The 3 Biggest Problems Landlords Face & How To Deal With Them

Landlords face a multitude of problems when they manage or lease out apartments or houses, but most agree that there are three major problems they have in common. If they can surmount these issues, they will be on the road to stress-free rental management.

Tenants Who Are Behind on the Rent

Every landlord has that one tenant who can’t seem to pay their rent on time. They always have a story about why they can’t pay on time or they simply avoid their landlord. If this is a recurring theme with your tenants, it’s time to take action. You can try several different techniques depending on the reliability of the tenants:

  • Offer a payment plan that works for your tenants. Maybe your tenants get paid bi-weekly or weekly. If so, consider letting them pay you on their pay days. While this means collecting rent more often, it also gives tenants the chance to pay when they are flush with funds.
  • Offer tenants who pay on time a discount on their rent payments.
  • Offer tenants a discount if they will set up an automatic payment on their bank account. The automatic payments will also mean you won’t have to chase your tenants down each month for a rent payment.
  • Charging a late fee of 5% or a flat late fee can motivate renters to pay on time. You need to clearly outline what the late fees are in each tenant’s lease for this to be legal.

Damage Caused by Tenants

You always risk damage to your property when a tenant moves out. Whether they were simply slobs or they damaged your property out of spite or anger, you can use the deposit money you received when they signed the lease to pay for repairs. Always make a visit to the property before your tenants leave and do a walk-through, taking photos of any damage so that you have evidence if they dispute the damage or demand the return of their deposit.

If the damage is so excessive that the deposit money won’t cover the repairs, you can file a civil complaint against them. If you win in court, a Judgment will be filed in your favor. You will have to track down your former tenants, however, and try to get them to pay. In many cases this can be time consuming and tedious. Your best bet at this point is often to turn over the Judgment to a company that specializes in judgment recovery services. They have the resources to track down the debtors, discover any assets they have and get them to pay. A judgment recovery firm such as ABR Judgment Recovery can also make arrangements for a Sheriff’s Sale of your tenant’s assets to recoup your losses.

The Cost of Evicting Tenants

Finally, having to evict tenants is a costly and complex process. This is generally a last resort for landlords for good reason. If you have tenants who are behind on their rent, an eviction can force them to move out so that you can find paying tenants. To get an eviction started, landlords must file the appropriate legal paperwork and pay the court fees. You’ll also have to pay someone to serve the paperwork on the current tenants. Add in the cost of changing the locks, repainting, cleaning carpets, etc. to prepare the property for new tenants and you’ll see why landlords hate to evict someone.

In most cases, you’ll also have to file a Judgment against them for any back rent owed. Once again, a judgment recovery professional can track down former tenants and ensure that they pay what is owed to you. These specialists are adept at tracking down debtors and discovering bank accounts, automobiles and other assets that can be sold or taken to cover the money owed to you as a landlord. By contacting ABR Judgment Recovery, you’ll minimize the time, money and energy you have to spend and maximize your chances of getting what your former tenants owe you.

For more information on how to handle problem tenants and recover Judment funds, visit ABR Judgment Recovery or American Business Resource’s Facebook page.


Wasting Time on Judgment Recovery?

Why is collecting on a judgment so difficult? 

  • Over 75% of all court judgments are never recovered
  • Many debtors hide their assets
  • Collecting on a judgment is your responsibility, not the court’s
  • The high cost of investigating, discovering and obtaining assets often costs as much or more than the judgment itself
  • Seizure of assets may leave you with personal property you don’t need or want
  • It wastes your time and money

ABR Judgment Recovery –

We succeed where others haven’t!

3815191 - scrap paper on wooden floor around waste paper basketIt would be so nice if being awarded a judgment was the end of the process. You could simply mail your former tenant a copy of the Judgment and he would immediately pay up. But it won’t happen that way. In fact, most of the time the person who owes you money will simply toss the judgment in the trash can without responding or making any effort to pay you what they owe you.

That’s where ABR Judgment Recovery comes in…
we use a unique combination of skills and experience to collect judgments for our clients.


How do we do it?

  • We use our own licensed, private detectives to pursue leads where others can’t go
  • We have access to over 840,000 local court documents
  • We have access to over 330 million Federal documents and data
  • We have experience in multiple counties working with local authorities, sheriffs, attorneys and court employees
  • We are familiar with processes such as wage garnishments, sheriffs’ sales and local court requirements
  • Company President Dave Gulish has been a private detective for twelve years
  • Company Vice-President Brian Bush has experience as a real estate investor as well as his certification as a licensed private detective


aalc spot

We’ll unlock the judgment recovery funds that
are rightfully yours!

(888) 681-2251


Ready to Move Into Your New Home? These Packing Tips Will Minimize the Stress

Moving into a new house or apartment is always a great adventure – you’re starting a new phase of your life in a new location. But it can be very stressful to try and pack all of your worldly possessions without either breaking some things or misplacing others. Our packing tips can help you keep things organized, safe and secure.

Don’t Start Packing Until You Have ALL the Packing Supplies You Need

It’s better to overestimate than underestimate how many boxes you’ll need. It’s easier to return the empty boxes than discover you don’t have enough on moving day. On that last moving day, you’ll need several boxes to corral all the last minute items such as cleaning supplies, the clothing you still have at your old location and any other items.

You’ll also need:

  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper or bubble wrap to cushion breakables
  • Sharpie markers to number each of the boxes

Be Like Santa Claus – Make a List, Check it Twice

Keeping a checklist of items you need to pack with your packing supplies will make things easier.
Keeping a checklist of items you need to pack with your packing supplies will make things easier.

Randomly throwing things into boxes may be faster now, but it will cause huge headaches at your new location. Write everything down – everything! Create a spreadsheet or numbered list. If you’re old school, use a notebook. Number every box as you pack it, writing down everything you put in it on the list or spreadsheet. Be specific about every item. Don’t write down “bathroom stuff.” List each item (toothbrushes, bath towels, first aid kit…).

Use The Right Boxes

There are some items that you’ll want to pack into smaller boxes; books, for instance, are very heavy. It may be tempting to toss them all into one big box, but it would be difficult to move and you could injure yourself trying to carry it. Also pack delicate items into smaller boxes so they won’t get jostled against harder, larger objects that could damage them. Bed linens, pillows and other lightweight items can be packed down into larger boxes.

Wardrobe boxes are a great help because you can hang your clothes up and simply take them out and put them directly into your new closets with less wrinkling. You can also bundle up sweaters, shoes and accessories into shopping bags and drop them into the bottom of the wardrobe boxes before you hang up the rest of your clothes in the boxes. Don’t be afraid to hang your clothes tightly together – it will keep them from falling off the hangers.

Keep It Together

Try to keep similar objects together as you’re packing. Keep small appliances with extension cords and toiletries with your wash cloths and towels. Put small items like keys and picture hooks into small baggies and tape them to the items they go with.

Pack 80% of Your Stuff Ahead of Time

Packing a few days or even a week ahead of your move is essential. Most people can pack 80% of their stuff and survive comfortably using the remaining 20%. You don’t need three TVs or all your cooking utensils. Keep out only what you absolutely need for that last week.

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Suitcases

It seems obvious, but many people don’t use their luggage when packing up their house or apartment. These are great for taking your clothes and last minute items to your new abode. Suitcases are also great for transporting your sensitive paperwork and files. You can easily spot them among a sea of boxes and move them to a secure location in your new home.

Make A Cleaning Kit to Take With You

A bucket with cleaning supplies will be essential at your new location
A bucket with cleaning supplies will be essential at your new location

When you move into your new house, you’ll inevitably want to wipe down the kitchen counters, clean the bathroom and vacuum and dust after all the moving boxes are gone. A plastic bucket is the ideal way to corral cleaning supplies so that when you’re ready to clean you have everything you need at hand.

Pack A “First Night” Kit

Be sure you take a set of sheets, a towel set, toiletries, an alarm clock, MP3 player and other essential items for your first night in your new home. Let each family member pack their own tote bag or box with the items they will need for the first night in your new home so that everyone has what is important to them.

By following these packing tips, you can make the transition from your old home to your new one relatively stress free and more enjoyable. And don’t forget to call EZ Move at 724-752-1310 to schedule a moving truck or arrange for EZ Move’s professional movers to do the heavy lifting for you.

Ask Potential Landlords These Crucial Questions Before Signing a Lease

When renting a home or apartment, it’s always important to go over the terms of the lease before signing. A lease is a legally binding document, so signing on the dotted line obligates you for the term of the lease. Be sure to ask the right questions so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises after you’ve moved into your new home. A good landlord will have no problem answering your questions and will be forthcoming about any potential issues so that you’ll want to extend your lease at the end of the year.

Here are some important questions you should always ask when talking to a potential landlord or property management company:

Is this a long-term lease or a short-term rental agreement?

A lease is generally binding for a full twelve months, although you can also get a six month lease from many landlords. If you want a shorter time period or want to be able to move elsewhere on short notice, a rental agreement that is month-to-month may be a better option for you. Be sure you know how long you’ll be tied to the property.

When and how is the rent due?

Some landlords want payment at the beginning of each month, others will have a date in the middle of the month. Be sure you know when the rent is due and how. For instance, if rent is due by the 15th of the month, does that mean a check has to be in the landlord’s hands by then or does it mean that it has to be post-marked by then? This is an important question, as some landlords add late fees to your rent if you’re late making payments. Ask about late fees and penalties as well, as these costs can add up.

If you’re moving into an apartment in the middle of the month but the rent is due on the first of the month, ask the landlord if he or she will pro-rate the first month’s rent. Some will, some won’t; it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Are the utilities included?

Ask what utilities, if any, are included in your rent. These may include water, electricity, gas, cable and Internet. If you will be responsible for utilities, ask to see copies of past utility bills for the house or apartment you’re renting so that you can budget accordingly.

Can I personalize the house or apartment?

Don’t paint the walls, hang artwork or make any changes to the house or apartment without asking the landlord about the rules surrounding these changes. You may want to paint the bedroom pink, but the landlord might deduct the cost of repainting the room after you move out from your security deposit.

Can I have overnight guests?

For the most part, landlords have no problem with overnight guests in rental houses unless they become a nuisance. They will often stipulate the length of time they can stay, however. More people means more potential for damages.

Can my dog/cat/lizard/fish stay with me?

no pets allowed

Ask your landlord if pets are allowed. In many instances they are allowed, but you have to pay an additional fee of between $50 and $200 a month to cover the cost of any potential damages. Most landlords also have limits. One dog may be fine, three dogs may be too many. Also ask what kind of pets are allowed. Some landlords won’t allow exotic pets or large pets. Others may not allow aquariums because of the potential for water damage.

Will I get my deposit back?

The security deposit on a rental is designed to cover the cost of any damages caused by tenants. In most cases, a landlord will refund all or part of the deposit once the tenant moves out, but be sure you know what constitutes “damages.” Before moving in, do an inspection of the unit with the landlord. Take pictures and make note of the condition of the house, then add the signed inspection to the lease agreement so that you aren’t charged for damages that you didn’t cause.

Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance?

If you’re renting an apartment, most repairs will be the responsibility of the landlord, but be sure to ask. If you’re renting a house or duplex, the question of repairs may be more complex. You may be responsible for maintaining the yard while the landlord is responsible for repairing any included appliances. Also be sure you know who to contact and how if there is an emergency such as broken pipes, a furnace that doesn’t work, etc.

It’s always better to ask about any concerns you have before signing a lease or rental agreement in order to avoid problems down the road. If you’re unsure of anything, be sure to talk to the landlord so that there aren’t any problems. By having a clear understanding of your agreement, you can ensure that your relationship with your landlord is a good one. Ask!

Look At My Homes has several houses for rent in the Ellwood City, Cranberry Township and Koppel areas that are move-in ready. Call 724-714-9758 or email for more information. To see what homes are currently available, visit the Look At My Homes rental page

Six Reasons Why You Should Consider Buying Instead of Renting Your Next Home


Since the housing bubble in the days of the mortgage crisis, many people have become leery of purchasing a home. They worry about the mortgage payments, whether the house will appreciate in value in the coming years. But the crisis is in large part over and home values have stabilized, opening the door to home ownership once again for savvy buyers. Today, rents are rising in a rebounding economy, yet home sale prices are more affordable in many parts of the country. What are the advantages of buying a home in Ellwood City compared to simply renting?

  1. A House is a Blank Canvas for Expression

We’ve all rented at one time or another from a landlord that stressed what you couldn’t do – no painting the walls, no nail holes for hanging pictures, no modifications to the structure. On the other hand, if you own your house, there are limitless ways to express your style. You can paint every wall a different color if you like, or knock out a wall to transform two cramped spaces into one spacious area.


  1. You Can Make a House More Efficient

One of the biggest expenses whether you rent or own is the cost of utilities. Whether you’re focused on reducing your carbon footprint for altruistic reasons or you simply want to save some money on heating and cooling expenses, if you own your own home you have a lot of opportunities. Upgrading your HVAC system, investing in solar panels and adding extra insulation are all “green” improvements that will pay for themselves quickly. If you’re renting, you’re at the mercy of your landlord.

  1. No Landlord

Not having a landlord is pretty much self-explanatory. A mortgage payment frees you from having to worry about a landlord who may pop by unannounced. You won’t have to call and nag an unresponsive landlord if the washer is broken or the roof is leaking. Home owners can take care of repairs themselves or hire someone to do it. Home ownership gives you control.

  1. The Right Kind of Mortgage Makes Budgeting Easier

Although there are some upfront costs to purchasing a house or condo, a fixed rate mortgage is guaranteed for the life of the mortgage. That means you’ll never have to worry about your landlord suddenly raising the rates when you sign your new lease each year. With housing prices and interest rates as low as they’ve been in fifty years, now is the time to buy to protect yourself against inflation with a mortgage. A mortgage calculator can be an easy way to determine how much you can afford and what you will be paying each month based on a variety of parameters. There are several excellent ones available online, including

  1. Buying Means You Can Stay Put

Renters never know from one year to the next what might happen when their lease is up. The landlord may decide to raise the rent, or he could put the property on the market. The possibility of having to pack up and move is a real one if you aren’t the owner of your home. If you want to put down roots and create a true home, buying is a better bet than renting.

  1. You Can Build Equity

Buying a house as an investment shouldn’t be the primary reason you purchase a house or condo, but if you plan on staying in one place for at least five years, it could turn out to be a valid reason. But a house is a long-term investment, not a short term one. The longer you stay in one place, the more your house will appreciate in value. This is particularly true if you purchase a house in an area that is undergoing a Renaissance. If you spend the next several years improving your house, you’ll be impressed with how much your home is worth ten years down the road. You can then use the increased value to get a home equity loan if you need one.  Your landlord isn’t going to give you a loan based on your timely rental payments.

Be sure to weight the pros and cons before choosing whether to own or rent your next home in Ellwood City, PA. If you plan to stay put for at least five years and like to idea of creating your own space and improving your house, buying a house may be the best choice. Talk to homeowners in your area to get some feedback. You’ll discover that most homeowners wonder why they waited so long before buying once they are in a home of their own.




Excellent Rental Income Opportunity in Trafford, PA

Trafford Duplex Front Center

This 4 bedroom house in Trafford, PA could easily become a duplex rental property. Two front entrances, one for the first floor and another for the second, make conversion easy. Although it needs some interior work to update it, this property is priced to sell with a list price of just $40,000! It’s the best mortgage deal in town for all this space! Call Brian at Look At My Homes at 724-333-4114 for more information.