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Are You Aware Of the 7 Year Rule In Background Checks

I have found that many are not aware of the 7 year rule when running a background check so I wanted to be sure you are all fully informed. The 7-year rule states that all civil suits/ judgments, non-conviction arrest records, and paid tax liens can’t be reported in a background investigation after 7 years. This rule applies to every state in the U.S., some instances, states chose to take it even further with their regulations, such as in California, New York, and Kentucky, where non-convictions can’t be reported at all, except for pending charges. Most criminal convictions are not governed by the 7-year rule. (see this chart for some of the exceptions) Since the 7-year rule is a federal guideline it applies to all states for non-criminal convictions and to many states for criminal convictions, you may find that your background check provider will only provide information according to those parameters. People earning over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception, but this also depends on the state. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query. The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are requi......
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Managing Racial Allegations in Online Reviews

The discourse about racism has penetrated almost every industry, and the apartment industry is no exception. Starbucks, H&M, and Roseanne Barr are among the more visible brands/personalities embroiled in these controversies in recent months. You don’t want your company or property to face the same challenges and their consequences. Today, residents will vent their concerns online, accusing the onsite staff or management company of engaging in discriminatory behavior. A typical complaint may include feeling belittled or demeaned by a team member because of race.Following are the common racial allegations and how to deal with them. Racial profiling Residents criticize one or more staff members of racially profiling them. Often a resident of color shares feeling marginalized due to the tone, attitude, and/or body language of a staff member. There may be a more explicit charge of name calling or using racial slurs. Sometimes, residents express delays in service requests as a factor of their race. Discriminatory enforcement of community policy Residents of color, sometimes, allege that onsite staff arbitrarily enforce community policies based on race. They express that staff imposes restrictions on them and not on “white” residents. For example, smoking on premises is disregarded for certain residents while residents of color receive a violation letter. In reviews, residents have accused a manager of simply showing more courtesy and friendliness to certain people and not others – who happen to be people of color. Neighbors are racist Another type of racist allegation is when residents accuse their fellow neighbors of being ra......
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Don't Let the Sign Police Outsmart You- Know Your Sign Code!

We all know that sign code enforcers love to catch us trying to advertise our properties! When I leased for CLASS in the late 90's, most of our clients were under the belief that they really couldn't do much advertising with temporary signage and balloons. It was our job to educate the client and ourselves on the code and rethink how we work around what is permitted/not permitted.  Over the years sign code has closed some of the loopholes we found, but there are still some there if you are savvy enough to find them. We recommend becoming familiar with your sign code and keeping a copy saved to your desktop. Code enforcers take advantage of the fact that most properties are unaware of what their sign code says. Back in the day, we used to put a banner on our rental car and tie balloons to the antenna to attract drive by traffic. We've used bubble machines in Orlando, FL (strictest sign code EVER), purchased the largest American flags allowed by code (they could be seen from the interstate!), and lined the wrought iron fence with red, white, and blue buntings. There is a way around pretty much any code, if you just look hard enough. I challenge each of you to peruse your local sign code and come up with a few ways to advertise your community using temporary signage, balloons, sign spinners, etc. It is as easy as 1-2-3! 1. To find your code, visit Municode.com and click on the red library tab at......
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The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding

The Value of Setting Standards on Products, Services and GL Coding
  Setting standards on products, services, approval processes, and GL codes not only makes your process more efficient, but also saves you money and makes costs (and budgets) more predictable.  When paired with software to elevate visibility and enforce controls, your organization can more easily get the right things done, and eliminate time spent wondering what to do and/or what happened.   Product and service standards, approvals and GL coding all have common attributes.  They are necessary in order to operate profitably and to provide your residents with high quality service, and yet there are too many choices.   What are Product and Service Standards? Defining what products and services to use for a given class of property or region is what I mean by product and service standards.  For example, there may be a certain carpet spec and color used in your class A properties, and specific appliances used in your class B properties.  You may have regional differences in what you decide to specify, for example you may want to use an eggshell paint in more humid areas, and flat paint in temperate areas.   Some of the categories in which companies often enforce standards include:   Floor Covering Carpet Cleaning Appliances HVAC Water Heaters Paint Paint Services Landscape Services Plumbing Fixtures Lighting Fixtures Fire and Security Equipment Window Coverings   If you don’t provide guidance on standards, your staff may have too many choices of what to buy, who to buy from, and what to pay.  As you c......
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The Effects Of The Blockchain On Real Estate

  Blockchain is an emerging technology which will transform the way we buy, sell and lease real estate. “A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order.  It allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically. Originally developed as the accounting method for the virtual currency Bitcoin, blockchains – which use what’s known as distributed ledger technology (DLT) – are appearing in a variety of commercial applications today. Currently, the technology is primarily used to verify transactions, within digital currencies though it is possible to digitize, code and insert practically any document into the blockchain. Doing so creates an indelible record which cannot be changed; furthermore, the record’s authenticity can be verified by the entire community using the blockchain instead of a single centralized authority.” (1) Real estate will not be passed over when it comes to the blockchain disruption either. There will be a need for education in order to transition from the current standard analog norms into the digital space for high value assets such as real estate. Blockchain technology introduces smart contracts on its platform. This allows assets like real estate to be tokenized, and be traded in the same vain as cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin and others. You will be able track all information on real estate,......
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Security Concerns with Off-Campus Housing

When students move off campus it adds a new layer of safety concerns that on-campus students may not consider. While living off campus offers students freedom from university housing rules, more space than the dorms, and the freedom to come and go as they please, it also forces students, parents and property managers to look more closely at the safety of multi-family residences. Students living on campus can rely on university security, building monitors and video cameras, and emergency phones across campus and in its buildings, but moving off campus requires students to ensure the safety of their rental property or home themselves. In a recent survey about key sharing, the majority (63 percent) of Americans reported that at least one person who does not currently live with them has a key to their home. In fact, 18 percent of Americans have given a key to their home to three or more people who don’t live with them, while one-third of Americans admit to making a copy of a house or rental apartment key without asking permission from the property manager or landlord. In an effort to increase the security in off-campus housing and to ease the minds of students and parents alike, property managers can update amenities and building technology in a multi-family building to include an integrated access control system or a smart interconnected lock, which will increase operational efficiency for property managers who will no longer need to worry about that hassle of mechanical key management or students m......
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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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The Best Cities to Invest in Student Housing in Canada - 2017 Edition

  In late 2015, Places4Students published one of our most widely circulated blogs, The Best Cities in Canada to Invest in Student Housing – Province by Province. Since then, the market has grown considerably as more purpose-built student housing has developed throughout Canada, inevitably changing the market landscape. We decided to revisit this topic and once again highlight some of the best cities in Canada to invest in student housing.   The methodology for determining the best cities was based on collecting CMHC data, college and university enrolment statistics, average real estate prices and other rental market data. Other criteria included student enrolment and projected growth, average rental rates, availability of on-campus housing, vacancy rates, number of academic institutions and more.*The following data reflects vacancy, average rental, turnover and availability rates from 2015 to 2016. The average rental rates are based on two bedroom apartments.   Ontario – Peterborough: Last year, Guelph held the number one spot. According to Alan Mason from TrilliumWest, the three key success factors for Guelph included: low vacancy rates, coupled with limited housing options for students, increased enrolment and an improving housing market. Although Guelph is still a top city for student housing investment this year, the number one spot goes to Peterborough. Peterborough has some very favourable rental market conditions:   ·       Vacancy rate dropped from 3.7% to 1.0% ·       Average rental rate (2 bedroom) rose from $959/month to $980/month ·       Turnover rate of 17.4% is the fourth lowest in Ontario ·       Availability rate dropped from 5.1% to 2.2% ·&n......
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Not All Tenant Screening is Created Equally

You can’t always predict who will be a good tenant, but past behavior often indicates future behavior. Whether you’re a landlord, a property manager, or a real estate agent, you should be doing everything in your power to protect yourself from the hassle of dealing with bad tenants and bringing unwanted tenants into your community as they can be can be both time-consuming and financially destructive. Tenant screening can be handled in a few different ways, and one screening process is not always as successful as another. Making your decision solely on price can be a mistake, as many companies bypass certain steps in order to keep prices low. Here are some things you should know before deciding how to handle screening in the future.   Many companies advertise no on-site inspection for their tenant screening; however, you should know that these inspections are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While these companies can offer some valuable information about your tenant’s past, they are not providing full credit reports. Instead, these companies access public data to compile an independent score that only partially represents your tenant’s history. These companies tend to offer the cheapest prices, but at the expense of legality and comprehensive information. Many companies require the tenant to initiate the transaction. While this practice isn’t inherently problematic, it can cause certain problems. For one, because it requires tenant initiation, time can become an issue. In this scenario, the property manager loses some of the control. In some instances it also prevents ......
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Graduate Student Housing Shortage: An Underserved Market?

Graduate Student Housing Shortage: An Underserved Market?
In many college and university communities, there are complaints about too much student housing, but this problem tends to be the polar opposite for graduate student housing. In numerous rental markets across North America, there is a lack of on-campus graduate student housing available, often resulting in fierce competition and long application wait-lists.   The shortage of graduate student housing at many campuses has become a contentious issue, as the following cases illustrate.   At UC San Diego there was a reported 2,500-person wait-list for graduate student housing. Many are left to find alternative options in the off-campus housing market. At Brown University campus housing is not guaranteed for graduate students and only 100 of the university’s 2,000 graduate students live in Brown-owned housing, due to lack of options and availability. McMaster University, boasting a graduate student population of over 4,000, has no designated graduate housing at all. However, the university is exploring options to build their first graduate residence in the very near future. The University of Miami has foregone the idea of providing graduate student housing in their ten-year housing plan and opted to prioritize the undergraduate population.   Problems relating to a shortage of graduate or family housing are nothing new; however, the earliest mention of the issue we could find dates back to August 1947 at Harvard University.So why is there such a shortage of graduate student housing?   There are a few reasons that potentially attribute to the shortage:  Undergraduate student populations tend to be significantly larger than the amount of graduate s......
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