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 Message Boards » » Landlord/Property Rental Discussion Page [1]  
Agent 0
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maybe this could fold in to Home Ownership Woes, but I figured it was distinguished enough from Home Ownership as to warrant its own thread.

My main question to start the thread is what methods or services you have found to successfully screen prospective tenants.

I am in a position to move in with a recently divorced friend into a really nice place closer in to Capitol Hill than where I currently live, and it's also a really opportune time to rent my place because the area where I live has really turned a gentrification corner in the last year or so, as to become suddenly attractive to a late-20's crowd looking for something nicer but still close in to the Hill, plus it seems my building is starting to slowly morph into a renter building (it's only 10 units, but a lot of people there bought high and are stuck with their mortgage until the prices recover and they can break even). I'm able to ask WELL above my mortgage in rent because I surreptitiously bought at essentially the rock bottom of the market, and receive multiple inquiries at the asking price, so it's really a no-brainer as far as moving on from the place.

I've got two people showing up to look at it tomorrow. One is a PhD candidate and the other is a younger couple. What have you guys found to be the most efficient/effective way to do a credit check/verify their rental history for red flags, etc?

9/28/2012 12:21:35 PM

jbrick83
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Best case for rental history is to ask for references and check them. I would ask for at least their past two landlords and probably their last three. Without doing an official credit check, you could ask for a copy of their most recent bank statement (with their account numbers redacted, of course) or possibly a pay stub.

I'd say doing checks on renters these days should be a like an extremely light version of an actual mortgage. We're in bad times and people are walking out on leases left and right. Make sure they have sufficient money to cover rent for a few months and check their references to be sure they're not Walter White-ing it up.

If you're not willing to do that and do sufficient renter interviews, then just hire a property manage (one that comes well recommended...because there are some shitty ones out there).

9/28/2012 2:14:07 PM

Agent 0
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Yeah, lease is going to be pretty proscriptive, and obviously collecting rent up front plus a month's rent as a deposit. Just wondered if anyone had used a service to do it. Just one property, so not worth getting a property management company (we already have one for the building as a whole). Would prefer to deal personally. Possible hassles but also gives me better situational awareness.

9/28/2012 3:10:32 PM

aaronburro
Sup, B
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do yourself a favour and get a property manager. you can screen all you want, and think you found decent people, but when the tenant tries to fuck you on rent, and they will, then you will wish you had someone else with experience in these matters to deal with them. If you've got plenty of room between the mortgage and rent, then just use some of that to pay a property manager. By doing so, you are essentially retaining a lawyer for when the tenant tries to fuck you over. You'll thank me later.

9/30/2012 1:27:43 AM

jbrick83
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Quote :
"you can screen all you want, and think you found decent people, but when the tenant tries to fuck you on rent, and they will, then you will wish you had someone else with experience in these matters to deal with them."


First...its pretty much common sense to deal with in the first place.

Second...he's in law school, so he's at least intelligent and has most likely acquired enough legalese and knowledge to be able to deal with landlord/tenant situation appropriately.

Just read up on DC landlord/tenant law and you're good to go.

I would only go with a property manager if they were (a) a really good friend that I know would not fuck me over or (b) comes HIGHLY recommended. Property managers are just there to get that check. They might say they have a tough screening process, but when its coming down to the last minute, they'll put anybody in your place.

9/30/2012 9:41:05 PM

CarZin
patent pending
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As someone who rents THREE homes, unless you are renting out a shithole, property managers are an enormous waste of money.

I would, however, consider using a relocation agent to find you a proper tenant. You will pay them one months rent for their services. But they doa great job screening tenants for you. I have used them several times, and my tenants have been great.

However, looks like you are past that. Paying bills on time is going to be best checked with a credit check. However, in my opinion, the MOST important thing is how they treat their home. I would ask for their previous lease agreement, then contact their previous landlord and verify the condition of the house/apartment when they left. I would NEVER rent to anyone that had damage, ruined carpets/walls.

10/1/2012 9:03:36 AM

Agent 0
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Good to know. Luckily, living in DC, and specifically on Capitol Hill, a HIGH propensity of the prospective renters are pretty solid people. Most of the concerns, while still acknowledged, don't as seriously apply because there is such demand and the prices are pretty high (my 1bd/1ba place is is getting multiple inquiries for $1700/mo), which tends to further screen. In this case, I think I have finally settled on a tenant, a young professional woman with no pets who works nearby and who previously rented in the greater neighborhood, so i will be able to easily check her rental history for timely payment. Hopefully this works out.

10/16/2012 4:09:34 PM

Jax883
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The property management industry exists because there is value in hiring a licensed pro who works in & understands that realm. Yes, you can save money by doing all the shit they do (which begins with tenant screening). A better question might be, "to what extent are am I willing to learn the state/local regulations, pitfalls/exposures to avoid, and general follow up with tenants that will be required of my time should I choose to fly this solo?"

Quote :
"If you're not willing to do that and do sufficient renter interviews, then just hire a property manage (one that comes well recommended...because there are some shitty ones out there)"


Also, property manager =/= commons/maintenance manager, although the former often includes the latter. Bottom line is managing rental property is time consuming and can be a messy business. Your need for agency is often tied to how much of your free time you're willing to devote to this venture.

10/22/2012 11:08:15 PM

Arab13
Art Vandelay
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Which is also correlated to the number of units/renters.

10/23/2012 11:36:38 AM

Str8BacardiL
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If you are pretty business savvy and live nearby I would skip the property manager.

10/26/2012 7:08:08 PM

Slickery
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To those of you who recommended forgoing a property manager, how do you go about locating tenants and drawing up lease agreements? Have you run into issues on late rent, property maintenance, enforcing the lease, if so how do you go about enforcing?

11/21/2012 11:54:57 PM

Str8BacardiL
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You can meet the tenant in the parking lot to collect the money.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/05/2526692/warrant-murder-suspect-owed-rent.html

12/6/2012 9:32:56 PM

Skack
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Quote :
"To those of you who recommended forgoing a property manager, how do you go about locating tenants and drawing up lease agreements? "


My dad said when he had a few rental properties that he got his clients from a local real estate agent. Since it was a handshake deal with no advertising she could be selective about who she sent to him in ways that he could not. I have no idea if real estate agents still do this type of thing. This was in the 80's, so I suspect it's a lot easier to properly screen tenants now thanks to background and credit checks.

He had terrible luck with property managers. He felt they were eager to put anybody in the property so they could take their cut, but they were renting his properties to people who quickly defaulted on the leases and did a lot of damage in the process. That shouldn't be a problem with a good property management company, but it's something to consider. A bad tenant who lives in the property rent free for a few months during the eviction process and does a lot of damage will ruin any profit you were hoping to make pretty quickly.

12/7/2012 12:22:01 PM

CassTheSass
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Quote :
"To those of you who recommended forgoing a property manager, how do you go about locating tenants and drawing up lease agreements? Have you run into issues on late rent, property maintenance, enforcing the lease, if so how do you go about enforcing?"


i've been a landlord for 3 years now. i found my tenants through a facebook ad but i also posted to craigslist. i did all the pre-screening and met everyone in person when i did the walk through. the first set of tenants i knew instantly - they were young and out of college but were working and wanted to be close to the bars downtown (my place is downtown). i did the standard background checks on them and followed up by calling where they were living at the time to make sure there were no issues. what i really liked about them is that they had been roommates for years so it wasn't a new situation for them to live together. they were fantastic - no complaints from neighbors, always paid rent on time, etc.

the second set of tenants (who still currently live in my place) have also been fantastic. i really consider myself quite lucky. they pay rent on time, are quiet, are easy to get in touch with, and are incredibly understanding (i had some HVAC issues this summer). the tenants who live there now resigned their lease through the end of next summer.

i found a lease online and used that as a "base" and then added in information specific to my terms and my neighborhood's terms. i am very specific about my late fee and it's pretty steep, to the point where i'm sure no one would want to be held liable if they were late. i also sat down with my tenants before they signed the lease and went line by line with them - they said they actually really appreciated that because it allowed us to have a conversation about everything so we were on the same page from the get go.

12/7/2012 2:52:55 PM

wlb420
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for those of you who lived in a place before renting it out, how soon after you moved did you change your insurance policy and what was the cost difference?

1/8/2013 4:17:47 PM

JLCayton
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is anyone aware of a law in north carolina in regards to landlords not being able to charge for new paint/carpeting if a tenant stayed for a certain length of time? i seem to remember hearing something like two years or so, but can't find any info in the internet.

3/12/2013 1:15:54 PM

David0603
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I thought it was much longer than that.
Unless you actually did damage I can't imagine being charged for normal wear and tear.

3/12/2013 1:25:02 PM

jocristian
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Generally you can't be charged for what would be considered normal wear and tear no matter how long you are there, but if you did damage then you are responsible for it.

I'm no lawyer though.

3/12/2013 1:27:07 PM

Nighthawk
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Quote :
"To those of you who recommended forgoing a property manager, how do you go about locating tenants and drawing up lease agreements? Have you run into issues on late rent, property maintenance, enforcing the lease, if so how do you go about enforcing?"


I just got my house re-rented and found tenants on my own for the most part. I put a sign out and did some listing online, but being in a small town, it was mainly word of mouth. Younger couple who signed a lease for a year and stuck with it, but then they separated at the end of the lease, so they moved out. They messed up some stuff in a year (cats clawed all of the damn shears) but went back and fixed some of the problems.

Quote :
"My dad said when he had a few rental properties that he got his clients from a local real estate agent. Since it was a handshake deal with no advertising she could be selective about who she sent to him in ways that he could not. I have no idea if real estate agents still do this type of thing."


Kinda got the new tenant this way. The one agent we had in our small town does not handle rentals, but if somebody lets her know they have a rental, she'll get people in touch if they call to her office looking for a rental. On the downside, I was looking to either sell or rent my house and the agent (who I would not list with because she specifically stated she would make me remove all advertisements I had already posted, and she would only post it on her website and through MLS) this time was not really helpful. In fact my current tenant asked her about setting up a tour of my house and said "Its too small." The issue is, the lady is a 77 year old woman who lives alone. Its a 3BR/1BA 1500 sq. ft. ranch style house. She was showing her quite big houses that were almost all 2 stories. This day was not interested in that, and thankfully she and her son stopped by my house one day when somebody was doing some clean up work, and she LOVED it. They want to buy it, but for now she is just renting until she gets her financing in order. So I might have it both rented and possibly sold! So yes, some realtors will get you in touch with renters, but your mileage may vary.

3/12/2013 2:14:32 PM

Str8BacardiL
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In the triangle the commission offered on most rentals is $50-$250 a lot of agents are too lazy to show them unless its for a future potential buyer client.

If anyone on here would like their rental listing advertised via the Triangle MLS I will enter it at no cost to you. (other than a minimum $50 fee payable to another agent who might refer the tenant, this would rarely apply)

You would email me all of the details and pictures. I will enter it and forward inquiries to you via email.

The main benefit to you for doing this is that the MLS database is syndicated with hundreds and hundreds of real estate websites that people search. (zillow, trulia, homefinder, realtor.com, etc.) So you get a TON more web exposure.

[Edited on March 12, 2013 at 2:38 PM. Reason : . ]

3/12/2013 2:24:46 PM

Nighthawk
All American
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I would have been interested in giving her a finders fee, but she was not interested in dealing with anything but full commission.

3/12/2013 2:29:39 PM

slut
All American
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Quote :
"If anyone on here would like their rental listing advertised via the Triangle MLS I will enter it at no cost to you. (other than a minimum $50 fee payable to another agent who might refer the tenant, this would rarely apply)"


That's awesome. I will PM you when my townhouse is ready to rent in the next few months.

3/12/2013 9:41:38 PM

Dentaldamn
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I'm a real estate agent in new york and I handle rentals only a daily basis. On-site is a great way to run full background checks and credit checks on renters. Full checks are around 75 bucks and here the tenant pays this.

3/12/2013 11:20:09 PM

BigMan157
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what's a ballpark cost for a property manager?

6/5/2013 1:19:54 PM

Str8BacardiL
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10% of gross rent + $500 lease up fee

6/5/2013 1:34:06 PM

BigMan157
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lease up fee?

6/5/2013 7:59:01 PM

Mindstorm
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I'm guessing he means each time you change out a tenant or get your first tenant there's a fee for the advertising and other work they do as a part of showing your house and investigating all those who apply.

Those prices are pretty consistent with what I pay. I know these guys were recommended for being cheaper than almost any other company in the Cary area at the time, but their pricing structure has changed: http://www.nchomerentals.com/landlords/

6/8/2013 10:35:53 AM

jcgolden
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i learn a LONG time ago it MUCH less hassle to rent out lots for doublewides than it is to rent out house. plus u get a free doublewide occasionally when they abandon it.

6/9/2013 3:55:49 AM

hgtran
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I just bought a few duplexes near an air force base recently. Does anyone know how I can rent my properties to military members?

10/15/2013 5:17:51 PM

hgtran
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I took a woman's deposit for my rental a week ago. Now, she told me that she found another place and wants her deposit back. Am I obligated to give it back to her?

8/24/2015 6:39:50 PM

A Tanzarian
salad syrup
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Did she sign a lease? What does it say?

You probably need to return the deposit, but she may be on the hook for terminating the lease early.

[Edited on August 24, 2015 at 7:11 PM. Reason : aieruglakdjgha]

8/24/2015 7:08:24 PM

Str8BacardiL
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Is the lease signed? If the lease is not signed give it back.

If the lease is signed she has a contract with you. If she wishes to terminate it, then you would do that under the terms outlined in the lease.

8/24/2015 7:20:55 PM

hgtran
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The lease is not signed. Can I withhold it for loss of rental income? I turned down multiple other people because I took the deposit.

8/25/2015 8:05:59 AM

jbrick83
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Verbal contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts...just harder to prove. If you have some emails that talk about the deposit, then even better.

If I were you, I would try to find a new renter as soon as possible. If you can get one to fill in without any rental loss, then give her back the deposit. If not, then hold it.

Find a statute in your state's landlord/tenant law. Write her a very cordial, but firm email that cites the applicable statute and explain that she has put you in a financial hardship by pulling out at the last minute. Tell her you are trying to find a renter to replace her, and if you succeed, then she can have her deposit back. If not, you will keep it.

8/25/2015 9:03:33 AM

Str8BacardiL
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I would recommend sticking a pine cone up your ass before going in to court and telling a judge you did not bother to get your lease signed by the tenant, but want to keep their money. A lot of tenant disputes are handled in small claims court by a magistrate who generally does not have patience for landlords whobare sloppy with paperwork.

8/25/2015 10:30:44 AM

DonMega
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Give the money back.

8/25/2015 11:01:11 AM

jbrick83
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^^ I would also recommend not going to court, but there's nothing wrong with giving it a shot before that happens. You can always pay back or "settle" before court.

8/25/2015 11:09:14 AM

Str8BacardiL
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True. I would just rather not drag it out like that, but I like simplicity in my life.

8/25/2015 11:33:01 AM

jbrick83
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I'm with you. Just giving the dude an option in case he can't find a renter right away and is in danger of losing a month of rental income. There's also the negative of having a good renter lined up...and now scrambling and possibly setting for a "suspect" renter.

8/25/2015 11:41:49 AM

Jax883
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5535 Posts
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I don't know what state you're in and state laws do vary, but generally it's a really stupid idea to try and hold on to someone's deposit without a signed lease. "Loss of rent" falls in that category.

NC has a landlord tenant security deposit act that you can reference. I'm pretty sure it's not going to cover your scenario specifically...maybe depends on the intent of the "deposit" (security vs consideration) but yeah, you're going to fight an uphill battle with a magistrate.

"Write to record to enforce". While that's mostly a line geared toward sales, it will serve you well in renting too.

8/25/2015 9:23:14 PM

JLCayton
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2714 Posts
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anyone have any experience with carrying out an eviction in wake county? or able to recommend a good attorney to handle such an issue?

9/2/2015 4:54:05 PM

Jax883
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5535 Posts
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You don't need an attorney*. You do need a paper trail so send your tenant a letter if you haven't done so already. If it's for non-payment, you need to state your demand for the rent and your intent to file for summary ejectment (that's the complaint that starts the lawful eviction). Tenant has a ten day window to make you whole.

*unless you just like spending money. Also, shameless plug for why property managers are useful (so you don't have to deal with this shit).

10/9/2015 7:13:02 PM

Str8BacardiL
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41127 Posts
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my tenants are fucking morons this year

every fucking month we have to have a discussion of how they get the rent to me, they think i do not understand this is just a fucking stall tactic, designed to excuse them from paying on time, but they are so fucking idiotic they can not mail a check in time to arrive by the 5th

10/10/2015 11:03:39 PM

Jax883
All American
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Some tenants display dickish behavior.

Noted.

10/13/2015 9:34:42 PM

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