Great point, Brent! That's also where AFPOE can be helpful. Responses which come off like "because...
Wendy Dorchester
Hire for culture, train for skill! Love this. Jared, you have always emulated great culture in every...
Enter your email address for weekly access to top multifamily blogs!
All Things Property Management
  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Buildium LLC

Buildium LLC

Buildium provides simple and affordable cloud property management software solutions to landlords, property managers, condominiums, and homeowner associations. Founded in 2004, today more than 6,000 customers use Buildium’s online property management software to manage nearly half a million units in 31 countries around the world.

Posted by on in Property Management
By Matt Donnelly A security deposit is an amount of money — ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars — that a tenant pays a landlord or property manager at the beginning of a lease above and beyond first or last month’s rent. The security deposit is kept by the landlord or property manager in a separate interest-bearing bank account and is returned to the tenant when he or she moves out at the end of their lease. However, if a tenant damages the property, the landlord or property manager will use some or all of the security deposit to pay for repairs. The security deposit has long been a bone of contention between tenants and landlords and property managers. Some courts are awarding double damages to tenants who sued their landlord for not returning their security deposit. This post will provide guidance for property managers, landlords, tenants, and others who want to navigate the world of security deposits. It will discuss the laws in each state, provide advice from landlords and property managers, and address some of the most commonly asked questions about security deposits. Security Deposit Tips for Tenants If you’re looking to rent, following some simple advice will help you avoid getting scammed. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Remember that security deposits can be negotiable. There are no minimum amounts that property managers or landlords have to charge for security deposits. Know how much of a security deposit you’ll need to pay. There are some state laws that set the maximum amount you can...

Posted by on in Property Management
Growth is possible for all property management companies. (Flickr/crdotx) By Loretta Morgan, Jam Property, Caloundra, Queensland, Australia You’ve chosen a career in property management, and you’re passionate about what you do. Maybe you’ve started a property management company. Now you want to be one of the best and to grow your property management business. Growth is possible for all property management companies. (Flickr/crdotx) But how? This post will give you the tips and advice to get you there. Get a Track Record, Get Experience A key aspect to becoming a great property manager is simple: Do more. How can you do that? Be eager to learn — and learn from the best. Research your leading property managers, what do they do, how do they do it. What have they done to get to where they are today? I have become a leading property manager through watching and learning from leaders in my field. I keep journals of everything I learn. Go Above the Call of Duty One of the ways I have been able to learn is to search for ways in which I can learn without seeking financial reward. This way may not be for everyone, but it has helped me a great deal. Completing my work for my employers and continually doing more has been my motto. Always asking if I can do more, helping out in other areas, filling in for other roles when someone is on holidays or where someone needs help gives you fantastic opportunities to grow and learn. Property management for me has...

Posted by on in Property Management
natural_gas_meterBy Laura Trent, CIA Insurance, Warwickshire, UK Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that continues to claim lives each year as a result of faulty gas appliances. As a property manager, you have a number of legal obligations that are designed to protect the health and welfare of your tenants, as well as anyone else who may visit your property. If your property includes a gas supply, there are certain steps that you should (and must) take in order to comply with legislation and ensure that your tenants are safe and protected. Your Legal Obligations Here in the UK, property managers have a duty to arrange for an annual gas safety check using a qualified professional. They also must provide tenants with a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of the test being carried out, and are advised to keep a copy in their own records too. US state laws vary, but as a rule of thumb it’s good to know that the bare minimum expected in most states is that the property should remain in a habitable condition. This includes the upkeep of any gas appliances. Gas Safety Checklist Only use certified engineers to carry out installations, services and repairs Arrange annual inspections and maintenance for all gas fittings Provide advance notice of inspection dates and work with tenants to gain access to the property Maintain records of safety checks dating back at least 2 years Provide tenants with a copy of each gas safety certificate and...

Posted by on in Property Management
Horseback RidersBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA From time to time, a property owner or possessor will give permission to others to use or rent out parts of her property and put things on it. A soda machine, a vending machine, a gas line, or even a pipe trestle. Those who use that land in this manner have a duty of care to third parties to prevent injury. The same duty that the possessor has. Here is a fun fact pattern. The land possessor runs a horse farm. He rents out horses to be ridden on the property. A customer asks for a mild horse. The land possessor gives the customer what he believes to be a mild horse. The customer takes said horse out for a ride. Said horse is not mild. Said horse goes where it wants to go and takes the customer along with him. Injury ensues: "Plaintiff and his wife rode under the trestle along the indicated road, with plaintiff's horse in the lead. After proceeding about 400 feet to the north at a walk, plaintiff turned his head to the left and called to his wife. As he made this movement, plaintiff's horse suddenly reeled about to the left and began racing back on the road toward the trestle, gaining speed as it went. Plaintiff attempted in vain to control or stop the horse by pulling back on the reins as hard as he could with both hands, but the horse kept going...

Posted by on in Property Management
Social Media BrandsBy Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Whether you like it or not, online marketing is here to stay. Don't think that tomorrow you'll wake up and not have to deal with it or worry about it, like a fad. No such luck. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that it'll go away is not likely to help either. So what is a person to do who doesn't want to do anything, but deep down they know there are some minimum things they should be doing for the “greater good” of their company and future generations of that company? Well, my first rule of thumb is to advise the person in charge of the company to protect the brand. Okay, so what on earth does that mean? What it means is to get your name secured in the top online marketing platforms out there, and if you don't have a domain or blog, get the name registered as well. What sites am I referring to? The major sites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. All of these sites offer customized URL links and, depending on your business, there may be others as well. Again, you ask, what does that mean? It means these labels or URL links are a pattern of letters or numbers or whatever your name is composed of. If someone else in another geography, company, or industry has a similar name, they may beat you to it, so grab it now. For instance, if your...

Posted by on in Property Management
JanitorBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA "The childish propensity to intermeddle was the characteristic which the [property possessor] should have taken reasonable precautions to guard against."* Sometimes the courts come up with lyrical gems that get right to the heart of the matter. Through pages and pages of drivel, more often than not there is one pithy sentence which sums up the whole case and rule. I often wonder why the esteemed appellate justices do not just give us the facts of the case and the one pithy sentence. The books would be a lot smaller and cases a lot clearer.** The above quote comes from a case which held both a tenant and the janitor the tenant retained liable for personal injuries to a three-year-old. The proof was that the tenant was in charge of a school. The tenant also, in the same building, housed families. (It was a hotel, and the tenant was the United States Navy). The tenant retained a janitorial service to clean said school on the weekends. Said janitorial service did so. Sometimes, they would stack the furniture -- desks and chairs -- in a pile. (To make cleaning the floor easier?) One weekend, a child was present in the school. Not a stretch, considering the building also contained living quarters. He climbed up on the furniture pile and promptly fell out the window. From the fourth floor. The case had a lot to do with outdated and inapplicable classifications of the child...

Posted by on in Property Management
Hoarder HomeA guest post by Sara Thompson, Gresham Sanitary Service, Gresham, Oregon You have probably seen these homes on TV, or maybe you’ve seen them in person. People known as “hoarders” compulsively accumulate any and all kinds of things in their homes until it is packed to the ceilings with their every possession. Hoarders usually have an inability to let go of unnecessary items and clean their environment. In some cases, hoarders' homes become dilapidated and dangerous. If you are managing such a property, this can present a serious problem, but with careful planning and consideration, your house can be habitable once again. Dealing With a Hoarding Problem People who become hoarders are in need of help, both with the situation at hand, and in terms of dealing with the disorder. Concerned family members and friends should have the hoarder examined by a doctor, and perhaps consult a therapist. Helping the hoarder also involves completely cleaning out and organizing the home. Piles of clutter can make a home unlivable, creating both safety and sanitation issues. Thus, it’s critical for the home to be cleaned and organized before more problems arise. Possible issues involve fire (due to blocked exits, and huge amounts of paper and flammable objects) as well as the danger of illness from unsanitary conditions in the kitchen and bathroom. Creating a Strategy People who are involved with a hoarding cleanup project need to develop a strategy for cleaning the home, as many hoarding situations can become overwhelming. The best strategy...

Posted by on in Property Management
InsuranceBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA One of my practice areas is insurance coverage work. I represent people and help businesses work out issues with insurance companies regarding whether a particular lawsuit, loss, or claim is covered by insurance. For many people and businesses, insurance is a must and coverage is a matter of everyday life and business practice. Drive a car, get insurance. Own a home, get homeowners insurance. Run a business, purchase a CGL policy. Get business interruption coverage. A gray area is when we are not quite acting as a person or a business. We are volunteering. We are working selflessly for others. For the common good. Sometimes we are paid. Sometimes we are not. The soccer league, church council, and the HOA cannot get along without us. There are important decisions to be made for the soccer league, for the church, and for the condominium complex. But those decisions have implications! People are affected by them. People are denied permission to do things. The HOA must act if it has information. If the collective “it” of the HOA knows of a dangerous condition, act it must, as we know. But what if only some of the directors are aware of the dangerous conditions? What if that director or directors do nothing? And what if someone gets hurt? He gets sued! And he could, in California, be personally liable for not acting on that knowledge. Yes, personally liable, separate and apart from the HOA...

Posted by on in Property Management
OutsourcedA guest post by Brooke McDonald, Apple Valley Property Management, Minnesota As we all know, outsourcing is a risk that can turn out to either be the best decision you ever made or the worst thought to ever cross your mind. When it comes to property management, you have to decide: Am I willing to put the care of my rental property into the hands of a stranger? Will the investment be worth it? The stereotyped and semi-popular sitcom Outsourced didn’t last long on NBC, but it aired long enough to remind Americans of a poignant truth: Any kind of outsourcing involves some kind of learning curve, frustration, and a little bit of humor. Thankfully, outsourcing your property management does not have to be as hairy as Todd Dempsy’s struggles to run his Indian call center, nor will it require working with an office on another continent (unless you hire a property management company in another country, which we don’t advise). No, local property management companies can, in fact, be an incredible benefit to you as a property owner, saving you time and money and providing real estate expertise that can protect you from legal trouble. When you think of the word “outsourcing” in terms of property management, get rid of the negative connotations you often hear. Retrain your mind to hear the word “outsource” in conjunction with “property management” and think smart, wise, and worth it. Outsourcing can be an outstanding decision Doing all the management yourself is a heck...

Posted by on in Property Management
Lady JusticeBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA That's not the quote, is it? No that's right, it's not. The quote is "With great power comes great responsibility." Notwithstanding, we discussed the immunity provisions granted by the California Civil Code with respect to a volunteer director's conduct that might be considered a "tort." So what the legislature gives, it also gives duties. That's not the quote either. It's something about what the legislature gives it also takes away. My right hand does not know what the left is doing, either, by the way. But I digress. Are you still reading this? The same Article of the Act that provides immunity for such volunteer directors also sets forth affirmative duties that all HOAs must follow. They can give themselves "more stringent" duties, but at a minimum, they must: 1. review operating accounts quarterly; 2. review reconciliation accounts of association reserves; 3. quarterly review reserve revenue and expenses; 4. review account statements from financial institutions in which reserve funds are placed; and 5. every quarter review income and expenses for operations and reserve accounts. There is a subset of requirements regarding reserve accounts, in place to protect the maintenance of the complex and its maintenance areas. Who can sign checks, how much has to be in the reserve, what it can be used for. But there is another affirmative duty that dovetails into the theme of our last two blog entries and indeed, a lot of these entries regarding landlords in general....