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  The Costliest Landlord Mistakes -Click Here for More Articles-   

1-Poor Screening

The costliest mistake is accepting a new tenant without properly screening. An undesirable tenant will often have a poor rental and financial histories. Landlords should review previous landlord relations, credit reports, courthouse records and income. It is probable that if they have not met their obligations with previous landlords, then chances are that they will repeat their behavior with new landlords. Many landlords have faced horrific situations where tenants have stopped paying rent while employing legal maneuvering to avoid eviction. Others have faced tenants who moved in and initiated criminal activity, which adversely affected other tenants and neighbors. Many landlords have faced horrific situations where tenants have stopped paying rent while employing legal maneuvering to avoid eviction.  Either of these scenarios translates into expensive ordeals where the measures of rectifying the situation can threaten the financial stability of the landlord.
A thorough screening also involves verifying that the person who is applying is the same person that submits credit/criminal info for screening. A picture I.D. should be cross-referenced with the application. Landlords must make sure that there are no omissions, inaccuracies or inconsistency in the actual application. Due diligence will certainly save landlords much money and stress.

2-Lease preparation

Having a poorly prepared lease is very costly because it is the document that legally binds the landlord to the tenant. It is the rules of the relationship that dictate conflict resolution, financial responsibility and terms of execution. With out a professionally prepared lease the landlord stands to forfeit many of the rights afforded to the owners of the property.  Landlords need to employ leases that are designed to protect them and their property and not the other way around. Many generic leases do not take into account the values of the landlord. Therefore, a custom lease would assure the landlord that their interests are protected.
Many times landlords receive requests for agreements after the lease has been signed. Landlords will use their best judgment when deciding to agree to a proposal but must never neglect to put the agreement on paper. A verbal agreement is always vulnerable to a false interpretation by the tenant.

3-Rent Collections

Landlords must always enforce the terms of rent payment as it is written in the lease including late payments and fees. If not enforced, the landlord runs the risk of creating a dangerous precedent that will certainly cost the landlord dearly. If a tenant fails to pay rent for two weeks, then legal notices and actions must be initiated as soon as the law allows. Landlords should not accept partial payments. The courts interpret receiving partial payments from tenants as an acceptance of terms by the landlord. The eviction process is subsequently terminated for that rental period while landlord’s costs increase.
If a tenant has had a poor history of paying rent on time, a landlord should consider not renewing the lease. Being late consistently is a sign of financial trouble and future uncertainty for the landlord. Poor payment habits can be a precursor to bankruptcy or evictions. 

4-Law and Regulation Ignorance

Many landlords get into rental business with out learning the rules of the game. To get a perspective of the folly of not knowing the rule, Imagine trying to play basketball with out knowledge of the rules. You would become paralyzed from the constant rule infractions. It would be impossible to win. Translated to the rental business: Knowledge of the Laws and regulations can make the difference between a profitable venture and a loser.
Landlords must familiarize themselves with the states’ Landlord/Tenant Act. Every state has different laws, therefore due diligence must be taken by landlords to educate themselves. Landlords must also take the initiative to draw upon with the experiences of other landlords. Many landlord advocacy groups exist in most communities and the Internet.

Joint one of your local REIA Associations and get involved in their subgroups.


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