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Finding Great Tenants: How to Attract and Screen Good Renters

You rent your property to a nice couple. You thought you had great success finding great tenants. They only had half the first month’s rent but you let them talk their way in anyway on their promise you’d get the rest in two weeks. You specified no pets but a week later there’s a dog in the yard and cats in the windows. And who’s that thuggish looking guy that seems to be there all the time? Two months and eight police calls later from the neighbors for noise, they still haven’t paid rent.

You file for eviction but your tenants shows up on court day and claim they can’t work for medical reasons so the judge gives them another 30 days in your place. On the 29th day they pull a midnight move out leaving behind a mountain of garbage, holes in walls, doors ripped from hinges and it looks like someone was using the living room to change the oil on their Harley. On top of it, they took the appliances. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some tips on heading off problems by proper screening of potential tenants.

Charge an Application Fee to Potential Tenants

Charging an application fee can sometimes weed out the deadbeats among potential renters who are just going to waste your time. This can assist you in finding great tenants.

Use a Tenant Screening Service to Screen Applicants and Assist in Finding Great Tenants

The web offers several subscription-based tenant screening services where you can access comprehensive data services for screening tenants. Criminal checks, credit and past rental histories are the most useful. Some even check your applicant against the government’s terrorist watch list if that sort of thing concerns you. Use the application fee you charged to cover the screening costs. Large apartment companies and some individuals report bad tenants to the networks but not all. Most landlords and apartment leasing agents don’t look too closely at credit problems; many renters have credit issues.

Stick to Your Rules for Renters

If you don’t allow cats, don’t let them talk you into it. A nice but firm attitude that conveys you will not tolerate violations of rules sets the landlord-tenant relationship on the right foot from the start. Some landlords use an addendum to the lease that clearly and specifically states their policies — no cats, no guests over 10 days, no cars parked in yard, etc. Get the tenant’s signature to document they have been notified of your rules and policies. It can come in handy later if you end up in eviction court.

Call Past Rental References to Further Screen Tenants

Talking to someone familiar with their past behavior as tenants can provide invaluable information and foreshadow what you can expect as well.

Roommates? Get Them All on the Lease as Renters

Renting to a group of roommates or college students? List each as a tenant and have them sign. If a dispute arises between them or one is violating terms of the lease, you’ll find it easier to evict the troublemaker.

Nothing guarantees you’ll always get a sparkling tenant every time. If you’re a landlord, sooner or later you’ll get stung by a bad tenant, it’s just part of being in the rental business. Using good techniques and some common sense during the screening process can make for a healthy tenant/landlord relationship, and assist you greatly in finding great tenants.

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Low Income Real Estate/Foreclosure Attorneys

No cost real estate legal services, including assistance with foreclosure and evictions, are available to eligible individuals. Legal services for poor, low income, and moderate income earners are provided in various communities by government and privately funded agencies. Privately owned residences and federally funded housing may be eligible for free mediation legal services. This article presents tips and ideas for finding these legal resources.

Low Income or Pro Bono Real Estate Legal Services

No cost real estate legal services (for example Metro Volunteer Lawyers in Denver, Colorado) provided by pro bono attorneys are grouped in specific legal subjects. Generally, services include help with housing and foreclosures cases. Individuals with low to moderate income levels can find free assistance with the following legal cases:

  • Foreclosure avoidance
  • Loans modification assistance
  • Renters’ evictions
  • Disputes between tenants and landlords
  • Federal subsidies for housing

It’s important for persons seeking no cost real estate legal advice to find out the time line provided by the free attorneys. Most real estate cases are time-sensitive and due dates for filing court papers and for responding to orders must be strictly followed.

Who is Eligible for Free Real Estate and Foreclosure Lawyers?

The majority of free legal services are extended to persons with low income and to members of specific groups, such as veterans or farmers. There are various types of legal aid organizations providing no cost services. Some of these offer help to the general public and other to specific members of a community who qualify. The following are included in most pro bono real estate and foreclosure programs:

  • Poor and moderate income individuals
  • Homeowners with foreclosure issues
  • Renters with eviction notices
  • Poor farmers
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Families with disabled children
  • United States veterans
  • Older Americans
  • Low to moderate income families with children
  • Persons victims of domestic violence

Finding Low Income or No Cost Real Estate Attorneys

Some of the pro bono legal services for assistance with civil law cases also provide real estate legal services. The services are performed by pro bono and volunteer attorneys working on behalf of specific organizations or agencies. These groups are advocates for the poor, the elderly, disabled and other individuals.

  • The Legal Service Corporation or LSC – it’s a non profit organization that provides grant money to independent legal services agencies. These agencies and their attorneys offer free legal services and advice to people who qualify. The LSC maintains a list of regional legal aid offices to find free lawyers at lsc.gov.
  • States Bar Associations – these associations offer referral legal services to find pro bono attorneys in a state. A list of volunteer lawyers can be found by state at abanet.org.
  • Lawhelp.org – this is a referral program that assists low income persons find no cost legal help in local areas.
  • Pro Bono Commissions – some states have pro bono commissions and special interest group pro bono commissions offering free legal services.