Inheriting Tenants? Protect Yourself

Apartment Building

When you buy an investment property, sometimes it will come with tenants already in place. These tenants can be a good thing as your new purchase will be immediately generating income. But, these tenants can also be a bad thing because you really have no idea how they were screened, how they have been as tenants or even what the details of their lease are. You can of course review existing written lease agreements, but there are landlords and tenants out there who have nothing…

Familial Status and Quiet Enjoyment


This article directed towards tenants with children should be interesting to landlords for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a pretty nice overview of how otherwise well meaning landlords can end up running afoul of fair housing laws when dealing with children. Landlords need to always remember that familial status is a federally protected class. So what does that mean? It means you cannot deny an applicant a property because they have children. Most landlords get this one. But it also means that you…

When Tenants Overstay Their Lease

What To Do

Tenants move.  It’s just a fact of a landlord’s life.  As much as we might like them to stay (well most of them), they rarely do.  When they move, vacancies become a major concern.  The cashflow stops but the bills remain.  So, getting the unit re-rented as quickly as possible becomes a priority.  The best case scenario is to have a tenant move out one day and another move in immediately the next day.  Think about how great that is.  It is almost perfect as…

The Fire Clause


On the latest episode of the Smarter Landlording Podcast, my guest Bucky Philip and I discussed clauses that were required in residential leases here in Tennessee.  One of those clauses is a statement demonstrating that you as the landlord are not responsible for the tenant’s personal items in case of a fire, break in or some other emergency.  I call it the fire clause. We have such a clause in our lease.  In fact, we go one step further.  We highly recommend that tenant’s get…

No Candles Allowed


This is why we do not allow candles in our apartments. “An apartment tenant told firefighters that he was burning candles in his bedroom and then went to another area of his apartment. The candle was sitting on a table and caught nearby combustibles on fire. The estimated damage to the building is about $75,000, according to the battalion chief.” We place the restriction in our “House Rules” which is attached to, and thus a part of, the lease.  Yeah, I know, it can be…

Another Handy Lease Clause

signing a lease

Ever have a tenant think their security deposit equals their last monthly rental payment? We have. We put a stop to it with this clause in our lease. “It is understood that the security deposit is NOT an advance payment of monthly rent.  If Tenant tries to use security deposit as last months rent, an eviction will be immediately filed.” This simple clause seems to work well for us.  Use it in your lease today! Want to learn more about what needs to be in…

A Simple Lease Clause To Help You Get Properties Rented

Moving Out

When we receive notice that a tenant is moving out, our goal becomes getting that property re-rented as quickly as possible.  After all, no tenant means no cashflow. Our lease requires our tenants provide us with at least a month’s notice of their intent to move.  Most have been very good with that request, giving us plenty of time to market the property and hopefully get it re-rented.  Of course re-renting the property means showings.  After all, how many people do you know that will…

Top 5 Smarterlandlording Posts in 2013


  Here are the top five posts for 2013.  Thanks for reading and look for lots more in 2014!   Have a Happy New Year!   The One Clause Every Lease In Tennessee Should Have 5 Traits Of An Effective Landlord Tenant Selection Criteria – What To Use? Cash For Keys The “Getting Your Deposit Back” Form

Top 10 Rental Lease Agreement Provisions

Signing the Lease

The lease is perhaps the most important landlording document.  It is the legal document granting possession of a property from you, the landlord, to a tenant for a specified price and a specified period of time. Smarter Landlords take care when drafting their lease.  They have it reviewed by a local attorney familiar with the local landlord/tenant laws.  Be aware that not all laws are the same.  Every jurisdiction has their particular quirks.  Even here in Tennessee the laws change drastically if I drive just…

What Makes a Solid Lease

A solid lease is a must!

A solid lease is one of the keys to being successful as a landlord.  It will clearly define both the tenant’s and the landlord’s roles.  So what makes a solid lease?  Here are my top ten components Make sure it is written.  Seems simple enough but I have heard more than just a few times of people not having a written lease.  If you do not write it down, how will you prove to a judge what the terms were?  It will come down to…

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