5 Landlord Mistakes to Avoid

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on September 14, 2010 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms, Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background check1. Not approaching your rental business like a business. To be successful, all businesses need to follow a plan. They need to be capitalized. And they need to be run professionally. This takes time, energy and money. Some landlords are not willing to invest all of these resources into their businesses. Some don’t have a plan. Some don’t have enough capital to keep their businesses going when rent income falls below projections (if they even have projections). Being unable or unwilling to do all of these things will almost guarantee a rental property business that is not as successful as it should be.

2. Conducting less-than-professional relationships with tenants. Landlords vulnerable to becoming too personal with tenants are often sucked into giving extensions on paying rent, reducing security deposit requirements or otherwise allowing tenants to ignore the established rules. Tenants who suffer no consequences will usually continue to bend or break the rules. It may seem harsh, but just as you can’t walk out of store without paying for a gallon of milk, a tenant should not be allowed to live for free in your rental property—even for a day.

3. Treating tenants differently. Letting certain tenants slide on the rent, steering certain tenants toward certain units, and otherwise showing deferential treatment to an individual or group of tenants can land you in trouble quickly. Landlords are constantly taken to court on charges of discrimination for actions like these. You don’t want to be one of them.

4. Failing to document. Keeping excellent records is a habit that can save your business. It’s vital to make copies of everything from driver’s licenses (if legal in your area), move-in/move-out inspections, applications, tenant screening authorizations and lease documents. But consider making notes of phone and text messages, emails and snail mail communications, too. Even a simple spreadsheet can prove to a judge that you treat all tenants equally and  follow the law.

5. Not knowing when to call in the professionals. A licensed electrician and plumber, landscaper, lawyer, accountant, tenant screening service and possibly a property management company should be on every landlord’s list of resources. You may not need all of them all of the time, but you will likely need them at some point in running a rental property business. Trying to do it all has been the downfall of many a real estate investor. Knowing when help is needed in managing rentals can save your sanity—and maybe even some of your profit!

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