Landlords: Easy Ways to Save Time and Money

by Chris on April 24, 2017

Got 15 minutes? Often, that’s all it takes to streamline your leasing policies and improve your effectiveness as a landlord.

Here are 3 examples:

Increase the efficiency of tenant screening by reading the rental application before running a tenant background check.

Want to do it faster? Modify the checklist below to suit your needs, and use it each time you screen an applicant. Not only will this speed the process, but it will ensure that you are treating all applicants the same:

Look for signatures at the end — after the declaration that everything is accurate and complete. An omitted signature is a deal-breaker, so you can stop there.

Breeze through the pages and note any obvious gaps in information. Are entire sections left blank? You can’t process an incomplete application.

Review any notes you have from your prequalification interview, and then read the rental application to determine if it adds up. Are the names the same? The number of proposed occupants? Does the employer info track? The income? Discrepancies signal a bad tenant.

Focus on previous addresses, and look for any gaps in the dates where the tenant is unaccounted for. Also, note any short-term leases that end at an irregular interval. These can be signs of a previous eviction. You will need to find out why that occurred before continuing with this applicant.

Stop chasing the rent. Sign up to Report Tenant Pay Habits.

Hunting down the tenant for rent payments not only is annoying, it’s a waste of time. By signing up to report tenants’ monthly rent payments, you provide an automatic consequence for late payments.

TVS compiles a database of rent payment history at LandlordCreditBureau.ca. That information is shared with Equifax Canada, a major credit reporting agency, and included in tenant credit reports. This provides major incentive for tenants to pay on time every month. An added plus: Good tenants benefit from this service by building better credit.

Conduct a tenant orientation on move-in day.

By spending as little as 15 minutes with a new tenant, you can prevent injuries and property damage, extend the life of appliances, reduce repairs, and increase tenant satisfaction and retention.

A tenant orientation is simple. Sketch out an agenda in advance so you can focus on the tenant’s questions and concerns and making your new tenant feel welcome.

Key points for orientation may include:

Emergency plans, like access through window bars, or water shut-offs if a single family;
Identifying safety concerns, including proper use of appliances and snow removal;
How to get started, like where to pay rent or how to set up utilities; and
What to do if something isn’t working.

Keep the orientation friendly and upbeat. For instance, consider handing off a copy of the house rules for the tenant’s quick reference rather than lecturing the tenant about the rules. It’s important to encourage questions so tenants understand what is expected of them. Leave on a good note so the tenant is happy with the decision to rent from you. A little housewarming gift, like sweets or a coffee mug, can do the trick.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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Canada’s federal government is poised to legalize recreational marijuana, which has landlords there wondering how the move will affect them. While the measure still must pass more legislative hurdles, many are predicting that marijuana will become legal by July, 2018.

While the marijuana bill is creating a big sensation, it is woefully short on details. The proposal allows residents over the age of 18 to grow four marijuana plants at home. What it doesn’t address is whether landlords will be forced to allow recreational marijuana in rental properties.

If the measure passes, landlords face a long list of concerns:

The pungent smell and secondhand smoke bother other tenants;
Smoking increases the risks of fire. That risk grows if tenants distill the plants into a popular wax form using combustible fluids;
Tenants who smoke are more likely to disable smoke alarms;
It is unclear if damage from marijuana is covered by insurance;
Growing plants in visible locations like balconies increases the risk of theft;
Houseplants can cause water damage;
Grow lights and increased heat can cause property damage, generate mould or trigger allergies.

Landlord associations, including the Professional Property Managers Association in Manitoba, Landlords B.C., Quebec Landlords Association and the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations already have spoken out about these and other concerns, and are asking for the right to ban tenants from growing or smoking marijuana in rental properties.

What Can Landlords Do?

It is impossible to predict whether lawmakers will provide landlords the right to manage marijuana in rental properties. So far, there has been little sympathy for landlords when tenants use medical marijuana in apartments, and with the large number of residents who rent, demographics don’t help. At the same time, with vacancy rates so low and affordable rental housing so illusive, governments may be willing to address the concerns of private landlords.

Nothing is finalized at this juncture, and provinces may be allowed to add restrictions, so landlords who are concerned about this issue still have time to act. One of the best ways to make a difference is to join and support your local landlord association. Landlords are most successful when presenting a united front, and these associations likely have the legal resources needed to make your voice heard.

If the measure does pass:

Expect an increase in marijuana use, including tenants growing plants, before the law takes effect. It is important to keep tabs on tenants so that they are following the law during the implementation period; and,

Many tenants won’t understand the nuances of the law — specific restrictions that might apply, as well as the landlord’s rights. Be prepared to educate tenants as to the rules and make sure they understand their responsibilities. Develop your rules as quickly as possible. Your local landlord association can assist you with this. Chances are, any restrictions on marijuana use will need to be included in the tenancy agreement; otherwise, the landlord may have to wait it out until the tenant moves on.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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