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Spotting a Bad Tenant

Nothing affects your bottom line more than a bad tenant.  Bad tenants can destroy your property, squat without paying, and leave you with a ton of headaches and expenses.  Here’s how to weed out the good from the bad, and get the kind of tenant that will stay and pay:

1)      Make sure they can prove their income.   Not just for the last few months – Ask them for documentation that will show a history of what they made, and how they made it, for the last year.

2)      Require at least first and security deposit before move – in and negotiate a payment plan for last month if necessary.

3)      Always do a background check.

4)      Never sign a deal without a deposit equal to first month.

5)      Ask for, and check, all landlord references

6)      Find out why they are moving and really listen to what they are saying.  No one moves just for the fun of it.  If they don’t have a clear cut reason, they may be skipping out on another landlord.

7)      Make sure every adult in the house is listed on the lease.

Other things to remember:

  • Stop worrying about credit scores.  Lots of good tenants have bad credit now – Just make sure everything else checks out
  • If your gut tells you they might be bad tenants, they probably will be
  • Make sure you have a GREAT rental agent.  They will keep your best interests at heart and not cut corners to just fill the unit quickly
  • Never, EVER, agree to use last month or security to pay for past due rent.  If they can’t pay now, chances are they won’t pay later.  Get them out as quickly and painlessly as possible, and move on to a better tenant

Smart Landlords

Nothing is worse then having to evict a bad tenant. Smart landlords hand the process over to someone who knows the property management industry, and consider it a cost of doing business. If you’re thinking about getting Management for your home, apartment, or condo, right now might be a good time to start. If are struggling to handle management yourself, here are some tips that might help.


Before filing with the County Clerk:

  1. Don’t wait to post the first notice. The sooner you start the process, the better.
  2. If the tenant has already bounced a check, take all future payments in cash or cash form.
  3. Keep in touch with the tenants if you can, and communicate in a professional, matter of fact way. Don’t threaten, but be firm about the fact that they can’t stay if they are in breach of the lease.


After filing:

  1. Do each step of the eviction process as quickly as the law allows.
  2. Stay in touch with the Clerk’s office for updates on the progress of your file.
  3. Start getting the proof of non-military status right away. It can take time to receive, so you’ll want to get it before you actually need it. 


Other things to Keep in Mind:

  • Don’t take the eviction personally. Renting is a business, and not everyone is a good customer.
  • Look for signs that a renter may not be able to honor the remainder of the lease. Lost income, continued late pays, difficulty in collecting are all red flags that pre-empt an eviction. Take them seriously and discuss the situation with the tenant. A
  • Make sure all of your leases have an early termination clause. Sometimes, the best option is to collect the liquidated damages (hopefully from last and security that you are holding) and move on.
  • The easiest way to get a squatter is to let them use last and security to pay rent. Always keep that in escrow until the lease ends. If they ask you along the way to use one of those in advance, start talking about early termination at that moment.
  • If you are having continued issues with tenants, you shouldn’t be managing your own unit. Get a good management company and focus on other things.


Typical Issues a Landlord Should Handle

landlord problemsGood fortune can await those who desire and push themselves to become landlords. However, it also has its fair share of issues that requires proper handling, especially when they are tenant-related. Though maintaining a high standard in choosing a tenant and in house rules may help, other types of problem not related to them can still occur.

This does not mean that background checks should be forfeited. But in case you still don’t recognize these problems, they are the following:


  1. Problems in Making Payments

Frequently, landlords encounter issues in tenants having problems in sending payments on time. In some cases, they never come at all. Despite efforts to handle them through constant reminders and contract implications, the lost revenue it entails is not an easy thing to redeem. To make the best out of this situation, the recommended solution would always be through eviction. This “fear factor” allow you to gauge whether they’re still on it or not

Just remember that before doing this measure, it is of utmost importance that you have managed to at least save three months’ worth of mortgage. That’s because this is typically the grace period you give a tenant for eviction.

  1. Damages to Property

It is a given that wearing and tearing will occur. In most cases, they were found to be initiated by a misuse on the part of the tenant. Generally, they should be responsible in the repair costs since they were the ones renting the property. However, it is always expected that they would neglect this kind of responsibility as it incurs cost.

One solution would be the concept of having security deposits were raised and implemented. Nevertheless, there were also cases where these funding is even insufficient, putting the landlord at a great disadvantage. Legal action may be an alternative, but the due process it entails can also become trying. Thus, the best and remaining option would always be to start from the scratch: properly choose a new tenant and have them oblige to a “property condition clause” wherein details of the sustained damages prior to move-in are already agreed so that those that eventually have to be settled are properly discussed during move-out activities.

  1. Lease Violations

Despite having clear leasing conditions prior to move-in, landlords would eventually encounter some who have tendencies to forget or neglect such. Typical examples of such are having pets or accommodation for additional people without permission when they are clearly stated in the terms to be a violation. Immediate notifications specifying the nature of violation, through writing, would be an overall and effective solution to the matter. As long as legal actions are sought prior to any move, the court would always find you in favor.

  1. Demands and Complaints from Tenants

It is a given that landlords encounter complaints from their tenants. It would vary from demands up to the aggravated ones that require immediate attention. Though screening them is recommended, it is also important that all of them are dealt properly and timely. Always be open to communicate with them. Let them know your plans on how you will go to fulfill it. For proper handling, it is recommended that a mediator through the form of a property manager be hired so that you’ll be free from the associated headaches.

Landlord-Tenant Laws in Florida

Weather you are a landlord or a tenant, it is a must that you know and understand Florida’s “landlord-tenant laws” that could apply to you.

This includes:

  • Required Landlord Disclosures in Florida
  • Florida Security Deposit Limit and Return
  • Small Claims Lawsuits in Florida
  • Florida Rent Rules
  • Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Florida
  • Florida Termination and Eviction Rules
  • Landlord Access to Rental Property, Tenant Protection Against Retaliation, and Other State Laws in Florida
  • Where to Find Florida Landlord-Tenant Statutes
  • Local Ordinances Affecting Florida Landlords and Tenants
  • Federal Landlord-Tenant Laws and Regulations
  • Nolo Resources on Legal Research and Landlord-Tenant Law


Click the following link to view all landlord-tenant laws for the state of Florida:


Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back

Tips for Security DepositsDid you know that there are things you can do to make sure your security deposit is returned in full?

Here’s a short list to follow every time you sign a lease:

  • Do a complete walk through with your real estate agent on the day you move in.  Document the finding with photos and/or video.
  • Keep copies of your executed lease and monthly payments.  Save receipts for any repairs or items paid for yourself.  Correspond in writing regarding any issues that come up.
  • Require your landlord to provide notice of where your security deposit is being held.  The law mandates that it be set aside in a separate Florida bank account.  They cannot co-mingle it with other funds.
  • Leave the place in better condition then when you rented.  Patch holes, clean everything including inside of appliances, and touch up paint if necessary.
  • Don’t leave bulk trash outside unless you know it will be picked up the next day.  Many Associations fine for trash not properly put out, and that fine could be applied to your deposit.
  • Take photos or video when you are ready to vacate.
  • Don’t just leave the key for your manager or owner.  Insist that there is a walk through when key is exchanged so you can document their presence at the time of your departure.
  • Remember that your landlord can still file a claim on your deposit even if they say things are fine during your exit.  If things come up later, they have the right to do that.  Make sure you are prepared to defend anything if this happens.
  • If there is a claim placed on your security deposit, know your rights.  The law requires a claim to be made in a specific way – If it is not done properly, you are entitled to a full return.
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