3327 N Eagle Rd 110-13
Meridian, ID 83646
P: 208.333.7767

5 Holiday Decorating Tips to Save Your Deposit

Decorating for holidays is always fun.  However, nails, screws and other decorating methods can leave you in a sad state when it is time to receive the security deposit refund.  We have put together 5 creative tips to help you decorate your rental home while keeping the decorations from hurting your security deposit later on.

 

5 Maintenance Items for Your Rental Investment

 

 

 

Preventative Maintenance keeps tenants happy and keeps your long term costs low.  Paramount Property Management Inc.  has been managing homes Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Kuna and Idaho City for over 10 years.  We can help keep your rental home in check with regular maintenance checks and repairs.

 

Recommended maintenance for properties includes:

  • Heating and cooling systems
    • filter and regular tune ups and cleaning of systems
  • Pluming/water maintenance
    • From checking sinks and drains inside the home, to septic systems and gutters.  Repairs and regular check-ups will keep your home from suffering expensive water damage.
  • Painting
    • Painting makes home look and smell fresh.  Gone are the days of bleak white walls.  The most popular rental homes boast custom colors that appeal to many.  Repainting exterior brightens curb appeal.  Keeping up with paint will prevent damage to wood, fencing and home interior.  Especially important in rooms that get a good deal of sun or humidity.
  • Appliance repairs/replacement
    • Old appliance can leak causing damage to surrounding flooring and walls.  Keeping up with appliances with fridge filter changes, and dryer vent cleaning will also keep you home safe.
  • Landscaping structures
    • Fencing will rot and lean, sprinkler heads can burst and leak, overgrown trees can cause a problem when branches break or trees fall.
  • Fireplace or chimneys
    • Keeping a chimney cleaned, gas fireplaces checked for leaks and wood stoves cleaned and correctly insulated with bricks is very important to your tenants’ safety and the properties efficiency for heat.
  • Gutters
    • Water runoff around the foundation can cause serious problems.It can undermine the foundation, and create soil conditions that attract termites.  A well-designed gutter system directs runoff from the roof safely away from the foundation.  Keeping gutters cleaned will also extend the life of your roof and keep the property safer in freezing weather.  Gutters need to be cleaned annually.

 

 

 

5 Items that are easy to maintain and worth the money to keep up on.

  1. Dryers – Dryers cause approximately 2,900 residential fires each year34% of them are due to poor maintenance.  The main culprit is lint buildup, and that most often occurs in the vent ducts.  It is important to remove the dryer from the vent and have it cleaned out all the way truth the duct.  You will be amazed the amount of lint, leaves and birds nests that can accumulate in the vent.
  2. Septic System.  It is recommended that you pump a septic tank every five years.  Tenants should also be educated on what not to flush and the proper care of septic systems.  Ignoring your septic system or delaying repair can cause damage to the property, as well as damage items in the home.  If your tank has a transfer pump, instruct your tenants to keep an eye on the visual alarm.  Prompt response to a signal can also avert a backup and expensive cleanup.
  3. HVAC Maintenance.   In Idaho we have cold months, pollen months and dusty months.  Although nationally it is recommend that furnace filters be changed every 6-12 months.  In Idaho it is recommended that furnace filters be changed every 4 months.   Energy.gov says that filter maintenance can lower the energy bill by 5% to 15%.  Failure to change filters can lower the life expectancy of a furnace system.  Paramount Property Management sends tenants new filters every quarter to make sure units are cared for.  Disposable filters are also better than the metal filters that require routine cleaning.  It is also recommend that furnaces and air conditioners be cleaned and tuned up by a professional once a year.
  4. Inspect and Clean the Chimney and Fireplace. Fireplaces that are in use should have the chimney inspected once a year.  Soot deposits should be removed if they are thicker than 1/8 inch.  Chimneys should be inspected to make sure they are structurally sound.  Trees should be confirmed and trimmed to make sure they are not above and around the top of the chimney as they are a fire hazard.
  5. Sprinkler Systems and hose bibs.  In Idaho many properties have irrigation from April to October.  It is important that when sprinklers are turned on they are inspected.  Broken heads waste water, but can also cause undue wear on the property when they are watering in the wrong direction.  In the winter systems need to be properly blown out to prevent pipes from breaking.  Leaving hoses hooked to bibs, or allowing hose bibs to leak can result in larger leaks under the home in crawl spaces.

Paramount Property Management is here to help you maintain your rental property.  Keeping it safe and profitable for you and your tenants.Source: Top 5 Preventive Maintenance Tasks for Landlords

Last updated on October 3, 2016 by Chris Deziel at landlordology.com

 

 

Should you accept pets in your Investment Rental

When you have a rental property you want your investment to be safe, and profitable.  You want tenants that will keep the condition great.  Often time tenants come with pets.  Idaho has one of the highest pet per capita population in the country.  Even the biggest animal lover can have fear over pet damage at their property.  It is often advised that investment owners just state their property is “no pets”  to help prevent damages.  But wait, if you don’t accept pets are you losing potentially great tenants, and losing money on your rental?

 

You can lose money from animals being snuck into your investment rental.  Secret pets always cause more damage than claimed pets.  As a landlord you will also lose money on the vacancy time.  Listing a home as no pets can cause it to sit vacant 3 times longer than a home that does negotiate pets.

Here are the facts:

  • 75 percent of all tenants state they have pets.
  • 24 percent lie about not having pets
  • Leaving 1% of renters that actually do not have pets

Keep in mind that these numbers do not account for service animals or companion animals as they are not considered pets, but rather animals with a duty.

 

This video will give you some clear cut facts about pets in your rentals and the most damaging dog breeds.

 

 

 

Top 10 Most Damaging Dog Breeds

  1. Chihuahua causes an average of $ 1059.85
  1. Dachshunds came second with owners facing a bill of $991.32 to repair or clean up after their pet’s destruction
  1. Boxer’s total damage of $959.50
  1. Dalmatian $948.48
  1. Bulldog $916.66
  1. Great Danes $846.90
  1. Huskies $821.20
  1. Beagles $745.32
  1. Pointers $735.53
  1. German Shepherd $687.80

 

On the other end of the spectrum is the

Breeds that cause the least amount of damage:

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terriers cause the least amount of damage with a total bill of just $217.85
  2. Yorkshire Terriers $223.96
  3. Spaniels $281.49
  4. Whippet $307.19
  5. Shih Tzu $340.21
  6. Labrador $ 343.40
  7. Jack Russell $390.33
  8. Rottweiler $424.53
  9. Sheepdog $425.41

 

Researchers found that 57 per cent of dog owners will dog destruction in their home at some point in their pet’s life, in rental homes these amounts can be hirer depending on the time line for fixing damages like carpet and yards.

 

But it doesn’t stop in the home as 13 per cent of pet owners admitted their pet has caused damage to someone else’s property, with seven in ten then facing an average repair bill of & 348.80for that as well. These are just damages and the cost do not include accidents or injuries

 

A spokesman for PayingTooMuch.com added: “When it comes to a pet, many owners turn a blind eye to the real costs involved because they are seen as being part of the family and are viewed with a loving eye.

 

63% of all Americans have pets.

 

 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association

 

Idaho is the 9th highest state in the country for pet ownership with 62% of the population owning at least 1 pet.

 

 

As a landlord in Idaho not allowing pets will automatically cut out over half of your potential renters.   Since the 2016 Vacancy rates have been reported at less than 5% this means a tenant is more likely to lie about having a pet in a home if they are in need of housing.

 

As an investment owner of Southwestern Idaho properties, it will financially benefit you to be open and candid about pets. Refusing pets in a property that is vacant can lead to rental times 2-3 times longer that pet accepting rental homes.

 

It is better to have a pet in a unit with policies to ensure the properties condition, than to have a tenant hiding a pet and find damages at move out.

 

To minimize damages have pet policies in place:

  1. Have reasonable increased deposits for pets. Even with the highest damage breed of dogs if a tenant rents from you for one year you are looking at damages being around $105.00. This is easily covered by a deposit. Remember puppies cause more damages and asking for a reasonable deposit for a puppy is a great idea.
  2. Inspections for pets: Consider doing additional inspections for tenants that have pets. You can take a black light to look for soiled carpets, and to make sure damage is not occurring. Fixing damage during a tenancy is much easier than after a move-out.
  3. Ask for pet references: proof of training, veterinary records of shots, proof of county or city licensing.
  4. Many damages can be limited by having spayed and neutered animals
  5. Declawing cats is not recommended as damages actually increase in cats that have had claws removed.
  6. Limit the number of animals, multiple animals increase damages at a higher ratio than just single pets.
  7. Require that pre-authorization be given for trading out or replacing approved animals.
  8. Have a plan for when animals are snuck into a property and discovered. You can charge a violation fee, require animal be removed and/or increase monthly rent rates for pets that stay. Honesty should be a cost saving measure for tenants, because honest tenants will save you money in damages and legal fees.
  9. Remember that ADA and Companion animals are not the same as pets and Fair Housing Laws restrict a landlord from increasing rent or deposits for this working animals.
  10. Remember to check with your insurance company to make sure there are not restricted breeds for your home, and require your tenants to have liability insurance for the rental home that includes damages or accidents from their pets.

 

 

Sources

 

Read more at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/10-destructive-dogs-revealed-damage-cost/story-21231832-detail/story.html#ukMtxlkcygEVrA5b.99

Top 10 most destructive dogs revealed – and how much their damage will cost you

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: June 13, 2014

Read more at http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/10-destructive-dogs-revealed-damage-cost/story-21231832-detail/story.html#ukMtxlkcygEVrA5b.99

Dog time.com

Read more at http://dogtime.com/trending/17160-us-states-with-most-and-fewest-pet-owners-named#hdz4jD2Lj3wrckSO.99

 

5 Ways a Rental Owners Can Benefit from a Property Manager

Many think that managing their own rental property can save them money. A good property manager is similar to a good accountant. Their services end up saving you money.

Advertising

Most tenants are finding homes online these days. But a strong property advertising campaign will know how to target all the good online resources as well as putting up a traditional sign at the property.  At Paramount we marketing properties at many websites. Here is the current list:

 

  • Zillow.com
  • Trulia.com
  • Apartments.com
  • Rentbits.com
  • RentalHomesPlus.com
  • Rentlinx.com
  • Rentmyhome.org
  • Condo.com
  • HomeTownRent.com
  • HotPads.com
  • RentJungle.com
  • Apartmentlist.com
  • RentalHomePros.com
  • Homes.com
  • Zumper
  • Lovely
  • Realtor
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

 

Screening

Tenants that look great on paper can end up being bad tenants. Also tenants that seem great in person can end up being bad tenants. Because we all have life changes the perfect tenants can never be guaranteed, but a property management company will work to rule out expensive mistakes for renting your properties. Paramount

Property Management provides credit, background, rental verification, employment verification as well as pet screening. Thorough screening can truly change the bottom line for your rental. Good tenants will remind you why you got into rental investments in the first place. Bad tenants can be a hit to the bottom line.

 

 Tenants Rights

There is a balance between making sure a property is being properly cared for and meeting Idaho’s privacy rights. Tenants who feel respected will in turn lead to less turnover and vacancy at your rental property. At Paramount Property Management Inc we give 24 hour notices for inspections as well as regular exterior check ups. We offer pet inspections at the tenants cost so they can feel comfortable and have their furry family memebers while property owners still get updates on how their property is being cared for.

 

Save money with vendors

Every property owner knows that maintenance can be costly. Property managers are not only given a bulk reduced rate and have contracts for their service amounts, but also know what vendors are ethical and do the best work. A good relationship with a vendor and property management company will result in better reports and understanding of tenant caused issues that they are responsible for. These relationships will also help you to know about items that are approaching replacement and can help you budget accordingly.

 

Save legal costs

Did you know the estimated minimum cost for a Fair Housing Violation is $10,000. In the world of rental housing, not knowing about laws can be very expensive. Having a property manager that is experience in the industry will be able to tell you the Federal and State regulations for rentals. Even simple postings can vary from County to County and not being aware of the way all the details work is very expensive. Paramount Property Management, Inc. has been in the Treasure Valley Area for over 10 years and is familiar with the laws and regulations as well as ethics and professional standards from the National Association of Residential Property Managers.

 

Sign up for one year with your rental property, then compare for yourself and see how much easier and cost effective it can be to have a property manager.

 

application

Rent – In Songs

Paying rent can be stressful if you don’t have the funds.  Music artists have realized this for generations.  Here is a list of song that share about paying rent, not paying rent, or the hardships with their landlords.  Enjoy the videos and the music.  If you have a rent song that we didn’t think of email us at rent@paramountpm.com and we we will add it to to our list.

 

1.  Ain’t Nothing Going but the Rent – Gwen Guthrie

2.  Chicago House Rent Party Blues – Memphis Slim

3.  Haven’t Got a Dollar to Pay Your House Rent, Man – Genevieve Davis

4.  House Rent Blues – John Lee Hooker

5.  Rent is Too Damn High,  The Gregory Brothers

6.  This is how we Do – Katy Perry

7.  Time of our Lives – Pitbull and Ne-Yo

8.  Still Fly – Big Tymers

9.  Rent – Pet Shop Boys

10.  Landlady – Lord Kitchener

11.  Space for Rent – Who Made Who

12.  The Rent is Always Due – Neil Young

13.  I Can’t Stand It – Velvet Underground

14.  One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – George Thorogood

15.  Let’s Lynch the Landlord – Dead Kennedys

16.  Dead End Street – The Kinks

17.  Down Payment Blues – AC/DC

18.  Ninjas Don’t Get Evicted – Broad Noodles

19.  Rent – From the Broadway Musical (Exp)

20.  She Pays the Rent – Lyres

21.  Rent Act – The Wolf Hounds

22.  The Unpredictable Landlord – Bedhead

23.  Landlord – Gladys Knight and The Pips

24.  Eviction – The Slackers

25.  Rent is Too Damn High – SNL Skit Remix

 

rent bank

Paramount Property Management does not endorse nor represent any of the beliefs, statement, views or items created or shared by the previously listed artists.  The purpose of the list is a compilation of songs pertaining to rent or landlords and does not represent the beliefs, views,  or actions of Paramount Property Management Inc.

 

Why Hire a Property Manager When You Can Do it Yourself?

I can do it myself–why should I hire a management company?

 

The other day I got a call from a gentleman who stated that we have a pretty sweet deal, he stated that property managers can’t be in the house all the time with tenants so really all they do is just take a portion of the rent and that is our job.

 

Paramount Property Management has been in business for 10 years. There has never been a property where all we did was just take a portion of rent. A solid manager knows your property and sees it regularly. They know your name, your tenants’ and even pets’ names at the property.

 

A good property management company should do the following:

 

  1. Routine exterior inspections
  2. Regular interior inspections
  3. Tenants screening
  4. Marketing following Fair Housing Guidelines
  5. Tenant screening of criminal, credit, landlord history, employment verification.
  6. Pet screening
  7. Provide vendors for cleaning, repairs, maintenance that meet proper licensing laws.
  8. Act as a representative for you in tenant communications
  9. Sign leases, contract lease renewals
  10. Hold tenants to lease requirements
  11. Provide documentation as well as work with attorneys as needed for court an legal disputes .
  12. Collect rent
  13. Pay bills
  14. Record, report and analyze your investment income and expenses
  15. Proved 24 hour emergency support for property emergencies

 

A bit ago, I had a property owner call me and they were very upset. They had decided that when they moved out of state they would just handle the rental for themselves and save the management cost each month. They posted an ad in craigslist and found what they thought was a wonderful tenant. They had the applicant fill out an application and ran a background check online. The tenant had a criminal past, and explained the past credit issues. They decided to give the applicant a chance. With in a few months the tenant had moved in unauthorized family with a criminal record, stopped paying rent, stopped watering the lawn and did not allow access to the home.

 

The property owner called us and said they could not make it back to the state to start the eviction process and needed a management company to post the eviction notices and help prepare the property for another tenant.

 

The owner stated the tenant had been warned they could be evicted. They stopped paying rent for three months and was no longer taking the landlords phone calls. Here are the pictures of what the tenant did at the property.

 

The tenant broke several of the doors at the property.

 

IMG_3187

 

The tenant had shut off the power and water weeks in advance and purposefully left items in the fridge and microwave resulting in a very strong odor throughout the home.

 

IMG_3259

IMG_3271

 

The tenant continued to use the home’s plumbing facilities without water resulting in the following mess and damages

 

IMG_3325

 

The tenant had stopped watering the lawn resulting in a very unhappy Home Owners Association and neighbors.

 

IMG_3379

 

They spilled items on the carpet and had pet stains that showed no effort to remove any spills.

 

IMG_3146

 

We were able to go in, clean and repair the home and provide lawn care to fix all the damages done. The owners paid all the costs out of pocket after not having 3 months rent. The result was over $7,000 in damages The tenant was sent to collections, but had been sent to jail and has not yet been released so no funds have been recovered.

 

How could a property manager have helped?

 

  1. Proper tenant screening would have eliminated this tenant from ever moving in.
  2. Regular exterior inspections would have caught the lawn issues prior to the lawn dying
  3. Once a tenant does not pay rent a management company would start charging late fees and posting notices and pursing eviction as an option.
  4. A management company would have been able to inspect the interior prior to it sitting for three months without rent.
  5. The management company would have received notice that utilities had been shut off and avoided home lawn damages from this lack of water.
  6. A management company could pursue and eviction and collections with the tenant balance prior to the tenant having three months to cause more damages.

 

The home owner was so distraught.  They stated they had trusted someone and rented using their heart and felt they had made a very damaging business decision.  They were relieved to have help and monitoring and management for the remaining time they have the property as a rental.  They were given solid tenants moving forward, but still had lost quite a bit of money to keep their investment running.  Although there is no one that can 100% of the time keep a property from damages, a good management company will reduce to your chances of a bad renter.  Many in the industry refer to the bad tenants as “professional tenants”: they target homes managed by owners instead of management companies, knowing they can get free rent for longer.

 

Many people do manage their own properties successfully, but they do devote several hours each week to the process and learn all the state laws for landlords as well as Fair Housing requirements. For those who do not want to take on a career in Real Estate Management, the best option to protect their investment is hiring a good company to do the leg work. It is still their property, they make repair decisions, decide when to sell and dictate types of pets and utilities offered to tenants. Having a team of people working to help them saves them in the long run.

10 Tips Correctly Handle and Protect Your Deposit

Tenants and Landlord’s alike have an interest in protecting the security deposit. Landlords use the deposit as a security to cover damages once a tenant has moved out. The landlord’s major concern is having enough money to cover damages, efficiently finding and resolving damages while leaving enough time to pay vendors and return the remaining deposit and statement to the tenant by the deadline. Tenants want to know that the deposit money is only going to fix items they caused an not paying for ongoing maintenance or normal wear and tear that the property owner should be covering.

1. Document the move in. Tenants and landlords should do a report listing all broken, scratched, dirty or worn items prior to a tenant move in. Written reports should be signed by both tenants and landlords.
2. Take pictures, lots and lots of pictures. Pictures should be taken of not only reported items, but each room, light switch cover, trim moldings, all the details that make up a room. After years of living somewhere it is very easy to forget that a ding in the drywall from moving was caused by you, but not the screw in the drywall behind the TV, pictures help this.Large_format_camera_lens
3. Keep track of work orders. Tenants and landlords should document what goes wrong. Even if an item is small and a tenant doesn’t need it replaced, it is important to notify your landlord of the issue. Make sure you document on your own what is broken, even if it was not caused by you and the landlord does not opt to fix it. Landlords also need to track work order requests, what is fixed and what is deferred as a repair.PostItNotePad
4. Keep in mind what normal wear and tear looks like. Each state defines “normal wear and tear” differently. In Idaho tenants cannot pay for an entire new carpet that is several years old when they moved in.
5. Research your states Tenant and Landlord Laws. Blinds, painting, rust, hard water, and paint scuffing’s are all very important to look at and compare to the Attorney General’s Guideline book when applying security deposits to the repairs. You can find this at http://www.ag.idaho.gov/publications/consumer/LandlordTenant.pdf
6. Keep your lease. Always keep the lease copy handy. It will specifically outline your responsibilities as a tenant, and what you can expect to pay for at move out. If it states you pay for carpet cleaning with a non-refundable deposit amount, you will not want to hire a carpet cleaner yourself. If however it states you must clean the carpets, you can save some money and hire a vendor prior to your move out.
7. Give appropriate notice. Make sure you give adequate notice before moving. Lease terms will often state how many days you are to give notice by, as well as if you must be out by the 1st of the following month. Communicate with the landlord as directed in your lease. If you are required to give a written notice, never assume a verbal is good enough.
8. Forwarding address. Make sure you communicate where you are moving to. Landlords are required to mail security deposits by a certain deadline, if new addresses are not provided they must mail it to the last know address. Forwarded mail can delay a tenant in getting the security deposit back.
9. Understand your timelines. In Idaho security deposit refunds and/or statements can be mailed out 21-30 days after the move out and the lease is the guide in when it should be returned. However, the definition of a move-out varies based on lease terms. For example some leases specify that keys must be returned to be fully moved out. Always review the move out lease terms and make sure you abide by them strictly when moving.
10. Document your move out. If at all possible schedule an inspection after you have moved out, but before you have actually vacated the property as a tenant. This will give you time to fix items and save money instead of sending a vendor. Take pictures of your move out, so if you think a charge is inaccurate you can send your documentation the landlord. Landlords should also document the move out as well as post cleaning/repair photos so they can show charges are accurate if needed.
Rental Home

Pets in Rentals

Idaho Rentals and Pets

 

For many property owners it seems easy to say, “I don’t want any pets in this unit.” The cost of replacing carpet or potential damage is far too great a risk and will cost more than a pet deposit. The other side of the coin is that by refusing pets you can eliminate a large portion of your tenant market and a home can stay vacant longer.
Idaho ranks 9th in the nation for pet ownership, 62% of households have a pet according to the US Pet Ownership Demographic Scrapbook by the American Veterinary Medical Association in their 2013 report. Idaho is also 8th in the nation for cat ownership. 34.6% of homes have cats.

 

Listing a property as no pets in communities with a large number of pets cuts your demographic audience by over half. After being in this industry I cannot tell you how many times we get an applicant that states they “have no pets” for a rental that is listed as no pets, only to discover that they have an animal from their past landlord or on social media.

 

\It is much safer for a property to allow pets with increased deposits or rent fees and have money for repairs than it is to have tenants sneaking in animals. Pet owners are highly motivated to negotiate when it means keeping a furry member of the family with them. Applications will benefit from having pets listed, and pet references like veterinarians, or landlords with pictures of the animals on file. It gives a landlord a chance to screen an animal along with an applicant.

 

Policies are a landlord’s best friend when it comes to pets. It is smart to have regular inspections, your pet policy should state that damages found by pets will be billed to the pet owner at the time it is discovered and pets causing damage may be removed the property. Additional pet deposits for each animal is helpful. Requiring photos of pets and requesting pet owners carry an insurance policy that includes their animal is highly recommended. Landlords can also refine their policy and let potential tenants know if they have breed restrictions. Many landlord insurance policies also include breed restrictions and this kind of communication will save you a lot of time.

 

Some of your best tenants can have furry family members, it helps to have policies in place to protect your rental investment and not risk losing over half of the reenters in the market for your home.

 

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Security Deposit Refunds

In chatrooms or review forum or when talking with friends what you hear most about rentals is the security deposits. Mostly you hear complaints that tenant’s did not get their deposit back even though they cleaned. What is happening here? Are landlords charging deposits for profit? Are tenant’s being ripped off? Are tenants underestimating their cleaning expenses?

 

It is time to shed light onto this topic. We want to share with what our tenant’s refunds look like. Services for repairs and cleaning are expensive, in addition to moving costs spending money on these is frustrating to tenants, and owners of rental properties. Transparency on this issue is very helpful, and we wish more property managers would share their information. We pulled our move-out-report data for the last three years.

 

First off, 23% of Paramount Property Management, Inc tenants’ got 100% of their deposit back over the last three years. This means they had no outstanding charges for rent, late fees, cleaning, carpet cleaning or repairs. The unit looked better or identical to when they moved in and they got their deposit back entirely. Good landlords understand what charges are normal wear and tear and what charges are a tenant’s responsibility. Although these seem like common sense they vary by state.

 

The remaining 77% did have to pay for cleaning and/or repairs from their deposit The average charged from a deposit on move out was $276.84. Of the 77% that had charges to their deposit 92% had charges fully covered by their deposit and had money returned to them.

 

There was 18% of the tenants that had a charge to their deposit that exceeded their deposit amount. This 18% were over $1000.00 due to tenants not paying rent for for over 2 months or longer, or having large repair issues, such as painting, touch up and retexture of walls, missing closet doors, broken appliances, abandoning trash and furniture, lawn care, several hours of cleaning and pet damages. Of those tenants that exceeded their deposit in repairs and cleaning a small portion paid the bill owing to the owner. The remaining were sent to collections or small claims so the property owners’ could recover their loss.

 

Although Idaho does not have a public statistical account for what property managers refund tenants. most companies will explain what they charge for. It is covered in the lease agreement and if you communicate with a landlord prior to your move out most are happy to do the inspection a few days early to help you prepare to clean or repair items you may have missed. If you are worried about a deposit the best thing a tenant can do is take pictures and document their own move in, keep a copy of the inspection report and take pictures on move out.

Deposit Chart

Deposit Chart

5 things Landlords should not do when screening for their rental

1) Rush: After posting your rental you may get requests to speed up applications and feel pressured to rush or skip steps to hurry and get an applicant in.. Some applicants also may voice concern that you would accept their application and screen others at the same time. The screening process is very important. It is a key to keeping your costs low. A bad tenant will break the bank in missed rents, and repair costs. A new tenant is often entering into a contract that ranges from months to years. Take the time needed to check credit, criminal backgrounds, landlord verifications and references. Experienced landlords will tell you it is better to have an applicant walk on a rental agreement that to rush the process and miss an important bit of information and end up with a bad tenant.

 
2) Discriminate: While the majority of landlords would not want to discriminate against applicants, occasionally a property owner may discriminate illegally if they are not up on their Fair Housing Laws. Landlords must also be in compliance with Fair Housing Laws and the American Disability Act. Landlords sometimes make mistakes listing a home and marketing it with terms that are discriminatory. Avoid statements like, “perfect for newly weds” or “no children” or “great neighborhood for an elderly tenant” These can make other applicants feel discriminated again and are in violation of the Fair Housing Laws. Also remember service or companion animals are covered by the American Disability Act. Landlords cannot legally deny a tenant with a service or companion animal on the basis of a rental being “no pets” . Service and companion animals are not considered pets by law and landlords are not able to ask for an increased deposit due to these.

 
3) Fail to show the property securely: Showings can be busy and hectic, answer questions to multiple clients. It is important that you be at the showing, and answer questions, but also to keep an eye on the property. It is not uncommon for prospective tenants to wander through a home and unlock windows or back doors. Typically this is an innocent enough action, they often want to access the unit when another person will be off work later in the evening. It leads to your property being open to theft. After each showing check all doors and windows to make sure the unit is secure. Don’t give keys out, even with a credit card or Driver’s Licence on file, you never know who will make copies, or what damage could be done.

 
4) Don’t meet the tenant: There may be a few times someone moves into a new home site unseen, but this is a very dangerous area for a landlord. Landlords should meet tenants in person before a lease is signed. So much is missed in communications and interactions that are not in person. An experience landlord will be able to pick up on subtle red flags by a tenant in person. For example a person in a hurry that does not even want to see a rental, or keeps changing the subject over crucial questions can be a red flag. You want a tenant that is interested in your property and wants to live there, not someone indifferent or evading information. One landlord we have worked with rushed through the application process with a tenant who never saw the home. He had excellent credit, great work history and checked out okay with the criminal check. What was missed was that the applicant was in a hurry to get a rental because he had just been accused of child abuse and needed a rental prior to a criminal judgment. He applied and was approved prior to the criminal charges appearing and the landlord was upset to see the approved applicant that was convicted of child abuse was now renting his property right next door to the community playground.

 
5) Skip verification steps: It is not uncommon for a landlord to think that where credit looks good and criminal is okay, to move forward with out doing the hard work of verifying landlord information, checking court registries, and employment verification. Applications are expensive for tenants, ranging from $20-$50 for an application in Idaho you will find some applicants offer to bring their own credit report. It is important that the landlord verify information and do the leg work. One landlord discovered an applicant had lost his employment and was posing as an employee at an out of state company with the same name. Another landlord verified employment only to discover that the applicant had friends posing as the employer. Pending court charges can be found on county court registry. Employers can be reconfirmed using internet skills on Facebook, or company websites. Taking the extra steps to confirm information really pays off.

 

Finding a tenant is a business transaction of serious consequence. It tugs at the emotional heart-string because it is about homes and where our loved ones live, but it is important to keep on track to make sure that a tenant a smart business move and not make a hasty mistake that can end up costing you more later.
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Meteorites and Rentals

November 30, 1954 Mrs Ann Elizabeth Hodges became the only human to be stuck by a meteorite. She was not feeling well and was asleep in her living room when the 8lb meteorite crashed through her ceiling and struck her in the leg. She was 34 living in a rental property in Sylacauga, Alabama.

 

You would think this strange twilight-zone type of encounter with a falling meteorite would be the biggest problem that Mrs. Hodges had to deal with, however, you would be underestimating her pending legal battle with her landlord.

 

Mrs. Hodges kept the meteorite in her home while the legal battle of ownership ensued. Turns out that just because a meteorite falls on you doesn’t mean you can claim ownership. After the rock was sent to the Smithsonian it took the work of Alabama Congressman Kenneth Roberts to get the meteorite returned back to Alabama. Birdie Guy, Mrs Hodges landlord, felt that after a meteroite crashed through his roof and into his living room and cost him some rental repair costs, he had legal ownership of the space rock as the property owner.

 

Mr Guy sued Mrs Hodges for possesion of the space rock, Mrs Hodges with a great deal of public support after seeing the injuries she obtained threatened to counter sue for injuries. Finally landlord and tenant came to a private settlement and Mr Guy gave up claim to the meteorite to Mrs. Hodges.

 

Now in Jan 18, 2010 doctors Marc Gallini and Grank Campi working in Room No 2 in the Williamsburg Square Family Practice in Virgina were nearly hit on the head by a meteorite. The doctors planned to give the meteorite to the Smythsonian and donate the $5,000 – $10,000 from the museum towards charity. However, the landlords of their office space also stated that legally the meteorite was property of the landlord who felt a private purchase could bring $86,000- $300,000 to a private buyer, and was not property of the doctors to give to the museum.

 

In this case it was argued that a rock falling from the sky and ambigous property ownership laws of the state could lead to a legal conclusion that the rock was akin to abandoned property and arguably property of the tenants. This was apparently a perswausive argument as the landlords dropped their claim to the meteorite and it now resides in the Smithsonian.

 

So what happens if a meteorite crashes into a rental. Well based on these past precedents, both ended in settlements without a offical court ruling. Both tenants ended up with legal possesion of their space rocks. If you are worried about a meteorite crashing through your rental, you can always request a special clause in your lease. Since there is only a 1 in 3,921,910,064,328 chance that a home would be struck by a meteorite, the chance of it hitting a rental home is even more rare it could be an etirnity before we get a legal court ruling to set a newer precedent in this type of landlord tenant battle.

 

http://archive.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/061130/meteorite.shtml
http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1280

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-2467
http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/2015327/virginia_meteorite_on_display_at_the_smithsonian/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012804235.html?sid=ST2010012902613

http://www.wm.edu/research/ideation/issues/2011-fall/who-owns-this-meteroite6478.php

Meteorite