I just finished reading the 9th edition of Leigh Robinsons's super, excellent, definitive tome on being a Landlord or Landlady. I had bought and read his 3rd edition in 1981 and found that to be excellent. I have used the Rental Application form from that book hundred's if not thousands of times. That earlier edition is worn out the back is broken and the pages are dog eared. I was long over due for a new copy. There are many, many updates from the earlier version, and the book has grown from 270 pages to 494 pages! The latest edition has over 60 forms made and revised over the years by the author, a hand-on landlord himself.
This book is a tremendous value, filled to the gills and them some with useful, practical, down to earth advice from somebody who actually is a landlord. Leigh Robinson knows his stuff, there is no question about it. If you are currently a landlord/lady then you should run, or trot to your keyboard and order this book from Amazon.com. If you think you might want to become a landlord/lady then this book is recommended for you also.
One example contained in the book is having escrow accounts for the tenant's security deposits. I have personally used this for years even though not required by state law. The bank I use does not charge me anything to set up the escrow account with a separate sub-account for each tenant. Even people sharing one place have a separate individual sub-account with interest accruing to the tenant. Another example from the book is the landlord/lady's car. You can drive your Mercedes, Porsche, or BMW, just not to your rental properties. Personally I like a 1982 Cordoba, but a beat up car or pickup truck will do. The reason for this is many tenants think that all of their rent ends up in the landlord/lady's pocket. They forget about mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs, supplies, etc.
The author recommends that no appliances be furnished. Usually for houses we don't provide any appliances except ranges, but supply refrigerators for apartments. Very rarely would we supply washer, dryer, air conditioners, etc. Leave that to the tenants, this reduces repair bills and responsibility. One owner that I talked to had a refrigerator fail and the tenant claimed that the owner was responsible for spoiled food.
Since then that landlord does not provide any tenant with a refrigerator, and therefore is not responsible if the appliance breaks or for food spoiled.
The author notes that 50% of tenants have pets and discusses at length the pros and cons of renting to the pet's owner. Coin operated laundry is also discussed with the author`s recommendation being that you only provide if there are 16 people or 12 bedrooms in the building. For smaller building than that it is not feasible to provide that to tenants. Leigh Robinson's recommendation on page 273 for wording on a section 8 lease could save thousands of dollars. In my opinion this book is invaluable and worth many more times the asking price. There is no better book on "Landlording" and I think I've read most of them. Buy it, enjoy it, use it, and profit from it.