Should You Allow Pets In Your Rental Properties?

 

pets in your rental properties

 

Should you allow pets in your rental properties?  Let’s take a minute and talk about what can happen if you do because you need rules and policies in place. Allowing pets in your rental properties opens up your pool of renters but also increases your headaches!

 

Early one bright and sunny Tuesday morning, one of your tenants calls into the office with a maintenance issue. The kitchen faucet is leaking, could you send someone out right away to fix it. 

 


The tenant won’t be home and Fluffy, his small dog, (which is on the lease) will be locked in a crate in the bedroom, so just come on in.
You happen to have a maintenance person in the area who has time to run by to take a look at the problem. 

 

[ctt template=”11″ link=”E229D” via=”no” ]I know many landlords that don’t allow pets and I know for a fact that the tenant usually just hides the pet. [/ctt]

 

pets in your rental property

 

BIG AGGRESSIVE DOG

The next thing you know, your maintenance person calls you.  He angry because a large dog came out of nowhere, chased him out of the house and almost bit him!  

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Why Invest In Real Estate

 

“In the real estate business, you learn more about people, and you learn more about community issues, you learn more about life, you learn more about the impact of government, probably than any other profession that I know of.” — Johnny Isakson, U.S. senator

 

“Now, one thing I tell everyone is learn about real estate. Repeat after me: real estate provides the highest returns, the greatest values and the least risk.” — Armstrong Williams, entrepreneur

Forms For Business Success

 

SYSTEMS AND FORMS TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS RUN SMOOTHLY

Effective systems are a must in order for any business to run smoothly.  They make the day to day running of the business much easier to handle.

 

Anyone can have systems, but you have to have the right systems.
Systems can be formal or informal.

 

Informal procedures aren’t always written down. It might be an informal procedure that the first person in the office every morning makes coffee for example.

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”t0bZ7″ via=”no” ]For a landlord, having systems in place and following them are imperative in order to be a successful.[/ctt]

 

Formal procedures or systems should have documented and well-established steps. For a landlord, having systems in place and following them are imperative in order to be a successful.

 

There should be systems in place for:
• Pre-screening a prospective tenant
• Showing your rentals
• Running credit
• Qualifying a tenant
• Signing the lease
• What they need at the lease signing
• Move-in packet
• Filing a maintenance request
• Resolving problems
• Move-out packet

 

Move Out Procedure  

For example, a specific set of protocols need to kick in whenever a tenant gives notice to vacate your rental.

If the tenant mails their notice, someone should contact them via phone to confirm that the notice was received and then should be told about the move-out packet.  

 

If the tenant calls the office, inform them that he needs to put it in writing and get it to the office as soon as possible.  

 

In both cases, the packet needs to be mailed the same day. This  is a formal procedure that should happen each and every time a tenant gives notice.

 

The date the package was sent should be noted on an online calendar and a note to follow up in five days to see if the tenant received it.

 

The tenant needs to be contacted 4 or 5 days later in order to discuss the move-out package over the phone with the tenant and make sure everyone understands what is expected.

 

Without the proper forms to help you manage all of this information, your business would be full of chaos, making it much more difficult to manage everything.

 

Failure to send the move-out packet can, for example, lead to tenants forgetting to call you to have the utilities switched. This may not be a major problem, but it is hard to do a move-out inspection with no utilities.

 

Having a system in place for utilizing quality forms to gather information and to track communications with your tenants is a great way to keep your business flowing smoothly. Using appropriate forms sets expectations for your tenants and they will know what is expected of them.

 

 

Systems Protected You

Having systems and forms that correspond with them will also protect you legally. Let’s say you need to evict a tenant. 

 

You will need to have a lease that the tenant signed that has the address of the property, the effective dates and the payment amount and schedule, just to name a few things that must be on the lease.

 

 

Legally Binding

Remember, the lease is a form and it is also a legally binding document. It is a very important part of your system.

 

A properly executed lease will allow you to go to court, establish that the tenant does indeed owe you money and that the tenant is in default.

 

Forms are great and are a necessary part of your business. Be sure and use them consistently, for every single situation where required. Don’t make exceptions and allow someone to not follow your systems.

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”LH7mS” via=”no” ]Forms are great and are a necessary part of your business.[/ctt]

 

 

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Don’t have any forms?

 

Grab this packet that we use for every single move-out.

This packet is easy to customize with your business logo, phone number, address, etc.

 

“Tenant Notice To Vacate” Form. This form is included in every single lease and we cover this form at the time the lease is signed. Some tenants are very organized, remember they have it, and actually turn it in when giving notice. However, if the tenant doesn’t have it, we either email it, fax it or mail it to the tenant. We ask them to fill in the date they called us on the form as the date they gave notice, fill out the form, then get it back to us. We put it in their file.

 

“Move Out Reminder” Form. This form is mailed out to the tenant when they give notice. It is in list form and details everything we expect them to do prior to moving out. It can be modified as needed. For example, our apartment tenants are not responsible for cutting the grass, so we remove that.

 

“Settlement Charges Guide” Form. This is simply a complete list of everything the tenant can potentially be charged for when they move out. Some tenants are great and leave the unit clean and ready to rent. Others trash it. This form will need to be customized by you to reflect your charges.

 

“Clean-up & Large Item Removal” Reminder. The biggest headache we face after the tenant moves out is having to dispose of all the stuff the tenant left behind. Computers, televisions, furniture, mattresses, etc. are a nightmare. Every effort is made to get the tenant to dispose of their stuff properly.

BONUS: “Eviction and How It Affects You” Letter. Many tenants have no idea how the eviction process works. This form is included in every lease packet and it is covered at the time the lease is signed. This letter is also sent out when the tenant gets behind on the rent along with the 7 day letter.

 

 

The Move Out Forms package is $9.99. Download it immediately and start using it in your business today.




Three Tips To Follow To Help You Become A Successful Landlord

Becoming A Successful Landlord

Being a successful landlord is not as easy as it sounds and it doesn’t happen by accident. 

 

When you decide to invest in rental property, there are a number of issues that can come up.  Some of these problems are a result of tenants that do not take care of the property, which leads to another whole set of problems.

 

You, as a landlord, are responsible for maintaining your properties.  

  • Want a lot of headaches?
  • Like dealing with unhappy tenants?
  • Love tenants who will stop paying the rent?

 

When a tenant stops caring, unhappy code officials will begin to levy fines against your property. The best advice I can give to landlords is to always keep your property in good shape.  You will attract and keep better quality tenants if your properties are well maintained. 

 

[ctt template=”3″ link=”ZU6cz” via=”no” ]Nobody ever said that being a landlord was easy. [/ctt]

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Pre-Screen Prospective Tenants Prior To Showing Your Rental Home

Pre-Screen Potential Tenants Over The Phone 

 

Yea!  Your house is ready to rent, the phone is ringing and people want to see your house!  It is time to pre-screen potential tenants for your wonderful rental.  What a great feeling!

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

It is exciting when you start getting phone calls about seeing your rental property.  You sigh in relief because you know it will rent fast!  Before you grab your keys and run out the door to jump in your car and drive to your rental, you need take a step back and be sure these people can actually afford your house.

 

Getting a good tenant requires a lot of homework and just plain good luck sometimes. 

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”1cAfe” via=”no” ]Quit wasting your time showing a rental home before you pre-screen any potential tenants![/ctt]

 

pre-screen potential tenants

Pre-Screen Potential Tenants

Before you waste your time running over to show your home, talk to every single person that calls and do a quick pre-screen.

 

Taking the time to pre-screen potential tenants over the phone will save you a lot of time and aggravation.  If you are one of those people that do not like to talk on the phone to people they have not met, get over it. 

 

There is no way around that unless you like to waste your time, driving around, meeting people, who will never in a million years, qualify to rent a property from you. 

 

The bottom line is that, as much as you may hate it, taking the time to talk to these people, for just a few minutes, will save you a lot of frustration in the long run. 

 

 

Crazy People, Nice People, Broke People

You will talk to talk to people who don’t have a clue, who will have you rolling your eyes and shaking your head, who will have you pulling your hair out and you may eventually wonder why, oh why, you ever decided to rent your property! 

 

But, you will also talk to some very nice people who are very interesting, even if they can’t ever qualify to rent your house.

 

Why waste your time with someone that has a sketchy rental history, a spotted, job hopping employment history and / or serious credit issues.

 

 

That’s Not Fair!!!  

If the prospective tenants object and say

 

“But, I just want to see it first”,

 

Stop and ask yourself what are they trying to hide?

 

When you are trying to find a new job, would you refuse to answer questions about yourself in this situation or think they were being ridiculous? 

 

Would you be rude or not follow specific instructions? 

 

I have had several people call about our available properties actually be rude to me when I was just asking routine questions to make sure they met very basic minimum requirements. 

 

They wouldn’t tell me their name, or didn’t want to tell me if they had a job or how much their monthly income was. 

 

I have had people hang up on me as well.  I shudder to think how they would treat me down the road if I had actually rented to them! 

 

Pre-Screening Questions

Before you agree to show any rental home, you should ask at least these 4 questions to make sure you are not wasting your time or the prospective client’s time.

  1. An income of at least 3 times the rent.
  1. Been on their current job at least 1 year.
  2. Been in their current home at least 1 year.
  3. No evictions filed on them in the last 3 years.

 

There is no reason to waste your time showing your property without some minimum guidelines in place.

 

Asking these four questions will tell you if this person has enough income to pay the rent and all of their bills and has a stable income and rental history.

 

Take The Time To Ask  

Asking these four questions allows you to screen out anyone who is not as stable. 

 

There are always exceptions and you do need to use your listening skills and ask questions.

 

For example, if the person has been on this job less than a year, ask where he worked before.

 

Some people stay at the same job for years and only move to get better pay and opportunities.

 

That is a lot different than someone who hops from fast food job to fast food job every few months.

 

[ctt template=”11″ link=”48_dj” via=”no” ]There is no reason to waste your time showing your property without some minimum guidelines in place.[/ctt]

 

Look at it this way, anyone can find a bad tenant!  Your challenge is to talk to everyone you meet and listen to what they have to say, ask relevant questions and find that great tenant.

 

The one that all landlords dream about but usually don’t take the time to find!

 

 

 

Kentucky Dog Bite Laws – Pending Changes

dog bite law

Dog Bite Laws

Do you know the dog bite laws in your state?  If you don’t, you need to look them up because they vary greatly from state to state.

Did you know that the owner of the dog is liable in more than half of the states?  The way the law is written in Kentucky, the Landlord is also the owner of the dog which makes the landlord responsible if the dog bites someone.  

The dog doesn’t usually even have to physically attack someone but if an injury results from someone running away or falling, the dog owner (Landlord) is still responsible!

What happens if your tenant has a dog you don’t know about and it bites someone?  If you don’t know, consult an attorney that is familiar with the dog bite laws in your area.

 [ctt template=”5″ link=”Vz8Mr” via=”no” ]Do you know the dog bite law in your area?[/ctt]

Senate Bill 4: A Legal Analysis

 

January 26, 2017

|

Brent R. Baughman

 
 

A pending bill (SB 4) – which establishes medical review panels as a means of vetting medical malpractice claims prior to litigation – will become law (it has already passed in the Senate) and then almost certainly face a constitutional challenge from the Kentucky Justice Association (the leading plaintiffs’ bar group).  Continue reading . . . 

How To Build Your Rental Business Without Cash, Credit or A Bank

build your rental business

Build your rental business without cash, credit or a bank.

 

When you are a new landlord who is trying to build your rental business, things are much easier if you actually have cash.  You don’t need approval from anyone and you can just go buy the house you want.

In a perfect world, your life as a landlord would be so easy!

 

But, we all know that most people don’t have extra cash just laying around. One of the most common problems facing real estate investors is the lack of funds.  I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who say they would just love to get a few houses and rent them.  But, they don’t have that kind of cash laying around and the bank won’t loan them any money!

 

It seems impossible to buy properties to rent if you don’t have cash, credit or a bank willing to loan you money.  So, these potential landlords throw up their hands and walk away from their dream.  They are like the majority of people out there who don’t know how to buy a house without a mortgage. You need to learn how to build your rental business without cash, credit or a bank.

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”9fTEX” via=”no” ]You don’t need cash, credit or a bank to build your rental portfolio![/ctt]

 

If that is the only thing stopping you then you need to check out this interview that Sharon Vornholt did with Jim Ingersoll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learn How To Show Your Rental Home Without Risking Your Life

 

Be Safe.  Show your rental home without risking your life! Safety first when showing your rental home should always, always be your first priority. The house is ready and the time has come to start showing it to prospective tenants.  It can be an exciting and nerve wracking time when you start showing your rental home.

 

You are a very important person and you are very vulnerable when you show a home to prospective tenants. Remember to always put safety first when you start showing your rental homes.

 

I am going to assume you have already gone through the pre-screening process and are only showing your house to people who have:

  1. An income of at least 3 times the rent.
  2. Been on their current job at least 1 year.
  3. Been in their current home at least 1 year.
  4. No evictions filed on them in the last 3 years.

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”kf3U2″ via=”no” ]Remember to always put safety first when you start showing your rental homes[/ctt]

 

There is no reason to waste your time showing your property without some minimum guidelines in place.

 

 

Safety First 

 

Remember, you have not met these prospective tenants, you don’t know them and you should not trust them. 

 

It is your job to keep YOU safe at all times.  It is easy to learn how to show your rental home without risking your life just by taking some common sense steps.

 

 

TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY ALWAYS:

  • Make sure someone knows where you will be.
  • Check in with that person when the showing is over.
  • Have a list of the names and numbers of the prospective tenants.
  • Make sure the power is on to the house.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early and turn on all the lights.
  • If you feel unsafe, make up an excuse to stay outside or in your vehicle and let them go in by themselves. I usually say I have a phone call that I must return but go on in and I will be with you shortly.

 

 

Buddy System

I always let someone know when I am going to be showing a rental property. Luckily, I have never had a problem and everyone has always been very nice. But, you just never know and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Then check with your contact when you are done showing so that they know you are OK.

 

 

Vacant Homes

Most of our homes are vacant when we show them.  It is easier to show a vacant home and you don’t have the current tenant’s stuff distracting a prospective tenant. But, it is important to have the utilities on so that the house can be well lit for the showing. It is safer for you as well.

 

 

My Procedure

As a woman, I always arrive early, unlock the main door, turn on all of the lights, tour the house, leave a rental application on the kitchen counter and then allow them to go into the home without me.  I tend to stay outside or in my vehicle, although that is not always the case but I do feel much safer that way. 

 

 

Tenant Experience

Allowing them to go in by themselves gives them the chance to look at the home privately. I want them to picture themselves living in the house and deciding where to place the furniture.  They can also talk privately among themselves and usually come up with a list of questions to ask me.

 

 

At The End

When they come out, I will answer any questions that they might have.  When they leave, I go back in, turn everything off, check that all of the windows and doors are still locked and then I leave.  Always check the windows and doors because many times they will unlock them so they can get back in late!

 

Follow Up – What Did They Think?

You will find that, in my experience at least, prospective tenants say they love the house and want to get an application. 

Then, a week or two goes by and you haven’t heard from them.

 

I always give them a day or two to process and then I touch base with them. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns.

 

Sometimes they are waiting until payday to bring the application fee, or they have just been busy with work and family or maybe they have changed their minds about the house.

 

Following up gives you some closure as well.  It may sound crazy, but I hate it when I talk to someone, really like them over the phone, then meet them and really like them in person and then NEVER hear from them again.

 

I really like honest feedback.  Did they think the rent was too high, too far from their job, was something “wrong” with the house that I didn’t consider.  That is just me and you may not care!

 

 

 

Safety – Final Thoughts

Some of you may roll your eyes after reading this and think I am being too cautious.  It is not really that hard to make a few changes so that you can show your rental home without risking your life. 

 

However, random people are robbed and or killed every single day. 

 

They were usually just minding their own business and going about their day.

 

By showing a house to someone you don’t know, you are setting yourself up to be alone and isolated so BE CAREFUL!

 

[ctt template=”11″ link=”wU674″ via=”no” ]Remember, you have not met these prospective tenants, you don’t know them and you should not trust them. [/ctt]

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What To Do When Your Tenant Can’t Pay Rent

tenant can't pay rent

Your Tenant Can’t Pay Rent

Hearing that your tenant can’t pay rent is something that no landlord wants to hear. You are a landlord and you hope that your tenants will pay their rent each and every month, in full and on time. 

 

Reality

The reality is that most of your tenants will pay their rent on time.  But, even if you have GREAT tenants, at some point in time, someone will not be able to pay their rent for whatever reason.

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”4EevH” via=”no” ]Regardless of what the situation is, you need to follow your eviction procedures. [/ctt]

 

Tenant Can’t Pay Rent Excuses

As a landlord, you will hear lots of different excuses but the most common ones are:

  1. Lost a job
  2. Laid off from a job
  3. Too sick to go to job
  4. Car broke down and couldn’t go to work
  5. Someone died and I had to pay for the funeral

 

What Does That Mean?

If you are lucky, the excuse you are given is any of the above EXCEPT “I lost my job”. Once your tenant loses his job, that means he isn’t getting paid.  Even if he gets a job right away, you won’t get paid for at least two weeks.

The other situations mean money will still be coming into their household and they should be able to get caught up much more quickly.

 

What Should You Do?tenant can't pay rent

Regardless of what the situation is, you need to follow your eviction procedures as soon as your tenant says I can’t pay rent this month.  Even if your tenant says he will pay on the 14th, it is still very late. You need to know what steps you need to take and that can vary by state.

 

In Kentucky:

  1. Send the 7 day letter
  2. Get a court date
  3. File the eviction
  4. Schedule the set out
  5. Perform the set out

 

7 Day Letter

If you live in Kentucky, the first thing you do is send a 7 day letter that basically says “Pay or get out”. You can send this letter on the 2nd day of the month if you wish or you can give the tenant a couple of days to get rent paid.

 

Get A Court Date

The 7 day letter is so named because 7 days after you send this letter, you can call your eviction attorney and start the second step of the eviction process.  You use the day the letter is sent as Day 1.

 

Court Date

At the court date, your attorney or you, will attend and possibly your tenant. If your tenant does show, he or she will be asked if they owe the money and if they plan to pay.  If the tenant can’t pay rent at that time, the judge will advise him that he has 8 days to pay you the rent and fees owed or get out.

 

File The Eviction

On the 8th day after you have been to court, you can call your attorney to get the ball rolling to schedule the eviction.  Either you or your attorney will get the paperwork to the sheriff and once they have it, they can proceed to the next step.

 

 

Schedule The Set Out

You can get a set out date once the sheriff has the paperwork which can take anywhere from one week to several weeks depending on how busy it is. They will post a “scare notice” that basically tells them they have a day or two to get out but in reality, they actual date will be several days or a week out.

 

Set Out Day

When you schedule the set out, the sheriff will tell you how many people you must have present at the property to move the people out. If you show up without them, they will leave.  The sheriff’s are there to enforce the set out order and to protect you.  They are not there to help you move all of the tenant’s stuff out of the rental unit.

 

 

Know The Law

This is how the process works in Kentucky. You MUST be familiar with the laws in your area so that when a tenant can’t pay rent, you will know what to do. I strongly recommend contacting an attorney and having them detail the process for you.

 

Evicting a tenant is never a fun process.  We will discuss some ways to avoid a set out in a future article.

 

 

 

Most Unique Excuse For Not Paying Rent

 

“Debbie,

I was in a train rech so I have been down. Am sending you $235 and I will have the rest by August 18, 2015 plus the late fees. I will contact you or you can contact me.?”

 

 

 

 

 

Follow me on Facebook and get more Common Sense Landlording tips.

 

 

 

 

 

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Should You Consider Renting With A Co-Signer?

Should You Consider Renting With A Co-Signer If A Potential Tenant Has Bad Credit?

Sometimes, you are faced with having to rent a house with a co-signer.  Having a vacant property is never good for the bottom line and it can be very stressful for every landlord out there.  

 

Goals When You Have A Vacant

  1. Get the old tenant out
  2. Clean up the mess they left ASAP
  3. Advertise the house Fully screen all potential tenants
  4. Get the lease signed and collect the fees
  5. Get the tenant moved in
  6. Pray they stay for years and always pay the rent on time

 

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”P5yEs” via=”no” ]Should You Accept A Co-Signer If A Potential Tenant Has Bad Credit?[/ctt]

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