Why Hiding Things From Your Landlord Could Cost You

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Anyone who’s ever rented knows the value of having a good relationship with your landlord or property manager. Not only because a good relationship may give you a little clemency if your rent payment is a day late, but also because a bad relationship could make your living situation stressful to the point of being unbearable. One important way to nurture a positive connection with your landlord is to be totally upfront and honest from the moment you sign the lease. After all, renting property to a stranger is pretty risky, and landlords want to be able to trust the person living in their space.

And the opposite is also true: One of the easiest ways to form a negative relationship with your landlord is to lie or hide things from him or her. In fact, hiding things from your landlord or property manager can seriously cost you in several ways.

Hiding a Pet

According to a 2013 Rent.com survey of a 1,000 U.S. renters with pets, 23 percent had hidden a pet from their landlord. There are a couple reasons someone may hide a pet. First, it may be breaking the pet policy. In fact, 83 percent of renters said they had a difficult time finding a pet-friendly rental. Second, the landlord or property may charge extra deposits and monthly fees for renters with pets – 60 percent of renters reported paying between $100 and $500 for a pet deposit. Either way, hiding a pet in your apartment is breaking your lease and could cost you. Plus, you have the added stress of hiding your cat, his smelly litter box and his myriad toys every time the maintenance man needs to come in.

Hiding a New Roommate

Another common thing people try to keep from their landlords is a new roommate whose name doesn’t appear on the lease. Even if you get the new person moved in without your landlord noticing (good luck bringing in a new set of furniture), you don’t want to live in constant fear of being found out. Like harboring hidden pets, having roommates who aren’t on the lease could also be deemed as breaking your lease, which could cost you.

The Costs of Hiding Things

We’ve established that “hiding things could cost you,” but what exactly does that mean? Well, it may be more serious than you think. Here are a few ways hiding things could make your life a lot harder when your landlord finds out:

  • Money. In the best-case scenario, your landlord or property manager will simply charge you a fine and have you pay the required deposits, extra rent or extra utilities outlined in your lease. You also may have to forfeit your security deposit, which could make it a lot harder to put down a deposit on a new place.
  • A place to live. The second way hiding things can cost you is a bit more serious than a simple fine; you could be evicted. Though a pet or an unlisted roommate may not seem that dire to you, landlords have reasons for making those rules. If they don’t allow pets, it’s often because pets aren’t covered under their insurance. And if they don’t allow unlisted people, it may be because those people aren’t liable if they cause damage to the property. Breaking the lease by hiding things could mean you’ll be out of a place to live altogether.
  • Credit. As if losing your apartment isn’t enough, an eviction can seriously affect your credit rating – and since having good credit will be necessary in the future for finding a new place, buying a car and being approved for a loan, this consequence may end up affecting you even longer than the others.
  • A valuable reference. Even if your landlord lets you stay in the apartment and simply charges a small fee, it’s unlikely he or she will provide you with a good reference when it comes time to apply for a new apartment. In fact, they’ll likely bring up the dishonesty with your new prospective landlords.
  • Lawsuits. Finally, and in arguably the worst-case scenario, hiding things from your landlord could even be cause for a lawsuit. While this isn’t likely, it could happen if your hidden dog bites someone or your unlisted roommate burns the building down.
Clearly, being honest with your landlord or property manager is the best policy. If you have a friend or significant other who wants to move in, get written permission beforehand. If you’re interested in getting a pet, make sure you choose a pet-friendly place and pay the extra deposit and monthly charges – you’ll avoid any possibility of paying for it (figuratively or literally) down the road.
This article originally appeared on U.S. News.
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Top 10 Reasons Renters Move or Stay Put

May marks National Moving Month, a kick off to the traditional moving season. Many households will be on the move in the coming months, whether it’s relocating a few blocks away or miles away.

The number of households on the move is expected to grow. One in three U.S. households say they plan to move in the next five years, according to a survey of 10,000 households by The Demand Institute.

But what are these soon-to-be movers looking for in their next home?

The Demand Institute’s research reveals several unmet housing-related desires – gaps between what Americans say they have currently and what they say they want in their next home. Could these satisfaction gaps motivate them enough to want to move?

The following are the top 10 housing desires, ranked according to the satisfaction gap. Find out what these movers likely will be searching for in their next home (and what you may want to emphasize if your listing has any of these features):

1. Very energy efficient with lower monthly utility costs

2. Requires little or no renovation or improvements

3. Has an updated kitchen with modern appliances and fixtures

4. A home I can stay in as I get older

5. Home is located in a safe neighborhood with low crime

6. Fits my budget, without requiring sacrifices

7. Offers a lot of privacy from neighbors

8. Has a lot of storage space

9. Has a good landlord that is responsive to maintenance requests

10. Is a good long-term investment

Source:  Realtor.org

– See more at: http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/latest-news/top-10-reasons-renters-move-stay-put/#sthash.oLrsdowD.dpuf

Property manager can lessen stress for landlords

This article originally appeared on The Tennessean.

property manager no stressMiddle Tennessee continues to attract national attention as a great place to live and work. The resulting population growth is partly to blame for a shortage of housing inventory — particularly in lower price ranges across the region.

Another contributing factor has been the hearty appetites of investors to add to their residential real estate portfolios. Over the last couple of years, institutional and private investors alike have poured millions into the local market and added thousands of units to the rental pool.

In addition to the typical investor, a niche of landlords evolved during the last recession. Often referred to as “reluctant landlords,” this group consists of owners who were unable to sell their home due to a loss of equity or some other circumstance. Many in the latter group will sell their home as market values rise, while others have learned from the situation and will likely continue as long-term investors.

All rental properties share one thing in common — someone must manage the workload and relationship between the investor/owner and tenant. Some investors choose to take on that task themselves, while others engage the services of a professional property manager.

What does a property manager do? In short, he or she oversees the day-to-day activities associated with owning and maintaining rental property. Property managers or firms work with the owner to provide a variety of outsourced services on a fee basis.

Securing a qualified tenant to rent the property is always a top priority. The manager is required to market the property (online, signs, etc.), make it available for viewing by prospective tenants, and conduct background screens and checks. He or she must also comply with fair housing laws, local regulations and ethical standards.

After a prospective tenant has been approved, the property manager oversees the lease negotiations, property inspections and other tasks as requested by the owner. After move-in, the management company usually coordinates maintenance requests and handles the day-to-day care of the property.

Maybe the most important function is to collect payments from the tenant and properly record and disperse funds. This includes pursuing late payments and executing eviction orders when that becomes the only remedy with a delinquent payer.

Why should a homeowner or investor hire a property management company to handle the day-to-day activities? Because the best are trained to manage difficult and frustrating situations, lessening the stress and hassles of real estate investment.