Posted by & filed under Rentals.

Virtual tours have grown in popularity over the years; thanks to the development of smartphone capability and apps, property managers and landlords can show off their rental properties to many prospective tenants at the same time. Renters also benefit, as they can search for housing and view the properties they’re interested in without ever leaving their homes.

Streamline Your Rental Tours With The Best Virtual Tour Apps

As a rental housing professional, virtual tours can boost your business – especially now, with COVID-19 concerns. Listings with virtual home tours consistently garner more interest and views than listings without them, in part because they give applicants more time to get a feel for the property. If you’ve been considering offering virtual tours but weren’t sure where to start, here’s a look at some great apps that can get you up and running.

Realync

Realync is a cloud-based app that allows for real-time, immersive interactions between you and prospective tenants. You can respond to their questions and showcase all the features of your properties through real-time tours or pre-recorded videos. All videos can be saved on the cloud for future use. Another great feature is the ability to host a live virtual open house that you can invite prospective renters to attend from anywhere in the world. The app also has fairly extensive (but easy-to-understand) analytics that allow you to determine what’s working for you and what isn’t, as well as the ability to capture contact data from open houses.

Rently

Rently aims to make property tours easier for you and prospective renters with self-touring technology. The company provides a lockbox device for each vacant property, which costs $30/month for unlimited leads and users. This device connects to the renters’ smartphone app, granting them access to the property without the need for you or your staff to be there. Prospective renters can register for a self-tour online; once they’re approved, they will receive a one-time entry code giving them access to the vacant unit. This app can be used for both single-family homes and multifamily communities.

Abodo

Abodo is a web-based multiple-listing site that allows renters to search for housing in more than 300 cities nationwide. The app makes it easy for renters to browse, filter, and tour properties that interest them. Listings are free for property managers, and you can easily reach out and communicate with interested parties. Although Abodo is open to everyone, its target market tends to be college students looking for affordable housing.

Tour24

Tour24 is another web-based platform that allows you to offer self-guided tours whenever it’s most convenient for you. You can­­ choose when renters are allowed to tour the property, as well as when to switch tours off. Renters schedule a tour through the app, which conducts identity verification before the appointment is approved. Like Rently, Tour24 uses the prospective tenant’s smartphone as the key to the property. Once the renter is at the property, their phone essentially becomes the onsite tour guide, generating pop-ups that highlight points of interest around the home.

AnyoneHome

AnyoneHome isn’t a virtual tour app but it does allow you to offer a fully immersive contact center through a well-developed CRM platform. Renters can schedule tours online, conducted either through an onsite manager or a self-guided tour. The app aims to optimize your leasing process with 24/7 availability, plus it integrates with a variety of helpful apps and self-guided tour hardware, including Tour24.

Video Conferencing Tools

In addition to the above apps, you can also use video conferencing tools to conduct virtual tours. Some of the most popular and easy-to-use ones include Zoom, GoogleMeet, and Facetime.

Additional Considerations

As you look into these apps, you may want to make a priority list to help you decide which ones would be most beneficial to you. Think about the following factors:

  • What’s your budget?

  • How many renters would you like to be able to give virtual tours at once?

  • Are you thinking about producing a single video tour that you can share with interested parties? Or would you prefer to offer personalized tours?

  • Do you need the ability to schedule virtual tours? You may also want to read through our blog on tips and best practices for virtual tours to get more ideas on how you’d like to conduct them.

Posted by & filed under Property Management.

How to Prepare For A Potential Wave Of Evictions

Earlier this year, states rushed to put a halt to evictions in response to COVID-19. As some states have now begun the process of reopening, the multifamily housing industry may be at a crossroads with evictions. Eviction moratoriums are set to be lifted in several states, with courts scheduled to begin hearing eviction cases later in the month. However, some areas are considering extending eviction moratoriums due to the increase in COVID cases.

Regardless of when courts reopen, the nation will likely see a flood of evictions in the future. If this happens, there will be an influx of rental applicants, so it’s essential to think about how this could affect your rental policies.

In only a matter of months, the rental housing industry has had to make some quick adaptations, including social distancing, eviction court closures, and missed rental payments. If you haven’t revised your written rental criteria since the pandemic started, now is the time. The landscape of the industry is rapidly changing, and your policy should be able to keep up.

In the past, it’s been best to avoid blanket standards on your rental policies to avoid liabilities. These are overly broad statements like, “no evictions” or “no felonies.” Stating “no evictions” has normally been problematic, as it doesn’t factor in differences between state, federal, and county-level laws. In many cases, it can be perceived as anti-renter behavior. This policy is especially important to avoid now, with potentially large numbers of COVID-19 related evictions on the horizon. Here are some reasons why:

It doesn’t look good from a legal perspective

Even if you’ve always had “no evictions” as part of your rental policy, you could be running into legal trouble for denying an applicant based on a COVID-19 eviction. Not to mention, it could damage your property’s reputation. It’s also likely that some states will implement legislation aimed at restricting the use of COVID eviction records for housing.

COVID-19 evictions won’t show you accurate risk

Many applicants who lost their jobs during the pandemic haven’t been able to pay rent. If they end up getting evicted, that doesn’t make them a bad or risky renter. They’re more a victim of circumstances beyond their control. A single eviction caused by missed payments during COVID-19 isn’t an accurate depiction of their rental history, especially if they have a previously perfect record. As long as they meet your income requirements, it’s not likely you’ll need to worry about them being a repeat offender. Using eviction data responsibly

Knowing how to navigate eviction data can be tricky, but here are several things you can start to incorporate into your leasing process right now:     

  • If you have a blanket statement like “no evictions,” replace it with a specific date-based restriction, such as “no monetary evictions within the past 3 years (with the exception of COVID-19-related evictions).”
  • Keep an eye on changes to data restrictions and laws. Over the past few years, many state and local governments have begun restricting the use of eviction and criminal data for housing decisions. You should make sure you’re familiar with the latest laws when reviewing background checks to avoid liability.
  • Apply your rental policies equally, every time, to avoid potential claims of discrimination. Arrange consistent training for your staff on your most current rental criteria, as well as how they should uphold it. This could include legal updates and restrictions, policy changes, and other important items.

There’s no way to know for sure when the pandemic will end or how it will continue to reshape the industry, but it’s important to be empathetic right now – and not only to applicants and tenants. Take care to also show empathy for others in the industry, such as staff and peers. These are difficult times; caring for one another is essential. We’ll continue to assist you with your tenant screening needs and keep you posted with the latest industry updates.

Posted by & filed under Property Management.

Could Security Deposit Bans Be On The Horizon

As a landlord, security deposits are one of the most vital tools you have. While these deposits can only be used in specific instances, they ensure you don’t lose out on money if the tenancy doesn’t go as planned. Unfortunately, security deposits are the latest rental policy to come under fire. The affordable housing crisis, in combination with the pandemic, has many calling for security deposits to be banned entirely.  

How Did This Proposal Start?

As housing prices have risen over the decades, there have been multiple calls to eliminate financial barriers in order to make housing more affordable. In 1990, Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky stated “…perhaps the next solution will be to simply prohibit security deposits of any type… I think this will have a more deleterious effect on the landlord, but it might have a more positive effect on the creation of affordable housing.” At the time he made this statement, L.A. had just passed an ordinance requiring owners of rent-controlled apartments to pay tenants 5% interest on security deposits.

Currently, more than half the states have placed limits on the amount of money a landlord can collect for a security deposit, which is typically one to two months’ worth of rent. Many states also require landlords to return security deposits within 14 days after the tenant has moved out. Within the past year, we’ve seen progressive cities pass laws that limit security deposits even further.

Security Deposit Law Changes in 2020

In January 2020, the Cincinnati City Council amended Chapter 871 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code to require landlords with more than 25 units to provide alternatives to a security deposit. In lieu of a security deposit, tenants can opt for the following:

  • Rental security insurance
  • A reduced security deposit that’s half the total of one month’s rent
  • A security deposit split into three payments over the course of six monthly installments

There are no clear penalties in place for landlords who refuse to offer security deposit alternatives; however, a tenant could potentially sue them if no alternatives are offered prior to the lease signing.

Cincinnati’s new legislation has prompted lawmakers across the country to consider making amendments to their security deposit regulations as well. The pandemic has only accelerated the issues surrounding the affordable housing crisis, with millions of unemployed renters being unable to afford to pay a security deposit.

One of the most notable bills on the table is California’s AB3260. This bill proposes all California landlords give tenants an alternative way to pay the full security deposit. This can be done through security deposit insurance or monthly installments. New York City is considering similar options.

How Can Landlords Prepare?

The pandemic has greatly increased the momentum for security deposit alternatives, so it’s likely other cities and states will propose similar bills.

As more areas adopt new laws or amend their current ones, you should be aware of what you can do to mitigate your risk with security deposits. Accepting security deposits in payments isn’t ideal because most tenant defaults take place within the first six months of the tenancy. If a tenant stops paying rent early on, there is little to nothing to fall back on. If you accept half of the first month’s rent, this likely won’t be sufficient to cover your losses.

An alternative to security deposits is working with a third-party that offers a lease guarantee. This is a separate contract that the third party guarantor agrees to meet the obligations of the tenant to the landlord. So if a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can recover the debt from the guarantor, generally before they seek damages from the tenant. Depending on the stipulations, the guarantor may also be financially responsible for damages to the property caused by the tenant.  As of now, there are few areas that have taken steps to change security deposit laws, but it’s important to know that we may see further efforts to amend or eliminate security deposits in the future – especially as the pandemic continues. Now is a good time to start thinking about your security deposit policies and what would be an acceptable alternative to you should laws change in your area.

Posted by & filed under Housing.

With things changing rapidly in the rental housing industry, you may have missed the recent statement put out by HUD. The notice, titled HUD Statement on Fair Housing and COVID-19, has several key takeaways that are important to note.

Fair Housing Laws Still Stand

The first important takeaway is that fair housing requirements, as well as the government’s enforcement of them, will continue throughout the pandemic. The notice states “We need to guard against irrational blame that fuels discrimination and harassment against people who, because of racial and ethnic profiling, are perceived to be associated with this disease.” Federal, state, and local fair housing laws still prohibit targeting a protected class due to their association with COVID-19.

For example, let’s say a housing provider incorrectly believes that Asian applicants are more likely to have the virus. If they were to deny an Asian applicant based on this belief, it’s a clear violation of fair housing laws. Another example would be if residents harass another resident because they believe the resident has an association of some kind with COVID-19. Fair housing laws continue to dictate that the housing provider is required to make the harassment stop.

Fair Housing Considerations During Covid 19

The pandemic has caused a wave of fear in the nation and as HUD’s statement reminds us, fear can often translate into discrimination. It’s essential to take every step possible to prevent discriminatory behavior by both staff and tenants.

Communicating with Tenants

In addition to keeping fair housing laws in mind, it’s also important for you to be communicating with your tenants on a regular basis. This can be done through online portals, emails, or even through notices posted on their door. With social distancing in place, you’ll want to avoid in-person conversations. It’s important to remind your tenants that you’re doing everything possible to keep them safe and secure during these unprecedented times.

One way you can do this is to explain what you’re doing differently to meet these challenges. Likewise, make sure to communicate with your staff members. Remind them of your policies about communicating with tenants, performing work orders, and doing cleaning or maintenance around the building. This will ensure that you’re taking all appropriate steps to keep everyone updated throughout the pandemic.

Common Areas

Common areas aren’t necessarily a fair housing issue, but you may be wondering how to handle closing them as a COVID-19 precaution. Ultimately, the decision to close where people gather is decided by the governor of each state. Once the governor issues that decision, it’s up to each property management company to implement the guidelines however they see fit and within their authority. Not many leases cover this type of situation, so there may be some things you’ll need to work out. For example, if you close down a common area, tenants may want to withhold some of their rent.

In some communities, residents have already intentionally cut back their rent payments because they don’t feel some of the amenities they’re paying for are being provided. Again, this isn’t a fair housing issue; it’s more of a landlord/tenant issue. This is unknown territory, but it’s unlikely that tenants actually have a right to cut their own rent based on a swimming pool or other common areas being shut down.  Unfortunately, ignoring the rules on rent and avoiding common areas aren’t likely lease violations.

Partial Rent Payments

Another question you may have is whether accepting partial rent payments is a fair housing violation. Unfortunately, we’re in a situation where landlords and property managers should consider taking partial and late payments from tenants who have been impacted by the pandemic. It’s also important to understand that many people are struggling financially and that these hardships could last a while.

Fair housing could be an issue if you’re not being consistent with making concessions 100% of the time, even if you’re not making decisions based on a protected class. Tenants may not see it that way. If you allow late payments for one tenant, but not another, some tenants may feel this is discriminatory. So in this case, it’s best to make this decision at a business-wide level, rather than on an individual basis.   

Tenants with COVID-19

If you find out that one of your tenants has the virus, it’s not a good idea to disclose this to your residents. The best precaution is to assume some residents have an infectious disease. It’s likely that some of them do and you’re not aware of it.

Do your tenants have a right to know that another resident in the community has tested positive for COVID or is being quarantined? For the sake of safety, it’s OK to post a notice telling tenants to be aware someone has symptoms or may have the virus. However, don’t single anyone out. You’re under no legal obligation to inform tenants about who has the virus, not to mention it’s a breach of confidentiality that could cause residents to target the sick tenant in some way. Whether to inform your tenants about someone on the property having COVID isn’t officially a fair housing issue, but it could become one in the future.In conclusion, take every step to stay informed on the latest fair housing developments. Pay close attention to your policies during this time to make sure they aren’t bordering discriminatory practices. Frequent staff training and policy reviews will keep your property management flexible while ensuring you’re addressing potential issues that could come up in the future.

Posted by & filed under Tenant Screening.

With inmate releases, pandemic-related job loss, and a potential wave of evictions on the horizon, we’ll likely see larger numbers of people choosing to cohabitate. What does this mean for you as a property manager or landlord? There’s a good chance one of your tenants may ask you to consider allowing them to have a roommate. While you may have been willing to accept a friendly referral in the past, times have changed. In an ever-evolving environment and economy, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Treat roommates like you would any tenant

If you allow subletting, there are a couple of things you should require. First, the subtenant should be added to the lease. If your original tenant moves out, and the roommate stays at the property, having their name on the lease will ensure that they are still legally liable for their share of the rent. Remember, the lease must be signed by all parties to make it enforceable.

Additionally, occupants who haven’t signed the lease likely haven’t read it. If they don’t know the rules, it’s harder to follow them. The best way to make sure they understand the stipulation of the lease is to go over with them in person. This will allow you to clarify anything they’re unclear on.  

Secondly, you should treat the subtenant like any applicant and conduct a roommate background check. Regardless of their association with your tenant, it’s essential to know whether the subletter is responsible and reliable. Although it’s unlikely, the roommate may be trying to hide a bad rental history by moving in with someone else.

Protect Your Property With Roommate Screening

You may also want to review your guest policy. Not all roommates start off that way; some of them may be long-term guests who decide to officially move in. Your lease should have a standard for when a long-term guest is required to undergo a roommate screening and sign the lease agreement, otherwise, they could slip under the radar.  

Protect your investment

Whether you’re dealing with regular tenants or a roommate situation, having a thorough, consistent screening process is one of the best ways for you to protect your property. Screening helps you minimize your risk of late or non-payment of rent, evictions, and property damage.

While conducting background and credit checks can be time-consuming to do on your own, our tenant screening services make it easy and convenient. Our RentalConnect service allows you to select the level of reports you need while deferring the cost to the applicant. There are no on-site visits or membership fees, and it’s available online 24/7. Get the information you need to make an informed decision. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-523-2381, or send us a message through our online form.

Posted by & filed under Tenant Screening.

Over the past couple of months, COVID-19 has caused the U.S. job market to take a significant dive, erasing nearly all the gains that were made since the 2008 recession. The 2008 housing crash shook the economy for years. Tenant fraud increased as many applicants attempted to hide their poor credit scores, evictions, and low income. With the economic troubles caused by the pandemic, it appears that tenant fraud is again on the rise.

Important Steps You Can Take To Avoid Tenant Fraud

Given how long it took the economy to recover after the 2008 recession, it’s likely many people throughout the country will struggle with financial stability for some time. To avoid being taken in by fraudulent applications, it’s important to take a look at your current screening strategies and adjust them with tenant fraud in mind.

Reassessing traditional screening factors

Traditionally, past behavior has always been the best determiner of an applicant’s potential performance as a tenant. With COVID-19, we now have to consider factors that may be out of an applicant’s control, like nonpayment of rent, lower income levels, and lower credit.

For example, a survey of 1,160 landlords found that approximately 59% of them had at least one tenant request a partial or complete rent reduction in May. Many people have lost their jobs since the pandemic started in March, and financial aid, unemployment benefits, and the federal stimulus have only provided temporary relief. It’s still uncertain whether the relief efforts were enough to help consumers and the economy return to its pre-pandemic condition.

This makes selecting tenants more difficult than it was before COVID-19. How can you know that a tenant isn’t trying to take advantage of the situation, or that an applicant is being truthful? Here are a few things you should consider while conducting tenant screenings.

Referrals

With social distancing still in place throughout the country, many companies have made the move to work remotely. This may make it more difficult to get ahold of employers or property management companies through their main phone line.

So, what’s to stop an applicant from giving you the cell number of a friend instead? There are a few steps you can take. If you’re interested in talking to an employer, verify your applicant and their reference on LinkedIn. Then go to the company’s website and find a corporate email address to send your verification request to.

For verifications from landlords or property managers, search public records to find the owner of the previous address. Does it match the name the applicant gave you? When you have them on the phone, say, “I’m interested in learning more about your rental.” If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they likely aren’t the landlord or property manager.

Or, you can save time with our tenant verification screening report.

Documentation

Some applicants may attempt to provide fraudulent documents that make it appear they have more income than they do. The best step to take in this case is to request multiple forms of documentation. Consider changing your policy to include the following:

  • Driver’s license or another form of government-issued ID

  • Paystubs; however, these can be faked. Here’s what to look for on a real paystub:
    • The name, occupation, and DOB should match the information the applicant gave you.
    • There shouldn’t be any spelling mistakes.
    • All digits and decimal points should line up consistently throughout the document.
    • The paystub should look like it was generated through accounting software.
    • The letter “O” should look different than “0”.
    • If there are estimations or roundups on the paystub, they should be minimal. If they’re rounded to the nearest zero, that’s a red flag.
    • The paystub should be legible and easy to understand, no matter how small the company is.


  • Bank statement from the last 30-90 days
    • You should be able to match the deposit amount to the paystub details.
    • The amount they’ve paid for rent should match.
    • Check that they have a sufficient amount of money in their checking and savings balance in case their financial situation changes.
    • Their W-2 should match their information, pay, and employment information.

  • Background Checks
    Your criminal background check policy should stay the same, but be sure to:

    Double-check that spelling, DOB, and their SSN matches any documentation that the applicant gave you.

    Make sure that you’re following HUD guidelines and your local laws when running criminal background checks. You should take into consideration the type of crime they were convicted for, how long ago it occurred, and whether the applicant poses a threat to your other tenants. Don’t create policies that completely ban those with a criminal history.
  • Eviction
    Most areas of the country have implemented an eviction ban during COVID-19, however, you should still check to make sure there were no pre-pandemic evictions.

  • Credit Reports
    Credit scores are important, but make sure to check the following on your credit check:

  • Monthly debt payments
    What is the applicant’s total monthly debt? How does that compare to their total monthly income? Will they be able to afford their debt payments in addition to the rent? Those with lower monthly debt have a larger safety net in case their income becomes impacted by the pandemic.

  • Collections
    Check to see if they have any recent collections for utility bills, apartment complexes, or payday advances. If so, did they occur before the pandemic? Applicants who were having financial issues before the pandemic are a higher risk for defaulting on their rent.

  • Loan payoff dates
    When is the applicant expected to pay off their car loan or student loan? Those who are closer to their loan pay off date are more likely to have additional income freed up in the future.

  • Loan deferments or forbearances
    Look for any deferments or forbearances and check when loan payments will become due again. According to the CARES Act, creditors are required to report accounts that have had payment accommodations applied to credit bureaus. An accommodation could be any type of relief, including agreements to make partial payments, forbearances, or to modify the loan. These accommodations are only applicable for agreements made between January 31, 2020 through July 25, 2020, or 120 days from the date the national state of emergency is over.

Essentially, you should continue screening your tenants but make sure to pay close attention to the details – and stay vigilant about the potential of attempted fraud. It’s likely you may encounter increasing numbers of applicants over the next year who have employment gaps, missed payments, or lower credit scores due to COVID-19. Having accurate information will allow you to make the most informed decision possible.

Posted by & filed under Property Management.

As the social restrictions for COVID-19 have begun to die down and everything is starting to reopen, renters are likely to start looking for housing again. One of the questions many property managers are likely to hear from applicants is, “How did you handle COVID-19 with your tenants?”

Tips For Checking In On Your Tenants Wellbeing During Covid 19

There are many ways to be a good property manager, but being considerate during a widespread pandemic is likely to be at the top of many renters’ lists. With that in mind, one considerate action you can take is to check in with your current tenants to see how they’re doing. This not only improves relations and your reputation with your existing tenants, but it also gives you an honest, built-in answer to applicants: “I checked in with them to make sure everyone was OK.”

Considerations for checking in

We’re living in difficult times and many people are struggling. Some of them may have lost their jobs or taken a pay cut, and are struggling financially. Others may be struggling mentally with isolation, anxiety, or depression. If your residents aren’t getting paid, they’re not able to save for basic needs. If they get sick, they may also have to worry about medicine or medical care.

It’s important to remember that many of your tenants are likely to be feeling stressed, preoccupied, and overwhelmed. A knock on the door from their property manager may worry them even more, so giving them a call may be the best approach, especially given COVID-19 precautions.

Your tenants may worry that you’re only calling about money, so be mindful that they may be uncomfortable initially. Public relations with rental property owners and property managers have been strained in many areas since the pandemic started. Contact your tenants when you’re in a calm, collected state of mind – not when you’re in a bad mood.

Be gentle and kind

After you’ve greeted them, move forward with the reason why you’ve called. For example, you could say something like, “I wanted to check-in and see how you’re doing. Things are stressful right now. Are you staying healthy? Is there anything you need?” Let your tenants speak freely, and be a good listener. Don’t be afraid of silence, because they may just be thinking about what they want to say.

While you’re talking with your tenants, remember that there are many ways you can help them. Everyone appreciates small acts of kindness. This could be something as simple as a care package or sending a congratulations card to a family with a recent graduate. Little things that show you care can go a long way. You can offer advice as well to show you’re listening, but make sure to be considerate. Often people aren’t looking for advice so much as a friendly ear.

Checking in on your tenants can be complicated with all the stress and uncertainty everyone is facing. However, it’s worthwhile to make the effort. Showing you care during these times will mean a lot to your tenants – and they’re not likely to forget it when the pandemic is over.

Posted by & filed under Property Management.

Has COVID-19 made you more concerned about the state of your rental property? If so, you may be considering an inspection. However, before you pay your tenant a visit, it’s important to take their privacy into consideration.

Most state laws allow landlords to enter their tenant’s homes under specific circumstances, but they must meet certain legal requirements beforehand, like providing ample notice. While you have a right to enter the property, your tenant also has the right to privacy. If a tenant denies access to their home for any reason, you may not be able to enter unless there is a serious issue.

Despite this, there are landlords who don’t honor privacy laws. Some will enter the property whenever they like, or will spy on their tenants to make sure they’re following the lease agreement. This can lead to legal issues, including claims of harassment. So, no matter how concerned you are about inspecting your property, it’s vital to be respectful of your tenants and approach any instance of entering their property in a professional and legal manner.

Addressing Long-Term Guests

Most property managers and landlords will likely have to deal with long-term guests at some point. A long-term guest would be considered anyone the tenant houses for an extended period who isn’t on the lease. The issue with long-term guests is that if they cause any damage to the property or break terms on the tenant’s lease, there’s little that can be done about it.

While it may be tempting to just keep close tabs on the situation, this approach puts you at risk of breaching your tenant’s privacy. The best approach is to confront the problem directly. You can schedule an inspection or ask for a meeting to address the issue. Give your tenant a chance to explain why they have a long-term guest and be open about your expectations while they’re staying at the property.

Prevent Tenant Privacy Violations

One way to avoid problems with long-term guests is to have a clearly outlined guest stipulation in your lease. Be clear about your expectations regarding consecutive overnight stays, the number of visits a tenant can have in a certain period of time, and your rules about subletting. This will give your tenants a better understanding of their responsibilities if such a situation arises.

Providing Notice before Entering the Property

Some landlords will show up at their tenant’s door unannounced or check up on them without a valid reason. This can feel extremely intrusive to tenants, and it’s often illegal. There are laws that prohibit frequent disruptions to tenant privacy, including things like making unnecessary repairs. One of the few exceptions is if a tenant is engaging in unlawful activities. However, in most circumstances, the law requires that landlords give notice.

The amount of notice a landlord is required to give a tenant varies from state to state, but it’s typically 24 – 48 hours’ notice. Even when you’ve provided notice and the tenant agrees, it’s still recommended that you keep a written record. Document all the repairs and reasons why you’ve needed to visit the property. This provides proof that you haven’t stopped by unannounced or made unnecessary repairs in case the tenant claims otherwise.

Smart Devices

Some landlords have begun to adopt smart devices at their properties, such as water sensors, locks, and thermostats. These devices can save on energy bills and they often make the home more convenient and comfortable for tenants. They can also increase the property value, making it easier to rent or resell it at a higher price.

Despite this, property owners should always discuss adding these devices with the tenants before they’re installed. Some tenants may feel wary about this new technology, either because they don’t understand how it works or they don’t trust it. Some smart devices can collect data, which can be delivered to third parties who could potentially misuse the information. Often, this involves selling a tenant’s information to an advertiser. The advertiser can then use the information to target the tenant or their demographic for sales and promotions.

Not only can this be annoying, but it may also create trust issues. So, the best practice, in this case, is to have an open conversation about the technology before it’s installed to make sure the tenant is comfortable with it.

Keep Communication Open From the Beginning

Essentially, the best way to avoid breaching your tenant’s privacy is to keep lines of communication open. Ideally, open communication should begin when you start screening potential applicants. This not only sets you up for finding great tenants, but it can also help you avoid turnover.

As applicants become tenants, and the relationship grows, both parties should work to continue communicating effectively. If all conversations are built on transparency and mutual understanding, your relationship with your tenants will be positive and respectful.

Posted by & filed under Tenant Screening.

Tenant screening is an essential step for finding a reliable renter for your Brookline MA property. However, thoroughly screening each applicant can take valuable time away from your property management. Tenant Screening Center saves you time and hassle with our affordable, in-depth tenant screening reports. Whether you need a tenant credit report or a background check, you can trust that you’re receiving accurate information. Since 1985, we’ve been helping landlords and property managers just like you place excellent tenants and protect their properties. All reports are available online 24/7, with a range of reporting options to meet your rental criteria and budget. Order yours today to start making the most informed decisions possible.

Tenant Screening Brookline MA

Your property represents a significant investment, so why shouldn’t you do everything you can to protect it? By using our tenant screening services, you can ensure that the applicants you select have a history of being responsible and dependable. Without screening, there’s no way to know how a person may behave as a tenant. They may seem like a good candidate, but without objective information, how can you really know? With our screenings, you can access a wealth of information to decide if they’re the right fit for your property.

Benefits of our Reports

With our tenant credit report, you’ll be able to assess an applicant’s financial stability. This report includes credit history, rental history, and the applicant’s level of debt. A credit history that contains inconsistencies may signal a red flag. Likewise, a high level of debt may indicate that the applicant would have greater difficulty making on-time rent payments. You’ll also be able to see whether they pay their bills on time, have been sent to collections, or have defaulted on rent. A tenant background check will give you insight into how the applicant has been as a tenant. You’ll have access to their credit history, eviction history, and employment history. Have they been able to maintain a steady job? Have they ever been evicted? These are just a couple of important considerations when selecting your new tenant.

In addition to our tenant credit report and background checks, we also offer mobile home park screening and commercial tenant screening for your Brookline MA property. Place your order online or contact us at 1-800-523-2381 with any questions you have.

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If you want to make the best possible choice for your Cambridgeport MA rental property, turn to Tenant Screening Center for accurate, reliable tenant screening reports. Since 1985, we’ve been helping landlords and property managers around the nation place good people into great homes. Our services are available online 24/7, so you can conduct screenings whenever it’s convenient. We provide different levels of screenings, making it easy for you to tailor your reports to your rental criteria and budget. Whether you need a tenant credit report or tenant verification, our reports save you time and give you the peace of mind you deserve. Order your tenant screening reports today!

Tenant Screening Cambridgeport MA

If you’ve ever had a bad tenant, you understand the importance of screening your applicants. Bad tenants may damage your property, fail to pay rent on time, or other small issues that compound and make you regret your selection. However, conducting tenant screenings on your own can be time-consuming, especially if you’re evaluating a number of applicants. Often, you’ll find the information available is limited, making it difficult to make an informed decision. Our tenant screening services make the whole process easy and streamlined. Choose the level of reporting you’re interested in, and we’ll gather the information you need.

Whey Else You Should Screen

Another important reason to screen your tenants is that it protects you from potential discrimination claims. By basing your decision on objective information from a tenant credit report or tenant background check, it makes it harder for an applicant to claim there was bias involved. If the applicant doesn’t meet your rental criteria, then you have a clear, valid reason to deny them. For example, if you see they have a high debt to income ratio, you can assume they would have a more difficult time paying rent consistently than the other applicant with a low debt to income ratio. Using their credit history, credit score, and other metrics as a guide gives you insight into the applicant’s reliability, financial stability, and projected outcome as a renter.

We also offer screening for commercial tenants, mobile home parks, and more. Having tenants you can trust with your Cambridgeport MA makes your property management as stress-free as possible. Order your reports online or feel free to reach out to us at 1-800-523-2381.