Landlord’s Checklist

We at J. Backer Group, cover it all. Look at the checklist below, as a landlord you certainly don’t have time for all of this. All of this and at no expense to you. Let us be your choice, if we didn’t cover a concern below please feel free to give us a call at 888.8JBGNYC or look to the right and send us an email.

  • Rental Agreement: Having a strong, loophole-free lease agreement is probably the most important aspect of maintaining good, long-term tenants who treat your property the way it deserves to the be treated (or pay the price if they don’t). Don’t skimp on a great lease agreement; while you can write your own using samples from other places, make sure that you get it reviewed by a local attorney who is familiar with all the details of your local landlord-tenant laws.
  • Rental Application: A good rental application will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision when looking for renters. Not only do you want basic personal information (name, current address, employment info, ss#, birthdate, drivers license #, etc) so you can do credit/background checks, but this is the perfect opportunity to ask about how many adults/children will be living in the house, pet details (if allowed), basic background info (ever evicted? ever convicted?), and other information that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to rent to this person.
  • Leasing Criteria: Above, I mentioned asking lots of questions in your rental application. These questions should help you determine whether the applicant is qualified to rent from you. But, to determine if the applicant is “qualified,” you first need to determine your tenant criteria. For example, here are some of my criteria: No prior evictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies or criminal convictions; FICO score over 600; non-smoker; current salary at least 35-40x annual rent; at least 2 years concurrent employment at same job or same field; no pets; good reference from previous 2 landlords; etc. While “gut feel” is important when choosing tenants, nothing replaces strong due diligence, so make sure you have a good list of criteria.
  • Credit/Background Checks: Don’t wait until you have an applicant to set up your background/credit screening services. With regulations that were put in place a couple years ago, if you want full access to your applicant’s credit records and FICO scores, you need to do some preparation. This includes an on-site visit (to your office or home-office) by a regulator who will verify that you are prepared to adequately keep and dispose of your applicant’s personal data.
  • Marketing/Advertising: When your house is on the market and you’re ready to find, a tenant is *NOT* the right time to start thinking about your marketing/advertising strategy. This is something you’ll want to consider long before the house is ready to be rented, so that when the time comes, you can focus on dealing with all the potential renters coming through your door.