Residential Property Management/Questions.

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Question
Good day
With reference to the renting out of a townhome for the first time I have the following questions:
1. Lets say a renter is responsible for the water & electricity bills and they leave the property with a few months of electricity / water bills. How does the landlord protect himself from being responsible for this debt and any other debt that the renter incurs on the property?
2. How does one set up a lease in which a realtor / property manager is paid once the landlord collects his or her money. For instance I have been told by realtors that the usual policy is that the realtor / property manager collects their % of the lease whether 8% or 10% upfront once the lease is signed or they  request the first months rent. What i am getting at is that if the tenant leaves 3 months later (breaking the 1 year lease), the landlord has to pay again to find another tenant and also since the realtor has collected his or her money upfront he or she does not have as much interest in the property. From the perspective of the landlord, how does he structure the agreement in a way that if he does not collect money from the tenant the realtor / property manager does not get paid. What are some of the things that a landlord can do to get around this?
3. How does a landlord do the screening and background checks himself, what are some of the credible do it yourself resources?

Answer
1 - when a tenant contracts for water or electricity the contract is between the provider of the utility and a tenant you
A the owner are not involved. so if the tenant leaves owing  money they cannot come back on you.

2 - first make sure any contract you have with a realtor  or property manager is in writing. a realtor or property manager
will expect to collect their fees once a lease is signed.  If the tenant leaves before the end of the lease theyw
Wuill have to prorate their fee after leasing out the property again.they have incentive to re-lease the
property because they get a percentage of every monthRent, usually 10 percent.  if you are working with a reputable company they will want to release the property and get you a good tenant.

3 there are a number of ways to screen in a tenant.  You can do it yourself, however if you want to have a good manager, you have to expect they will want to get the tenant for you because that is part of their income.  Its cheaping  out and not fair to your managers.  if you want to do it yourself you can go to the courthouse nearest you or look them up online and see if you can do a research for the tenants name either in the criminal or civil records.  this will show if they have had prior evictions or drug charges for example.  You can also pay a service provider to do records checks and pull credit reports.  There are a number of online companies who can do that, although I've not usedused any to recommend.  Just remember too, that even though one might have poor credit it doesn't necessarily mean they will not pay rent timely.  You have to look at the big picture and see sometimes history.  You are looking for consistency in work or rental background.  If some has has the same job for more than a year that's good.  Some unstable will not have long term rental or work history.  Hope this helps.  Feel free to write againin.  StefaniStefani

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Stefani Nachatilo

Expertise

I can answer basic beginner questions like "How do I get started buying my 1st rental property" and "What to look for when taking an application on a tennant." "Here`s what capital I have to work with -- what are my options?"

Experience

I started purchasing rental properties in 1995 with my husband, part-time, while working a full time job. We started with very little seed money. One year we purchased 11 single family units. Recently we bought 5 properties in 2 months. We purchased our 1st small apartment building in 2004. I am now managing our units and doing property investing and management full time.

Publications
My Husband and I have written a book for the new real estate investor, "Weekend Warrior's Guide to Real Estate Investing", published by Tate Publishing. Can be purchased from TatePublishing.com or Amazon.com. Have been published in Real Profits by Carlton Sheets and Discount Buyer's Association monthly magazine.

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