Importance of Screening Tenants

by Mirania 31, May 2012 19:52

Proper screening of your tenants is the most important factor for renting out your house as it helps eliminate tenant problems significantly. As a landlord, you should always ensure that you are renting out your property to an eligible and responsible tenant.

We often come across various landlords in Dallas and Houston who have been facing tenant problems because of their ignorance about the tenant screening process. As investment property managers, we always advise our clients to do proper screening of the prospective tenants before leasing the property to them. Screening tenants is important as it saves you from imminent troubles by reducing the threat of possible loss of income from nonpaying tenants and tenants who may not care for yoru property. Moreover, it also protects you from all legal hassles. as the eviction process in Houston and Dallas for example can take up to a month and have additional court fees.  

If you are starting out in property investment and planning to rent out your property, we hope that these tips would help you conduct careful screening of your tenants to eliminate all potential tenant related risks.

  1. Rental Application: The first step is to make your potential tenant fill out a rental application so that you have complete information about the tenant for verification. Rental applications help you to make the right decision for renting out your property. Once you get the rental application from the potential tenant, you should review it properly and trace out if there is any inconsistency in the application.

  2. Ask for Identification:  The prospective tenant should also provide you with valid identification details such as a copy of a Social Security card or drivers license. These details should be provided along with the rental application. Please, remember that when you take these documents that you have obligations to safeguard these documents as a property manager or a landlord. You should have proper storage and document retention policies in place.

  3. Do background checks: The next important step is to conduct a background check. As a landlord or property management company, you should take all possible measures to perform a background check of your tenants. This helps you to ascertain that you are renting out your property to a qualified tenant. While doing a background check keep the following factors in your mind:
    • Call the present landlord to know about the potential tenants.  You can find out if tenants have a habit of paying late, have a balance, or take care of the property
    • Do a proper analysis of their employment details. Make sure you figure out if their take home pay is enough to cover rent and other obligations.
    • You should also ensure that the prospective tenant does not have any criminal history that will put the property or community at risk.
    • You should verify with employers to make sure that the tenants are presently employed.

  4. Check the credit history of the prospective tenant: Credit checks of potential tenants are equally essential to safeguard your interests as a landlord.  Credit reports can help you determine if the prospective tenants will pay on time.  Please note that tenants in today’s economic situations do have issues, so you may have to do a further analysis including putting more weight on rental history. 
  5. Get an eviction check done:  This is another important stage of tenant screening process. Past records of an eviction indicate that the tenant has the habit of skipping rent-payment. It also indicates that he or she might not leave your rental property if you experience any issue related to rent payment and other relevant issues.

  6. Utilize a strong rental agreement: It is imperative for you to create a rental agreement that should lucidly explain the terms and conditions of renting out a property along with the code of conduct. The rental agreement should be properly read to understand the duties as well as the responsibilities of the tenant as well as the landlord. The lease agreement should be duly signed by both parties  (or a duly appointed property management representative). If you used license realtors or licensed property management firms, then they should have access to well drafted and legally binding leases that are consistent with the landlord and tenant laws of your state. Your prospective tenants should know exactly what is expected of them. If they balk at a well drafted lease or terms, then this could be warning signs that you could have issues in the future.

These tips will help you ward off difficult tenants, and help to ensure that landlords and property management companies get the best tenant for a rental property.

Energy-saving Tips for Landlords & Tenants

by Mirania 31, May 2012 19:43

Property investors and homeowners all over the world are taking stringent measures to make their homes more energy efficient. An energy efficient home not only reduces your summer and winter utility bills but also makes your property more saleable in the market. Moreover, every tenant prefers an efficient home that can reduce their utility bills throughout the year.

The Columbia Daily Tribune (Renters need more information, students’ survey shows) published a recent study conducted by students from the Truman School for Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. The study clearly indicates that renters should be well-informed about the energy efficiency of their residence. The report also stresses on the formation of tenant unions in order to safeguard the interest of the tenants as far as energy efficiency is concerned.

Countries across the world are adopting effective ways to conserve energy; for example, in the United Kingdom it is mandatory for homeowners to renovate their energy-inefficient properties so that the tenants can lower their utility costs.

Before a property is rented out, it is highly essential for a home owner to consider refurbishing their rental properties to be more energy inefficient. Simultaneously, it is equally essential for a tenant to take measures for maintaining the energy-efficiency of the rented home. While choosing to refurbish a rental house, thelandlord should consider the following:

  1. The electronic appliances installed in the house are Energy Star labeled
  2. The rooms are properly ventilated and consider installing ceiling fans versus decorative light fixtures
  3. Paint the home lighter shades to help better reflect the heat and bring up the curb appeal

As a landlord and property manager , it is a great way to retain tenants and show them that you care by making your tenants aware of energy efficiency so that they can implement the recommendations to benefit themselves.

The following tips would guide landlords as well as tenants to take effectual measures for saving energy:

  1. Furnish the rooms with rugs and carpet to make your home naturally warm and cozy during the winter season.
  2. Always use energy efficient lightings; for example, CFLs and LEDs. Switch off the lights when you don’t need them.
  3. Use the heating and cooling appliances only when you need them. Never leave the electrical appliances on standby.
  4. Turn the thermostat down by 1 degree Celsius or a couple of degrees Farenheit to reduce electricity bills.
  5. Don’t overcharge laptops or mobile phones.
  6. Save water bill by washing fruits and vegetables in a vessel instead of washing them under running tap-water. Using a shower also helps in saving water.
  7. Use ceiling fan as an alternative to air conditioners to save your cooling bills. Changing the direction of ceiling fans to counter-clockwise during the winter season helps in pushing warm air down thus making your room warm.

These are some useful tips for landlords to inform tenants, and tenants to know to make their home energy-efficient. Tenants should keep in mind that while taking measures of energy efficiency, and tenant should always seek the permission of your landlord in order to stay away from possible disputes.

The following video demonstrates few simple methods of making your home more energy-efficient:

References:
http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/home-and-garden/0328-15-energy-efficient-designing-tips-for-home/
http://mountainridgepropertymanagement.blogspot.in/2009/09/energy-saving-tips-for-tenants-and.html
http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=23779781
http://www.energyefficienthomearticles.com/Article/home-improvement---appliances----Choosing-Energy-Efficient-Home-Materials-And-Appliances-/5480

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