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Old 02-03-2010, 05:00 PM
 
393 posts, read 1,427,468 times
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My parents would like to rent/lease their home in West Palmdale, but they've never done this before, so we need some advice.

Once a prospective tenant fills out the rent application what do you advise doing next? Do they need to show proof of income, and how (check stub, W-2, etc.). Checking their credit sounds like a good idea, but how do you go about that? I've seen ads in the past from rental agencies asking for a $30 credit check fee. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My parents are good, honest people and I would not want them to get stuck with a bad tenant.

Also, do you recommend renting month to month, or leasing?

Thank you!!
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:08 PM
 
27,075 posts, read 54,279,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAVC View Post
My parents would like to rent/lease their home in West Palmdale, but they've never done this before, so we need some advice.

Once a prospective tenant fills out the rent application what do you advise doing next? Do they need to show proof of income, and how (check stub, W-2, etc.). Checking their credit sounds like a good idea, but how do you go about that? I've seen ads in the past from rental agencies asking for a $30 credit check fee. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My parents are good, honest people and I would not want them to get stuck with a bad tenant.

Also, do you recommend renting month to month, or leasing?

Thank you!!

Can not say enough good things about joining your Local Rental Housing Association for first time Landlords.... they run credit checks and more important... provide up to date rental agreements reviewed by lawyers for your specific area.

Sometimes you can get lucky and everything works out OK... the problem is when there is a problem... you, as the owner need to make sure you are in full compliance with the law...

I've been very fortunate in having good tenants and some exceptional ones... Unfortunately, I've also had to evict tenants.

There is a good book by Leigh Robinson called Land lording... it provides the basic philosophy of being a good landlord and points out pitfalls along the way... maybe your library has a copy?

When I started, my Rental Agreement was one page with a second Inventory and Condition page... now, it is nearly 30 pages just to be compliant with all the State, Local and Federal requirements.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles......So. Calif. an Island on the Land
736 posts, read 2,047,698 times
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Ultrarunner made some good comments.

I'll try to add a few from my own experience which is limited to renting out a loft I own in downtown LA. I used Westside Rentals which does a credit check and eviction check (within Calif. only). I think the cost was $25 per applicant.

I've been "lucky" so far as I have NOT had any deadbeat tenants but I did have one that broke a 12-month lease after 6 months. She paid her rent on time and did let me know she was leaving early but I still had to eat the mortgage while I looked for a new tenant. She left the place in good condition.

The current tenants I have are EXCELLENT...pay on time, no complaints, etc. So I'd say look for good credit and stable job but also hopefully you'll have a good feeling in your gut about who you rent to.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,663 posts, read 27,022,157 times
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My grampa owned 50 rentals. he said to never take their current landlords reference seriously. He always went to the prior. His thought was the current landlord will say anything to get rid of a problem.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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I manage only 2 rental properties and it can be very stressful choosing a tenant especially when there's many to choose from.

I usually just go with my 'gut' and choose the best from the applicants.

When they come to view the property take notice of the way they're dressed, they way they look, the type of car (is it clean?) take note of any 'off' comments or statements.

You can weed out so many potential problems if you use a critical eye.

When they submit their application make sure there are no ommissions - double check all the information by calling their references. - Check up that the reference is real too.

It's not the most fun job in the world - but if you do it right the first time you can eliminate 95% of potential problems before people move in.

Good luck, I wouldn't trust a real estate agent, they get paid regardless of what kind of job they do for you...
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:55 PM
 
519 posts, read 936,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretkona View Post
My grampa owned 50 rentals. he said to never take their current landlords reference seriously. He always went to the prior. His thought was the current landlord will say anything to get rid of a problem.
This is true too - I know landlords (friends of ours) that have given great references to get rid of bad tenants.

But I've never taken this advice (It can be hard/impossible to track down that far back without the tenants help) ... and I've been lucky.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:59 PM
 
519 posts, read 936,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAVC View Post
My parents would like to rent/lease their home in West Palmdale, but they've never done this before, so we need some advice.

Once a prospective tenant fills out the rent application what do you advise doing next? Do they need to show proof of income, and how (check stub, W-2, etc.).
We ask for pay checks - they are called group certificates here in Australia.
Quote:
Also, do you recommend renting month to month, or leasing?

Thank you!!
We offer a 3 month lease - which neither can break without good reason. (Terms outlined in rental agreement that we all sign)
Then it's 2 weeks notice from either party no reason needed.

Not sure if you can do this in the USA?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:11 PM
 
393 posts, read 1,427,468 times
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Thank you all, very useful. I did find a site called Rental Housing Help for landlords, and they charge a $39.00 membership fee for one year, offering services from credit check, prior evictions, etc.

Can anyone advise on how to check for proof of income in California? One family we are considering the wife works part time and the husband is self employed. They seem like very nice people, but I am not sure about the self employed thing... I would not want to hold that against him, however, how can one check to ensure he has steady income?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:28 PM
 
27,075 posts, read 54,279,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAVC View Post
Thank you all, very useful. I did find a site called Rental Housing Help for landlords, and they charge a $39.00 membership fee for one year, offering services from credit check, prior evictions, etc.

Can anyone advise on how to check for proof of income in California? One family we are considering the wife works part time and the husband is self employed. They seem like very nice people, but I am not sure about the self employed thing... I would not want to hold that against him, however, how can one check to ensure he has steady income?
Can the couple qualify on the wife's income alone? You can request tax returns just like lenders do... but, don't be surprised if they are not willing to share.

My basic requirements are:

Verifiable Income of 3 times the rent.

No Bad Credit... which is different from no credit.

References... preferably from past landlords, although not the current one.

Shortcomings can be overcome... a parent with good income/credit willing to co-sign... If the applicant does not have a family member with good credit willing to step-up... take it as a very bad sign. A few times I have had to collect and the only reason I did was because I had a co-signer.

Funny thing about Bad Credit... it takes effort to get it and there are some people with little to no credit which is OK with me... Bad Credit is a real problem.

One word of caution on Credit Checks... it is my understanding that it is illegal to check a person's credit without expressed written permission and the penalties are stiff should you find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Below the fray
422 posts, read 1,651,397 times
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If I may suggest, get thee to a library or a bookstore for some publications on the subject and/or find a landlords' organization that can help you. A general interest Internet message board like this may be a good place to start, but you shouldn't rely on advice you get from total strangers here (some of whom have no experience with California landlord/tenant law) to make such important decisions. Good luck.
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