Showing posts from 2018

Rental Services, Inc. December Newsletter

Welcome to the December Rental Services, Inc. newsletter! This month we will highlight landlords that were sued by their tenants and some helpful information to help avoid that situation. A discussion about my favorite subject bacon and a legal update for clients with property in Washington.
Reasonable Accommodation
Recently a landlord in Las Vegas, Nevada came to an agreement with the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to settle a Fair Housing claim.
The Silver Creek Apartments managed by Stout Management Company agreed to pay $6,000 and write off $1,392 in back rent to a disabled couple that had rented a second-floor apartment.
The tenants were promised they could transfer to a first-floor apartment when one came available. Over a seven-year period the couple repeatedly asked to transfer to a first-floor apartment. The disabled couple was denied a transfer as they watched new tenants move-in and occupy first floor apartments.
Eventually the housing manager appr…

Important Update for all Owners of Rental Property in the City of Tacoma WA.

The Tacoma City Council unanimously passed ordinance #28559, enacting a whole new law entitled “Rental Housing Code” which will be found in TMC 1.95. 
By amendment, they made the Effective Date December 1, 2018 (officially 10 days after ordinance is published on their website) for paragraph TMC 1.95.060 which requires giving at least sixty (60) days advance notice for rent increases of any amount. No penalty will be enforced until February 1, 2019, but if you tender a shorter rent raise notice, the City will not allow you to enforce the rent raise and require you to reissue a proper 60-day advance notice before any rent raise can be effective. This includes raising rent on any lease renewal offers – must allow at least 60 days before rent can go up. The one exception is if the fixed term lease has a built-in automatic increase/escalation clause, then the 60-day notice will not be required as the rent increases will have been pre-disclosed in the lease agreement. (This was approved as a…

Rental Services, Inc. October/November Newsletter

Property management Company Settles for $105,000
Another property management company was recently sued by a former tenant.
A&G Rental Management chose to settle a lawsuit with a previous tenant for $105,000. The suit claimed the property management company provided the tenant with deplorable living conditions.
The suit against the property management company claimed the tenant had to live with hypodermic needles, rats and overflowing garbage at their apartment community. The tenant consistently complained about the conditions over their lease term, but the property management company never addressed their concerns.
The tenant decided to file suit for emotional harm after they received several move-out charges from the management company totaling $1,500. The ex-tenant felt these charges were unfounded based on the living conditions and the move-out fees.
It seems like this lawsuit could have been avoided by taking two basic steps.
When buying real estate, they always say it’s al…

Rental Services, Inc. September Newsletter

This month’s RSI Newsletter features a review for Users of Consumer Reports, advertising and Fair Housing and a discussion about who’s application is it!
Notice to Users of Consumer Reports
Did you know the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires users of Consumer Reports to follow specific rules and guidelines?
When you originally setup your account with Rental Services, Inc. you signed the RSI Service Agreement as part of the setup process. Section 8 of this agreement acknowledges that you have read and understand your obligations under the FCRA. Section 8 specifically addresses a document titled Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA. If you’re not familiar with this document I recommend giving it a quick read at: Notice To Users Of Consumer Reports
A few highlights of the document include:
Users must have a permissible purpose to access someone’s credit file.
If you decide to take an adverse action toward the applicant based on the consumer report, you mus…

Rental Services, Inc. August Newsletter

Dear Valued Client, The August Rental Services, Inc. News Letter is focused on legal changes in Colorado and the formation of a group in Oregon to provide the first unified voice for landlords and property managers. Our secondary article will discuss ways to get information on prospective renters back faster when you order a background check. Finally, we will discuss a few best practices when conducting a background check.
Legal Issues On August 6, 2018 Denver City Council passed bill 18-0788 that makes it illegal for a property owner or manager to refuse to rent to an applicant based on their income source. Specifically addressing Housing Choice Vouchers/Section 8. The legislation will go into effect at the beginning of 2019. The bill was passed to help increase diversity and integration across the city and address the city of Denver’s affordable housing crises. The Council believes that treating all forms of income as equal will increase the housing choices for those who use housing…

RSI July Newsletter

This month’s RSI Newsletter features some updates about data purging, the difference between a hard and soft credit inquiry, changes to the “Rush Fee” used by some of our clients and a legal update and report completion times.
Data Purging Recent changes in the legal climate have made data security more important than ever. To limit application information from possible exposure, RSI has begun to purge old data from the RSI website. Reports that are older than five years will be removed from the system and will not show up in the system. If you are involved in any type of legal action with an applicant RSI can put a specific report on a litigation hold. This will preserve the report if the five-year mark is approaching. 
RSI Rush Fee Rental Services, Inc. has offered a “Rush Fee” for several years. This service was established to help clients who found themselves in a situation that required an application to be processed immediately. When this program was started back in the 90’s we c…

Rental Services, Inc. Offers Property Management Software.

Rental Services, Inc. is proud to announce that we’ve entered into a strategic partnership with a leading property management software company. This partnership allows RSI to offer cloud-based property management software to each of our clients.

RSI Property Management Software provides solutions to various aspects of property management.
When using the RSI Property Management Software, all monthly charges and late fees are automatically billed to the tenant. There is no need for Manager involvement or potential for human error on recurring charges. RSI Property Management Software ensures that your tenants are being billed accurately. Tenants are automatically billed based on your customized rules ensuring late fees are applied.
Post vacancies to popular website like, Apartment Finders, Apartment Living, Rent Jungle and Oodle.
Track work orders and maintenance requests online from the web-based control panel.
Let Tenants pay rent online using their smart phones or c…

Do you use pay stubs to verify an applicant’s income?

Recently, I was asked how Rental Services, Inc. spots fake pay stubs during the verification process? That’s an easy question to answer. At RSI we don’t use a pay stub to verify an applicant’s income.

 Todays technology makes the reproduction of a document far too easy. A devious applicant doesn’t need special computer skills to create a document that looks like the real thing. The pay stub pictured above was created in about five minutes using basic tools found on most computers.
 How can this trickery be perpetrated? Here is your lesson in document forgery.
Using Google, I searched for a free pay stub template and selected Images at the top of the result page. Several images of paystubs were available, and I selected one that had the best image quality. Saving the photo on my computer I used the program Paint. This program comes standard with Microsoft Windows. Using the add text option in Paint I filled in random wage information. Yes, it’s that easy to create a fake document. I …

One more reason to outsource background checks.

If you do not currently conduct background checks on prospective employees, it’s not too late to start.
 Outsourcing background checks gives you the ability to make better use of time and resources. This is especially true for smaller companies with limited staff and resources. Getting new hires on board quickly and in a timely manner is important. Using a professional background screening company makes it possible for you to focus on operating your company. Spend more time marketing, making sales and completing more projects.
 Professional background screening is affordable. Basic screening packages start at $35 and include a social security trace, county of residence criminal record, nationwide criminal search and multi-state sexual offender search.
 RSI provides custom packages to fit every companies need.

Change Isn’t Necessarily a Good Thing When it Comes to Credit Reports!

Back in March of 2015 Equifax, Experian and TransUnion launched a website, This website was setup to inform consumers about the implementation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan. This mission of the NCAP was to make credit reports more accurate and easier for consumers to correct mistakes found on their credit report. This sounds great, but it has had a negative impact on property owners conducting background checks.
 On July 1, 2017, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion began to exclude most public tax lien and all civil judgment information that didn’t meet the new NCAP standards. The new standard requires each credit bureau to remove records that did not include a person’s name, address and either a Social Security number or date of birth. It also requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to verify public record information by visiting court houses every 90 days. When you remove tax lien and civil judgment information from a consumer c…

Does working with a criminal bother you?

Did you know that 30% of the population in the United States have a criminal record? That translates to 92 million people with criminal records that are in the workforce. Is one working for you right now?
 Have you tried to stay current with state and federal regulations that pertain to the use of background checks and understand the adverse action and record dispute processes? Failure to comply with state and federal regulations could put you at odds with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
 Does your company pride itself on being customer-responsive? This “customer first” mentality is great for business but if you’re not being customer-responsible and screening employees, you could greatly increase your liability for a negligent hiring lawsuit. The average negligent hiring lawsuit can cost a company nearly $1 million with the highest settlement on record of $26.5 million.
 Today it’s imperative that businesses of any size run pre-employment background checks. This …

Legislative Changes That Could Affect Your Business in 2018!

Hello Valued Client,
 If you’re a property owner, investor or property manager you may have noticed an increase in legal issues pertaining to the Multifamily Industry.
 Many state and local governments have recently passed or are discussing legal issues that affect background checks. Here are a few that we found to be interesting.
 The City of Seattle Washington has enacted a city ordinance that prevents the use of criminal records as part of the tenant background screening process. The Fair Chance Housing ordinance prohibits a landlord from using any criminal offense when choosing whether to rent to someone. The only exception is for registered sex offenders.
 Colorado had a 3rd reading of House Bill 18-1127 on February 26, 2018. This concerns the application process for prospective renters. The Bill will limit the amount an applicant can be charged for a rental application fee. Rental criteria must be provided in a written format and applicants must receive an adverse action noti…

Automated tenant screening is not in your company’s best interest!

Over the past few years Rental Services, Inc. has noticed more companies transitioning to the use of applicant tracking software, also known as property management software. These software products handle the general bookkeeping and keep track of a resident through the complete rental cycle. Many of these software platforms have an additional option that provides automated tenant screening services for an extra fee. RSI has also noticed these companies using an instant nationwide criminal report. I’m writing to clarify why the automated tenant screening provided with this type of software and the nationwide criminal records are an inferior product compared to the reports provided by Rental Services, Inc. and why using them is not in your company’s best interest.
Let’s start off by looking at Eviction records, they tell you a lot about a perspective renter. The first eviction can be traumatic for the renter. The second eviction doesn’t hold the same mystery. It’s like watching a scary…