Management Tips From   


Turn Pennies into Dollars


Tenants often move while owing money and often don't provide a forwarding address, yet they nearly always leave coins on the floors. Gather the coins and place them in an envelope. Then call the references listed on their rental application to ask for help with locating your former tenant's new address. Explain that, after they moved, you found "some money" in the unit and you want to return it to them

What are you Looking for in a Tenant?

One landlord asked; "When showing a house to prospects, what is your response when they ask, "What exactly are you looking for in a tenant?"   

Two experienced landlords share how they respond: 

1. I tell them I am looking for someone who (like my ads state)  
   a) has income at least three times the rent, does not have a history of evictions,  
   b) will pay their rent on time and  
   c) does not destroy my property. 

Sometimes they will ask what I look for in a credit history. This can also be a red flag. I tell them I expect that folks will have bills and it would not be unusual that a credit report might show education loans, car loans or medical bills for those who do not have insurance.

What I am looking for is a consistent pattern that they are making payments on these items as opposed to having them turned over to collection agencies. In the end (as I explain) a landlord is simply another creditor.

2. I tell them I am looking for someone who 
   a) Doesn’t make me chase the rent - pay on time. 
   b) Take care of the house like it's your own.                                                                                                                

   c) If there is a problem, tell me asap so I can fix it, and it doesn't become a bigger problem.                                    

   d) Don't be an _________ - be a good neighbor.

That's what I'm looking for; that's the expectations I tell every approved tenant at lease signing. Sometimes I'll throw in the "I will either be the best landlord you ever had, or the worst... it's up to you."

Screening Tip-Compare Info on Pay Stub

We all know that sneaky applicants conveniently forget to list previous landlords they stiffed. My screener recently found one this way: He compared the address on the pay stub to the application. Hmmm...that address was not listed on the application. He searched online property records and contacted THAT owner. Sure 'nough! That prior landlord had kicked out our applicant but did not take him to court. Hope this tip helps someone dodge a deadbeat!

Ten Rental Issues to Address in Your Lease

Each year, there are usually two or three enlightening discussions by landlords nationwide on our popular Q&A Forum regarding important rental issues to address in your lease. Currently there is an active discussion on some of the best lease clauses to include and important issues landlords should address. In this discussion, ten recommended lease issues to address include:

1) Require all vehicles that are parked on a property be registered, insured and in working condition.  Require that any disabled vehicle needing more than 24 hours to be operational be cleared with management.


2) No outside storage allowed.


3) Rent is due on the first and must be received before 5 PM to be considered on time. Rent can only be paid by cashier's check, money order or auto draft. Personal checks are not accepted. 


4) Security Deposit cannot be used to pay rent due, even for the last month of the rental agreement.


5) Tenants are responsible for routine spraying and pest control.


6) Tenants are responsible for shoveling and keeping walkways free from snow and ice.


7) All entertainment (i.e. Satellite dish) antennas must be pole mounted. 


8) No smoking in the unit by tenant or tenant's guests or within 20 feet of the building. Any failure of the tenant to adhere to the above clauses is considered violation of the lease agreement. If evidence of smoking is reason for the lease violation, tenant will forfeit security deposit to pay for smoke smell mitigation.


A couple of suggestions For Multi-unit Leases include:

9) The tenant(s) acknowledge they are living in a multi-unit residential complex and shall conduct themselves and require their guests or agents to conduct themselves so as not to interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of other residents occupying the premises.

10) The landlord maintains the right to allocate, assign and reassign the tenant(s) designated parking location(s).

Although landlords have benefited greatly by adding clauses to their lease which address the above issues, please know that state laws do vary. So it is always advisable to check your state laws before adding new lease clauses to make sure any new clause does not conflict with landlord-tenant laws for your state. 

Three Ways to Avoid “No Shows”

One of the most aggravating things many landlords face is having a prospective resident set a time to meet you to look at a rental home, and then they do not show up..... 

To avoid no-shows and avoid wasting your valuable time, landlords employ different strategies. Some of these strategies were highlighted recently in a discussion on our Q&A Forum. Here were a couple of suggestions. 

1) Don't schedule appointments for more than 24 hours in advance. I have phone screened applicants who want to see places on the weekend because they work long hours during the week. I tell them to call Friday night or Saturday morning to set something up and 9.9 out of 10 times, I will never hear from them. I'm not really chalking it up to them finding something else, but more that most people can't remember past their last tweet or facebook post.

2) Use a  lockbox... applicants go over, use the lockbox, they look, fill out app if they hadn't already online. Doesn't waste my time. Prior to the applicants coming over,  I text some pics of our last vacant nicer home. Momma LOVED it and had her mate talked into it even before he viewed it. After they walked through, they call and ask if or when will their app be approved. Real time saver.

3) I just do open houses. Somebody always shows up so it’s not a waste of time and I feel that it is safer.

What Color do You Paint Rentals?

There is often a differing viewpoint between landlords on what paint colors to use in rentals. On one end of the spectrum you have the cost-conscious rental owners who will use only one color, the same color, and usually a white or off-white for everything. And then you have the other end of the spectrum, where landlords seek to cater to a growing younger audience who want more color options.

The challenge is that if you don't meet the desires of your prospects, you may lose more money trying to save on costs, while your property sits empty. Who are YOUR target markets? What do they desire? Do you honestly know the answer to that question, based on applicant or current resident surveys? Or, are you simply going be what "you" think is desired. Perhaps, maybe you think it does not really matter at the moment which colors are preferred, because your rentals are all filled. If you do have one or more vacancies, you may want to give more consideration to the choice of paint colors you are utilizing or offering.

Here are the three main differing viewpoints on paint colors shared by landlords on a discussion currently taking place on our Q&A Forum. Which response is closest to your approach?

1) Yes, I paint the entire apartment one color, which is a neutral color. 

2)  We do a very slight variation between woodwork and wall. Our most recent color combo is Cappuchino walls and bright White woodwork. Just enough variance to set off the woodwork but not enough so that a slip of the brush shows up too much...easy to touch up. Takes a little extra time to paint two colors, but rents quicker in the long run. And  I'd be up for an 'accent' wall if someone wanted it.

3)  Look at ANY home decor magazine and you'll see COLOR! The younger the prospect the more color they want. 30% of renters are under 30.  Off white everything says "cheap rental." You Gottta get a WOW when they walk in. No WOWs?? CHANGE! We use flat white on ceilings and semi- gloss white straight from the can for Trim/Doors. And on walls: camel tan, gray (VERY "IN"!), hot chocolate, sage. I bought up all the mis-tints from two stores and we offer residents as "your choice" accent colors. Bright green has been popular. Considering going to a soft cream for the trim.

Help Prevent Scams of Your Property

The following story was shared by a landlord about prospective tenants being scammed by "pretend landlords". This sample story continues to become more and more prevalent throughout the country.  

"Listed a property on Postlets this week. Received two calls from prospective tenants saying they found my ad on Trulia being pushed by a scammer to get people to wire the security deposit in exchange for keys. Both prospects almost fell for it given their sense of urgency and the great deal being advertised ($300 less per mo). Postlets said to take it up with Trulia. No response from Trulia yet." 

A fellow landlord shares the following tips on how to prevent your rental house from being used by scammers. 

"Just happened to me - an alert local Realtor® saw it. I had watermarked, but not large, and the scammer managed to blur it a little. Here's what to do: Go to the Trulia listing. Under the listing photo, hover your cursor on the word "more." In the dropdown, chose "flag." Next, email, giving specifics that you are the owner, and this is fraudulent.

Trulia took the listing down within 10 hours, but in the meanwhile, I put an alert on my real ads to look out for "Keisha Jones," the name the scammer gave. 

In the future get at least your main photo watermarked with a phone number and email address, fairly prominently. I use picmonkey - choose “Edit,” upload your photo, then select Tt on the far left to create a textbox. Pretty easy, even for non-photo-editing savvy me."

Reprinted by Permission. The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.