We’re talking about secrets.
It’s not a mystery to you that some people might lie to get into a rental house, or lie about their tenancy in a previous rental house. Jeffrey Taylor of Mr. Landlord has reported that almost half of all residents are hiding something. They just don’t want their landlord to know some things.
The number one thing they hide is an extra resident. They may have someone who can’t qualify, so they don’t put them on the application and then move them in after the lease is signed. You might not discover that someone else is living in your rental property in Livermore until after the house is rented. We put everyone’s name on the lease so we know who is there. Also, on the application, we collect information on automobile identification. So, if we see different cars and other activity there, we can pin it down. According to that same report, 40 percent of tenants do fib about extra residents.
Another high percentage of tenants don’t tell the truth about unpaid bills. In Livermore, that can hurt a landlord because if tenants don’t pay their trash bill, the city can put a lien on the owner of the property to try and collect.
The other item that the tenants will try to conceal is property damage. If they break something, they don’t want to tell you that they broke it. They will try to say it was that way when they moved in, or they don’t know how it happened but it wasn’t their fault. If the glass top on the stove breaks, it’s not because they were trying to reach a high cabinet – it just broke. Or, windows will just shatter and screens will tear and no one will know how. They will try to conceal these things when they move out so you don’t see it. If a blind is damaged, it might be taken down so you don’t notice.
A lot of owners don’t want pets in their homes, so a number of applicants will lie about having pets. They’ll say they don’t have them or they have one now but they are giving it to another home. Or, when they moved in they didn’t have a pet, but then they want a pet later. They won’t let you know because they are afraid there will be a consequence – which is true. However, we have in our contract which pets are allowed. If a tenant tries to get a pet without notifying us, rent can increase as much as 10 percent. The latest fad is also to say pets are service animals. There are healthcare providers who will certify a need for a service animal for $125 and a brief phone consultation. Some people will pay to get a certification of a service animal, and there’s a harness for the dog and everything. That doesn’t wash. You really have to have a true medical need for it that’s verifiable. So, most people don’t get away with it. If a tenant has a service animal, you can’t charge an extra deposit. But if it’s a pet, you can.
Redecorating the Property
Tenants might also redecorate without permission. They will repaint a room or take down curtains or do other things. In some cases, they will remove a doorway or make some other modification without permission from the landlord. When it’s time to move out, they don’t want to face the music, so they don’t say anything.
In this business, you need to learn that there are secrets. You have to develop ways to discover the truth and deal with any lease violations. If you need any help dealing with these things, please contact us at AVR Properties. We provide Livermore property management, and we’d be happy to answer your questions
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- Ken Bradley
- ken Bradley