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Why Should I Hire a Property Management Company in San Jose? Tenant Screening

System - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today, we’re talking about an issue that gets lots of owners in trouble, and that’s the tenant screening process. It’s an area that requires you to be assertive and aggressive in some things, but also prohibits you from asking any questions that could be discriminatory. There is some confusion about tenant screening because of the legal issues included, and I think it’s the one thing that professional property managers do much better than individual owners who are trying to manage the process on their own.

At Aborn Properties, we do this over and over again, and we also stay trained in the latest laws. The questions not to ask are the things that might identify a protected class. You cannot ask about marriage, sexual orientation or sexual relationships, age, the number of children someone might have, even though you might need to know how many children will be in the house. These are things you cannot ask about. For example, you shouldn’t ask someone where he is originally from. I am always curious about these things because I like people and I like accents, but you cannot ask because if you turn that renter down, he can come back and say he was denied because of being Latvian or whatever his country of origin might be.

You do need to ask probing questions about things that are appropriate to the rental of a home. You can ask about salary information and obtain credit information. Ask about their credit situation and then compare what they tell you to what turns up in the credit report. Talk to previous landlords. Ask for a list, get phone numbers and make your calls. Ask about any criminal history. You can get a felony conviction report when you request a credit report.

Make sure your application is up to date and compliant with state law. You want every space to be filled in by your potential tenant. When I talk to people who have had trouble with tenants, the application usually has a lot of blank spaces. They won’t fill in what they don’t want you to know. Get an application fee up front. You should always have people pay an application fee. If nothing else, it will cover the cost of the credit check. Asking for a fee will also dissuade people who know they will not pass your screening process. Therefore, $25 can go a long way towards thinning out the number of applications you need to go through.

The most important thing I want to leave you with is this: do not rely on the tenant’s word. Get a credit report, talk to previous landlords as well as the current landlord. Check employment by calling the employer. Verify everything they say. What sets professionals and amateurs apart is how thoroughly tenants are screened. Check every item. It’s the one safeguard you have before turning your property over to someone else.

If you have any questions, or need any help with tenant screening, please contact us a call at Aborn Properties.

How to Be a Landlord in San Jose – When your Tenant is a Hoarder

System - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A recent television show has highlighted the plight of hoarders and helped to give people a sense of what hoarding is. Hoarding is definitely an addiction, and like all addictions, it can be really hard to break. There are a number of mental health professionals who think it’s a mental disorder. There is no confusion however about the damage hoarding does to your unit. It can be a real health hazard for your property. Be prepared to terminate the tenancy if you have to. You need to be firm, and if you used a proper lease that says tenants cannot lay waste to the property, you are on good legal standing.

As with all addictions, there is a really good chance that even when you threaten to terminate the lease, the tenant still will not be able to solve the problem. We had a hoarding situation with a 900 square foot condo in our area here in San Jose. The husband and wife had been tenants for 10 years, but what we did not realize is that the wife head decided the marriage was over and she moved away. Because we believe in regular inspections, we got to the house at our next scheduled inspection and found the tenant had changed the locks. He was nowhere to be found. When we called, he made a series of excuses and all properties know that by the third excuse, something is wrong.

In this case, we told the tenant we would have to terminate the tenancy if he didn’t let us into his property. When we got in, the house had two paths; one from the door to a single barcalounger and one from the door to the bathroom. There was enough stuff piled into that unit that we needed 16 40-yard dumpsters to clean it out. It did not seem possible that so much junk could come out. He had asked us for extra time to remove his valuables and his rent was current, so we gave him a couple of weeks. However, I don’t think he removed a single thing in those two weeks we gave him. He was overwhelmed. We tried to get his family involved, but they did not want to be, so we had to call Adult Services.

If you see a tendency to hoard, take quick action. Paying to have all of that stuff removed was expensive. We felt terrible about putting this man out of his house, and as property managers sometimes we end up being the last resort for people. Hoarders are a particular kind of problem. They will pull at your heartstrings, but you really need to move forward and get your property back to a normal rental situation.

Please do not hesitate to contact Aborn Properties if you have any questions about this blog, or property management in general.

What Do You Do When a Tenant Doesn’t Pay? How to Evict in San Jose

System - Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One of the questions that landlords often mind most terrifying is: what happens if the tenant doesn’t pay rent? First, I advise that you do something that might be a bit uncomfortable, and that is – go and talk to the tenant. Go to their door, knock on it and see if you can find out what is going on. Take a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit with you.

Once you finally get the opportunity to talk to your tenants, don’t be afraid to ask how they plan to become current with their rent. We have had situations where plants or companies do a layoff for one week, and there might be a reason that affects the tenants’ capacity to pay. If there is a reasonable plan to get caught up with what is owed in rent, it might benefit you to work with them. Perhaps they can pay half of what they owe right now, and then get you the other half in a week, when they get paid. If there is a simple way to get them back on schedule, do it.

Try not to force a vacancy if you don’t have to. With a vacancy, you’ll lose rent that you can never recover. Serve the 3 Day Notice just in case. Even if you and your tenants come up with a plan that everyone agrees to, give them the notice just in case. Tell them it’s nothing to worry about, but explain that you have to serve it to protect yourself and ensure the rent does get paid in full. This way, if the tenants do not stick with the payment deal, you have already started the clock on the eviction process. You don’t want to wait and start it all over again in three or four weeks.

If you do need to move forward with an eviction, make sure you use a competent attorney who does evictions and concentrates on landlord tenant law as a specialty. You don’t’ want to go to the family will attorney for help in removing tenants who aren’t paying rent. Typically, the lawyers who specialize in landlord tenant law are the most reasonably priced. They also have the process nailed down, and they will be able to provide the best service to you. When you go to court and the judge recognizes your attorney, you know you’ve got a good one.

Please contact us at Aborn Properties if you have any questions about how to avoid or proceed with an eviction when your tenants do not pay rent.

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Aborn Properties
2660 John Montgomery Dr., Suite 1
San Jose, CA 95148

Office: 408-272-4100
Fax: 408-272-2095
California Bureau of Real Estate #00409494

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