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Dave Says - Dave Ramsey

Research your renters

Dear Dave,

I’m a landlord, and I own a few houses and duplexes around town. Recently, I made the mistake of renting to some tenants who were not respectful of my property. Do you have any tips for selecting good renters?

– Joe

Dear Joe,

In my experience, most landlords simply aren’t thorough enough with the screening process when it comes to potential tenants. It’s difficult to get to know someone – especially in this kind of situation – without spending some face-to-face time with them and digging into their backgrounds a little.

I have several rental properties, so here are a few tips that have served me well over the years.

Always require a big deposit up front. In addition, pull a credit bureau report on prospective renters. I also drive by the place they’re currently living in to see how they take care of things. To me, this is a great indication of how responsible they are, and how they might treat my property. Finally, get proof they’ve regularly made past rental payments on time.

It’s a leap of faith, to an extent, any time you sign an agreement with a new tenant. But there are things you can do to make a more informed decision as to whom you’re doing business with.

– Dave

Don’t let debt collectors break the rules

Dear Dave,

A debt collector has been calling members of my family for the past 2 weeks to get information on me. He identified himself as collector, and I want to pay what I owe, but is it legal for him to do this?

– Kerry

Dear Kerry,

No, it isn’t legal. If he identified himself in any way as a debt collector, and spoke with anyone but you about your debt, he broke the law. This is a violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You need to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against this collector and his company.

Record the conversation the next time they call. Tell them at the beginning you’ll be taping any interaction you have with them from that point forward, and ask your relatives to do the same. That way, you’ll have proof to hand over to the FTC or the attorney general.

There’s nothing wrong with collecting a debt. If you’re a collector or creditor, it’s money that is legally owed to you. Still, you must do it within the confines of the law.

– Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter (@DaveRamsey), or go to daveramsey.com. 

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