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Landlord 101 - The Rude Awakening



Who should become a landlord?


A landlord is an investor, a business woman or man; whose goal is it increase their wealth though healthy real estate investments.  This is not an insecure person who will force a tenant into another lease (year long) at the expiration of the first one.  A secure landlord will allow a month to month occupancy after the first year's lease expires.  This kind of arrangement gives the tenant the freedom to move out, without the financial obligation of another contract.   


Not every homeowner should become a landlord.  If you enjoy being compassionate, caring, helpful to others, and you believe that every human being is good; then this is not the field nor career for you.   This job will make you hard, insensitive and uncaring towards the vicissitudes of others. 


If that is not who you want to be, then sell your house and forget about renting it.  Finding a good tenant takes experience and for those who are religious add a little prayer and discernment to your skills.


How to recognize a bad tenant?


A bad tenant shows his/her true self within the first 3 months by one or more of the following:

  • paying rent late

  • making particle payments

  • constantly complaining

  • not paying rent at all

  • sabotaging the property

  • running up utilities bills that are not included in the rent

If a tenant is late the first time, rookie landlords will forgive.  And this just enables the tenant to be late every month. 


If the tenant is late a second time, this tenant has a low priority for paying rent. 

  • So set deadlines with a grace period.  The grace period does not have to be made known to the tenant, just to yourself.  Rent due on the 1st of the month could be paid by the 5th without penalty.

  • After that late fees should apply, and the failure to pay rent court process should begin. 

If a landlords accepts a particle payment of rent once, this will enable to tenant to make future particle payments.   A particle payment puts the tenant in control.  This tenant is telling you (the landlord) how much your rental property is worth. 


How much money should a landlord have in reserve?


A landlord should have savings for at least 3 months of rent to cover for delinquent payments.  This way the landlord will protect his/her credit and property from foreclosure or bankruptcy.


So don't depend solely on a tenant to pay your mortgage.  If you do this you will be giving the tenant too much power.  If he/she fails to pay or pays late, your credit will be jeopardized.


Stay in control, have some reserve cash.


Recovering a Monetary Judgment for back Rent

After you win a rent court decision for possession of your property and a monetary judgment for rent due, and the tenant fails to pay; kindly click the links below to see how you may proceed in getting some compensation. 


Small Claims Court limit $5,000


Collecting a Judgment information


Wage Garnishment you will be limited by federal law to 25% of the debtor’s disposable income.  Disposable income is the amount of earnings left after deductions.


After I read the information on the above pages, it was very clear that you would not want a tenant to get too far behind in rent.  The process to collect the balance due is way too intricate and time assuming. 


Tax Write-off  If your judgment is $4,000 or more, ask your accountant about ways you can write-off your loss.  Winning a judgment, does not guarantee that you will be able to collect on a bad debt. If you are able to write off your bad debt on your taxes, don't try to collect the same money through wage garnishment.


This information is being provided to those who have retained my services.  It is not meant as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for that.


Hiring a Property Manager

If you are new to being a landlord and maintaining your good nature is important to you, then consider hiring a property manager. 


A property manager will manage your day to day tenant complaints, screen potential renters, check their credit and employers, verify income, file court documents, process evictions, and deal with maintenance problems.


Should a letter be sent to a tenant who is late paying rent.




Should you ask the tenant for your rent?




Should you stake out the tenant's home and demand your rent?




If you do any of the above, you are getting involved in the tenants life.  A landlord keeps his/her business affairs impersonal.




Another Choice Virtual Assistant Services is willing to represent those needing a PG County Rent Court Agent, Prince George’s County File and Serve Administrator, or on Site Eviction Administrator (Monday – Friday).





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Starlene Joyner Burns

Your Virtual Partner & Independent Contractor
wearing many hats, while providing quality service as a
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and Maryland virtual word processor from her office or yours.
Bowie Maryland
Prince George's County 


Serving PG County only as a Rent Court Agent

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