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Landlord Newsletter Halloween 2006 Tenant Screening

The LPA Newsletter
Mid October 2006

Dear Fellow Landlord,
Years ago, I met an old time landlord, Mr. K., who was seeking my help in getting his house rented. He was in his late 80s and knew all the in's & out's of being a landlord. He didn't believe in credit reports or screening as we know it. The property was wrecked by the former tenants. Mr. K. wouldn't invest any money into the property because the "Halloween Job" tenants would only ruin it anyway. He constantly referred to his tenants as "Halloween Jobs".

It was frustrating for me because I was really trying to help him, but I soon found that the old adage, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is quite true in some cases.

It is at this time of year with Halloween approaching, I remember Mr. K.. He reminds me that a quality property will attract quality tenants, while a neglected property will supply you all the "Halloween Job" tenants you can shake a stick at! So, stay away from "Halloween Jobs" - Avoid the trick and get the treat.

If you missed the Free Downloads and Articles of our last newsletter, click here

In this newsletter:

  • New Form - Free Download. Download in MS Word and PDF.
  • New article by Attorney William Bronchick, "What Every Landlord Should Know About Discrimination"
  • My article, "Careful Tenant Screening"
  • New Excuses
  • New Quotes

    Please e-mail us if you have any questions or would like to add or share any material / information. Have a great month.
    John Nuzzolese


    What Every Landlord Should Know About Discrimination

    by Attorney William Bronchick,

    The Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, familial status, age, and gender. Many state and local laws also forbid discrimination on the basis of sexuality or source of income, and the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal to discriminate against the disabled. If you harbor any such prejudices and would allow them to come into play when renting a housing unit, then you're probably not cut out to be a landlord. However, many sincere real estate investors make honest mistakes that result in discrimination lawsuits. The best way to avoid them is to be informed.

    Watch the Wording of Your Ads

    The Fair Housing Act (FHA) may appear to be common sense, and most people would never think of discriminating against people of different races or religions, or on the basis of gender. However, it is important to note that the FHA extends beyond the screening process, and into advertising as well. This is where many landlords and property managers make fatal mistakes. After all, there are people who scour the classifieds looking for inappropriately worded ads so that they can pounce on them and threaten a lawsuit. While someone must have standing to bring suit, these scoundrels often work in coalitions to ensure that all of their bases are covered.

    For example, if you own a rental property in a predominantly Jewish community, its proximity to the local synagogue could be a major feature. But if your ad says "within walking distance from the synagogue," you could be sending the message ... "gentiles need not apply" - even though this wasn't your intent. And keep in mind that you may not discriminate on the basis of whether a couple is married...

    click for the full article...


    Careful Tenant Screening

    by John Nuzzolese

    From the time of first contact with the prospective tenant to the time you sign a lease with him or her, you are still in the tenant screening process. Keeping in mind The LPA article, How to Screen and Qualify Tenants in 5 Easy Steps, it is very important to decide beforehand that you WILL NOT accept anyone who does not meet ALL of your screening requirements.

    Often, landlords overlook certain "red flags" that indicate the prospect is NOT qualified to rent from you. It could be a sign of the tenant's financial stability, personal habits, respect or attitude toward the landlord. The important thing I'm saying here is, do your homework.

    What are your screening requirements? It's important not to forget some of the key ingredients when screening a tenant.

    1. Rental Application
      A fully completed and signed LPA Rental Application.
    2. Identification.
      Be sure you get a copy of the applicant's drivers license or other valid picture ID. Is it possible that a deadbeat would use someone else's identity and credit to get accepted as your tenant? You bet. It happened to me!
    3. A Non-Refundable Deposit.
      A serious applicant will have no problem leaving a substantial non-refundable earnest monet deposit with you to secure the rental...

      click for the full article...


      Employment Verification

      Tenant screening usually involves verifying the prospective tenant's employment. Most of us simply go through the Rental Application and call the telephone numbers provided by the tenant. How often do we wonder if the "employer" is giving us the real scoop? Or if the "supervisor" is really the supervisor. Many landlords prefer to contact the employer in writing by fax or by mail. Sometimes it involves a small amount of detective work such as looking up the employer in the telephone book or online and sending an Employment Verification Form to the company, with attention to the "Human Resources" department.

      New LPA Form!

      Limited Time Only: Free Download for LPA Newsletter subscribers.(Exp. 10/31/06)

      Verify EmploymentEmployment Verification Form

      Free Download Expired


      Tenant Excuses

      "You should feel lucky I could pay you half of the rent, because my husbandís paycheck is being garnished."
      I should feel lucky because the half of the rent is still missing?! - M.S., Malgoska, CO

      "Oh, I meant to pay you three days ago."
      After reminding on the 7th of the month that the rent is due on the first of the month. Yes indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. - M.S., Malgoska, CO

      "I just paid a large unexpected tax bill. Now I need trauma counseling."
      I know how that feels. I still can't sit normally, so I'll be lienient, but just this one time. - Steve, NY



      eleanor roosevelt quotes Yogi Berra quotes Thomas Edison quotes Benjamin Franklin success quotes

      "It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." - Anthony Robbins

      "Patience and perseverance have a magical affect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams

      "There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist." - Mark Twain

      "If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement." - Jimmy Carter

      "How much did your last tenant problem cost you?"
      - John Nuzzolese

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      Robert Irwin Real Estate Books


      Books by LPA Members

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      Report bad tenants to the National Tenant Rating Bureau or Deadbeat Database


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      landlord books, landlording, landlord information, landlord tenant law, evictions


      Interested in past LPA Newsletters?
      Feel free to view the LPA Newsletter Archive

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