single place. Following these five quick tips will help in a better apartment management system:

I. Automate Society Billing & Accounting

Financial issues are always a serious matter. When the apartment size keeps getting bigger, maintaining accounts can get too time-consuming and challenging at times.

The process of accounting and bookkeeping, penalty calculation, and income and expense tracking should be streamlined for smooth functioning. The best way to do that is to employ a society management software that automates your billing and collection efforts.

Some of the essential modules of tenant management include document depository, penalty calculation, maintenance charge payment, payment gateway, request for quotation, and more. It integrates with the current system in place without disrupting the whole operation.

II. Communicate With Your Tenants Effectively

As an apartment manager, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy relationship with all your tenants. For that, you need to find an effective way of communication.

The smart move would be to incorporate an apartment management software that offers communication tools. These tools can post notices and reach out to everyone. Furthermore, it assists in other activities like securely sharing pictures from community events, broadcasting essential messages, and maintaining functions calendar.

You can also create and publish articles on waste management guidelines, festival celebration forums, and more. It will help you create one active community with the ease of the housing software.

III. Manage Apartment Facilities and Staff Smartly

Again, you will often find complaints about how the apartment facilities are not well maintained.

You can save yourself some time by automating all your task such as asset tracking, inventory management, maintenance staff, and more. With the help of society management software, you can save yourself the pain of manually overlooking every activity.

Moreover, the software will also empower your tenants to book an apartment facility online. You can keep records of visitors for security purpose. These are a few of the many benefits a useful apartment management software has to offer.

Provide a superior experience to residents by managing all apartment facilities smartly.

IV. Skillfully Manage Society Data

One of the many benefits of using society maintenance software is that you can easily centralize all your data in one place.

You need to maintain a directory of residents, the number of flats in the apartments and more, to systematically reach out to them. Using maintenance software will save you a lot of time and help effectively manage the condo.

6. Resolving Resident Complaints Immediately

Resident complaints will always be an issue for apartment managers. It is therefore essential to have a system in place that will help resolve their problems immediately.

Having a central tracking of resident complaints or suggestions can be a good idea for efficient management. That’s why the whole process of filing complaints and the manager resolving the issue needs to be automated.

To immediately attend to the tenant’s problem, you can do the following:

    Use software that will help you track the complaints at various stages. It should also send alerts in case of unresolved complaints

    Give tenants a number where they can reach the management department 24/7, to handle any emergencies

    Always have a few handymen on standby who can repair your apartments when need be

It will help you manage the apartment much better and increase resident satisfaction. Thus, it will enhance their faith in the management committee.

Wrapping it up

Apartment management may seem like a daunting task at first. Especially when there are tenants who try to create menace in society.

Sometime you would also need to take legal actions when necessary. Some tenants do not pay rent on time or conduct illegal activities on the premises. Sometimes, they even cause damage to the property or violate the lease agreement. In such cases, talk with your lawyer and proceed in the right way.

Or you can take the help of a mediator to work with you and your tenant to reach out a settlement on the issue. Either way, make sure that other residents in society do not face any inconvenience.

5 Ways to Spot Fake Landlord References

One of the most crucial aspects in tenant screening is that of checking your prospective tenant’s landlord references, so here are 5 ways to spot fake landlord references.

Unfortunately, some tenants have been known to make up references or list friends or family members as previous landlords. There are even companies that hire themselves out to pose as landlords.

As a property manager, you are bound to receive landlord references day in and day out. Some are beautifully written testaments to the incredible nature of these individuals looking to rent, while others are simply fake, with bogus testimonials about the tenant.

5 ways to spot fake landlord references

No. 1 – Call the references yourself

For starters, on most landlord references, they will provide a phone number.

One of the first things you can do to tell if the reference is a fake is to call the number inquiring about a rental. If it is fake, the number either won’t work or will lead to a completely different person or place.

In rare instances, a fake number does lead to an individual, but they may seem to be either untruthful or not detailed in their answers.

No. 2 – Check up on the reference’s name

Go online and Google the reference’s name and look them up on social-media platforms.

Check to see if this person is tied to the potential tenant through tagged pictures and/or posts. If there is a lot of overlap in the people’s profiles, these individuals may have a personal relationship and not a tenant/landlord relationship.

No. 3- Look at tax records

The tax records for all property owners are in the public domain. All you have to do is look up the records for the address where the applicant claims to have lived.

The name on the tax record should match the name you’ve been given. Double-check that the property hasn’t been sold, but otherwise this is a great way to spot a fake.

No. 4 – Analyze a reference’s answers

It’s best to always fall back on your knowledge as a landlord and analyze the answers that the potentially fake landlord reference has given you.

If their answers are vague and don’t have details then it’s likely that they aren’t a real landlord and are instead a friend or family member of the person who is trying to rent from you.

No. 5 – Ask for advice from the reference

Landlords tend to have the same frustrations, interests, and problems.

It wouldn’t be at all unusual for you as a property manager to ask for some advice from another landlord while calling for a reference. Ask for their procedure for getting rid of a tenant who doesn’t pay, for instance.

A real landlord will have an actual answer, even if they’re not interested in spending much time on the phone with you. A fake, on the other hand, will likely have nothing specific to say. This can help you further determine whether the person on the other line is a real landlord, or someone just posing as such.

In conclusion

As a property manager, a significant part of your job involves filling properties with quality, long-term tenants. Including thorough reference verification as part of your tenant screening process, such as the strategies above, can help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you a few steps ahead of the game.

For Multifamily Commercial Real Estate Financing Contact Winston Rowe and Associates No Upfront Fee Commercial Loans

How to Find Tenants for Your Rental Property

How to Find Tenants for Your Rental Property

Methods to find tenants for your rental property vary depending on the sort of rental property you own and its location. For example, I’m in the single-family-home rental business in a so-called “flyover state.” Therefore, my process might not be the same as landlords in New York City or Los Angeles. While there’s really no national one-size-fits-all approach to finding tenants for your rental property, there are best practices, some of which are region specific, for marketing your rental.

Finding tenants on your own

Some people automatically contact a real estate agent to get their property rented. And you might need to do that as well, especially if your rental property is in NYC, where using a broker is the norm. But many times, you no longer need to rely on an agent to put your listing on the MLS: You can list your rental property yourself.

Zillow Rental Manager is top dog in this arena now. They currently charge $9.95 weekly to list your property with them. They also syndicate your listing to Trulia and HotPads. Another option is Cozy.co, where you can list for free.

Cozy syndicates to Realtor.com and Doorsteps.com. And there’s always Craigslist and social media as well. With all that at your disposal, you’ll probably get lots of eyes on your rental property, with no agent being involved.

Set the rent price

You need to know how much you plan to charge for your rental before you can list it. If you set your rent too high, you might have trouble finding a renter; too low and you lose potential income.

To help you determine what to charge, pretend you’re the one looking to rent. Perform an online search to see what rentals similar to yours in your geographic are going for. You can also use online tools, usually for a fee, that will perform a comparative market analysis to help you set the price. Note that a real estate agent can do this for you, so this would be a benefit of using one if you can’t determine what to charge.

How to advertise

Just because you can list on your own doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence. If you don’t advertise it correctly, your listing could be one that a prospective tenant would pass by. You not only want people to see your listing, but you also want them to respond to it.

The way to help make that happen is to have professional photos of the property. Yes, you can easily take some pictures of your property yourself and then upload them to the listing site, but professional photos usually look much better, meaning your rental will stand out. Attaching a professionally made video walkthrough is becoming more important to attract consumers as well, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should also write a description that points out the property’s best features, including its location and what’s nearby. Be careful not to oversell, because you don’t want people disappointed when they view the home in person. Just stick with the facts, pointing out the advantages. Read other descriptions to give you an idea.

Using a real estate agent

If you don’t have the time or inclination to find tenants on your own, set the rental price, market your property, and show your property, hiring a real estate agent could be a good idea.

A real estate agent can help with the following:

An agent could find a potential tenant for you through word of mouth, particularly if they are with a large brokerage. Agents tend to share this information with other agents at their office.

Real estate agents are pros when it comes to listing property for sale or rent. Your listing will probably look great if a real estate agent lists it.

Agents can take over the showing aspect of the process. Again, they are pros at pointing out the features of the rental property and the neighborhood.

As mentioned above, a real estate agent can probably set a reasonable price for your property by performing a comparative market analysis.

Agents who are Realtors have access to official state lease forms through their state chapter of National Association of Realtors. (Note that landlords can draw up their own lease or hire an attorney to draw one up. They don’t have to use the state-approved lease, but the lease needs to reflect the laws of the state.)

The trick to finding good tenants

There are three keys to finding a quality tenant: screening them by conducting a credit and background check, interviewing them in person or through video chat, and checking references.

There’s no shortage of screening services out there. Just search online for “tenant screening.” Most services will give you the following data:

  • Credit check
  • Credit report and/or credit score
  • Percentage of credit used
  • Total monthly payments
  • Total debt
  • Late accounts
  • How much time being late
  • Background check
  • Criminal history
  • Bankruptcies
  • Evictions
  • Sex offender status
  • Once you’ve reviewed this information, you should be able to make a decision as to whether an applicant will be considered or not.

If the applicant will be considered, you can then check references, particularly past and current employers and past landlords. If the applicant leaves a phone number for an employer, it’s usually a good idea to search online for the employer and call that number. There’s a chance you could be calling a friend of the applicant instead of the actual employer if you go by the phone number on the rental application.

If that step goes well, you can then ask follow-up questions. This is a good way to make a decision if you have more than one qualified applicant. You might want to know, for example, how long they think they’ll rent. An applicant who knows they’ll stay only for a short term might not be as good as one who plans to rent your place longer. You can ask any questions you like, but you must be mindful of Fair Housing Laws.

Be mindful of Fair Housing laws

When you ask tenants questions, you first must be familiar with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on these protected classes:

  • Race.
  • Color.
  • Religion.
  • Sex.
  • Familial status.
  • National origin.
  • Mental or physical disability.

You can ask questions, such as when they would like to move in, whether they can pay all your move-in costs (first month rent and security deposit, for example), whether they have pets, and why they wish to leave their current place.

You cannot ask about where there were born (national origin), whether they have a service animal (disability), how many children they have (familial status), whether they would like directions to the nearest church (religion), or anything else that could be interpreted as possibly being discriminatory against one of the seven protected classes.

Set criteria

Although it’s wise to have criteria to weed out a bad tenant: credit score over 630, income at least three times the rent, limited pets, etc., you might find you wish to waive some criteria based on the overall financial picture of the applicant.

For example, maybe the applicant had a short sale on their record that tanked their credit score, making it difficult for them to buy or rent anywhere. But they might have an excellent and established job that pays more than what you seek. You might disregard the credit score for this good tenant. That’s an advantage “mom-and-pop” landlords have over big, institutional leasing outfits, which tend to not be as flexible.

About using a property manager

A property management company can make your life as a landlord easier. A good property manager handles getting and screening tenants, collecting rent, drawing up a lease, being the point person when an emergency hits, handling move outs and/or evictions, and arranging for repairs and maintenance.

But the wrong property manager might not be worth the cost, especially if you find yourself managing the property manager. Fees vary based on the management company. You can figure spending about 10% of your rental income on property management.

If you live far from your rental property and/or manage many properties, you’ll likely benefit from using a property manager. But if you live close to your properties and you have the time and inclination, you can manage your properties yourself.

How about a property management tool?

If you want to manage your own properties, you might want to consider using a property management tool that would automate certain tasks like listing your property, collecting rent, and scheduling property maintenance. You can perform an online search for “property management tools” to find one that best suits your purposes.

Virtual tours and open houses

COVID-19 changed the showing game a bit. More people are becoming comfortable viewing a house online, but they’re wise to the fisheye lens photos that make the rooms look bigger than they are. If they’ll fill out an application without physically entering the property, applicants usually want to view a virtual walk-through. So make sure you include that with your listing.

Some people still, understandably, want to physically walk through the property, and open houses are an efficient way to accomplish this. But again, with COVID-19, this process has changed somewhat too. It’s wise to either stagger the times people show up in 15-minute increments or have people wait inside their cars until it’s their turn to view the property.

Embracing a Technology-Focused Apartment Building Marketing Strategy

Apartment Building Marketing Strategy

Mobile technology is becoming more in demand in multifamily housing, according to some of the latest survey data. And websites need to get right to the point or prospective renters will move on to the next community.

Property managers should pay attention when creating their apartment marketing strategy, or they’ll miss the boat when it comes to attracting and retaining renters.

Finding apartments online continues to grow

Also, more prospects are searching online to find apartments instead of driving by, and online leasing and renewals are gaining in popularity. Renters are expecting to leverage online community portals, too.

The number of apartment hunters who visit a community website before scheduling an appointment is up to 85 percent, 4 percent higher than last year. Renting online and renewals each earned higher rankings than in 2019.

Engaging apartment website content is a differentiator

Lively, engaging and immersive website content sets apartment companies in competitive markets When prospects visit an apartment website, they want to experience and capture the feel of the community inside and out before deciding on a visit.

Apartment marketing is most successful when it tells a story through photos, video content, 3D imagery and storybooks.

Property management companies need to think about the lifestyle they want to sell. It’s thinking about how to ensure you have good visuals of what the day-to-day life in that community would look like. In addition to that, it’s using the content you create to be able to really drive lead conversions.”

Consider that lifestyle when creating your marketing strategy. Is the community pet-friendly? What amenities are available? Use these areas and more to develop your content.

Web presence is likely leading to more renting without visiting

Effective websites are likely a reason why renting without visiting in person is more common. Eight years ago, only 4 percent of respondents said they signed a lease sight unseen. Today, that’s up to 14.4 percent.

Properties that want to generate more sight-unseen leasing should provide as much information as possible on the website.

It has to have everything they want to know. If you can make it a one-stop shop, you’re going to get people excited about renting.

But don’t overdo it. Online renters want a quick, simple experience. If prospects have to jump through too many hoops, if there are too many steps, screen after screen, they are going to click out. Think about how your websites are laid out. Simple and quick.

A big driver of website engagement is through call-outs when apartments are limited in number. Noting a floor plan is in limited supply is a winning strategy.

That is a huge trigger for people mostly because they are starting to see it more and more in other aspects of purchasing. But she warned be aware of fair housing laws when advertising limited availability.

Apartment leasing software can transform the leasing experience for your staff and prospects. Property management companies can take prospects from search to eSignature with RealPage Online Leasing, which streamlines and simplifies the experience of leasing apartments, saves your staff time processing paperwork, and frees up more time for customer service.

Community portals are extremely important for attracting and retaining renters

Also, residents rated portals as extremely important, a higher ranking than four years ago when they were only considered important. This can be a major attraction for renters, as ninety-eight percent said they would use a portal if it were offered by the community. It’s also a powerful way to engage renters, increasing their likelihood of staying in your properties.

It is extremely important for a community to have a portal. If anyone is thinking about it, you should spend the money. It’s about education and engagement, showing them how easy it is to set up an account, how easy it is to pay rent online.

It also makes it easy for property managers to automate communications, maximize retention and optimize operations.

7 Ways Renters Can Show Proof of Income Beyond the Standard Pay Stub

7 Ways Renters Can Show Proof of Income

Do you make enough money to rent this place? It’s a question any landlord will ask you, and it’s one of the things you must prove before being able to sign a lease on an apartment or house.

Landlords want to be sure that you have the financial means to consistently pay your rent on time and in full. So all applicants need to show proof of income – the amount of money they earn or receive from other sources.

While a standard pay stub is perhaps the most common method used to verify income, it’s not the only way. Here are options for showing proof:

1.For most landlords, an employment verification letter is a viable option to prove how much money you make.

Even if you have pay stubs, an employment verification letter can help verify income that isn’t reflected on those stubs, like tips received by service industry workers.

  1. Signed offer letter

If you’ve been offered a new job, providing documentation of your new employment can also serve as proof of income.

  1. W-2s, 1099s, and tax returns

In lieu of showing your pay stubs, a W-2 Wage and Tax Statement can also be used to verify income. Some people—like freelancers, contract workers, and entrepreneurs—receive a 1099-MISC form. A 1099 is also issued for interest and dividends, and government payments. These documents, with or without your tax returns, can be sufficient to prove income, depending on the landlord.

  1. Official statement/letter from a CPA or trust manager

A lot of people who are freelancers and receive paychecks from many sources If the tenant is self-employed, then a common method is to provide a CPA letter stating their business income last year and projected income this year.”

  1. Bank statements

When renters don’t have pay stubs, if they make consistent deposits over time, we can print off the bank statements to show they are making money to pay for the apartment

  1. College financial aid documents

College students who receive financial aid to pay for their living costs can use this information to confirm their financial history.

  1. Guarantor

It’s also possible to get the help of a guarantor to bolster your annual income. A guarantor essentially promises to pay your lease if, for any reason, you are unable to. A guarantor can be a relative or close friend, but must make a certain amount of money per year.

Landlords will typically require a guarantor to make at least 40 times the monthly rent, although Chadwick says some landlords require 80 times the monthly amount.

10 Things to Include in an Apartment Lease

10 Things to Include in an Apartment Lease

Developing a lease isn’t an easy task. It requires a lot of your time and energy, and even then, it’s possible you’ve forgotten some pivotal information. For that reason, it’s all the more important that you understand what details absolutely need to be outlined in your lease.

When it comes to renters, consider the fact that many are renting for the first time, and every detail truly needs to be spelled out for them. When you look at your lease that way, it’s imperative that you include all vital information. In order to help you get started when it comes to the more important details, here are ten things to include/outline in a lease.

  1. All Relevant Dates

Any time you draft a lease, it’s important to outline the relevant dates, all of them. This includes the move-in date(s), the move-out date(s), the length of time the lease is for and even the dates when you can resign your lease are (as well as the deadline). Also, though this is typically an item due at signing, you should always mention when the security deposit is due as well as how long it takes to process these payments to avoid any late fees etc.

Essentially, any information as far as dates that are pertinent to your renters go, they should be clearly outlined in a lease to avoid any confusion on their end as well as to have written proof that the renters were notified well in advance regarding all dates pertinent to the lease.

If there are any additional dates of note (i.e. dates when first month and last month of rent are due) make sure you clearly indicate those in your lease as well. Basically, if there’s a date they need to know about, those are items that you need to clearly outline in a lease.

  1. Subletting Information

Subletting an apartment is stressful for college students, but oftentimes extremely necessary. Most leases run from fall to fall, but students attend school from fall to summer in most circumstances. For this reason, they are left with the options to pay their lease and stay on campus, to pay their lease while returning home for the summer, or to sublet their apartment while they stay home for the summer.

Again, many students are renting for the first time, so it stands to reason they would also be subletting for the first time. Therefore, something essential to outline in a lease is any subletting information relevant to your renters. This includes, but is not limited to, who is liable for what, how those payments work, whether or not subletting is done through the main office or on their own, and if subletting is even an option available to them. (If your office doesn’t allow subletting, you may also want to include relevant information related to summer rent – i.e. what a student is supposed to do if they are returning home for the summer but still paying rent. Is there any upkeep that needs to be done in the apartment? If so, make sure they are aware of this information well in advance, otherwise, their plans may not work out with how your lease is outlined.)

For some, subletting rules are a deterrent from signing a lease; while you may lose out on the rent from that individual, it’s better than taking advantage of them by leaving out pertinent information that could have been outlined in a lease. So, make sure that all rules related to subletting are clearly stated to avoid any confusion and harm to your renters.

  1. Emergency Details

Nobody likes to think about it, but there are instances of emergencies. This could be, but isn’t limited to, fire, break-in, gas leaks, campus shooters, etc. There are so many variables here, but being prepared for any one of them is a good first step, whether or not an emergency actually presents itself.

If there are any details that a renter would need to know, such as a location to take shelter during a tornado siren or a protocol to follow if there is a break-in, make sure you outline this in your lease. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that anything will happen, but, as they say, better safe than sorry when it comes to the safety of you and your renters.

Also important is to include a number to call in case of emergency (i.e. gas leaks) and when it’s important to notify authorities. While it’s always a safe bet to alert the police or fire department, outlining this information can prevent unnecessary calls when there is an easier series of steps for your renters to take. Many renters are unfamiliar with such circumstances so, again, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Maintenance Details

It’s very likely your renters will need to reach out to maintenance at least once during their lease. For others, the outreach to maintenance may be more common. When you develop your lease, maintenance schedules and contact information are very important to outline in a lease. Whether you’re simply including the contact information for your maintenance people, the emergency contact information or a basic timeframe of expected response for maintenance requests, this is all relevant information that your renters should be equipped with from the start.

I recommend speaking with the maintenance department, determining the best course of action for working together and outlining those details in the lease. This provides students with a general idea of what to expect when something breaks or goes wrong in an apartment.

As a side note, you should also outline in your lease what move-in day looks like from a maintenance perspective. Typically, they are provided with a checklist and required to document any aspects of the apartment that aren’t working, so let them know what this looks like and what to document to avoid charges later on. It should also be mentioned that maintenance is typically busy this day, so requests are handled on a first come first serve basis (or in another manner if applicable.)

  1. Cleaning Specifications

Typically, before an individual move into their new apartment, there is a certain amount of cleaning that needs to be done. For many landlords, this work is outsourced and charged in the last month’s rent of the previous owners. However, in many cases, there are additional costs that aren’t specified in the lease and come as a surprise when they are deducted from the security deposit. Getting ahead of this confusion and clearly letting your renters know what costs for cleaning entail is in your best interest.

Repeat customers are big for business, so negatively impacting your current renters doesn’t make sense. For this reason, let them know what costs to expect when you outline in a lease what these costs would be.

Let them know the charges for paint, for additional cleaning, for damages etc. You don’t need to provide specifics on every item, but essentially give them an outline of what to expect should there be any damage to the apartment.

  1. Rent Details

Rent details are obviously essential to outline in a lease. This comes down to what your student is going to be paying monthly to live in their apartment. This also includes any additional costs they may not have considered in apartment hunting.

For example, if they plan to pay by credit card, is there an associated fee? Can they pay by check? Do they have to drop the check off at the leasing office every month, or can they mail it in? Can they pay cash? What happens when their rent is late? Is there a late fee? Is there a grace period? Does the fee increase after a certain number of days?

There are countless details to include here, and it’s all information that they will need to know, guaranteed. Think of all the questions you’ve gotten as a landlord and include their answers in your lease, as this is the best way to ensure you’ve included all the information they need.

  1. Additional Rules

Let’s be honest, there are always rules. Some are unspoken, but additional rules are something to definitely outline in a lease.

For instance, do you allow pets? If not, what happens when a family member visits with a pet? Are there any areas students aren’t allowed in an apartment complex? What are the repercussions? Is there a rule for having guests? Is there a length of time before they need to leave?

These are all rules that may not necessarily be understood without being clearly written out, so I recommend clearly defining them in your lease to avoid any questions when it comes time for reprimanding your renters.

  1. Additional Fees

Stating additional fees in your lease is imperative. Is there a charge for owning a pet? Is it a per-pet charge? Is there a laundry charge? What about charges for parking?

Any additional fees are imperative to outline in a lease. Basically, if there is an extra charge for something, you definitely need to state that in your lease. Additional costs should never be hidden – always state everything upfront, very clearly to avoid any problems when it comes to payment later on.

The more upfront you can be with your renters, the more likely they are to return or recommend your complex to another student. So, in other words, it’s in your best interest.

  1. On-Site Resources

Most apartment complexes have a variety of on-site resources that are available to their renters, but many renters aren’t aware of these resources. For this reason, it’s a good idea to mention the available resources to your renters and include them when you outline your lease.

For instance, if you have a fitness or recreation center, that’s something to outline in a lease. You should also include any laundry facilities, parking garages, cafeterias etc. that you have available to your renters.

Many students look for these on-site resources, and they are often large perks to signing a lease, so including these details is a great idea to show all available options to your student so they feel they are getting the most out of their lease.

  1. Office Availability

Last, but definitely not least, it’s important to provide your renters with your office availability. This might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about drafting a lease, but it’s definitely information you should outline in a lease.

Like it or not, there are going to be a large number of times in which your renters need to get a hold of you. Sometimes, it’s related to quick questions that can be answered on the phone, and other times, they need to come into the office to speak with one of your leasing agents about changes to their lease etc. No matter the circumstances, you should always list your office availability in a lease.

This includes your contact number (both the main office and individual contact information), perhaps a link to the website for an FAQ section, your office hours and any other emergency contact information not previously listed in your lease. It’s important that your renters always have someone they can contact, so the more information you provide in your lease to that end, the better off you are and the more comfortable they (and their parents) will feel.

While this is by no means the entirety of the information required in a lease, this is a good starting point as far as items to outline in a lease go.

Again, there will be plenty of information pertinent to your complex alone, and other information that you may need to leave out, but make sure you develop some form of outline to begin with to ensure you’re not missing any relevant information.

When it comes to including information to outline in a lease, more is always better, as you would much rather provide them with too much information than not enough. So, don’t be afraid of being wordy, it’s not going to do you any harm!

Use these items to outline in a lease in order to develop yours and good luck drafting your lease!

 

Property Management 101 The One Thing All Landlords Should Do

Management of Apartment Building Investments

Property managers and landlords often go above and beyond, taking care of tenants when unforeseen circumstances occur or needs must be met despite short timelines or budgets. Still, it is important for property managers to take in new ideas within their industry — including the increasing influence of social media and online review sites — as well as continuing the meet the everyday wants and needs of their tenants.

Maintaining and managing properties is often a challenging role. Landlords or managers may sometimes overlook a good practice, or plan to circle back to it later on, but never do so.

Make Regular Checks on Your Rentals

One of the biggest mistakes I see with rentals is not checking on them. We do quarterly checks on the properties. At the same time, we are doing the check, we change furnace filters, check batteries in the smoke detectors and CO alarms, and make sure there are no issues with plumbing leaks.

Screen Your Tenants Carefully

Landlords will spend thousands to repaint, recarpet and remodel — but sometimes they will not take the time to realize who they are renting to. Don’t skip the basics when evaluating a renter: rental application, past references and income/ability to pay, as well as credit and criminal backgrounds checks. Taking the time to screen renters will prove to be the best ROI in real estate investing.

Establish Open and Honest Communication

Property managers must communicate with their tenants to ensure a sense of community, maintain proper operations and keep tenants informed. Also, the building owner deserves to know the good, the bad and the ugly on a real-time basis in order to make business decisions. By expressing candor and providing honest feedback, property managers can ensure that all lines of communication are open

Ask Current Tenants for Referrals

Ask current tenants to help you find new tenants. Current tenants are likely to know potential new tenants. Tenants are likely to only recommend other people they’d like to be neighbors with, and you can build goodwill by offering tenants a referral credit for bringing in a new tenant

Keep Up with Maintenance, Including Cosmetic

Do preventative maintenance. The more a property is allowed to deteriorate, and the longer problems go unaddressed, the more it will cost in the long run to fix. If items are cosmetic and impact first impressions, not correcting can also increase vacancy cost and lower the rent you can get for the property.

Collect Demographic Data

If landlords and managers are not creating tenant profiles, they should be. Being able to tailor your operations and buildings to specific demographics will help with retention and new leases.

Keep in Touch with Your Tenants

Everyone wants attention, and that especially includes your tenants. You need to check in with them to see how everything is going and get any input on the property. Knowing that you care about them will have a huge impact. Surprise them with a lunch event or invite them to a fun event you are hosting (like a sporting event, concert or a few hours at a movie with their family).

Establish Benchmarks

Property owners should identify the true competitive set of their building and benchmark their operations to this set. Data is the key, and revenue and expenses must both be tracked. In this way owners can frame the operational performance of their properties as market conditions change and make decisions with hiring, firing or repositioning management teams.

Offer Reliable Service Across Properties

Based on my experience, the landlords that are most successful are the ones that operate the same way across each of their assets, therefore creating little confusion and expeditious service. The buildings are regularly maintained and cleaned, giving their tenants few reasons to have any concerns about where they house their business.

Treat Tenants with Respect

Landlords should always treat their tenants with respect, honesty and integrity. A bit of kindness goes a long way. When a tenant can feel that respect, our experience has been they treat the property with a higher level of ownership, taking better care of it and consistently paying rent on time.

Attract Renters with Quality Photographs

Landlords and property managers need to amp up their marketing efforts by using professional photography, which is more important than ever in the Instagram age, where people quickly judge listings on a purely visual basis. Great quality photographs are more likely to build renter interest quickly than using dark, unattractive and/or outdated photographs.

Solicit Positive Online Reviews

The biggest differentiator in success today is increasingly becoming online reviews. It is vital that everyone, from prospective tenant applicants to exiting renters, receive amazing service. Say what you do, and do what you say. Look for ways to go above and beyond those expectations. Then be extremely proactive about soliciting positive online reviews from every contact.

Stay on Top of Your Online Presence

Our most successful landlords and property managers stay on top of their online presence to manage their vacancy rate to below 1%. They make sure availability and pricing is up to date on their website and on the platforms, they syndicate to, while keeping track of and adjusting to changing rental trends and utilizing social media platforms to deliver their marketing to their target audience.

Top 5 Landlord Tips Winston Rowe and Associates

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Landlords come from all walks of life, and they can be pros or reluctant landlords who couldn’t sell their home. Whether you’re considering rental property investment, can’t sell and need to rent out your home and move, or you’re already a landlord, these five tips can help you sleep at night and keep a smile on your face on your way to the bank.

#1: The Right Rent

Take the time to study your area’s market rents and property types. Compare apples to apples, not apartments to single family homes. Call and ask about rents and features. Check the rental ads for promotions like free rent. A lot of this type of marketing may signal high vacancy rates. Be objective about your property’s features and location, and set a competitive rent rate. Being just 5% over market rates may still get you a tenant, but if it causes too much turnover you’ll lose that and more in lost rent between tenants.

#2: Be Legal

We don’t live in a simple world anymore, and landlord-tenant laws can be pretty complicated in many states. Even if you must get some legal advice from a real estate attorney, be sure that you’re using legal application and lease forms. They should be legal, but there will be room to draft them to favor your interests and protect your investment.

Misunderstandings cause a great deal of landlord-tenant stress, and using clearly worded and comprehensive leases can go a long way toward eliminating problems. When rent is due, what constitutes poor tenant behavior, and explaining the difference between “wear and tear” and damages are all important for a good relationship. It’s every bit as important for you to abide by the rules as it is for the tenant. If you legally must give notice before entry into the unit, do it the right way and with the right timing. When you don’t follow the lease, tenants don’t feel obligated to do so either.

#3: Screen, Screen … and Interview

Once that lease is signed, if you let the wrong tenant into your property it can be an expensive and painful process to get them out. You want to check their credit history, rental history, job and landlord references, and even do a criminal background check in most cases. Letting a previously convicted drug dealer into your property can create some major problems for you if they lapse into old habits. There are services that pull together these background and reference tasks, and you can find them online with a search, or there may be local companies.

Think back to the previous tip and be legal. Don’t ask for information you aren’t legally allowed to gather, or don’t ask questions that cross the line when it comes to anti-discrimination laws. This is another area where you may want some legal advice and a script for your interviews so you stay on the right side of the law. That said, if your gut is telling you that there’s something not quite right about a prospective tenant, especially in the interview, then you should reject them for any legal reason.

#4: Maintain for Comfort and Safety

The best way to avoid late night “no heat” calls is to have regular maintenance performed on heating and cooling systems. Maintain all of the equipment in your rental and you’ll have a happier tenant and fewer emergency repair visits. For safety, do regular checks of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, even changing the batteries at your expense. On a side note, this is a great way to get access every three to four months to inspect for damage or problems when you’re doing a courtesy safety battery change.

#5: Make it a Home

Be nice to your tenants. Send them surveys or call them now and then to see if they’re happy or experiencing even minor problems. Be proactive and address their concerns. Whenever you can add a feature or amenity at reasonable cost, do that. When the end of their lease rolls around, you have two possible situations:

1. They give notice and move on to another rental, or
2. They make a rent concession necessary to keep them, or
3. They’re happy, and want to stay, even if you must do a minor rent increase.

The first two cost you money in lost rent and possibly rehab between tenants. The last one takes almost none of your time and keeps the cash flowing.

There are a lot of details involved in these five tips, but keeping them top-of-mind in all of your landlord activities will keep you in a better mood and add to your bank balance.

Tip’s For Dealing With Delinquent Tenants By Winston Rowe & Associates

Tip’s For Dealing With Delinquent Tenants By Winston Rowe & Associates

If it happens to you, time is of the essence, and it’s important to have a well-conceived plan already laid out.

Prevention

Adopt policies that make it easy to pay rent on time, and difficult to pay late. For example, accepting electronic payments, credit cards, or direct deposit make it easy to pay on time.

Stress the importance of on-time rent payments at leasing.

Send out an invoice with return envelope enclosed.

Make sure the rent due date is realistic (i.e. it coincides with when they receive their paychecks).

Diplomat or Enabler

Evictions are expensive and time-consuming. So is finding a new tenant. From this perspective, it is tempting to try to work something out with your delinquent tenant. Occasionally you’ll have a tenant who has genuinely experienced a temporary financial hardship, one that is resolvable, and it can be in your best interest to help them through their rough patch.

But here’s the hard reality: The majority of late paying tenants will do it again. Not paying rent is a big deal, and it’s in your best interest to make the tenant understand that.

Accepting payments late with no consequences, or accepting partial payments not only encourage late payers, but it can compromise your rights to re-take the property. The longer you allow a late payer to string it out, the more you risk becoming an enabler.

Be Prepared for Battle

Even though it may be in your best interest to help ethical tenants through a rough patch, experience dictates that if your tenant launches a habit of late pays, it will get worse with time. There is always the chance that your tenant is stringing you along intentionally, trying to live rent-free while they save money or search for another place to live. You need to know what your legal options are and be ready to take action.

Collect Your Due

Once a tenant account goes seriously delinquent, your likelihood of successfully collecting the debt drops precipitously. Therefore, it is crucial to aggressively pursue the debt with all means at your disposal. This includes submitting the debt to a collection agency and employing all legal means of collection.

When speed and experience are important and crucial to your apartment balding investing success, a principal at Winston Rowe & Associates is always available to speak with prospective clients. They can be contacted at 248-246-2243 or email them at processing@winstonrowe.com

Whether it’s an initial apartment building purchase or a refinance they have the solution for you. Winston Rowe & Associates offers expert friendly service combined with years of experience and will work with clients to find the best solution that fits your needs.

If you would like to learn more about apartment building financing options from Winston Rowe & Associates you can check them out online at http://www.winstonrowe.com