Thursday, August 5, 2010

The legal mambo jambo

So in the midst of yesterday's excitement about all the progress this week, I forgot to talk about the lease software that I picked up.

The first potential tenant who came through, brought a friend with her, who happens to be a residential real estate agent.  He asked me to send all the forms over to him yesterday afternoon - rental application, lease agreement, etc., so that he could review them.  So basically, as soon as they left, I had to make a trip to Staples to pick up some software!   I've had a few people with rental properties offer me the forms they use - but each person also said it might be best to start fresh, as they have all manipulated a number of things in the ones they've used.

Anyway, when I got to Staples,  the rack for the lease software was empty and nearly caused me to have a panic attack.  But luckily I found one lonely version, tucked behind some Will-writing software.  Here's where it gets better - it's not mac compatible!  And yes, I have a mac.   Grrr...  I started to run different possibilities through my head.  My fiance's PC laptop conveniently just died a few weeks ago, never to be revived.  I currently have a work PC laptop at home, but I don't have admin rights to install software.  And then I remembered my old 2002 IBM Thinkpad that has (literally) been collecting dust under my bed.  The Acadia Advantage pays off yet again!  I decided to buy the software, priced at a reasonable $19.95, and hope for the best!  (This is not to say that I didn't stop at Grand & Toy on the way home, just to see if they had anything different... they don't have any lease software as it turns out).

After what felt like a 15-minute boot-up, I managed to install the software on the IBM, and that's when I figured out I wasn't in such a bad place after all.  Once the software is installed, it's just a bunch of folders of different MS Word forms and some links - there is nothing that requires you to continue running on the PC.  The PC is really just required for the installation.  So I copied all the folders and files over to my Mac, and am now a much happier landlord for it!   The IBM, in its senior citizen stage for computer lives, was painfully slow even to copy the files to a flash drive.

Here is what I've noticed about the software so far.


  • Has forms for each province

  • Fully editable Word documents

  • Comes with more forms than I would have known I need - credit check release forms, Pet agreements, Bad cheque notice, Notice of arrears, Moving out guidelines, etc., etc. etc.


  • Not entirely foolproof.  It is so editable that it is hard to know what must stay and what can be removed

  • It would be nice if it offered different forms for different situations - i.e. the forms all refer to one applicant, and ask for only some details on a spouse.  But I wanted to customize it for the unmarried couple that came yesterday, so that I could collect enough information about each of them.  I had to duplicate and copy and paste quite a bit.

  • The software comes with a link where you can check for updates to the form before you use them.  The link didn't work for me, and unfortunately I suspect one paragraph is out of date (it refers to the Last Month's Rent Deposit, and says the landlord must pay the tenant 6% interest on these funds - but a google search leads me to believe this is out of date).

I would be very interested to hear if anyone has dealt with any other similar software that they would recommend?

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