How To Write a 30-Day Notice Letter To Your Landlord

Sending a notice to vacate to your current landlord will help ensure a smooth and easy transition to your next place.

You absolutely love your current apartment. Everything about it has been perfect, but you realize it’s time to move on. Even though your lease has a defined end date, it’s common courtesy to notify your landlord that you’re ready to move.

Submitting a 30-day notice letter to your landlord is the proper way to get the ball rolling. Not only will it ensure everyone is on the same page about you moving out, it makes sure you’re all on the same schedule.

Why do I give a notice to vacate?

One of the hardest things to remember about leasing an apartment is that it’s a legal transaction. You sign a legal document to move in, so you need to create a document when you want to move out.

A notice to vacate is the letter you give your landlord stating your intention to terminate your lease. The specifics of how to submit this letter — and when — is usually a part of your rental agreement. Even if your lease has a set end date and that’s when you’re moving out, submitting an official letter makes your intentions clear and avoids confusion.

Is a 30-day notice letter to my landlord the norm?

While it’s pretty standard to provide 30 days’ notice of your intent to move out, not every lease sets the notification period to the same amount of days. Some landlords may want more notice, transforming your 30-day notice letter to a 45- or 60-day letter.

Your lease provides any clarification you need on when to send this letter, so it’s best to check it well before you plan on moving out.

Thinking of what to include in a letter

Thinking of what to include in a letter

What should the notice letter look like?

There are a few essential elements that belong in your notice to vacate letter and a few best practices to follow. First, make sure your letter has:

  • Your name, your current address and the date
  • The date on which you plan to move out
  • A forwarding address where your security deposit can go
  • Acknowledgment that a final inspection will occur

Additionally, it’s best if you:

  • Review your lease before writing your letter to check not only on a time frame to give notice but other requirements for moving out.
  • Type your letter rather than write it by hand. Use a pen for your signature, but typing the letter makes it easier to keep a record for yourself.
  • Keep the tone straightforward and polite. Stay on the topic of giving your notice and don’t bring up other issues or complaints.

Even if your lease doesn’t require you to send a formal letter if you’re moving out on the actual date your rental agreement ends, err on the side of caution and do so anyway. This gives you a paper trail and offers you legal protection should any issues arise down the road.

A 30-day notice letter template

This template can help you get started when it’s time to write your own 30-day notice letter to your landlord. Simply download the 30-day notice sample letter and replace the sections in parenthesis ( ) with your information.

(Your name)
(Street address and unit number)
(City, State and ZIP Code)

(Date)

(Landlord or property manager’s name)
(Property address)
(City, State and ZIP Code)

Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate

Dear (Landlord or property manager’s name),

This letter is to inform you of my official 30-day notice to vacate. I’d like to terminate the lease signed on (Month, Date, Year) for the property located at (Your address with apartment number). I will move out on (Date).

I will return my keys on (Move out date) to (Specific address) per the terms of my lease.

I’m also aware a final inspection of the apartment will take place, the results of which could potentially impact my security deposit. Please let me know, via email at (Your email address), if the full amount is not being returned. You can return my security deposit to (Forwarding address.)

Should you have any questions, or need to reach me after I move out, you can contact me at (Phone number) or (Email address).

Sincerely,

(Your name and signature)
(Apartment number)

Sharing why you’re moving out

This is an optional bit of information you can include in your letter. It’s not necessary to tell your landlord why you’re moving out, but sometimes it’s nice for them to know that it’s not the apartment driving you away.

If you’d like, add in a sentence to your letter along these lines: I’ve enjoyed living here and am moving out because of a (new job/relocation opportunity/roommate opportunity, etc.).

If you’re moving out because of an issue with the apartment and want to share it here, that’s OK, too, just try and remain diplomatic. You don’t want to use your letter as an opportunity to accuse your landlord of anything. Try something like: I’m leaving because of (a rent increase, issue with apartment). You don’t need to get really detailed, either.

Again, this additional line is completely optional and up to you entirely.

Hire a moving company

Hire a moving company

What happens after your notice to vacate?

Once you’ve submitted your official letter, it’s a good idea to reach out to your landlord and informally share your plans. You can also notify them your letter is coming and address any questions they may have without having to wait.

The next steps involve planning your move. If you haven’t found a new place to live yet, get searching. You may also want to schedule movers since you’ve now established your move-out day with your 30-day notice letter to your landlord.

What if I forget?

The biggest possible issue, should you forget to send a 30-day notice letter to your landlord, is penalties. You could end up on the hook for extra fees as high as another month’s rent. You could also end up dealing with an automatic lease renewal, which means having to break your lease to move out. This could lead to even more charges and potential problems since you’ve missed your window to easily vacate the apartment.

To avoid forgetting, as soon as you know you’re going to move, set a reminder for yourself to give 30-day notice and mark the cut-off date in your calendar. Give yourself as many ways as possible to get that letter sent.

Handling the termination of your lease right

Moving from one home to another is always full of little details. From scheduling movers to packing all your stuff, the weeks leading up to a move are busy.

Before you get into the weeds of your actual move, take the right steps to properly prepare your landlord. That all starts by giving notice of your intent to vacate. It will be the easiest and the less time-consuming thing you have to do during the move-out process and could make a big difference.

Source: rent.com

How Risky is Investing in Rental Properties?

I am trying to buy as many rental properties as possible because of the great returns they provide. I am also trying to help other investors discover the fantastic world of investing in long-term rentals through my blog. However, I run into a lot of feedback from people who are worried about how risky it is to invest in rental properties. I hear: “my friend went broke investing in real estate” or “my parents had a rental and it was a money pit up until the day they were forced to sell it.” There are many horror stories involving real estate, but I have no doubt whatsoever long-term rentals are a great investment if you do your homework and buy properties right. Most of those horror stories come from people who did not do their homework, turned a personal residence into a rental out of necessity, or were hoping for appreciation. What are the real risks of rental properties and how can you mitigate these risks?

What are the main risks of investing in rental properties?

There are real risks with investing in rental properties. Many people felt the wrath of these risks in the last housing crash. Housing values plummeted and in some areas rents plummeted as well. Interestingly enough, not every area saw lower rental rates. Some areas saw rents increase because there were so many more renters (people who lost their houses) and the demand pushed rents up.

The investors who were hurt the most in the housing crash were those who were breaking even on their properties or losing money each month and hoping prices would increase to make money. When the bottom dropped out, they now had a property that was losing money each month and was worth less than they had bought it for. Many investors allowed these homes to go into foreclosure because they didn’t think they were worth keeping.

Other risks come from rentals when people buy a property and do not have enough cash to maintain the property or hold it when it is vacant. Most banks will require a certain amount of reserves when you get a loan on an investment property. But as soon as the property is purchased there is nothing stopping the owners from spending that reserve money. When you own a rental there will be times when the tenants move out, there can be evictions, and rarely a tenant can destroy a property. We see these situations occur quite often because people love to see drama but for the most part our tenants take care of our rentals and are awesome.

Why invest in rentals with these risks?

Rental properties have made me a ton of money over the last decade. Prices have increased significantly, which is great, but the properties also make money every month, and I always get a great deal on everything I buy which means I build equity on day one. There are many ways to mitigate the risks of rentals and the money I have made from my properties more than makes the risks worth it!

A lot of people will assume that when you are investing in large value assets like real estate and there can be huge returns, that the risk must be through the roof. There are types of real estate that can be very risky. We flip houses as well, and that is a much riskier venture than owning rental properties in my opinion. Development can also be much riskier but again come with huge rewards as well.

I also was an REO broker during the housing crash and I talked to many investors who lost homes. I was able to see why they lost their homes, what they could have done differently, and what happened after they lost their homes. For the most part, they bought houses that did not cash flow or make money every month and when things went bad they lost the motivation to keep paying into them. Losing the houses was also not the end of the world for these investors. Many of them had put little money down thanks to the crazy lending that was happening prior to that last crash. They were also able to keep those houses for quite a while after they stopped making payments. Many investors kept collecting rent during this time period which may or may not have been legal, but it did happen.

Many of those investors got right back in the real estate game after recovering and invested the right way with cash flow!

How can you mitigate the risk from rentals?

Buy below market value

One key to a low-risk rental strategy or any successful real estate strategy is to buy property below market value. Buying a property below market enables you to create instant equity, increase your net worth, and protects against a downturn in the market. One of the investors who was hurt badly during the crash was buying brand new houses and turning them into rentals. The houses were in great shape, but he paid full retail value for them.

When I buy rentals I want to pay at least 20% less than they are worth after considering any repairs are needed. For example:

  • A home needs $20,000 in repairs and will be worth $200,000 after those repairs. I want to pay $140,000 or less for that property ($200,000 x .80 – $20k). If I am flipping houses, I need to get an even better deal!

I also usually put about 20% down when I buy rentals which means after the property is repaired I have a loan around $110,000 and a property worth $200,000. Even if prices lost 30%, which is about how much they dropped across the county I am fine.

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Cash flow

I consider cash flow the most important factor in my long-term rental strategy. I want every property to make money each month after paying all expenses. Finding these properties that are also a great deal is not easy, but if you want to change your life with massive returns, it is not easy! When I invest I look for a return of 15% cash on cash. That means I make 15% on the money I have invested into the property. These are very high returns and not everyone needs to make this much but it is what I shoot for.

When you have cash flow coming in every month, it does not matter if values decrease because you do not need to sell the property. While it is true that rents can decrease and lower your cash flow, that is very rare and was even very rare in the last housing crash. There were some areas like Florida and Arizona that were massively overbuilt that saw lower rents, but the nation as a whole barely saw any drop.

My cash flow calculator can help you figure the real income on rentals.

Type of property

The older the property, the better the chance of a major repair needing to be done. I have enough cash flow coming in to account for major repairs, but homes over 100 years old can have issues come up that could wipe out all equity. It is rare, but a foundation or structural problem can make a property uninhabitable and cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. By purchasing newer properties, I lessen the chances of running into repairs that could wipe out my profit for a year or even two.

Multifamily and commercial real estate can also carry more risk. Those types of properties are more complicated and have fewer buyers. I also buy multifamily and commercial properties but I am very careful what I buy and understand there will most likely be way more costs and exposure if the market changes.

If you buy properties that need a ton of work that can add to the risk as well. On my flips and rentals, the worst deals I have done were properties that needed massive remodels. It takes so much time, so many resources, and there is so much that can go wrong. It can also be risky trying to do all of that work yourself!

Cash reserves

One of the most important things to have when investing in real estate is cash! If you buy rentals or flips that can be expensive at times. It is very important to set aside cash to take care of the problems that might come up. When I figure my cash flow I set aside money for vacancies and repairs. You need to have cash set aside in case something goes wrong and this is one of the biggest mistakes landlords make is not having cash around.

Ironically, getting a loan allows investors to have more cash in many cases. Paying down the mortgage early or trying to pay it off with all your extra cash can leave you in a bad situation. If you do pay a property off and need to access that money in an emergency it can be hard to get to without selling.

Good management

Another way to have problems with your rentals is to manage them poorly. Many people have no idea how to manage a rental but decide they can do it on their own. They choose a bad tenant after not screening them, then never check on the property, and are surprised when it gets trashed. If you are going to manage rentals on your own you have to take the time to learn how to manage them. You have to screen tenants, and keep tabs on the properties!

If you don’t want to manage them yourself, you can hire a property manager as well. It takes time to find a good property manager and this is where it takes from work from the landlord as well. Again, no one said owning rentals was easy, but there are many ways to make them a great investment if you are willing to put in the work.

Liability and damage

Another risk that comes with rental properties is natural disasters or liability from accidents. People can get hurt and can sue tenants or tornados can wipe your property off the earth. Both instances are rare, but they happen. To mitigate the liability side you can put your properties in an LLC or make sure you have the property insurance coverage like a landlord and umbrella policy. With these policies, if you have a tenant destroy property or need to be evicted, they can help cover those costs as well! Putting a property in an LLC can help with getting sued but is not foolproof.

It is important to make sure your insurance agent knows you are using the property as a rental so you have the right coverage. It might be cheaper to leave homeowners insurance on the property if you used to live there but that can cause problems down the road.

Risks that are tough to mitigate

There are some cases where a landlord does everything right but still has a massive loss. These are rare but can happen and just about any investment or simply living life comes with risks.

  • Meth or drug house: If someone is cooking meth or using meth in your house it can cause damage that insurance will not cover. You may have to make major repairs depending on how bad it is. These risks can be alleviated by good tenant screening and checking on the properties often. It is not always the case, but many drug houses we see have cameras all over. That can be a sign to check the house out more if you see cameras on your rental.
  • Floods: Not all floods are covered by insurance. You often need an additional rider or flood coverage. If you are in a flood zone the lender will require the additional coverage but if you pay cash or use private money you may not be required to have it. There is also the risk of a flood outside a flood zone. If the property has a risk of flooding it is important to talk to your insurance agent about additional coverage.

Why does everyone say rentals are risky?

I won’t tell you it is impossible to lose money investing in long-term rentals. It can easily happen if you don’t have a plan, have reserves, or are impatient. It is not easy to buy properties below market value with great cash flow. If it were easy investing in long-term rentals, everyone would be investing in real estate.

The reason so many people think rentals are risky is that they hear anecdotal stories. Stories are good for entertainment and drama but they don’t give the entire picture. “my cousins, aunts, friend, lost all their money when their rental was trashed!” They failed to tell us the person self-managed a property they used to live in from 4 states away and never once talked to the tenant in 3 years. Then they were surprised it was trashed. There are all kinds of stories but usually, you can find one of the main reasons above for why people lose money on rentals. Overall, real estate is one of the best ways to build wealth!

Don’t be scared to invest in rental properties

There are many people who have gotten rich and retired early by investing in long-term rentals. There is a lot of opportunity and many advantages to investing in real estate. Just because you can have some great rewards does not mean there is a massive risk. Some risk? Yes of course and the less you pay attention to your investment the riskier it will get!

Categories Rental Properties

Source: investfourmore.com

Low-Income Apartments: What’s the Difference Between Section 8 and Public Housing?

Section 8 housing assistance and public housing each offer support to individuals and families who can’t afford market-rate apartments.

Today’s rent prices continue to trend upward, making it difficult for many people to find affordable apartments. In fact, according to Apartment Guide’s Rent Report for November 2021, apartment rents are up almost 20 percent for one-bedroom apartments and more than 17 percent for two-bedroom apartments from November 2020.

It’s not surprising, then, that many renters are shopping for low-income apartments, also called public housing or section 8 apartments. It’s important to note that public housing and Section 8 are not the same things, and you must know the difference if you’re considering them as an option for low-income housing.

What is Section 8?

Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Section ­8, or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is an assistance program for very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled so they can afford safe and sanitary low-income apartments. Through local public housing agencies (PHA), the program subsidizes rent through housing vouchers paid directly to the renter’s landlord with the renter paying the difference between the full rent and the amount paid by the voucher.

According to HUD, the PHA determines the maximum amount of assistance you can receive. This is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30 percent of your family’s monthly adjusted income or the gross rent minus 30 percent of monthly adjusted income.

If you’re chosen to participate in the program and wish to move, you may do so as long as you notify the PHA of your moving plans and the new housing meets the PHA requirements.

What is public housing?

Public housing has a variety of housing options, including single-family homes and low-income apartments. They’re managed by housing authorities (HA) for affordable rents to eligible low-income families, the elderly and those with disabilities. HUD administers federal aid to these HA developments so rent will be affordable. Rent, also called the Total Tenant Payment (TTP), is based on your anticipated gross annual income minus any deductions.

HUD looks at the highest of the following elements, rounded to the nearest dollar, to determine your TTP:

  • Thirty percent of your monthly adjusted income less any deductions you may qualify to receive
  • Ten percent of your monthly income
  • Welfare rent, if applicable, or a minimum rent of $25 or higher (with a maximum of $50) as set by the HA

There are additional allowances for exclusion from your gross annual income as follows: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family members or anyone with a disability; and certain medical deductions for any family headed by an elderly person or a family member with disabilities.

How is Section 8 different from public housing?

The primary difference between Section 8 and public housing is who owns and manages the properties. Yes, HUD manages both programs, but with Section 8, private landlords own all properties and they accept Section 8 vouchers on behalf of their renters. Public housing is government-owned and -operated properties.

Not all private rental properties will qualify as Section 8 housing. The property must meet the requirements of the Housing Choice Voucher Program as decent, safe and sanitary housing at a reasonable rent. In addition, the landlord must agree to adhere to the Housing Choice Voucher Program requirements by providing all services agreed to as part of the renter’s lease agreement and the PHA contract.

Group of low-income housing buildings

Group of low-income housing buildings

How do you qualify for Section 8 housing?

There are several requirements you must meet to receive a housing voucher. These include:

  • Your total annual gross income cannot exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area where the property is
  • Meet HUD’s definition of family and size
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a member of specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status
  • Provide financial information, including income and assets
  • Provide personal information including your Social Security number
  • Pass the PHA screening process

It’s important to note that if you’re eligible, you may not receive assistance right away. It’s possible HUD will place you on a waiting list until assistance is available.

Also, if you’re eligible for Section 8, you must follow all lease and program requirements, pay your rent on time, maintain your property in good condition and notify the PHA if there are any changes in your income or family size.

To apply for Section 8, you must contact the local PHA or HUD office.

How do you qualify for public housing?

There are three key factors you must meet to qualify for public housing. These are:

  • Annual gross income meets HUD’s income limits
  • Qualify as a family, as elderly or as a person with a disability
  • You’re a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status

You also must provide personal references as part of your application.

In addition, income limits vary by location and family size. The lower income limits set by HUD are 80 percent and the very low-income limit is 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area where the property is.

If you’re eligible for public housing, you may have to pay a security deposit. You also must follow all lease terms and keep the property in good condition. If your income or family size changes, you must notify the HA.

To apply for public housing, you must contact your local HA or HUD field office.

What type of housing assistance do you need?

For low-income and very low-income families, assistance is available to help you find an affordable place to live.

With Section 8, you may receive a housing voucher to help cover your rent with a private landlord. Through public housing, you may find an affordable apartment in a government-owned- and –operated building. It’s important to explore both options when searching for low-income apartments that will accommodate your family and won’t break your budget.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

Source: rent.com

Guarantor vs. Cosigner: Important Differences You Need to Know

Lining up a guarantor or co-signer can help you move more quickly through your rental journey.

Just when you thought the long search was over, property management denied your rental application. Wait. What?

There are several reasons this might happen, but the big red flag for landlords and property managers is your financials — credit history, income, outstanding bills. Landlords need to protect themselves by making sure you can pay the monthly rent and those red flags get in the way.

But don’t despair. You can help your case and increase the odds you land the next apartment by getting a cosigner or a guarantor. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, a cosigner and guarantor are two different things.

What is a guarantor?

Who do you call when you need help? For most people, it’s a family member or close friend. A guarantor is usually in one of those categories. He or she signs up to take on the responsibility of paying your rent, rental fees or damages if you’re unable to fulfill your rental obligations. A guarantor is an outside person who signs the lease but doesn’t live with you.

What is a cosigner?

A cosigner is often a roommate who shares your living space. Your roomie signs the lease with you and becomes responsible for paying part of the rent and fees. But the cosigner can also be someone from the outside, as long as they promise to pay your rent if you can’t.

A cosigner has more financial responsibility than a guarantor since the cosigner is responsible for rent on day one. The guarantor only steps in if a renter can’t make payments. Plus, if a cosigner is a roommate, he or she has to pick up the slack if the other roommates can’t make rent.

Why would I need a guarantor or a cosigner?

Here are a few reasons you might consider getting a guarantor or cosigner:

Income is too low

When a landlord or property manager looks over your application to determine whether you can afford the rent, they often use the 40X rule (which is eerily similar to the 30 percent rule that renters should consider. It’s eerie because the numbers work out the same. But you math people knew that already.) This means that a landlord expects your gross salary to equal 40 times the monthly rent (i.e., if you earn $64,000 before taxes, you can spend $19,200 on rent, or $1,600 each month). Note that in New York City, many landlords use the rule that a tenant must earn an annual salary of 40 times the rent to qualify.

Bad credit score

According to Experian, a credit reporting agency, a score of 700 or above (out of 850) is good, 800 or above is excellent, 580 to 700 is fair and anything below 580 is poor. Most people fall between 600 and 750. Statista reports that the average credit score of renters of mid-range apartments in the U.S. was 626 in 2020.

First-time renters

Just out of school? Just got your first “real” job? Most people need help on their first rental go-’round, especially if they have little credit history for the landlord to check into.

Rent is crazy high

If you don’t think you can swing it, get a guarantor on board early on. Or, find a roommate to cosign the lease with you.

It’s required

If the landlord believes there might be trouble ahead when it comes to paying the monthly rent (based on all of the above), he or she may require a prospective tenant to have a guarantor.

Group all in over paperwork

Group all in over paperwork

Can there be more than one guarantor?

Usually, one guarantor suffices even if you’ve got a roommate. Make sure that person is aware that they’ll be financially liable for you and all the roommates.

But, if you and your roomies’ combined incomes are still close to the edge, the landlord might specify that you each need your own guarantor. If there are multiple guarantors, they’ll need their own contract to determine what happens if one of the roommates doesn’t make the rent.

Who can be a guarantor or a cosigner?

Family, friends or sometimes a colleague may be a cosigner or a guarantor. In general, landlords prefer parents as guarantors. Landlords also have stricter requirements for cosigners and guarantors than they do for prospective tenants.

For example, a guarantor has to have a high credit score (at least 700) and an income that’s a specified multiple of the monthly rent, usually 80 to 100 times (as opposed to the 40X rule for a renter.) A landlord may also request a guarantor live nearby in case the renter skips town or defaults. If the guarantor is a homeowner, that’s a plus.

Are there alternatives to getting a guarantor vs. a cosigner?

There are other ways to get support if you don’t have anyone to turn to.

  • Offer to pay several months’ rent upfront.
  • Try to sublet an apartment, rather than rent one on your own directly from a landlord. In a sublet, you rent from the tenant.
  • Find a lenient landlord, maybe one who rents a portion of a house, rather than renting in a building with a rental company on its payroll.
  • Use a company, such as The Guarantors or Insurent, which, for a fee, will help you with a guarantor and other rental services. Co-signing.com does the same when you need a cosigner.

Choose wisely

Getting an apartment, especially in high rent towns, is stressful enough. Consider a guarantor vs. a cosigner as part of your due diligence at the start of your rental journey.

Having the discussion will be difficult so lay out your talking points beforehand. Explain the high costs of rentals and the number of other renters you’re competing with for a place to live. You may draw up a separate contract with the person defining how you will pay them if you miss rent.

Remember that asking someone to be a cosigner or guarantor will change your relationship with that person. The landlord will need all sorts of personal and financial information about the person. And, if you bug out on the rent, you’ll have to face that individual. Make sure you choose wisely and be as transparent as possible.

The hope is that you’ll only have to do this once.

Source: rent.com

Walk-Up Apartments: Pros and Cons That Renters Should Know

While living in a walk-up apartment is great for saving on a gym membership, it may have drawbacks.

If you live in a big city or watch enough TV and movies about New York City, chances are you’ve heard of walk-up apartments. But, what does that mean exactly? We explain what a walk-up apartment is and what the benefits and drawbacks are of living in one.

What is a walk-up apartment?

As the name suggests, it’s an apartment that’s only accessible by stairs. Walk-up units, which can range in size from studios to multi-bedroom apartments, don’t have any elevators. So, the only way to reach your apartment is by walking up and down the stairs. If you live on the first or second floor, that’s not so bad. But, if you live on one of the top floors? Having to carry groceries up multiple flights of stairs all the time can get old, not to mention tiring.

There’s a silver lining, though. As you may have guessed from the fact that there’s no elevator, most walk-up apartment complexes are older buildings commonly found in geographically and architecturally dense, historic urban areas like New York City.

As older buildings, walk-up apartment complexes are generally about five to six stories high. So, even if you do live on the top floor, it’s not like having to climb the stairs from the ground floor to the top of the Empire State Building.

Apartment with unique character and charm

Apartment with unique character and charm

Pros of a walk-up apartment

From being in lovely, walkable neighborhoods to affordability, there are many upsides to living in a walk-up apartment.

It’s generally less expensive

Even if it’s in the heart of a major city like New York, a walk-up apartment is usually priced lower than other similarly-sized apartments in the area. Why? Lots of people don’t want to deal with the hassle of not having an elevator. The challenges and inconvenience this presents will dissuade lots of renters, so there will be less demand for the units.

To keep walk-ups attractive to renters in a convenience-oriented world, landlords will usually offer lower rents. Walk-up apartments are a great option for affordable living in big cities.

Location, location and location

As many walk-up apartment buildings are found in historic inner cities, they form part of dense, community-oriented neighborhoods. Think of those charming New York City neighborhoods with classic apartment buildings right next door to bodegas, restaurants and stores. Neighborhoods like this usually very walk- and bike-friendly, with access to cafes, restaurants, shops, mass transit and other urban amenities.

Even new walk-up complexes are often located in neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization, with plenty of things to walk to and enjoy.

Unique touches and amenities

If you love all things vintage, you’ll probably love living in a walk-up apartment complex. These older buildings often still have original design elements like pretty tiles, crown molding or historic appliances.

If you find yourself in a newer, recently constructed walk-up complex, what it lacks in vintage appeal, it may make up for with chic, modern amenities.

Good exercise

Say goodbye StairMaster and hello to flights of stairs. You can forget the gym membership if you live in a walk-up apartment, especially if you live on one of the top floors. All that walking up and down the stairs and carrying items like groceries will definitely work those legs and help you burn calories on a daily basis.

Even if you only live a flight or two up from the ground floor, that’s still good exercise. Living in a walk-up apartment and using the stairs every day for exercise is very good for your health in this regard.

Fewer neighbors, more privacy

Since walk-up complexes are rarely higher than six floors with fewer units, even when at capacity, the building won’t have as many tenants as larger complexes. If you’re a renter who prefers privacy and keeping to yourself, you’re more likely to find privacy in a walk-up complex. However, if you’re a social butterfly who loves connecting with neighbors, this could be viewed as a con. But, it does give you the chance to create genuine bonds and connections with the neighbors you do have in a walk-up apartment complex.

Family moving in using stairs

Family moving in using stairs

Cons of a walk-up apartment

It’s not all affordable rent and getting insanely toned legs, though. Living in a walk-up apartment is not always ideal for the following reasons.

Those stairs will wear you out

Sure, it’s good exercise. But at the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is trudge up six flights of stairs. So, if you get tired easily, it’s not the best option.

Difficult to move in, out

If it’s tiring enough just thinking about walking up and down all those flights of stairs, imagine doing so while moving in. With no elevator and narrow stairwells, it makes the moving process that much more difficult. You’ll have to lug all those boxes up or down the stairs all by yourself.

And once you’ve tried to get a mattress or couch up a narrow flight of stairs, you’ll know just how unpleasant it is. Just think of that one scene from “Friends” where Ross, Chandler and Joey are attempting to pivot a couch up a flight of stairs and you get the picture. Plus, if you spring for movers, they may charge extra for the lack of elevator and extra stairs.

Not wheelchair-accessible or disability-friendly

If you use a wheelchair or have a different physical handicap that makes it difficult to use stairs, a walk-up apartment is not for you. These types of buildings are not usually a good choice for people with mobility-related disabilities as there’s no elevator or ease of access to reach the different floors.

This also applies to the elderly. Getting a unit on the ground floor is one option, and sometimes landlords have made modifications to certain units or floors to make them accessible. But that’s not a given. Luckily, there are many other accessible apartment options out there.

Outdated buildings and amenities

Since many walk-up apartments are older buildings, they usually have older appliances and amenities. These can sometimes break or be challenging to use. The difficulty of having them replaced also means the landlord is unlikely to replace them until they absolutely cannot be fixed and used anymore. The walls and floors are likely thinner, so you’ll probably hear your neighbors more.

Is a walk-up apartment good for me?

As you can see, a walk-up apartment may have nice benefits like affordability and being good for your health. But it also has drawbacks like not being accessible for people with mobility disabilities and tiring you out. So, would they be a good fit for you?

The type of renter who would most benefit from living in a walk-up apartment would be young, healthy and budget-conscious people looking for a bargain. They don’t mind exercising or having to carry heavy loads up or down the stairs. Often, walk-up apartments don’t have a doorman or reception area to leave packages or deliveries, so the ideal renter is fine with heading up and down to receive these deliveries.

A walk-up is also best for people who work from home and don’t need to come and go too often. Introverts and homebodies who enjoy spending most of their time at home will like walk-ups.

Of course, there are exceptions. Different types of renters can still thrive in walk-up apartments, like elderly individuals who live on the lower floors and can still handle the stairs. But you should still seriously consider the cons.

A walk-up apartment offers character and affordability

Walk-up apartments are great for some renters but a real pain for others. Now that you know the pros and cons of living in a walk-up apartment, you can make the best choice for you and your needs.

Source: rent.com

14 Ways Landlords Can Verify Proof of Income for Renters

Landlords have multiple tools to confirm proof of income for apartment tenants.

The most crucial part of screening tenants is ensuring that they make enough money to pay rent each month and the ability to pay it on time. There are several ways to verify proof of income for apartment renters.

On average, a tenant should spend about 30 percent of their income on rent. It’s vital to make sure the applicants for your apartment community earn at least that much. Be sure to check your local landlord-tenant laws to ensure you’re allowed to ask for the information you’re requesting. For example, some states prohibit housing discrimination based on how someone earns their income.

During the screening process, asking for documentation, contacting employers or running a credit check can help verify proof of income for apartments. Here are 14 ways to verify income.

1. Pay stubs

Tenants should have easy access to their pay stubs, either electronically or in paper form. Request that they send stubs for the past three months or so to ensure they’ve been employed for a while. The stub will list how much the individual earns before and after taxes, how often they get paid and their year-to-date earnings.

Tax Forms

Tax Forms

2. W-2s and tax returns

Requesting personal tax returns (Form 1040) for the previous few years provides a financial history for the rental applicant. Tax returns show all sources of income, including employment, contract work and interest income.

Check the wages and adjusted gross income, which indicates whether the tenant can afford the rent. The tax return might include the W-2 tax forms, which employees receive at the end of the year, showing how much they earned for the year.

3. Bank statements

Bank statements show an account holder’s balance, deposits and withdrawals. Getting copies of bank statements for the past two months gives you an idea of the person’s spending habits, income and bill-paying history. Bank statements also provide proof of income for self-employed or retired tenants or those who work as contractors.

Keep in mind, though, that some tenants might be wary of sharing this personal information, so try to use tax returns, W-2s or pay stubs as your primary proof.

Employment letter

Employment letter

4. Letter from an employer

Tenants can ask their employer to write a letter verifying their employment and income. Make sure the letters are on company letterhead with the employer’s contact information and specify how much the tenant earns, how often they get paid and how long they’ve been at the company. It’s a good idea to request an employer letter in addition to pay stubs and tax forms.

The letter can also serve as a reference for the renter. Instead of requesting a letter, you can ask for contact information for the employer and contact them directly.

5. 1099 tax form

About a third of U.S. workers are self-employed, according to an Intuit QuickBooks survey. So, chances are one of your rental applicants will fall into this category. The 1099 tax form lists earnings from sources besides regular employment, such as from contract work.

Keep in mind, though, that someone must earn at least $600 from the same organization to receive a 1099 form, and if they have a business, they’re not required to receive one. But they should include all income earned, whether they receive a 1099 or not, on their tax return.

Profit and loss

Profit and loss

6. Profit and loss statement

Self-employed individuals usually have a profit and loss statement, also known as a P&L or can get one from their accountant or bookkeeper. The P&L shows how much the business earns, its expenses and profits. You can use it in support of a tax return to get a complete sense of how much rent a self-employed individual can afford.

7. Contracts or invoices

For rental applicants who are freelancers or independent contractors, requesting copies of invoices or contracts can prove income and ongoing work. While most tenants should have easy access to invoices, not all independent contractor or freelancing gigs require contracts.

Retirement plan

Retirement plan

8. Retirement savings statement

For people living off a 401(k) or other retirement savings, asking for a statement verifying how much they receive each month could help you prove if they can afford your rent. Another option is to ask for a form 1099-R, showing the distributions paid out from these accounts in the past year.

9. Social Security statement

If someone receives Social Security benefits because of retirement or disability, a benefits verification letter can provide proof of income. These benefits are low, so you should also request other forms of income verification, such as bank statements or tax returns, to get the full picture of their income.

10. Unemployment benefits statement

Some states, including California, have laws forbidding property owners and managers from discriminating against renters receiving unemployment benefits. Check on what’s allowed in your area. A federal or state unemployment statement can show proof of income. However, the report will usually list an end date, so requesting secondary proof of income will help you know if someone can afford to rent the apartment.

Workers Comp

Workers Comp

11. Worker’s compensation details

Worker’s compensation is a kind of insurance that covers wages and medical expenses for employees who get injured on the job. An insurance company or court typically awards these benefits. If your renter is living off worker’s compensation, they can use a copy of the award letter as proof of income. Worker’s compensation often has an end date showing benefits will stop.

12. Statement of severance package

When someone gets laid off from their job, they’re often given a severance package that includes a lump sum of money or a payout of funds over a period of time. The renter can use a statement showing proof of their termination and how much of a severance they received can show how much rent they can afford.

13. Annuities, interest and dividends

Tenants may have earnings coming from interest, dividends or annuities. Interest income comes from the interest on savings accounts. Dividends refer to income earned from stocks and mutual funds, and annuity income is from an inheritance or insurance. In these cases, asking for statements showing how much someone receives in a month or year, or the tax forms 1099-INT or 1099-DIV, will verify proof of income.

Credit check

Credit check

14. Credit check to verify income

Even when you ask for proof of income documentation, it’s still a good idea to run a credit check as part of the screening process. A credit check lets you know about a renter’s financial health, including their credit score, amount of debt, if they’ve filed for bankruptcy, any delinquent accounts and payment history, including late or missed bill payments.

Be sure to request consent from the tenant before you run a credit check. If they won’t give it, that’s a red flag. As a courtesy, before conducting the credit report, ask the potential tenant if there’s anything they want to tell you first. This gives renters a chance to explain any dings on their credit report. They can also tell you how they’re working to improve their finances.

How to verify proof of income for apartments

Depending on a renter’s situation, several documents can serve as proof of income for apartment tenants. It’s usually a good idea to ask for multiple pieces of information. This will give you a better sense of someone’s financial situation. If a tenant tries to submit a fraudulent document, you can check that information matches up. Listing your property on Rent.com lets you accept applications and conduct screenings online.

Source: rent.com

Good End of the Year Deals To Look Out For

The end of the year can be a time of profligate spending, but it can also be a time where you can find some pretty good deals. If you’ve managed your budget or your sinking funds so you still have extra money left over in November and December, there are a few things you might be on the lookout for. Remember, just because something seems like a good deal or is on sale, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. Consider your needs and your wants in the context of your whole budget before buying any of these items at the end of the year.

Buying a car

Traditionally, the end of the year (November and December) is considered the best time of year to buy a car. This is true for a couple of reasons. First of all, many salespeople and manufacturers are trying to hit their end-of-quarter and end-of-year quotas. That gives them extra incentive to try and make a deal. In their enthusiasm to close the sale, you can often find deals that you wouldn’t find earlier in the year.

The end of the year being a good time to buy a car doesn’t apply only to new and leased cars. Each year in the fall, most manufacturers release the new version of each of their car models. When the 2022 models are introduced in late 2021, that means that all 2021 models have to be cleared out to make room. Similarly, as people lease or buy new cars, they are trading in their old cars. This combination can lead to excellent savings on used cars as well.

Electric car and other tax breaks

Speaking of cars, there are also many tax breaks for purchasing electric cars. These tax deductions and credits can be available at the federal, state and local levels, and often change each tax year. So if you’ve been saving towards an electric or hybrid car, you should make sure that you know what credits you might be eligible for.

Electric cars aren’t the only thing that sometimes have tax breaks — many types of renewable energy qualify for tax benefits. This can include buying or installing solar panels or taking advantage of wind or geothermal energy. And if you’re expecting a new child, one thing to consider is that a child born on December 31st is considered to have lived with you the whole year for tax purposes. That could mean an additional tax deduction and child tax credit as compared to having a New Year’s baby.

Starting a new rental lease

While moving in the middle of the winter and holiday season might not sound like the most fun adventure possible, it may be worth your while. This is because nobody ELSE likes to move in the middle of the winter, so landlords and management companies are often experiencing higher-than-average vacancy and more willing to give good end of year deals.

If you’ve been considering moving across town or across the country, take a look at the leasing listings and see if there are any move-in specials that you might take advantage of. You might get a discount on your first month’s rent, or a lower security deposit. Even if you don’t really want to move, you might be able to take advantage of this phenomenon if your lease is up or you’re on a month-to-month lease. Show your current landlord the other options you’re considering and see if they will cut you a deal.

Post Black Friday deals

As most people know, the weekend after Thanksgiving (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is probably the biggest shopping weekend of the year. But while there are often very amazing Black Friday deals, most of the truly great sale prices are extremely limited in quantity. Unless you’re one of those precious few, you can often still find some of the same deals in the runup to the Christmas holidays.

It’s somewhat of an open secret that many of the Black Friday sales are not all that fantastic. There may be one or two “doorbusters”, intended to get you in the door of the store or to the website, but most of the other things included in the listed sales will still be available on Cyber Monday or throughout December. The end of the year is a great time to get deals on electronics, appliances, headphones and entertainment, among other things.

The Bottom Line

For many people, money is tight during the holidays and at the end of the year. But if you’ve done a great job budgeting and still have extra money leftover, the end of the year can be a great time to look for deals on certain things. Buying a new (or just new to you) car, signing a new lease or deals on electronics and appliances are just a few things that you can get deals on in November and December. Make sure to stay within the confines of your budget and make smart financial decisions, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful holiday season.

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Source: mint.intuit.com