Is it worth it getting certified as a property manager? The answer: it depends? While the courses themselves provide a lot of useful information, Landlords and Property Managers are not really the same job.
Landlords actually own property, while property managers are the people who actively manage these properties on behalf of the landlord. For smaller landlords, this may be the same person. Larger businesses and out of state landlords will often employ a property manager.
The property manager’s responsibility will change depending on both jurisdiction and landlord, but usually involves:
This question depends on the jurisdiction, so you’ll need to check both state and local laws. If you’re going to be involved in both the renting/selling on behalf of clients, then you’ll definitely need a real estate license.
Even if you’re jurisdiction doesn’t require specific licensing as a property manager, certification is still important. Below are what are considered the 5 best certifications and licenses for property managers:
Most states require property management companies to have a real estate broker license, especially if the company is involved in collecting rent. If your company has a broker’s license, you may only need a salesperson’s license, as long as you are listed as working under the managing broker.
In states like Maine, Idaho and Vermont, property managers do not need to be licensed. Other states, like South Carolina, Oregon and Montana, recognize a property manager license instead of a real estate agent license.
To obtain a real estate license, check out the requirements of your state’s relevant agency. This is usually called a licensing board, agency or something similar.
This certification was created by the Community Associations Institute, and is currently awarded by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers.
Certified members are kept up to date on local laws, and are required to undergo continuing education in order to maintain their membership.
This certification was created by NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers. This is probably one of the more highly recognized certifications for property managers. To be awarded this certification, you need to have a real estate license in good standing, 2 years minimum experience, and you must have managed at least 25 units.
Created by IREM, the Institute of Real Estate Management, this is one of the more difficult certifications to achieve. You must have significant experience in property management and investing, and show that you either have a real estate license or are not legally required to hold one.
This certification is awarded by the National Apartment Association. It’s best for those who work in larger apartment buildings or for bigger companies with a portfolio. You are required to take a series of classes, complete a project and then pass a final exam.
Has a tenant recently asked you for a landlord reference letter? Or perhaps the tenant’s new place of residence has called, asking for a quick reference on the tenant?
Here are 5 important things you need to know when providing a reference, followed by a sample reference letter you can use to write for your tenant.
To Who It May Concern:
This tenant reference letter is provided on behalf of [tenant name]. They were tenants at [rental address] from [First Day of Lease] to [Last Day of Lease].
Condition of Property
The tenants kept the property in good condition. The following damages were noted upon their exit from the unit:
The security deposit of $___ was fully/partially refunded within the legally required time frame. If only part of the security deposit was refunded, it was because of:
No eviction notices were served on the tenants.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. My information is below.
Regards,[Your Name] [Company Name, if Applicable] [Street Address] [City, ST, Zip] [Phone] [Email]
If you have a tenant who has stayed on without paying rent, they’re what’s known as a holdover tenant. This is often called “tenancy at sufferance” in the legal profession.
You might, however, consider them a squatter. A Squatter is defined as:
a person who settles on land or occupies property without title, right, or payment of rent
In other words, a squatter is someone who lives in your rental unit, but does not have the legal right to be there. The worst thing about squatters, is that in some more “enlightened states”, it can be almost impossible to get them removed from your property. California – we’re looking at you!
The rise of house sharing platforms like AirBNB or VRBO has created a huge rise in squatters, or previously paying tenants who now have stopped paying the rent. Why, you ask? California, and many other states, have laws that define tenants as anyone who has lived in a property for 30 days.
If you rent out your AirBNB for more then 30 days, in those states, your “guests” would become tenants. If they stopped paying, that means you’re going to need to evict them.
Hopefully you don’t have rental units just lying vacant. But if you do, you may end up with the worst kind of Squatters – the kind that trespass and refuse to leave. As a law abiding landlord, is the law on your side?
It depends, as always, on the city and state you live in. If your squatters manage to fulfill certain requirements, the law might recognize them as lawful residents. For example, in some states, just getting utilities hooked up under the squatter’s name can be considered residency!
If the squatters establish this important distinction, then the police are not going to help. You’re going to turn to the civil courts, a process that may take months or years. In the meanwhile, you’re up the creek while your unit is in limbo.
If you end up with either illegal squatters or tenants requiring an eviction, then it’s important not to do things that may harm your cause later in the eyes of the law. In other words, don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
If your vacant rental unit ends up being squatted, here’s what you should do right away:
You need to be careful with your rental property, and protect yourself at all times against squatters. If you do end up with them, make sure you know exactly how to handle them according to your state and local laws before going forward.
An Overview of Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws
It is highly beneficial for both tenants and landlords to be aware of their rights, and what the law stipulates about a rental property and the relationship between tenants and landlords. As a landlord or tenant, this knowledge can be quite handy when you are faced with a challenging situation related to a rental property. This article offers a summary of fundamental Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws, which apply to residential rental properties.
Alabama Laws on Security Deposit
The Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws (Alabama Code § 35-9A-201) limits how much security deposit a landlord can demand from a potential tenant; this deposit is set at an equivalent of one month’s rent. This stipulated security deposit does not cover pet deposits and any alterations that may be done on the premises such as undoing staircases to accommodate a physically challenged individual.
The security deposit is usually intended to cover any damage to the property after the tenant moves out. This deposit also cushions the landlord from incurring any rental loss if the tenant moves out early, without paying rent. The deadline for returning this deposit is set at 60 days after the tenant moves or after the lease has expired. The landlord must also present an itemized list of all the deductions he/she made the deposit such as the cost of repairs.
Alabama Notice Rules on Outstanding rent and Entry
The state Landlord-Tenant Laws in Alabama require the landlord to give a notice period of at least 30 days for the tenant to raise rent; this is unless a rental agreement that states otherwise was agreed upon by both parties. On the other side, a tenant has seven days to pay his/her rent; otherwise, the landlord is allowed to file for eviction. The law also instructs a ten-day notice to quite a lease or remedy in the event a tenant violates a lease agreement.
The Required Notice before an entry is two days. The law also allows entry for maintenance and repair purposes, but there has to be a notice given before entry. In the event, the tenant has an extended absence (more than 14 days) unannounced entry is permitted by law but with good reason. The landlord is also allowed to show the property but only when a notice has been issued. The law also allows for emergency entry when there is no notice.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws demand that the following be spelled out included in all lease agreements:
• The amount of rent a landlord should charge a tenant. There are no limits set on this rule.
• The contract should indicate where and how rent should be remitted. For instance, payment should be sent to the landlord’s office via mail.
• How rental payments should be made (money order, credit care or cash or cheque) and the date for remitting rent.
• It should state the consequences a tenant will incur for failure to pay rent on time, such as termination of tenancy.
• The lease must stipulate everything that the landlord is obligated to do. For instance, the landlord may agree to be responsible for maintaining the property such as repainting it once in a while.
State laws in Alabama concerning rental property do not stipulate the notice period a landlord must give a tenant in order to increase rent or change other terms of the lease agreement. However, the general rule is the notice period of rent increase is the same time a landlord must provide when terminating tenancy which is 30 days unless the rental agreement states otherwise.
Regarding rental late fees, the laws in Alabama are “silent”. However, if a tenant does not pay rent on the stipulated date (by rental agreement); the landlord may charge him/her a late fee. However, if the terms of late fees are not stated in the rental agreement, the landlord may not impose them on the tenant.
Small Claims court limit
The Law in Alabama allows tenants to sue their landlord for a limit of $6,000 in a small claims court when they fail to return deposits. Once a complainant has been filed the defendant may respond in written form within 14 days. The law allows both the tenant and landlord, to have an attorney represent them in this court, and so does a collection agency that is suing to collect a debt. You should note that the small claims court does not hear matters related to eviction notices; these are instead arbitrated upon by other higher courts.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Under Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws (Ala. Code § 35-9A-202) landlords are obligated to disclose accurate information to their potential tenants and tenants. For instance, the address and name of the property Management Company or individual that is authorized to take any action on the landlord’s/owners behalf, in matters related to receiving and issuing notices and managing the property. This information is usually contained in the lease or rental agreement
Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
In most states the tenant usually has the right to withhold rent in the event that he/she has carried out necessary repairs on the property; this is usually referred to as the right to “repair and deduct”. However, this right does not exist under the Alabama Landlord and Tenant Laws. When a landlord fails to make the necessary repairs such as a leaking roof or broken heater, the tenant should request these repairs by issuing the landlord with a written notice. The notice period allowed is 14 days, after which if no action is taken the tenant has the right to move out of the premises. The tenant also has the right to remain in the premises and sue the landlord for damages. This rights are stipulated under Ala. Code § 35-9A-164.
Termination and Eviction Rules in Alabama
The state’s landlord and tenants laws stipulate how and when a landlord can terminate a tenancy. For instance, if a tenant has been found in possession or uses illegal drugs in the premises, the landlord has the right to issue an unconditional quit notice. This notice gives a tenant seven days to vacate the premises; otherwise, the landlord can file for eviction.
Local Ordinances which Affect Alabama Landlords and Tenants laws
Counties and cities will often pass local ordinances that may affect the state laws. For instance, a county may stipulate antidiscrimination rules, health and safety standards and regulations on noise and nuisance. It is important as a landlord or tenant to be conversant with these local rules. These local ordinances can usually be found on municipalities or city websites.
As a tenant, you have certain rights under the Alabama landlords and tenant laws such as, the right to live in a rental property that meets the basic health and safety standards. The landlord also has rights under this law, such as the right to get rent in a timely and convenient manner (according to the lease agreement). Both the rights of the landlord and the tenants are protected under law, and hence the need to be conversant with these rules and regulations. This article has covered some of the fundamental laws, which should act as a guide when you are renting property. It is, however, important to study these laws in depth when faced with certain legal rental related issues, or consult a lawyer in such an event.
There are a lot of good reasons to raise the rent. In fact, training your longer term tenants to expect a yearly rental increase can be one of the best ways to guarantee an increase in the return on investment of your rental properties. Additionally, it serves as a good hedge against inflation.
Some Landlords feel bad or awkward about raising the rent, but remember, it’s just a cost of doing business.
Below, you’ll find tips on how to increase the rent without losing your tenants, as well as a free rental increase template for you to modify.
In your initial rental contract, add language that, on renewal, mentions a rental increase. You can either mention a real number or use a percentage. Try not to overcharge, 3-5% is usually a good bet. Of course, if rents skyrocket in your market at the end of the lease, you’re not required to renew with that tenant.
Check with your local landlord association to make sure this is legal in your state.
Let the tenant know way in advance that you’re going to raise the rent. If they don’t want to stay, then you’ll have time to properly market and rent out the unit, lowering your vacancy rates and keeping your cash flow going.
You can send the letter via email, or mail. It’s up to you if you want to explain why you want to raise the rent. Sometimes, mentioning an increase in your expenses (such as local taxes, heating, etc), may make the tenant more open to a rental increase.
If a new lease is required, make sure to send it to the tenant to get their signature and renewal.
Re:Notice of Rent Increase
Dear [Tenant’s Name],
Your lease at the property listed above will expire on [Lease Expiration Date].
Effective [Rent Increase Date], the monthly rent for this property will increase to $____. This represents a change of $___ from your current rent, $____ per month.
If you wish to continue with your [lease agreement/month to month tenancy], you will be required to pay this new amount. The rest of your lease agreement shall remain the same, with all terms in force and effect. Should you not wish to renew your lease agreement with us, please provide us with notice as soon as possible, but note then the legally required date of [Last Day Notice Date].
Please contact me with any questions or concerns you have, at [contact information].
As always, the law has something to say about rental increases. If you are a landlord in an area with rent control or rent stabilization, then there are significant restrictions on your ability to raise rents.
Additionally, you cannot raise the rent in the middle of a fixed lease contract. If you rent to section 8 tenants or through another HUD or local agency program, there may be additional restrictions on rental increases.
For tenants who signed a lease, you cannot arbitrarily raise the rents until the period is up. If you placed a clause in your lease agreement to allow for rental increases within the term, note that many courts frown upon this and may invalidate your entire lease agreement.
For month to month tenants, you can raise rents as long as you provide proper notice. The notice period will vary by state. Your notice must be provided in writing. As with any important communication with a tenant, we strongly suggest registered mail at a minimum.
Additionally, you cannot raise the rent in a way that is discriminatory. Meaning, you can’t raise a rent due to race, religion, or something else you don’t particularly like about the tenant.
If a tenant has filed a complaint or exercised a legal right, raising the rent within a certain period may well be viewed as “retaliation” by the courts.
You can’t charge whatever you want for a rental, because tenants will go elsewhere. Make sure to know your local rates. Keeping your rates within the market range will ensure that tenants stay, even when you raise the rents a bit.
This guide will take you through the eviction process, and will give you the steps necessary to properly evict/kick out a tenant from rental property. Note that we are not lawyers and the aim of this guide is to provide general guidelines. Contact legal counsel before proceeding.
Important notice to landlords in California, Florida, and New York: You will have extreme difficulty in evicting tenants in these states. These states are notoriously tenant friendly, and you may not be able to evict. Please contact your local landlord association or attorney before even beginning the process.
If this is your first time having to evict someone, don’t bee to hard on yourself. Evictions are simply part of the process of being a landlord. Even great tenants sometimes have issues. Your job is to be sympathetic but firm. In other words, pay or get out.
While it may seem harsh, at the end of the day, your job is to make money from your rental properties. Letting someone stay in your unit rent free is a surefire way to lose your shirt in the real estate business.
Don’t get me wrong – it can be really depressing to evict a tenant whom you have a relationship with. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice. And when it comes to being nice or making sure you get paid, you need to get paid.
The eviction process starts with having a valid reason to evict a tenant.
Let’s get started:
Eviction laws are different from state to state (see our above notice, for example). More so, eviction laws can even be different by county. Some counties enact ordinances or requirements that may make it more difficult then the minimums set by the state.
Because evictions are a legal issue, it’s important that you start from a solid legal basis. We recommend using a lease agreement that is written by lawyers, designed specifically for you state. Your local landlord association or real estate broker may have a standardized set of lease agreements for you to use.
If you’ve used a custom lease agreement, it’s important to take a few minutes and make sure that the lease you used will allow you to evict your tenant. Otherwise, you may lose your case in eviction court when the time comes.
As much as you’d like, you can’t just kick the tenant out after they’ve violated their lease. These type of evictions are illegal and unlawful and may completely wreck any attempt at actually getting the tenant out.
Specifically do not:
Remember that evicting someone is a legal process that can take time. If you act rashly or outside the scope of this process, you can seriously harm your case in court.
You can’t evict someone just because you don’t like them. You need to have a legitimate, legal reason for attempting to evict a tenant.
Typical good reasons for evicting a tenant include:
Make sure you have proof (the more, the merrier), so you can prove your case in court.
This is a good question. It really depends on the situation, why you need to evict, and what the rental market is like in your area.
For example, in a soft rental market, where you may not be able to get another tenant, attempting to reason with a tenant who is a bit behind on the rent might make sense.
Conversely, in a strong market, you probably can afford to be much stricter with your tenants.
Generally speaking, it’s best to have a written process in place and enforce it equally among all your tenants. Otherwise, you open yourself up to both Fair Housing lawsuits, and the possibility that you may lose your eviction case as well.
Once you’ve decided you want to evict your tenant, you need to provide the tenant with an eviction notice. In legal jargon this may also be called a “notice to quit”. Below we’ll provide a general guidelines of eviction notices, however it’s important to note that this process varies greatly by state.
At this point, the eviction process has formally begun.
Hopefully, your tenant will “cure” the issue by paying the rent or making repairs, but sadly that’s not often the case. Now the clock starts ticking, and once the specified time has passed, it’s time to file in local court.
The next step is to go to your local court, and file the eviction paperwork. If you’re a bigger landlord with several units, you may have an attorney on retainer who does this for you. In some states, you must file eviction with an attorney. In other states, you can file yourself.
Go to the appropriate court or their website, and ask the clerk for the paperwork necessary to file an eviction. At this point the clerk will issue a summons, and your tenant will need to show up in eviction court.
(Bonus:If your tenant doesn’t show up, then you win the case by default!… Usually.)
Assuming your tenant hasn’t already flown the coop, then it’s time to go to court and win your case.
Bring as much documentation as you can, including:
The court will usually decide at the time of the case.
If you’ve won, then read on.
Once you’ve won your eviction case, you can now evict your tenant.
If your tenant hasn’t physically left, you can go the local sheriff or bailiff who will help you evict the tenant. In general, it’s better to have the law do this for you. Eviction processes have been known to get violent, so you’re best making sure a professional gets them out if they haven’t already.
Alright, your eviction is done. Hopefully it won’t happen again. Here are some helpful hints to help you get better tenants:
In the US, Obesity is fast becoming the biggest health crisis of our generation. There are lots of reasons, from fast food to lifestyle changes and a changing way of working, but the bottom line is we’re getting fat.
In this map, we plotted the percentage of obese people within the larger population. Some of the results, are, quite frankly, scary:
Want to Embed this Map?
<iframe src="https://rentapplication.cartodb.com/viz/2495db34-3a9c-11e5-9f99-0e853d047bba/embed_map" width="100%" height="520" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe> This Map about the Fattest Cities in America was created by <a href="https://www.rentapplication.com">Rent Application.com</a> Please make sure to attribute this map to us!
Here are the top 10 fattest cities in America:
|5||39.5%||Roanoke Rapids, NC|
|7||39.2%||Pine Bluff, AR|
|8||39.2%||Rocky Mount, NC|
|17||38.1%||Morgan City, LA|
|18||37.8%||Fort Polk South, LA|
|21||37.6%||Lake City, FL|
|22||37.5%||Kansas City, MO-KS|
|34||36.7%||Virginia Beach, VA|
|44||36.2%||Fort Smith, AR|
|57||35.6%||Baton Rouge, LA|
|62||35.4%||New Orleans, LA|
|69||35.1%||St. Joseph, MO|
|70||35.1%||Moses Lake, WA|
|75||34.9%||South Bend, IN|
|98||34.5%||Stevens Point, WI|
|99||34.4%||Battle Creek, MI|
The CDC recognizes that obesity is a problem (as do most professionals). They have an entire department that deals with obesity and diabetes. We used their data, and then ranked cities with at least 50,000 people based on the most recent US Census data available.