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new landlord

Posted by maryann on October 06, 1997 at 23:42:33:

I'm in New York State, but NOT, I repeat NOT in New York Ctiy. I am new to being a landlord, but I am not an absenttee landlord; I occupy one flat, the other is getting some work done and will be ready to rent.

I am thrilled that our city just past a law tonight to padlock and board up apartments, etc., if two arrests for drugs or weapons occur on the premises twice in three years. The biggest problem is that judges are so darn liberal that if a landlord tries to evict such a tenant, the judges always side with the tenant saying "oh the tenant is a single mom and the little children will be homeless if we put them out." I had a neighbor who hasn't rented in 15 years because her last tenants damaged the place to the tune of $4,000 and it cost her $3,000 to evict them and the judge refused to make the tenants reimburse for the damages.

The home I now own has been in our family since 1918, my kids are the 4th generation to live and be raised in it. I have many ideas on fixing it up, doing some restoration, etc.

In view of all that, I want good tenants. I don't think I'm planning on using a lease because it makes it that much harder to evict and it seems that a monthly rental agreement form can have the same information as a lease except for the period of time. What I'm looking for when I have the place ready to rent, is where to get forms, actually "rental applications" which will provide me all the information I can to check out the background of prospective tenants, and where to go to verify information. It's easy for tenants to give friends names as former landlords who can then give glowing references - how can I avoid that? I want someone reliable, thus I want employment records and just to know that they have a bank account - I plan on requiring payment by check (another neighbor had jotted down the checking account number from the checks to have the bank notify her when the tenant's bad check "became good." Can I ask for social security number? Can I ask for photo driver's license? Proof of car ownership? Where can I (or can I even do so) verify the absence of criminal history or drug usage?

It is so important to have this. I need reliable paying tenants. Around here our homes are appraised at only have of their assessed value, our taxes are high and the rent has to be enough to cover the cost of the ever increasing taxes. If your wondering, yeah, I am mortgage free, but I'll imminently need a new sidewalk (at a cost of about $10,000 - concrete is the law), I'd like to help tenants out with lower heat bills by insulating, etc.

I'm fortunate that I'll be occupying one flat of this two family house, for I can be a bit choosy in tenants (I can avoid a bunch of wild young people be looking toward more mature people, etc.) But does anyone know where to get applications? Can such be donwloaded, etc?

Thanks for any info

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