Don't let your "gut check" go to waste…

No, I’m not talking about a new abdominal workout but rather advocating that landlords be on top of things when choosing who to rent to. I bring up the topic to highlight that the majority of landlords don’t do this kind of research using instead a “gut check

8 thoughts on “Don't let your "gut check" go to waste…

  1. Can I throw out a reminder that it’s illegal to refuse to rent to people with small kids? This is a frequently ignored law, I unfortunately know from experience. Other than clicking “report abuse” on craigslist I don’t have the time to chase people down, and it would be their word against mine.

  2. Hi jkjk, sure, it’s always good to remind people that there are plenty of what are deemed “protected classes” and they will vary by state, county and city. Familial status is one on the list for the City of Seattle, which is more inclusive with its overall list than federal, state and county. Landlords and tenants should know this information to be sure Fair Housing is being upheld.

  3. Hi Reba,
    Nice article. I agree a lot of property owners or should I say people that know there is money to be made in real estate, and treat it like stock and put it in the safety deposit box. Real Estate is only passive for tax purposes. It is a very hands on and is easier when it is.

    A favorite system I know of is a property owner I worked with in South Florida. He charged a $100 application fee. If you were denied he refunded the money, if you were approved, he applied it to the security deposit, if you lied he kept it.

    A simple credit report tells a lot, not all but a lot. My favorite tenants are the ones that just had their bankruptcy discharged as the audience gasp. The first reaction is no way, let’s think about that. They have no debt and a chance at a start a new life and will work hard to get that new chance, at least for 18-24 months. So you have a good two year tenant. The best thing is to knock on the door of their current residence un-announced and personally take a peek at how they live. Call their references and call their employer. All told it is about 1-2 hours work.

    On the background check. I work with a non profit group and we have teams of men volunteer once a month and we go to the homes of single moms and do light maintenance work for two hours. So you can imagine a predator would be drawn to this work. So we do a background check. We did not want to invade the privacy of the men, we just wanted to know if they are a threat. We didn’t care if you got caught smoking pot 10 years ago. So I found a company called Mind Your Business, Inc. So we set it up where I would give them a list of items that I was looking for and the results came back satisfactory or not satisfactory. That way we could assure our care receivers that the men were checked against the Sex Offenders list and for violent crimes.

    However the key to staying out of hot water as a property owner is consistency. What ever procedure you have as long as you do it all the time you are pretty insulated. Also I would let all the tenants know what is checked and what is not.

  4. All good points, Rob, and I agree with you on them. My parents, who also have lots of rental properties, follow a similar philosophy of liking renters with bankruptcies and such because of exactly the same reasons you describe. If a renter is going to go buy a house in 6 months then you have higher turnover potential.

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