The Reluctant Landlord

In his article in the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Paul Owers writes about a subject quite familiar to those working in Destination Services: the reluctant landlord.  Due to the real estate crisis, many would-be home sellers across the United States owe much more than their property is currently worth and thus are unable to list their homes for sale.  For many, this is a first-time experience – and not one that they find particularly enjoyable.  Although the same real estate crisis has created a “red hot rental market”, finding a reliable, long-term tenant is still a challenge.  Maintenance costs, tenants with pets and rent payments that do not cover the mortgage are additional headaches reported by these novice landlords.

For the international employee moving to the U.S., the inexperienced landlord creates a whole host of challenges. For example, first-time landlords are often reluctant to work with expats that have no US credit or rental history. Also, most have never heard of a diplomatic clause.  And finally, inexperienced landlords do not understand why a Relocation Management Company is asking for their social security number on a W9 form and their bank account information in order to pay rent on behalf of the transferee. In many markets, the international transferee is competing with a long line of local rental applicants with acceptable US credit history and a ready check book. In such a fragile real estate market, it is important these international transferring employees use the best available resources to assist in finding a new home.

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