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Landlord Survey Feedback

Our LPA Survey of the Week questions are usually on topics most related to residential rental properties. Your survey feed back response is posted within 24 hours of your e-mail.

Please feel free to answer any of the survey questions below. Your answers and experiences are valuable.

Help a fellow landlord, Submit Feedback

Should the landlord video the property condition before move-in?
[Added 6/02/07]

Yes. It is one of the best ways to prove the condition. Before & after. A picture is worth a thousand words. - Jack Klein

Do you use an attorney for landlord - tenant matters?
[Added 3/14/05]

No, I've been doing my own evictions for the last 20 years.
- Janine C., Massapequa, NY

Yes. Always.
- Dutton S., Port St. Lucie, FL

Yes. Ever since I had the worst tenant nightmares doing it myself. The judge did NOT like landlords in my local court. It cost me way too much each time he made me start over. I'm now more than happy to pay the attorneys fee to get it right the first time.
- Jack Klein, Ronkonkoma, NY

Should landlords report tenants to major credit bureaus?
How important is this to you?

Yes, for sure I would report bad tenants. If I had access to that database a few months ago, it would have prevented me a lot of headaches. - Julie

The LPA /AMSties combo membership is one of the best things for landlords to come around in a long time. It allows the landlord to be able to post delinquent rent and other charges against the tenant directly onto the tenant's credit report with the 3 major credit bureaus. You don't even need to go to court for a judgement to make a report.
Keep in mind that if you have already filed a money judgement, it will automatically go on the tenant's credit report. I've been a member of The LPA for a few years now and I'm very satisfied with what John has been doing to give landlords a better advantage in tough situations.
Jack Klein

Re-Posted 7/1/03

I know tenants prioritize their bills like most people. Of course we usually pay the most important bills first. The most important ones are the ones that go on your credit report right? It is likely that your tenant will apply for credit a few times a year. If he thinks I will report him, I bet the rent payment will become much more important!
Louis C., BVR Mgmt

Absolutely! How do I report a tenant who violated a court order, skipped out owing me thousands of $$$? He has the sheriff looking for him with an eviction notice etc. I hear he bought a house. He must have lied on his mortgage application. How do i inform the credit ratings companies that he passed bad checks and skipped out of owing $5000.

Yes! I have a dozen past tenants who owe me money. I am so glad I found the LPA site. I joined LPA and AMS and am now reporting onto my tenants credit reports. The warning letter already got one of them to contact me!

Question Posted 5/21/03

Will you accept tenants who smoke?

Yes, I do because I am also a smoker but smokers must pay a non returnable deposit that is used to have the place cleaned and steamed from top to bottom, I have had smokers in the past who stated that they would not smoke inside but would go outside on the front or rear deck to smoke, I live in Pa. and winters do get cold here, they lied and the placed stank after they moved, now smokers pay the deposit or keep looking for a house for rent elsewhere.
Michael B.

From past experiences, No. I will not rent to smokers again. To repaint and get tead off burn marks in the bathroom sinks, bathtub and holes all over the house is too costly and time consuming.

No. We just can't do it anymore. Most of our tenants don't smoke, so the smokers bother them and they complain. We have to try to keep our best paying tenants happy. Another thing is it is harder to rent to a nonsmoker if smokers just moved out. Even after repainting, you can't always get rid of the stench.

No. Our lease (LPA) states that No Smoking is allowed on the premises.
Lou, BVR

I'm allergic. We live in the same house as our rental unit and have to smell and breath the same air as our tenants.
Mary W.

I can't stand it. Over the years we have had to paint when tenants move out, even if they stayed for 6 months because of smoking. With non-smokers, the paint lasts much longer and we get the rentals back much cleaner..

It's easier to rent to nonsmoking people because they seem to me to be the more qualified tenants in general. We find that more lowlives smoke than non-lowlives.
Marty S., NY

Yes. My husband and I feel more comfortable with tenants who also smoke. We drink coffee together and smoke cigarettes. We've become good friends with all of our tenants.
Laura M.

Question Posted 3/10/03

Do your tenants make deductions from the rent?
Authorized or Unauthorized?

Not anymore. Our lease states that all repairs require the landlord's written authorization or it will be the tenants full responsibility.
Lou, BVR

Absolutely. I always allow my tenant to make deductions. He takes it on himself to fix things that need repairs. He saves me so much trouble and money. He hardly complains about anything. The only way I know anything has gone wrong is when the rent has something missing from it. Last month he replaced the kitchen sink, faucet and the plumbing under the counter. He didn't even charge me labor.

I'm glad Harvey is doing so well with his tenant. Is he really? Does he know what the tenant is really fixing? Does he have receipts. I think Harvey might be too trusting.

I will not allow deductions. If the rent is not paid in full, it is a violation of the lease.
Jack Klein, NY

My tenants have made a habit of making deductions. It started last year and has gotten worse as time went on. It started as small items I didn't ant to make waves over and now I'm lucky if I don't owe the tenant each month. Now I am starting to ask for receipts!
Arnell , Toledo, OH

Question Posted 1/15/03

How much of a late charge do you charge tenants?

Whether the rent is 1 day, 3 days or 10 days late, I charge an initial late fee of $50., and then a daily fee of $10. per day after that.
Arnell , Toledo, OH

7% of the amount of rent. This is what is legal in my state.
BlueGiraffe315 , Indiana

$60. on the 6th, and $10. per day thereafter..max of $150. per month

We charge $25 if rent is received (not mailed, not postmarked) after the 4th in our PO box plus $1 a day retroactive to the first of the month.
Lisa W, Fl

I charge a 10% late fee after the 10th. I will start legal procedings on the 2oth.
Jonathan J., Charleston, S.C.

My office will charge a 10% late fee if rent is received beyond the 4th day after due date. The tenant is then responsible for a $20. per day fee for each day rent goes unpaid after the 6th. Most of the time, I will make a deal for the daily fees if the tenants are doing their best.
- Jack Klein, NY

$5.00 per day.
- blletrud

Question Posted 11/18/02

Do you use a broker or rental agents to rent your properties?
If so, are they landlords or have landlord knowledge?
Might they even be LPA Members?

Yes. I know how time consuming it is to market a rental and find new tenants. The agents around here are wonderful, so I always ask them to rent my properties. Of course I do all the screening. (The agents really specialize in home sales.)
Jonathan J., Charleston, S.C.

NO. Absolutely not. Most Rental Agents on Long Island are DANGEROUS. I do the advertising and the showing. I find that when agents are involved, it gets very complicated. Almost all of them have zero landlording experience, which means they are trying very hard to make a real estate fee and rent to whoever they can. Almost every eviction I've had to do was because of an agent's unethical or uneducated interference. By the way, none of them are LPA Members. I've asked many of the rental agents in my area if they are and why not. Most of them are more interested in the tenant rather than the landlord.
J.J., NY

Yes. I don't have the time to do it all myself. I insist that the brokers provide me with the credit reports, so I can do the screening. I will not rely on any agents for screening. I've already learned the hard way that the screening needs to be done by an owner or manager- not someone who will wash their hands of the deal once they are paid. The LPA has helped me a lot. The tips on screening was great. The application and the right attitude does the rest.
Lou C., NY

Question Posted 10/9/02

Do you warn tenants that you report good and bad behavior to a national tenant reporting bureau, such as the National Tenant Rating Bureau (Deadbeat Database)?

Yes. I'm worried about a tenant I can't intimidate even just a little.
Jack Klein, NY

It's a great idea. Your site is wonderful. So far you've helped me out of a few jams, so I'm going let the tenants know they'll be reported if they mess up.
Jimmy S., ME

No. Couldn't the tenant get angry if he finds out that I reported him?

Yes. I noticed the LPA lease contains a warning about that so I always remember to read it to the tenant at the time of the lease signing.
Rocco J.

New Question Posted 10/9/02

Do you go over the lease with your tenants and explain what is expected of them before they sign it?

YES!!!! My husband usually signs the lease in person with the tenant(s), but I detail all the areas that need to be verbally reviewed and/or signed off on at the meeting. The tenant gets a copy soon after the signing. Even then there are some tenants who will violate clauses which have been explained at signing.
Lisa W.

Yes, indeed and add all needed changes, rules, and rental payment due date.
Lily M. Marrone

Yes. Definately. I can't afford to let tenants in unless they understand and agree to my terms.
Lou C., NY

Always. As John recommends in the LPA Lease description, I always read every paragraph to the tenants. If I'm not doing the lease signing and a manager of mine is doing it, he or she knows exactly how I like it done. Each clause is summed up and talked about with the tenant. Sure, this way takes longer, but it covers everything. Remember this quote: "Fail to prepare; prepare to fail." Jack Klein, NY

Yes. If I don't, I won't get to find out if they will follow my rules until it's too late. Rocco J.

Question Posted 8/14/02

Does the tenant bring or mail the rent to your home?

My tenant just deposits the funds in my bank account on the due date or before which I check the next day to see if its been done.
Sincerely yours,
Foy Smith

Property management company mails the rent to me. Although it is always late.
Bill Carlisle, Director of Marketing
Naas/Worldwide Technical Services

Our tenant would bring it to where my wife works, this often resulted in delayed payment. Excuses, like "I don't work that day", "I couldn't get away", etc. Also paid in cash. Now looking at small claims information I find that people without checking accounts are kind of not good, cause it's one less thing you can go after when you have to evict and try to collect back rent.
Did your tests and found that I'm not totally stupid, (actually rated on my way to being a sharp landlord) actually our tenant screwed us and now I'm seeing stuff that is going to hurt us trying to collect. Certainly is not fun being a landlord, if I can dump my property it's what I'm doing! Tired of landlord/tenancy relationship. Amazing how dishonest some people can be and deceiptful, especially when you are in a lower class neighborhood where it's almost impossible to find a credit worthy renter! You wind up choosing the best of the worst and run a 50-50 chance of getting burned! And we got burned!
Thanks for your pages. kind of scary seeing all these things on MSN etc about how renters can protect themselves. Seems things are favoring tenants right now rather than landlords. I think you are 100% right, we need to find better ways to make things 100% clear so we can't be taken advantage of and damages are easier to recoup.
Ray Kopp, Syracuse NY

We really don't want the tenants knowing where we live. We rented a PO box many years ago for the purpose of maintaining a certain amount of anonymity. The tenants send the rent there. Lisa and Steve W. FL

I like to look at my rental house so i go and pick it up. It's only half a mile from my home. I'm big and intimidating so they always have the rent ready. - Buford

I know some people like to go and pick up the rent, but I stopped that a long time ago. I learned that professional landlords don't have the time to go and meet with tenants whenever the rent is due and have to listen to all the tenants' wants and desires. Now I have them mail me (LPA pmt slips in pre-addressed envelope) rent TO MY PO BOX, not my home. I also learned not to gave out my home address to the tenants. Any of you landlords with many properties might know what I mean. I don't like being awakened in the middle of the night or disturbed on a holiday with my family by a tenant with a problem that he is probably responsible under the lease for anyway. - Jack Klein

I have my tenents mail the rents to my home , I havent had a problem yet. One of the reasons is i know the day rent comes in , i got tired going to the post office constantly. - Adam

We have a 29 unit apt. bldg. Our tenants mail rent to our home. - R. Tomei

Question Posted 7/25/02

Does it matter to you if the tenant(s) smoke?

Yes. I do not allow smoking in my rentals. If I find they are smoking, I will ask them to leave. - Donald R.

NO SMOKING! Since I prohibited smoking in our apartment building, it has saved us a fortune on painting & cleaning. We still clean and paint when tenants move, but not like before. - Mary Ellen B.

NO. It does not matter to me as long as they pay the rent on time. I smoke too, so the more the merrier. - Solomon G.

Yes, it does. I live in a house with an apartment which we rent out. My 2 children have allergies and are sensitive to smoke. The smoke comes right through and it is disgusting. The smell bothers me. I can't wait for our current tenants to leave so I can get non-smoking tenants! Thanks. - Jennifer W.

YES. I am sick of cleaning yellow and brown residue from nice new white vinyl windows. Forget about having wallpaper. My tenants burned holes in the bnew carpeting in every room of the house. They burned the bathroom vanity and kitchen counter from putting cigarettes down on the surface and leaving them there. As far as I'm concerned, if a tenant is addicted to cigarettes, drugs, alchohol or gambling, I DON'T WANT HIM. - Maureen S.

I have tenants that smoke and regret having them for several reasons. They throw their cigarette buts all over the place. The stench from their units seep into the hallway and creeps into other apartments were other tenants that don't smoke complain. The nicotine from the cigarette is so bad that, when a tenant that smokes tells me that their apartment need to be painted because their walls and ceiling are no longer white but a faded yellow, I'll take some Windex and paper towels and clean a small section and clean it. If after cleaning that small section it looks that a new coat of paint needs to be applied I'll paint, but if it looks to be good I tell them to clean the apartment or hire someone to clean it, as I don't do their house cleaning. When a tenant that smokes moves out you have to repaint the entire unit and wash down all the fixtures and varnished molding before you rent it out again cause you know that you will be showing it to non smokers which will pick up on the stench and be turned off. You just can't paint over but have to wash the walls and ceiling and prime with a good primer that will block any stains from bleeding through and block the odder. Lets see now, they even have a tendency to end up burning countertops, hardwood floors and vinyl covered flooring and their security never seems to be enough to cover some of the damage. And don't forget that they might fall a sleep while smoking and cause a fire, and then where are you? If I know that they smoke, their not high on the potential tents list. - Njxes

Question Posted 6/15/02

Do you charge tenants a screening fee?

No. I require that they provide the recent credit history report. This usually means they tell me any bad news at the beginning. I don't hold a property while doing the search. Basically until they qualify the property is still available. - Amy R. T.

Yes, to pay for credit report and background check - I charge $25. - Deborah L. R.

I charge a $35.oo non-refundable screening fee. - OakNRose

Yes whenever I screen people. It takes time to check people out so I need a non-refundable deposit and a cash screening fee before I seriously consider anybody. - Lou, BVR Mgmt.

I require an upfront screening fee of $25. like it says in the LPA application. The applicants are more commited to taking the rental that way, AND the cost of credit reports really doesn't come out of my pocket. - Rocco, NY

I'm tired of getting stuck paying for credit checks on people I can't accept. The screening fee now saves me money. It also saves me time because many people refuse to post the screening fee fearing that their credit will not pass my screening process. Eddie, Naples, FL.

YES. A screening fee is essential to the screening process. It shows that the tenant is confident enough about his credentials that he is not worried about risking the fee. I tell tenants that the screening fee will be applied to the security if they are accepted. Otherwise they lose it if they are not accepted. I charge $20. per adult applicant. - Jack Klein

Dear Gentlemen,
I feel a charge for screening can hinder and not hinder rentals . The way it may hinder is, if you deal with low income like I do it is very hard for prospective tenants to come up with the money of screening along with the move in costs. The way it might help, is that if a prospective tenant sees there is a fee they will be hesitant since they know that they are going to be checked upon, this would detur any bad tenants from renting on your property. - William L.

Posted 5/31/02

Do you accept tenants with PETS? Why? Why not?

I have 2 tenants that I allowed to get a small dog. The only reason I gave these people the OK to do it, is simply because they are 2 of the best tenants you could ask for. Very timely with the rent, they actually CARE about their apartment, they actually spent their OWN money to install new carpet & new tile (didn't want any money from me at all), they actually CARE about the way it looks, and they clean up after their animal every day. Also, if their rent is EVER going to be late for any reason, they're always adult enough to tell me ahead of time, and they usually pay me in full, IN CASH, just a couple days later. They're very happy in my condo, love the area, and want to renew their lease for another year. I have NO PROBLEM with them at all!
Now, on the other hand, I also have 2 other tenants, (in another condo I own) who are total deadbeats, and will be evicted ASAP. I wouldn't give them the sweat from my ass. I gave them a few months to get their act together, but, sorry, I'm not the Salvation Army, I have 4 mortgages to pay.
I try to be a very fair landlord...Show me some respect & show me you care about your apartment, and I'm a pretty easy guy to talk to, and deal with. - Chris, Westchester County, NY

No. For many years I have allowed tenants with pets to occupy my rental spaces. I have since stopped that practice. I am an animal lover myself and have 2 dogs and a cat. After being in a situation where I was allowed to keep my pets when I was a tenant. I thought that everyone was as responsible as myself. I was wrong. From animal waste to ripped screens. Its not worth taking the chance. I have a large yard with the rental. Along with a seperate area of concrete that is fenced in. All I had asked was that they keep their pets confined to that one area (which is not a small area, it's 10x20) and off the newly seeded and landscaped lawn/yard. 4 tenants later, my request was still not being honored. $4000.00 later and a new tenant. NO PETS! Thanks! Kristine - Long Island, NY

I have too many animals of my own to ever deny anyone else the love of their family pet, or make it necessary for them to have to 'sneak' a pet into my property. So far my trust has not been unjustified.......... the tenants little brats usually do more damage than the pets! - OldRmebrat

I love animals, and I find that most tenants love animals too. Unfortunately, they love the animal more than the home they live in. A pet will only be as good or bad as it is trained to be. That goes for children too. If I have a choice between 2 people, I'll go for the one with NO pets. The one with pets will really have to outweigh the other applicant in good qualties for me to want them. - Billy S.

It depends. I will always hesitate to accept a pet, but there are other factors I will consider.

  1. Did I just install new carpeting?
  2. If it's not a single family, are there any other tenants who this would create a problem for?
  3. Are there any other applicants as or better qualified with NO Pets?
  4. Are they willing to put their money where their mouth is and post extra security money?
  5. Have I inspected the condition of their current residence? Do they keep it the way I would want them to keep my place?
I've had some postive experiences with pet owners. A clean responsible tenant usually has a clean and well trained pet. - Jack Klein

Posted 5/14/02

Would you rent to a group of college students? Why? Why not?

Preferably not. I have done it quite a few times, each time thinking that "this group will be good". So far, maybe 2 out of 10 tenancies went well. I think the reason usually is that when you have 3 or 4 single (students or not), they tend to forget that they are each 100% responsible to uphold the lease. Invariably, the tenant will have an issue that he or she feels is not his or her responsibility, but the co-tenants. It is always the other housemate who is responsible to carry out teant chores (like taking in the garbage pails or maintaining the grounds). How many time have we heard "I have my share of the rent, but I'm tired of collecting from the others."?
I try my best to stress that each resident on the lease is fully responsible. Severally & jointly. So no, I try not to rent to people in this situation anymore. - John N.

I would NEVER rent to undergraduate students---party central. Most of them are really are not mature enough to take care of business. Students in an intensive graduate program are safe bets. Usually they are too busy to party. I remember my own graduate work. We did nothing but study. - Lynn

NO WAY, JOSE! One college kid or 2 maybe if we were desperate, but a group....3,4 or more no!
At least one is bound to be a party thrower which trashes your place. They probably won't want to live together after they get on each other's nerves and the landlord is left with tenants who can't afford the whole rent...uh uh. They are genetically irresponsible! I, of course, was the
Lisa W

No I would not rent to college students. I currently have four college students in a townhome that I spent nearly $50,000 on getting in good condition.
Yes, they have paid rent on time. But their maturity level has not developed. They actually called to have us come and change a light bulb! I do quarterly inspections on my units and on my first inspection they had networked (4) their computers without calling me. I now have four wholes in each ceiling of each bedroom that was punched and was not done professionally.

I will never rent to college students or anyone under the age of 21 again. Good Luck.

Do you video tape the condition of your rentals before tenants move in?

Posted 5/3/02
It's important to video tape a record of the condition. I've been doing it since I've become a landlord over 10 years ago. My husband didn't want to waste the tapes, but I'm glad I did because we needed to prove damages in order to keep security deposit money.
Olga B.

My properties all get video taped before and after a tenancy. The tapes have helped me more than once in court.
Jack Klein

I make it a priority to at least take pictures. Since I started videoing, the tenants have been a little more careful.
Louis C., BVR Mgmt

No...we take pictures before move-in
Lisa W

I am a new landlord and I did video my townhouse extensively before turning over the keys. I also had the tenant sign the video case to show this was the condition of the townhouse when she moved in.
James M.

How far behind in rent have you ever had a tenant fall?

This question was posted 4/21/02- There were only a few responses that I didn't think you'd want to see. I guess the question was a lemon. Sorry.

What do you feel is the best clause in your lease?

Updated 4/8/02

Telephone. I used to have a problem contacting tenants. Now if they have no phone for me to contact them on, they will be in violation of the lease.
Bobby H.

My favorite is the Insurance clause. I have been sued and verbally attacked because tenants wanted to collect from me when their property was damaged by things beyond my control. Now it's covered on their own policy.
Mary R.

I have a number of them. If I had to narrow it down, my favorite clauses are the Late Fee clause and the Maintenance Clause. The late fee clause helps me emphasize (while I'm going over the lease with the tenants) how important it is that they don't pay late. The MAint. Clause covers a lot of what I want the tenant to take care of on his own.
Robert K.

The late charges. It gives the the resident an incentive to pay on time.
Alison P.

Plumbing Stoppages. I love your LPA Lease because it tackles a range of the problems I've alway been plagued with in the past. Thanks to the Plumbing Stoppages clause, I've not only saved money, but haven't had to deal with the aggravation from the tenants every time they clog the drain or the toilet.
David H.

I like the Pest Clause. It makes the tenants responsible for their own exterminating.
Alison P.

My lease didn't have much in the way of "landlord protection" until I started using The LPA Lease. I thought I had the main things covered, but I was was expensively WRONG. Any clause that saves me money is a favorite of mine! To name a few,
  • Late charges: An effective incentive to pay on time
  • Daily late charge: Keeps tenants from "getting their moneys worth out of the initial late charge
  • Heating System: Makes the tenant responsible for the heating system. Not me!
  • Appliances: Ditto
  • Plumbing Stoppages: What he said. (above)
  • Grounds: I don't want everyone to identify the rental property on the block
  • Early Payment Discount clause: It works.
  • Witholding Rent: It spells out a serious No No. There are more, but these clauses have made a positive impact for us.
    Jack Klein
The Attorneys Feessection has allowed me to collect my legal expenses along with my delinquent rent.
Lou, BVR Mgmt.

Do you run a credit report on prospective tenants

Question posted 2/24/02
Updated 3/2/02

Absolutely every time. We feel we have to. If the tenant has a bad record, we need to know. It is also important to verify that the tenant has nothing to hide.
David H.

I'm a landlord and a rental agent. I do credit reports on applicants for the landlords I represent and I do them on our own tenants too. There is too much at risk to not check them out. Especially when we now can run checks very easily. We don't really wind up paying for the credit reports either because we collect the screening fee first as it states in the LPA Rental Application.
Ann K.

Most of the time I run a credit report. If the applicant brings pay stubs and bank statements, I might nor bother with a credit report.
George B.

Religiously. I WILL NOT rent to anyone whose credit I have not seen. It's just a rule I've been punished for breaking.

Credit reports are good. But, I try to put it in perspective and weigh the other information I can gather too. If a tenant has bad credit, I might still rent to them if I feel they are sincere and I'm able to verify they told me the truth. And if they have some extra money for the security deposit.
Jerry C.

I do. I have been through a few tenant nightmares that I never want to repeat again. The credit report isn't the only screening tool. I also use the LPA application, the landlord reference qualifier and I take a look at the tenants current home too so I can see how they live.
Joseph N.

Do you raise the rent?
How much, how often?

Question posted 2/10/02
Updated 2/16/02

It is in my lease. The rent goes up every year. I notify the tenants at lease 60 days before the lease expires of the increase. They must send me in a Notice of Re-newal agreeing to the increase or Notice to vacate. The rate of increase depends on the tenant.
Joseph N.

Yes. Taxes are always rising. The rents need to be raised regularly. My tenants expect it.
Olga B.

No. I tell my tenants that the rent will not go up as long as they are my tenants. And I keep my word. I've been able to keep my units filled with the same good tenants for many years. I will increase the rent when someone moves, but that probably won't happen for a while.
Milton S.

Yes I definately do. It depends on how good the tenants are and how close to market value the rent is. If I want them to leave, I'll be merciless with a high increase. If they are paying close to top dollar, the increase will be as minimal as possible. I'm sure Milton's tenants have the deal of a lifetime if he never raises the rents. No wonder they won't leave. Milton, you're throwing a lot of money away. I had one tenant who was paying $900. for a $1400. rental. She went ballistic when I raised it to $950.! Try rasing them, Milton and see their true colors.

Every year My tenants get an increase in rent. I have found that if rents don't increase, the properties soon become under-rented and the tenants blow a gasket when the rent finally does go up. I think it's better to increase a little every year rather than wait to make them move or angry.
Jack Klein

I always increase the rent. I've learned that if I let it slide, the tenants become too comfortable and really resent an increase in the future. They act like I'm punishing them. They don't react well to it- even if it's a modest increase still way below market rent. I use our Rent Increase Letter and often make the increase higher than expected. I then adjust it if necessary to make the tenant feel better.
Tom N.

Do you enforce a late charge?
How long do you wait?

Updated 2/10/02

Only when they pay late. The 7th.
Bob S.

We assess EVERYONE who owes us rental fees a late fee after the fifth of the month. No exceptions. Once an exception is made it tends to become the rule for the site staff.
Scott H.

Always enforce your late fees. Tell the tenants from the beginning that the late charges will be enforced and are never negotiated.
John N.

Yes. I enforce a late charge of $10.00 if rent is paid later than the 12th. My tenants have never given me a problem paying it. I usually wind up getting $10. more most of the time.
Darrin K

My late policy is 10% of the rent is due if it is not paid by the 5th (LPA Lease), and I charge $20. per day after the 7th. It certainly does discourage late payments. I try to always enforce it no matter how much they may plead. (I don't mind negotiating it down in exchange for the promise that it will never happen again.) They think twice next time before paying late. I tell them to pay something else late if they have to, but don't mess with the rent.
Jack Klein

I never did collect a late fee. My real estate agent told me it was illegal. I know someone who is always trying to make the tenants pay late charges but the tenants refuse to pay it.

I have my late charge built into the rent. My tenants only pay the full rent amount after the 4th. They rarely have to pay the full amount.
Bob C.

I enforce the late fee. My late charge is $100. for rentals over $1,000. and $50. for under $1,000. It is effective on the 7th.

My lease is naked without the late charge. It is one of the most important elements. I use the LPA lease as I'm sure many of you do also. Late fee after the 5th/ Daily late fee after the 7th.
Olga B.

I have been using late fee penalties to encourage on time rents for the past few years. It works. I wait 7 days before charging.
George B.

Should landlords report tenants to major credit bureaus?
How important is this to you?

Posted 11/2/01

I know tenants prioritize their bills like most people. Of course we usually pay the most important bills first. The most important ones are the ones that go on your credit report right? It is likely that your tenant will apply for credit a few times a year. If he thinks I will report him, I bet the rent payment will become much more important!
Louis C., BVR Mgmt

Every year I have at least one tenant who thinks they can use their security deposit for the last months rent. I don't think that would happen anymore if I was reporting their payments to a major credit bureau.... I depend on the rent being on time, and if they want good credit to buy a home with, they'll have to depend on me giving them a good report.
Claudia K.

Yes. I think that landlords should report tenants who do not pay their rent as agreed. It will also help avoid bad tenants when a credit report is done.
Arthur C.

I am new to your web site - one of my investor clients told me of it. I see it is a very good tool for landlords or property mangers who are new to the business. I have 18 years in the business. I am a realtor liccensed with a Re/Max office in Pennsylvania and property management is my primary business. In the past I have submitted reports to the credit agencies on tenants who owe back rent/utilities. This has paid off twice although it took a couple of years each time. These were basically good tenants but situations arose that put them in arrears. When it came time for them to buy a house, they needed to clean up their credit and I received the monies owed. I got my commission and the owner of the property got their money. Everyone was happy. Jill A. Polakoff Connolly

Hi. I am excited about the idea of being able to report tenants. I think it will be a revolutionary step for regular landlords like me. I will have the power of a large management company as far as the tenants are concerned.
Rocco J.

I don't think landlords should be able to report to credit bureaus. I do not feel right about it. I don't pay late that often, but our landlord gets all over us if we are any later than the 10th.

John, As a long time landlord myself, I thought I had everything covered. Your forms and advice alone have helped me improve my rental income substantially. I am happy with the Deadbeat Database /NTRB because I tell my new tenants that I report. It helps keep them in line. So YES! I think we should report to the major credit bureaus too. It would be an INCREDIBLE asset for me. I'm not on a power trip, but I would love to have the power (and have the tenant know this) to determine if my tenants will qualify for a car loan, new credit card or a mortgage.
Jack Klein

Yes. Landlords need to report tenants. To be able to enter information that will go on the tenants' credit report is even better. This is my favorite web site.
Olga B.

My tenant makes the rent the lowest priority. I guess being nice and helpful to my tenant was a mistake because she sometimes makes me feel like a doormat. My tenant has excellent credit. I'd love to tell her that her payments will be reported. Then I know she make the rent a higher priority.
Carol C.

I own a small apt building with about 12 tenants. I have started using the LPA lease sometime last year. I noticed that it says that "Tenant acknowledges that untimely payments may adversely affect credit rating." So when they sign the lease I show them this and I think it helps a lot. I would feel even more confident if I really could report to the bureaus though.
Tom W.

YES, YES YES! It is very important.
Louise C.

I am a tenant with perfect credit. If I have a responsible landlord, I have no problem with it. Reporting my payment habit would only help me build better credit. I would worry if my landlord was not so good and I don't think I'd like him to have that kind of leverage on me.
Marianne D.

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