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Can Your Rental Property Become a Day Care?

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA In a recent notice received by our legal counsel addressing this very issue, apparently if you own rental property in California the scary answer is yes! The great state of California is widely known as a pro-tenant state when it comes to tenant-landlord related issues. Many cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles are saddled with pockets of rent controlled areas making investment opportunities less attractive. They also have unfavorable statewide eviction laws that allow deadbeat tenants to continue residing in properties months after defaulting on rental payments. So this should come as no surprise that according to state law if the tenant is licensed by the California State Department of Social Services (DSS) it only takes a thirty day written notice of their intent to legally start and operate a day care center without the permission of the landlord if the total number of children under care, including the children of the tenant, is limited to six. In fact, permission from the landlord is only necessary if the tenant chooses to increase the total number of children under care to eight. The licensed provider does need to have adequate insurance or be bonded. They must simply provide each parent, in writing, a notice that states the landlord’s insurance will not cover any issues should they arise – how reassuring. In fact, the landlord’s only recourse is that they can require the tenant to increase the security deposit to......
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Property Management Banking Tips

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA If you have decided to delve into the world of property management then the banking procedures will be a bit more involved than simply having a bank account, making your deposits and payments, and balancing the register at the end of the month. I want to stress that every state’s laws are different. Much of what I talk about in this article relates to the best practices specific to the state of Washington. The first rule of business is to establish a trust account with your commercial bank. Oddly enough, once you have sat through the session to get this going, do some telephone banking and ask the representative what kind of account you have set up to make sure it was actually set up as a trust account. Just because they tell you that it is a trust account doesn't mean it is. You have to follow up to make sure that the personal banker did their job correctly. You could find out the hard way that this account was never in fact a trust even if you were told it was. If it isn’t a trust then it will not be protected from potential seizure in the event of bankruptcy or other issues with separate personal or business accounts. Do your due diligence and don't rely on the initial set up. Additionally, you should not have any business operating funds coming into or out of this trust account. The account should......
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How To Handle An Abandoned Property

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA They say that abandonment is a landlord’s or property manager's worst nightmare when dealing with a tenant. How do you know it is really abandonment? Sometimes it’s obvious when everything is gone, the place seems perfectly empty, and the tenant's keys are lying on the counter. But what if the place is full of furniture, the food is still in the cupboard, and you can't get a hold of them? They haven't paid their rent, they haven't returned your phone calls, no one has seen them, and you can't get a hold of anyone on the emergency contact form you had them complete when they moved in. Surely this means they must have abandoned the place. So you change the locks, and uh-oh! There they are coming back claiming you have now burglarized their place. Oh no! This can't be, they clearly abandoned the place and you took all the steps you had to take that were required by law. Maybe it isn't that clear cut. Maybe a tenant still has some rights. Now you are facing penalties, a criminal investigation, and a whole slew of troubles you never knew you had. Let's back up and figure out how to determine that this is really abandonment and you have the right to take possession of your unit. You spelled out what abandonment was with your tenant and you had it written in the lease, right? Good, well at least you tried to get......
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Applying Green Principles In Property Management

A guest post by Samantha Harvey, General Waste Collection, Lancashire, United Kingdom With sustainability becoming more important to the general population, there is an ever-increasing necessity to provide eco-friendly properties. The rise in popularity of green technologies has led an industry that was once seen as expensive and niche-based into one that has competitive prices for many aspects of the building process. With the decreasing initial price disadvantage combined with the always present efficiency positives, the green movement presents a good deal of incentive to implement more eco-friendly resources. With the majority of greenhouse gas emissions coming from buildings, incorporating sustainable processes in homes is vital for curbing the impact of global warming. As a property manager, the bottom line is the strongest guide as to how a property is to be managed. Incorporating green strategies can be a very productive aspect of property management. A major incentive for providing eco-friendly aspects to homes are the tax breaks, whether on a local or national level. Whether it is windows, heating systems, or solar panels, incentivized government programs are out there waiting for people to take advantage. Along with tax incentives, the strategies of increased efficiency provide savings in the operating costs of residential buildings. In cases where utilities are included, the bottom line effect can really add up. If utilities are not included, the potential renter will, or at least should, recognize that their own personal utility bills would be lower. This provides a key advantage over non-green buildings where potential......
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Rent Roll Buying and Selling – More Than Meets the Eye

By Jo-Anne Oliveri, ireviloution intelligence, Brisbane, Australia Recently, I have been involved in the sale and purchase of a rent roll. I had the rare opportunity of consulting for both the buyer and purchaser. Let me say, this was the smoothest and least stressful rent roll transfer I have ever witnessed! Now some might say there is a conflict of interest by consulting to both the seller and the purchaser, and yes, I would agree! I definitely had my reservations about consulting and advising to both of them, but I discussed my dilemma with both parties. They both agreed they would retain me as the consultant and adviser through the negotiation, transfer, settlement, transition and retention period. In fact, I even conducted the inspection and overview on the selling rent-roll, and prepared the due diligence report. This was a tremendous lesson for all concerned (including me)! The offer and settlement process lasted for several months. The buying agency is now in the midst of the four-month retention period. The selling agency must continue to cooperate to ensure all clients (both property owners and tenants) are happy with the new managing agent. Both agencies must not become complacent or lulled into a false sense of security until they are clear of this retention period. For all intents and purposes the first goal of the buying agent is retention! The second goal is to build on the managements that they have invested in to encourage the investor to buy more property and recommend......
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Form 1099s & Year End Statements

By Salvatore Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA For property management companies, the month of January signals a time to prepare and issue year end statements to their clients for tax preparation purposes. Consequently, each January the IRS requires that any taxpayers who have made payments in excess of $600 to workers that are not considered employees must prepare Form 1099 – Miscellaneous Income. Property management companies are also federally required to file Form 1099 for their clients regarding rental income received throughout the year. In addition, copies of this completed form must be provided to the IRS. The IRS compares the payments shown on the information returns with each recipient’s income tax return to determine whether the payments were reported as income and done so properly.   The filing deadline for Form 1099 is January 31, 2012. The IRS also requires that you file a Form 1096 to identify all of the Form 1099s. The filing deadline for Form 1096 is February 28, 2012.   Failure to issue a Form 1099 and file Form 1096 results in penalties and potential disallowances of deductions for those amounts paid. Thus it is imperative to comply with these filing requirements. In years past, SDP Management would spend a lot of time and resources preparing large bulky paper laden year end packages to meet these requirements. The packages, which contained printed year end statements and other tax required documents, would detail the properties prior year performance and provide necessary documentation for......
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Do Short-Term Rentals Make Sense for Property Managers?

Short-term rentalsA guest post by Ashley Halligan, Analyst, Property Management Software Guide Short-term rentals, of all natures, have become a hot commodity – and a controversial one at that. Short-term rentals can include vacation rentals and temporary housing, often sought by vacationers, business travelers, or people who have recently relocated while seeking long-term living arrangements. Either way, it’s become an ongoing topic of debate and an attractive investment opportunity for property owners and managers. In comparison to traditional rentals, short-term rentals can charge significantly higher rates given their nightly and weekly availabilities. Some property owners have earned as much as 25% of their mortgage in a single night. And during special events or peak rental periods in a given area, potential rental rates can be very attractive to property owners. Because of the income short-term rentals can procure, the opportunity for profit potential may be exponential – but there are several considerations that should be kept in mind. First and foremost, it’s essential to keep the added costs of maintaining a short-term rental in mind. These rentals can be subject to Hotel Occupancy Taxes in certain cities, while other cities require specific licensures and inspections not required of traditional, long-term rentals. Penalties for not abiding by short-term rental laws in your city may result in hefty fines. There can also be increased insurance costs. Additionally, the cost of regular upkeep and maintenance, including utilities, should be calculated. In order to continually attract tenants, your property must be kept in prime condition, both functionally and cosmetically. F......
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8 Tips for New Landlords

Transfer PoliciesA guest post by Brian Davis, Ezlandlordforms.com, Moorestown, NJ Building a strong relationship with a new tenant and protecting your real estate investment is of paramount importance when crafting a lease agreement.  There are a multitude of considerations at this juncture that are essential to understand.  Brian Davis, Vice President of EzlandlordForms.com, is a seasoned landlord and top expert on landlord-tenant relationships.  Here he offers his top tips for new landlords as a helpful tool for navigating lease creation and the ongoing considerations of managing a rental property. 1. Understand the Fair Housing Act and how it applies to your rental.  When advertising for a new tenant, it is critical that landlords and property managers understand and comply with the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from using any of the following criteria when evaluating potential tenants: race, color, national heritage, religion, gender, disability, and familial status. While that may sound simple on the surface, consider that stating in a rental listing “perfect for a single professional” is a violation of the Act (bias against familial status). Advertising only in your church’s newsletter discriminates by religion. What landlords can and should use to evaluate potential tenants is financial data, credit histories, and other background data. 2. Know your tenant by thoroughly screening each prospective renter to avoid problems down the road.  This can be accomplished by a few simple steps.  First, conduct a professional credit check to learn an applicant’s credit history and if they have been fiscally responsible in t......
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Establishing Transfer Policies for Multi-unit Properties

By Ben Holubecki, STML Realty Group, Glen Ellyn, IL Transfer policies are often a detail overlooked by landlords and property owners who own/manage multi-unit properties. A tenant requesting a move from one unit to another presents challenges and can add unnecessary and unexpected costs for property owners. Ignoring these requests or not addressing them properly can open landlords up to potential resentment from tenants and even legal liabilities if not properly documented. There are a lot of reasons why a tenant might request a transfer to another unit within the same property and there are positive and negative impacts resulting from this type of request. The most common reasons for these requests in my experience are: - Problems or issues with current neighbors - Maintenance issues within their current unit which they feel were not or will not be addressed - Lack of upgrades due to extended tenancy (newly remodeled units are obviously more desirable) - Preference regarding location within the property (different floor, closer to parking, amenities) - Moving from 1 unit type to another such as moving from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom Regardless of the tenant’s reason for the transfer request, there are both positive and negatives that you should consider. The positive: - Your tenant obviously likes the property enough to want to stay - You have a history with this tenant so you know what to expect regarding care for the property and rental payments. No surprises. That is always a positive. ......
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Search Engine Optimization for Property Managers

Title tagBy Geoff Roberts, Buildium, Boston, MA Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, my go-to response is that “I work in marketing and public relations for a software company.” That’s a sufficient reply for most social situations, but on occasion I’m asked more specifically about my job responsibilities. Inevitably I’m stopped as soon as I mention “search engine optimization” or “SEO.” While this is a small part of what I do, I’ve found that it fascinates people – they tend to look at it as something of an enigma. “I’ve never understood search engine results” or “Google makes it all up anyways” are common responses, but the probing questions regarding SEO never stop there. Regardless of the industry you are in, search engine results are likely playing an increasingly important role in your company’s ability to be found by prospective customers and others interested in the products/services your business offers. As I’ve been receiving an increasing number of emails regarding SEO from Buildium customers, I figured I’d start by laying out some of the basic tried and true practices that can help your company rank more highly in search results. What exactly is SEO? According to Wikipedia, search engine optimization is the “process of improving the visibility of a website or web page in search engines via the ‘natural’ or unpaid search results.” In plain English, when you go to Google and run a search for anything, say “Boston Property Management,” it’s the process of improving how close ......
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