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Are you doing this for your Service Team in the summer?

A/C service calls and work outside in general are at an all-time high and very often your technicians have to work outside in the sun, on rooftops, in attics, crawlspaces and very unhospitable places to make sure their customers, the residents, have air condition and can enjoy their home at a comfortable temperature. Too often though, nobody regularly checks on the technicians throughout the day to make sure they haven't suffered from a heat injury or show any signs or symptoms. It can be as simple and make sure there is water and healthy drinks available all day and that they have to let their supervisor or manager know they are staying hydrated. The last thing you want, is to find a technician that suffered heat exhaustion or heat stroke because someone didn't think to check on them or have water and fluids available.  If someone is going to work on a rooftop or in an isolated area they should check in every so often (15 minutes) to let someone know they are alright and doing well.  The surface temperature of many rooftops is over 140 degrees, an attic can be just as hot, and it is already hot enough outside in the sun and shade. Even just walking around on the hot asphalt exposes a technician to much more heat than walking on concrete or grass. If you measure the difference with a thermometer, the temperature difference between, grass, concrete, asphalt and a rooftop or attic is significant. Often times the difference ......
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How to Maximize the Storage Space in Your Multifamily Apartment Units to Increase Rents

One thing that residents will always want in an apartment is as much space as possible for a rental price that they see as justified. However, many multifamily apartment homes are not known for offering a ton of features that increase storage capacity, so when a renter finds a hidden space gem, they’ll pay more for it.    Renters are very familiar with having clutter that easily piles up because of limited storage options; a main drawback of apartment living. When renters feel the need to fill up their floorspace with extra dressers and other storage containers, the livable footage of the apartment becomes smaller and smaller and their frustration grows bigger and bigger.    Providing your renters with increased closet storage capabilities in your multifamily apartment units will not only help you attract more renters, but also make your units more valuable and keep renters leased longer.   If you are looking for an easy renovation project that will increase space and storage in the apartments you own or manage, the best way is to start optimizing your closets.  Optimizing Your Multifamily Closet Space Most closets in multifamily housing units are severely underutilized with sometimes less than 50% of the functional space available being used for storage. Master bedroom closets are where the largest waste of space usually occurs. Many apartment complexes tout walk-in closets as one of the draws to rent from them; however, these closets are not used in a way that actually maximizes storage and space.   T......
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Technicians are Exhausted

Technicians are Exhausted
Technicians are exhausted, burnt out and need time to replenish, recover, and re-energize. If you don’t do something about it the shortage of techs will only get much worse. It is time to make changes that matter. We all know that our technicians are the heartbeat of our service and commitment to take care of our residents and make our properties as successful as possible. The pandemic and the past year have taken a serious toll on everyone on site that cannot be overlooked, and it is evident by employee turnover which specifically includes our Service Team members. More than ever before, good technicians are hard to find, and the great ones are even more of a rare find. There is such a shortage, that when a great tech is available or looking for a new place of employment they are inundated with offers, messages from recruiters and almost always have a new place of employment immediately. Far too often, technicians genuinely don’t feel as if they are valued and respected in the workplace. They hear it often, but don’t feel they experience it nearly enough, if at all. It is one thing to tell an associate they are respected but it is an entirely different matter for them to experience it from their own perspective and feel as if it is true through deeds not words.  What does this mean? Techs want to be spoken to with respect, they want the support of their team, and they do not want to be......
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How Are You?

The multifamily industry is a wonderful industry to be apart of. Within your career you have the opportunity to meet fantastic people from diverse backgrounds and we have the responsibility to provide homes or what I tell my team "sanctuaries". The world can be harsh and cruel and when we close the door to our home we can relax and feel safe. Our industry provides peace and calm to so many. 2020 added extra pressure to the entire industry. Onsite teams had to learn to adapt to the constant changes from the corporate offices and to see and hear the sadness of many residents struggling to make ends meet and at the same time do their jobs efficient and effectively. More reports, more zoom calls, more challenges, more CDC regulations.....I could go on and on! But with all of that we stood tall and walked in to work every day giving it our very best and at timeS being resident's punching bags. This pandemic took a toll on everyone and it can really  upset your mindset. So I ask you, how are you doing? It is ok to feel tired, stressed, weary and at your wits end. It is ok to take that PTO even if it's a staycation binging Netflix and your favorite ice cream. We have to take care of ourselves! Corporate employees check on your onsite teams, they are struggling and when they are vulnerable with you allow them some grace. Onsite managers ask your teams if they......
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What are Resident Performed Inspections?

ResidentPerformedInspectionsWhat if your residents could gather information and help you get work done?  That could save a tremendous amount of time for your maintenance staff on move in inspections, for example.  While the quality of information may vary from resident to resident for quarterly or annual inspections, residents can provide valuable pictures and other information providing insight to issues before turning the inspection into a complaint form.  Plus, during the pandemic, this may be the only option for collecting this valuable information.  Inspections provides you a way to integrate residents into your maintenance process making them part of the solution versus complaining about the problems. Sure, there’s still the tried and true method of providing residents a paper inspection and asking them to fill out, sign and turn in to the office.  Yet, that method lacks pictures, and is typically filed in the resident’s folder.  They are difficult to use for corrective or future action unless someone does the extra work of having them digitized.  Just keep in mind that by using paper, you are providing your residents and staff with an unwritten message about how you view technology and the convenience that it provides. So, what options do you have?  Well, there are a lot of inspection systems out there, and not all of them support resident-performed inspections.   For those that do, you will need to evaluate them based upon features that offer you value and efficiency.  Starting with the basics, you’ll be looking for systems that not only perfor......
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Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol

Gyms Deemed Safe with Sanitizing Protocol
Pandemic or no pandemic, sanitization is always in style. Property managers stretching their maintenance team thin trying to keep up with the recent increase of cleaning demand can be stressful to everyone, and if the standards can’t be met, residents ultimately suffer.   In this post, I'll share the latest news in sanitizing and disinfecting to prevent COVID-19, how it may affect your property, and provide tips for what to do next. Safe & Sanitized The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and MXM, a technology company specializing in member tracking within the fitness industry, found that fitness facilities are safe and are not contributing to the spread of COVID-19. They analyzed member check-in data across 2,873 gyms, sports clubs and boutique fitness centers from May to August 2020. “The check-in data proves that health clubs – when following strict cleaning and safety protocols – are safe,” said Brent Darden, IHRSA interim president and CEO.    Overall, the data they gathered proved two major points:  1.) Properly sanitized gyms are safe for employees and members and  2.) Gyms are not linked to spikes or spreading of COVID-19. Our Survey Results Gathering feedback from residents is important to understand their wants, needs, and priorities. In our most recent survey, we asked more than 1,000 residents about their interest in group fitness activities. 98% of residents at two properties surveyed said they would take a class if, and only if, protocols and CDC guidelines were in place. With the help of an online am......
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Plumbing Basics for Landlords: Tenant Problems and Prevention

Plumbing Basics for Landlords: Tenant Problems and Prevention
The best-laid plumbing of mice and men can still encounter catastrophic failure… or something like that. Proper piping maintenance is not simply about keeping the heat above fifty-five degrees in the winter (although you should). In fact, there are a number of ways you can treat your pipes and drains and you can train your tenants to treat your pipes and drains that will go a long way in ensuring your plumbing infrastructure remains in excellent condition. But before we jump into prevention, let’s first talk handling problems when they do go awry.   Things to Consider When Managing Your Tenants’ Plumbing Problems  Here are a few items to consider from a plumbing and procedures standpoint with your tenants:  Who Handles Plumbing Problems — You or Your Tenants?  At some point, you may need to invest in repairs or upgrades for your units, and that may be something of an unavoidable reality, depending on how old your properties are, the shape they were in when you bought them, and how long you plan on managing them. Ultimately, major repairs and other plumbing services will be your responsibility as you are the property owner or manager. Nevertheless, your tenants do not have license to mistreat the property or hasten the need for repairs and upgrades by misusing the plumbing, so you want to articulate in your lease agreement that your tenants will pay additional charges to cover the costs of repairs for any inappropriate behaviors that cause clogs, backups, buildups, and other plumbing problems. Certainly, landlords and tenants have battled in court over who is to blame for plumbing problems and the need for repairs, so you want to minimize any grey areas that open up an opportunity for debate by hammering out the details of what is and is not allowed and who is responsible for what in an air-tight agreeme......
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Plumbing Basics for Landlords: Understanding Piping Ownership and Responsibility

Plumbing Basics for Landlords: Understanding Piping Ownership and Responsibility
Unless you’re a certified master plumber, or you have had serious issues with the plumbing at one of your properties or in your own home, you probably don’t think about your pipes much. After all, most people take functioning plumbing for granted. Once things are down the drain, it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” You might be in a spot where you know that one of your properties will need an upgrade sooner or later, but you aren’t sure what the exact problems are and what you need to do about it. This article outlines some of the most relevant topics in plumbing, maintenance and renewals to get you acquainted with this potentially headache-inducing and often foreign aspect of property management.  We’ll use Kenton county, Kentucky, one of the three counties that make up the northern-most regions of the state just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio as an example.  A Tale of Two Sewers: The Stormwater and Sanitary Sewer Systems  Our plumbing infrastructure in the United States functions with two main sewers — one for stormwater and one for sanitation. Keeping these separate prevents toxic waste from ending up in stormwater basins, and it prevents stormwater from overwhelming the pipelines that manage waste. The same agency often oversees both. In Kenton county, for example, the Sanitation District No. 1 (or SD1) oversees the sanitation and stormwater sewer systems.   It’s also important to know that potable drinking water is connected to your properties through a distinct set of pipes. These pipes only transport water to the properties. Once water is used in some fashion at a property, it exits the property through the sanitation sewer system pipes as waste. It’s not uncommon for a separate entity to manage potable d......
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A Landlord’s Guide to Cleaning Appliances

A Landlord’s Guide to Cleaning Appliances
When it comes to cleaning our houses, most of us will concentrate on dusting shelves, vacuuming the carpets and disinfecting the sinks, but we often forget about the appliances we use every day. Making sure appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and stove tops stay clean does more than keep your home looking its best. Cleaning appliances regularly can be essential for keeping them in their best condition and ensuring that they run efficiently, which is particularly important for any landlord looking to extend the life of their investment. Why Cleaning Appliances Matters Here’s an example for you: refrigerator condenser coils often become covered with dust and lint. Because of this, they have to work harder to keep your refrigerator running. Unfortunately, this can result in your fridge burning out before its time. When you clean your fridge, you often focus on the aesthetics and smell of the inside and front door, but if you don’t make an effort to clean the condenser coils, your missing a major and important part. A quick and easy suggestion: make a point of giving the coils a quick clean each time you change air filters in one of your units – small efforts regularly can save you big time in the long run. In the case of washing machines and dishwashers, many people might believe that they don’t have to clean them at all. Yet giving the insides of these appliances a regular cleaning is important for ensuring dirt and other contaminants aren’t lingering in the no......
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6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Rental Property

6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Rental Property
There’s no better time for spring cleaning your rental property than, well… the spring.  The sun stays out just a little bit longer and people get the urge to wipe it all away and make a fresh start. According to the American Cleaning Institute, 72% of households spring clean every year. Surely your future tenants would not want you to be the exception. If you’re between leases, the spring is the perfect time to refresh your units with a little extra TLC. If you’re not, or you have long term renters, it still doesn’t hurt to share this list with your tenants. You may be surprised how many take the info to heart (who doesn’t love a freshly clean living space?). And if you really want to go the extra mile, offer to buy / provide the cleaning materials for anyone that takes you up on it.  So take advantage of the extra daylight and follow this checklist to ensure your rental property stays in top condition. 1. Wash walls, cabinets, baseboards and woodwork This is a great example of a task that is truly only necessary once or twice a year. Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth or sponge to remove any excess dust. Follow with an undyed cloth and warm soapy water. Scrub walls from top to bottom, and make sure to leave a door or window cracked open to help expedite the drying process. 2. Clean your screens and windows First, remove the screen entirely from the window – it......
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