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Landlord 101 class seeks to teach increasing numbers of "accidental landlords" the basics

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An increase in the number of home foreclosures has led to another housing-related phenomenon: the rise of the accidental landlord. These are the folks who buy foreclosed properties and instead of moving in, rent them out to tenants as a way to make money. But sometimes, says Nancy Burke of the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, there's a catch.

Accidental landlords, she says, often don't know the technical (and legal) details of renting. Those may include the ins and outs of housing laws, how to process an eviction or how to run a credit check on a prospective renter. "Not to point a finger, but these guys are going to make some mistakes," says Burke -- and those mistakes then reflect poorly on more-established landlords, such as those who belong to the association.

Hence, "Landlord 101," a class being offered by the association at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Scheitler Rec Center in northwest Denver. (Click here for more details.) The location is deliberate; Denver city councilwoman Susan Shepherd, who represents that part of the city, is helping to present the class after hearing several constituents complain about accidental landlords.

And statistics show that the trend will likely continue. Burke cites one stat that predicts ten million more renters nationwide by 2015 -- which means more landlords too.

"We're just excited to do these classes. We just want to be team players out there in the community and offer something and hope it benefits the whole housing market in general," Burke says. "I'm really pumped up about these."

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