Category Archives: Administrator

Taking Care of a Home That’s Not Really Yours: Why Tenants Should Take Care of their Rental Home



It is no secret that homeowners are very keen on taking care of their homes; there is a constant desire to make sure one’s home is always in a perfect state. For a homeowner living in their own home, there is no question about who needs to be maintaining the homes condition, the responsibility falls on themselves. But where does someone who lives in a rental home stand? Is it solely the job of the landlord to maintain the home, or is the tenant also responsible?

In any lease agreement there are certain conditions set that both the landlord and tenant must abide by. Typically, these are things pertaining to payments, general rules, and maintenance, etc. Maintenance standards are set in order to determine what falls under the landlords responsibility and what doesn’t. Though these agreements are set so that the tenant does not have to deal with the problems that a homeowner would have to deal with (since they’re just renting), they should not brush off the notion that a tenant should also make it a point to take care of their rental home. This does not necessarily mean that a tenant should be responsible for paying for a handyman, or trimming the tress; this means that the tenant should make it a point to keep things in good shape and ensure that any problems that they have are brought to the attention of the landlord. If a landlord pressure cleans a tenant’s driveway, the tenant should make it a point to keep it clean and looking nice. Simple things like that are what keep the property looking good and both the tenant and landlord happy. Being timely with maintenance requests is also very important! It is entirely up to the tenant to make sure the landlord is quickly notified if something needs to be repaired, as this ensures that things are being taken care of effectively before they get worse.

Aside from living in a well kept home, there are other benefits of tenants helping in their property being taken care of. The cooperation of the tenant definitely fosters the growth of the relationship with the landlord making the rental process significantly easier. Also, if a landlord sees that a tenant is very good about keeping the house clean, or even notifying them of repairs, they will be more inclined to write a good recommendation letter for this tenant.


Pets and Rental Properties: The Great Debate

Should your property be pet friendly?


A while back on the Tenant File Property Management Software Blog we covered the things you need to be aware of when you’re screening pet owners as potential tenants (check it out here). Now, don’t think that making your property pet friendly is going to cause you problems! There are quite a few benefits to allowing your tenants to bring their furry friends as roommates.

Landlords constantly question whether or not they should make rental properties pet friendly. Though many agree that this just opens the door for destruction of property, there are benefits that come with allowing tenants to have pets. If you limit yourself to only allowing people with no dogs or cats, your pool of possible tenants is significantly smaller. It is no secret that most pet owners are very fond of their four-legged friends; they become like children to them, feeding and loving them, and most importantly giving them a home. Because the owners also act as parents in a sense, you know that they’re responsible and capable of taking your home. You won’t have to worry about the house being destroyed. This also brings up the issue of the security deposit, something that definitely works to the landlords advantage. If you allow pets you’re entitled to asking for a bigger security deposit (kind of like a pet fee) or even ask for a bit more monthly rent.

The question of pets or no pets becomes a huge ultimatum for potential tenants- they aren’t going to make the move if their pet can’t too. Being a pet-friendly rental property gives you a huge advantage in the market because many properties do not allow pets so they’re automatically written off as an option to those looking to move. Though it is a big decision to make, making your property pet friendly is definitely you should consider!

Avoiding Losses: Top 3 Tips That Will Help You Prevent a Huge Financial Loss When Your Tenant Moves Out

  1. Always screen tenants before they move in.

The first step in making sure that your property is being taken care of is to make sure that you have a reliable tenant. A good way to make sure that you’ve made the right choice is to ask for a reference letter from their previous landlord. A reference letter is more personal than a background check or credit history check (though these are also very important, you can check out a software to look into these here) and it allows the previous landlord to tell you any specific issues that they may have had with the tenant. If your tenant has a history of being reliable you know that they’ll take care of your property and make the rental process easy for you.


  1. Make sure the security deposit fits the property.

If you want to avoid spending your own money on repairs once your tenant moves out, make sure your security deposit is sufficient for the property. A property’s security deposit should be based on the size of the property and nature of the repairs that may be needed; a tiny apartment that won’t have a lot of repairs shouldn’t have the same security deposit as a five bedroom house with a pool. If you base the deposit on the nature of repairs you may need to make, you won’t have to dish out as much of your own money once your tenant moves out and it’s time to fix the place up. A larger deposit also gives the tenant the incentive to take care of your property- they’ll be careful so that they can get their deposit back.

  1. Fix things as they break.

When a tenant moves out, a lot of time and money will be invested into fixing your property for the next person. If things are fixed as they break, instead of leaving all repairs for when the tenant moves out, you’ll lighten both your financial and work loads. In fixing things as they break there is less risk of the problem worsening and the financial impact will be significantly lower because you’re not doing all of the repairs at once. Fixing things as they break will also keep tenants happy because they know that you care about the property and about keeping them happy.


Say Hello to Christina!

Christina - new marketing manager for Tenant File Property Management Software

Welcome to the Tenant File, Christina!


The Tenant File Property Management Software company heartily welcomes Christina to our team! We are happy that she will be handling the marketing and social media for us. So you can get to know her better, here is some information about her education, interests, and future plans.

Christina Karolewicz is currently a junior at Florida State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing with minors in hospitality and business analytics. Christina recently joined the Tenant File team as the marketing manager for the company. Christina has experience in the field of marketing and was the marketing director for Florida State University’s Swatch Magazine in 2014. Christina is now the financial officer for the magazine and has held the position since the Fall of 2014. Though there are many different aspects to business and many different components that contribute to a successful business, Christina sees marketing as an essential facet that people tend to overlook. She feels that marketing is imperative in effectively branding oneself and company and requires extensive planning in order to guarantee success.Rental Property Diploma


Future Plans and Goals

As far as her future and career, Christina plans on graduating from Florida State in the Spring of 2015 and using her marketing and business analytics expertise to enter the research and development field of business marketing. She realized her love of marketing when she began studying the subject in 2013 and shortly thereafter realized that she wanted to focus on a career in the field. She appreciates that marketing encompasses all aspects of business while still employing an immense amount of creativity. Currently, Christina has coursework in economics, statistics, finance, accounting, computer science, big data, and hospitality. She is proficient in various forms of social media, Microsoft Office, SQL Server, InDesign, Virtual Box, Windows, and Mac OSX. Christina believes that having proficiency of computers and computer software is essential in marketing because of the impact that electronic marketing has on consumers. She thinks that it is important to be able to collect and analyze market data in order to determine what exactly the consumer wants.


Marketing Goals to Increase Awareness Among Owners and Managers of Rental Property

With Tenant File software company, Christina hopes to use her knowledge of marketing and business in order to increase the recognition of the software and increase overall product awareness. She hopes to create a devoted base of customers who are loyal to both the brand and the software that will continue to support future Tenant File rental property management products. Christina sees the importance of the relationship that should exist between a customer and a brand and hopes to give Tenant File users this experience. Through social media marketing such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, she hopes to give Tenant File users a closer relationship with the brand and be able to give them multiple platforms by which to receive news and updates about the software. By increasing brand awareness, Christina hopes to create software users that know they can trust and rely on Tenant File with any of their future property management software needs.

Benefits of Rental Management Software


Many property managers and landlords have managed their property on paper or in Excel. And many claim that they don’t need to change to software because of the familiarity of the system they already have. Makes sense, but read on.

While property management software can’t complete every task of property management for you, it can be an inexpensive solution where property managers and landlords can manage properties and accounting all in one place.

Below we have some of those property management tasks you might be having trouble with and how property management software can ease your pain in each area:


With property management software, you can get a complete financial picture for your properties and owners. You won’t need to manually update that Excel spreadsheet anymore! Track income and expenses, and run key financial reports on demand.


With property management software, you can post rent manually or automatically to you renters. All completely online.

Access to your Information

Every piece of information on your properties can be found in one place with our property management software. We offer a simple solution to organize your properties.

Report Creation

Our software provides automatic reports you can select from a drop down menu. And each report is date sensitive. You can also easily create your own report to fit your own needs. You can report on a certain day, week, month, or year! You can also limit reports to a certain range of dates, if needed.

It’s also easier than you think. We know you have a busy job with no time to dedicate to learning a product. That’s why we designed this software for easy learning and use. Customer support is always there to help you out along the way and make sure that you are being as efficient as you can possibly be. You get started, please visit our store.

Find us online!



We Warned You That Your Online Data Wasn’t Safe

Have YOU been affected by the Heartbleed bug? Yes, either directly or indirectly! We’ve been warning for quite some time now that your online data IS NOT safe! Now comes the Heartbleed bug…My passwords have been compromised???

My passwords have been compromised???

This is a major problem that affects nearly everyone. For the past two years the SSL (secure website data transfer method) has had a bug. A bug that allows your user name, password, YOUR sensitive data, your CLIENTS sensitive data to be stolen.

This is on top of the recent breeches from Target and too many other websites to keep up with. What are they saying you should do? Change your passwords – ALL of them, starting with your online financial websites. The future is here and the prospect is alarming. You are a property manager in charge of the private financial data, social security numbers, contact information, and passwords for your clients. You are facing a lot of problems if that information gets out. Not to mention that you are out of business if your server goes down. The Tenant File doesn’t have those issues – it is a desktop application, and your data in always on your own computer. Don’t roll the dice!


We told you so! Your online data is NOT SAFE!

Angry Property ManagerThe ink was barely dry on our in depth article on the security of your data before another MAJOR breach happened. (Actually, we type on a screen but if we were using ink, it would still be wet!). The latest is Target, with TENS OF MILLIONS losing their valuable personal and financial information.

Just to name a few besides Target, this year thieves have stolen identities, personal records, passwords, financial information, credit card number, and more from the likes of Gmail, Twitter, Living Social, Barnes and Noble, TJ Max, Marshall’s, Adobe and many, many other companies. How safe do you really think your online data is?

What is your property management company responsible for?   Dos your software keep the  personal information of your owners including names, addresses, phone numbers, email, social security numbers, employers, and more? How about bank account numbers, routing numbers, and passwords? What do you think would happen if all of that private information was exposed to an identity theft ring? Would your cloud-based software company be held responsible, or would you?

And that is just the owners: what about your own company information and your tenant information? A security breach could literally put you out of business overnight. It could take months or even years for the mess to get resolved and there could be legal ramifications as well.

Additionally, if your ‘cloud-based’ software experienced a major data breach, it could easily shut down the whole process to stop the hemorrhaging.  Even if your own data wasn’t compromised, your entire business would be shut down without access to your records. What if they never recovered and went out of business – with your owner, your tenant, and your own data and financial records?

We are hearing daily from customers that are refusing to put their valuable data online, and we share their concerns. Please be aware of what if going on, and make sure ‘at least’ that you use passwords that are not easy to guess, although in our opinion that is a false security – everything can be stolen by savvy crooks. Well, here’s to the next major news story about another security breach. I hope it isn’t you, but at least if you use the Tenant File you have control of your own data!

Think Again Before Putting Confidential Data in the Cloud

Cloud Clip Art

The ‘Cloud’ – it is everywhere – literally. That is what the cloud is … a place to house data spread out over an untold number of computers and servers throughout the world.  About 70% of all Americans use the cloud to some degree. With the multitude of mobile devices, it works wonders. You can access your music and videos everywhere, you can update your calendar in sync with other devices, and you can store your sensitive data there. Wait, maybe not the last one. Here are some serious considerations before you put your confidential data in the cloud.

Rain Cloud Clip Art

Our government wouldn’t pry into my data, would it?  Heard of the NSA? By now, probably all Americans have, and not all of it is good. In fact, some of the news is downright unsettling. Now, with the Patriot Act and the NSA’s interpretation of it, your data on the Internet is less safe. The federal government can now get to your data or your client’s data simply by issuing a subpoena, no court order is needed. On top of that, there is plenty of evidence that government agencies are not even bothering with a subpoena in some cases, as the NSA has admitted that some of its employees have gathered information on their own account.  So if you manage data for your clients, and the NSA has suspicions regarding one of them, your data could be shared with others – client names, Ids, social security numbers, financial transactions, and more.


Backing up Property Manager dataMy data is backed up in the cloud, right?  Sure, there are redundant backups of your data. That means more servers with your information and more avenues for compromising it.  Has your computer ever gone down? Well, so do servers. And when that happens, your data is inaccessible. Maybe there is a hacker attack and the server is shut down for safety reasons, or maybe the electrical grid is compromised, or a natural disaster happens, the list is endless. If you are running your application on the cloud, your business is dead in the water, and your clients have no access to their data. You can’t process any payments, pay bills, or market your business because everything your business does is done online. Maybe someday you can get the data back, but it could be days or weeks to re-enter lost information. Imaging that if your data is lost and there are hundreds or millions of other clients hosted on the same server, how long would it take to get to you?


What happens when they post the ‘Out of Business’ sign?  In the real world, when you do business with a company and they fold, you pick up and find another company. But, what if your entire business is dependent on that company and all of your data is held by that company? What if your log in just stops working and your calls are not returned? You clients will certainly be calling you and demanding answers. You may never recover your data or your client’s data. Your valuable information is suddenly gone, and you will have to start from scratch.


My monthlMonthly payments for real estate companiesy payments are reasonable, is the cloud a good deal?  Certainly it is for the vendors. According to the research firm IDC, 2012 revenues are estimated to be 42 billion dollars and estimates for 2013 are as high as 131 billion, according to Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company. Consumers are used to monthly payments drafted from their bank account, but often don’t realize the eventual cost. For example, property managers that use ‘software as a service’ (SAAS) typically pay an amount per managed property, and a dollar per property is common. So, if you manage 20 rental units, you’ll pay $20.00 month. But that cost is unending, and can go up at the vendors’ discretion. You pay the increase, or else they can switch you off, effectively shutting down your business. Let’s say you pick up management on a 200 unit apartment building.  Your monthly cost skyrockets to $220.00 per month, or $2640.00 per year just to use their software.

Hackers magnifying glass

Can hackers access my data and my customer data?  Computer hacking is at an epidemic level and they are extremely sophisticated. Hackers can attack major web servers to garner information and filter out all of the email address, bank account numbers, and social security numbers. It doesn’t matter is they know the customer name; they have what they need to steal the identities of your customers.  Once your user name and password is obtained, the rest of your data is there for the taking.  It doesn’t have to be a genius hacker in a dark basement in a foreign country. They can be sitting at a table in the same restaurant or coffee shop while you work on a public Wi-Fi network, stealing from your cloud-based transactions if your application does not use secure HTTPS data transfer.


Data outage for property management companyWhat other factors could affect my data?  There are other ways to compromise your data. One way is a malicious ‘denial of service’ where automated systems flood a server to the point that it has to shut down, leaving the customers stranded. In 2011, about 15% of all small businesses were affected by such an interruption, and a whopping 30% of all large businesses were affected. Often those attacks are not reported or even noticed if they are quickly addressed, but other attacks have caused complete outages. Another way that your data could be affected is by natural disasters at the server site, cyber attacks, and electrical grid attacks. While a customer might understand if your business was affected by a fire or hurricane, they might not understand that a server in France could affect their valuable information. If your business was affected, you could take your backups to another computer system, but your cloud data is beyond your control.


Does youTwitter bird realtor down timer provider promise they are online 99.5 percent of the time?  That looks great, who can complain about just a .05 percent downtime? Lots of businesses can, and in fact this is only a promise usually not supported by a ‘guarantee’ that compensates you if it doesn’t work out.  Doing the math you’ll find that the ‘expected’ downtime is 44 hours per year, or 3.6 hours per week that your business can’t operate if it depends on the cloud to run.  However, you will still need to pay all of your employees for that time.


Are we trying to discourage people from using the cloud? No, having access to shared data is fantastic for many applications, especially for sharing videos, pictures, books, text messages, email, non-confidential documents, and a host of apps. Just think twice about committing your business to the cloud, be aware of the pitfalls, and ask the right questions of potential cloud based vendors. Your information and the records of your customers are too valuable to put at risk. Here are some suggestions of what you might ask of your cloud-based vendor if you are considering moving your business to the cloud.

15 Things to ask your cloud computer vendor:

1. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Tell me about it.

2. Will I be notified of any down time, either planned or unplanned?This to ask cloud computer vendor

3. Will you provide me with my own copy of my data in usable form?

4. Do you sub-contract out my data to a different company or hosting service?

5. Do you use a secure gateway for transfer of data?

6. Is my valuable data encrypted? To what level of security?

7. What compensation would I receive if my data is lost?

8. What level of employee in your company has access to my data?

9. Does your company provide encryption of email addresses to eliminate spam?

10. Is my data kept separated from other companies?

11. If I miss a payment, will my business be cut off?

12. Is my data redundancy stored over multiple geographic locations?

13. What percentage of ‘up-time’ can you guarantee?

14. Is the data that you maintain subject to government inspection?

15. If I switch to another company will I be able to get exported files?

Tragic Times Lately

Seems like by the time we get over one disaster, there is another. The Boston Marathon bombing was still fresh in our minds, then the explosion in West, Texas happened. While one was deliberate and one probably wasn’t, the outcome is still the same. Families have lost love ones, children were robbed of a long life and many will endure pain and suffering for the rest of their lives.

Being from Texas, some of us drove through West and saw the outpouring of assistance and love that neighbors, friends, families, and civil workers showed to help those affected. I guess that is the bright point in an otherwise devastating event.

Now, the entire country is shocked by the massive tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma, Kansas, and other nearby states. More destruction, more death, and more pain. I brings home the point that none of us have a guarantee to live a long life. We have to live our lives today in a way that we would be proud of if we were gone tomorrow. At the Tenant File and with our friends in Texas we are praying for all of the victims and their families. We hope that the volunteers can bring them comfort and that time will heal the painful memories.

Announcing beta for a new Tenant Screening feature!

With our new tenant screening partner, Background Info USA, we have developed a new feature which will save time for Tenant File users. This is the ability to export, save and update the Tenant File with the new applicant information.

When you use the Tenant File tenant screening, you now have the ability to have your applicant fill in their rental application online. The applicant can also pay their application fee and a notice will be emailed to you.  Once you approve the applicant, you can now export their information to a file that you would save in a folder on your computer.  The file is in CSV (comma separated value) format, and is a convenient way to save all of your applicant information in one place.

With the new beta for tenant screening, the Tenant File has created an program that will display all applicants in the folder in a spreadsheet type format, or individually per applicant. When you are ready to move in the applicant into a vacant rental, the Tenant File will automatically transfer the basic applicant information into the program.

If you are interested in trying out this service, please give us a call at 1-800-398-3904, and we will email you the program for free.


The Tenant File Property Management Software