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Landlord Newsletter Special Report #4

The LPA Newsletter, February 2004


KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Dear Fellow Landlord,
If I've learned anything in this life, I have learned that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. It doesn't matter what business you are in, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
I love the feeling I get after I finish a great motivational book on a topic that I love. Real estate. Investing. Landlording. Self Improvement. The book I just finished was "Rich Dad Poor Dad", by Robert Kiyosaki, and I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't already.

This is our 4th issue of The LPA Newsletter. I hope you will find it informative and enjoyable.
Please email us if you have any questions or would like to add/share any material / information. We have prepared an informative "Special Report" for each of our monthly newsletters that I hope you'll enjoy and benefit from. In this issue, it's "Signing the Lease Agreement".
We also have a helpful Landlord Tip about Processing Rental Application Information before you run a credit report, written by Cathy Taylor of Rate A Renter.

We are working on a number of new special features to equip the LPA site with that I am very excited about. We are making strides in providing landlords with an arsenal of power which is centered around knowledge and organization. I'm hoping to make our new features available more quickly, so please accept my apologies if you have been waiting for them. You can read more about them in The "Coming Soon" area in this issue.
I hope you find this month's newsletter useful, and if you have any questions or comments, please send them in.

John Nuzzolese
John@theLPA.com



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SPECIAL REPORT: #4

Signing the Lease Agreement

A quality lease agreement outlines in detail what is expected from tenant who will treat the property with pride and respect.

If possible, the lease should be read and explained to the tenant in person. It is more effective that way. After all, the lease agreement is an instruction manual for how to be your tenant in your rental property.

Before turning over a valuable asset with a mere 1 or 2 month security deposit, make sure the tenants understand and agree to all your terms. You'd be surprised at how many people are so eager to just sign the lease without bothering to read it. You can get a real idea of what these people will be like as tenants by how they respond to the terms in your lease.
For example:

  • What does it tell you if the prospect has a major problem with your late fee policy? That's right, he expects to pay rent late.
  • How about if the prospect argues about being responsible for minor repairs?
  • Or the cleaning charge?
  • Or if he has a problem with a penalty for unauthorized occupants?
  • What if he has a real problem with the default clause, which outlines your rights to evict for nonpayment?
  • Did you know about the Daily Rental clause in which the tenant agrees that you may, in case of a default, take on the same rights of a hotel, enabling you to have them removed and arrested for theft of services and/or trespassing?
You really can learn a lot about a tenant during the lease signing.
Remember, the lease is not meant to be used as a weapon, it is a Landlord Protection tool to defend yourself and your property from unscrupulous tenants and difficult situations.

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February 2004

LANDLORD TIP

Landlord Tips on Tenant Screening Provided by Cathy Taylor of Rate-A-Renter

It is very important to use a rental application that requires relevant screening information from your prospective tenant. Processing the information will be your next step.

Here are the rules that help you get the most accurate credit information on your applicant the first time without having to pay for additional reports:

Review all information on the rental application and verify for accuracy. Make sure the first and last name are spelled correctly.

  • Ask if there's a middle initial (particularly important for common names).
  • If the person has a generation indicator such as Jr. or Sr., be sure submit this information when requesting your report.
  • If your applicant is a woman, ask if she has a maiden name and make sure it is also submitted with your credit request.
  • Avoid using nicknames such as Bob instead of Robert as this could result in some credit accounts being missed.
  • Ask for a driverís license to verify correct spellings and prove they are who they say they are. If they carry their social security card with them, verify that number.
  • Make sure if you have a co-applicant that you donít transpose their social security numbers when running the credit report.
  • Verify that the zip code they give you is correct for their address. You can verify zip code information directly with the post office at Be sure you use a full street name including direction. For example: 300 East 67th Road should be entered as 100 W 67 RD. Abbreviate street direction (N, S, E, W) and enter the proper street type (RD, AV, LN). If the applicant has not been at their current address for more than 2 years, always get their previous address. Do not use temporary addresses such as a hotel.



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Commentary on the LPA's Deadbeat Database


by LPA Member Jack Klein

I think I am not alone in having experienced the set-back of the deadbeat tenant. The financial set-back, emotional set-back, and sometimes the physical set-back, the loss of normal sleep can be enough to make you sick.

I know many other landlords who have sold their investment properties just to rid themselves of a deadbeat tenant. I think it's terrible that a tenant will determine whether you sell such a valuable investment.
When I learned of the Deadbeat Database, which is officially known as "The National Tenant Rating Bureau", I began reporting tenants immediately. It helped my confidence and my approach to the new prospective tenant. I instructed my property managers and rental agents to be sure to mention to the tenant that we report negative tenant information to the national tenant and credit reporting bureaus. I picked up this tip from John@theLPA who said: "Beg the tenants not to rent from you if they think they will have any trouble paying the rent or upholding the lease." That's what we do. We beg the prospective tenant at the lease signing table to save themselves and their credit by NOT RENTING FROM US if they think they can possibly have a problem paying the rent on time. They DO NOT want to end up on a national tenant reporting bureau or credit bureau for failing to pay the rent, and squash their chances to qualify for a mortgage, car loan or credit card someday. So I suggest you use the fact that you can report to your advantage when training new tenants. -The fear factor-

The Deadbeat Database is growing and warning more landlords and I like that. I also like that it gives a complete rundown of the tenancy including how much the tenant owes, condition of the rental, legal process, lease violation(s) and comments. I love the comments because you can say what you want about the tenant (as long as it's the truth- hold back on the curses though).

This weekend, I plan to sit down and enter in a few more deadbeats of my past who are now probably someone elses headache. I can only hope their next landlord looks them up and rejects them and benefits from my experience!


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Quotations...



"Success is dependent upon the glands -- sweat glands."
Zig Ziglar

"Success is not a doorway, it's a staircase.."
- Dottie Walters

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
- Dale Carnegie

"You have not lived a perfect day... unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.."
- Ruth Smeltzer

"True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful. "
- Paul Sweeney

"There never was a great soul that did not have some divine inspiration."
- Marcus T. Cicero."

"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that."
Michael Leunig.

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
- Mahatma Gandhi

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


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Robert Irwin Real Estate Books



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

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