Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do I Really Need An Eviction Report?

The answer is YES, YES, and YES! If you’re only looking at criminal records and a credit report, you’re not getting the whole story. In today’s economy not only are homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure, people who rent are losing their homes to evictions. Lost jobs, medical bills, poor credit decisions and divorce have caused the number of evictions to skyrocket over the past few years.

If you’re not looking for eviction records you’re not getting one of the most important pieces of screening information a property owner can use to make an informed rental decision. Someone who has been evicted has given up one of the basic necessities of life, shelter.

If you’re not ordering a separate eviction report and rely solely on the credit report for eviction information, you’re missing out on 75% of the evictions filed. The only eviction records that show up on the credit report are monetary judgments which can take up to 90 days to show up on the credit report.

If you’re not getting an eviction report with your current screening package please contact the RSI office.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Don't Let the Co-Signer Off the Hook!

Many property owners ask for co-signers in situations that involve students with limited income or renters with poor credit. If you ask for a co-signer you will need them to complete a separate agreement that stipulates that they agree to pay rent and damages if the primary tenant fails to pay.

Most property owners get into trouble when they make changes to the lease with out the co-signers written approval. This can be adding or deleting a person to the lease. Adding pets to the lease or even renewing the lease if the co-signer does not sign the new lease.

How do you avoid problems? Its easy, just make sure you get the co-signers signature every time you make a change to the lease agreement.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Warranty of Habitability

If you own rental property in Colorado have you updated your Move-In Move-Out sheet? If you haven’t your opening your company and self up to potential liability. As a property owner or manager you should have a signed Move-In Move-Out sheet for every rental unit that includes this specific verbiage: After inspecting the premises, resident acknowledges that the premises contain no condition constituting or posing a material danger or hazard to resident’s life, health or safety. If you don’t have this form you can download from theRental Services Website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time To Look At The Credit

Last month we talked about the income of your applicant. I wanted everyone to focus on how important it is to make sure they have enough money to pay the rent. Now that we know they have the money, lets look at the next step in screening your applicant. Yes, it's time to talk about credit.

The credit information is valuable if you use it as a part of the overall screening process. The reason we want to look at an applicants' credit is to review their payment patterns. An applicant with poor payment patterns has demonstrated that they are a greater financial risk.

When looking at the credit report you should look at the credit score, percentage of delinquencies, collections and bankruptcy records. This information can be used to paint a picture of your applicants' credit worthiness. Make sure you have credit criteria established so you can qualify each applicant using the same standards. If you don't know how to read a credit report, you should look at a scoring model like Insta-Chek to help you analyze the credit report.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Whats First?

I talk to people about tenant screening on a daily bases and everyone is always concerned about credit information. As a property owner you should really be concerned about the applicants income level. If someone has great credit and makes $3,000 a month they may seem like they would be a good renter, unless of course the rent is $2,800. Living on $200 a month is next to impossible and your applicant will struggle to pay their bills.


To decide how much money an applicant needs to qualify to rent your property you need to come up with a rent to income ratio. It's best to establish a ratio as part of your rental criteria so each applicant knows your expectations. The rental housing industry generally uses a 3/1 ratio for income to rent. What this means to you is if the rent is $1,000 the applicant would need to make $3,000 or rent x 3. This is an easy way to make sure your applicant can afford the monthly rent and pay their other bills.


You may not believe this but some applicants lie about their income! If your applicant has told you he makes $3,000 a month you need to verify this amount. Income verification can be done by reviewing pay stubs or bank statements. The only problem with this method is the potential for falsification of the documents by the applicant. The best way to verify income is a phone call to their employer. Verifying the exact amount of income will help you make sure your applicant has the money to pay rent.


Once you have verified the applicants income your ready to move on to the next step in screening your applicant. Now you can factor in the credit report information, eviction records and criminal report as you make your decision to rent.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do you have your free online ad?

Rental property owners we work with are having great success using free tools like Craigslist.com. The more successful property owners and managers tell me they use Craigslist along with HTML to add multiple photos and a link to their main website to contact the property and set an appointment. This action demonstrates that your applicant has a real interest in your rental property. Several of the property owners we work with have told us that if the prospect contacts them from their website, they have a higher closing ratio then from other traffic sources. If you’re not advertising on the internet, Craigslist is a great starting point, and if you have been advertising on the internet for years adding you probably already know Craigslist can be very cost effective.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Identity Theft Made Easy!

Have you ever used a copy Machine? Have you ever made a copy of personal information? Does your business have a copy machine? If you answered yes to any of these questions I would recommend you watch this video.

Video Link

Thursday, May 6, 2010

DUMBREGS

SmartRegs proposals move forward to Boulder Planning Board and City Council.

After 10 months of working group meetings, open houses and community feedback, the SmartRegs (DumbRegs) project moves forward to be considered by the Planning Board at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18.

The SmartRegs proposal has three main components:

• Adoption of the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code with amendments to incorporate features of Boulder’s existing housing code;
• Adoption of administrative revisions and fee changes to the Rental License Code; and
• Adoption of an energy efficiency requirement for existing residential rental properties.

The proposal, most recently amended to address comments from the Environmental Advisory Board and Landmarks Board, is available on the SmartRegs Web site for public review prior to the Planning Board meeting. The meeting will include a presentation and public hearing. Community members are encouraged to attend and provide feedback.

Why should you attend this meeting? If SmartRegs is passed and you own rental properties in Boulder you will be required to retrofit your properties to come up to 20% of current energy codes. This could mean a cost range of about $750 per unit to $3200 per unit or more. When you look at all rental property in Boulder the city is asking everyone to pay around $35 million dollars. The city council believes that the upgrades increase the value of your properties and therefore this is just an “investment” in your business. Let them know that you know better – this is an expense that cannot be recovered.


Want more information? Contact the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association

Web: http://barhaonline.org
Phone: 303-494-9048

Finally Some Good News!

SB 185-Warranty of Habitability by sponsors Senator Brandon Shaffer-D, Longmont and Representative Michael Merrifield-D, Colorado Springs, has died in the House Business Affairs Committee.

Committee members, Stephens-R, Bradford-R, Priola-R, Liston-R, Balmer- R and Rice-D voted to oppose to the proposed legislation.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

INJUNCTIVE RELIEF = FREE RENT

After weeks of committing to a NO vote, Senator Chris Romer
(D-Denver) flipped his vote on SB 185 (Shaffer/Merrifield), Warranty of
Habitability.


The bill is now assigned to the House Business Affairs Committee.
Please contact these members of the Business Affairs and Labor Committee and ask
them to vote NO on SB 185.




  • This bill would undo several months of negotiation that took place ONLY
    18 MONTHS AGO.

  • Those negotiations cost the taxpayers of Colorado upwards of $20,000 for
    mediation.

  • This bill REMOVES KEY COMPONENTS that were negotiated to achieve a
    balanced policy for all parties involved.

  • This bill expands the definition of a violation of the Warranty of
    Habitability. HB 185 changes the definition of a violation from
    "materially dangerous or hazardous to the tenant's life, health or
    safety" to "materially affects health or safety." This
    greatly expands what could be considered a violation of the warranty and
    opens the door for increased frivolous law suits. Can a tenant claim a
    breach if they have allergies in their apartment?

  • SB 185 places greater strain on the court system through
    INJUNCTIVE RELIEF and broadens the definition of a violation of Warranty
    of Habitability. By allowing the tenant to obtain injunctive relief
    in county courts, including small claims courts, this bill will generate
    more traffic in our court systems.

  • The tenant already has an arsenal of remedies. They can withhold rent, or
    terminate and move. Under any of these scenarios, if the landlord
    remains in breach, the landlord is losing rental income.

  • THIS EQUATES TO FREE RENT! If an
    injunctive relief is given to the tenant that is going through the
    eviction process, an injunction will substantially slow the eviction. During
    the legal process the tenant remains in their apartment until the
    legal process is complete....without paying rent.



Representative Edward Casso (D-32)


Capitol Phone: 303.866.2964


Email: edward.casso.house@state.co.us


Representative Karen Middleton (D-42)


Capitol Phone: 303.866.3911


Home Phone: 720.427.3239


Email: repmiddleton@gmail.com

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Government Makes The Rules!

We need your participation! The Financial Reform
Act Will Give the FTC Expanded Rulemaking Authority over the background and
tenant screening industries.

Hidden inside the financial reform bill are provisions that
would grant the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the equivalent of extraordinary
legislative powers. These provisions have already been passed by the House
(H.R. 4173) and are currently being considered by the Senate.

NAPBS and NASA have great concerns with the following sections of this legislation:

  • Unbridled authority to create
    rules about "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" across all but
    a few sectors of the American economy;
  • Power to seek immediate civil
    penalties for "unfair or deceptive acts or practices without first
    giving companies the opportunity to change their practices;"
  • Authority to go after
    companies for allegedly "aiding and abetting" others in an FTC Act
    violation, even without actual knowledge of the violation; and

  • Power to seek such penalties
    without coordinating with the Justice Department.

The Senate is ready to act - Now is the time
when your voice matters the most!


The FTC would be granted expanded rulemaking authority to
regulate companies in our industry.

We urge you to contact your senators today and stress the importance of
upholding the longstanding safeguards that prevent FTC overreaching.
Please click the following link to read this legislation:


http://capwiz.com/napbs/utr/1/LCXWMLAVCV/FHUIMLAVZO/5095829861




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VOTE NO on SB 185!

Please contact these select Senators below and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 185!

This new bill aims to:

Expand the definition of a violation of the Warranty of Habitability.

·This bill would undo several months of negotiation that took place ONLY 17 MONTHS AGO.


·Those negotiations cost the taxpayers of Colorado upwards of $20,000 for mediation.

·This bill REMOVES KEY COMPONENTS that were negotiated to achieve a balanced policy for all parties involved after five years of work.

  • If a warranty of habitability case goes to court, it allows the court to
    quickly resolve the notice issue. This allows the court to focus on
    the real issues of determining whether a breach of the warranty of
    habitability occurred and how a breach should be cured.
  • SB 185 places greater strain on the court system through INJUNCTIVE RELIEF and
    broadens the definition of a violation of Warranty of Habitability. By
    allowing the tenant to obtain injunctive relief in county courts, including
    small claims courts, this bill will generate more traffic in our court
    systems.


    THIS EQUATES TO FREE RENT! If an injunctive relief is given to the tenant that
    is going through the eviction process, an injunction will slow the eviction. During
    the legal process the tenant remains in their apartment until the legal
    process is finished....without paying rent.




    Sen. Mary Hodge (D-25)

    Email:
    maryhodge@aol.com

    Capitol Phone: 303.866.4855

    Home Phone: 303.659.3298



    Sen. Dan Gibbs (D-16)

    Email:
    dan.gibbs.senate@state.co.us

    Capitol Phone: 303.866.4873

    Home Phone: 970.333.4707



    Sen. Rollie Heath
    (D-18)


    Email:
    rollie.heath.senate@state.co.us

    Capitol Phone: 303.866.4872

    Home Phone: 720.272.2389



    Sen. Chris Romer
    (D-32)


    Email:
    chris.romer.senate@state.co.us

    Capitol Phone: 303-656-9531



    Sen. Lois Tochtrop
    (D-24)


    Email:
    lotochtrop@aol.com

    Capitol Phone: 303-866-4863

    Home Phone: 303.469.9217



    Sen. Suzanne Williams
    (D-28)


    Email:
    suzanne.williams.senate@state.co.us

    Capitol Phone: 303-866-3432

    Home Phone: 303.751.2396



    Senator Evie Hudak
    (D-19)


    Capitol Phone: 303.866.4840

    Home Phone: 303.423.8569

    Email:
    senatorhudak@gmail.com



    Senator Abel J.
    Tapia (D-3)


    Capitol Phone: 303.866.2581

    Home Phone: 719.671.3311

    Email:
    dhtmled4:abel.tapia.senate@state.co.us








Monday, March 22, 2010

LEGISLATIVE ALERT 3/22

The Senate has scheduled SB 185 for the Senate Floor TODAY. Please contact these Senators below and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 185!

This new bill aims to:1. Remove the requirement that a tenant must provide written notice to a landlord in the case of a breach.2. Expands the definition of a violation of the Warranty of Habitability.3. Adds new treble damages language.

  • This bill would undo several months of negotiation that took place ONLY 17 MONTHS AGO.
  • Those negotiations cost the taxpayers of Colorado upwards of $20,000 for mediation.
  • This bill REMOVES KEY COMPONENTS that were negotiated to achieve a balanced policy for all parties involved.
  • This bill removes the statutory requirement for written notice.
  • Required written notice is a fundamental protection for both tenants and property owners.
  • Since it is real and tangible documentation, it is easy for either party to prove that notice was given or received.
  • A tenant can easily prove he or she gave notice if a property owner denies receiving notice.
  • A property owner is protected from tenants who claim to have given notice, but never do.
  • If a warranty of habitability case goes to court, it allows the court to quickly resolve the notice issue. This allows the court to focus on the real issues of determining whether a breach of the warranty of habitability occurred and how a breach should be cured.
  • It creates a fixed timeline for a property owner and tenant to manage a problem. Without written notice, the timetable for fixing a problem may shift dramatically depending on what the parties claimed to have said or remembered about when notice was provided.
  • Written notice is especially helpful when a third party is managing a rental property. It allows a third party manager to show the property owner that a problem which needs to be fixed truly exists, and needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Required written notice does not prevent a tenant from calling or giving other forms of notice. A tenant may always provide oral or other forms of notice to the property owner if there is a problem. In fact, any property owner would encourage and appreciate immediate notice of a problem. But if a tenant claims a breach of warranty of habitability, which is a serious allegation, the property owner should have a right to receive written notice about the matter.
  • Required written notice does not limit any of the remedies available to tenants. Written notice is a separate and independent issue from the remedies available to tenants. The warranty of habitability adopted in 2008 had more tenant remedies than most states. Required written notice does not in any way diminish the number of remedies available to tenants.
  • SB 185 places greater strain on the court system through INJUNCTIVE RELIEF and broadens the definition of a violation of Warranty of Habitability. By allowing the tenant to obtain injunctive relief in county courts, including small claims courts, this bill will generate more traffic in our court systems.
  • SB-185 IMPOSES TREBLE DAMAGES to be awarded to the tenant for a violation.


Sen. Mary Hodge (D-25)Email: maryhodge@aol.comCapitol Phone: 303.866.4855Home Phone: 303.659.3298Sen.

Joyce Foster (D-35) Email: joyce.foster.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303.866.4875Home Phone: 303.343.6868Sen.

Dan Gibbs (D-16) Email: dan.gibbs.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303.866.4873Home Phone: 970.333.4707Sen.

Rollie Heath (D-18)Email: rollie.heath.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303.866.4872Home Phone: 720.272.2389Sen.

Chris Romer (D-32) Email: chris.romer.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303-656-9531Sen.

Lois Tochtrop (D-24)Email: lotochtrop@aol.comCapitol Phone: 303-866-4863Home Phone: 303.469.9217Sen.

Michael Johnston (D-33)Email: mike.johnston.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303.866.4864Sen.

Suzanne Williams (D-28)Email: suzanne.williams.senate@state.co.usCapitol Phone: 303-866-3432Home Phone: 303.751.2396

Senator Evie Hudak (D-19)Capitol Phone: 303.866.4840Home Phone: 303.423.8569Email: senatorhudak@gmail.comSenator

Linda Newell (D-26)Capitol Phone: 303.866.4846Home Phone: 303.956.9448Email: linda.newell.senate@gmail.com

maryhodge@aol.com; joyce.foster.senate@state.co.us; dan.gibbs.senate@state.co.us; rollie.heath.senate@state.co.us; chris.romer.senate@state.co.us; mike.johnston.senate@state.co.us; suzanne.williams.senate@state.co.us; senatorhudak@gmail.com; linda.newell.senate@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rent Control Passes Committee

House Bill 1017-concerning Rent Control was heard late afternoon yesterday in the Local Government committee of the House. Of the eleven committee members, we had six confirmed votes of opposition (NO) on House Bill 1017 prior to the hearing. After three hours of testimony from 20 testifiers, Democrat committee member, Rep Sue Schafer-D, Wheat Ridge, who had long committed and repeatedly confirmed her opposition to the bill the day before the hearing, changed her mind mid-hearing and voted YES on the bill. HB1017 now goes to the house floor.

Rep Schafer cited reasons of democrat caucus pressure for her change in vote.

We will now target select democrats in the house. The bill could come up for second reading as early as this Friday.

Special thanks go to Lauren Brockman, Rex Gambrell, Terry Simone, Brandon Rich, Mike Papantonakis, Stephanie Avery, and Gordon Von Stroh who delivered excellent testimony in the committee hearing.

Please continue to watch for alerts. We will need to make a strong, united effort to produce numerous phone calls and emails to take this out in the house.

Need more information? Contact Meghan Storrie (mstorrie@caahq.org) or Nancy Burke (nancy@aamdhq.org) with the Colorado Apartment Association.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rent Control Update

Colorado State legislature will consider the Rent Control bill in House Local Government Committee next Tuesday, February 23 at 1:30 in Rm 111.

WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP TO DEFEAT THIS BILL. PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND TELL THEM TO PLEASE VOTE NO on House Bill 1017

WHEATRIDGE/GOLDEN
Rep. Sue Schafer (D-24)
Email: sue.schafer.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-5522
Home: 303-918-2660

WESTMINSTER/ARVADA
Rep. Cherilyn Peniston-Chair (D-35)
Email: cherylin@cherylinpeniston.com
cherylin.peniston.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2843
Home: 303-428-1945

THORNTON/NORTHGLENN
Rep. John Soper- Vice-Chair (D-34)
Email: john.soper.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2931
Home: 303-428-8281

AURORA
Rep. Cindy Acree (R-40)
Email: cindy.acree.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2944
Home Phone: 303-748-9534

COLORADO SPRINGS
Rep. Dennis Apuan (D-17)
Email: dennis.apuan.house@state.co.us
dennis@dennisapuan.com
Capitol Phone: (303)866-3069
Personal: (719) 291-9898

WESTERN SLOPE
Rep. Laura Bradford (R-55)
Email: laurabradford55@gmail.com
laura@BradfordForHouse.com
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2583
Work - 970-245-7870Home - 970-487-0154

NE DENVER/BRIGHTON
Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Brighton)
Email: kpriola@gmail.com
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2912
Home: 303-923-5138

ALAMOSA
Rep. Ed Vigil (D-62)
Email: edward.vigil.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2916
Home: 719-570-1785

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rent Control Bill (Colorado)

Colorado State legislature will consider the Rent Control bill in House Local Government Committee this week Thursday morning.

PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND TELL THEM TO PLEASE VOTE NO on House Bill 1017

WHEATRIDGE/GOLDEN
Rep. Sue Schafer (D-24)
Email: mailto:sue.schafer.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-5522
Home: 303-918-2660

WESTMINSTER/ARVADA
Rep. Cherilyn Peniston-Chair (D-35)
Email: cherylin@cherylinpeniston.com
cherylin.peniston.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2843
Home: 303-428-1945

THORNTON/NORTHGLENN
Rep. John Soper- Vice-Chair (D-34)
Email: john.soper.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2931
Home: 303-428-8281

AURORA
Rep. Cindy Acree (R-40)
Email: cindy.acree.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2944
Home Phone: 303-748-9534

COLORADO SPRINGS
Rep. Dennis Apuan (D-17)
Email: mailto:dennis.apuan.house@state.co.us
dennis@dennisapuan.com
Capitol Phone: (303)866-3069
Personal: (719) 291-9898

WESTERN SLOPE
Rep. Laura Bradford (R-55)
Email: laurabradford55@gmail.com
laura@BradfordForHouse.com
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2583
Work - 970-245-7870Home - 970-487-0154

NE DENVER/BRIGHTON
Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Brighton)
Email: mailto:kpriola@gmail.com
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2912
Home: 303-923-5138

ALAMOSA
Rep. Ed Vigil (D-62)
Email: mailto:edward.vigil.house@state.co.us
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2916
Home: 719-570-1785


PLEASE PLACE YOUR CALL OR SEND YOUR EMAIL TODAY, TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY as the bill is being heard Thursday morning.

House Bill 1017 gives government entities and municipalities the upper hand, an unlevel playing field. This bill adversely affects private property rights because if this bill passes, rent controls will be imposed by local governments.

Top 10 Reasons to Vote NO on House Bill 1017

TOP TEN REASONS TO VOTE NO ON HOUSE BILL 1017

#1
Any form of rent control is a matter of private property rights because it forces one property owner to subsidize housing for others.

#2
We do NOT need this legislation. The process in place today is working. Six court cases in Colorado illustrate this. Don't try to fix something that is not broken. (see #10)

#3
Rent control is NOT a government program. It is unfair regulation of private property that is NOT practiced in 46 states! Rent control is outlawed in most states - Forty-six (46) states have no rent control policies and thirty-five of those have statutes which make rent control illegal. In fact, the liberal state of Massachusetts voted to repeal rent control because it was not providing housing to those truly in need and the negative economic impact rent control created on access to and availability of rental housing.

#4
Rent control is a failed housing policy. It does the wrong things to the wrong people. Rent control has the perverse consequence of reducing, rather than expanding, the supply of rental housing in times of shortage. Existing units are converted to condos or coops. Furthermore, developers do not invest capital for new construction in rent control states.
o From 1980 - 1989, there was a 12% decline in available rental units in Brookline, Massachusetts.
o From 1978 - 1990, there was a 14% decline in available rental units in Berkley, California.
o From 1950 - 1986, there was a 45% decline in available rental units in the United Kingdom.
Setting price controls through rent control has reduced supply and private investment in affordable housing.

#5
Low Income Renters and Property Owners Lose - It is a common perception that rent control is an affordable housing program that benefits those on limited incomes - seniors, disabled, veterans, and students, among others. Countless studies of the rent control imposed in New York City show that rent control benefits the wealthier residents in Midtown and Upper Manhattan and not the lower income tenants in other New York burrows.

#6
If this bill passes, we will see unprecedented mandates on building and development.

#7
This legislation would affect school funding. This bill will have an adverse impact on property tax income that in turn, will affect public school funding.

#8
Rent control reduces the quality of the housing stock and NO rent control study has proven that rent control provides affordable housing

#9 Lowers the values of properties which could create additional foreclosures. This could lower the net income on communities which will adversely affect salaries.

#10 Land Use Restrictive Agreements (LURA) are in place today. They require just compensation to the developer in exchange for affordable units to be rented to residents with AMI below a certain level. LURAs are working----there is NO need for this legislation.


If legislators request more information, please have them call Nancy Burke at 303-548-3193. She will be at the Capitol and can talk directly with legislators.