The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Smart Landlord

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This book is well suited for an audience of sinlges/couples who would like to buy or who already own a home, and wish to offset their current mortgage with subsequent income from rentals. Property managers of small rentals could also find this very helpful.
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This book is well suited for an audience of sinlges/couples who would like to buy or who already own a home, and wish to offset their current mortgage with subsequent income from rentals. Property managers of small rentals could also find this very helpful.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028639345
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 8/18/2000
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 7.28 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents


1. What Is a Landlord?
A Brief History of the Landlord. The Pluses and Minuses of Owning Rental Property.
Advantages of Owning Other People's Homes. Disadvantages of Owning Other People's Homes.
What Kind of Landlord Will You Be?
The Owner-Occupant: Open 24 Hours. Absentee but Not Forgotten. Owner-Occupant vs. Absentee: Your Choice.
Owners vs. Property Managers. Ownership Theories.

2. Real Estate 101.
The Many Characteristics of Real Estate.
Let's Get Physical. The Eco-dynamics.
Most Common Types of Real Estate. Most Common Types of Rental Property. The Bundle of Rights. Who Owns What? What's All This Liability Stuff? Choosing the Right Type of Ownership.

3. Checking Out the Neighborhood.
Where Should You Buy? A Sale Isn't Always a Bargain! Locating Distressed Property. Signs of a Good Neighborhood.

4. Getting Ready to Buy.
What Do You Want to Buy? This Place Is Beautiful! Let's Get Serious About Rental Property Ownership! Expenses? What Expenses? The Walk-Through: Inspecting Property.

5. Real Steal or Money Pit?
This Time You Really Found One. Performance or Proformance!
Breaking Down the Operating Statement. Where to Get This Information. Beyond the Town Hall.
How Much Should You Pay?
Determining Mortgage Payments. Using a MortgageTable. Is It a Good Investment? The Bottom Line.


6. You Own It; Now What?
First Things First! Being a Landlord is a Job, Not a Hobby. Help Wanted: Office Skills Required.
Using Telephones. Using Business Cards.
Inherited Tenants.
Deposits. Getting to Know You. Gather Information. Your Contract vs. Theirs. Playing by the Rules. Rent.
Apartment Preparation. Bring the Property up to Code. Hire Out or Do-It-Yourself.

7. Apartment For Rent: Handling Vacancies.
Determining Rental Value. Advertise Your Property. Rental Applications. Credit Checks. Reference Checks. Photographs and Check Sheets. Showing the Apartment. Approvals and Denials.

8. A New Lease on Tenant Life.
Rental Agreement vs. Lease.
The Rental Agreement. The Lease. A Pause for Lease Clauses. Who Can Sign a Lease?
Beware of Oral Agreements. Roommates: Can't Live with 'Em ....
The Roommate Clause. Let Your Tenant Sublet? Not!
Breaking the Rental Contract. Lead Paint Disclosure Documents.

9. Fair Housing.
Federal Laws. Federal Law Exemptions. The Many Levels of Discrimination.
Race and Religion. National Origin. Familial Status and Age. Disability. Gender.
State and Local Discrimination Laws.
Source of Income. Marital Status. Sexual Orientation. The Penalties.

10. Rent Control: Not in Your Control.
The Roots of Rent Control.
Uncle Sam Adopts. Over 50 and Still Going. Who Does It Really Protect?
Is Investing Possible? Not-so-Ordinary Ordinances. Just a Phase. Extra-Special Evictions. Raising the Rent. Security Deposits and Charging Fees. Living the High Life. Face to Face with Violations. Dying Breed: The Future of Rent Control.


11. Dealing with Deposits and Fees.
The Nature of the Security Deposit. How to Use a Security Deposit.
Assessing the Damage. Considering Deductions.
How Much Deposit Can I Charge? How Do I Increase the Security Deposit? Interest on Security Deposits. Last Month's Rent. What if the Tenant Leaves? What if I Sell the Property? Other Types of Deposits and Nonrefundable Fees.

12. Increasing Your Income.
Escrow Your Expenses. Escrow Categories. All Accounted For. Taxing Taxes. Capital Improvement vs. the Capital Gain.
Property Tax Assessments.
Show Me More Money! What Else Can You Rent? Use Every Bit of the Property. Show Me Even More Money!

13. Receiving Rent.
When Is the Rent Due? Grace Periods for Rental Payments. Collecting the Rent.
The Check Is in the Mail. Go Get the Rent! Drop Off the Money.
Clams, Bananas, or Cash? Charge! And How Much .... Raising the Rent. What Is a Rental Subsidy? Increasing Rental Subsidies.

14. Insuring Your Investment.
Do I Need Insurance?
Some Common Types of Insurance. Liability and Fire Insurance.
The Ins and Outs of Insurance. What Should You Claim? Deductibles. Adjusting the Adjustment. Renters Insurance. Fear for the Worst and Hope for the Best.


15. Coping with Tenants, Service, and Repairs.
Keep Your Sanity and Enjoy the Comedy! Your Tenants Are Your Best Clients.
Put Yourself in Your Tenants' Shoes. Welcome New Tenants. Hang On to Good Tenants.
Service Your Tenants.
Taking Care of Business. Hiring Contractors. Preventive Maintenance. Day-to-Day Upkeep! Winterizing: Taking the Chill out of Empty Units.
Dealing with Environmental Hazards.

16. Handling Tenant Disputes.
Avoid the Dispute. Communication Breakdown. When Bad Disputes Happen to Good People. Retaliation. Let's Get Ready to Rumble! Record Everything. Avoiding the Courtroom Battle. Welcome to Court! Tenant vs. Tenant. Working with Authorities. The Game. Win the Game.

17. Dealing with Evictions.
Time for Evictions. I Hate Evictions. Getting the Apartment Back. The Terminator. Types of Evictions.
Nonpayment of Rent. Lapse-of-Time. Nuisance. Breach of Lease. The “Other” Category. John and Jane Doe.
Giving the Tenant Another Chance. State Laws. The Process in a Nutshell.
Notice to Quit. Summons and Complaint. Your Day in Court. Stipulated Agreement. Failure to Appear. Failure to Comply. The Judgment and Execution.
The Do-It-Yourself Eviction.

18. Understanding Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities.
The Ultimate Responsibility Is Yours. Implications of a Fit Habitat.
Housing Laws or Court Decisions. The Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.
Local and State Codes. Property Exemptions from Codes. The Tenant's Responsibilities. My Rights? What Rights? What You Don't Have the Right to Do! The Tenant's Rights. The Right of Entry vs. the Right to Privacy.
Let Me In!
What if the Tenant Denies Entry?
Who Else Can Enter?
Invasion of Privacy.
Contacting the Tenant at Work. I Spy a Tenant.


19. The Manager, the Super, and the Landlord.
The Management Company. The Management Contract. Measuring a Manager's Success. The Resident Manager. Welcome the New Guy. The Super. The Management and Liability. The Landlord or the Employer. You're Fired!

20. Keeping a Clean House.
Maintaining the Property. Preparing the Rentals. Cleanliness Is Godliness. Safe and Secure. Just Throw Some Paint on It!
Beauty Is Skin Deep.
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover. “Hey, Can I Show You Something!” . Taking Out the Trash. Your Property, Not a Used Car Lot. Keeping Up Appearances.

21. Running the Rental Office.
Office Setup.
Paper Clips and Then Some. Enter the Twenty-First Century. Making Connections.
The Daily Grind: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize.
Managing Your Time. Stick It on the Wall. Keep It Safe: Stash Your Cash.
Keeping Records.
All Accounted For. Here's Your Receipt. Tenant Logging. Recording Your Handiwork.
Landlording from Your Den. Leaving the Den: Setting Up Shop Elsewhere.

22. Stay Informed and Get Involved!
Advocating Law Revisions. Join a Local Property Owner Organization. Nothing to Join? Start Your Own! Stay Informed Through the Internet.


A. Useful Forms.
B. Statutes for Landlord-Tenant Laws.
C. A Landlord's Resource Guide.
D. Glossary.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002


    This book offers an "A-Z" glimpse of what is required of rental property owners. Where it falls short is the depth of coverage in some areas. I got what I expected but there weren't any huge revelations. Lots of common sense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2000

    A-Z On how to manage property

    This book is a must read if you own rental property.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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