Rental/Tenant Advice

Good and Bad Leasing Policies to Keep in Mind

Whether or not you will file an eviction or contend with some difficult tenants has everything to do with whether or not you are sending the wrong message to prospective tenants through your leasing policies. So what are some good and bad leasing policies to keep in mind when prospecting for potential tenants?

Here are a few:

Rental ads: Rental ads speak for the landlord’s professionalism. When you have rental ads that look crisp, clean and professional, you dissuade bad tenants from applying for your vacancy. Whip up a professional-looking ad that includes the price, the size, the floor plan, and flattering photos or a video tour. Add rental rules to the ad and warn prospects you will be screening in order to scare off bad candidates.

Pre-screening negotiations: Don’t haggle terms of the lease with an applicant before they have seen the place and before you have determined that they qualify. Even if you are desperate to find a tenant, your willingness to break this rule makes you come across as a pushover – a landlord that is too easy to persuade. Going down this route will only bring you more trouble in the future.

The rental application: ask for a lot of information on the rental application form. While it may take a long time for a prospective tenant to fill out the form, that person will be bound to take you more seriously and the longer form will mean that only interested candidates will apply. Some applicants will not fill out every portion of the rental application and sign the bottom. Discard these applicants or ask them to fill in the missing information sections. If more than one occupant is moving in, have each complete a rental application. Be sure to check the applicant’s references before you offer the candidate tenant a lease. This is the biggest mistake landlords make in the pre-leasing stage. Don’t wait until problems arise for you to contact the applicant’s previous landlord.

The lease: make sure the lease form is foolproof before you provide it to the tenant and that you understand every term of the lease — the applicant may try to negotiate with you for some extra flexibility with the rules. Expect this and stick to all your must-have provisions.

Post-lease: Inspect the property from time to time after the tenant moves in, after giving the appropriate notice, and find small ways to keep in touch like a newsletter.

3 Tips to Getting the Application Right for a Quick Rental Process

'Rent Reform Rally' photo (c) 2011, The  Nabe - license: //

Drafting the right application form is key if you want to land more tenants, screen them in an instant and make the whole process super easy for both you and the tenant. Here are 3 tips and pointers for getting it right:

1. Simplify, simplify, simplify

Get the application down to its barest bones. There is nothing that turns off tenants more than filling in lengthy application forms with, what to you and them, may amount to pointless information. Think to always streamline and convey what you request in an easy format. The simpler the rental form, the more likely people will apply for the rental and that is always good for business. The application form should always include the potential tenant’s full name, contact information, place of employment and references from previous landlords.

2. Help is there if you need it

The process of drawing up an application form might be intimidating when you’re a new landlord, which is why it’s important to have someone with more experience give it an once-over before you start using it. Get a local landlord or business-savvy friend to review it and advise you on how you can make it better. But if you don’t have such contacts and you’re looking for a quick review, feel free to ask for help from the people over at Reddit. This website has a helpful section for newbie landlords and the folks you’ll find there are always keen to help you out with any questions about how you should draft your first rental application. Landlord forums are another option when Reddit doesn’t seem to quite cut it and you need in-depth answers to your rental application questions.

3. Online rental applications make it quick & easy

You can always dump the traditional printed rental application route and opt to have your applicants fill out their forms online for an efficient rental process. There are quite a few quality sites out there that offer online rental application services, with some even providing quick online credit checks for landlords. At most of these sites, you can design your own rental applications (though templates are generally available) with some sites having the credit check service take up only a day to send you the report. Hands down, online applications are the easiest, most convenient way to speed up the rental process. We recommend you check out RocketLease, RentApp, Leasely, AppFolio and RentersFriend as online rental application providers.

A Property Managers View on Subletting

May 13, 2013

There’s something about subletting a unit – when your tenant does it — that runs against the grain of a property manager’s sense of work and duty. You put in a lot of effort to find the right tenant – one who clears a criminal and credit background check, who is legitimately employed, who has presented a solid personal reference or two and whose recent landlords you’ve spoken with. In other words, a tenant you’ve done everything to make sure is reliable and responsible. A good property manager knows that this is the only way to make sure the property unit is protected, that the rent will be paid on time, and that the tenant will even be the kind of neighbor who is kind and considerate to you and others.

Your business gets thrown a curve ball, however, when your tenant wants to sublet the unit to another person. He or she will be in charge of the screening process and this can invite all kinds of problems. Of course, it will be in the tenant’s best interest to make sure the subletor will be responsible and reliable with the unit and with paying the rent on time. At the same time, the pre-existing tenant will be the one who will be held liable for the lease and any damage or financial penalties until the term of the lease finally runs out. However, the big problem here is that most tenants simply don’t have the experience or know-how in property management to know who constitutes a reliable tenant. Because of this, there may be problems when the tenant wants to secure a subletor for the unit he/she is responsible for.

Sure, subletting your unit out may not always be what your want or prefer, but when you are in the position where the alternative is lost rent, you should go for it. If and when you find yourself where a sublease is in order, it’s important that you take care of the following points:

  • Make sure the pre-existing tenant – the one in charge of finding the subletor – has a history of exercising good judgment and of being responsible.
  • Also clarify to the pre-existing tenant that a credit and criminal check is required of the subletor (to be covered either by you or the tenant).
  • Be certain to have all the necessary legal paperwork signed and understood by both the tenant and subletor regarding the financial obligations of the sublet, i.e.: the monthly rent payments and fines linked to property damages.
  • It’s critical that you are the one to ultimately approve the potential subletor.

At all times, you must remember that you are the property manager and that you are the one who sets down the parameters on subletting. If you are one to decide that subletting is not right for your business and ban it, make sure to write as an important clause in your lease contract.

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Successful Property Marketing Techniques

'Housing Market' photo (c) 2012, 401(K) 2012 - license: //

When it comes to marketing your rental units, practically everything has been done already. From bench signs to social networking to floppy lawn signs, most property managers have done it all. Yet because these marketing techniques are employed so much, their impact on consumers is not especially strong. So, as a property manager, what can you do to reel ‘em in? We have some ideas on what you can do to vastly improve your business:

Play with your Number

Your phone number plays a big role in your marketing campaigns. But you lose out on a big opportunity to land tenants when you use a regular phone number just like everybody else. Instead, get your own personalized phone number – one that really sticks with people. For example, a number that is made up of almost all threes. Or a number that spells out a memorable word. You stay ahead of the game when your number is easy to remember. In a world where people are always in a rush, such a number can help you land more business.

Grab their Attention

Ramp up the fun factor a bit when you advertise property vacancies. Go for broke and think of creative headlines when announcing a rental listing. Something like: “Your Wishing Well Wish Came True: your Dream Home is Right Here.” Or “Miracles Happen: Your Wife will Love this Place, Too”, etc. Don’t know what to write? Hire a copywriter or someone who can creatively string words together to write out your slogans.

Be a Radio Star

Most property managers would never consider advertising on the radio. But it’s a surefire way to let a company personality shine straight to the masses, often very inexpensively. When you do radio, free advertising opportunities abound. You can win a spot on a “Meet the Experts” panel on a regular radio informational show, or even host your own weekly half-hour or hour show. Small radio stations are always looking for people to fill up air time, just roll with it and come up with creative skits to impress your listeners.

Be a Video Star

YouTube videos are a novel way of marketing yourself and your business, when you know what you’re doing. It can be tricky to send links of your videos to your database of prospects. (Think of it as putting out a newscast directly targeted to the people on your list.) But the investment is well worth it – the medium really helps to shorten the distance between you and the consumer, i.e.: someone who wants to do business with someone who seems very human and approachable.

Spring Cleaning / Move Out Cleaning Checklist

'Washington, DC: Cherry Blossoms' photo (c) 2012, Justine Jablonska - license: //

May 1, 2013

So long April showers, hello May flowers! Pretty soon you’ll be bombarded with graduation invitations and start feeling the need to plan your summer vacation (if you haven’t already!). But before you can do any of that, Spring is a time of new leaves and renewal so why not make that go for your home as well?

Completing a deep clean is very important and the best way to make ensure cleaning tasks proceed smoothly and completely is to have a good cleaning checklist. Like all big projects, it’s a good idea to do your homework and construct a plan. Yes, that means putting pen to paper or creating a spread sheet, if that’s more your style. So whether you are  moving out of your own home, or just cleaning a rented property before moving out,  or simply looking to complete some Spring cleaning (given the time of year!) we have a complied a cleaning tip list to keep all parties busy and of course the landlord and property manager happy.


      1. Wash all windows both internally and externally.
  1. Wipe and clean window sills and curtain rails.
  2. Wash inside and outside of front and back doors.
  3. Try to remove all scuffs and marks from the walls, where necessary repaint if you have the correct shade.
  4. Wash completely all floors.
  5. All carpeting should be professionally cleaned to remove stains depending on length of lease.  It is a good idea to check your lease and keep the receipts for these tasks so that the cost can be deducted from you security deposit.
  6. All garbage must be removed from the property.
  7. Clean out fireplace if applicable.
  8. Clean all blinds and wash or dry clean all drapes and valances.
  9. Clean all light fixtures throughout unit and replace any burnt out bulbs.


  1. Clean inside and out of dishwasher and range hood.
  2. Sweep and wash the kitchen floor, including beneath all movable appliances.
  3. Wipe and clean sinks and counter tops completely.


  1. Clear out all contents first
  2. Wash the  inside of refrigerator with water.
  3. Take out all removable shelving and drawers and wash separately, dry and replace.
  4. Wash the outside of refrigerator.
  5. Remember to move the fridge and complete cleaning behind and underneath also.
  6. Freezer must be defrosted and cleaned. If defrosting, remember to turn appliance back on once completed.


  1. Remove racks and clean by soaking in hot water to remove all difficult to remove dirt.
  2. Clean fully the inside of the oven, top of the stove, and underneath the elements.
  3. Clean behind and underneath the appliance (if moveable).
  4. Wash and dry outside of stove.

Vanity Cabinets and Drawers

  1. Remove all contents
  2. Wash cupboards on both the inside and out.
  3. Wipe out drawers with damp rag.


  1. Remove all personal belongings.
  2. Wash down all tiled areas ensuring to pay attention to the grouting areas.
  3. Clean bathtub, shower area around the tub, sink, door and ensure all fixtures shining.
  4. Remember to Clean the inside and outside of toilet.
  5. Wash and shine mirror.
  6. Sweet and wash all floors.


  1. Ensure the lawn is freshly mowed and weed flower beds if applicable.
  2. Finally, remove all garbage, debree and external clutter as first impressions are key!

In order to recoup your deposit upon vacating a rental property, its is important firstly to give the landlord or property manager the required notice period but secondly to ensure the property is spic and span and in its original condition that you got it in. We at Agon Management hope that you find this checklist useful in moving towards a sparkling clean and organized house inside and out. If you have any further tips or recommendations on this topic that you’d like to share, please comment below! We would love to hear from you!

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