Q: My rental property smells like cigarette smoke. How do I get rid of the fumes?

Casey R. asks: I just bought a bargain-priced rental property. It’s well-located and has a great floor plan, so I anticipate it will rent quickly. However, the house’s former occupants smoked. How do I get rid of the smell? Rental Agent Guide answers: Ugh. There’s nothing worse than the smell of stale cigarettes, especially when […]

fixing up rental

Tenants and email

Q: Should I use email to communicate with tenants?

Perry T. writes: What do you think about using email as a primary means of communication with tenants? I like the idea of automatically having a written record of what has been said, but are there any downsides to email, or things I should watch out for? Rental Agent Guide answers: Email can be a […]


Q: Should I keep rent stable for a good tenant?

Ellen M. writes: I have a tenant whose lease is ending in a couple of months (yes, right in the middle of winter, terrible timing.) The rental is a cute, two-bedroom house in a popular neighborhood, where demand for rentals has increased substantially since she moved in. Based on the current market, I think I […]

rental cottage

house on fire

A Tale of Two Tenants

If you don’t think you need a rental agent to help you manage your rental property, consider these two tales of trainwreck-y landlord/tenant relations from the archives of the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly: 1. The tenant who cost his landlord over $13,000 in lost  rent over a broken air conditioner.  When this duplex […]


Rental Owner Interview: Reggie Brown

Seattle landlord Reggie Brown has owned his two current rental property for approximately five years, and owned small properties “on and off” for more than a decade. RAG: In your view, what are the most important factors in maximizing a rental  property’s cash flow? RB: The big keys are stable tenants and timely maintenance to […]

Reggie Brown

guest or occupant

Q: What is the definition of “guest” vs. “occupant”?

Dan L. writes: How can I keep my tenants from having visitors who are more like unofficial occupants? I have one tenant who’s boyfriend stays with her 3-4 days a week on a consistent basis. I’m paying for utilities, and beyond that, there’s general wear-and-tear on the property—and let’s face it, nuisance—to consider. Several of […]


Q: Should I rent to a tenant with past evictions?

Chris V. asks:  I realize it’s normal for a tenant’s financial history to include some minor red flags, but what should I do when a prospective tenant has decent credit, but a history of past evictions? RAG answers: You’re right to be cautions about renting to a prospective tenant with an eviction in his or […]

tenants with evictions

tenant doesn't pay

Q: Who’s responsible when a tenant doesn’t pay?

Jenny S. asks: When a tenant doesn’t pay rent, is my rental agent responsible for collections? Who files for eviction and follows through in court? RAG answers: This is a good question, and something to be sure to clarify within your rental management contract. Essentially, it’s up to you and the rental agent you choose […]


What can a rental agent do for me?

Rental agents typically handle a wide variety of tasks for their clients, using their expertise to avoid common pitfalls, save money, and maximize profits. Common tasks rental agents handle include: Pricing rental properties: An experienced rental agent will put his or her deep knowledge of your specific local market to work in pricing the monthly rent […]

what can a rental agent do for me

moving day

Is there a difference between a “rental agent” and a “property manager”?

Many people use the terms “rental agent” and “property manager” interchangeably. However, it’s possible to hire a professional to handle just the leasing of your rental property and not the ongoing management. It makes sense to refer to someone who handles “leasing only” as a “rental agent” rather than as a “property manager.” But no […]