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Article by John Nuzzolese
The 6 Biggest Landlord Traps

Even those who have been around for a long time have fallen into these common landlord traps.

1. Improper Screening

"95% of tenant problems can be eliminated in the screening process."

Believe it or not, many landlords still are very trusting and comfortable with a basic application if any or a handshake. The eviction courts are full of landlords who like to trust their 'gut' feeling.

The Landlord Protection Agency highly recommends you use our rental application or another comparable application. Applications are powerful screening tools when you verify the information that they contain.

2. Advertising

Do you really have to spend a lot of money?

When you list your rental with an experienced, landlord oriented real estate agent, (preferably a member of The Landlord Protection Agency, your advertising should be included with the service. If you are not using an agent to rent your property, you may want to take advantage of services such as The National Tenant Register, which is listing of prospective tenants in search of rentals. The tenants advertise their rental needs to landlords through web sites such as theLPA.com web site. The ads are broken down geographically into categories for the landlords convenience.

3. Relying On Non-Landlord Agents

How can someone who has never experienced the same responsibilities advise you how to rent your property?

If you are forced to use an agent inexperienced in landlord matters, be sure to do the screening and accepting of the prospective tenant yourself. If your agent is not using the LPA application or a comparable one, be sure to supply him with one.

4. Allowing Tenants To Cross The Professional Line

Is it possible for a tenant to take advantage of a good rapport with his landlord?

Many tenants have a way of making it their mission to become friends with their landlords. It has always been a valuable rule of thumb to not do business with friends and family. If possible, keep a friendly professional arms length from your tenants.

5. Using A Substandard Lease

The conventional leases need improvement. Most leases on the market are quite generic, designed not to offend the tenant. They often have more "tenant protection" than "landlord protection".

Landlords need a lease designed by professional landlords and attorneys that will protect them and their properties. Our LPA Lease and the Essential Forms do just that.

6. Paying For Credit Reports

Why pay for a credit report on a prospective tenant that turns out to be undesirable?

Have your application require a tenant paid screening fee as included in our LPA Rental Application. Have your application require a tenant paid screening fee as included in our LPA™ Rental Application. If your own rental application doesn’t provide for a screening fee, it’s easy enough to add it in. Just add: I AGREE THAT MY SCREENING FEE OF $_________ per adult applicant_ IS NON-REFUNDABLE.

These are all common situations that most residential landlords will find themselves in from time to time. Being aware of them and doing your best to avoid them can save you from many sleepless nights and costly problems.

John Nuzzolese is a licenced Real Estate Broker / Real Estate Investor in Nassau County, NY. where he resides with his wife and 3 children. John has been involved with real estate sales, rentals and investing since 1979. He owns two real estate businesses and is also President of a national organization for landlords, The Landlord Protection Agency, Inc. (www.theLPA.com)
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