- Never hand over the keys to the property until tenant provides proof of utility connection (electricity & water). Why?
• Many times ROOKIE Landlords will connect electricity and water to their properties to perform maintenance in-between renters. The water and electricity must be working for Section 8 or HUD inspections, an insurance four point inspection or for the rehab crew to use. While this is OK, many owners forget that when they rent to tenants, they must disconnect the utilities before they move in not after. By law, once the tenant moves in and the utilities are still in the landlord's name, the landlord is liable for the utility charges. You say disconnect them! No, if the tenant is smart they can manipulate the law and any court in Florida will rule in the tenants favor. I always required the tenants to show me the utility receipts before I hand over the KEYS. I also call the utility company to check and see if the account was registered in their names.
Always ask for 1st, Last and Security Deposit before tenants move in. Why?
• If you are a proactive landlord, Security Deposits usually are not an issue. I never was. I was always looking for the next deal. Let the Property Management Company handle all the problems with escrowed monies. From my experience the following always occurs:
• Last month's rent will never be paid.
• If they stop paying it will be 2-3 months before I get rid of them.
• Breaking Contract. Hey, it happens!
• Damaged Unit. I don't care how good a landlord or inspector you are, there will be damage found after you give back the security deposit.
Now I can work with them if they can't place all the money up front but make sure you have at least two months covered. If you collect the two month's deposit make sure you place in WRITING that these deposit monies represent the first and last month's rent. Specify the Security deposit is paid by monthly installments. If anything happens you don't have to refund anything because you have in WRITING what these monies were allocated for.
Make copies of your keys! Never allow tenant to change locks! - This is self explanatory but always a problem. If they changed the locks something is up!
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