Including Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that you'll be able to find the answer to your question here. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us .
Click a topic to expand or collapse the list of hyperlinked questions
Q What's the difference between the RHOL supporting membership and the free RHOL membership?
A A RHOL supporting membership, currently $44.95, provides access to all RHOL Web site features including member-only pages, e-Courses , the Forms Web , posting to VacancyList.net , and, if qualified, to free set up for credit services from a third-party vendor.
A free Vacancy Listing membership is available that allows posting of vacancies to the VacancyList.net database, but not to any other member-only benefits.
Q I tried to join and got a message stating that my "transaction did not go through" after I clicked the Finish button. The message included a list of possible reasons for the failure. Why did this happen? What should I do?
A In addition to the possible reasons stated in the error message, there are many possible causes of a failed attempt to join. Starting from the top of the form, important issues include:
First Name & Last Name - The first and last name must agree with that of the credit card account.
Street, City, State, Zip - The address must be that on record with the credit card company.
Card Number & Expiration Date - Must be correct.
Even though the transaction failed, your information probably went into our database, with your record in our database showing that you are inactive. We may be able to manually process the transaction with information we have, but, in any case, we will contact you.
Although the above items are those required for card approval, the following other issues might be of concern when completing the form:
Phone Number - If you want to be contacted by phone in the event that a personal response might be necessary or helpful in answering a question, be sure to provide a valid number.
Member Type & Rental units owned or managed - These are useful for determining what content or services should be considered.
Email Address - You should provide a valid current email address for several reasons. First, if there is a problem with the join transaction, we can contact you. Second, we have an automatic password retrieval system that will instantly provide your password in the event it is forgotten. The password is sent to the email address of record in our database. Be sure to change your email address in our records whenever necessary.
Password - Passwords must contain at least 6 letters and/or numerals, with at least one of each. It will not accept 6 letters or 6 numerals. It will accept 5 letters/1 numeral or 1 letter/5 numerals and every combination in between with the letters and numerals in any positions within the row of 6 characters. For example, you can use Pass44 or 44pass. You can also use more than 6 total characters if you wish. For example you can use 12345Password67890. Finally, always remember that passwords are case sensitive - that is, Password77 is not the same as password77.
Q When signing up for a RHOL membership, I notice that I can see the password that I type into the form rather than asterisks or dots that I've usually seen when entering passwords. Do I need to be concerned?
A The issue of the security of your password, credit card number, and other information when transmitted over the Internet has nothing to do with whether or not one sees the information when entered into the form. The RHOL Join page is an "https" page rather than an "http" page and you will see a locked lock at the bottom of your browser window. This means that information is encrypted before going out over the internet. The reasons that password blanks often (e.g., the RHOL login) show asterisks or dots (for our login) rather than what's typed are to prevent someone getting your password when (1) looking over your shoulder as you type it to log in (assumes that they don't see what keys you type, a more difficult thing to do if you type fast) and (2) looking at the login form when the password has been saved to your hard-drive, as happens without choice with the RHOL login.
Q I am a teacher of real estate courses - I am a newspaper reporter - I am a student - I am a researcher - I work in a government housing agency ... Can I qualify for a complimentary membership?
A We're sorry, but RHOL does not offer complimentary memberships.
We receive a number of requests for free memberships weekly, from teachers (public and private), researchers (students & writers), government employees (local housing agencies, etc.), newspaper reporters, and others. RHOL has no way to judge which few might be most deserving and cannot afford to provide them all. Accordingly, we've had to make a firm policy of providing no free memberships. Considering RHOL's very low annual membership fee compared to other similar sites, we don't consider this to be a serious issue for even the lowest income student.
We would certainly welcome you as a member and feel that the resources of the RHOL family of web sites would be of value to you.
Q Can I get my money back if I don't I find out that RHOL doesn't meet my needs or wants?
A RHOL's policies regarding all Web site issues are found in our Disclaimer & Legal page. The clause regarding refund of membership fee is as follows:
Paid subscriptions and memberships to the Service may be canceled, and fees will be refunded, provided such cancellations occur within 7 calendar days of the original membership purchase. Refunds will never be provided upon cancellation of a renewed membership.
Accordingly, you should be sure to check out the RHOL Web site as soon as possible after you join and immediately email member support if you wish to cancel your membership.
Q Where should I report a bad link?
A Please report the specific link and the name of the page it is on to email@example.com . Many Web sites on the Internet have moved or closed since we began creating RHOL pages in 1994 and it's impossible to keep up with all changes without the help of visitors.
Q Will RHOL answer questions regarding investing or managing real estate that I email to RHOL?
A Sorry, but we cannot answer individual questions. Answers to the vast majority of rental housing questions can be found on the RHOL web sites. Although many pages can be viewed by non-member visitors, many others are available only to members. RHOL is planning to implement an increase in membership fees in the near future, but an annual membership currently costs $44.95. For additional information regarding the benefits of membership, visit our Why Join page.
You can also post your question to the Helping Forum at http://rhol.com/helping for probable help from other experienced and knowledgeable landlords who regularly answer questions there.
Q Is there any reason I shouldn't provide my email address when posting to discussion forums?
A DON'T. Putting email addresses in discussion forums can result in problems when your posting is found by a search engine. This can be particularly embarrassing, even troublesome, when posting using a company email address. If you want to post an email address where another person posting to the same forum can reach you, use an address that doesn't matter.
Q I am an insurance agent , real estate broker, handyman, or __________. Will RHOL membership gain me access to possible customers? Does RHOL provide advertising opportunities on the site?
A RHOL does not provide vendors with direct access to members. Although we plan to provide advertising opportunities in the future, we don't currently have such services available.
Q While surfing around on the RHOL Web site, I often end up on pages other than RHOL.org. What's going on?
A RHOL is actually a family of Web sites that are interconnected via hyperlinks. The following sites make up the family:
The domain names RHOL.org, RHOL.com, CSES.com, Rental-Housing.com, Rental-Housing.net, Rental-Housing.org all point to the same main Web site and can be used interchangeably to specify the same address. For example, rhol.org/default.asp is the same page as cses.com/default.asp. The main Web has a number of sub-webs including the Rental Web (rhol.org/rental) the Forms Web (rhol.org/forms), the Manage Web (rhol.org/manage), the Invest Web (rhol.org/invest), and the CornerStone Electronic University Web (rhol.org/csu).
Most information content pages are in the Rental sub-web (rhol.org/rental), the Manage sub-web (rhol.org/manage), or the Invest sub-web (rhol.org/Invest).
There are also 11 separate Web sites having the following domain names:
Some of these Web sites are still in the early stages of development and are relatively small at present.
Q I sometimes receive a pop-up message that says _______ and I also note that your Verisign SSL Certificate states that cses.com is the site name even though most page addresses are rhol.org. What's going on? Does RHOL really provide a secure site and is my credit card information really safe when it transmitted to you when I join or renew?
A Yes, RHOL is definitely a secure site for transmission of credit card information. As stated in the preceding FAQ answer, the RHOL family of Web sites is usually referred to as RHOL. The owner of RHOL is CornerStone Electronic Services, LLC, hence, the domain name cses.com. The owner of a Verisign SSL certificate must be the name of
If you click on a Verisign logo on the RHOL site you will note the following words:
To ensure that this is a legitimate VeriSign Secure Site, make sure that:
- The original URL of the site you are visiting comes from WWW.CSES.COM.
- The URL of this page is https://digitalid.verisign.com.
- The status of the Server ID is Valid.
Regarding item 1 above, remember that RHOL.org, CSES,com and the other 4 domain names that are pointed to the main RHOL web site, as described elsewhere, are all the same Web site. The issues discussed herein result from the fact that the RHOL structure was set up before SSL became widespread and the structure does not fit the Verisign SSL certificate model.
Q I posted a question on the helping forum as a tenant, and was told I was dumb, stupid, etc. It seemed as though I had stumbled into a nest of vipers! I am really appalled by the comments I received. Can you do something about this?
A RHOL forums are not moderated except that we (1) edit for duplicate postings due to multiple clicking when posting or other causes and (2) remove postings that contain advertising, are not landlord-tenant related, include excessive obscenity, or are otherwise objectionable to me. The fact that this is a free feature makes it impossible to do more than that.
Q Does RHOL provide a means of reporting bad tenants?
A While RHOL once provided a database to which members could post tenant histories, both good and bad, we discontinued it because of potential liabilities. Reporting of credit histories to credit bureaus is very restricted as to the information that can be reported and how it can be accessed. Use of credit reports is highly restricted by the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). RHOL members who sign up with our third party credit services vendor ( http://www.cses.com/credit ) can report debts to the credit bureaus for a fee. You can only report debt (i.e., money owed to you), not the fact that the tenants were late in paying. Keep in mind that if you obtain a judgment against a tenant who owed you money for unpaid rent or damages this judgment will usually appear on their credit report without any effort by you, particularly if their social security number is included in the judgment. RHOL has quite a lot of information on these issues, including on a number of Web pages, some available to visitor and others available only to members, and in the Managing Income Property e-Course ( http://rhol.com/csu ) that is available to members.
Q I am unable to log in to member-only pages, what should I do?
A What you should do depends upon what you see when you enter your username/email address and password and click the Login button.
A page comes up that includes the following words:
The username or password you entered is incorrect.
Please go back and try again.
Remember that passwords are case-sensitive. If you have forgotten your password we can email it to you immediately as long as you know the current username that is in the RHOL membership database. To automatically receive your current password by email, click the Click Here button found on many RHOL pages under the words "If you have forgotten your password we can auto-email it to you." If you don't remember the email address that is currently in the RHOL database, please email RHOL Member Support . If you haven't yet joined RHOL, please do .
Be sure that you are using your complete correct email address (or other username if a long-time member). Members sometimes forget the .com, .net, etc.
A page comes up that includes the following words:
Your RHOL Membership is not active.
Our records show that your account has expired.
You can log in to your personal RHOL page with your email address and password to renew your membership; CLICK HERE . If you don't remember the email address that is currently in the RHOL database or if you think that your membership should be active, you can email RHOL Member Support with your name, username and any information you believe would be helpful in researching the matter.
The LogIn form comes back without the username/email address and password that you had entered.
(1) Check the Privacy setting on your Internet browser. This setting affects whether or not your computer can accept cookies of different types. Although you can sometimes get away with it set at Medium High, if it is set higher than Medium, reduce it to Medium and try again. Alternatively, you can utilize the Per Site Privacy Actions function to allow cookies from RHOL while retaining a higher level of Privacy for other sites. Username/email and password cannot be checked with the database unless your computer is first able to accept cookies.
(2) Check the clock on your computer. It must be set to the correct date and the approximately correct time.
(3) Determine whether your computer is running a firewall program. If not, let us know and we'll pursue the problem further. If yes, try logging in after turning the firewall off. If you are still unable to log in, let us know and we'll pursue the problem further. If you are able to log in with the firewall disabled, you'll need to (a) change settings on the firewall or (b) turn it off temporarily when accessing RHOL members-only pages.
(4) Turn off any third party programs or control panels that automatically reject cookies.
The page load indicator (e.g., hour glass in IE) continues, but the page never appears, even after a wait of several minutes.
If you're using a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer, try again with IE.
If you are still unable to log on, please contact RHOL Member Support .
NOTE : When emailing RHOL regarding the inability to log in, be sure to include details about what browser you were using and the message you received or the fact that you get back a blank login form.
Q Although I had already logged in to a member-only page on rhol.org, when I followed a link to a page on RealEstateInvestorsWeb.com I had to log in again. Is something wrong?
A A RHOL session on a specific domain (e.g., rhol.org) expires at midnight. Most member-only pages are found on some sub-web under rhol.org. However, if you move to one of our other domains , you may be prompted to log in again if the member-only page is on that web rather than on a web where you've already logged in.
Q How do I log in as a member of RHOL?
A You needn't log in unless and until you select a member-only page. That is, you can surf the site without logging in until you select a member-only page. However, you can log in at any time after arriving on the site by clicking on the Member Login tab found at http://rhol.com/ and on certain other pages.
Q How do I log out when I leave the RHOL Web site after having earlier logged in?
A We do not have a log out area as it is not necessary to log out unless you are using a shared computer and don't want others who have access to it to use your account. However, if you do want to log out, please open a new internet browser, click on the tools menu, select internet options, and delete cookies from your computer. This will delete your temporary internet files. Then close browsers used for RHOL.
Q It's Friday midnight and I can't log in. I'm not sure that I'm using the right password. Do I need to wait until Monday for help?
A First, remember that passwords are case sensitive. That is, Password7 won't work if your password is password7 .
Second, if you know the email currently shown in the RHOL database, you can go to any of the numerous places on the site (e.g., the RHOL Homepage ) where you see the words
If you have forgotten your password we can auto-email it to you.
and click the Click Here button. As long as you enter the correct current email address, your password will be instantly automatically emailed to you at that address. This system will not work if your username in our database is other than a current email address.
If you have a non-email address username that was chosen prior to RHOL's requirement that a username be a valid email address, then the password will be sent to the email address that was provided when the non-email address username was chosen.
If neither of the above solves your problem, send an email to member support . Someone will usually get back to you within 24 hours even on weekends and holidays.
Q How do I change my email address, password, or personal information for my RHOL membership?
A To update your membership information; please go to http://rhol.com/join_us/?page=account , enter your username/email address and password, make the necessary changes, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Update Profile button to save the changes.
Q Should I just wait until my membership runs out to renew it or will you send me an email to let me know the renewal date is coming up?
A We do not have automatic renewal notification capabilities at this time, but we usually provide manual email renewal notices shortly after the expiration date. Accordingly, it is important that you use a valid email address when joining and that you keep this address updated. Failure to maintain a valid email address in the RHOL membership database will not only prevent you from receiving the renewal notice, but will also prevent utilization of the auto password retrieval feature and prevent you from receiving customer service communication, renewal notification, and future membership newsletters and other features. It is also important that you set any spam filter to allow mail from firstname.lastname@example.org .
There is no reason to renew until your membership expires. Beginning on the date of your membership expiration a Renew button will be available on the left side of your personal control panel. Just click the button and complete and submit the renewal form.
Q How do I obtain forms?
A See the discussion on RHOL's Forms Web homepage at http://rhol.com/forms/ .
Q I am a member, but am unable to download forms even though I can read the list of forms. Why?
A You may have been trying to download forms from the unsecured Forms List page ( http://www.cses.com/forms/forms_list.asp ), which contains only a non-linked list of the forms available to members, rather than the member-only Forms Page itself ( http://www.cses.com/forms/forms_page.asp ), where there are links to the forms. Log in to the latter and try again. If you continue to have trouble email RHOL Member Support , providing the exact name of the form that you are unable to download.
Q Do I have to be a supporting member of RHOL in order to post listings to VacancyList.net database?
A No. One must be a supporting member in order to have access to all RHOL Web site features including member-only pages, e-Courses , the Forms Web , posting to VacancyList.net , and, if qualified, to free set up for credit services from a third-party vendor. However, a free RHOL membership is available that allows posting of vacancies to the VacancyList.net database, but does not provide access to any other member-only benefits.
Q How do I post a new listing in the VacancyList.net database or edit an existing listing?
A You can go to http://rhol.com/join_us/?page=account , enter your username and password, entering your personal control panel. To add a new listing, click on the Add New Listing link on the left hand side, enter your listing information, and click on the Add Listing button at the bottom of the page to save your listing information. Make sure that the Listing Active box is checked. This enables the listing to show when someone runs a search. To edit an existing listing, proceed as above to reach your control panel. Click on the View Your Listings link on the left side, click the address of the listing that you wish to edit, change your listing as desired, and click on the Update Listing button at the bottom of the page to say your changes. You can delete your listing by clicking on the Delete Listing button at the bottom of the page or simply removing the checkbox to inactivate you listing so that you could later activate it without again typing in the information.
You can also go to http://vacancylist.net , click LOG IN TO POST OR EDIT A VACANCY , log in to your personal control panel, and proceed as above.
Q I did a search on VacancyList.net for my zip code (99999) and got back the message that no listings were found. Is it worthwhile for me to post my vacancy to your database?
A To understand why one will not always find a vacancy for a particular zip code, area code or city, consider the following facts.
- Many landlords do not post vacancies to the Internet.
- There are many dozens of vacancy listing databases on the Internet.
- Most landlords who do use the Internet will list on only one or two databases, particularly since many charge fees for listing.
Now consider the following additional facts about the U.S.
- There are almost 100,000 possible ZIP
- There are tens of thousands of cities and towns
- There are more than 300 area codes
Even if a vacancy listing database has fifty thousand listings (much larger than most), there will be hundreds of ZIP codes, thousands of towns/cities, and many area codes that won't have a listing in a particular database. Our site allows free searching by tenants, whereas many sites require relatively high fees for tenants to use, and free searching use is certainly an attraction to tenants. Since VacancyList.net is free to landlords, I don't know why a landlord wouldn't use it. It seems to me that it might actually be to a landlord's advantage to have the only listing in a city, particularly if the landlord had an attractive well-priced property. Everything of importance that there is to know about the VacancyList.net site can be found on www.rhol.org and www.VacancyList.net .
Q How do I post photos to my listing in VacancyList.net?
A Although it is a feature that on our list of future improvements, RHOL does not currently provide a way to post photos or other graphics (e.g., floor plans, maps) to listings in VacancyList.net.
The search results form states that a picture is not available because the database table and results form were designed in expectation of eventually offering the capability and we do not want to have to redesign the table and form when we are able upgrade the system for listing photos.
Unfortunately, due to limited staff and budget, we have not yet been able to implement the rest of the system for doing so. A major problem is (1) the cost of implementing the capability for landlords to do the upload themselves or (2) the labor cost of our staff doing so for them. Either approach would require that we (1) change the listing service from being free to both listing landlords and searching tenants and charge either or both parties for access or (2) charge landlords extra for the option of posting graphics with their free listing.
When it is possible to post photos to VacancyList.net information will be prominently displayed on the Web site.
Q How can I find listings in VacancyList.net for which the landlord if willing to consider Section 8?
A The VacancyList.net database cannot be searched by that criterion. You can search the database by area code, by zip code, or by city and state for specific minimum number of bedrooms and maximum rent limitations. Doing so will return a list of all properties meeting the criteria you used. Clicking on the address of a specific property provides a detailed listing for the property in a separate window. How detailed the listing is will depend upon how much information was entered by the posting landlord. The detail window includes the information that the landlord will consider a Section 8 tenant if the landlord so chose when posting the listing. If the words "Section 8 Considered" do not appear in the detail window under the Property Information section, then either the landlord does not accept Section 8 or the landlord did not choose to indicate that he would.
Q I have posted a listing in VacancyList.net, but am unable to find it when searching. What's wrong?
A There are several possible problems.
(1) As stated on the posting form, the Listing Active checkbox must have a check in it.
(2) You may be searching using a post code, area code, or city/state that is not exactly the same as you entered when posting the listing. This is particularly an issue when searching by city/state because it is much easier to misspell the name of the city than make mistakes in postal code or zip code. Cities that have abbreviated words (e.g., Ft. Leavenworth vs. Fort Leavenworth, Mt. Pleasant) can especially be a problem. If you are listing a city name that has more than one possible spelling, be sure to use the most common official spelling.
(3) You posted it using a browser that is not compatible with the database. Microsoft Internet Explorer will not be a problem, but there are a couple of little-used browsers that might be. The symptom of an incompatible browser is that field validation does not work - that is, you can submit a listing without having provided certain required information (e.g., the type of property). If you are using another browser type, there is an easy test is to determine whether or not this is the problem. Open a new Add new Listing form and click the Submit button without first entering any data. If it appears that the listing was submitted, it almost certainly wasn't because a fair number of fields must be filled in or selected before the form can be submitted. The solution to this problem is to always use MS Internet Explorer when adding a new listing or editing an existing listing.
Q I have posted a listing in VacancyList.net. Although I can see it among my listings in my Control Panel and in the summary list result after doing a search, I don't see see a link from which to edit it in my Control Panel or from which to view the detailed search results. This is obviously because I didn't provide the address of the property. I prefer to not provide the address. How do I solve the problem?
A The following warning message appears next to the address field in the VacancyList add new listing form:
A detailed report will not be available unless at least one character is entered in the Address field.
You are free to put anything in that field up to 16 characters, but we suggest the words
You may, however, be interested in knowing that most professional property managers and experienced landlords adhere to the following real estate axiom:
If they call on a for sale or rent sign, they probably can't afford the house; if they call on the price in the ad, they won't like the house when they learn the address and drive by it. Save yourself a lot of wasted time by always listing both the price and the address in your advertising.
Q I need to list commercial income property for lease. Can I do so in VacancyList?
A No. VacancyList.net is only for listing residential property or unit for rent. However, RHOL has another Web site Haves & Wants ( http://HavesWants.com ) where one can list the following in separate databases:
Have Commercial Property For Sale
Have Land or Lot For Sale
Have Residential Property For Sale
Have Commercial Space For Lease
Have Personal Property For Sale
And, both posting and searching are FREE .
Miscellaneous Computer Issues
Q Although I'm able to type in information and print the PDF form that I downloaded from the RHOL Forms Web, I am unable to save it to my hard drive. What's the problem?
A Assuming that you are using MS Internet Explorer (IE) of relatively modern vintage and have Adobe Acrobat Reader v.5 or later (may also apply to earlier Acrobat versions) one saves downloaded PDF files as follows:
A common confusion is trying to save from the IE menu which shows "Save" and "Save As" grayed out. Below the IE menus is the Acrobat toolbar line (or lines, depending upon setup). Clicking the small black floppy icon (top far left on my setup) will give you a Save a Copy window from which you can save it wherever you like.
Q Why must I often need to use horizontal scroll in order to read things on the right side of the page?
A We design RHOL pages to be viewed at 800X600 or higher resolution. Your monitor resolution may be set to low, causing everything on a page to be displayed larger than normal. You can adjust it from the Display Icon in your Windows Control Panel. Here's How .
Q What should I be concerned with regarding Internet safety and security?
A Visit our Computer Issues page.