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Apartment Leases Resemble Commercial Leases?

A major factor contributing to the improved health of apartments is many apartment leases are becoming more like triple net commercial leases. Many if not all “utility” costs as well as well as governmental and quasi-governmental costs are being passed through to residents, however,  owners cannot pass on increases in property taxes, insurance, maintenance or standard on-site administrative costs in excess of a base year to residents. Somewhat surprisingly, residents haven’t balked en masse at the increases in charges, perhaps because many are former homeowners who are accustomed to paying them. As pointed out in the Winter 2012 issue of Texas Apartments by Wendy Wilson, the Texas Apartment Association General Counsel, developing lease provisions to meet the realities of the marketplace while conforming to the intricacies of the law is a top priority.  She has developed a new lease addendum allowing apartment owners to allocate a variety of governmental charges and fees to residents, such as “street repair/maintenance, emergency services, conservation districts, inspection and registration/licensing”. Owners and operators who also charge for services more akin to utilities such as central cable and satellite TV, stormwater/drainage, and trash pick-up/recycling fees, can include all such charges in one addendum. In some states, amortized capital improvements for stormwater/sewer facilities and school district expenditures, are also being passed through to residents regardless of whether such charges appear on utility bills or property tax bills. Ms. Wilson points to a variety of formulas for allocating such costs. No doubt, there is and will continue to be......
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A Lot Can Be Said for Compact Fluorescents

Compact Fluorescents in Apartment Communities

Compact Fluorescents in Apartment CommunitiesThe debate over incandescent bulbs vs. compact fluorescents (CFL’s) and light-emitting diodes (LED’s) is excellently discussed by Lauren Boston in Flipping the Switch, Units, January 2012. 

Casting light on the subject can be brought into focus depending on which use multifamily operators are considering of the many that they have – patios and breezeways, common area hallways, fitness centers, parking lights and building exteriors, signage, etc. But the most impact may be in apartment interiors.

Most apartment residents are responsible for replacing their own lighting and operators frequently will just leave working incandescent bulbs in place or replace burnt out bulbs with inexpensive low wattage bulbs -  the kind that will begin phasing out in October, 2012.  But enlightened operators can send a high wattage message to their residents by assuring that all the lights in the unit interiors upon move-in are CFL’s – energy efficient, long lasting and will be replaced at the landlord’s expense. The cost of CFL’s is dropping while the quality is improving. The entire package can be marketed to residents that you are concerned for their pocket book and the environment. It is a good investment.

Ward A. Katz, CPM, CEO of M-fishency, www.m-fishency.com
Blog: www.multifamilypropertyevaluation.com

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