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Landlord Tenant Issues

We’ve already discussed condos, lofts, and homes for rent in detail. But aside from finding a home for rent or finding tenants for your home for rent if you’re a landlord, you’ll need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, or a landlord, depending. Tenants want to make sure that their landlord will keep the property in good shape, at least what he or she is responsible for maintaining. Similarly, landlords want to make sure their tenants are going to pay the rent and keep their homes for rent in good condition. There are a number of ways that landlords and tenants can check up on each other before signing a lease.

A landlord might ask potential tenants for pay stubs or resumes or letters of reference from previous landlords to show that they can afford the rent and are likely to keep the homes for rent in good condition. Sometimes communities will also demand tenant screening by landlords. Tenant screening requires landlords to assess whether the potential tenant is prone to criminal behavior. That way, if criminal tenants enter the neighbourhood and crime rates increase as a result, the landlord is held responsible for letting the tenant into the community. Increased crime rates lower property value and quality of life for neighbours of the criminal tenants. Landlords may also do tenant credit checks to ensure that potential tenants will be able to pay the rent. Landlords do tenant credit checks by ordering tenants’ credit reports, usually from Transunion or Equifax. Tenant credit checks can tell landlords how much the tenant is indebted to various institutions, whether they pay their bills on time, lists their assets, and shows a credit score

Though we all want to be safe, is it fair to hold landlords responsible for crime rates in an area? As much as landlords want to cover themselves by doing tenant credit checks, is it really their job to screen tenants and try to decide whether they’re criminals? This would probably cause a lot of new problems; namely, landlords could use tenant screening as an excuse to discriminate against certain people. Isn’t there something in the privacy act about this?

Another responsibility of the landlord, especially applicable to landlords that rent out condos, other apartments, and some lofts, is property management. This requires that the landlord to maintain the property and perform necessary repairs when asked by tenants. Rather than do these repairs themselves, many landlords will call a property management company to outsource the labour. Sometimes the tenant will call the landlord, who then calls the property management group, who will then call the necessary tradesperson, such as a plumber, carpenter, painter, and etcetera. In some cases the tenant will call the property management group themselves or else call the plumber or painter directly and bill it to their landlord. That way they save having to pay a property management company. Though landlords pay the property management company, it is often the tenant who pays in the end.

If you have rented apartments, condos, or homes for rent, you know that there a lot of things that can go wrong with apartments. People sometimes break windows in their condos or lofts, or their toilets get clogged, or there’s mold in the ceiling, and so on. When tenants have an urgent problem, they want their landlord to respond quickly and this can be achieved by hiring a property management group. Property management is a good business to get into, especially if you know a real estate agent who sells condos, lofts, and apartments that need property management. The real estate agent can then refer your property management group to landlords who buy new condos, lofts, or apartments that they wish to rent out to tenants. There’s a lot of money in property management. Landlords have to call plumbers and the like all the time and if you can get in their as their property management middle man, you can do quite well at it.

I once worked for a property management group. My friend, the real estate agent, sold condos to landlords all the time and I would get tons of referrals from him. Most of my clients were landlords who owned several properties, especially condos and lofts. I usually worked from home, trying to find new clients, and set up appointments with tenants when they needed something fixed. The tenant would tell the landlord that something was broken and the landlord would call me, the property management girl, and I would call the necessary parties to do the repairs. Once I found someone to do the repairs, I would then arrange a time with the tenant for the repair guy to come in. The landlord is then charged for the repair, unless it is somehow the fault of the tenant. For instance, one time a tenant in a house for rent threw a barbecue through a closed window. The landlord had to call me, his go-to property manager, to arrange to have the window fixed and before the new tenants moved in, have the carpet replaces, as the previous tenants had been barbecuing in the living room. I felt very sorry for that landlord but that’s often what happens when you rent your apartments, lofts, or homes for rent to frat boys. This is a prime example of when tenant screening is admissible. There’s no way that any landlord in their right mind would choose to rent a nice house to a rowdy bunch of teenage guys rather than say, an old couple, or some nice young girls. Unfortunately, this makes it harder for nice young guys to find homes for rent, especially with tenant screening.

Last year I rented a house. We had to look at a lot of homes for rent, as well as condos and lofts before we found a place we wanted. Our landlord didn’t have a lease prepared for us to sign, so we printed off a free tenant lease form from the internet. Free tenant lease forms are easy to find. You just need to do a search and enter the phrase, ‘free tenant lease form’. A number of free tenant lease forms will probably pop up, and you can choose the free tenant lease form that you like best. There are different free tenant lease forms for condos, apartments, lofts, and homes for rent. A good free tenant lease form will outline the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord and have a place for each tenant and the landlord to sign. Leases for apartments, condos, and lofts, are usually for one year at a time. However, after a tenant occupies a rental unit for one year, the tenant may cancel the lease at any time with sixty days notice. Some tenants who need to move out sooner than the sixty days are up may choose to sublet their home for rent.

Though tenant credit checks are often necessary, they can be harmful to a tenant’s credit score. Each time a landlord does a tenant credit check, the tenant’s credit score declines. This happens because frequent credit checks often means that the person’s financial credibility is questionable, which creates a positive feedback loop, worsening their credit with each tenant credit check. Landlords will usually only do a tenant credit check if they suspect that they might have trouble getting rent from a particular tenant. Landlords don’t want to go crazy with the tenant credit checks if they can help it because they have to pay a fee to access Transunion or Equifax reports as well as a set amount for each tenant credit check they pull.

As mentioned before, the best way to go about tenant screening is to advertise apartments, condos, lofts, or other homes for sale, on the internet. You will likely get a lot of interest from potential tenants who want to rent your homes for rent. You can then interview the tenant candidates (i.e. tenant screening) and choose the tenants you like best. Before you have them sign your free tenant lease form, you can do a tenant credit check for each tenant to see if it’s likely that they’ll pay the rent. Then you can hand over your condos, or apartments or whatever to your new tenants and leave the rest to the property management team that you hired. The property management team will ensure that your homes for rent are kept in good condition until your free tenant lease form expires. If anyone complains about you doing credit checks, you can explain that it’s just part of the standard tenant screening process and that you cannot rent out your homes for rent to just anyone – you need to be sure that whoever’s moving into your condos, lofts, or apartments, is going to pay the rent. If they don’t pay the rent, you won’t keep up your end of the agreement as stated in the free tenant lease form, and they’ll have to look at other homes for rent where the landlord agrees not to do credit checks or tenant screening, because if he does, he’ll find out that you’re lousy tenants who aren’t going to pay the rent.