Rent Talk

9 Replies

I recently read Mike Butler's book Landlording on AutoPilot.  One of the things that is in his book is setting up a "rent talk" with new tenants before they move in.  In this talk you discuss your expectations and work to train the new tenants on how to be good tenants.  This is something that I would like to implement and I was wondering if others were doing so.  I was also hoping to get advice on things to make sure and include in the rent talk. 



Many things are covered in the lease but it is worth a discussion since most people will forget or never read the lease again after signing.

On my last rental, I explained it as being in a partnership with the tenant and we work together to make sure they have a safe, clean and well priced rental.  Partnership sounds better than saying I expect you to hold up your end.  

During that conversation we discussed: 

How to handle repair request.

What is an emergency and what isn't

Best method of communication

Expectations on rent being paid on time.  Explain you are fair, but consistent and firm and you will follow through on the lease provisions and expect them to do the same.

What things are the tenants responsibilities such as air filters changes or even small repair like tighten

Thanks Shawn!

I do think that describing the landlord - tenant relationship as a partnership is a good way of explaining it.  Other things that I am considering including in the rent talk include:

renter's insurance

Having an emergency fund

Late Fees

Move Out Procedures

Does anyone else have any suggestions?  

I tell them to allow for an hour at least for lease signing and review and a move in walk through. I read the important parts of the lease addendum I wrote...which is basically the entire lease addendum except for the legalize clauses, so they understand how it all is going to work.  I keep amending the lease addendum when issues come up.  I know someone else who does the same thing and said a couple times the people freaked and didn't sign the lease, and he was fine with that since he figured things would not have gone well if they had signed. It's a PITA to sit there and read it but otherwise they would have no idea what they were signing since before we did this no one actually read the lease addendum while signing it.

Main things I am clear on is what the rent is, when its due, the grace period for late fees and where to deposit the rent. I tell them I expect them to take decent care of the property, they mow the yard and to call me with any maintenance issues. Beyond that, I don't know what else you need to discuss. If they are good tenants, you won't need to go into further detail. If they are bad tenants, you are wasting your breath.

I definitely emphasize to them before signing the lease how I want them to continue to have a safe, beautiful place to live, but unfortunately I can't provide that if they're unable to pay the rent. Then go over the eviction clause in the rent, and the impact on credit, ability to rent, etc. And ask them if they're sure they're comfortable paying this amount knowing how painful it is to have it not work out. @Ben Relph  

Elizabeth Colegrove probably has something better than me though..

I tried this with a couple lower income rentals.  I felt like I was wasting my time and breath.  If they aren't going to take the time to read what they are signing, then they don't really listen when you're going over it with them anyway. 

I followed the majority of the points in that book as far as suggestions, and tailored them to my tenants. 

Didn't really prevent any questions down the road, or get better results from the tenants.

I won't be doing it in the future - just covering the basics as mentioned earlier in this thread:  Rent is due on X date, late after X, pay me here.

Well, I guess the decision comes down to the quality of tenant pool thats available based on the location and condition of the property. If your standards are low when screening, youre probably wasting your time going through the rent talk. 

J Martin thanks for the mention. We have a 14 page lease that only gets longer as "events" occur. I spend an hour going over everything. I took a California lease from legal zoom and than altered it (after I had read California law). Under every "extra" provision I have them initial. This prevents any question on I didn't know that. I also print the lease out blank and have them fill it out. 

Honestly I have found that since I have started to do this, I have had a lot less issues. Yes my market is class A, but I have truly found that knowing the rules has prevent alof "let's talk about it", it has cut down on my stress too! While it hasn't prevent people from breaking the lease. At least now there is no questions about their obligation. I have also not had problems with people paying the fees.

Thanks everyone for there thoughts and the different perspectives.  I think that we are going to finish putting a rent talk together and give it a shot.  I don't see how it can hurt and it may help.  Thanks!

If anyone else has suggestions on things to include, please feel free to post them.  

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here