Recent Survey Show Rental Markets Remain Attractive for Landlords

Rental markets have always been boom or bust, and recent years have been nothing but boom, especially in large urban centers such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.  As the rental markets continue to heat up landlords are enjoying greater success.
From REBusinessonline.com (May 02, 17):

Six in 10 apartment landlords say it is more profitable and attractive to be a landlord than it was five years ago, according to a new survey from TransUnion SmartMove, a tenant screening service for owners. The survey was conducted in March 2017 and included responses from 689 landlords across the country.

At the close of the first quarter of 2017, property owners indicated it was easier to find qualified renters and that resident turnover had declined compared with the same time last year. (1)

And the key is qualified renters.

What is a qualified renter?  Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com explains:  “A qualified renter is one that can afford a property, shows the wherewithal to pay rent on time, and has had a successful rental career.  No late payments, no evictions, no apartment jumping.  A qualified candidate can also be that renter that has a clear record, great references and positive referrals.”

Turning a qualified candidate into a long-term renter can be profitable for landlords, but the very reason qualified renters are paying higher rent is the same reason they may not be long term.

Almeida explains:  “Increasingly the younger generation is more transient.  They tend to move around more and not spend money on a big investment such as a house or a car.  This would explain the increasing popularity of living in an urban city, close to work and entertainment and not restrictive on movement due to requiring a car.”

However, the near term remains bright for landlords.

Almeida adds: “A thorough tenant background check is critical to find the qualified candidate for a rental property.  Landlords and property managers should review credit history, criminal background records, and, especially, eviction reports.”

Credit history is important to verify a candidate’s ability to fulfill the rental obligation.  Certainly a consumer credit report will provide the data a landlord needs to make a well informed decision, just as criminal records and eviction reports will further enhance the process.

Almeida adds:  “It should be noted that some segments of the rental community now ban the question of criminal records as part of the application process.”

In 2016 the Department of Housing and Urban Development as supported by the Fair Housing Act initiated certain bans of criminal history in public housing.

Almeida adds: “Ultimately the search of the qualified candidate is critical to the long-term health and fiscal viability of a property and one that must be conducted in a fair, legal, and lawful manner.  Property managers and landlords must work with well-qualified third-party tenant screening companies in order to remain fully compliant with all applicable law.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with highly trained investigators well versed in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, and all public record reports, as part of a tenant check.

Notes:

(1)   rebusinessonline.com/low-turnover-higher-rental-prices-lead-to-attractive-apartment-market-for-landlords/

Tenant Screening 101 – A Review

What is tenant screening?

Tenant screening is a form of background screening utilized by landlords and property managers to vet applicants of rental property.  A rental property could be a room, house, or apartment.  Often times tenant screening is conducted on vacation rental properties for periods longer than a week or two.

Tenant screening utilizes information gathered from public reports.

What is a public report or record?

Any time a person interacts with a public agency information is obtained and stored.  The criminal justice system is one such source as is the department of motor vehicles.  Further, credit information drawn from one of the three major credit reporting agencies can be used in tenant screening under specific and special circumstances.

Which public records are being used in tenant screening?

Of the many different reports there are three key documents.

  1.      Consumer credit report
  2.      Evictions
  3.      Criminal History/Sex Offender Registry

A Consumer Credit report – This report is provided by a credit bureau and contains information on an applicant’s credit worthiness or ability to pay.  A credit report contains information on loans and credit arrangements, including contracts and revolving credit plans.  It will also contain critical payment information as well as action taken by issuers of credit.  Consumer credit reports can only be created after an applicant provides explicit written permission and has been informed of individual rights regarding the ability to correct any information and acquire a copy of the report used during the tenant background check.

Evictions – This report provides information on a potential tenant’s rental history.  Just as the name suggests an eviction report shows any history of eviction from previous landlords or property managers.

Criminal History/Sex Offender RegistryCriminal background checks will provide any recordable interaction with the justice system, primary the police or sheriff departments.  This may include minor misdemeanors or major felonies.  It should be noted that recent actions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development may restrict the use of criminal history.

Are there other reports available to a landlord?

A landlord can gain access to any public record.  Other records that may be of interest include:  Civil Records, Nationwide Criminal, Liens and Judgments, and Verifications. A best practice for a landlord would be to let a renter know exactly what information is being requested and used.

Should the owner of a small apartment building or single family dwelling use a tenant screening company?

Regardless of property size a landlord or property manager should use a third-party tenant screening company.

A well-qualified tenant screening company maintains compliance and understanding of all rules, regulations, and laws governing the use of public records.  Further, a tenant screening company will have the security and systems in place that can maintain, control and store all the sensitive information used during the tenant screening process.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that provides tenant checks to landlords and property managers for all sizes and types of rental complexes.  From the single-unit to the large community, TenantScreeningUSA.com has the ability to customize a tenant screening package specific to a managers unique requirements.

Not in My Town: Second Chances, Civil Rights, and a Landlords Quandary

Not in my town.

A common refrain one might expect when announcements are made regarding Sex Offender housing priority.

Recently, in Cayuga County, Sex Offender housing continues to be a point of contention.

From an editorial at AuburnPub.com (Sep. 02, 15):

Providing emergency shelter to parolees falls to counties. Parolees without housing resources are sent to the county of sentencing at discharge and we are required to house them. We cannot give out bus tickets and send people to other counties. Emergency housing is governed by law and regulation. (1)

Housing Sex Offenders and parolees can often cause considerable concern within the community.  Sex Offenders must live by very specific rules, based on law, as to where they can live and how close to schools, parks, etc. those living arrangements may be.

From the Opinion Page at the NYTimes.com (Sep. 08, 15):

In some places, … “predator-free zones” put an entire town or county off limits, sometimes for life, even for those whose offenses had nothing to do with children.  (2)

In truth Sex Offender registrants, as well as parolees need to be housed somewhere.  Sometimes the State will mandate a location and rent a home or apartment on behalf of the parolee.

In Ionia, MI such an arrangement has been made, much to the concern of citizens living nearby.

From the Sentinel-Standard.com (Sep. 02, 15):

Deputy Mayor Kim Patrick spoke at length about his displeasure with the MDOC having the house in town available for former prisoners. He said he expects the council is going to have more people contacting them about the situation. (3)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “Providing housing for registered Sex Offenders and parolees can be a challenging effort.  One might have to consider a broader tenant background check, rely on the guarantee of another person such as a family member, or work with local police officials.  In a time of high occupancy rates it is difficult for the parolee or registrant as well.”

Second chances are rare and second chances for parolees may become a matter for the Federal Government and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

From truth-out.org (Mar. 15, 15):

Advocates are organizing against what they say is an overlooked civil rights issue: the exclusion of ex-offenders, overwhelmingly people of color, from public and subsidized housing. Many subsidized housing providers employ lifetime bans against people with criminal records, despite a stated commitment to “second chances” by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (4)

Almeida states:  “As federal agencies continue to focus on civil rights issues, such as the use of criminal histories as a part of pre-employment, their eyes could soon gain a greater focus on Housing.”

There are notable exceptions where groups or companies are stepping up and providing housing second chances.  One such group, Second Chance Rentals, is providing housing opportunity in Tucson, Arizona.

From KJZZ.org (Aug. 24, 2015):

Second Chance Rentals brought its practice of renting to felons and evictees, a population other landlords might consider high-risk, to the Tucson market this summer. (5)

Almeida states:  “In the end parolees will require housing and it may become a civil rights issue.  Landlords and property managers need to work with third-party tenant screening companies in order to stay ahead of new legislation governing the use of public records as part of tenant screening.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with experienced employees committed to keeping their clients compliant within the laws governing tenant screening.  Working with landlords and property managers large and small, TenantScreeningUSA.com can help create a thorough tenant screening package.

Notes:

(1)               auburnpub.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest-column-cayuga-county-has-made-sex-offender-housing-solution/article_393decf0-91b9-58d5-9c32-ee50c614547f.html

(2)               nytimes.com/2015/09/08/opinion/the-pointless-banishment-of-sex-offenders.html?

(3)               sentinel-standard.com/article/20150904/NEWS/150909447

(4)               truth-out.org/news/item/29584-no-second-chances-when-it-comes-to-housing

(5)               kjzz.org/content/182293/arizona-apartment-rental-company-gives-felons-second-chance

Evictions Are Not Fun: TenantScreeningUSA.com Highly Recommends Landlords and Tenants Understand the Potential for Eviction from a Variety of Reasons

Eviction is a process of removing an individual, group, or family from a rental premises for violating a number of circumstances, most commonly over repeated failure to pay an agreed upon rental or lease payment. Laws regulating rental properties and the process of eviction can vary on a county level. TenantScreeningUSA.com highly recommends that landlords AND tenants understand local eviction laws.

Property managers and landlords face many challenges renting properties. A key challenge is maintaining 100% occupancy of a property. Finding viable tenants that can fulfill the long-term financial obligation of renting a single-family dwelling or apartment can be complex, but once in place viable tenants can provide a degree of financial surety for a property owner. However, there are tenants that may have initially shown the capability to fulfill an obligation but, due to a variety of circumstances, ultimately fail and force a landlord into the eviction process.

Eviction is never easy, either for the landlord or the renter. It is a long, expensive process that puts a significant drain on a property in terms of financial loss due to potential property damage, damage to property reputation and loss of potential income.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “Eviction is a challenging process, both in terms of time and monetary loss.”

One mistake owners of single- or small-unit property make is renting to their own family.

An article posted to the Independent Record (Sep. 01, 2013), outlines the travails of an elderly couple that rented to a family member and were subsequently forced to evict.

“They were served with an eviction notice and had one week to remove their personal possessions, but left a ton of stuff and vehicles on the property. This cute little house looks worse than the city dump. There are holes in the walls, and filth everywhere, it is just trashed!” http://helenair.com/business/local/renting-to-daughter-huge-mistake-for-retired-couple/article_4e2a18b0-12d1-11e3-905e-001a4bcf887a.html

Almeida continues: “Landlords need to provide clear guidelines covering a tenant’s residency, specific to the possibility of eviction. There are reasons other than failure to pay rent, such as code violation, that could cause eviction. It must be very clear to a tenant.”

The online Vallejo Times-Herald (Sep 01, 2013) reports a woman evicted for bringing in homeless individuals to her home and sheltering them, subsequently breaking code enforcement regulations.

Cathy Erler took in strangers into her home when they needed a place to sleep. Now she finds herself living in her car with two friends and a dog after she was evicted due to pressure from neighbors and the city. http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_23993782/vallejos-cathy-erler-helped-homeless-now-shes-one

In Norristown, PA a renter has been warned by the local police department that: “one more altercation at her rented row house here, one more call to 911, and they would force her landlord to evict her.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/victims-dilemma-911-calls-can-bring-eviction.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The New York Times reports (Aug 17, 2013) rapid expansion of neighborhood nuisance laws that could lead to eviction.

Over the last 25 years, in a trend still growing, hundreds of cities and towns across the country have adopted nuisance property or “crime-free housing” ordinances. Putting responsibility on landlords to weed out drug dealers and disruptive tenants, the laws aim to save neighborhoods from blight as well as ease burdens on the police. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/victims-dilemma-911-calls-can-bring-eviction.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Eviction can come from the landlord or be forced upon a landlord by local agencies or cities, but can also come from Home Owner Associations (HOA).

A Dunwoody apartment complex is evicting a man, claiming he made other tenants uncomfortable by staring at them at the pool. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/apartment-complex-evicts-man-making-tenants-uncomf/nZZRy/

In the end it is incumbent on both landlord and renter to understand the eviction laws within their community. It is a tool of last resort that can be very expensive to a landlord’s property, a property’s reputation, and ability to maintain a long-term financially secure rental community.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company that provides tenant checks to landlords and property managers for rental communities ranging from single units to large complexes.

 


Protect Property, People, and Reputation: Tenant Checks Will Help

A majority of property managers and landlords realize that tenant checks greatly assist in the vetting process of new tenants. There are several reasons one conducts a tenant check:

1. Financial protection – Property owners obviously do not want to rent to individuals or families that cannot afford to uphold the financial portion of the rental agreement. After all, what is the point of renting to someone that cannot pay?

2. Property protection – Rental properties represent a significant investment. From single-units to large rental communities, the cost of upkeep alone can substantial. Destructive tenants will only add to the cost of a rental property, not only in repairs but also in lost income via empty units.

3. Reputation protection – The cost in reputation is subjective. Frequent call outs by the police, exterior damage such as tagging and graffiti, and high tenant turnover.

4. People protection – Along with the aforementioned items, the protection of existing long-term tenants is critical. Not only do long-term tenants provide steady income, they can provide leads or make recommendations to others to rent at that property. People like themselves that may be steady individuals or families that ultimately could become long-term residents.

In a recent article from the Addison County Independent (Jan. 24, 2013) points are made that illustrate the reason tenant checks are so important.

Vermont, as with many other states, has a drug problem.

The drug problem in Vermont has long economic fingers that have gripped the state. Drug abuse increases police budgets and raises taxes. It is a public health issue and increases insurance premiums. It adds to the prison population, and therefore, the state corrections budget. It contributes to the high school dropout rate. It feeds poverty. It destroys families. It breaks hearts. http://www.addisonindependent.com/201301landlords-vulnerable-drug-war-wary-tenants-who-deal-drugs

The war of drugs is one that affects communities large and small, as well as the homes they live in. Landlords have been on the front lines of this war and are desperate for help. During times of economic challenge landlords are willing to rent to those that meet the barest financial qualifications.

It’s no secret that many landlords tend to rent to tenants who receive some kind of public assistance. Often people who earn a lower income cannot afford to buy a home and must settle for renting an apartment. Others may be on disability, are unable to work, and cannot afford to own their own home and must rent as well. And, of course, three years into the economic recovery from recession, more and more people have lost their jobs and have had to take jobs that pay less. Many have lost their homes and are now renters. Still others are merely young people who are unable to earn and save enough money to own a home. http://www.addisonindependent.com/201301landlords-vulnerable-drug-war-wary-tenants-who-deal-drugs

Certainly a tenant check is not designed to preclude any individual or family from gaining a rental home or apartment. Tenant checks in tenant screening provide information to landlords and property managers the information required to make a sound decision. Combined with an thorough face-to-face interview, a tenant check will go along ways in mitigating the risk of renting to a “bad tenant.”

Even if a more involved background check ends up costing the landlord some money, … it’s a small price to pay in the face of legal fees for an eviction and costly repairs to a rental property. http://www.addisonindependent.com/201301landlords-vulnerable-drug-war-wary-tenants-who-deal-drugs

The protection of property, people, and reputation is greatly assisted through tenant screening.

In the end Tenant Checks do not have to “break the bank.” TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company that offers affordable, thorough, and secure background screening for landlords and property managers. TenantScreeningUSA.com can create a tenant screening package unique to the requirements of rental properties large and small.

 

It’s All About Risk: Tenant Screening

When a company hires a new employee they conduct a background check as part of the vetting process. This background check draws data from various sources and allows a hiring manager or HR department to make a well-informed decision. Part of the consideration a company or organization takes is assessing the risk that a potential employee may bring to a company or work situation. It is often a sub-conscious process. One of the most important elements of the decision-making process is one simple question: What risk will this employee bring to the company?

When a property manager or landlord considers a new tenant the same thought process occurs. This process may or may not be subconscious but risk is a definite consideration when looking into new tenants.

Risk mitigation is a key component in deciding on new tenants in three key areas:

1. Property – A bad tenant could cause thousands of dollars of damage to an apartment or single-family dwelling. Every day there are news articles on-line and in print outlining the nefarious deeds of bad tenants.

2. People – A bad tenant or group of bad tenants can scare off long-term, highly stable residents, putting a strain on long-term fiscal viability. Further, injury to another tenant by a “bad tenant” could lead to significant financial cost.

3. Perception – A property can gain the “perception” of being a bad property from one or more bad tenants. Damage to the property can visually destroy value, and good tenants can move away, but perception can often become reality. A property manager or landlord can repair property but can they attract tenants, those that are long-term? Again, perception all too often becomes reality.

In each area above there is a specific risk: Property, Person, Perception. And each area can have a significant fiscal cost. Landlords and property managers must conduct thorough background checks on their perspective tenants in order to mitigate the potential or risk.

And a tenant check is not just for the landlords and property managers. Increasingly potential tenants conduct background checks on themselves. With the increase of third-party background screening companies and the use of databases to provide the information required to fulfill this research, potential tenants should understand what information is being reviewed. Further, after a potential tenant reviews the information they may have the opportunity to have certain information corrected. Transactions can be entered incorrectly on credit reports, social security numbers are at risk of illegal attachment, eviction records can report inaccurate data, and on it goes.

For a landlord and property manager a tenant check can provide information required to make sound decisions in regards to new tenants. But it is no longer solely based on fiscal stability. Risk mitigation has become a key element of the tenant vetting process. Creating a safe and secure rental environment is as important as creating a safe and secure work environment.

TenantScreeningUSA.com has a long history of working with property managers and landlords, as well as perspective tenants. They have affordable tenant screening packages and can custom design any package to fit a specific need. For more information go to www.tenantscreeningusa.com today.

 

Olympic Games and why Tenant Screening should be used on Short Term Renters

In Austin, Texas the recent South By Southwest event drew tens of thousands of people from all around the world. This summer, in London, hundreds of thousands of people will gather for the Olympic Games. The two events have something in common: People needing a place to sleep.

Every year events around the world draw more people to event centre than hotels can possibly manage. Locals often take advantage of the opportunity by short-term renting or leasing their homes and apartments to out-of-towners. In Austin, Texas there are several on-line outlets designed specifically for South By Southwest and connecting owners and renters. During 10-days each Spring the rack rates at area hotels in Austin increase significantly and the opportunity of renting a house or apartment often becomes a relatively low-cost alternative.

During the Olympic Games in London many locals will opt out of staying around for the festivities and offer their homes for rent. Sites such as www.rentatthegames.com are designed specifically for people searching for affordable living space during the Games. Londoners know a quick profit can be made during this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Subletting a home for a short period of time for events such as the Olympics or South by Southwest can be a lucrative venture for owners. There are many reputable companies that assist in renting properties and managing the transactions. For those owners that choose to handle their own transactions it is important to remember to treat a short-term letting as a long-term rent.

Ideally potential short-term renters should fill out a complete application, including references. Subsequently, the owner must complete a background check.

For some the obvious question is why? Most short-term renters have the fiscal wherewithal to handle a short-term rental as well as any deposit. And the assumption that one home owner will treat another home owner’s property with the same respect they do their own. Assumptions are a fool’s choice.

A tenant background check is a low-cost, simple transaction that provides the owner peace-of-mind and, in a sense, a bit of insurance that the renter will not abuse the arrangement. Tenant background checks generally consist of credit history, evictions, and national criminal check.

At TenantScreeningUSA.com home owners can get the information they need to make an informed rental decision, even if the rental is short-term or, maybe, because the rental is short-term. It would be simple to just let a renter move in for a week or 10-days, collect the fees, and return home at the end of the festivities, but consider the risk.

One of the growing trends in an increasingly transient population is renter fraud. They move in, destroy property, and move on. The potential cost of a fraudulent renter, even in the short-term is significant. Don’t be caught off-guard; conduct a tenant background check today.

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Housing Market Changes but Tenant Screening doesn’t

The changes in the housing market have affected different areas of the economy in significant ways.  Employers and employees that work with and around the housing market have felt the greatest impact, specifically realtors.
Recent news articles have highlighted the dramatic decline in income for realtors.  Faced with difficult choices many realtors leave the profession.  Some changes are radical and some are relative.  Realtors become teachers, sales representatives and property managers.
Real estate agents used to consider property management “the ugly part of the business.”  No more.  While a realtor may have had the ability to earn $10,000 or more commission on a home sold, with an economy where home values have dropped substantially and the numbers of buyers shrinking, those paydays are fading.  Enter property management.
Rental properties are continuing an upward trend in terms of desirability as well as affordability.
Renter household formation surpassed new owner-occupied homes in 2007 for the first time since 1985 and has held the lead since, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. An average of 718,500 renter households a year were formed from 2007 to 2010, while owner-occupied households decreased at an average annual rate of 147,250 during the same period.
Of course as former realtors increasingly turn to property management the “average fee” has dropped.  Yet as fees appear to decrease the opportunity to raise the monthly lease rate is available.  The demand for rental properties far outweighs the supply.  Still competition remains fierce with property managers and the search for well-qualified, highly desirable tenants continues to be the number one goal.
As property managers seek that perfect tenant there is a critical component to their search:  Tenant screening.  Many experts recommend an outside or third-party screener to handle background checks that generally include criminal and financial credit history. “Screening renters properly, being aware of the laws and getting everything in writing are three simple, basic rules…” and a third party provider can fulfill each requirement.
TenantScreeningUSA.com can make the life of a property manager simple.  By providing a full range of critical background screening reports, property managers can get the information they need to help make a critical decision on applicants.  Additionally, TenantScreeningUSA.com has a comprehensive understanding of the current and pending legalities that regulate tenant screening. Utilizing a third-party screening company will protect property managers.  TenantScreeningUSA.com operates on a secure platform that allows 24-hour access to reports and documents.
Tenant screening through TenantScreeningUSA.com simplifies the life of a property manager.  They provide the information demanded in a timely manner and at a cost that will not break the bank.  Contact TenantScreeningUSA.com today to set up an account and get started.  Make things simple; TenantScreeningUSA.com.

* http://www.utahbusines.com/issues/articles/11708/2011/11/when_opportunity_knocks
* http://sfgate.com (page D-2 San Francisco Chronicle)

This has been a TenantScreeningUSA.com News Publication – All rights reserved
TenantScreeningUSA.com is “An Information Enterprises Solution”