E-Renter Tenant Screening News

Be Careful When Evicting Tenants

March 21st, 2014

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Did you know that if your building has multiple owners, each name must be on eviction paperwork filed with the court? Leave one name off, and you could have your case dismissed.

That’s just one of little things that keeps many landlords from getting tenants evicted in a timely manner. It’s important to follow the rules in your state very carefully. They vary, but there are basic processes you should be aware of:

First, you have to give your tenant written notice that the lease will be terminated unless they pay the rent, move the RV, pay the damages they owe, etc. The notice will be either a “pay or quit” or “cure or quit” form. For example, in most states, you have to give tenants notice that unless they pay back rent in three to five days, they must quit the premises. Or, you might give a tenant 10 days to find a new place to park the RV.

For those who repeatedly violate the terms of their leases, you can issue an unconditional quit notice, after which the tenant must leave immediately. These are often used for chronic late rent, illegal activities or serious damages (like after a really rowdy party).

If the tenant doesn’t move out, then you can begin  legal proceedings, starting with a summons for eviction. The tenant might fight the eviction, find ways to delay it or expose errors in your paperwork (see above), each of which could prevent you from winning your case.

If you do win, the judge will issue a judgment for possession of the property. Then you must check your state’s laws pertaining to tenants’ property. Most states will have local law enforcement issue the tenant a notice of how many days they have to remove their belongings from the rental property.

If you’re in doubt about your state’s laws or exactly how to proceed with an eviction, contact a lawyer who’s familiar with—or specializes in—landlord-tenant law.

The best tool to protect your rental property and assets is thorough tenant screening. Conduct tenant background checks on every applicant to ensure you are leasing to the best possible tenant.

Five Reasons for Tenant Screening

March 19th, 2014

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More people are becoming landlords, whether because they are interested in investing in real estate, or because they need to lease a home they cannot sell. Lack of landlord experience often leads to mistakes that can be very costly. From choosing the wrong appliances or flooring to choosing the wrong tenants, it’s important to have the information you need to make sound decisions for your rental business. And, even if you only have one rental property, it’s still a business!

Arguably the most important decision you’ll make regarding your rental property is who will live in it. Choosing the best tenants isn’t always easy, but going through all of the required steps is imperative. That includes tenant screening. If you’re wondering why you should conduct tenant screening, here are some reasons that should convince you.

  1. “Professional tenants”: These are folks who know how to scam landlords, scam the system and live for months without paying any rent at all. Beware if you have a tenant who offers several months of rent upfront instead of good references. You might be tempted to skip the tenant screening in return, but professional tenants will not pay any additional rent—ever.
  2. False identity: More people are concealing their real identities, with authentic-looking photo IDs. If you fail to run a thorough tenant screening, you won’t know to whom you’re actually leasing. And you can’t help but wonder what they’re hiding in their past.
  3. Lying on lease applications: Many would-be tenants who want to live in your property hope you won’t check their references. They enter false information , from former addresses to former employers, on their lease applications. Checking references is the only way you’ll really know what kind of person they are.
  4. Slow job market: Stagnant wages, rising cost of living and rising rents are combining to make more people have a hard time paying for housing. It’s tough, but you’re not doing yourself any good if you lease to a tenant who can’t pay the rent.
  5. Protecting your property and other tenants: Perhaps the most important reason for tenant background checks is to screen out people with serious criminal records. Do you really want someone who has been convicted for assault, drug dealing or sex crimes living in your rental property? What is the potential liability if you don’t screen tenants and someone harms another resident? Do you want to risk having a criminal element in your property?

New landlords are particularly vulnerable to scam artists and dishonest people. Tenant screening will quickly give you the peace of mind you need and help ensure you’re leasing to the best possible tenant. It’s worth your time to find a tenant who has a good job, pays rent on time and causes no trouble!

Housing Market News: Sales and Prices Down in September

October 31st, 2013

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It’s not unusual for home sales to fall as autumn rolls in. And this year is no exception. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes fell 1.9% in September from a month earlier. A combination of higher mortgage rates and lower affordability led to the decrease in sales.

The NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that affordability fell to a five-year low. Home prices are rising faster than incomes are growing. As mortgage interest rates continue to climb, it will only get worse for those planning to buy and finance a home or investment property.

The annual pace of existing home sales was right in line with economists’ predictions, at 5.29 million, down from August’s estimate of 5.39 million.

Sales are still up from 2012, with a 10.7% increase over last September. We’ve seen monthly year-over-year increases for 27 straight months.

As far as prices go, low inventory levels are continuing to contribute to higher prices. September’s 2.2 million existing homes listed for sale represents a five-month supply, while six months is considered a healthy level. The median price for existing homes was $199,200 in September. That’s a nearly 12% increase over 2012, for the tenth straight month of double-digit year-over-year increases. However, the rate of increase is slowing down as the month-to-month median home price actually dropped 5% from August’s price of $209,700. This reflects a nationwide slowing trend of home appreciation.

The NAR expects that the recent government shutdown will impact sales data for October. Because the IRS was closed, tax information was unavailable, causing approvals of mortgage loans to be delayed.

Many economists say these signs of a cool-down in the housing market is a good thing, as prices were rising too fast to be sustainable.

In other housing market news, builder confidence fell two points in October to 55, according to the National Association of Home Builders. A level above 50 show optimism in the future of the new housing market.

The best tool to protect your rental property and assets is thorough tenant screening. Conduct tenant background checks on every applicant to ensure you are leasing to the best possible tenant.

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