Landlording - Ten Things to Be Aware of! Numbers 1 - 3

Services for Real Estate Pros with Miami Real Estate Investor's Association MREIA
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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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Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
Oh do i like these steps. If you have more make sure i see them. And thanks.
Apr 25, 2008 12:38 PM #1


Good advice, but when I talk to prospective landlords my number one thing (which I'm sure you have included later) is learn how to evict!

Apr 27, 2008 04:00 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
Bob:  Great advice to landlords!  I also think, checking the condition of the property about once per quarter should be on there.  I listed a home that was only two years old last year.  It was gorgeous.  I knew the first tenants had left it in pristine condition.  Long story short, the landlord never checked on the 2nd tenants as a result of his amazing experience with the 1st tenants.  That 2nd family did over $40,000 worth of damage to hardwood floors, carpets, walls, doors, countertops, you name it.   He could have easily prevented much of this damage had he ever bothered to check on the condition of his property.
Apr 27, 2008 04:07 AM #3
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Bob Burns

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