Showing posts from 2011

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

At Rental Services we work with lots of first time investment property owners.  Most have little or no experience when it comes to property management.  This leads to several mistakes that can cost a new property owner time and money.
One of the most common mistakes that many new landlords make is not screening all of the residents that move into the rental property.  Just because one person makes enough money to pay the rent doesn’t mean you don’t need to screen the other occupants.  If you don’t check everyone I guarantee you will eventually have problems with registered sex offenders and convicted felons moving in as occupants.
Another problem is using the wrong lease agreement or not using one at all.  Make sure you have the applicants sign a lease before they move-in.  Just like resident screening, make sure everyone who lives at the property and is over the age of eighteen signs the lease.  Many states have specific laws that govern the lease.  Make sure the lease you’re using cov…

Can your applicants apply online?

If the answer is NO, you may want to check this out. Rental Services, Inc. has just rolled out the RSI Quick Application.
The RSI Quick Application is a new and exciting tool that can be used in place of a standard rental application. RSI Quick App allows your prospective renters to apply online! Once your property is setup, you can send your applicant They select your property, complete the customizable online application and pay for the screening fee with a credit card. The application is then sent to RSI for processing and you receive an email notification when the report is ready to be viewed.
Quick App can also be setup as part of your company’s website. Applicants can apply online from your website 24/7. We will provide a custom URL that can be added to your website. The URL link will list the properties in your portfolio. 
The RSI Quick App can be setup with a customizable rental application that can even include your company’s specific business forms. You …

Renting To Young Adults

I recently read an opinion from a person in the apartment industry that I found to be interesting. He states that he has seen an alarming trend of younger and younger debtors sent to collection by apartment communities. People 18 and 19 years old may legally sign a contract but most won't understand or remember it. If no co-signor or guarantor is on the lease many people of this age are not responsible enough to be given control of an asset valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. I agree on face value. However, if you have strong rental criteria in place the age of the applicant shouldn’t matter. When your tenant screening company conducts the background check they should be verifying income, rental history, credit, evictions and criminal records. Match this information up with your criteria and you increase your odds of getting a good renter regardless of age.
Quality tenant screening and criteria decrease the chances of renting to individuals who can’t pay the rent.

Social Network Background Checks

I read this online by Lester Rosen, Attorney at Law. I thought is was very eye opening.

Although employers may request that background screening firms perform this function, there are a number of drawbacks. First, a background screening firm does not have the same in-depth knowledge the employer has of the details of the position. In addition, if a social network background check is done by a background screening firm, the search falls under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which requires a background screening firm to maintain reasonable procedures for maximum possible accuracy. Because a background screening firm has no way of knowing if the online information is accurate, it is difficult for background screening firms to perform this service consistent with the FCRA. In other words, due to the FCRA, background screening firms may not be best suited to perform these types of ‘social network background check’ searches. 
Would your company make a hiring decision based on so…

Pink & Blue United Summer Soiree

A special message sent to RSI from one of our clients! It sounds like a great event.

Good morning Friends, Vendors and Associates:

I hope this letter finds you all well!

The reason for contacting you is I'm helping my brother with the marketing of his new foundation which helps people of both genders for expenses and treatment for individuals with breast, ovary, prostate or testicular cancer.

I know this may be late in getting this information to you but would like to ask if you could forward this information to the rest of the company. It would help with others learning about this organization, and having the opportunity to come to the inaugural gala next weekend.

My brother, Dr. Kelly Lennon MD., has two practices, one in Littleton and another in Castle Rock. He has served on the board of both Swedish and Littleton Hospitals.
Please take a moment to read about the benefits of Pink & Blue United below.

Any correspondence of passing the information along will be very helpful …

Did you Know?

Dear RSI Client,

On June 25, 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the way Social Security Numbers (SSN) are assigned. This change is known as "randomization."

What is Randomization?

The SSA traditionally assigned nine-digit SSNs in a particular pattern. Specifically, the first three digits indicated the state in which the consumer resided at the time the SSN was issued, and digits four - five indicated the year the SSN was issued.

Effective June 25th, the SSA changed its SSN assignment methodology to a randomized process. SSN randomization will affect the SSN assignment process in the following ways:

• Elimination of the geographical significance of the first three digits and any association with specific states.

• Elimination of any association with the number's date of issuance.

• Previously unassigned area numbers will be introduced for assignment, excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999.

Now you know.

NAA Apartment Industry Mobilization Service Grassroots Program

Greetings Apartment Industry Advocates!

This is the second in a series of monthly communications to members of the Apartment Industry Mobilization Service (AIMS) to help you advocate for the apartment industry. This information will focus on our federal policy initiatives, the legislative process, important committees, key members of the House and Senate, and briefing materials. We hope you find this valuable and invite you to suggest other topics to cover.

This month our focus is a call to action! Now is the time to make your voice heard by meeting face to face with your members of Congress when they are in recess in August.

Many NAA members cannot travel to Washington, D.C., in March for the annual Capitol Conference lobby day. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard for nothing more than a little time and the cost of gas.

You may not think that your involvement will make a difference. Or, you may think you don’t have time even to set up a meeting – and even if you get one…

You Must Send Out Adverse Action Letters!

Any changes that negatively affect the consumer require an Adverse Action letter to be sent to the applicant. The adverse action or declination letter must contain the following information: the name and address of the consumer reporting agency that issued the report; a statement that the consumer reporting agency did not make the decision to take adverse action; notice of the consumer's rights to obtain a free copy of the report within 60 days of the adverse action and the consumer's rights to dispute the accuracy and completeness of the information with the consumer reporting agency. FCRA Section 603(k). Rental Services, Inc. provides an "adverse action" or “declination letter” by selecting the DISCLOSURES & FORMS option at the bottom of the report results screen. You can also find a generic "adverse action" or consumer “declination letter” on the RSI website that can be modified to fit your needs.

FCRA Compliance Reminder

I wanted to remind all RSI clients that you have a responsibility to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When requesting a background check you are required to have a permissible purpose. For the rental industry, that means that you can only obtain a consumer credit report in connection with screening a prospective applicant. Other permissible purposes exist and can be found in Section 604 of the FCRA.

Help for Joplin, Mo. Tornado Victims

As someone who has family living in Joplin, Missouri I wanted to pass on this email I received from the National Apartment Association.

Apartment residents are among the thousands affected by the widespread devastation in Joplin, Mo., following the recent killer tornados. Hundreds -- if not thousands of residents -- have been left without homes, whether apartments or houses. Many are in survival and recovery modes.

NAA affiliates and member companies have immediately stepped into action. NAA now calls on you for your support. This has been a devastating tornado season for a number of our affiliates – but this is the first request that the apartment industry has received for immediate help.

Becky Weaver, CPM, Vice President of the American Residential Group in Tulsa, Okla., has been in touch with “the few people we have been able to reach” in Joplin. Because they are not sure yet what they need, Becky recommends that NAA members donate to the American Red Cross. It has opened a shel…

What is that strange box?

Your property is up for lease again and you’re looking for a new way to market it. Have you thought about a QR code? If you look around you will see more and more companies using a white box with black symbols in their ads. This new fad is taking off with many in the multi-family housing industry.

What is a QR code? The QR code is a two dimensional bar code that holds information. Using a smart phone with a downloaded scanning app you can open up links to video, maps, photos and more.

The QR code is mystery waiting to be solved by those reading your ad. Imagine someone looking at your ad for an apartment and in the corner is your QR code. If the person looking at your ad is curious enough to pull out their smart phone and scan your code, they could then have access to a video tour of your rental, a coupon for $100 off their first months rent or anything else you can imagine. Once they click on the QR code your prospective renter is now invested in your advertisement. The odds increa…

Were Bending Over Backwards

Today I wanted to talk about flexibility in the screening industry. I see lots of companies that offer a one size fits all solution when it comes to background checks. At RSI we work hard to make sure we offer different screening options. More options translate to more flexibility when screening applicants. Make sure your screening company offers a way to customize criteria for different properties in your portfolio. Make sure you have a way to choose your own approval process for applicants. Decisions should based on your customized criteria provided by your screening company or make sure you can receive all the data to make your own in house decisions. You should also make sure your screening company has a seamless integration platform with multiple service partners. This provides you the flexibility you need to use different services and information providers. Finding the right screening company can streamline the screening process.

Experian News

This Credit Report Makes No Sense.

At RSI we work with lots of small businesses and property owners and the one question were asked most often is how to read credit. If you need a credit report we can provide you with one. We can also walk you through the credit report over the phone or provide you with a cheat sheet. But what if you didn’t have to analyze the credit? What if you setup specific standards and the credit was matched up to pass or fail those standards?

If that sounds interesting to you, I would recommend talking to someone at our office about Insta-Chek. Rental Services has offered a scoring model for several years with great results. You set credit standards for your applicant. If they meet the criteria we give you a pass recommendation. If they don’t meet your standards we issue a fail recommendation. Insta-Chek can also be setup with a conditional recommendation to give you additional flexibility in screening credit.

The benefits of Insta-Chek are straight forward. No more trying to decipher credit r…

Repeal the Expanded Form 1099 Reporting

On Thursday, March 3, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 (H.R. 4), which would repeal the expanded IRS Form 1099 reporting requirement.

Under current law, businesses will have to prepare and file 1099 forms for each vendor to which they pay more than $600 during a calendar year, beginning with payments made in 2012.

As members of the U.S. House prepare to vote on this bill, they need to hear from YOU! Tell them to repeal this burdensome tax reporting requirement and vote YES on H.R. 4.

Happy Valentines Day

Everyone at Rental Services would like to wish you a happy Valentines Day. We would also like to thank you for your continued support. Our company tracks all of our marketing and advertising sources and customer referrals continue to be the number one source of new clients. We hope you will follow, share or bookmark us using the link below. Again thank you from everyone at RSI.

This Has Nothing to Do With Star Trek

Let’s talk about Data and not that robot from Star Trek. If your going to order a background check you need to make sure you have good data. Old or inaccurate data makes it hard to make an informed decision about an applicant. I recommend asking your screening company where they get their data from and what it covers? Do they have access to proprietary databases developed and constantly updated by them and their customers?

I know many of you reading this blog already use Rental Services, so I want you to know the answer to all of the questions listed in this article are YES. We use current and up to date information sources that are reviewed for quality. We update our own proprietary database with records collected manually by RSI. Clients also contribute to our large collection of records.

I Need A What?

If you use credit reports for screening residents or employees you will need a physical onsite inspection of the place used to store your records. Don’t blame Rental Services Inc. or RSI Screening for this new rule. The inspection process was the brain child of Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. Each bureau now requires inspections from an independent third party company as part of the credentialing process. If your company operates from a commercial address the inspection is required once. If you’re operating from a residential address the inspection is required annually. All inspections do require a fee. To pass an inspection you need three key elements. First, you will need a dedicated office space. If working from a residential office the space needs to be separate from living space. Second, you need a way of securing information. A locking filing cabinet, locking desk drawer or safe will meet the requirements. Finally, you will need away to destroy credit information. A shredder …