THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD LEASE

cosign-lease-600pThe single most important document that a landlord should pay the most attention to, is a very strong, good quality lease. Let’s face it, the residential tenancy act is extremely one sided and we all know it favors tenants.

As a landlord you need to ensure that one of your most valuable assets is protected as best as it can be.

A good lease is your best foot forward. If for any reason you end up at a rental tribunal, the first thing that is typically referenced is your lease. More often than none, most landlords pay the least amount of attention to this incredibly important document.

Most landlords download a very generic lease off the internet, that is very often from a different geographic region and does not reference the proper tenancy rules and half the items listed in the lease are not applicable, or even illegal.

Yes, you may be saying to yourself that you have never had a problem with a tenant, but what happens when you do? Is your lease strong? Does it protect you? Are the terms listed in your lease legal? Is your lease legally binding? Does your lease reference the correct tenancy rules and regulations for your geographic region? Do you mention all items provided with the property for the tenants use and who will be responsible for maintaining them? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself to ensure that you are protected as best as you can be.

A great source for reviewing your lease is a paralegal. There are lot’s of really good paralegals that specialize in rentals that represent landlords only. They are much less expensive than a lawyer and sometimes even better for reviewing leases, as they deal with residential tenancy issues daily.

Leaseourhouse.com is a company that provides landlords with a very strong lease as part of their rental service, to protect a landlords best interests. They even provide a bunch of specialized lease conditions that can be added to the lease by answering a few simple yes or no questions about the rental property. They help protect you and your expensive asset.

To subscribe to our tips and hints newsletter please click here.

Marcin Zalewski

President/CEO

Leaseourhouse.com

Leaseourhouse.com saves its clients money … in more ways than one!

Apple

Leaseourhouse.com has partnered with Apple Self Storage to offer its clients, a 15% discount on packing supplies. This is especially great for all of the tenants that use the leaseourhouse.com service, as they’ll be moving to their new rental properties and needing packing supplies in the process.

Leaseourhouse.com is in the process of adding on a number of exclusive client discounts, that will directly benefit Landlords and Tenants but will only be available to leaseourhouse.com clients.

One more great reason to use the leaseourhouse.com services.

Tenants Beware of Rental Scams ….

 

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Majority of people in our society work extremely hard to earn their money and make an honest living. Nothing drives me more insane than seeing honest hard working people, getting scammed for their hard earned dollars.

I want to bring awareness to a rental scam that is happening around you.

Scammers are currently posting fake rental ads all over the internet, on various listing sites.  When you reply to these property listings, you receive an email back telling you all about the property, with beautiful pictures, and a rental application.  Sounds pretty normal so far, right? 

They then try to get you to pay for one months rent in advance of seeing the property as a deposit or a commitment of interest.  They do this by claiming that they have received an abundance of interest and replies, “BUT” if you pay for one months rent before viewing the property, it will secure you a first look at the property over everyone else and guarantee you the property, should you choose to go forward.  They sometimes claim that they are located a few hours away and want to make sure you are not wasting their time driving out to show you the property, by showing that you are serious with a refundable payment.  Other times they say that they have to leave the country for an emergency and to pay them to hold the property or to guarantee it.  They also go out of their way to let you know that your money will be fully refunded, should you not like the property or choose not to rent it, after you see it.  They will even go as far as scheduling a property viewing with you, sending you a lease to sign and sending you a fake proof of ownership.  The majority of time, they ask you to pay for the deposit via an email money transfer.  Bottom line is that there will never be a viewing appointment and your money will be gone.

Never send anyone, a months worth of rent or any money for that matter without seeing the property or having someone see the property on your behalf.  No reputable company, realtor, property manager or home owner, will ask you to pay anything before seeing the property.

These scammers target listing sites where they can place an ad that you can simply respond to.  You really need to be extra cautions with buy and sell sites, as these sites do not concentrate on rental listings, they concentrate on generating traffic to their sites to then sell advertising on.  They do not go through the listings, and your communications are direct with the people placing the ads.  There have been many articles on buy and sell sites and the dangers around using them.  This is even more so a problem if you are trying to find a rental property abroad because you are relocating cities or moving.

Here are some specific things to look for and to pay close attention to:

1.      Someone asking for you to send them money ahead of time, and more specifically before seeing the property.

2.      Scammers like to stick to metropolitan cities where there is a high demand for rentals.

3.      Properties typically tend to be underpriced for what they are, typically in the $1,200 per month range to attract more attention.

4.      Addresses will always be real addresses that can be located with google maps, sometimes showing an exterior picture, but always showing perfectly staged, beautiful bright interior pictures that do not match the outside of the property.  Example, lots of bright windows and the exterior only has one window.

There are lot’s of private listings for home rentals posted directly by home owners that are completely legit, just ensure that you pay attention to the items noted above.  Realtors, Property Managers and companies like Leaseourhouse.com are always a safe source.

Leaseourhouse.com is a company focused on helping Landlords and Tenants with the entire rental process, walking them through each step of the way.  They hold onto your First and Last months rental deposit until you receive the keys to your property to move in and you authorize them to release your rental deposit to the home owner to ensure your protection and safety.  Leaseourhouse.com is a “FREE” service to tenants, and the “ONLY” rental company to offer tenants incentives for using its services, such as $100 of FREE money towards your rental deposit, payment options for your First and Last months rent via a credit card to earn your favorite rewards points, a lease that is fair and does not have any illegal and unfair conditions, move in/out inspection form with instructions to protect you, exclusive client coupons for services and products that you will need for when you move such as savings on moving supplies, and much more. 

I hope this article can help with awareness in the rental industry, and help you protect yourself against rental scams.  Please share this link and spread the word to help as many people as we can.

Marcin Zalewski

President/CEO

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Leaseourhouse.com – Virtually revolutionizing the rental industry!

 

Bad Tenants and what can be done to avoid them?

 

badtenants

One of the largest challenges that landlords are faced with today, is the possibility of bad tenants.  This is enough of a fear that it actually deters a lot of people from even considering the option of buying an investment property.  We all hear too many stories and read too many articles about these so called bad tenants.

So what can you do to protect yourself from a bad tenant and how can you avoid them?

Let’s take a step back and start off by exploring the key characteristics that define a bad tenant;

  • Someone who doesn’t pay their rent on time
  • Someone who doesn’t pay their rent at all
  • Someone who causes damage to your investment property
  • Someone who disrupts others tenants enjoyment of the property

So what can be done to avoid a bad tenant?  There is no simple answer or simple solution and the risk of a bad tenant can never be completely eliminated, but there are a number of things you can do to greatly reduce the risk of getting a bad tenant, and reducing the risk is the key concept there.

The idea is to do everything you can to reduce the risk, especially before you approve a tenant but you also need to be ready and prepared as a landlord to deal with any of the above mentioned items when they do occur.

References and Reference Checks – I would bet that the majority of you probably feel that references are a complete waste of time because who in their right mind would provide a bad reference right?  WRONG!  Reference checks are actually extremely important and extremely valuable if they are completed correctly.  So what exactly does “correctly” mean?  If you do your reference checks correctly you can gain some real insight into your potential tenant, before you accept them.  Reference checks typically fall into the following categories, Employment Reference, Professional Reference, Personal Reference, and a Former Landlord Reference.  Let’s go over each one of these and how they can benefit you.

Employment Reference – This allows you to confirm where the tenant is employed, what they do and how much they make.  All extremely important factors when you consider the amount of money the tenant will be responsible for paying you over the course of a 12 month lease and the value of the property that they will be renting from you.  How do you know that the tenant didn’t provide you with their friends number to call?  Google the company and call the number that you find on the internet and ask for the person that the tenant provided and mention that they were provided to verify the tenants employment.  This ensures that you got to the right person and that the tenant actually works there.  At this point you will have confirmed whether the potential tenant provided you with the correct information and you will have confirmed the employment data.  If someone is lying to right from the get go, definitely a red flag.

Professional Reference – This is typically someone that can vouch for the qualifications of the tenant, a former employer, a colleague, a client, a vendor, a supervisor, etc.  This is someone whom you can ask about habits, responsibilities, work ethic and items of this nature.  I like to specifically ask for a direct supervisor or managers that the potential tenant reports to.  This way you can again Google the company, call in and ask for the tenants direct supervisor or manager, or say that you are calling to verify the references position with a supervisor and then ask to be transferred to them.  This allows you to ensure that this Is not just a buddy of the tenant who will say what you want to hear.  If the company is not too large you can even call in and say that you are looking to do a reference check on the tenant who only provided the company info and you are looking for the person that they report to and get transferred to the supervisor or manager that the tenant reports to without providing a name.  A good way to ensure that you get the right person on the phone.

Personal Reference – This is typically a friend, a co-worker or a family member.  This type of reference is a good opportunity to find out what kind of people the tenant is friends with.  It is also a great opportunity to ask the personal reference where the tenant works to see how well they actually know the tenant and to confirm that they do work where they said they work.  This also typically screens out people who are not serious about renting your property as it takes effort and time to pre frame and ask friends to be references, typically a sign of someone who is serious about renting and not just wasting your time.

Former Landlord Reference – This allows you to gain insight into what kind of tenant you are dealing with.  Ask lots of questions on the tenants habits and what kind of tenant they were and if they paid rent on time and so on.  Keep in mind that it is much more valuable to talk to an actual former landlord whom is no longer renting to the tenant as a current landlord may tell you whatever it takes to get rid of the tenant and pawn them off on you if they are a bad tenant.  If you want to confirm that it is an actual landlord and not just a buddy call the landlord and tell them you are calling about their property for rent and you were wondering if it was still available.  If the person on the other end says that they have no clue what you are talking about then you know the tenant provided a buddy and told them to tell you that they were a great tenant.  Calling to ask about a property they have for rent throws them off.  Another great way to see if the potential tenant is trying to lie to you from the get go.

All of the above reference checks take no longer than 5 minutes each and can really reduce your risk of being exposed to a bad tenant.  Good tenants provide you with the actual references that you requested and the references come through good.  A great worthwhile investment of your time that ensures you get the information that you are looking for about your potential tenant.

Credit Checks – Credit checks are a great tool to attempt to assess the risk of how likely a rental applicant is to miss their rental payments.  A good score does not mean they a tenant will never miss a payment and a bad score does not mean that a tenant will never pay their rent on time.  A credit check is merely a measure of risk.  Obviously the higher the score the better and less risk that the tenant will miss payments.  Now credit scores can be quite confusing and hard to read.  Our rule of thumb is that a score of 600 plus is rent worthy and a score less then 600 may be a risk.  Having said that I would not completely dismiss a tenant just because they had a credit score under 600, but our rule of thumb is to go with tenants that score 600 or more.  Remember that a credit score is determined by the number of things, one being someone’s payment history.  If their credit score is below 600 it is for a reason, so keep that in mind.

Social Media – Yes I said Social Media.  In todays society people like to make their lives very public.  Social media and public profiles can be a great tool for you as a landlord.  You can gain a glimpse of someone’s lifestyle and evaluate their integrity via their posts.  Some individuals have complained that using social media for screening is a violation of their right to privacy, but if the information is on a public page, these claims typically carry little weight.  Go through some posts and pictures and form an idea as to whether this person will make a good tenant.  Example; If the potential tenant has lots of pictures trashing their current rental, common sense says this may not be the tenant that you looking for. 

Meeting the Tenant – One of the oldest forms of forming an opinion is quite simply a face to face meeting and having a conversation.  A good way to do this is to show your own property instead of having a property manger or realtor show it for you.  Schedule a time with the potential tenant and see if they show up on time.  See how they present themselves, and ask them lots of questions.  Think of this as an interview that you are conducting.

Please keep in mind that discrimination can be a problem when screening tenants and you as a landlord need to be really careful not to discriminate.  Discrimination occurs when a landlord refuses to rent to someone because of the impression they form about the person’s class, race, color, religion, national origin, marital or familial status, gender, advanced age or disability.

Don’t be lazy, your property is worth a lot of money.  Invest 30 minutes of your time and ensure that you do everything that you can to reduce your risk of a bad tenant.

We have recently launched a new company called Leaseourhouse.com and one of our key focus points is in helping landlords attain better tenants through all of the above mentioned items.  We actually provide landlords with a step by step guide through the entire rental process along with a “Reference Check and Tenant Screening Guide”, which even provides a list of specific questions to asks along with tips to ensure you get the most out of your tenants references.  We provide a detailed lease template that is customized to your property based on some simple yes or no questions, a simple to read credit check through TransUnion, an essential move in/out inspection form with instructions to protect you as a landlord, a summary of what landlords and tenants are allowed to and not allowed to do based on your geographic region and access to an array of landlord forms like eviction forms of various nature, rent increase forms and lot’s more.  Leaseourhouse.com is a one of a kind online portal that helps landlords through the entire rental process, helping landlords each step of the way and providing them with everything that they may need right until the tenant moves out.  Were not just another rental listing sire or a rental application site.  We  don’t just help you find a tenant, which is the only thing that everyone else seems to help you with.  We help you with everything.  We even educate tenants on the rental legislature so that they know what they are allowed to and not allowed to do, in an effort to provide better tenants that pose less risk to you as a landlord.  We help you reduce your risk exposure to bad tenants.

Our services are completely risk free in that you can list your property and if you find your own tenant we just ask that you take your listing down.  If we are successful in helping you find a great tenant that you approve based on references and a credit check, if the tenant signs your lease, if we collect your first and last months rental deposit from your tenant, and if the tenant moves in, then we take a small fee of half of one months rent, and we still provide you with everything that you may need right until your tenant moves out.  The listing and credit check is absolutely free, so there are no upfront costs to you.  We are cheaper than everyone else and we provide you with way more value and services.  Other companies only help you find a tenant and they charge you one full months rent.  We are revolutionising the way rentals are done.

At this moment our services are only available in Ontario Canada, but that will change soon as we expand to the remainder of North America.

We also partner with realtors and property management companies.

If you have any questions or would like to explore partnering with us, please feel free to reach out.

Leaseourhouse.com

Marcin Zalewski

President/CEO

Lease Our House Inc.

info@leaseourhouse.com

LeaseOurHouse.Com Landlord Newsletter, Helpful Tips & Hints- December 2016

It’s very imperative to start off on the right foot with a new tenant.

We recommend for you to always get your new tenants a small welcome gift and leave it on the counter with a thank you card.  This doesn’t have to be a lavish or expensive gift, as a little goes a long way.  The idea is to say thank you to your client for their business and at the same time, welcome them to their new home.  A gift also sets a positive start to your relationship with your tenant, and sets a president for a positive relationship for the term of the rental.  When someone gives you a birthday gift, you subconsciously feel that you have to return the deed and get them a birthday gift when their birthday rolls around.  Giving your tenant a small welcome gift has this same effect, statistically this is how the majority of people tend to think.  In this case you are not looking for a gift in return but this small gift helps you create a better tenant, as they will now subconsciously feel that they owe you something.  You will be amazed at how far this little gesture can go.

Remember your tenants birthday and send them a card or an email with birthday wishes.  Check in with your tenant once in a while to see if they need anything and to see how they are doing.   Communication is a key ingredient to a good tenant.  If you treat your tenant with respect and start the relationship off on a good note, the tenant will be more likely to reciprocate and take better care of your investment, they will be more likely to stay longer at the property, they will tend to give you more notice if they do decide to move, and they will be more inclined to leave your property in better condition when they do finally move out.

Do everything that you can, to create a positive reciprocal relationship with your tenant right from the start.  Show up on time for property showings and always be respective your tenants time.

Marcin Zalewski – President/CEO – LeaseOurHouse.Com

To subscribe to our Landlord Tips and Hints Newsletter please follow this link:

https://www.leaseourhouse.com/newsletter

LeaseOurHouse.Com is a complete end to end online rental platform for landlords to post properties for rent, manage viewing requests and appointments, receive rental offers with references and credit data, customizable lease templates, first and last months rent collection, move in/move out inspection forms with detailed instructions, a summary of what landlords and tenants can and cant do based on geographic regions, access to all landlord eviction and rent increase forms, automated monthly rent collection options and more.   LeaseOurHouse.Com simplifies the entire rental process, right from your smartphone, tablet or PC and provides everything from posting a property until your tenant moves out.  Give us a try today.