by Bill Gray
With over 10 years experience in the apartment collection business, I can tell you the best ways for a deadbeat tenant to rip you off.
Do you keep a conversation log with your tenant?
Do you file correspondence from and about your tenant?
In fact, many of my collection clients don’t even have a valid forwarding address! The easiest way for a tenant to avoid paying your debt is to leave without a trace.
So, first and foremost, if you want to maximize your chances for tenant debt recovery, get the right DOCUMENTATION UP FRONT:
Completed application with at least THREE personal references, THREE business references, EMERGENCY CONTACT information, and copies of all documentation required with the application.
A lease signed by EVERY ADULT in the unit. (Be sure to run a screen on every adult as well.)
A log of EVERY interaction with the tenant.
A copy of EACH rent check.
Always hire a collection agency that requires full documentation at the time the files is placed for collection. This way when documentation is required down the road, the agency already has it.
Keep your collection files out and in a place where you can easily get you hands on them, should you need to. Throwing them in a box in no particular order and placing the boxes in a shed just wont work for a landlord or property manager serious about collecting debt!
Bill Gray is Director of Marketing with Rent Recovery Service, a national collection agency specializing in tenant debt collection.
See our feature, Are You Leaving Money in Your File Drawer?
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American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts for landlords on products and services related to your commercial housing investment, including real estate forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.
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