Landlord RAQ (Randomly Asked Questions)

Posted by Teresa on July 10, 2009 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs, Tenant Credit Checks, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

raq-image on tenant screening blogFrom time to time, we get a handful of rental property-related questions that concern many landlords—but don’t fall neatly into any category. We hope you find one or two that you’ve been wondering about, too!

Q: My rental unit has a jetted tub. If it breaks, am I responsible for repairing it—or replacing it with the same type tub?

A: You might want to consider adding a clause in your lease agreement that states the jetted tub is as is; the tub itself will be maintained for bathing purposes; however, if the jets malfunction, they will be repaired at your discretion only.

Q: I live in a city where only the owner of the property can be billed for the water and sewer service. How can I handle this with my tenants? I’m afraid they’ll run up the water bill, since they’re not paying it.

A: Your lease can state that you will pay for a certain amount of the water and sewer, based on average rates in your area. The lease can require the tenant to pay anything above that amount, to be included with the following month’s rent.

Q: Is it necessary to prescreen tenant applicants if they were referred by a good friend of mine?

A: Not only is it necessary, it is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your other tenants and the neighborhood residents. You need the peace of mind that a professional credit and background check will bring you. But just as important, if you don’t follow consistent procedures for each applicant, you could be accused of discrimination. Apply the same rules and follow the same procedures on every single tenant applicant—no matter who recommends them!

Q: What’s the absolute most effective way to advertise my for lease property?

A: Landlords we talk to say that good signs in the yard or window, visible from the street, plus an ad with photos on, are the two best ways to advertise. Do beware of scams on Craigslist—read the warnings posted on the site and don’t allow anyone you have not personally met send you a check to hold a rental—many scammers operate like this.

Q: What should I do to make my rental property appealing to high-quality tenants?

A: Give your rental the best curb appeal possible! Get rid of unsightly trash, hide the trash cans, trim shrubs and low-hanging branches, and plant some new flowers. Repair any broken windows or screens, and paint the trim if it’s needed. A bright color for the front door is a great way to make the property pop!

Q: How do I know when it’s time to hire a property management company?

A: If you no longer enjoy or have the time to spend on property maintenance, dealing with tenant questions and problems, and finding new tenants, you should research property managers. Base your decision on the out-of-pocket expense; if you decide your time and peace of mind is worth more than what you’ll pay the management company, give it a try!

Helpful Websites for Landlords

Posted by Teresa on July 8, 2009 under Landlord Tips, Marketing for Landlords | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

older-couple-on-computer on tenant screening blogStaying on top of the landlord game can be tough. Sometimes it helps to know just where to get a question answered, or to check out a contractor, or even find good used appliances! Here is a wrap up of some websites you may find helpful:

Zilpy is a address-based rental facts site. Zilpy for Landlords helps landlords determine how much a property can rent for simply by plugging in its address. Zilpy generates comparable rents, as well as demographic information about the neighborhood and city. Figures include population, median household income, education and ethnicity, and crime rate. is targeted more toward real estate agents, but many of its insights are applicable to landlords, too. Especially if you manage several properties, REMB’s advertising and social media tips can be translated for renting, rather than selling, homes. From Search Engine Optimization to email marketing, you’re sure to find useful information to help you stay competitive in today’s rental market. is arguably the web’s largest classified ads site. There is a lot to like about craigslist! All classified ads are free, photos can be uploaded at no charge, and it’s extremely popular! Craigslist is organized by city; just check out the main website to see if your town has a local craigslist site. Then follow the instructions to post your “For Lease” ads. And if you need to replace appliances in your rental unit, craigslist is a great resource!

Angie’s List is a popular review site for contractors, handymen, plumbers, and other service providers. Angie’s list is a paid, members-only site. For a monthly fee, you can check out unbiased reviews by other members. Contractors are not allowed to pay to be featured in any way. If there are no reviews for your city, you can join free for a year and help build the list of reviews in your area. is chock full of mortgage, CD, credit card, and loan rates, along with articles covering current happenings in the financial world. There are even advice columns covering small business, retirement planning, financial literacy, and debt management. It’s always good to know what’s happening in the credit and mortgage industry—and is a good place to keep up!

BiggerPockets is an online community for real estate investors and professionals. It offers groups, networking, and information, and membership is free. You can post questions in the forums and search by keywords to see if your question has already been answered. Handy tips, advice, and a place for landlords to talk to other landlords make BiggerPockets a lively online community.

For more landlord resources, including forms and information on tenant screening, turn to You’ll know that you have the best possible tenants when you prescreen tenants.