Year in review: the best of 2018

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in For Landlords, For Renters, General

2018 Year in ReviewWelcome to the new year! As we dive into 2019, we’d like to take a moment and reflect the highlights of the past year. Whether you’re a landlord or a renter, we’re glad you’re here. Please enjoy the best articles of 2018.

2018 summary:

We’re proud to be a part of an amazing community of real estate investors, landlords, managers, and renters. Thank you for being there with us.

Without further ado, here are the best articles from last year, based overall on quality, popularity, engagement, and traffic.

Best articles of 2018:


How many pets are too many?

Some landlords believe that even one pet is one pet too many in their rental property. But if you allow pets, you should have a plan on how many to allow. It’s a good idea to have a pet policy in your lease that you go over with your tenants before they move in.


Umbrella insurance: can it replace an LLC?

Did you know there’s an alternative to an LLC that protects your finances? It’s umbrella insurance. Landlords can protect themselves from lawsuits with a simple umbrella insurance policy and avoid the problems involved with an LLC.


Offer incentives to current tenants so they stay

If you do your job properly when it comes to taking care of the tenants, they’ll ultimately take care of you by wanting to stay. After all, every renter wants and deserves a good landlord and a well-kept property.


Cleaning and repair rules when you move out

If you leave your rental in bad shape when you move out, your landlord can hold the cleaning costs from your security deposit. After all, it’s your mess. But the security deposit is your money. You want as much of it back as possible, right? So what are your responsibilities?


Withholding rent

When can you withhold rent?

Tenants will learn when it is legal to withhold rent when the landlord is not making proper repairs. But this can be a very risky move for tenants: it can result in eviction.


Rental application fees: what you need to know

Experienced landlords, particularly those who’ve been burned by less-than-exemplary renters, always screen future tenants. And that costs money. Thus, the application fee, which pays for background checks and credit reports for each person on a lease.


9 maintenance issues tenants are responsible for

A landlord is required to provide a safe and habitable residence, but landlords and tenants share responsibility for keeping it that way. Tenants should maintain sanitary conditions and contact the landlord whenever repairs are needed.


Tenant move-out letter plus two other free templates

When your tenant plans to move, you should make the move-out process as smooth as possible. This benefits you and your tenant—when your tenant knows what to expect, they’re more likely to meet your expectations. Here are some templates you can use when your tenants’ leases are about to end.


What to do when your tenant is locked out… again

If you don’t mind being on call 24/7 to deal with every Mr. and Ms. Forgetful you rent to, don’t worry about it. But if you appreciate peace of mind and wish your tenants would learn to be more responsible, there’s a few things you can do about those lost-key situations.


Should I accept credit card payments as rent?

Is it a good choice to pay rent with a credit card? Learn the pros and cons of which payment method makes the most sense for your finances.


When is rent considered received?

It’s best not to push the limits on your monthly rent calendar if you want to avoid landlord-tenant friction, or worse yet, eviction. Although many mortgage companies offer a payment grace period beyond the listed due date, the same is usually not true for rental payments.


A basic guide to landlord and tenant responsibilities

Landlord and tenant responsibilities can be complicated. This guide will outline which party is responsible for common landlord/tenant issues.

New! Share your rental documents

Written by Lucas Hall on . Posted in For Landlords, For Renters, General, Step 9 - Manage Lease & Collect Rent

We’re excited to announce that now you can share documents, lease agreements, move-in checklists, and more with your tenants in Cozy!

At Cozy, the company behind Landlordology, we build tools to make life easier for our customers and we listen to their feedback. Landlords have been asking us to make it easy to store and share essential rental documents with their tenants, so they can be better organized and more transparent. Now they can.

Quick and convenient

It’s easy to add and share rental documents in Cozy. When you set up payments, you can upload any related documents, which will be there for your tenants when they login to Cozy.

Every time you share a new document, all the tenants on that lease will be notified by email. Then they can access the shared documents from any device. Tenants will conveniently have the lease at their fingertips, so they won’t have to ask you for it again and again.

State law requirements

Every state has its own landlord-tenant laws. Some states have laws to ensure that tenants always receive a copy of the lease. For example, California Civ. Code §§ 1962(4) says that a landlord must provide a copy of the lease to the tenant within 15 days of its execution. In Delaware, a landlord must provide a written copy of the agreement, free of charge (§ 5105 (b)).

Cozy makes it easy to share a lease with your tenants securely and for free.

To learn more about what state laws require, check out our state law rental guides.

Your tenants will thank you

Most tenants want to be self-sufficient. They don’t want to ask you multiple times for a copy of the lease, or find a place to store a stack of important rental documents.

By using Cozy to send and store these documents, you’ll help foster trust and transparency with your tenants. It’s a great way to start a relationship with a new tenant, that hopefully will help pave the way for a long-term resident who treats you and your property with honesty and respect.

Foundation for success

At Cozy, we make renting easier for everyone. Hundreds of thousands of landlords have built their rental business with Cozy, and now they have another tool to make their lives easier. Document sharing in Cozy is one more way you can create a better, more efficient, and more profitable rental business.

If you’re not already using Cozy, give it a try. All our core features are free for landlords, including collecting applications, screening tenants, and collecting rent online.

How to get the rental you want

Written by Guest Author on . Posted in edited, For Renters, General

communicationLearn how to impress any landlord or property manager to get the perfect rental, just by following some simple tips.

If getting into a good rental in your area is as competitive as getting accepted to an Ivy League school, learn some tips to get ahead of the pack. When you’re prepared, knowledgeable, and professional during the application process, you’ll stand out from the rest.

Here are five tips and tricks that will make you—and your application—grab the attention of any landlord or property manager.

Related: What are the traits of a high-quality tenant?

1. Have all your info ready

Many rental companies and landlords accept applications online, but sometimes you’ll be asked to fill out a paper application at the time of the showing. Make sure to bring all the information listed above so you can fill out the application as thoroughly as possible. If there is a link to an online application in the rental advertisement, filling it out before the showing can be a great way to “cut in line.”

Rental application fees are typically non-refundable, so be sure this is really the rental for you, or be prepared to forfeit the application fee. If a property manager is still using paper applications, be sure to ask how they plan to secure your sensitive information to mitigate the risks of identity theft.

In most cases, you’ll need only a handful of items to apply for a rental property. These include, but aren’t limited, to:

Employment history

Not only will you need contact information and payment history for your current position(s), but likely for the past two years, as well.

Pay stubs or other proof of income

Most landlords require you to prove your income. Be sure to check the income requirements for the particular property. Some require you to earn at least two times (and sometimes three times) the monthly rental amount.

Rental history

Gather all your past addresses and previous landlords’ contact information (phone number and email). Your potential landlord needs to check your rental references to ensure you’ve paid your rent on time and haven’t had any disputes with past landlords.

Credit score

It’s valuable to know what shows up on your credit report before you apply to any rental property. If there are any inaccuracies, you’ll have time to dispute the issue with the credit bureau. And, if you see any potential red flags, you can tell your potential landlord right away so there aren’t any surprises when they check your credit report. You can check your own credit report for free at, the only source for federally authorized free credit reports.

Check your credit score and credit history before beginning the application process. While an application won’t ask you directly for your credit score, you can be sure that at some point during the application process, the landlord will check your credit score. There are a handful of credit resources online (including that allow a free credit check every 12 months. Be aware of the credit requirements for the rental property; it may not be worth having your credit pulled if you know you don’t meet the requirements. A soft credit inquiry won’t negatively affect your credit score.

Rental references

Most potential landlords will want to interview your former or current landlords. They’ll want to know if you paid rent on time and kept your place clean. Be sure to leave on good terms, and ask your former landlords if they’d be willing to give a positive reference.

Personal references

Most applications require you to list at least two personal references. These people can be previous bosses, friends, roommates, or people you trust who’ve known you for a long time.

2. Keep your word

Don’t be that applicant who makes an appointment but never shows up or who fails to email or call back when they say they will. If you’re serious about seeing the property, show up. And be on time.

So, you made it to the showing appointment, love the apartment, must have it, and promise to fill out the online application as soon as you get home. It’s in your best interest to actually fill out the application as soon as you get home (or somewhere where you can fully fill out the app).

If the landlord is using Cozy, you can fill out an application from your phone before you even leave the property. If the landlord is still using paper applications, you can still share your Cozy renter profile, which gives them more info and helps set you apart.

Most competitive rental situations generally operate on a first-come-first-serve basis for qualified applicants. If the next qualified person to view the unit gets their application in first, and they’re approved, you’ll probably lose the apartment.

3. Treat a rental property viewing like a job interview

First impressions count, even when applying for a property. Just a little preparation will make a big difference.

Make a good first impression

Dress professionally (or at least like you didn’t just roll out of bed), be on time, and be courteous. Don’t show up wearing pajama pants or with alcohol on your breath to view rentals. Landlords notice these things.

Know your stuff

Be as knowledgeable about the rental property as you can. A good rental advertisement includes details like the rental amount, security deposit, lease duration, which utilities are included, and the screening criteria. The more you know, the more it shows that you’ve done your legwork and are serious about getting the place.

Ask good questions

These include things that you’d have no way of knowing from the rental ad, like how the landlord prefers to handle maintenance issues or for details about the “vibe” of the building.

Let them know why you’re moving

This is a touchy subject because not everyone has a positive reason for a move—and by no means do landlords expect you to divulge extremely personal information—but what landlords really want to understand is your motivation. Show a landlord you’re ready to move, and prove why you’d be a great tenant. Do you have a history of staying long term at past rentals? Do you play well with others? Are you easygoing and responsible?

4. Don’t try to hide your past

Life happens. Every landlord and property manager is a human who has the capacity to understand that we all make mistakes. Sometimes it just takes an explanation and their understanding for you to get a second chance.

Disclosure is key. If you have a DUI on your record, less than stellar credit, or even a negative rental history, fess up. It’s better for the landlord to receive an explanation from you upfront than to uncover your background while researching your application. Landlords might then assume you were trying to hide information, which is not a good way to begin a landlord/tenant relationship.

Some landlords forgive credit blemishes if you are willing to pay an additional security deposit. Timing matters, too. Is your poor credit score because of problems five years ago or five months ago? Most landlords weigh student loan and/or medical debt differently than a year of missed credit card payments.

Some landlords may let you have a cosigner who is typically a relative (but can be someone else as well). This person should be willing to vouch for you and take on rental payment responsibility.

It can be tough to find a rental if you have poor credit or an eviction on your record, but it’s not impossible. Do your best to be upfront about any issues a landlord may find during the application process, and ask if they’d be willing to work with you. This will save everyone time, and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded for your honesty.

5. Be yourself

It may be a cliche, but the more you let your wonderful self shine while viewing the rental, the more you’ll get an idea of whether the property is right for you. A happy tenant makes a happy landlord, and there’s nothing better than a happy landlord.