Author Topic: Preferred Lease Forms, Move-In/Out Forms, and Credit/Background Check Companies.  (Read 4976 times)

PrattWorks

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Hi, All -

My wife and I are renting out our house in Portland, Oregon and will be managing the property remotely ourselves. We want to be smart about finding good tenants, establishing a good relationship with them, and doing our due diligence at every step in the process.

Does anyone have a cache of forms they use to screen and select the best tenants? Any recommendations on companies that perform background/credit checks? Any tips in writing a Craigslist ad? What to allow and what not to allow?

Thanks in advance!

Aaron

terarym

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Hello Aaron,

DH & I are renting in Cannon Beach and have not signed a new lease.  Married 30 years, no smoking, no pets, excellent credit.  He's a software engineer who works from home.

If you would let me know the particulars, we may apply to be your tenants.

Thank you,

Terry
hohumtrades@gmail.com



Fishingmn

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Here are the main documents I use -

Residential Rental Application - I found the one I use online and paid a one time fee to download. Do a search on that term and you'll find options. I like ones that have an "authorization" at the end which you can sometimes use to get their employers to share more information with you.

Residential Policies Document - This is a 1 page document I developed which outlines the steps I use to review potential tenants. Most importantly it outlines the reasons that I can reject someone (income not 3x, credit score, crimes, not being able to verify income/rental history ...) and finally all the things I don't discriminate on. I then have them sign this. I think most potential tenants see this and don't proceed if they don't match which I like. It's also signed so they knew what the rules were.

Residential Lease - Do a search online to see if your state has a standard Multihousing Lease. I know Minnesota has one. I actually found mine online from another landlord who had it posted and then I've modified it from there. I haven't had it looked at by a lawyer so I'm not comfortable sharing.

Background - I really like hotpads.mysmartmove.com  You never touch the application fee and it's fast and efficient. Does both credit and criminal for a very reasonable fee. You send applicant link and they plug in their credit/debit card and it sends you results right away with recommendation to approve or deny.

Marketing - Before doing Craigslist I highly recommend postlets.com (free) - they allow you to set up marketing that shows up on zillow, trulia and others so you get a lot more exposure and then you can post the details very easily using their links onto Craigslist for a nicer looking ad there too.

I don't allow smoking or pets but other landlords see those as opportunities since so many landlords rule them out. It may depend on the type of property you have and type of tenants they will attract.

GrayGhost

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This may rustle a few jimmies... but I do not recommend accepting Section 8 tenants.

ncornilsen

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I second you recommendation. However it is now illegal in the state of Oregon to refuse someone tenancy due to where they get their means of payment.


Fishingmn

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I second you recommendation. However it is now illegal in the state of Oregon to refuse someone tenancy due to where they get their means of payment.

I still think you probably have the right to set standards that all tenants must meet. That's why I have a policy document that says the following -

Management reserves the right to refuse to rent to an applicant for any one of the following reasons:
1.   Criminal History
2.   Insufficient income (income must be minimum 3 times the amount of rent.  Ex. $1,000/mo rent is 3x$1,000 = $3,000/mo or $36,000/year)
3.   Credit Concerns (credit score must be 660+ and debt ratio <45%)
4.   Unable to verify income and/or employment
5.   Unstable employment record
6.   Previous eviction actions
7.   Unstable or negative housing history
8.   Unable to verify information provided on application


ncornilsen

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Of course. Write a policy that gives you enough 'outs' to deny someone for any reason other than (among many others) section 8 payment methods, and stick to it, you should be fine.

I'm just saying, do not utter the words "You don't qualify because you're using section 8 vouchers."  That'll get you in a heap of trouble.

Weedy Acres

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Mrlandlord.com is a great resource.

arebelspy

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I like Section 8 tenants.  And as long as they meet my normal screening criteria, why wouldn't I rent to them?

I'd recommend you get the local lease for your area by your area's association of Realtors, and start with that as your base.

Use Postlets to help you make your CL ad and syndicate it to Zillow, etc.
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GrayGhost

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We had an annoying experience with a Section 8 tenant, but I have heard that overall, they're hit or miss. That means that they're just like other tenants--sometimes they're great, other times, not so much. I think that as long as you do your regular due diligence and they seem like reasonable people, Section 8 status shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Zoot Allures

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I'm in Portland also. The advice I've been given is to use forms that are specific to Oregon, as opposed to downloading things at random from the web.

I recently bought a rental agreement form from Multifamily NW. I decided it was worth the 8 bucks to have the peace of mind that the rental agreement is consistent with Oregon law.

Also, I just took a city-sponsored landlord class that had a lot of useful info on how to find good tenants and how to subtly discourage bad ones from applying. Also some important info on how to be strict in your tenant criteria while not running afoul of anti-discrimination laws. The subject of background screening companies came up, and the ones I heard recommended were Pacific Screening, Background Investigations, Inc., and TransUnion SmartMove.

D.williams

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In my experience the best thing to do is come at screening your tenants from a few different angles.

I always require any potential applicant to come and meet me in person at least twice. At the first meeting I require they pay an application fee so I can run their information through MyRental.com's tenant screening service: http://www.myrental.com. I also require them  to provide me with at least two references from previous landlords or employers. Those are the kinds of people that will give you a good idea of the kind of person you're dealing with.