Laying down the law is not my natural style. I am a laid back nice-guy so how am I to lay down the law with a prospective tenant before we even sign an agreement. However, last night I listened to fellow landlord, Ian Robbins, at the Georgia Real Estate Investors Association monthly Landlording Education Group, and learned a few valuable tips on how he approaches each new tenant.
Before Ian accepts a security deposit and moves a tenant into one of his units, he says he invites them to share a cup of coffee. While at the table he hands the prospective tenant their security deposit check and their application and simply says (paraphrasing and considering this is all within GA Tenant Law), ‘I am giving money and application this back to you and not renting this unit to you until you understand and agree to the following: 1)Rent is due on the 1st, not the 2nd. 2)A $50 late fee is applied on the 2nd if anything less than the full rent is delivered. 3)Anything less than the full rent will not be accepted. 4)You will receive a Demand Letter on the 5th, giving you 2 days. 5)On the 7th I will file for dispossessory at the court. If you can agree to this and we are clear, I will rent you the home.’
I love it. Disarm the tenant before they give you a penny. Ian’s approach clarifies his position and allows him to reference that single, memorable event anytime questions arise.
I have had to go through the ugly process of courts and dispossessory a few times before and it is the absolute worst part of being a landlord.
What is your technique? How do you recommend laying down the law for your existing and prospective tenants?