Resources for Philly Landlords

Posted by on January 31, 2012
English: Paperwork

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The following is a compilation of useful forms, links and other resources that should be helpful for Philadelphia landlords.  I wish I had a list like this when I started out.  New landlords, you owe me a beer.

Some of these forms were borrowed and modified from other landlords so long ago that I don’t remember where they came from.  If I didn’t give you credit for your form, let me know.

If I’ve left out something that should be on this list, let me know in the comments.

 

Forms:

Residential Lease Lease and residential addendum.
Modified from document provided by Jim Mayo, HAPCO member.
Move-in Inspection Used to record the initial condition of the property so there are no disputes on repairs when the tenant moves out. Also, note the list of items for tenants to initial at the end of the document. These are important informational items that we go through one-by-one with each tenant.
Rental Application Collects important personal information from the tenant.
W9 Form A editable pdf W-9 form. You are required to place the tenant’s security deposit in an escrow account in the tenant’s name.  Most banks offer landlord-tenant escrow accounts.
Federal Lead Paint Form You are required to give this form to your tenant at lease signing. I suggest printing it “4 per page, black&white, fast draft” to save some paper and ink.
Philly Lead Paint Form As of 2017, you are required to give tenants this additional Philly lead paint disclosure.
Good Housing Form You are required to give this form to your tenant at lease signing.
Security Deposit Receipt Given to the tenant when they put down a deposit to hold the property.  This makes sure you are on the same page with the tenant as to what they will be paying.
Modified from document provide by Mitch Ripkin, HAPCO member
Lease Renewal Form We send this to tenants 3 months before lease expiration.
Move Out Letter Given to the tenant in advance or their moveout.
Settlement Fee Notice I give this to title companies to avoid junk fees.
Security Deposit Itemization Used to itemize charges to the tenant when they move out.
Overdue Rent Notice When a tenant is late on rent and their grace period has expired, you should notify them in writing that you are charging a late fee.
Pay or Quit Notice The first step in the eviction process. This form must be sent at least 10 days prior to filing for eviction.
Rental License Application You are required to have a rental license in order to rent a house or apartment in Philadelphia.  This is a fill-in pdf form, which is very convenient if you’re filling out a lot of these because you can fill in the fields that will stay the same and save it.  Note that the license fee is $50 and not $30 as the form states.You are also required to have a business privilege license, which costs either $300 one time or $50/year.  If you have multiple entities, each one must have a BPL. Note that the BPL fee is $300 and not $250 as the form states.
Voter Registration Form and Envelope You need to update your voter registration whenever you move, so why not be kind to your tenants and provide them with this form and envelope.

 

 

Links:

Rental Suitability Certificate You are required to provide each new tenant with a rental suitability certificate, which verifies that the property does not have any L&I violations
Eviction Search via Philly’s court website Use this search whenever you evaluate a potential tenant. Evictions appear on here well before they appear on credit checks.Click on the “Login As Public User” button. Make sure you have type of “Defendant” selected
PGW’s Landlord Cooperation program In Philadelphia, if a tenant doesn’t pay their gas bill it can get attached to your property as a lien, and you will have to pay it in order to sell the property. However, if you sign up for PGW’s landlord cooperation program and remain in good standing, they will not lien your property.Note that the water department does not have such a program. Accordingly, landlords should keep water bills in their own name and bill the tenant each month.
Find your property’s trash day Be nice to your tenant and let them know what their trash/recycling day is when they sign the lease.
Credit Check website We use MrLandlord for our credit checks.  There are quite a few other options. Another popular choice is National Tenant Network
BRT Look up a property’s current and past taxes, square footage, zoning, etc.
HAPCO HAPCO is the main association for independent landlords in Philadelphia. They have a great email forum and eviction service, and fight important legislative battles. You should join, it’s dirt cheap.
DIG Diversified Real Estate Investors Group. This is the other association for independent landlords.
ULI ULI is comprised of real estate professionals who are on a more institutional scale.
Philadelphia Zoning Code The complete Philadelphia code. Check out section 14-200 for the different zoning classifications
Landlord Locks If you have more than a handful of properties, you should look into landlord locks. Each lock can be opened with either a tenant key or a master key. Cylinders can be swapped without removing the entire lock.
Simplisafe Alarms A wireless home alarm system.  It’s portability makes it great for securing properties that are vacant or under construction
The E-Myth Revisited A must read for small business owners

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