Monthly Archives: January 2017

Oklahoma Tenant Screening

Oklahoma tenant screening is a step that landlords who dream of success should not skip. When done thoroughly, tenant screening can help landlords avoid bad tenants and focus in on those that will take care of the property and pay on time.

 

Landlords in cities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman and Edmond are definitely going to want to pay attention to the unique laws and regulations that this state has for tenant screening.

Topics of interest include:

  • Oklahoma tenant screening laws
  • Tenant screening process overview
  • Free resources and helpful links for Oklahoma landlords
  • Choosing a tenant screening service

Oklahoma Tenant Screening Laws

Oklahoma tenant screening laws slightly differ from many other states so landlords there can’t really count on a universal approach. It’s important for Oklahoma landlords to comply with the laws of the land when it comes to tenant screening

Here are just a few details on Oklahoma tenant screening laws:

  • There is no maximum limit on the amount that landlords can charge for an application fee.
  • Oklahoma landlords collect the application fee when the paperwork is turned in.
  • Application fees in Oklahoma are non-refundable, even if the application is denied.
  • Oklahoma law does not limit how much of a security deposit landlords can charge.

Application fees are separate from security deposits and they are collected at different times. Landlords need to know the details about the laws in the state to be successful.

Learn more about Oklahoma landlord/tenant laws here.

Don’t Make This Screening Mistake

Landlords in Oklahoma may believe they can do a background check on anyone that turns in an application for rental. However, unless the paperwork includes one important thing, they can’t do so. Landlords need to have a signed consent form from the applicant before they can run a background check.

A signature line granting consent is the only way landlords can get permission to screen applicants. If their current papers don’t include it, they should amend it as soon as possible.

As an example, here is what the RentPrep forms look like:

 

oklahoma-tenant-screening-services

 

The top arrow shows applicants that the application fee is not refundable, so they understand the process up front.

The bottom arrow shows applicants where to sign to give consent to a background check.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Oklahoma

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Do what many successful landlords have done and use a no blank space policy. On applications, they don’t process any that have a blank space for an answer. Sometimes applicants want to avoid an investigation into some parts of their history by leaving blanks. A no blank space policy can sort out those applicants from better ones.

Oklahoma Tenant Screening Process

Oklahoma landlords need to come up with a list of screening criteria so they can easily sort through the many applications they get. The list should be created before the vacancy and written down for each time the landlord needs to review applications.

Here are just a few of the more common applicant features on a tenant screening list:

  • Credit score
  • Pet restrictions
  • Income to rent ratio
  • Smoking ban
  • Any criminal history
  • Past eviction history

Of course, Oklahoma landlords should not include any features on the tenant screening list that discriminate. To review the protected classes, check out hud.gov.

Oklahoma landlords should never be inconsistent when applying the tenant screening standards. Too much fluctuation can look like discrimination, even if it isnt. Landlords can avoid a discrimination lawsuit by creating a list and sticking to it every time.

Along with the tenant screening criteria list, Oklahoma landlords should remember:

  • They can charge whatever the market will bear for application fees
  • Oklahoma law says that application fees are not refundable.
  • Every landlord in the state should be consistent with their screening criteria

Learn more about Oklahoma tenant screening criteria here.

Find Your Perfect Renter

Finding the right tenant can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re doing.

That is why we’ve created a tenant screening guide for you to find the perfect renter.

Check out our free tenant screening guide and learn how to find the perfect renter.

Tenant Screening Questions Answered

Tenant screening can be a pretty dry subject.

That’s why we try our best to make our tenant screening course more fun.

You can follow Laura as she shares tips and advice throughout the tenant screening process.
Tenant Screening

Locating the Best Screening Service

Oklahoma landlords should now have at least two or three applications that stand above the rest. Now it’s time to find a tenant screening service to run an in-depth background check.

Make sure the screening service looks at:

  • Evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Judgments/liens
  • Address history

Landlords definitely need to avoid renting to an applicant that they haven’t run a background check on. Real facts will always beat out a gut feeling or lucky guess when it comes to information on future tenants.

At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Oklahoma Tenant Screening appeared first on RentPrep.

Who Is Responsible For The Bed Bugs Exterminator… Landlord or Tenant?

What do you do if your long-term tenant suddenly has bed bugs in your rental unit?

That very question was asked to Avvo’s chief legal officer, Josh King in this webinar with Zillow.

Have a listen and read the transcription below to hear his thoughts.

 

Legal Disclaimer: The materials and information presented here were provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Zillow Group does not make any guarantees as to the sufficiency of the information included or its compliance with applicable laws. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed in the audio and from the webinar are the opinions of Avvo and may not reflect the opinions of Zillow Group.

green-lime

Transcription of the audio file above

Interviewer: My tenant now has bed bugs after five years. As the landlord, can I bill him for the cost of getting rid of the bed bugs?

Josh from Avvo: This is a tricky one, and also gets into communication. I know this is a huge issue. I mean, thank God, we don’t have bed bugs here in Seattle, at least not yet. Seattle’s surprisingly bug-free, if you’ve ever been out here, by the way, but the East Coast has a huge problem with bed bugs. I mean, this is… It’s a massive bugaboo, so to speak, and you, as the landlord, you obviously have obligations, broadly, to keep your units free of the vermin. And vermin includes rats and roaches and bed bugs, and all that kind of stuff.

So, usually, you would want, if you live in an area where there’s any sort of problem, and frankly, it’s probably good practice anywhere, to have specific provisions about how you’re going to deal with vermin. So you can’t just simply pass all of the responsibility off to your tenants, but you certainly can have something where you essentially have, within the lease, that you are going to deliver them a unit that’s going to be free of vermin and you’re going to do things with the building writ large to ensure, to the extent you can, that the building is going to be free of vermin, but that if they are doing things with the unit that are inviting vermin in, whether it’s things they’re bringing into the unit or how they’re keeping it maintained, that they are going to have some responsibility for that.

And so, that’s one where I would encourage you to look at whatever issues are specific to where you live, which could be mosquitoes, it could be roaches, it could be bed bugs. You might want to think a little bit, maybe even talk with a real estate attorney about how to word that provision, so that you could have a little bit of shared responsibility. And then, again, it gets to the communication aspect of explaining to your tenant sort of what you expect from them. You know, “Hey, we live in an area where bed bugs are a real problem. You’re probably aware of this as a new tenant, but you want to be mindful of these three things in order to keep the unit as free from bed bugs as possible.”

green-lime

Our thoughts at RentPrep :

 

We’ve written on this subject in detail in a previous post on pest control for landlords.

As Josh lays out, it’s a balancing act on who is responsible for the pest control and much of the fine details depends on the way your lease is written up.

If you have unique concerns with your situation, you can search and consult with a landlord/tenant lawyer by clicking here.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

10 Budget-Friendly Home Improvements for This Winter

Article Submitted by Fixr.com While a lot of people use the New Year as a way to make improvements to their health or personal life, this is also a great time of year to make improvements to your home as well. The cold months of the year mean you’re spending more time indoors — perfect […]

What Is A View?

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for the delay in my newsletter schedule. I didn’t run off and join the Foreign Legion. Instead, I’ve been busy hiring people and renting office space. We are growing.

I am staffing offices in Northern California, adding three, maybe four additional attorneys to the firm and two more staff members.

The first in a series of announcements follows my article on Protected Views.

WHAT IS A
PROTECTED VIEW?


QUESTION
: Some owners in our HOA have great views, others none at all. If the ocean is only visible from a corner of the lot and can be covered by one hand at arm’s length, is that a view? We are spending $60,000 per year on idiotic tree trimming.

 

RESPONSE: I understand the need to keep costs under control. To define a view we have to start with your governing documents.

Typical CC&Rs. View protection language in CC&Rs is never precise.  The following two provisions are typical:

…nor shall any tree, shrub or other landscaping be planted or any structures erected that may at present or in the future obstruct the view from any other lot…

No tree, shrub, or other landscaping shall be planted or any structures erected that may unreasonably obstruct the view from any other lot.

What is a “view” and what does “unreasonably obstruct” mean?

Dictionary Definition. Dictionary definitions of “view” are not much help:

Black’s Law Dictionary: “the outlook or prospect from the windows of one’s house.”

Dictionary.com: “View is a general word, referring to whatever lies open to sight: a fine view of the surrounding country. Prospect suggests a sweeping and often distant view, as from a place of vantage: a beautiful prospect to the south.”

Many CC&Rs include language giving the architectural committee or the board authority to determine when an obstruction is unreasonable. Older documents often do not–they provide no definition and no arbiter for determining what is reasonable or unreasonable. That’s where courts come into play.

Case Law. Following are some cases where various view disputes were addressed:

In Seligman v. Tucker (1970), the association’s CC&Rs had a view-protection clause but no standard for determining what view was protected. The court made its own determination that the view being protected was the original view when the houses were built. It decided that a down-slope neighbor who was building a second story on his house unreasonably obstructed plaintiff’s view of the San Fernando Valley. The defendant was ordered to remove his second story.

In Ezer v. Fuchsloch (1979), trees on a neighboring lot had grown such that they almost completely obstructed plaintiff’s view of the ocean. The court interpreted the view language to mean that trees and shrubs had to be trimmed to rooftop height to preserve views. Defendants argued that their 25-foot tall pine tree had an independent right to exist without being trimmed. The court found the “tree rights” argument interesting but unpersuasive. The defendant was ordered to trim all trees and shrubs to rooftop level.

In Zabrucky v. McAdams (2005), the view protection language was unclear as to whether owners could add second stories to their houses. As part of its analysis, the court found that to significantly obstruct any owner’s view of the ocean would depreciate the economic worth of their property as well as dramatically reduce their enjoyment of their home. Since much of the value of properties depended on their views of the ocean, the court broadly interpreted the CC&Rs to prohibit second stories.

In Ekstrom v. Marquesa (2008), the CC&Rs protected views by requiring all trees be trimmed to rooftop level. The board made an exception for palm trees since trimming them would kill them.

When advised by legal counsel that the board’s exception was contrary to the CC&Rs, the board adopted a definition of view that would avoid trimming most palm trees. They defined “view” to be that which is visible from the back of the house, six feet above ground level, standing in the middle of the outside of the house looking straight ahead to infinity, with nothing to the left or right of the lot lines being considered part of the home’s view.

The court rejected the board’s definition. It ruled that the architectural committee had discretion to determine whether any particular palm tree exceeding roof height in fact blocked a view, but the association did not have discretion to exempt trees that blocked views. The association had to trim palm trees even it killed them.

What Is A View? From these cases, it is clear that courts will enforce view protection language in CC&Rs. Unfortunately, they have yet to define a view. If the ocean is only visible from a corner of the lot and can be covered by one hand at arm’s length, is that a view? Probably not. The courts would likely look at those areas of a lot where owner activities primarily occur–from the patio, around the pool, and from the main windows in the house.

RECOMMENDATION. If your CC&Rs state that all vegetation must be trimmed to rooftop height, then you have no choice but to trim all common area trees to that height as often you need to. If your CC&Rs state that view obstructions cannot be unreasonable, then adopt guidelines for determining what obstructions are reasonable and budget accordingly. Getting homeowners to trim their own trees is much more difficult–they tend to be uncooperative when it comes to trimming their own trees. To address this issue, you better add extra legal fees to your budget.

NATHAN MCGUIRE
MADE MANAGING PARTNER OF
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OFFICES


We are pleased to announce that Nathan McGuire joined ADAMS | STIRLING as Managing Partner of our San Francisco, Sacramento and Stockton offices. He and his team will handle the Firm’s growing base of Northern California clients.

“Nate” McGuire has been named Super Lawyer Magazine’s “California Rising Star” for the last 5 years running and is the recipient of an AV Preeminent Peer Review designation from Martindale-Hubbell, which signifies the highest level of excellence.

In addition to extensive experience as general counsel to common interest developments, Nathan has broad experience in real estate subdivision development, purchase and sale agreements, escrow issues, restrictive covenants, easements, deeds, and other issues affecting real property.

Nate is an active member of the Community Associations Institute and the Building Industry Association and a frequent author and speaker on community association topics. He is also a delegate to the California Legislative Action Committee and serves on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair.

Nathan graduated with distinction from St. Mary’s College with a BA in English and Philosophy. He earned his Juris Doctor from U.C. Davis School of Law.

You can reach Nathan at: NMcGuire@AdamsStirling.com.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
ADAMS | STIRLING PLC

We are friendly lawyers. For quality legal service, boards should call (800) 464-2817 or email us.

Oregon Tenant Screening

Does Oregon tenant screening really make a big difference in managing rental property? Successful landlords will testify that proper tenant screening helps them find the state’s best tenants. Oregon has unique regulations and laws concerning tenant screening that landlords should know about.

From Salem and Portland to Medford and Bend, landlords across the state need to learn more on these topics:

  • Oregon tenant screening laws
  • Overview of the entire screening process
  • Free links and resources for Oregon landlords
  • How to choose a tenant screening service

Oregon Tenant Screening Laws

Oregon tenant screening laws can be different from other states, and landlords have lots of ways to learn all the details. When it comes to screening tenants, Oregon landlords can’t be too careful.

A few of the Oregon tenant screening laws include:

  • The state has not set a maximum limit for what landlords may collect for an application fee.
  • Oregon landlords also don’t have a limit on the amount of a security deposit.
  • Application fees are different from the security deposit, and they are not refundable.

Application fees are due to the landlord when the interested party turns in the completed application form.

Learn more about Oregon landlord/tenant laws here.

Avoid One Common Screening Mistake

Oregon landlords are working toward doing a background check on each qualified applicant. However, they can’t do so without getting a signed consent form from the applicant.

If their current application form doesn’t have a signature line, they need to make changes to it right away, either in the wording or as an addendum to the application.

This is what the forms at RentPrep include:

 

oregon-tenant-screening-services

 

The bottom red arrow indicates where applicants are supposed to sign in order to give consent to run a background check.

The top arrow explains about the non-refundable application fee, in case applicants have any misunderstandings about it.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Oregon

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Many landlords use a no blank space policy when reviewing applications. In other words, they don’t accept applications where there are blank spaces left for answers. When people don’t welcome investigation into parts of their past, they will often leave part of the application blank. Using a no blank space policy means they can screen out potential trouble up front.

Oregon Tenant Screening Process

Oregon landlords should create a list of screening criteria factors. This important list is then used to sort each application. The features included in the tenant screening list may include:

  • Credit score minimum
  • Any pet restrictions
  • Income to rent ratio
  • Smoking restriction
  • Any criminal history
  • Eviction history

As landlords create their tenant screening criteria, they should never include any features that discriminate. All the protected classes are covered at hud.gov.

Landlords should always hold applicants to the same standard. It’s never a good idea to just pick and choose or rely on a gut feeling, because that can look like discrimination. A screening criteria list helps landlords across the country to avoid discrimination lawsuits.

With the screening list and knowledge of Oregon tenant screening laws, landlords are:

  • Application fees have no maximum limit, according to Oregon law.
  • Oregon application fees aren’t refundable.
  • Landlords need to be consistent in screening criteria

Learn more about Oregon screening criteria here.

A Fun Take on Tenant Screening Guides

At RentPrep, we know that tenant screening can be fun, so we’ve created this silly guide that goes through all the steps you should consider.

You can click the image below and see how we used Guess Who to create a tenant screening board game.

tenant-screening-guide

Finding a Top Screening Service

Landlords that have gone through the entire process are now ready to send their top two or three applications to a tenant screening service. It’s time to perform in-depth background checks on each one.

The best screening services should investigate:

  • Evictions
  • Bankruptcy history
  • Judgments and liens
  • Previous addresses

Landlords should never rent to someone without doing a background check. That’s because they can get information on the potential tenant that they can’t find anywhere else. It will indicate whether or not the applicant will be a good renter.

At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

Ep. 139: Part 2 HOME Landlord Training

These are our cliff notes from a Landlord training we took at HOME Buffalo.

This was a three hour class Steve & Eric took in downtown Buffalo where all the latest landlord regulations and best practices were discussed.

 

This is a followup part 2 of our notes from the class we took.

Main takeaways from this episode:

Changes to identifiers for tenants on screening reports – Name, Date of Birth, SSN. On rental applications in NYS you’re not suppose to ask for the date of birth or the drivers license during the rental application. The reason being that they don’t want you to discriminate based on age.

4:00 mark: Legal rights you have to deny a tenant applicant.

6:00 mark: Criminal activity in the rental unit and the fact that you can be liable for housing a criminal.

7:00 mark: Home meth labs and the growing issues with tenants.

8:30 mark: How eviction calendar month works.

10:00 mark: Avoid self-help evictions

12:00 mark: 30 day window for evicted tenants to get their stuff

The post Ep. 139: Part 2 HOME Landlord Training appeared first on RentPrep.

Kentucky Tenant Screening

You may not know it, but one of the best ways to find a good tenant is to conduct a thorough tenant screening. Way too many Kentucky landlords skip this critical process, leading to months of frustration and lower profits. A Kentucky tenant screening helps landlords located the finest tenants available.

Kentucky tenant screening may be a little different than other states. Whether you are near Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort or elsewhere, you need to know about these:

  • Kentucky tenant screening laws
  • Steps in the screening process
  • Free resource for landlords
  • Top tenant screening services

Kentucky Tenant Screening Laws

Landlords in Kentucky may not realize that the state has enacted laws and regulations on tenant screening. You may not know it, but Kentucky tenant screening laws are a little different than other states.

For example, Kentucky tenant screening laws include:

  • Kentucky laws don’t limit the amount a landlord can charge for an application fee.
  • There is also no limit on security deposits, so Kentucky landlords can set their own amounts.
  • In Kentucky, application fees are not refundable. Security deposits are refundable in every state, after deductions are taken off for damages and other charges.

Of course, all application fees in Kentucky are due at the time the application is turned in. You can learn more about Kentucky landlord/tenant laws here.

Are You Making This Screening Mistake?

Kentucky landlords might be making this one big screening mistake and not even know it. Basically, you can’t do a background check on an applicant unless they provide consent. In other words, you must have a signed consent form in order to conduct a background check on an applicant. 

Check the application you are using right now to see if there is a signature line. If not, you need to add one right away because without it, you won’t be able to get a tenant screening company to get to work.

Here’s the RentPrep rental application form:

 

kentucky-tenant-screening-services

 

Look at the top red arrow. It shows applicants that the application  fee is non-refundable.

Now, look at the bottom red arrow. It shows applicants where to sign in order to give permission for a background check.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Kentucky

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*For even better screening, implement a no blank space policy. That’s when you don’t accept any applications that have spaces that aren’t fill out. It’s an efficient way to weed out applicants that don’t want you to look at certain areas of their past.

Kentucky Tenant Screening Process

Do you have a screening criteria list prepared? You can create one for every rental property you own. It’s a list of ideal features that you want to see in a tenant. Of course, keeping the features realistic will help you fill that vacancy with the best tenants.

Your screening criteria list may include some of these features:

  • Smoking is OK
  • Minimum credit score of 600
  • No pets
  • A 2:1 income to rent ratio
  • No violent criminal history
  • No prior evictions

Always be careful when you are creating your list of tenant screening criteria that you don’t add discriminatory features. You can’t discriminate against a protected class as outlined on hud.gov.

When you put each application up to your screening criteria, you can quickly eliminate those that don’t meet your preferences. Always stay consistent when applying the screening criteria list. Otherwise, a denied applicant might try to sue you for discrimination.

The Kentucky tenant screening process includes:

  • Kentucky application fees have no limits
  • Landlords can collect the fee when the application is turned in
  • Application fees are not refundable
  • Landlords must avoid discriminating against protected classes

Stay consistent when doing tenant screening so you avoid problems and find the best tenant out there. Get this handy guide on Kentucky screening criteria here.

RentPrep’s Tenant Screening Guide Video

RentPrep made this fun video about the tenant screening process so that landlords like you can get a good overview of the process in a funny way.

You can click the image below and see how we used Guess Who to create a tenant screening board game.

tenant-screening-guide

Located a Tenant Screening Service

Choosing a tenant screening service is the final step to getting that ideal tenant in place. Therefore, look for a service that provides you with all the important information you’ll need to make a decision about each applicant.

At the very least, the service should provide results for the following areas:

  • Eviction history
  • Bankruptcy history
  • Judgments and liens
  • Previous address history

Every qualified applicant should get a background check, because no matter how good your gut instincts are, they are not a replacement for actual info. In other words, to be a successful landlord, use the tools available to make the best decisions. Tenant screening is an important tool that you can use with every vacancy.

At RentPrep, we’ve worked with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Kentucky Tenant Screening appeared first on RentPrep.

Louisiana Tenant Screening

Louisiana tenant screening can be the key to a successful real estate business, but far too many landlords either skip this process or simply don’t do it properly. When landlords do tenant screening, they find the best tenants for their properties.

Louisiana tenant screening may be a little different than other states. From Baton Rouge and Lafayette to Shreveport and New Orleans, landlords can learn a lot about these topics:

  • Louisiana tenant screening laws
  • Overview of the screening process
  • All kinds of free resource links
  • Guide to choosing a tenant screening service

Louisiana Tenant Screening Laws

Landlords in the state of Louisiana need to understand the unique regulations they are operating under to find good tenants and avoid discrimination.

Louisiana tenant screening laws include:

  • The state sets no limits on how much of an application fee that landlords can charge
  • Landlords can charge whatever they want for a security deposit as Louisiana law does not set a maximum amount.
  • Application fees are not refundable, where security deposits are refundable based on the tenant’s treatment of the rental property.

Application fees are due at the time the application is given to the landlord, while a security deposit is due when the chosen applicant signs the lease and becomes a tenant.

Learn more about Louisiana landlord/tenant laws right here.

Don’t Make This Screening Mistake

Once Louisiana landlords are ready to fill a vacancy, they often start passing out applications to interested parties. However, there may be one enormous screening mistake they are making without even knowing it. They won’t be able to run a background check unless they have a signed consent form from each applicant.

If there is no signature line on the application you are using that indicates the applicant is giving permission for a background check, it’s a problem. If your form doesn’t include this signature space, make the change right now.

This is what the application form at RentPrep looks like:

 

louisiana-tenant-screening-services

 

The top arrow clearly states that the application  fee is non-refundable, something that many applicants have a hard time understanding.

The bottom arrow is where applicants should sign to give landlords consent to run a background check.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Louisiana

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Do you have a no blank space policy in your application process? It’s a good idea that means you just don’t accept any applications with blank spaces for answers. Why is this a good thing? Because sometimes applicants that don’t want people looking too closely into some part of their background leave blank spaces on applications. You need all the information on an applicant, and you can’t get it with blank spaces.

Louisiana Tenant Screening Process

Another helpful thing you can do is to come up with a screening criteria list. This is a compilation of factors that you compare each application to. Landlords that create a good list of features they want in a tenant are one step closer to finding them.

A typical screening criteria list includes things like this:

  • No smoking
  • Minimum credit score
  • Pet restrictions
  • Income to rent ratio
  • Arrest record or criminal history
  • Eviction history

Of course, tenant screening criteria cannot include any conditions that would discriminate. The complete list of protected classes can be found on the hud.gov website.

Apply the screening criteria consistently to each application to sort them into rejections and those that are moving to the next level.  Never make exceptions to your list or  you might actually be discriminating. Avoid a discrimination lawsuit by creating a written list and sticking to it every time.

The Louisiana tenant screening process includes:

  • Application fees are not limited by Louisiana law and are collected at the time the application is turned in.
  • Even if the application is denied, application fees are not refundable.
  • Landlords cannot discriminate against protected classes when reviewing applications.

Remember that you need to be consistent during the tenant screening process so that you get the best applicants for your property without engaging in anything illegal or discriminatory. Learn more about Louisiana screening criteria here.

Find Your Perfect Renter

Finding the right tenant can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re doing.

That is why we’ve created a tenant screening guide for you to find the perfect renter.

Check out our free tenant screening guide and learn how to find the perfect renter.

Use a Top Screening Service

Once you have a few applications that you are interested in, it’s time to choose a tenant screening service. You need a company that provides in-depth background checks for landlords so you can get all the information on each applicant to make a decision.

Make sure the screening service checks out the following areas:

  • Evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Judgments/liens
  • Previous addresses

Always run background checks on every qualified applicant. That’s because a detailed screening can tell you a lot more about the person than you can find out on your own. The most successful landlords never rent to someone without doing a full background screening.

At RentPrep, we’ve worked with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Louisiana Tenant Screening appeared first on RentPrep.

SB 814: Discouraging Excessive Water Use

California is experiencing the worst drought in over a century. While recent rains bring good news for our water supply, the California Legislature has enacted a number of laws aimed at water conservation that still stand. Existing law requires the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to take appropriate actions to prevent unreasonable water use.  To further the goal of preventing unreasonable water use, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law new legislation prohibiting excessive water use by residential customers during a drought (SB 814).

Specifically, SB 814, which adds Chapter 3.3 to Division 1 of the California Water Code, requires “urban water suppliers” to “establish a method to identify and discourage excessive water use.”  (Water Code § 366(b).)  Accordingly, a water supplier may adopt one of the following methods: (1) a rate structure using block tiers, water budgets, penalties for prohibited uses, and rate surcharges, or (2) an ordinance, rule or tariff (collectively, “Ordinance”) that defines the procedure by which water suppliers are to recognize and deal with excessive water use.  A violation of an Ordinance is punishable by a fine of at least $500 per one hundred (100) cubic feet of water, or seven hundred and forty-eight (748) gallons, above the established threshold.

In light of the foregoing, Associations should be mindful of the new prohibition against excessive water use, especially in condominium project where the units are not separately metered.

matthew-t-plaxtonMatthew T. Plaxton, Esq.

Matthew T. Plaxton, Esq. is an attorney at Tinnelly Law Group, PC, a law firm which has been devoted exclusively to providing legal representation to California community associations for more than 25 years.  He serves as the CLAC Liaison to the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of CAI, and is Chair of its Legislative Support Committee.


Legal Forum: California Communities – 2016 Keeping the Tradition Alive

The following was originally published in Connect Magazine.

The elegant Renaissance Resort and Spa, located in the quiet, yet welcoming, Coachella Valley community of Indian Wells, was the site of this year’s much-anticipated and well-attended CAI-sponsored California-centric legal educational conference.  For those readers who may not already be aware of, or familiar with, the conference known as the Legal Forum: California Communities, is an event sponsored by CAI (Community Association Institute), the largest organization in the country whose primary organizational objective is advocating on behalf of homeowner associations located  here in the United States, as well as a multitude of common interest communities world-wide.

Having taken place this past Oct. 21st , this year’s event marked the seventh time that CAI has brought the conference to California homeowners and managers, and the first time it has been presented in the Coachella Valley.   In past years the event has taken place in San Diego, Temecula, Long Beach (twice), Irvine (twice) and now adding the CV to its list of venues.  The challenge, as always, was to continue the tradition of presenting nothing less than world-class, value-added legal educational sessions to those who had invested the time, energy and finances to take part in this once-a-year event.  I’ll let you know my thoughts at the end of this article.

The actual hosting of the Legal Forum, as has always been the case in the past, falls on the capable shoulders of the Executive Directors of CAI’s eight California chapters, along with CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee, and deals with community association legal issues that are then the focus of a special one-day event designed for community managers, association board members and other interested homeowners.

This year, and again as in the past, the Forum was divided into two categories of session-types, with one being ideally designed for community association volunteer leaders (board members and homeowners), and the second targeting community managers who are tasked daily with managing our common interest communities.   No matter which category attendees preferred, there was no shortage of sessions available for them to attend, and to learn from.

In the category designed for association volunteer leaders, there were sessions that dealt with subjects ranging from Short-term Rentals to everything you wanted to know about Drones, as well as subjects like Social Media and Internet Presence in Associations.  

Running concurrently and for the manager-types in attendance, there were sessions that were unquestionably California-specific when it comes to the latest trending topics dealing with association law.   Topics that included learning how to Maximize Directors and Officer Liability Insurance Coverage for claims against Managers, Directors and even volunteer committee-members were presented and discussed, along with topics such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: A Guide to HOA Law,  as well how to correctly identify Defamation and What to Do About It.   No doubt that there were sessions that were designed to appeal to just about every attendee-type that was there, and the “good news” was that each and every session was presented by extremely qualified and capable presenters who themselves were acknowledged experts in their fields.

As an added bonus, the keynote address was an enlightening presentation by Dawn Bauman, CAE, Senior Vice President Government & Public Affairs, Community Associations Institute, entitled Community Next: 2020 and Beyond   Envisioning the Future of Community Association Living, in which she described for the audience the results of CAI having embarked upon an initiative to forecast the future of community associations, by engaging fifty volunteer stakeholders and subject matter experts from around the world for a year-long deep dive on issues related to community association governance, management public policy, and external influences.   The audience listened attentively to what she had to say, and left the session with a greater awareness of what life in associations just might look like for the next generation of residents.   Fascinating stuff?   You bet!

And, of course, what would a well-managed conference be without the supportive industry business-partners, who represented the variety of experts that each and every association relies upon to make sure that all goes well within their communities, whether its the landscapers, the painters, the general contractors, the bankers, the pool specialists, the fence-builders, the security-providers, the attorneys, the reserve specialists, the insurance carriers and all the other service providers we all rely upon to keep things running smooth and hassle-free.   They were at the Forum as well, and offered their services and products for those in need of them, and in a professional way that spoke volumes about how much they care about how they are portrayed within this industry.  In other words, they were all ‘class-acts’ in their presentations.

Our California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) also participated in its annual role of creating a warm climate for encouraging donations targeted for use in continuing advocacy efforts on behalf of California common interest communities, with their fundraiser event that took place the evening before.  With the “Rat Pack” as its theme, we were treated to several amazing reincarnations of Frank, Dean, Sammy, Marilyn making their presence felt, and even Anne-Margret was “in the house”.   All in all, the committee proved again, that when it comes to fund-raising, few do it better.   And this year was no exception.

Wrapping up, I’m drawn back to the title of this article and what my thoughts are on whether or not CAI was successful in keeping the tradition alive.  Not enough can be said about how well this year’s Legal Forum was managed, and equally not enough can be said about the elevated enthusiasm expressed by those who were in attendance.   Having had the opportunity to speak with several of those who were there, I was left with an unmistakably-positive impression that this year’s Legal Forum was not only the best-attended one in its so-far brief seven-year run, but it was also the most informative (based on the variety and content of the sessions offered) Legal Forum that the California Communities has been offered.  Did it keep the tradition alive, of providing superb sessions?  Yes!   Did it keep the tradition alive, of providing nothing less than the cream-of-the-crop in speakers and presenters?  Absolutely!   And, did it keep the tradition alive, of providing to those in attendance an exceptional return on their investment of participating in the Legal Forum?   You Betcha!  Did the chapter Executive Directors do an outstanding job of managing the event?   But, of course!  And lastly, did the attendees, both community association volunteer leaders, as well as managers, leave with invaluable knowledge that they could use immediately?  No question about it!   They came, they learned, and they left ready to employ a refreshed and ample amount of knowledge that can and will make all their future endeavors for improving the quality-of-life within their association-living that much easier…….

robert-riddick-cmaRobert Riddick, CMA

Robert is the current President of Sunnymead Ranch PCA, and past GRIE-Chapter President. He is a past Chair of the CAI National CAVL committee, and past National Board of Trustees member.  He is also a past member of the GRIE-Chapter Board of Directors, and currently serves as the CAI-GRIE chapter CLAC Liaison, as well as its LSC Chair.  He is also currently serving as a Board member for the  CAI Foundation for Community