Thursday, October 14, 2010

Landlords: Stop Lawsuits In Their Tracks!

Recently, a real estate broker who owns rental property was sued for keeping a tenant’s deposit. The landlord took pictures of the property to use as evidence in the case, but the judge wouldn’t look at them because they weren’t date stamped, there was no “before” photo to document the original condition of the property; and since the owner had a financial interest in the properties, the photos were subject to bias. Since the photos were inadmissible in court, the landlord lost the case.

In another situation, an elderly woman moved to another city to retire, but kept ownership of the family home and rented it out. The tenant was an elderly woman who needed the space because her grandchildren spent summers with her. A few years went by and the tenant paid on time, every time. A landlord’s dream-come-true. When the landlord went to her old hometown to visit friends, she decided to stop by the rental home. Instead of an elderly woman and some children, she found that her home was a gang hideout!

Both of these situations were tragic and costly, but thanks to two new ValuFinders products, they are also avoidable. ValuFinders e-Asset Management (VEAM) offers home inspections and occupancy checks to make situations like these a thing of the past.

The VEAM inspection is a comprehensive property condition check which covers the entire home including fences, driveways, walls, stairs, lawns, bedrooms, bathrooms, attics/basements and more. They can be performed at any time, but are especially useful before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Photos are included for both general documentation, and specific documentation of deficiencies. Furthermore, since the inspector is hired by VEAM, the documentation is third-party and therefore not subject to bias.

The VEAM occupancy check is a simple report that identifies current home-dwellers. The report includes information such as whether the tenants are authorized to be in the home and whether they appear to present a hazard.

VEAM reports are available online, and are archived for 5 years. Multiple inspections can be used to document the history of a property, including original condition, damage done, repairs performed, and post-tenant condition.

VEAM reports can be ordered from

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