As the year winds to a close, we recap the 10 top landlord mistakes of 2008:
1. Missing Your Profit Potential
Surrendering to the ‘fear factor’ of the economy and not taking the time to calculate the highest rent possible on your property ranks number one on our countdown. The Fix? Apply the formula from How to Tell If You Are Charging Enough Rent.
2. Overcharging, or Undercharging, for Application Fees
You could be breaking the law. Find out more in How and Why to Collect Application Fees.
3. A Lease Application That Falls Short
Now more than ever, out-dated, insufficient or incomplete Lease Applications will cost you through ineffective tenant screening, late rent payments, and bad rent collection. Learn what yours should include in Is Your Lease Application Falling Short?
4. Using a ‘Standard’ Lease Agreement
In this litigious era, you can’t afford to cut corners and use a bad lease form. Online and preprinted forms can work, and save you money, if you know how to tailor them. Nothing limits your rights more than a poorly-written lease. We show you How to Make Online Legal Forms Work for You.
5. Take a Picture – It Last Longer!
And it holds up better in court than your testimony alone. Take pictures when the tenant MOVES IN and when they MOVE OUT. Better yet, take a video! Hear from a property manager who’s been there in Avoid This Devastating Move In Mistake.
6. Not Re-Screening the Tenants Who Come With the Property
Investors are grabbing up deals, but many of these properties come complete with tenants –and empty rental files, incomplete rental applications, and outdated emergency contact information. This all-to-common landlord nightmare will find you trying to collect bad rent against a tenant you can’t identify. But you can Avoid This Tenant Debt Collection Nightmare.
7. Not Knowing This Year’s Hot Legal Buttons
This year, bed bugs reached epidemic proportion in the rental world. Savvy lawyers are finding new ways to attack landlords, even bringing suits for allowing in a new tenant with an infested mattress. One landlord installed a sauna room just for de-bugging incoming furniture! Are you doing enough to avoid this creepy and expensive liability? Bed Bugs Are Back, and Spawning Lawsuits. Other hot buttons in 2008: Domestic Violence, and Illegal Immigrants.
8. Charging Late Fees
The late fees you are charging may be illegal. The best case scenario: the judge won’t enforce them. Worst: the judge decides to throw out your “illegal” lease altogether! Don’t get caught in this trap – find out more in Are Late Fees Legal?
9. Trying to be Nice
There’s no room for kindness when it comes to excuses for late rent. Hear from a property manager who learned this lesson the hard way in It Still Doesn’t Pay to Be Nice.
10. Botching Your Eviction
There are three easy ways to lose your eviction case, and even wind up owing money to the delinquent tenant. Avoid these 3 Common Ways to Botch Your Eviction.
Here’s to a safe and profitable 2009!
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts 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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