Investor Central

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Security Deposits Will Keep You Safe and, Well... SECURE

One of the best tools in your landlord/investor toolbox is the “security deposit”. In the State of Nevada, you can legally hold up to 3x the rent in security deposit. Unlike bigger states like Michigan and California, the eviction process in Nevada is relatively quick and easy so you do not really need to hold more than 1 – 2 months for qualified tenants. If you accept an applicant that you know you probably shouldn’t, then you can at least ask for 3x the rent in SECURITY deposit. Don’t be fooled by the old trick of accepting several months of rent in advance. This means absolutely nothing. A poor tenant will pay you rent in advance to show you they have the money but once that period of “pre-paid” rent expires, what protection do you have to ensure they continue to pay rent on time? What do you have to ensure they don’t destroy your home completely and walk away? If someone has poor credit or no credit and you feel compelled to accept them, don’t make the mistake of thinking a lump sum of rent is the same as a deposit. Rent can not be used like deposits legally so do yourself a solid and take lots of security. Security can be used for all sorts of things when the tenant moves out, like repairing the property, covering unpaid rent and late fees, etc. Obviously it goes without saying that I wouldn’t rent to my own family without a deposit so be smart and don’t ever let someone live in your home with no money in security held. You will almost certainly regret it. If they were your friend before, I hope they will be after they move out of your rental property. 

Eviction Tips

Doing your due diligence in advance and being discerning about the tenants you accept in your rental or investment property will greatly reduce the chance for evictions. We generally average about 1 completed eviction per 100 properties per year. No matter how much you plan and screen a tenant, if someone falls on hard times, they just physically may not be able to pay the rent. The good news is that if you qualify your tenants in advance, in the event that you must evict them, those pre-qualified tenants are far less likely to damage the property and more likely to at least leave it intact. If you must go to the eviction stage, it’s a 2-part process. First, the landlord must serve what’s called a “5-day pay rent or quit” notification. The 5-day period is more like 8–10 days depending on the jurisdiction since different municipalities discount Fridays, holidays and weekends as part of the daily count. Once that period of waiting is up, you can file a “summary of eviction”. This is where the costs come in to hire the constable to lock the tenant out and pay the court filing fees. For evictions in which the landlord follows the law during the eviction process and doesn’t open themselves up to legitimate legal challenges from the tenant, the process can be completed in as little as 20–30 days. The important thing is to be smart and review the statutes before you take any steps with the tenant.  You can not simply show up and put a note on their door. You should do a legal eviction so your rights are protected and the tenant can not come back later to say you failed to properly serve them. There are a whole host of other “bad ideas” landlords can do during eviction to make the situation worse. If you have questions on this, feel free to call us up or email me at

Friday, September 17, 2010

Swapping Security Deposits for Rent is a Bad Idea...

I'm seeing a lot of private landlords and some property managers continuing the trend of allowing tenants in their final months to use their deposit that's held by the landlord to pay their final month rent. This is a terrible idea. It's important to remember that as a landlord or property manager, your only tool to ensure the tenant holds up their end of the lease is that money you hold called a security deposit. It's called "security" for a reason. Once it's gone, a marginal tenant is not motivated to get the keys back to you in a timely manner or even return the property in the type of clean condition you'd expect it in. Don't give away your only protection. It almost never goes to plan.