Why is the RPA Needed?
Conflict with Constitutional Right:
The United States constitution allows anyone to purchase real estate, and along with those rights is the right of transfer; meaning the right to rent out property. This means that the government cannot prohibit sex offenders, felons or other untrustworthy individuals from becoming landlords. This right poses a serious problem and threat to the rental industry. As a renter you should have the right to know that the individuals that have keys to your home (landlord, manager, maintenance) are people with a clean criminal history.
By providing landlords with an option to become approved (based on a criminal background check) tenants can check their landlord or apartment complexes approval status for free which helps eliminate this un-needed risk. The RPA provides free landlord history reports and landlord records on over 33 million rental properties nationwide.
No Cost Effective Help to Resolve Landlord / Tenant Disputes:
Prior to the Rental Protection Agency renters had few options when it came to resolving landlord / tenant disputes. Hud was the only organization handling landlord problems, and they would only take complaints dealing with discrimination. Renters that turned to their local rent authorities for help would find that the Rent Authority is nothing more than a welfare program that doesn't provide help with landlord problems. Even the Consumer Protection Division would refer renter complaints to their local courts. This left renters with a few costly options: Private Mediation ($150 per hour) / Court Case ($300 average) / Attorney ($1500) most rent problems don't justify the expense required.
Accurate Landlord Ratings and Apartment Ratings:
There may be several websites that allow renters to rate their landlord or apartment complex. The problem with these sites are that most of the time the actual comments are non-verifiable and typically extremely negative. Although they may still be somewhat helpful, it is much more beneficial to know that comments and apartment ratings are from actual renters, and not from their competitors, managers, or multiple comments from one unhappy renter. Although renter ratings are very important, they should not be the only way to rate an apartment or landlord.
The RPA has developed a reporting system that allows you to check out any landlord (not just major apartment communities) based on thousands of helpful records. Based on many factors the RPA creates an easy to read Landlord Risk Score from 0 to 900. The higher the score the lower the risk. The RPA Landlord History Report is like a credit report on your landlord. The information is compiled from several government agencies, private records and public databases. The report is generated in a matter of seconds and provides detailed information on 12 main categories:
Address Verification / Criminal History / Approval Status / Landlord Certifications / Landlord Complaints / Sex Offenders / Crime Statistics / Law Enforcement / Vacancy Rates / Area Statistics / Renter Comments / Risk Score
Landlord Education and Certifications:
As mentioned above anyone can become a landlord. As a landlord you are required to abide by hundreds of laws that govern the rental industry. But once you become a landlord no one tells you what you are required to do. This can cause serious problems for you and your tenants. Unlike other businesses, as a landlord you open yourself up for major risk; not only because you have the value of your property at stake but also because many landlord laws carry large fines and possible jail time. Unknowingly, you may violate a law such as the lead disclosure law, which is a national law requiring every landlord that rents out a property built prior to 1978 to provide their tenants with a copy of the lead pamphlet created by the EPA. Failure to do so is an automatic fine of $10,000 per person and possible jail time.
The RPA has created a landlord training program to help educate landlords and property managers. The program allows landlords to earn rankings and certifications based on their experience and ability to pass the exams. These online landlord training modules help landlords to understand their responsibilities and obligations. It also helps landlords manage their rental properties more effectively by teaching them property management skills. In addition to the training program the RPA also provides an online landlord magazine, which helps keep landlords up to date on current laws and management issues.