Thursday, May 26, 2016

U.S. Senators toast brewers …

To prove that they actually can get something done and boost their pathetic approval ratings, the Senate passed a resolution expressing appreciation of the goals of American Craft Beer Week and commending the small and independent craft brewers of the United States.

Please thank your Senators for their hard work and bipartisan support of S.Res. 473. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Landlord discovers pot operation

In What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord, I wrote that you should keep an eye out for tell-tale signs that your rental is being used as a cannabis farm. A home used as a cannabis farm can cause devastating damage to a property and can lead to a voided insurance policy. 

On top of financial costs, you could face legal action if it can be proven that you were aware of criminal activities or received money, including rent, as a result of illegal drug activity.

Here’s a landlord who followed that advice ...  

Monday, May 16, 2016

I’d rather give up s_ _!

Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Bono are just a few celebrities who died without a will.

Prince is the latest. Now it’s up to the court to sort things out.

According to The Virtual Attorney, 32% of Americans said they’d rather give up sex for a month, do their taxes, or get a root canal than create or update their will.

How about you? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

50,000 pounds of trash!

OMG, I’ve never seen this much trash left by a tenant. A perfect example of why landlords must inspect their rentals monthly. (Read the full story here.) 

I give tenants notice before I stop by to change the A/C filter each month. And I use that opportunity to take a quick look around for leaks and other potential problems.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Obama forces political-correctness on landlords

In What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord, I included a section on tenant selection. I wrote:

Most people are honest and hardworking. And I’d venture to say that 96 percent would be terrific tenants. But you need to screen them all to sort out the 4 percent who are potential problems. 

My biggest concern is getting stuck with a tenant who has a history of destroying previous rentals or not paying the rent. And I tell them upfront that if this type of thing shows up, the deal is dead. The tenant pays the background-check fee and gets it back if they pass.

If you are a landlord or plan to buy a rental property, you should know that you cannot base tenant selection solely on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or disability.

Now the Obama administration says that refusing to rent to someone with a criminal record could be a form of intentional discrimination and could get you in legal hot water.

First, the facts

As many as 100 million U.S. adults — or nearly one-third of the population — have a criminal record of some sort. Our prison population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. As of 2012, the U.S. accounted for only about five percent of the world’s population, yet almost one quarter of the world’s prisoners were held in American prisons.

African Americans and Hispanics are arrested, convicted and incarcerated at rates disproportionate to their share of the general population. Across all age groups, the imprisonment rates for African American males is almost six times greater than for White males, and for Hispanic males, it is over twice that for non-Hispanic White males.

Now, Obama’s rationale

President Obama and HUD have concluded that based on the above facts, criminal records create barriers to housing that are likely to have a disproportionate impact on minority home seekers.

What all this means, as I interpret it, is that if you exclude someone because of a prior conviction, you must be able to prove that it was necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest. What’s more, you must apply the same standard to rental applicants of all races and colors.

The sad thing is that this has nothing to do with fixing our broken criminal justice system or the fact that there are too many attorneys running around lose.

It’s simply shoving political correctness down the throats of hardworking Americans who invest their time and money to provide a decent home at a fair price for others to live.  

And Congressman Dan Donovan (R-NY) thinks it’s wrong, too. He blasted HUD’s guidelines in an April 26, letter to Secretary Julian Castro. You can read it here.

The bottom line is that I can deal with someone who has had problems with the law. Everyone deserves a second or third chance. But whether I rent to them should be a decision I make based on what the background check reveals and my gut instincts … not what Obama and Washington bureaucrats determine is correct for my business.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I’m famous!

Well, not exactly.

I was at Home Depot loading up my van for a project my wife roped me into when a guy walked by pushing a cart. “Hey,” he said. “Aren’t you that greedy landlord?”

Thinking he might be some tenant whom I had to evict, I cautiously looked at him.

“I read your book. The one about being a greedy landlord, so I knew you lived in this area. I’m following you on Facebook now. Your picture’s there.” He shook my hand.

“I’ve been in the business for around 30 years best I can remember. Single-family homes, warehouses, industrial, you name it I’ve owned it. You had a few good ideas that I had never tried.”

“But I gotta disagree with you on one thing.”


“Yeah, the part where you say to stay away from condos. I bought my first one 12 years ago. Now I have 15. My wife and I are getting up in years, and we travel quite a bit, so it’s worked out ok. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, though.”

“I’d love to hear them.”

“I study the HOA documents, including the financials. Boring as hell but important to know what you’re getting into, especially regarding renting out a unit. Then I talk to the sellers to find out how easy it is to get along with the board. But you can’t always believe them.

“I walk or ride my bicycle around the neighborhood. Better than driving around in my truck. Let’s you see the place up close and personal. How well do they maintain the common grounds, the pool area, parking lot? How well do the other owners take care of their places? Are fences falling down? Stuff like that.

“Then if I actually buy the place, I volunteer for the board. Or at the least I show up for the board meetings so I can speak up if they try to sneak something in about rentals. 

"What I’m saying is that the way our area is developing if you eliminate HOAs entirely, you could be missing out on some nice rentals.”

We said our goodbyes, and I thanked him again for reading my book.

While driving home I thought about what he had said ...

Just about all the new homes in our area have HOAs. And I’m always open to an opinion that’s different from mine … after all, that’s what makes a market. But I’ve had the most success with older single-family homes in working-class neighborhoods. So for now I’ll stick to my Rule #4 and avoid condos and HOAs.

For more ideas on buying and managing rental properties, pick up a copy of What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord. It’s available from Barnes & Noble, Booklocker, iTunes, and kobo. You can also order it in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

101 years old and still a landlord

This 101-year-old lady has long history of being a landlord. Read her story here.