Tag Archives: Landlords

Tenant Screening

Tenant Screening, tips for Landlords and Renters navigating the rental screening process

The question of background checks and tenant screening are common inquiries from both owners and potential renters alike. Everyone wants to feel assured that they are making the best possible choice, whether in the form of new tenants or a new rental property. In this post, we will briefly navigate the confusing path that leads from first application to final lease signing, specifically highlighting the tenant screening process. While directed primarily at owners and landlords, the information contained here is an excellent resource for potential renters as well.

First and foremost, there are a variety of options for screening a potential tenant.  Whether it be an online tenant screening website, through your property management company, and good old fashioned checking of references.  The ultimate aim of screening, however, is to determine if the renter will be responsible for the reasonable upkeep property and conduct their lease obligations in a timely and professional manner. This includes, but is not limited to, paying rent on time, keeping the property relatively undamaged, and overall treating the rental property with common sense respect.

The typical screening process generally includes an application, background check, and credit check. And typically there is an application fee required to apply for rental prooperty.  The fee covers the cost for the screening company to pull reports, background checks, conduct reference checks, and adminstrative tasks involved with compiling all of the information for the Landlord.  It is importand for landlords to know what they are getting from the screening company.  For example the term “backgorund screening” or “backgound check” could include a criminal check or it may simply include a credit check and rental history verificatio.  It’s important for landlords to clarify this distinction with your screening company to be sure you understand what reports they will be running for you.  From there, the owner is able to make an informed decision.

There are several components that make up a solid screening process for prospective tenants. These components include, but are not limited to, the following:the basic personal information on all occupants including pets and number of occupants, employment history and current employment information including income, financial information such as pay stubs and bank accounts,  rental history or mortgage payment history, and references from prior Landlords if applicable.

To decide on the right renter, landlords also have a right to conduct a criminal background check and an eviction check- as long as this is made clear on the rental application that the prospective renter signs providing their authorization to do so.  This check will show criminal records, evictions, and assorted public records.  With this information, the owner can better determine the tenant’s suitability for the rental property and evaluate the risks involved.

In each step of the screening process, there may be warning flags and details that should be carefully reviewed by the owner. For example, in the credit history, the owner should take note of any bankruptcies, judgements, history of late payments, and current debt level. It is important to keep in mind, however, that financial issues should be considered on a case-by-case basis and any existence of these items are not necessarily a mark of a bad tenant although checking into it is encouraged.  There may be cases where a prospective renter had run into difficult financial times but is now “back on their feet” so it is important to understand the entire picture.  On a similar thread, contacting the potential tenant’s current employer can help establish the overall financial picture.

Another important issue to consider is a record of rental evictions. While this can and should raise a warning flag, this is another instance where learning the backstory will better inform the ultimate decision. In addition, the owner or tenant should consider calling former landlords of the prospective renters. Beyond learning about their timeliness of payments, this is an opportunity to get to know the tenant’s a bit more- which may also contribute to screening process.

Lastly, and no less importantly, the owner may consider conducting an informal interview or meet-and-greet with the prospective renter. This is best done as the last step if all other elements have been deemed satisfactory. In this conversation, you can get a better feel for the tenant’s potential suitability for your rental property.

Whatever path you decide to pursue for screening potential tenants, Landlords must strictly follow the the Federal Fair Housing Act.  These are clear guidelines for preventing discrimination in housing situations and provide an equal housing opportunity in accordance with fair housing laws.    Talk to your tenant screening provider to learn more about this topic and get the latest information from them each time you have a need for screening the next renter as there may be new laws and guidelines that have taken affect since the last time you went through the process.  Do your homework, trust your instinct, and choose wisely- you’ll be glad you did.

Tenant Screening Services Colorado      Tenant Placement Services Colorado

Apartment Finders Housing Helpers Boulder Colorado

Boulder Rental Property Owner checklist : House, Inspection, License?

If you have recently taken advantage of the lower interest rates and increased property value in the current housing market and purchased a home, then keep reading. If you are now planning to stick a “FOR RENT” sign in the fertile rental land of Boulder, then the information presented in this post is all the more indispensable for you.

You must be a clever chap or lady to foresee the high-renter concentration in the Boulder area, especially in the hotspot areas surrounding CU. What many new owners in this position do not know, however, is the importance of the license.

And no, we don’t mean the driver’s license.

In the City of Boulder, property owners are required to hold a “Housing Rental License” in order to have the legal permission to rent out a property. This “Housing Rental License,” or “Housing Inspection License” as it is known by some, is required by the city’s Property Maintenance Code in order to uphold the safety and health standards for Boulder’s rental properties. This license must be current at the time of renting the property; otherwise you are subject to the same legal actions as those who attempt to rent an unlicensed property. Some exceptions to the rental license requirement can occur; a thorough explanation of these can be found on the City of Boulder website

In addition, an owner that lives in Boulder County is not required to have a property agent. It is only outside of the county that a property agent must serve as property’s contact person.

The Rental Licensing office is located in the Planning and Development Services Center in Boulder and has sporadic hours, so be sure to double check on their FAQ page before heading over.

The license fee is a flat $70 regardless of the number of units within the rental property. The license requires that a Baseline Inspection is completed in order to ensure the property is safe for tenants. This inspection, done by private inspection companies, covers four major areas: general life safety, plumbing and fixtures, mechanical and electrical, and finally, fire safety. If items need to be repaired, a re-inspection will be necessary before you can pass the Baseline Inspection. Upon its successful completion, the owner is presented with the signed inspection compliance verification form, which is an integral component of the rental license application.

Generally, this license must be renewed every four years with a renewal application, renewal inspection compliance verification form, a legal residency affidavit, and fee. However, if a new owner takes over the property at any point, the old license is considered null and void and a new inspection and license must be obtained.

While learning about this topic may not be on the top of everyone New Year’s resolution list, it certainly is an important one. If you are an owner of a property in Boulder and want to rent it out, then consider this post and this Rental License handbook as a letter with your name of it.

After you’re licensed, be sure to give us a call here at Housing Helpers so we can find the right tenants to appreciate your wonderful rental property! And remember, unless one of our rental specialists connects you with your future tenant, our listing service comes at no cost to you. We are confident we can find tenants who will adore your new property as much as you do.

Housing Helpers is Colorado’s most popular rental listing service. We provide Colorado Rental Property Leasing Services in Colorado for rental property owners, property managers, and property management companies in Boulder, Denver, throughout Colorado and Nevada.   Each City and town in Boulder County and throughout Colorado has different rules and regulations for rental property.  If you are considering renting your home or condo in Colorado start here to explore the rental property leasing services and property management services in your area.

 

Winterizing Your Rental Property | Helpful Tips For Landlords and Renters

Boulder Winter Flatirons  Even though the cold season has been slow to arrive this year, there is no doubt that a Colorado winter is sure to happen sooner or later. If the weather forecast is to be believed, it is likely to happen sooner rather than later! When it does, you don’t want to discover that your home or apartment wasn’t ready for the frozen flakes and sub-zero temperatures. Below are a few tips for winterizing your rental property and whether you are an owner or a renter, using these tips could save you a lot of unnecessary money and shivering down the road.

In order to avoid a lengthy to-do list, the following information is presented with the fitting acronym of SNOW-Seal, Note, Outside, and Windows.

Seal: The first step to winterizing your rental unit is to seal any holes, cracks, or crumbling mortar. A good way to find these often hidden nooks and crannies is to wait for a windy day and then carefully comb through your property in search of any drafty spots.

Key areas to check include walls, window sills, wood trimming, siding, and near electrical outlets and doors. With a thorough inspection, you’re bound to find a few places that need additional caulking or weatherstripping. Using caulk, tacky rope caulk, or weatherstrips in these areas will help keep the weather out and the warmth in.

Small gaps and holes can generally be fixed with a simple caulking, but larger problems may require a self-adhesive foam found in a local hardware store. If it’s an issue of a draft sneaking through beneath exterior doors, you can either replace the entire threshold or just insert a seal in the threshold. With any of these seal solutions, ensure that you try to find the exact fit- otherwise, get one size bigger and trim it down to the proper size. Trying to seal a spot with something too small will only lessen the problem, but not eliminate it.

Note: The next item in our SNOW tip list is “N,” for “Note”- and I don’t mean the type you used to write to your third-grade crush in elementary school. There are two primary components at play here- the heating system and the alarm system.

First and foremost, take note of your heating system before you need to rely on it through the cold winter days. Also check the pilot light and burners if your heating system runs on gas or oil. The filter should not only be checked at the onset to winter as well as checked (and if need be, changed) every month to avoid dust and pollutant build-up and increase efficiency.

Another item to note are the air ducts. The U.S. Department of Energy states that a centrally-heated home can lose as much as 60% of the heated air before it even reaches the vents if the ductwork is not done properly.  In other words, it pays to ensure that those air ducts are both well-connected and well-insulated. It’s also a good idea to vacuum them out every few years to allow easier air flow devoid of gunk and grime.

Another very important item to note for winterizing your rental is the alarm system. This includes both smoke alarms and monoxide detectors. The batteries should be checked twice a year to ensure they are working properly. Beyond the biannual check, however, it is vital that they are in working order for the winter months when homes and apartments are more likely to be enclosed with running heat and therefore more susceptible to fire dangers.

Outside: This section covers the importance of winterizing gutters, roofs, and outside faucets. A long autumn can cause a build-up of leaves and other windblown items into your gutters, but it is well worth clearing out before the snow demands the space. If snow falls on clogged gutters, it will hinder the water from effectively draining from the roof. This trapped water could potentially freeze, thaw, and re-freeze several times throughout the winter which can damage not only the gutters themselves, but also the attached roof.

In addition, pay close attention to any loose or damaged shingles because the weight of snow is bound to worsen their conditions. Finally, if applicable to your rental property, the chimney is another outside element to consider. Beyond the general sweep, it should be inspected as soon as possible in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

A final word on the outside section concerns the curse words of winter, “frozen pipes.” It is important the note that your lease may hold you responsible for any damages that come as a result of frozen pipes, so taking caution in this matter is not only recommended- it may be required. Wrapping exposed pipes with heating tape or some sort of insulating cover is a good way to start. In addition, it is also important to drain any exterior spigots and pipes so as to avoid freezing excess water.

Windows: We have reached our final letter of SNOW, the “W.” Here it stands for the all-important windows element of winterizing. If storm windows are not an option, you can still enhance your heat efficiency by protecting them with plastic sheeting. This form of window insulation is installed from the inside with a double-stick tape. From there, use a hair dryer to affix the sheeting to the window. It may not be the prettiest addition to your home, but it will assuredly increase the heat efficiency by trapping the warm air inside.

If you can’t stand the look of it, another idea is to install curtains. An appealing drape will also provide a buffer between you and the winter outside.

A few last tricks of the trade to keep your rental property warm and cozy this winter is to consider your furniture placement. Take a stroll around your living space and ensure that no heat sources are blocked by furniture, which can prevent effective airflow. Aside from the fresh perspective that newly positioned chair can give, who knew that it could also keep you warmer.

Lastly, turn on the ceiling fan! By reversing the fans, you will actually push the warmer air downwards to a level where you can enjoy it.

Ultimately, the aim of the SNOW list is to keep you as warm as possible by being as heat efficient as possible. If you’re still in the market for a rental property or hoping to rent out your space this winter, consider using Housing Helpers to make this possible! Happy winterizing!   Housing Helpers can Rent Your Property quickly and provide a great way for you to manage your properties easily.   If you are considering long term rental property management or property management companies, check out Housing Helpers first as we are Colorado’s most popular rental locating service and we can recommend the right property management services for you!

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