The Worst Things A Landlord Can Do Regarding Their Property

The Worst Things A Landlord Can Do Regarding Their Property

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To start something new is to accept that you will probably fail at first while figuring it out. You don’t know what you’re doing and while you can research and study up, some things must be learned the hard way. No one has perfect balance without falling a few times. No one can master a new language without accidentally saying something dumb. No one can start a new adventure without getting lost somewhere. Everyone must start somewhere, and that means that usually, everyone will make some pretty bad mistakes along the way.  If this is part of your research on getting started as a landlord,  that’s wonderful! There are some big mistakes you could make, but you can avoid with just a bit of research.

No Screening

To start something new is to accept that you will probably fail at first while figuring it out. You don’t know what you’re doing and while you can research and study up, some things must be learned the hard way. No one has perfect balance without falling a few times. No one can master a new language without accidentally saying something dumb. No one can start a new adventure without getting lost somewhere. Everyone must start somewhere, and that means that usually, everyone will make some pretty bad mistakes along the way.  If this is part of your research on getting started as a landlord,  that’s wonderful! There are some big mistakes you could make, but you can avoid with just a bit of research.

No Screening

Here’s the thing, tenant screening can require time and money. Sure, it seems like a great corner to cut: faster acceptance time, more people applying, and your property may be vacant for a shorter period of time. The problem is that tenant screening exists for a reason. There are certain liabilities you do not want to risk on your property. People who are prone to property damage are a costly concern. If someone has been arrested and convicted for damaging property there is no promise they would have care and respect for your property.

Here’s the thing, tenant screening can require time and money. Sure, it seems like a great corner to cut: faster acceptance time, more people applying, and your property may be vacant for a shorter period of time. The problem is that tenant screening exists for a reason. There are certain liabilities you do not want to risk on your property. People who are prone to property damage are a costly concern. If someone has been arrested and convicted for damaging property there is no promise they would have care and respect for your property.

Then you have people who were arrested for violence, such as physical or sexual assault. They present a danger to you or your other tenants and their neighbors, leaving you with a very high chance that you will not be safe with them on or near your property. This is especially true if your property happens to be near a school, which usually is a great selling point for families. Your job as a landlord is to provide a safe space for a life, and you cannot do that if the person you are renting to is on their own a danger.

The absence of standards breeds discrimination, and with discrimination breeds a bad reputation and plenty of lawsuits. Proper tenant screening not only helps vet your applicants, but helps you write the standards that prevent discrimination based on protected classes. Without tenant screening, it is easier to slip into subjective standards and assumptions that could be used against you in a court of law. This could mean assuming someone is unruly based on outward appearances, the appearances of how they care for their clothes or cars, etc., things they may have posted on social media, or a gut feeling that can’t be explained. Relying on tenant screening is a much safer way to vet your potential renters and keeps you safer and guarded from potential lawsuits.

Then you have people who were arrested for violence, such as physical or sexual assault. They present a danger to you or your other tenants and their neighbors, leaving you with a very high chance that you will not be safe with them on or near your property. This is especially true if your property happens to be near a school, which usually is a great selling point for families. Your job as a landlord is to provide a safe space for a life, and you cannot do that if the person you are renting to is on their own a danger.

The absence of standards breeds discrimination, and with discrimination breeds a bad reputation and plenty of lawsuits. Proper tenant screening not only helps vet your applicants, but helps you write the standards that prevent discrimination based on protected classes. Without tenant screening, it is easier to slip into subjective standards and assumptions that could be used against you in a court of law. This could mean assuming someone is unruly based on outward appearances, the appearances of how they care for their clothes or cars, etc., things they may have posted on social media, or a gut feeling that can’t be explained. Relying on tenant screening is a much safer way to vet your potential renters and keeps you safer and guarded from potential lawsuits.

Added Spending, But No Value

People love upgrades – sometimes. A great selling point is recent renovations, but it does have to be the right kind of renovations. Throwing money at a problem only works if you’re thoughtful about it. If you’re going to spend your money, try to do it wisely. Sure, if you just re-stained your hardwood flooring, that’s nice but there’s no guarantee your applicants will care about it. It’s one thing to re-stain your flooring in your own private home because it’s yours, you’re thinking of what the final product will look like along all your personal knickknacks and curtains and rugs. Your tenant isn’t thinking like that because they didn’t get to pick that color. It’s good to renovate! Just pick before you spend that money. Tenants prefer renovations that directly affect their quality of life – a new fridge, a gas stove, insulated windows, or improved storage in the pantry will go much further than ‘we just painted.’

Added Spending, But No Value

People love upgrades – sometimes. A great selling point is recent renovations, but it does have to be the right kind of renovations. Throwing money at a problem only works if you’re thoughtful about it. If you’re going to spend your money, try to do it wisely. Sure, if you just re-stained your hardwood flooring, that’s nice but there’s no guarantee your applicants will care about it. It’s one thing to re-stain your flooring in your own private home because it’s yours, you’re thinking of what the final product will look like along all your personal knickknacks and curtains and rugs. Your tenant isn’t thinking like that because they didn’t get to pick that color. It’s good to renovate! Just pick before you spend that money. Tenants prefer renovations that directly affect their quality of life – a new fridge, a gas stove, insulated windows, or improved storage in the pantry will go much further than ‘we just painted.’

No Online Payments

Being online is its own risk and reward. if you send some first. It is good to be wary of putting your information online. However, if you don’t have online rental payment options like our partner PayRent, you’ll not only have fewer people applying, those who do will be quite disgruntled about it. Online rent payments make things so much easier. They don’t need to interrupt their schedule to find a time to drop off a check, or go out and get checks in the first place, or find an ATM for the hard cash they may need and risk getting robbed. Equally, it means that you don’t have to go to the bank every month. Plus, with online automatic payments your tenants don’t have to worry about forgetting and you can relax knowing an automatic system will keep late payments from happening. It just makes everyone’s lives a little easier.

Starting off with a business venture like investment properties is a great way to expand your horizons even if starting off can be scary. Everyone makes mistakes when they first start off, so it’s okay, but on the bright side, there are always ways to play it safe.

No Online Payments

Being online is its own risk and reward. if you send some first. It is good to be wary of putting your information online. However, if you don’t have online rental payment options like our partner PayRent, you’ll not only have fewer people applying, those who do will be quite disgruntled about it. Online rent payments make things so much easier. They don’t need to interrupt their schedule to find a time to drop off a check, or go out and get checks in the first place, or find an ATM for the hard cash they may need and risk getting robbed. Equally, it means that you don’t have to go to the bank every month. Plus, with online automatic payments your tenants don’t have to worry about forgetting and you can relax knowing an automatic system will keep late payments from happening. It just makes everyone’s lives a little easier.

Starting off with a business venture like investment properties is a great way to expand your horizons even if starting off can be scary. Everyone makes mistakes when they first start off, so it’s okay, but on the bright side, there are always ways to play it safe.

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Tenant Screening

Can Your Tenant Legally Own An Alligator As An Emotional Support Animal?

When you think of an emotional support animal, what comes to mind? It would be fair to assume the first thought to enter one’s head would be a dog, if not some kind of bipedal mammal — and most likely not a reptilian carnivore with razor-sharp teeth.

In enters WallyGator: a five-and-a-half foot, 70-pound TikTok famous alligator with over 72,600 followers on the platform owned by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Joie Henney. While it is legal to own alligators in Philadelphia, that isn’t the case in many other states — nor is it likely that the majority of pet gators, if any, qualify as emotional support animals. Or is it?

Since Wally’s uptick in popularity on the internet back in August, “alligators” as a related topic to the Google search query “emotional support animal” has seen a 300% increase in search frequency, most likely for the purposes of curious internet users seeing and reading about WallyGator for themselves. However, with the increase in popularity of keeping various species of reptiles as house pets and the common need for emotional support animals, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that people with legitimate mental health conditions, unique cases of PTSD, or related conditions could be looking into obtaining a support gator of their own.

As we’ve previously covered, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided guidance on how the Fair Housing Act (FHA) interfaces with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regarding emotional support animals. HUD classifies assistance animals into two different categories in order to distinguish their roles from one another: service animals (primarily dogs), and other trained animals that do work, perform tasks, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities. Per HUD’s guidelines, because Wally is not a dog, he, therefore, cannot qualify as a service animal – so, how does HUD define Wally and his role, exactly?

HUD states if the service animal status is not readily apparent, to limit inquiries to two questions: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?”, and if the answer to either question is no, then following denial of service animal status under federal, HUD states that the animal can still qualify as a support animal or other assistance animal, depending on what needs to be accommodated.

In Wally’s case, Henney received approval to use him as a support animal after expressing to his doctor he did not want to be medicated for depression following the deaths of several family members and close friends in a short period of time, and more recently, his untimely cancer diagnosis. Even before rescuing and adopting Wally, Henney has worked with and rescued reptiles (particularly alligators) for over thirty years, and his vocation is one he is very passionate about – so it stands to reason his support animal of choice would be one he’s so accustomed to working with.

Because the ADA makes the same distinction that an emotional support animal would only be classified as such due to its mere presence providing comfort as opposed to employing any training to respond to a situation, HUD’s guidelines technically, but clearly grant Wally his status as a legitimate emotional support animal under federal law.

While Wally’s status is protected in the eyes of the law, HUD also states that a housing provider can refuse a reasonable accommodation request for a support or assistance animal if said animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or would result in substantial physical damage to the property of other which cannot be reduced or eliminated. However, before denying such a request due to a lack of information, a housing provider is encouraged to engage in a “good-faith” conversation with the owner of the support animal to gather information about the animal and mitigate any potential misunderstandings regarding its purpose.

Luckily for most property owners, WallyGator is very much an anomaly, and most folks aren’t scrambling to obtain an emotional support gator of their very own, anyway. Henney himself calls Wally a “very special gator” (he’s trained Wally to understand commands and to keep his mouth closed around other people) and actively discourages others to adopt a pet alligator if they’re not actively predisposed to working with alligators, stating “if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit”.

Check out ApplyConnect’s HUD guidance breakdown: https://www.applyconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Emotional-support-animals_-HUDs-Guidance-cliff-notes-AC-Version.pdf

Read More »

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Tenant Screening

Can Your Tenant Legally Own An Alligator As An Emotional Support Animal?

When you think of an emotional support animal, what comes to mind? It would be fair to assume the first thought to enter one’s head would be a dog, if not some kind of bipedal mammal — and most likely not a reptilian carnivore with razor-sharp teeth.

In enters WallyGator: a five-and-a-half foot, 70-pound TikTok famous alligator with over 72,600 followers on the platform owned by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Joie Henney. While it is legal to own alligators in Philadelphia, that isn’t the case in many other states — nor is it likely that the majority of pet gators, if any, qualify as emotional support animals. Or is it?

Since Wally’s uptick in popularity on the internet back in August, “alligators” as a related topic to the Google search query “emotional support animal” has seen a 300% increase in search frequency, most likely for the purposes of curious internet users seeing and reading about WallyGator for themselves. However, with the increase in popularity of keeping various species of reptiles as house pets and the common need for emotional support animals, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that people with legitimate mental health conditions, unique cases of PTSD, or related conditions could be looking into obtaining a support gator of their own.

As we’ve previously covered, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided guidance on how the Fair Housing Act (FHA) interfaces with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regarding emotional support animals. HUD classifies assistance animals into two different categories in order to distinguish their roles from one another: service animals (primarily dogs), and other trained animals that do work, perform tasks, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities. Per HUD’s guidelines, because Wally is not a dog, he, therefore, cannot qualify as a service animal – so, how does HUD define Wally and his role, exactly?

HUD states if the service animal status is not readily apparent, to limit inquiries to two questions: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?”, and if the answer to either question is no, then following denial of service animal status under federal, HUD states that the animal can still qualify as a support animal or other assistance animal, depending on what needs to be accommodated.

In Wally’s case, Henney received approval to use him as a support animal after expressing to his doctor he did not want to be medicated for depression following the deaths of several family members and close friends in a short period of time, and more recently, his untimely cancer diagnosis. Even before rescuing and adopting Wally, Henney has worked with and rescued reptiles (particularly alligators) for over thirty years, and his vocation is one he is very passionate about – so it stands to reason his support animal of choice would be one he’s so accustomed to working with.

Because the ADA makes the same distinction that an emotional support animal would only be classified as such due to its mere presence providing comfort as opposed to employing any training to respond to a situation, HUD’s guidelines technically, but clearly grant Wally his status as a legitimate emotional support animal under federal law.

While Wally’s status is protected in the eyes of the law, HUD also states that a housing provider can refuse a reasonable accommodation request for a support or assistance animal if said animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or would result in substantial physical damage to the property of other which cannot be reduced or eliminated. However, before denying such a request due to a lack of information, a housing provider is encouraged to engage in a “good-faith” conversation with the owner of the support animal to gather information about the animal and mitigate any potential misunderstandings regarding its purpose.

Luckily for most property owners, WallyGator is very much an anomaly, and most folks aren’t scrambling to obtain an emotional support gator of their very own, anyway. Henney himself calls Wally a “very special gator” (he’s trained Wally to understand commands and to keep his mouth closed around other people) and actively discourages others to adopt a pet alligator if they’re not actively predisposed to working with alligators, stating “if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get bit”.

Check out ApplyConnect’s HUD guidance breakdown: https://www.applyconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Emotional-support-animals_-HUDs-Guidance-cliff-notes-AC-Version.pdf

Read More »

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ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.