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A Tenant Signs the Lease and then Vanishes. What do you do?

The prospective tenant passed your background check, they were very welcoming in the showing, and really everything looked great when you signed the lease.  But then when move-in day comes, nothing happens.  The tenant is nowhere to be found.  Plans can change on a dime.  Below are suggestions on handling and preventing cases like these. Procedure: If you have already signed a lease with a tenant, it is a binding contract and you must go through the same legal process as any other tenant. This will be a unique circumstance since the tenant is not presently occupying the unit and may not see the notice on the door.  Post the notice there anyways.  You don’t know if the tenant will return or not.  You as the landlord need to make every attempt to clearly communicate the 3-day notice to pay rent or quit.  This means not only posting a notice on the door of the property, but also emailing, making phone calls, and any other possible form of communication you have at your disposal.  After this period of time, and you have established that the unit is vacant, you then will be able to go back to putting the unit on the market. Can I enter the property to check that the tenant is there? You must first provide a 24 hour notice before entering a unit.  This will simply extend the timeline to getting the unit filled with a paying tenant. If you haven’t received the rent payment on the day it was due......
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Three Fundamental Steps to Successful Apartment Marketing

Three Fundamental Steps to Successful Apartment Marketing
  As a property manager, you likely have noticed the challenge that exists in apartment marketing. It can be hard to get the positives of a property across in many kinds of marketing, as most people are looking at the cost and spying closely for any kind of negatives. Basically, people are always looking for that one reason to look at another property rather than your own; your job then becomes trying to convince them not to do so. If you want to start making better progress when it comes to apartment marketing, here are three fundamental steps that can make a telling difference to your success rate. Use these, and you are far more likely to find it easy to get your apartments rented out to the right tenant. Host Community Events One of the most powerful tools that you can utilize for powerful and effective apartment marketing stems from hosting a community event. Not only does this allow you to draw in interested parties and gain some trust, it lets you begin to better understand the local community. That understanding can be essential to long-term success. Just make sure that you use a local calendar to find some spare time on the local scene; competing with things like school events will see turnout dwindle quite heavily. Also, give yourself between 4 and 6 weeks of marketing time to help build up local interest in the community. An event, though, from raising supplies and food for food banks and homeless......
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Closets: The Untapped Resource

Closets: The Untapped Resource
How to become a front player in the estate development industry? Also, how to build and safeguard a strong financial muscle investing in real estate?  The next wave of consumers will want customization. Looking toward the next influx of buyers this is one way to attract a wider market and increase profits. With offering a wide range on configurations potential buyers are able to choose a design that fits their needs. Everyone from the working bachelor to the soccer Mom can benefit from a customized closet. Investors will benefit from properties “tailor made” for the consumer. This concept also will make the properties stand out from the competition. Widening the market will only widen profits. The closets by design concept allows the property to have as many as three to four different options for the potential consumer. Having multiple options will bring a fresh perspective on a normally routine event. This inspires a sense of ownership with the clients. A sense of pride when making it your own space only personalizes the experience. More and more the consumers want storage designed for ease and accessibility. This is how property management can capitalize on this growing need. With a cookie cutter approach to having closet configurations mass produced the initial investment is minimal to the offset of future earnings. Leading the way for this untapped market allows the property to stand out from the barrage of competition. Making it the desirable, useful, and fun alternative. The options of the closet design concept can......
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Don’t let a Landlord-Tenant Dispute Become a Natural Disaster

shutterstock_171847709Don’t wait until disaster strikes to protect yourself and others from damages. Have a plan in place to prevent landlord-tenant disputes when there is property damage of any kind.  You should take steps to ensure that the lease clearly designates who is responsible for what damages and when.  Both parties should also have insurance when replacements or repairs have to be made. Mind the Lease Lease Termination Landlords should take special care in the rental agreement about terms and conditions for terminating or breaking the lease. This should include stipulations that specify how much advanced notice a tenant must give in order to break the lease and what fees will be incurred if the contract is violated.  Both parties are required by law to provide a 30 day notice that they will be terminating the lease, but you can choose to request a larger time frame in the lease.  Keep in mind that if special circumstances develop on the property, such as a tornado ripping off the roof of the property, the tenant can’t be expected to continue to live in the property.  In such situations that the property is deemed to be untenable, the Landlord must either provide alternative housing for the tenant during the period of repairs or terminate the lease. Damage Repair Replacement and repair for damages are generally isolated for the landlord and the tenant.  The tenant is to be responsible for their own personal belongings inside of their unit.  The landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the physical property inside and out. What if the pro......
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It's R-U-D-E to Pay Rent Late

Why do Residents consider it rude for a Manager to ask a Resident whose account is delinquent when to expect the rent to be paid? Do Residents think that paying rent is an option under the Lease Agreement? For the past several months, I think I may be laboring under the assumption that Management has no right to even ask or remind a Resident that rent has become past due. Chronic late payers need to be corrected in their thinking that paying rent late does not matter to the “Big Bad Management Company” who has all the money in the world. Even if they do have all the money in the world, that isn’t the point. Delinquent payers CAN cause a Management Company to delay payments to vendors, put off capital improvement projects, even scrap a plan to replace outdated appliances for the quarter when collecting rent is THE paramount goal for the onsite Office team. Recently, spurred by this topic, I suggested some “creative” ways for Residents to scrape up the money to make it through another month. While directing concerned residents to the obvious sources: United Way agencies, township offices, Trustee Offices, churches, and other local charitable organizations, I was also wondering if there are other ways worthy of consideration.  How about: 1.       Payday Loans (One manager I know has used this successfully at his property. I don’t know how that ultimately helps a resident in the long run, but it can keep a roof over one’s head for a month or ......
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Budget Season: Tips to Make This Challenging Time Less Painful

Budget season is among everyone’s favorite. It’s right up there with tax day, cleaning out the garage and having toenails pulled.  Much thought goes into creating a budget – not to mention a lot of back-and-forth from everyone who is a part of the process – but the information is often obsolete the moment it’s finalized. The spreadsheet might look tidy, an accurate spending forecast for the year to come, but things change quickly. Budget-breakers, such as unforeseen repairs, unexpected increases in vendor costs or the need to upgrade to a more sophisticated software platform can throw the original budget into disarray. Seeing that the process of constructing and modifying a budget can be painful, here are a few concepts that can help alleviate the process: Be timelier: Many companies want the first draft of the budget to go to the asset management team in September, which doesn’t take into account four more months of revenue when attempting to predict up to 16 months out. Seeing that many are not approved until December or early into the next year, constructing a budget too early can paint an inaccurate picture. Delegate some of the hours elsewhere: This is not advising companies to skimp altogether on constructing a budget. But seeing that the information can become outdated the moment it is printed, perhaps it’s best to shift some of those hours to other tasks. When I was at AIMCO, our COO estimated that 100,000 hours were expended per year on budget preparation on the 385,000 u......
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Promoting Work-Life Balance in the Workplace

Promoting Work-Life Balance in the Workplace
Work-life balance in the digital era can be extremely difficult to achieve. With smart phones and constant access to email, it can be a real struggle for team members to unplug from work mode, so it's critical in this day and age for companies to foster a culture that promotes a healthy balance.  The overall morale of a workplace gets a significant boost when employees can bring energy and focus to the office – but they’re not going to bring those things to the table while working 24-7 or otherwise feeling overloaded. That’s just a one-way ticket to burnout.  Below are some ways that apartment companies can promote a strong work-life balance and keep their team members energized and productive. • Gather employee feedback. This is so simple but so helpful: make a point of communicating regularly with employees to gather feedback about the workplace issues that may be causing undue work or stress. Whether it’s through in-person, one-on-one meetings or sending out surveys, it is extremely beneficial to check in and see how employees are feeling with regards to hours and schedules. Most importantly: take their comments seriously and make any appropriate changes when necessary. • Encourage physical activity and activities outside the workplace. Exercise is a great way for employees to manage and combat the often-debilitating effects of stress. Urge employees to regularly engage in restorative physical activity by – for example – providing discounts for local gym memberships, holding friendly interoffice competitions to see who can exercise the most within a g......
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The Americans with Disabilities Act for Landlords And Property Managers

The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as “ADA” is a federal civil-rights law protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA places guidelines for access to: Employment State and local government programs, services and buildings Access to places of public accommodation such as businesses, transportation, and non-profit service providers Telecommunications George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; standing left to right Reverend Harold Wilkie, Sandra Parrino of the National Council on Disability; seated left to right, Evan Kemp, Chairman of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, George Bush, Justin Dart, Chairman of the ‘s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Washington DC, USA, 26 July 1990. (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images). The scope of the law is fairly broad and addresses many of the obstacles affecting the participation of people with disabilities within society. Many of the ADA’s civil rights protections parallel the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the protections it established for racial, religious minorities and women. Occasionally, management companies may be faced with a lawsuit for non-compliance with ADA laws.  These compliance problems are usually preventable as many times they result from violations which stem from the lack of proper guidelines, policies, procedures, and/or practices regarding accessibility. Implementing current policies can go a long way toward avoiding the expense associated with ADA lawsuits. As owners, landlords, managers, and tenants can be jointly and severally liable in the event of non-compliance. Making it important to ensure you have safe practices in place to address......
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How to Stand Out to Potential Renters

According to a CNBC article posted in June, renters are avoiding buying because home prices are soaring. In fact, only 52 percent of renters surveyed by the National Association of Realtors quarterly report stated that they feel now is a good time to buy a home – this is down from 62 percent a year ago. With renters on the rise, property managers need to constantly be prepared for an individual to move out. When a current renter decides to move out, it’s standard practice to provide property managers and owners with a 30-day notice. And as property managers prepare for the renter transition, it’s critical to emphasize the unit and building amenities, and even take the time and resources to make updates when possible. Marketing a vacant unit in a multi-family complex is integral to filling the property within a reasonable timeframe. When a rental property is vacant, it costs money for every day it sits empty. Therefore, it’s important to reduce that time between qualified, paying renters to the bare minimum. No matter what tactic property managers use to market vacant rental properties, there are a couple things that will maximize the impact of their outreach efforts. On one hand, marketing the unit and building is crucial to standing out. Everything about the rental property – from the outside of the building to the front door and the interior – needs to be attractive and look rent-ready. While writing enticing copy for a listing, include all the features and updates of the unit......
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Change vs Auto Pilot

October….the month of goblins, ghouls and witches. Being scared. Let’s talk scary. What’s that old saying? Change is scary? Or something to that effect….. In property management, change can take many forms. A change in leadership, a promotion, a software change, a change in management, so many variations of change can happen at any given moment. It jumps around the corner and says “BOO!”, when you least expect it.  But to me, being on auto pilot is even scarier. Why? Because along with auto pilot comes other things: stagnant, uninspired, boredom, etc….and those are scarier than any change I could imagine.  Auto pilot means you’re comfortable. And while comfort is something we all strive to achieve, it breeds auto pilot and all the things mentioned above. Comfort equates to a security blanket. All the things you know, you can trust and you can depend on.  It doesn’t matter what role you serve, when you become any of the things I mention above, you’re doing a disservice to your team, your company, but, most of all yourself. Most of us didn’t just meander our way into property management and settle; we fell in LOVE with property management and found passion and inspiration.  I won’t argue with those who say change is scary, what I will say, is auto pilot is even scarier. I am aware that change can be scary, change means an unknown variable in some instances. But with that change comes the opportunity to challenge yourself, to watch yourself rise above the challenge......
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