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What you need to know about service dogs & emotional support animals.

There seems to be some confusion in our industry as to the difference between a service dog versus an emotional support animal and the documentation needed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) defines service dogs as any guide dog, signal dog, who is trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability and a therapy dog provides healing to his or her companion or family, as well as hundreds of other people in a therapeutic setting – whether a hospital, a school or a retirement home.…Another difference between therapy and service dogs is that the latter are often picked by breed for certain characteristics.  The ADA is specific about a service “dog” and states that it must be a dog, with some exceptions for miniature horses. Since the Emotional Support Animal does not perform any specific tasks for a person, the accessibility it has is limited. The Emotional Support Animal does have a right to be kept in a “no pets” policy apartment/condo and also to ride in the cabin of an aircraft. By Federal Laws, these are the only two places that an ESA is legally allowed. For your Emotional Support animal to be legitimate you will need the following; A letter from your mental health (or other medical professionals) stating your need for the ESA. Your ESA letter must be on your mental health professional’s letterhead. The ESA letter must also include the doctor’s license number, where it was issued and the date it was issued. The letter may need to be upda......
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Tips For Becoming A Highly Successful Landlord

Treat your property just like it’s a business. Put your processes and systems in place, know your numbers, delegate what you are not great at and be very consistent. Understand the importance of charging market rate rents, but weigh that with the benefit of having a good long term tenant. Know Fair Housing Laws There are local, state and federal Fair Housing Laws be sure to know them all as it’s a very time consuming and expensive matter if you break one of these laws, even when it’s an accident.  Something as simple as having wrong/old wordage on a sign can get you in trouble. Provide a great place to call home Make the property desirable and put durable, reliable systems and appliances in the unit so you are not constantly fixing them.  Have the home clean and ready when the resident moves in and have the common areas kept up. Market your available properties to everyone Be sure you make a complete effort to get your available homes seen by everyone looking in your market place. If you have a website be sure all of your properties (including floor plans) are posted; utilize all forms of social networks including pushing out to groups; have a great referral system for your current residents as they can be your best resource and lastly be sure to utilize websites that allow you to post your available homes for free. Utilize a strong tenant screening platform This is a big one as your screen......
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Los Angeles Renters Are Paying The Highest Rents In California

Los Angeles renters in 2017 spent more of their income on rent than any other metro in California.   Financial experts recommend a tenant limit their cost for shelter to no more than 31% of their income. This is fine and well in most parts of the country, but is exceeded for tenants in almost all parts of California, especially Los Angeles.  Compared to the historical average — between 1980 and 2000 — California tenants at the end of 2017 spent:  48% of their income in Los Angeles, up from the historical average of 36%;  42% of their income in San Francisco, up from the historical average of 30%;  To put some perspective on this, consider Los Angeles, which has reached a crisis level for desperate tenants. In eight years, the extra $8,200 spent per year on rent would almost get you to a 0% down payment on the average priced home in many areas. Los Angeles tenants have it the worst in the state, due to the steady population increase from newcomers consistently outpacing new rental construction. In fact, the last time rent in Los Angeles was near the recommended 31% of tenant income was in 1979. The solution is ultimately more housing. This will be accomplished by:  1)       loosening zoning restrictions & allowing higher density  2)      Make the permitting process for low- and mid-tier housing easier  3)      Incentivize builders of low- & mid-tier rental housing  Some of these actions have already begun, primarily with the package of affordable housing bills pas......
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Examining the Next Decade’s Renter

Examining the Next Decade’s Renter
Last year alone, Americans spent a staggering $485 billion on rent, a record high. Factors such as the youngest generation of renters carrying heavy student debt and increased construction can be pointed to as obvious markers for the sharp increase, but the growing rent purse also suggests that a shift in the renter demo is currently taking place. Below, we discuss the evolving American rental demographic to inform how apartment communities across the country can prepare themselves for the continued uptick in numbers over the next decade.   The Rise of the Renter More Americans are flocking to rentals than we’ve seen in decades. With the housing crisis still in the not-so-distant rearview mirrors of millions of Americans, more U.S. households are headed by renters than at any point since 1965, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau housing data. While recent trend pieces point to historical data suggesting an upcoming stagnation in the apartment market, with nearly 39 million Americans (1 out of every 8) calling apartments home, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to refute the demand for apartments.   A Stagnant Income While more Americans are flocking to rentals than ever before, the median income of an apartment household has fallen by $3,000 since 1985. Couple this with an overall stagnation in income for many households, and you have a mixture worth keeping an eye on. After adjusting for inflation, wages are just 10% higher in 2017 than they were in 1973, amounting to real annual wage gro......
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You’re interested in starting to invest in rental property, be sure to consider these five factors

Do you Want To Self-Manage Or Hire A Professional Company If you are considering taking on the management be sure to speak with several investors that have already made this choice, managing a property can be a lot of tedious work and very time consuming.  Also, many times a professional management company will actually save you money, budgeting for large expenses, having preferred pricing with vendors, or by just being aware of local legislature and how to navigate it efficiently. Property Taxes Always consider property taxes when buying an investment property. High taxes will eat into your profits, while low taxes will allow you to keep a larger amount of your rental income each month. Some locations charge investors at a higher rate than owner-occupants, so it’s worth calling your local tax assessor to determine whether this is the case.  Also, consider talking to a tax appeal specialist in the area, and see if they think they could get the taxes lowered, a good tax appeal specialist will work for you on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose. Condition of The Property After receiving a thorough inspection by a qualified professional, ask yourself how many of the repairs you can do on your own, and how many would require outside contractors. Get estimates for any major jobs that you would have to pay someone else to do. You’ll want to make sure that you fix all serious issues before anyone takes occupancy so figure how long the repairs shoul......
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Top 5 Reasons To Invest In Rental Properties

1)      They say that more millionaires made their money through real estate then through any other means. There are of course many avenues for investing in real estate, but I’ve always preferred rental properties for various reasons: Real estate investing can be simple and straight forward to get started- The pathway to investing in real estate can be quite simple, you can start talking to experienced investors, read a few of the thousands of books available to learn the basics. Once you have the down payment saved and an understanding of property management (or hire a professional to help you manage) you can start. 2)      Ability to invest with leverage- By using leverage you can spread your investment wider and be more diversified.  Also, if interest rates are lower than what the current return on the property is, you will effectively be borrowing money for less than what you make on it, thus increasing your return. 3)      Utilizing your connections is a good investment- Utilizing your connections in the real estate industry is key to finding the right investments, in some other industries it might be considered insider trading. 4)      Stability and Predictability- The real estate market is one of the more stable and predictable investments you can make, do the proper due diligence and manage the assets with care and you will find that it will end up better than most other investments. 5)      Multiple ways to grow your investment- With a real estate investment you have multiple ways to help your money grow, rental r......
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If You Are Not Advertising your Property Rentals On Social Networks You Should Be

We are always looking for the best ways to advertise our rental properties for lease with the company that will give us the best reach for the best price, if you keep your social networks current and active they may be the best way to reach potential new renters. Here’s how: 1) The majority of your target audience is on social networks – By keeping your listings current you can ask friends, family members, and current tenants to like and share your listing posts casting an even a wider net within the community.  Larger exposure will equate to quicker rentals. 2) Photography Is Important – be sure the photos you use are quality and show the entire property, especially areas you feel should be highlighted. Remember you want them to click onto your post to check it out, make it inviting. 3) Monitor Your Posts and Respond To All Comments -Be sure to respond to all comments in a timely manner, especially those that ask if/when they can see the property. If this comment came from a friends reposting of your post then be sure to reach out and thank them for the help. Everyone loves a thank you. Be especially aware of “internet trolls” that may post a negative comment just for the sake of it.  Respond in a professional way, a good strategy would be to ask why, or how they have experience with your property, if it is a valid complaint, thank them for bringing it to your attention......
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Property Management Fundamentals: Prioritizing Goals

To be effective in any workplace, you need to prioritize your goals to get the most important things done immediately, but also be able to have sufficient time to accomplish every aspect of your job.  Once you get good at identifying where each task belongs on this list, you’ll be effective in prioritizing your work. 1. Emergencies This is a given, however emergencies are the things you absolutely are unable to ignore, but often impede on your day-to-day.  Whether it’s a plumbing issue in a unit, a tenant lock-out, or criminal activity in the neighborhood, you weren’t planning for it, but now it’s the most important part of the day.  When there isn’t an emergency going on, you should be focusing heavily on projects and organizational changes that can reduce the risk of emergencies occurring in the future.  If emergencies happen on a continual basis, then they’re getting too much in the way of your day-to-day work. 2. Procedural Procedural tasks are tasks that you do on a schedule.  You know ahead of time that they’re coming and they play a central role in the working of your company.  Procedural tasks for a property manager include billing, make-readies, minor work orders, and more.  These tasks are usually best accomplished first in the day if there aren’t any emergencies.  Once accomplished, you now have the rest of the day to work on projects and organizational changes that improve your business. 3. Projects In general, a project has a deadline.  Projects are tasks that can’t be a......
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Critical Mistakes Some Property Managers Have Made

Not Screening Potential Residents The stories I have heard from managers that have chosen to not screen their potential new residents are dumbfounding to me, if you don’t know the history of an individual(s) you can put yourself in jeopardy by having them move into your community. To be safe you should at least run a background check and always be sure to check references (work and last residences). Hiring Unskilled Maintenance Members I understand the desire to save money but hiring unskilled workers will eventually cost you more than doing it right the first time. The work that a novice does will more than likely need to be replaced in a shorter time frame if not completely just redone properly. Have it done right the first time. Hiring New Contractors on a Regular Basis When big projects arise on property and you reach out to get 3 bids every time in an effort to save money you are setting yourself up for bigger problems. While you are getting multiple bids, which will take days your issue on your property is sitting with nothing being done with it and residents/tenants are put out so the longer it takes the more likely you will also have resident/tenant complaints. The paper work you are created by going out for these bids every time will also take a lot of additional time. We always recommend building a team around you, find a great plumber, contractor, roofer and have them be your go to people. L......
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What goes into Employee Background Checks: The OFAC Patriot Act Search

Snap66  Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the lengthily named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act,” commonly known as the “Patriot Act.”  This piece of legislation was aimed at arming law enforcement with tools to both detect and prevent acts of terrorism.  While the Patriot act has had both supporters and nay-sayers, it has become of great value to employers.  One of the services included in theRRD’s employment screening packages is the OFAC Patriot Act Search.  This tool screens for individuals and groups associated with terrorism.  By screening your employees with this service, you’re helping to prevent potential terrorists from receiving an income for their terrorist activities.  You’re also helping to ensure the safety of your own employees. History Of OFAC During the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This law authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual or extraordinary threat to the United States from a foreign source. The provisions of IEEPA are administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the Department of the Treasury, which publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific.  Collectively, such individuals and companies are called Specially Designated Nationals (SDN......
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