Michele - Friday, January 21, 2022
Over the past 2 years, our credit reporting providers (TransUnion and RentScreener) have been advising us of the increased risk of fraudulent information being provided on tenant applications. A recent TransUnion study has shown that during the pandemic, property managers have seen a 48% increase in fraud activity. We’ve seen this several times when applicants have provided copies of passports, driver’s licenses, and pay stubs that have clearly been altered.
This week, we encountered a fraudulent application where the documentation looked authentic. On the surface, the applicant appeared qualified to rent the home he had applied for. The applicant provided a copy of his Experian credit report showing a 700+ credit score with all accounts paid on-time. He also provided a copy of his bank statements which looked valid and included lots of debit card transactions at local establishments. Finally, he provided copies of paystubs from a local car dealership. All documents looked authentic.
Since we had not requested copies of the credit report or bank statements, we identified this as a possible red flag. A...
Michele - Thursday, March 21, 2019
While landlords and property managers have always been required to test smoke alarms, a new Virginia Landlord Tenant Law now requires that tenants be provided with an annual written certification that smoke alarms are correctly installed and functioning properly.
In order to fully comply with this new requirement, we have hired Stop Loss LLC to conduct the annual certifications. Stop Loss inspectors are all off-duty fire fighters who have a vested interest in ensuring our managed properties are compliant with state laws and are free of safety risks. In addition to testing all smoke alarms, inspectors will walk through the home and identify any other fire safety risks.
Inspectors will ensure that smoke alarms must be located in each bedroom and on each level of the home. Smoke detectors must also be less than 10 years old. Inspectors will replace any defective alarms and install any missing smoke alarms. For homes that have natural gas utilities, one Carbon Monoxide alarm will also be installed.
Owners are charged for these certifications. Tenants will be held financially responsible if they have removed or disabled any smoke alarms. These certifications will not only meet state requirements, but w...
Michele - Wednesday, February 22, 2012
In today’s economy, a significant number of rental applicants present a credit profile that includes challenges due to job loss, income instability, or struggles with a mortgage they could no longer afford.
When considering such an applicant, it is important for a landlord to look at the complete picture (credit profile, income, and rental history) and take into account how the applicant handled the challenges. The landlord should also consider whether the applicant has put him or herself into a financial position to be able handle the rent, utilities, and maintenance required of the rental being considered.
In scenarios where the applicant does have some strengths but also presents a higher than average risk, that risk can be offset by requiring an increased security deposit.