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Old 09-28-2005, 06:22 AM
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Default Landlord Tip of the Week

In spite of our best efforts, sometimes someone
thinks we might have possibly meant something else when
we spoke to them and that offended them. Besides,
there are scam artists out there who are trying to make
a quick buck off landlords by claiming the landlord
said something that the landlord did not
say.<br><br>Here are six ways to keep yourself out of trouble,
and/or protect yourself if you have a complaint filed
against you.<br><br>1. Make sure you everything you do is
documented. Everything -- from ads to notices to tenants to
conversations with tenants and applicants.<br><br>2. Make notes
of every phone conversation you have, both from
prospective tenants and current tenants. These would include
both tenants from protected classes and not from
protected classes. Put a date and time at the top of every
note. The notes would tend to show that you are
treating all people equally.<br><br>3. Write out scripts
for interviews with prospective tenants. Write
answers to questions you are most likely to be asked. Do
not improvise. You might want to have your attorney
look at the script and the answers or even other
landlords at an apartment or landlord association
meeting.<br><br>4. Create clear-cut rules, in writing, for all
tenants. Write out clear-cut requirements, and date them,
which must be met by all people applying to rent from
you. Then follow those rules.<br><br>5. Read
everything you receive from a tenant applying to rent from
you, especially if you are going to reject that
tenant. There is little worse (and more embarassing) than
saying you rejected a tenant on the basis of a credit
report when you have not read it.<br><br>6. If you have
a complaint filed against you:<br><br>Call your
lawyer immediately. <br>DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS from
HUD, Legal Aid, Fair Housing enforcers or attorneys.
These people are not there to "help you," "get to the
bottom of the problem," or "get your side of it." They
are representing the tenant and trying to trip you
up. Many Fair Housing enforcement agencies depend on
fines from landlords and other businesses for operating
expenses. How unbiased do you think they will be with you?
Make them call your attorney. If they persist in
calling you after you have told them to leave you alone,
ask your lawyer what to do. <br>Keep thorough notes
of everything that happens, including dates and
times. <br>Send letters confirming conversations.
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