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question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Jun 8, 2021 5:00 PM
       question for teachers (by Deanna [TX]) Jun 8, 2021 5:20 PM
       question for teachers (by Robert J [CA]) Jun 8, 2021 5:29 PM
       question for teachers (by Barb [MO]) Jun 8, 2021 5:42 PM
       question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Jun 8, 2021 7:06 PM
       question for teachers (by Nicole [PA]) Jun 9, 2021 6:43 AM
       question for teachers (by DJ [VA]) Jun 9, 2021 7:01 AM
       question for teachers (by Still Learning [NH]) Jun 9, 2021 7:24 AM
       question for teachers (by Deanna [TX]) Jun 9, 2021 8:57 AM
       question for teachers (by PG [SC]) Jun 9, 2021 10:01 AM
       question for teachers (by Barb [MO]) Jun 9, 2021 11:42 AM
       question for teachers (by S i d [MO]) Jun 9, 2021 12:30 PM
       question for teachers (by Roy [AL]) Jun 9, 2021 1:06 PM
       question for teachers (by Wilma [PA]) Jun 9, 2021 8:22 PM
       question for teachers (by Allym [NJ]) Jun 9, 2021 9:18 PM
       question for teachers (by Busy [WI]) Jun 11, 2021 7:23 PM
       question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Jun 13, 2021 3:58 PM

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question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2021 5:00 PM

I was reading on Ray's post about work ethic and Barb's response brought a question to mind.

I am curious as to how, those of you who are teachers, train your tenants, especially at lease signing, and how long do you spend going over the lease?

I spent about three hours with my very young tenants and even stressed important terms. They are polite and seem teachable and they communicate well but they have failed to follow a couple of things. I might be the problem and so I am curious.

Thank you for your time.

question for teachers (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2021 5:20 PM

I'm a (former) librarian, but I substitute teach to keep myself looking good on paper, in case I ever go back to work. The more houses we get, the less likely that looks like I'll go back to work for someone else...

I go over my lease page by page, and they initial the bottom corner of the page to indicate that they agree with it. It's 10 pages, front and back. If there are animals in play, there's an additional five pages-- two of which are our agreement and a description of the animal (so that an approved animal doesn't mysteriously transform into an unapproved animal), plus three pages that were pretty much cribbed from various local apartment buildings' policies.

If I'm blasting through the lease really quickly, like I do with a former tenant who comes back to me, it might take about 20 minutes.

If I'm going through the lease slowly, point-by-point, it probably takes me about an hour.

I'm dealing with blue-collar fast-food-and-factories. My expectations can be summed up as, "Pay your rent on time and don't hurt my house." If they do those two things, I tend to cut them a little slack.

For example-- I have a tenant who's been with me since 2012. She's moved four times during that period, all to different houses of mine. (First house-- she's single. Second house-- she's married and they need a bigger house. Third house-- they're separating and she needs her own space. Fourth house-- they divorced and she goes back to her second house.) It seems that her brother is getting a divorce himself, so she informed me yesterday, "Hey, my brother is staying with me for a bit while he's getting on his feet." So I roll with it-- because she's a known quantity.

Sometimes it comes back to bite me. Other times, it works out just fine. When it bites me-- it's my own fault for not enforcing my own rules. I get what I allow, and that's what I deserve.

Generally, I try to err in favor of treating people as adults, and expect them to make grownup decisions. Sometimes, though, people are children in adult bodies, and make childish decisions. Then I get rid of them, and try again with someone new.

My biz is in a town with a very stagnant population. Up until last year, everyone who wants a house can pretty much buy themselves a house. It won't be HGTV... but the bar to entry isn't that high. So that leaves everyone else as the potential rental pool.

If I was in a more urban area, I could be more of a stickler for the rules. There would be an endless population of people desiring my houses, and I could afford to be particular about only renting to people who can honor their contracts to a tee.

But in Rural Nowheresville, I need to pick my battles, as to what infractions I'm willing to tolerate, and which ones I'm not. It's kind of like dating... you're unlikely to find a perfect dream-spouse, but you have to decide what kind of shortcomings you're willing to coexist with, and which ones are non-negotiable.

question for teachers (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2021 5:29 PM

I use a consolidated lease, only 4 pages long -- 2 sheets of paper printed on both sides. If my soon to be tenants want to review every word of every section, I have a copy rubber stamped in Red Ink, "SAMPLE" that they can take home or have their attorney review it.

But what I do is allow them to read it first, taking them around 15 minutes. Then I go over the lease and have them initial important selections and sign it.

I also have 6 additional documents required by my City, State and Fed's on Mold, Lead Based Paint, Bedbugs, etc.

The process where I explain the lease only takes around 20 minutes.. So my average lease singing, getting the move--in funds, runs all together around 40 minutes. Plus then show them where the power, water and gas shut-off's are.

question for teachers (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2021 5:42 PM

I send out my lease ahead of time via DocuSign and ask them to fully read and ask questions.

I can always tell who actually read it and who did not.

I have them initial on each page, plus a number of other important places, such as about pets, and utilities, and renters insurance, etc.

Since most of my tenants are moving into their first place since college dorms, many of them take the email and discuss with their parents. Not all, but many.

question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jun 8, 2021 7:06 PM

Thank you for the responses thus far.

Robert J, With all of the rules and restrictions in CA, how do you get by with a 4 page lease?

Is it for all types of residential or just apts?

Barb, how can you tell if they actually read the lease?

Do you watermark it in any way as sample and then send them a new one if they agree or can it not be printed off?

Deanna, does your 10 pages include things like lead base paint info?

question for teachers (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 6:43 AM

I don't care if they read the lease or not. They are going to do what they want anyway. If they ask for it ahead of time, I would give it to them but no one ever has. I give them verbally the nuts and bolts - pay me $xx by the xx of the month. If not paid by xx I will file with the magistrate.

You pay xx utilities. I pay xx utilities. Again, they have already been told this. Why show that particular paragraph to them? No pets, no smoking, no unauthorized residents. All this has been told to them verbally since I meet with folks ahead of time. No need to show them the paragraph that says no pets when they absolutely have been told yes or no already.

I tell them to read the entire lease by the end of the week. I assume most do not.

I do not need to go over the utility paragraph, the renter's insurance paragraphs. They already know this and have taken care of it. I do not need to go over the key paragraph. I already know how many keys they want. I tell them in conversation and it's on the inside of the top kitchen cupboard to the right of the sink on a note what day trash pick up is.

I cannot imagine anyone standing there while you spend three hours going over minutia.

question for teachers (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 7:01 AM

Since I believe every parent - and Landlord - is a teacher, I'll chime in, too : )

I take about an hour.

I emphasize key things like rent due date, amount, no alterations or unauthorized residents or animals - and the consequences for breaking the legal contract.

I answer any questions they may have.

This hour includes the move-in inspection & tour of the location/function of main shut-offs & circuit breakers, etc.

I also tell them to not hesitate to contact me when they have a question that they don't think of right now.

question for teachers (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 7:24 AM

I am similar to Deanna. Lease signing takes about an hour. I summarize each paragraph from legal to phrases like: pay your rent on time, donít go knocking down walls or changing things, no pets means no pets now or in a few months, be a good neighbor the building is for the health, safety and well being of all who live here, this is not a college frat house. At times, I might share a story of someone we had to evict to make the point that we will follow through or about the one that left the windows open in winter but luckily I caught it before the pipes burst because they would have been responsible. When we meet to exchange first monthís rent, keys and do the condition report it takes an additional 1/2 hour and I will make sure they know how to use the thermostat, etc. I think 3 hours is longer than most would have an attention span for or remember all you went over. Are you reading it word for word or do you summarize? What is it they fail to follow? If itís different things with different groups, then it just means you need to follow up and let them know where the issue is. If I have a new tenant at one building failing to use city trash bags and not putting their recycling out which brings on flies, smell and maggots. I have dealt with it, taken photos, and let them know they better be on it weekly along with a lease violation notice. That is usually enough of an embarrassment they apologize and get on it. If it is the same issue with different groups, then thing about how you could better get your point across on that one issue at lease signing. Itís a process and we all have enough stories that just when you think you have things figured out or have seen it all, you havenít.

question for teachers (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 8:57 AM

re: lead, it's not a big thing in Texas, in the way that it is, say, on the Atlantic Seaboard. I'm not sure if I have anything that was built earlier than 1920 or later than 1960... but I can't ever remember having received a seller's disclosure that even mentions lead. None of my tenants have ever asked about it. None of my tenants' kids have ever chewed windowsills, either.

The guts of my lease are based on the Texas Bar Association boilerplate. So, there's a whole lot about what to do about cessation of potable water or heat or air, or what to do with flooding, or how to do a rent-and-deduct ("...which only comes into play if I'm not doing my job, but this protects you from slumlords, etc etc etc") but it wasn't too big on the practicalities of things, like, "Don't drill holes in my roof for your fifteenth Dish" or people who pour grease down the sink and constantly clog up the plumbing or clarifying the process of what happens when people flee the state in the middle of the night and leave behind everything that doesn't fit into their car, because Texas has no definition of abandonment. ("This is what happens if you fall off the planet and leave all your stuff behind...")

Other modifications include writing down the actual penalties in the lease. It's not just enough to say, "Don't sneak in a pet" and have them respect it, but "If you have an unauthorized animal on the premises, it's an instant $500 penalty, you have 48 hours to remove it, and if you don't, you have 72 hours from the original notice to remove yourself." sort of thing.

question for teachers (by PG [SC]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 10:01 AM

Over the years I have revised my Rental Agreement to ensure it is within the SC LL/Tenant laws. And I am always looking to add/revise my do's and don't s. Mine is mostly short concise to the point lines. Two full pages.

My Rental Agreement is short by some standards. KEY for me is how well the Rental Agreement is Implemented by the tenants. And How do I Enforce the lease.

I do go over the Rental Agreement line by line and the Move In list on the first day. An hour or so at the most.

Please note that If a prospect answers all 12 of my pre screen questions and I think the prospect is serious about renting the unit I may provide them a copy of the Rental Agreement for review via email.

Also It helps that my units are B+ and I try to screen for what I consider positive charterer issues - such as cleanliness.

I talk to my tenants every chance I get and I do inspections every 4 to 6 months. I am always training/Policing tenants.

Some tenants listen some don't.

question for teachers (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 11:42 AM

Since I use DocuSign, they have to initial each page and some extra important places. If they choose to just initial following the prompts, and not actually read, that isn't my fault.

I require them to sign up for Clearnow before getting keys now. I send an email with all kinds of important info shortly before their lease begins (since they sign a month or more early).

I email the "Protect your Family from Lead" PDF to them, telling them if they desire a hard copy to tell me. I include the Lead Disclosure as a DocuSign document. So they sign it electronically.

MO doesn't make a big deal about lead. Plus, about half of my portfolio is now less than 10 years of age. Could there be lead in the soil? Sure, but unlikely.

question for teachers (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 12:30 PM

As a 5-year veteran of high school teaching and 16-year veteran of land lording, I learned one thing: "You cannot coach the uncoachable."

What does that mean?

People are either open to learning or not. You can't force them. After years of going over the lease paragraph by paragraph and having people initial next to them...and then they STILL didn't always follow thru, I looked at what the major problems were.

1) Not paying the rent on time.

2) Not reporting problems with lead to worse damages.

3) Trashy or hard living that caused damaged.

What was the simple solutions? Increasing standards and getting people who are ALREADY TRAINED!

A good tenant doesn't even need a lease, technically. Sure, we still use them, but they always pay rent in full, on time, all the time. They keep the property in good condition. They clean regularly. They don't move in five secret pit bulls and the ex-convict boyfriend. And if something DOES go wrong thru a fluke of nature, they are easy to collect from (guaranisheable wages!).

So ... how do I get already trained tenants?

Look for tenants with:

1) Quality, long-term employment.

2) Sufficient income.

3) Excellent tenant references.

4) Reasonable credit.

5) They agree to and pass the 2-minute in home inspection.

You've heard the old phrase "You have to kiss a lot of frog before you find a prince(ss)?" That phrase is misleading and was a cause of great frustration. Then it hit me one day: this is a fairytale. Frogs don't turn into prince(sses). I no longer kiss frogs and wish for magic to happen. I only kiss princesses. There aren't as many, but man....they're worth waiting for!

I use e-signature lease which I send out 24 hours prior to move-in, and there is no need to go over it. The good ones don't need it. The bad ones will ignore it. Just get it signed, get the money, and move on. Anything else is waste of time in my experience. You can't make a bad tenant good, and a good tenant is already good.

Frogs do not turn into princesses.

question for teachers (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 1:06 PM

I agree with Sid,...good tenants don't need a lease,..but I do them anyway. And you can't train the untrainable.

question for teachers (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 8:22 PM

SID(MO) about sums it up. We send a watermarked version of the lease when we send our acceptance, and allow time for questions. The excellent tenants ALWAYS ask a bunch of questions. The good ones ask one or two. The dicey ones say, "okay, when do we sign"? (They are also the "uh-huh" people, saying that to the tour of the water shutoff, thermostat, etc., and remembering zero.) --96.245.xx.xx

question for teachers (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2021 9:18 PM

Information overload. Not everyone learns by listening. Some learn by reading and some by doing things with their hands. Going over a boring lease causes people to lose attention. After they make the mistake a time or two and then you correct them, they will get it. Learning modalities are sight, hearing, touching, doing. --108.24.xx.xx

question for teachers (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2021 7:23 PM

Training starts with first contact- the ad. When I mention clean, as in the house is clean, this also tells them I value cleanliness. Then, when I do the application pick up at there house, this tells them I will look for cleanliness. Part of the training is setting expectations. Same for recycling, for snow removal, and so on.

Training needs to be short, interesting, and repeated. And, as Ally said, used different means of teaching the message. Today, after doing my weekly mow, I left a bag of plastic bags on the storm door handle for the teenager to clean up after his dog. Iíve been meaning to write up a little tutorial about ways to manage dog waste. Praise works too, but not too much with adults. Humor helps, and keeps things memorable.

And, just like it takes miles to stop a train, training adults is a long, slow process. ( hmmmÖ now I am reflecting on the etymology (word development/ origins) of the word train. Getting them on the rails, so to speak, getting them on the straight and narrow, another locomotive term.

My lease Ďgo-overí is about an hour, but even that is a bit long. I add humor/ silly memorable stuff. I also leave several tasks purposely undone in the house that I can get to over the next few weeks. Opportunities for more communication/ training early on, before tenants establish bad habits.

question for teachers (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jun 13, 2021 3:58 PM

Thank you everyone for the replies. I will change my process.

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