What is an umbrella policy?

August, 2018

An umbrella insurance policy is a type of liability insurance that provides additional liability coverage over and above the landlord’s standard liability policy coverage. Umbrella insurance coverage takes effect when the costs of a claim surpass the landlord’s standard liability policy limits. Umbrella policies are not replacement insurance policies. An umbrella policy does not cover anything […]


What is tenant discrimination insurance?

August, 2018

Landlords can be sued for discrimination despite their best efforts in fair housing compliance policies and practices. Discrimination lawsuits have increased over the past few years causing landlords to spend significant time and money to defend themselves against claims of discrimination. While some lawsuits may prove to have no merit, (e.g., a nuisance lawsuit) nevertheless […]


What is loss of rents insurance?

August, 2018

An insurance product that helps compensate a landlord for loss of income in the event that a rental property become uninhabitable due to a covered loss – e.g., storm damage or fire damage – is available from many business insurance companies. This type of coverage may also be called a Loss of Income Policy, Rent […]


Utilizing a Cosigner Agreement

August, 2018

Late and missed rents are often cited by landlords as being the biggest problems with new tenants. To evaluate an applicant’s potential financial risk to the landlord, i.e., rent defaults, landlords conduct tenant background screenings. Based upon a greater perceived business risk, a landlord may offer conditional acceptance to an applicant by requiring the applicant […]


A husband and wife signed a lease for one year the end of last month. They were scheduled to move in a week from now. They called me today to say that the deal on selling their house fell through and now they can’t rent our property (single-family residence). Do I have any recourse? Can I keep the deposit to cover me until we find a new tenant?

July, 2018

What does your lease agreement say? Once the lease agreement is signed, you and the tenants have a binding legal contract. If the lease agreement did include a contingency regarding the sale of their house, your options would be limited to the terms of that contingency. If not, your lease agreement terms and conditions govern […]


We just signed a lease with a new tenant yesterday that is to begin in 2 weeks. We now have a gut feeling that we made a bad decision and we don’t know how long we have to cancel the lease. We have not deposited any money and want to tell the prospective tenant that we will not be able to go through with the lease agreement and void her check. Isn’t there a law that allows cancellation of the lease within three days?

July, 2018

Landlords should not make rental decisions based on gut feelings. Decisions should be made based on the results of a number of objective screening procedures as applicable per federal, state, or local laws. Typical tenant screenings include identity verification, employment history, income verification, previous rental housing history, references, and background screenings for credit, criminal, and […]


How do I handle a situation where the tenant put down a deposit to hold a unit but now says she doesn’t want to move in? She is demanding her deposit back.

July, 2018

There are several issues here that require clarification before determining how to handle your situation. A primary issue is that, although you call the person a tenant, you do not explicitly state that the lease has been fully executed. If you and the person executed a written lease agreement, you can hold her to the […]


Security Deposits or Move-in Fees

July, 2018

Deposits and fees are required by a landlord to protect his business against possible financial losses from tenant unpaid rents and property damages beyond normal wear and tear. The type, use, and amount of rental deposits and fees are customarily regulated by state landlord-tenant statutes. Additionally, local ordinances, area rental market conditions, property location and […]


What about move-in and move-out inspections?

July, 2018

Many states require a move-in checklist to be completed when possession of the rental unit is given to the new tenant. The checklist is a written statement of the condition of the rental unit at the time of move-in. The completed checklist documents any existing damage to the unit and/or an inventory of landlord supplied […]


What should be in the lease agreement regarding property inspections?

July, 2018

The importance of regularly scheduled inspections can be emphasized by clear language in the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. The lease agreement should specify the types of inspections, schedules, and notifications that are required for tenant health and safety issues and property maintenance and repair. Separate sections in the lease agreement for maintenance […]