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Training Trivia

For future renters or when putting someone on a waitlist, there is no real need to close.

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The Rent Rite Directory

The Rent Rite Directory

The Rent Rite Directory is a full service Tenant Screening Company that includes a free rental history database to help give a clearer picture on applicants. Our mission is to improve communities, and promote communication with local law enforcement. www.therrd.com

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
b2ap3_thumbnail_1-7-2014-2-09-30-PM.jpgCan you say you’re completely confident reading each of the different credit reports with their key codes? If you are, this article can serve as a good training guide for your staff on the differences of each of the three credit bureau’s credit reports. Or in case your tenant screening company says they provide you with credit reports, when in reality they only provide you with credit summaries, these guides and codes will come in handy.  First and foremost: when reading a credit report, double check the person’s full name, social security number, and their date of birth. If there are any discrepancies, be sure to check with the applicant. Keep in mind that the information obtained in credit reports isn’t always perfect. The credit bureaus search for input information on two out of those three information fields mentioned above, to avoid human error. Credit bureaus can either input, or are sometimes given incorrect information.  Equifax and TransUnion Credit Report Quick Look Guide:  ·         Personal Information ·         Report Summary ·         Scorecards (if a score is given in the report) ·         Collections (if the applicant has any) ·         Public Records (if the applicant has any) ·         Trade lines (this includes both loan and revolving debt payments) ·         Inquiries (how many times a report has been pulled – and from whom) ·         Warning Messages  Experian Credit Report Quick Look Guide:  ·         Index ·         Potentially Negative Items (public records, if the applicant has any) ·         Credit Items ·         Collections (if the applicant has any)...

Posted by on in Property Management
Meth labs have been found in some pretty strange places. To name a few: college campuses, hotel rooms, vehicles, and even inside a nursing home. But the most common, and logical (if setting up a meth lab anywhere could be considered logical) place is in a rental property, or home. After all of the cleanup, and the extensive procedures to take care of a previous meth lab on a property, is it still necessary to inform new renters, or potential buyers? The answer, of course depends on the state. The Scripps Howard News Service conducted a search for states that require meth contamination disclosure to potential home buyers, and tenants. They found that only a little over half of the states in America require disclosure (with varying laws). Real estate agents and home owners in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Alaska, or Hawaii, are obligated to disclose meth contamination in a home for sale. Some states require written notices, some require no disclosure if the site has been properly cleaned and treated, while others allow disclosures to be undone, once the site is off of the state’s contamination list. Even fewer states require disclosure for rental properties or units. Property managers and leasing agents in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
When choosing screening services have you ever wondered what the OFAC search was, and if it was really necessary to use for your company? Recent events like the tragedy in Boston have placed a lot of emphasis on America’s terrorist watch list, and what it really means. The Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC is part of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, parties engaged with weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or the economy of the United States (US Department of Treasury). So how does this search affect you and your business? In short: the list they administer and enforce tells you who and who you cannot do business with legally. The list they create of the restricted parties is known as the "Specially Designated Nationals List" (SDN), and is available on their website. A recent LinkedIn poll showed that 78% of Real Estate professionals use the OFAC search and believe it to be an important tool, while 5% used it, but didn’t really know what it was, or what they were getting, and 16% did not use it in their tenant or pre-employment screening at all, or knew what it was. While the SDN list is extensive, it is important to note that you always need to perform due diligence with it (just as with any...

Posted by on in Property Management
How often are you and your apartment staff in communication with your local police department? If and when something undesirable happens on your property, how involved are you and your staff with the police afterwards? Is your Police Department overwhelmed so with calls, that it takes time to make it to your property, and sometimes not at all?If the only communication your property staff has with the police is at your mandatory crime watch meetings, consider the statistics on how crime-free programs have positively impacted many cities around the country. Most property managers and owners have probably at least heard of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Association, started in Mesa Arizona, by the Mesa Police Department in 1992. This program was specifically designed to reduce crime, drugs, and gangs on apartment properties. What you may not be aware of is the overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests that while training is a commitment, the results and positive impact to your community are extremely rewarding. “The City of Champlin in Minnesota has been running the program since 1997. The program has worked for our city with a population of 23,000. The training we received from the Mesa Police Department was the spark we needed to get our program off and running. We had our program evaluated by Mankato State University and the results were an overall reduction to calls for service and crimes by over 36%.” - Police Officer Kevin Wagman, Champlin, Minnesota. “The Crime Free Programs ARE the most successful crime prevention...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
We all know that safety is a top priority for Real Estate Agents because of their vulnerability in secluded or abandoned homes, but Property Management Leasing Agent safety has been a real focus in light of recent events (for example: the woman who was molested while showing an apartment at her complex in Houston). In response to this – tech companies have begun developing personal safety apps that can be used any time right from the agent’s phone, turning it into a personal safety device. While some of the language surrounding the apps speaks about brokers, and real estate agents, these apps could also help to keep employees of apartment communities safe while showing apartments alone, later at night, or on the weekends. AgentAlarm is a free app, available for both iOS and Android markets that acts as a personal security system to actively monitor safety. There is a 4-digit PIN that is set by the user when the app is first registered. It is used to acknowledge that an agent is safe at a safety check in, and if necessary, to turn off an automatic 911 call that is made if the panic button is hit accidentally. The employee is able to add emergency contacts straight from their contact list, and if he or she activates the alert button, the emergency contacts will be sent texts and emails, and 911 will be dialed within 10 seconds. AgentAlarm also allows agents to set a safety check for a specific date and...

Posted by on in Property Management
b2ap3_thumbnail_RCauley.jpg As we all well know, the Fair Housing Act prohibits any type of discrimination from Real Estate Professionals when choosing who to rent their property or unit to in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family status or national origin, and in some counties: section 8 voucher status (tenantsunion.org). But what about disparate impact?   Disparate impact is the legal theory that people of certain races and ethnicities are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. This theory was previously used in regards to employment, but in recent years has moved into the real estate industry as well. The theory states that the use of criminal records for tenant screening purposes has a disparate impact on certain minorities who have been disproportionately represented in the legal system, and who therefore have criminal records that could be used to determine that they should not be rented to. Fair Housing Advocates argue that in effect, while you may be following all Fair Housing Laws, and screening every applicant, you could be inadvertently discriminating against certain minorities (Wikipedia). The Landlord Times gives a great example: “…a property management company has a policy of charging a set rental amount for the first three residents in a household, plus $100 per month for each additional resident. This policy, although applied equally to all applicants and residents, will have a disproportionately negative effect on families with children, and thus likely violates fair housing laws. Similarly, a policy of denying rental to everyone who has any criminal...

Posted by on in Property Management
Have you recently had to go to the painful and costly process of evicting someone? Was it because they violated their lease, or did it have to do with non-payment of rent, or collections? You are not alone. The worst part about an eviction is the cost associated with it. Let’s say you need to evict a tenant due to non-payment of rent. (Bare with me, as costs vary from state to state, but you will get a better idea of how important it is to screen residents and use due diligence when it comes to renting and preventing costly evictions). We’ve used average U.S. figures for the below example. As an example Greg, your tenant, has not paid rent for 4 months. His monthly rate is $1,009 per month[i], and some of the rent he has paid, was late, so for two months a late fee accrued of $100. You send the Sheriff to serve Greg an eviction notice ($30), and two days later, Greg is gone. Greg, now not only has been evicted, but he has skipped your property to avoid paying the remaining balances he owes you. Greg could still be in your city, or he could be across the country attempting to sign a lease with another unsuspecting landlord or manager. In this best case scenario you are left with losses around $2,148.00. A more typical scenario, is that Greg decides to wait as long as possible to delay the eviction. Greg may not do anything,...

Posted by on in Property Management
Photo Credit: Units Magazine October 2012 “Premises liability law is the body of law which makes the person who is in possession of land or premises responsible for certain injuries suffered by persons who are present on the premises.” CITATION Wik111 \l 1033 (Wikipedia, 2011)...

Posted by on in Apartment Leasing
What are you really getting when you put through a tenant screening application? Do you know where the information is coming from? Not all tenant screening companies were created equally, and as such, it is important to do research on the companies that provide you with the information that directly affects your investment and community. A good place to start is with the company that actually supplies the reports; not necessarily the tenant screening company (as in most cases they are authorized re-sellers of the data).  Do you know the name of that company, or how long they have been in business? This is important to determine if they are established or a “fly-by-night” company (some companies update their information every day, some only once a month). The longer they have been in business, the more records they will have on file at your disposal. When checking a person’s criminal background, you want to make sure your reports won’t miss a beat. Do they offer only statewide criminal checks, or do they pull on a national level? While state-wide criminal background check might be slightly less expensive, odds are, if someone has committed a crime in one state, they may believe they can escape under the radar to a new state. Getting a national background check for a few dollars more could save you thousands in damages or court fees later on. And keep in mind – if you are charging applicants an application or screening fee, the money won’t...

Posted by on in Property Management

To be honest, have you ever considered your role in your community when it comes to helping to uncover and end human trafficking? I had to ask myself the same question, because until I began working for my company, I was unaware of the extent of this issue, and how professionals in the Real Estate Industry have the ability to change it. Human trafficking is the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). Although human trafficking has been going on for thousands of years, it was only made a federal crime in the United States in 2000 with the Passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The most common cases involve commercial sex trafficking, and labor trafficking. It maybe something that you think could never occur on your property or maybe something you, like many Americans may not want to think about. If there has any been illegal activity on your multifamily property, odds are someone involved may have been involved due to human trafficking. In an interview with the Rent Rite Directory’s Joe Killinger, Laura DeMoss of Mosaic Family Services notes that “Apartment managers and maintenance people are in a fantastic position to be able to uncover [these] cases.” On-site staff of multifamily properties can be a huge help to Law Enforcement, if they know what to look for. Most cases are uncovered because...