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What You Need To Know About The Rent Control Measure.

The Affordable Housing Act which was presented by Assemblymembers Richard Bloom and David Chiu as AB 1506, died in the Assembly’s housing committee earlier in the month. Now a new proposed ballot measure plans to repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Costa-Hawkins Act, the state law which more directly effects 5 of the 15 California cities with rent control, applies to large housing developments built prior to 1995 and does not include single-family homes, condos, and duplexes. Currently, in these markets, the landlord has the right to raise rents upon a tenant moving out and second, prevents the capping of rent on units constructed after February 1995. In Los Angeles City, rent control is applied to units constructed prior to October 1979, under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and yearly increases are capped at 3 to 8 percent (as set by the Rent Control Board) for the controlled units.   As a self-described union for renters, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), filed the paperwork along with Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Citing that California is facing a growing demand for affordable housing, a rise in homelessness and the historic housing crisis is pushing out low- and middle-income renters out, at times even in cities with some rent control. Supporters like the ACCE, say they have been gathering signatures easily, as people are expressing enthusiasm for the proposed November ballot. They have already collected 100,000 signatures, of the total 365,880 signatures needed by June to qualify for the ballot.   Critics like the California A......
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Top 7 Steps To A Successful Tenant Move In

Top 7 Steps To A Successful Tenant Move In
Imagine dealing with troublesome tenants who call your phone at 3am, consistently make late rent payments, and probably even do a bit of drug dealing on the side. If you successfully dodge your way out of dealing with such, you could probably even end up with others, who down the road, you ultimately realize were less of a fit than the former. In a country of over 110.5 million renters, there is a significant number of prospects who perfectly fit this description. And of course, no landlord or property manager would ever want to house them. But unfortunately, they’ll always end up somewhere…and that translates to a rather unhappy group of landlords. Most of the affected landlords are usually individuals who approach the process of tenant move-in like a “pregame” show- despite the fact that in reality, it’s actually the most significant part of the game. Your strategy here is what eventually counts in the landlord-tenant relationship. The most critical attributes through this process are precision, alertness and patience. Desperation, even when you’re eager to fill vacant houses, could eventually cost you an arm and leg when the tenant ultimately moves in. As a matter of fact, with the population of renters currently outnumbering landlords on a scale of 1:5, there’s no need for anxiety, especially when your property is priced competitively. So, now that we’ve established the attitude you should approach this with, what is the actual strategy to a successful tenant move-in? 1. Review Moving-Out Notice The first step, of course, is overseeing t......
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How and Why To Conduct Tenant Exit Interviews

How and Why To Conduct Tenant Exit Interviews
High turnover rates are an unfortunate reality when it comes to managing student rentals. We’ve discussed this phenomenon in the past and identified that student renters are often transient. Centurion Apartments reported that, “Student housing has a turnover rate of about 50% per year, and the average student will rent their unit for one to three years.”   With such a high turnover rate in student housing, landlords should employ strategies to increase tenant satisfaction and minimize turnover. One particular technique that landlords can employ to better understand why tenants are leaving or are unsatisfied is to conduct exit interviews.   Within the industry, it’s a common practice for landlords to interview tenants before signing a lease; but on the contrary, very few property managers conduct exit interviews. Exit interviews can be a treasure trove when it comes to valuable information about tenant retention.   Once a tenant has indicated they won’t be renewing their lease, try to arrange an exit interview. It’s important to schedule this interview as promptly as possible, as there is still a small window of opportunity to encourage the tenant to reconsider and stay. In some cases, the landlord may need to provide incentive for the tenant(s) to partake in an exit interview such as a small monetary reward, gift card or reference letter. The information provided will be worth the cost of a small gift.   Once the tenant has agreed to the interview, it’s time to begin preparing. Landlords and property managers should ask a specific set of questi......
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How To Screen Prospective Student Tenants

How To Screen Prospective Student Tenants
Student renters are somewhat of a unique breed of tenants. Quite commonly, they have unique needs and don’t have any rental or credit history, which can make the screening process more difficult. To help landlords with this process, we’ve compiled a few tips for screening prospective student tenants.Considering most rental inquiries will come via telephone or email, a landlord can have a set of questions prepared for potential tenants to save time. In addition to the standard questions a landlord will ask such as name, contact information and preferred move-in date, the landlord should also get more detailed. The tenant’s responses could potentially disqualify himself or herself immediately. For example, if a landlord operates a non-smoking or no pet rental, it would be beneficial to ask right away if the tenant has a pet or smokes.   Landlords should also ask more student specific questions. These questions could include:   Do you already have a roommate or people you plan to move in with? How long of a lease are you looking for? When does your school term begin?   These questions are of equal importance in the prescreening process. For example, if the student renter is only looking for a one-term lease (5-6 months), but the landlord wants a one-year commitment, this wouldn’t be the best tenant. Also, if the student’s term begins in January, but the landlord needs to fill the rental for September, this also won’t work.   Most landlords ask for a credit check and previous landlord references. While these are common ......
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Communicating Guidelines to New Tenants

Communicating Guidelines to New Tenants

 

Pilera RulesSummer is nearly upon us, and many property managers experience a tenant turn-over in the summer related to college schedules. Some of the people moving in might even be renting an apartment for the first time. To ensure a good relationship with your new tenants, it’s a good idea to set expectations right away.

When your tenant moves in or signs the lease, let them know what types of repairs they’re responsible for and what type of repairs you want to fix. For example, you might be fine with your tenant changing a lightbulb, but would prefer they don’t fix a clogged sink. You should also walk through the apartment with them and make sure they know how everything in the apartment works. Show them the stove, microwave, dishwasher, and thermostat.

When it comes to rent policy, be clear from day one. Let them know when rent is due, when you consider it late, and when you take action as a result of non-payment. This will help you avoid confusion later.

Although personal relationships and conversations about these things are important, some property managers find it helpful to print out a new tenant handbook. This handy manual will tell renters what to do if their sink is backing up in the middle of the night.

Having clear policies that are clearly communicated is the key to good relationships with your tenants.

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Yes, Words Matter!

There are still some industry buzz words, or jargon, that sound like finger nails on a chalk board. These words have such old-school, negative connotations that it’s amazing they are still around. But, they are and it’s good to know these words. This way you can become a change agent in assisting to elevate our industry in the minds of our owners, clients and residents.  I’ll start with with some words that really must go. And provide replacement options. Also included are descriptor words that all mean something slightly different and are currently in use by a variety of companies.  So you’ll have some options.   Remove these words from your vocabulary and replace with: 1.‘Landlord’ must go!  It’s out of date and has a very negative connotation left over from years past.  Ugh! Replace with:  ‘Property Owner’. This is an accurate description of the individual or company. 2.‘Complex’ must go!  Complex has a variety of definitions and often associated with abnormal pathological disorders. So an ‘Apartment Complex’ doesn’t sound very inviting.   Replace with:  ‘Apartment Community’. It really is a community of residents.  3.‘Project’ must go! Apartment Project surely has the reminiscence of a not-so-nice part of town from days gone by.  As in ‘the projects’.  Replace with:  ‘Apartment Community’.  4.‘Tenants’ must go!  We still reference office building lessors as ‘tenants’. It sounds so sterile and that’s sure not the feeling we want to create at our communities. Replace with:  ‘Residents’. It’s residents who reside at your community 5.‘Unit’ must go!  What the heck is a ‘unit’? It surely isn’t someone’s ......
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The Property Management Creep Factor

The Property Management Creep Factor
One of the great things about being a property manager is that no two days are alike. You never know what tomorrow will bring. For that matter, you never know what this afternoon will bring! That uncertainty may not appeal to everyone, but if you believe variety is the spice of life, then becoming a property manager certainly fits comfortably within your wheelhouse. In the same vein, you never know who’s going to show up looking to rent. A property is of no value if it’s not full and generating revenue, right? So if a candidate breezes into the management office and has the proper ID, the resources, and the references, there’s no reason not to take them on a tour of the available spaces. But what if something’s a little off? What if you get a weird vibe from a potential tenant? Something you can’t quite put your finger on? Don’t ignore your instincts! Your concerns may be baseless, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Make sure you follow these guidelines: Tell everyone where you’re going. Make sure everyone in the management office knows that you’re going to show units, and if possible, which ones. If no one is around, wait until someone comes back or send an e-mail to everyone, letting them know that you’ve gone. Keep the ID. If you don’t have a policy of hanging on to the potential tenant’s ID in the office, be sure to get a photocopy of it. Never show a unit at night. Thi......
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From Drunks with Guns to Just Guns

GunsBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA So we have covered a landlord's liability for criminals, animals, and drunks. What about for tenants with guns? Does a landlord have any duty to third parties if he knows his tenant has guns? What about if he knows the tenant has guns but never uses them? What if the opposite is true? The landlord knows the tenant has guns and likes to use them. In the back yard of the rented premises. In the direction of occupied houses. Is there a duty? (What you think people?! You've read enough to know which way the Honorable Judge McCarthy would rule! Or have you?) If there is a duty, what does that duty entail? In one case on these facts, the parents of a 10-year-old girl who was accidentally shot and killed sued the landlord of the person who shot the girl. The tenant was in the back yard of the rented premises when he discharged the weapon. He did so in a direction facing the occupied premises of the decedent 10-year-old. The tenant had done this in the preceding month and the landlord knew it, or so it had been alleged. The issue was whether the landlord owed a duty to the 10-year-old girl. Whether there was a duty turned on the notice of the condition, and the opportunity to fix it. To impose the duty "the landlord must also have the opportunity and the ability to eliminate the dangerous condition being created b......
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Election Protection

By Salvatore J. Friscia, San Diego Premier Property Management, San Diego, CA During an election year, it's not uncommon to drive through local neighborhoods and find political signs of every shape, size, and party firmly planted in some of the nicest landscaped yards in town. In some areas, the saturation of signs can become quite unsightly as they are stapled to telephone posts, hanging from balconies, and grouped together on street corners like overgrown weeds. Here in the state of California, a new law (California Civil Code §1940.4) was passed January 1, 2012, that protects the rights of tenants to display their political yard signs without recourse from management or rental owners. The law states that a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying political signs related to any of the following: 1. An election or legislative vote, including an election of a candidate to public office. 2. The initiative, referendum, or recall process. 3. Issues that are before a public commission, public board, or elected local body for a vote. Furthermore, signs may even be posted or displayed in windows and on doors in multifamily dwellings, or from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of a single-family dwelling. Managers and rental owners do have some control. They can require that the signs only remain posted or displayed for a “reasonable amount” of time, typically 90 days prior to the election and 15 days after the election, and can prohibit signs based on the following: 1.......
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What Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Can Teach Us About Property Management

By Steve Boudreault, Buildium, Boston, MA It’s about time that Buildium’s top wordsmith started writing blogs for All Things Property Management. So here I am and here we go! I’m going to use my first ATPM blog to connect property management to my number-one passion: Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). Deep Space Nine focused on the space station of the same name, in orbit around a planet called Bajor. Originally an outpost of the evil Cardassians, it was built using Bajoran slave labor during The Occupation, which lasted nearly 50 years. When the Bajorans finally ousted the Cardassians, Starfleet sent officers to take over administration of the station, and try to help Bajor and the Bajorans get back on their feet. The wrinkle comes in with the discovery of a stable wormhole that connects the area of space right around Bajor to the distant and completely unexplored Gamma Quadrant. Now instead of being at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in space, Deep Space Nine is at the crossroads of a major interstellar highway. That’s progress for you. So what connections does Deep Space Nine herself have to property management? I’m glad you asked: Responsibility. The station was built by Bajorans for the Cardassians but is administrated by Starfleet. So one of the first questions was this: Whose responsibility is it to clean up and repair the station, which the Cardassians were so kind to trash before they left? Is it the owner’s responsibility or the manager’s?......
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