Monthly Archives: May 2016

Small Improvements That Make A Big Impact In Your Rental

When it comes to a rental home, there are not many permanent changes that you can do without a lot of negotiations with your landlord first. If you are like me and can’t help but put your own personal touch on wherever you live, you do have some options. The key is to choose improvements that don’t permanently alter the property, but still allow you to differentiate your home from every other apartment or condo around you.

Find Your Green Thumb

Plants and flowers are one of the most ideal ways to help your home feel warm and inviting and add curb appeal for relatively low cost and low effort. If you have a rental with garden space in front and permission to plant, choose a mixture of perennials and annuals that will showcase your unique style. An array of pots and containers for your plants are an ideal alternative if you are on a second floor unit or do not have personal yard space in front.

If you are in charge of your rental’s lawn, borrow or purchase an inexpensive edger than will give a professional effect. Replace your welcome mat and use a pressure washer to clear cobwebs out of tall corners and remove a season’s worth of dust that accumulates in the cracks and crevices. These simple home improvements will make a big difference in how your rental home looks and feels.

Walls and Door Frames

When you look a wall every day, it can be easy to overlook the dinginess and fingerprints that have accrued. However, a few simple improvements can remedy that. Door frames get chipped and bumped and general wear and tear can show up after a while. Pull out your bucket and scrub brush and get to work on those walls, paying particular attention to places where people might casually rest a hand as they turn a corner and the spaces lower down where little fingers are likely to have been busy. Because most door frames in rentals are white, you can tape off the surrounding walls and put a fresh coat of paint on them without having to negotiate for permission. It is a simple job, but will really brighten and freshen up your home.

Window Treatments

Curtains are arguably one of the first visual impacts a person receives when they enter a room and changing them out can alter the look of your home entirely. This simple home improvement project can dramatically alter the look and feel of any room–kitchen, living room, bedroom or dining room. While you are probably under obligation to maintain the window treatments that came with the rental, you can easily swap them out for something that is more your style and then replace them when you leave. Try paneled curtains if you want a homier look, or roman shades for something a little more streamlined.

Lighting

The lighting you have can make or break a room. I recall being horrified at my newly green painted walls that had been a soft avocado color in the afternoon sunlight, but had morphed to army green under the harsh bulbs of our overhead lights. Switching the bulbs out for ones that better mimicked natural light saved me from a total heart attack, but it also reminded me how much lighting can change the tone of the room. After you make sure that you have the right color of bulb, consider the level of light you want. Bright in the kitchen is ideal, where you need to be able to see what you are doing, but a softer glow in the family room might be more ideal for a cozy environment.

Don’t forget that lamps can also add to the ambiance and tone of a room in a way that the overhead light cannot. If you are able to get permission to switch out a light fixture entirely, you can accessorize as well as light properly. Check out the light bulb section next time at the store. You may be surprised at how many options are available to you, so take advantage of a few.

Just because you live in a rental property doesn’t mean that you should ignore the opportunity to do some home improvements that don’t alter the property in any permanent or dramatic way. When you are proud of your home, both you and your landlord benefit.

The post Small Improvements That Make A Big Impact In Your Rental appeared first on RentPrep.

My Favorite Staging Accessory: Rugs

Styled Staged & Sold will be featuring staging professionals’ favorite staging accessories and props over the next few weeks. (Do you have a favorite? Submit your favorite for consideration to mtracey@realtors.org.) Go-to prop: Rugs Stager: Patti Stern, PJ & Company, Irvington, NY Why I love it: “One of my favorite accessories is rugs — in […]

Ep. 135: Night School: Bad Landlords Attract Bad Tenants, How to Attract and Keep the Tenants You Really Want

Worried about bad tenants? Don’t be a bad landlord.  This episode will cover ways to be a better landlord, attract the best tenants, avoid future issues, and keep your landlord-tenant relationship running smoothly, efficiently, and professionally.

 

The post Ep. 135: Night School: Bad Landlords Attract Bad Tenants, How to Attract and Keep the Tenants You Really Want appeared first on RentPrep.

How Can Renters Determine If A School District Is Good?

If you have children, one of the top priorities when you are looking for a rental property is the local school. But do you know how to determine what makes a “good” one? Some of it has to do with the needs of your children and some can be gauged by district records and information.

Either way, it is a good idea to do your research before you sign on the dotted line for your dream rental.

Decide What Is Most Important To You

Taking the time to decide what educational factors are most important to you is a helpful first step. This may change depending on the age of your children and you should also take into account the amount of time you expect to be in an area. In my case, my children were all in elementary school when I moved into my rental. Being close enough to the school to walk, a safe neighborhood and a morning program were paramount for me, but you may insist on schools with an emphasis on the arts, or sports and leadership opportunities for older kids.

Many schools have shifted to a year round program, which may also be an issue for your schedule.

Know the Basics

Among the things to consider are the student to teacher ratios and the test scores. While both can indicate a prime or poor learning experience, some educational coaches also recommend looking into less obvious factors like attendance rates. For instance, when a high percentage of kids are chronically absent, it can mean that the parents, teachers and school staff are not generally as committed to a successful educational experience.

Pinpoint Your Child’s Needs

Does your child have special needs? What kind of learner is he/she? Having specific questions for a potential school can help you decide if your family’s needs are going to be met on an educational level. Other things to consider are extra-curricular options provided by the school that can supplement your child’s education such as band, choir, tutoring or after school enrichment programs.

Take A Tour

You can learn a lot by physically visiting the school and getting a feel for the vibe that it presents. Effective educators will be invested in creating an environment that is engaging, energetic and motivates their students to participate. In addition to speaking to the teachers and staff in each department, ask to see the library, gym and cafeteria. Modern and new surroundings aren’t as important as clean and well-equipped. Arrive a little early to check out the rapport between the students and teachers in a less controlled setting.

Check Out Other Educational Opportunities In The District

Public school doesn’t have to be the end game for your child’s education, neither does it mean that you have to shell out the big bucks for a private one. Options like magnet and charter schools can be very viable options for many families. Even select private schools will exchange some of the tuition for parent volunteer opportunities.

Taking the time to do some homework about the schools where your potential rental property will be. With some research, you can find an area with good schools right where you are considering.  Remember the physical property you live in is important, but since your children will spend almost half of each day in school, your life will be easier if you can feel confident about the one you are sending them to.

The post How Can Renters Determine If A School District Is Good? appeared first on RentPrep.

When Fire Damages Your Rental Property

It’s one of the worst things that can happen to property you own—a fire destroys some or all of the structure. Going through the aftermath of a fire can be devastating, but landlords need to prepare for any event to happen. Being well informed and educated on what to do after a fire at a rental property can ease the burdens that you will face as you try to get your rental property restored and back on the market.

Let’s review what landlords need to do immediately after the fire, the day after the fire and in the days following the fire.

Immediately After the Fire

• Ask a fire officer for a contact number and name for future communications.
• Contact your insurance agent immediately to report the fire and to start the process of filing a claim.
• Get a list of recommended fire damage restoration companies from your insurance company and start calling them to set up an appointment for the next day or two.
• Communicate with your tenant about their safety and well-being, and make note of any sort of details or confessions from the tenant about how the fire got started or what they noticed in the minutes before the fire.
• Make sure your tenants have contacted their own insurance company to line up temporary housing. If they don’t have renter’s insurance, the American Red Cross provides for emergency needs like essential items and temporary housing.
• Ask the fire officer when you and the tenant can walk through the property with them to assess damage and for the tenant to collect any personal belongings. Never enter the property until you get an all clear from the fire department.

Days After the Fire

• Take pictures of all damage to every structure.
• Prepare a written inventory of the destroyed or damaged property that should include anything structural, like the home itself or any structures on the property like a pool house or shed.
• Prepare a detailed list, with models and types, of any appliances that were damaged, like a refrigerator or dishwasher.
• Add structural details to the list that covers each room, like cabinets and counter tops.
• Collect photos, video and any other information related to the structure before the fire.
• Get a copy of the fire report from the fire department, which details the probable cause of the fire.
• Never remove debris or start to fix up the damage to the property before meeting with the fire damage restoration company.
• Secure the property as is reasonable, such as locking doors and windows, or covering openings with plastic sheeting.

Questions During a Confusing Time

Once the initial shock of the fire has passed, many tenants and landlords enter into uncharted territory as to who is responsible for paying the repair and restoration bills from fire damages. Here are some of the more common questions:

• If the fire was the tenant’s fault, do they have to pay for fixing all of it?
• Where do landlords find a reputable fire damage restoration company?
• Who pays the landlord’s insurance deductible?
• What about if the fire was due to landlord negligence?
• Does the landlord have to pay the tenant to replace the cost of lost possessions?
• Can landlords do fire damages repair themselves?
• Do landlords have to pay for tenants to live elsewhere?
• What about the lease agreement now?

All these questions and more will definitely factor into the way that landlords and tenants move forward after such a devastating event.

Who Pays For Fire Damages?

Landlords are ultimately responsible for the cost of fixing fire damages to the property itself as it relates to the structure and home systems like electrical and plumbing. However, the responsibility for repairs and restoration doesn’t always mean landlords are necessarily personally financially responsible. The landlord’s homeowner’s policy should cover most or all of the repairs.

The landlord’s insurance is not responsible for, nor will they, pay to repair or replace a tenant’s lost property. The tenant’s own renter’s insurance is in place to cover the loss of possessions like furniture, clothes and belongings. If the tenant doesn’t have renter’s insurance, they must unfortunately suffer the consequences of partial or total loss. If the tenant can prove in court that the landlord was somehow responsible through negligence, they may be able to recoup the cost of lost possessions and additional expenses in arranging for another place to live.

If the fire is the fault of the tenant or the tenant’s guests, then they must be responsible for the cost of repairing the damages. However, even if the fire is clearly the fault of the tenant, the landlord still needs to make arrangements via their homeowner’s policy. The landlord’s insurance company will generally seek out the tenant’s insurance company for compensation if there is a liability portion of the policy. The insurance company can work with the other company to get compensated up to the liability limit for fire damages.

Another scenario is that the insurance company seeks out the tenant directly for compensation if they don’t carry renter’s insurance. Often, wise landlords have included language in the lease agreement that in the event of a fire caused by the tenant, the tenant is responsible for at least paying the deductible for the landlord’s insurance, and then going on a case by case basis for recouping the cost of fire damages from there.

Restoring Your Property to a Habitable State

Landlords must provide a rental property that is deemed to be in a habitable condition according to the codes and laws of the state and municipality where the property is located. The fire restoration experts can provide documentation for you when the property is ready to be occupied again.

It’s important for you to protect your investment and get the house fire restoration process started as soon as possible to take care of fire damages. Smoke, water and fire damage can cause a structure to weaken over a short time, and even things like mold and mildew can start growing within a day or so after a fire. You should never attempt to restore a fire-damaged rental property yourself because it requires a certain level of expertise and equipment to ensure that everything is put back into a safe state and meets the minimum safety codes. It also ensures that there are no hidden issues that may cause problems down the road. A professional fire restoration crew is the only way to go.

In summary, it’s a good idea to review all the things landlords need to do in the aftermath of a fire well before anything actually happens. In the moments after a fire in the rental property, you can go from panic and stress to pushing forward with a professional and businesslike manner during all the crazy ups and downs that are yet to come.

The post When Fire Damages Your Rental Property appeared first on RentPrep.

Stage Your Home with Bing Crosby

  By Liz Bohm, guest contributor “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” an American Songbook classic, was written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, in 1944. First made popular by Bing Crosby in the movie “Here Come the Waves,” this flawlessly upbeat song was nominated for an Academy Award, in the Best Song category, in 1945. […]

Your Property’s Being Foreclosed—What About Your Tenants?

This guest post is contributed by Avvo, an online legal services marketplace that offers on-demand, affordable legal advice, especially when it comes to landlord/tenant laws.

Many people who invest in properties may find themselves overextended, and with that comes the possibility of foreclosure. It takes a long while for the slow wheels of finance to turn, but eventually you may finally find yourself on the verge of losing a property for good.

The problem is (besides the foreclosure itself), you have tenants. Let’s say they’re good tenants. They’re current on their rent and you’ve never had a problem with them. You’re concerned for their welfare, but also about protecting yourself.

So, what should you do?

Surprisingly, the answer is “not much,” even when you’re on the brink of foreclosure. Here’s an overview of your rights and obligations vis a vis your tenants.

First, it may ease your conscience to know that your foreclosed tenants will be decently protected no matter what you do. Although the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 expired in 2014, its main elements are still widely observed.

Once you’ve lost your home, your tenants are entitled to a 90-day eviction notice from the new owners. During this time, they will usually not have to pay rent. (It’s a gray area, but the vast majority of foreclosed tenants don’t pay rent during the eviction period.)

Additionally, if the tenants are current with a valid, market-rate lease that was signed before your foreclosure, the new owners will generally have to honor it. An exception is when the new owner plans to move into the home themselves. If that’s the case, they’ll still need to give your former tenants a 90-day eviction notice.

If the bank is taking over your property, it may offer your tenants relocation assistance, typically called “cash for keys,” once the house has changed hands. This is generally tendered as an incentive to vacate the property (in “broom swept” condition) before the end of the 90-day eviction period.

But what about you?

First, you’re not legally required to let your tenants know you’re in foreclosure. Eventually, they’re going to find out, probably with a notice of auction tacked to their front door. Whether you do tell them—and when—depends entirely on what type of relationship you have with them. It’s a courtesy, not a legal obligation. Be aware, however, that once you do tell them, they may decide to stop paying rent. If they do, you have the right to evict them for non-payment—but the odds are in their favor, considering the situation.

Basically, until the day the foreclosed house has actually been purchased by someone else, you’re still the owner, and you can do anything any other owner would do. In fact, you can even rent to new tenants, right up until you actually lose the property. Most states don’t even require you to tell the new tenants that you’re in foreclosure. But some do, including California, so if you want to bring in new renters while you’re in foreclosure, do some research on your state’s requirements and consider consulting a real estate attorney in your area.

One caveat would be to only rent month-to-month in this situation. If you’ve exhausted all your options with the bank, and are sure you’re going to lose the house soon, writing a long-term lease might make you liable to damages if the lessees decide to take you to court.

Once you’ve actually lost the house, however, you must not collect a penny’s rent from your former tenants. If you do, you’re committing fraud and theft. You also owe them their last month’s rent and security deposit, if they paid those to you when they moved in.

It’s probably a good idea to tie up these loose ends. Although it’s rare, your tenants might sue you in small claims court for any added expenses your default brings upon them. Such suits are rare, because most tenants know they can’t expect much from someone who can’t pay their mortgage. Nonetheless, the specter of a suit should be incentive for you to get your documents in order, play nice with your tenants, and make their transition from the foreclosed property as easy as possible.

The post Your Property’s Being Foreclosed—What About Your Tenants? appeared first on RentPrep.

Unrevoked Consent


QUESTION
: Can a member send an email request authorizing their HOA to send them all mailings via email without having to fill out a separate special form giving the HOA this permission?

ANSWER: The permission you describe is called “unrevoked consent” and is required by the Davis-Stirling Act. Unrevoked consent sometimes becomes an issue between dating college students–this is different. The Davis-Stirling Act allows owner to receive notices and documents by email “if the recipient has consented, in writing, to that method of delivery.” (Civ. Code §4040(a)(2).)

Electronic Transactions
. The Act does not mandate a particular form. An email from an owner giving permission qualifies as written consent. (Civ. Code 1633.7.) The email can be printed by the association and stored in a file or it can be stored electronically.

Approval Forms. Even so, associations are allowed to create their own consent forms. Lawyers like to include disclosure language about how the consent remains effective until such time as it is revoked in writing.

RECOMMENDATION: If the association uses a form, don’t argue with them; simply fill it out. It only takes a minute and everyone can go away happy.

FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNITY
ASSOCIATION RESEARCH


I recently became a founding member of the “Critical Issues Think Tank” of the Foundation for Community Association Research.

As such, I am part of a team of industry leaders from around the country who serve as the Foundation’s steering committee.

We establish criteria and goals for the Foundation’s research. To learn more about what we do, watch a short video.

FEEDBACK

Executive Session #1. Really enjoy your responses to questions. Keep up the good work. -Harold R.

Executive Session #2. I really enjoy your newsletter and always learn something new! I have concerns about our minutes, especially since some of them are so vague as to what was discussed, what was decided, that I can’t remember even two months later! Is there a better format that would outline what should and shouldn’t be documented so we have a better history of board activity? Thanks so much! -Judy O.

RESPONSE: Minutes should contain sufficient detail so that someone who did not attend the meeting can understand what happened. As an expert in cases where associations are sued, I sometimes find it difficult to determine when and where a meeting occurred, which board members attended (and their positions as officers), and why particular motions were approved or denied. Associations are all over the map when it comes to minutes–they either suffer from TMI (too much information) or they’re too cryptic. Sample minutes are posted on my website.

Executive Session #3. I am not sure how I started receiving your newsletters but I am so pleased to have them. I am a board member and part of the first transition board. It has been an eye-opener. Your Newsletter with Q&A is wonderful! Keep them coming! -Jean K.

Executive Session #4. Our BOD previously displayed the minutes on a bulletin board in our lobby. Now they are saying we are no longer allowed to have a copy of the minutes. Is that right? Thank you so very much for your newsletters; keep it up. -Ida Z.

RESPONSE: Boards are not required to post minutes, but they should. I recommend posting them on a password protected portion of the association’s website so all members can read them at their leisure. Despite anything your board might believe, they are required to provide members with both draft and finalized open meeting minutes upon request. (Civ. Code §4950.)

Executive Session #5. I know that at some point and for certain reasons the state can take over the administration of an association. The one I live in currently has one vacant seat and last I heard the president resigned. I’ve also been told that there are three (maybe four) of the seven seats vacating in September. Getting people to serve on the board is very difficult. What happens if vacant seats aren’t filled by our annual meeting? Is there a percentage of seats that must be filled to stay legal? -Carole W.

RESPONSE: California has no interest in taking over your association. Nor do you want them to. If they stay true to form, your dues would triple and your services drop.

If four or more seats remain empty at the conclusion of the annual meeting, the remaining directors can appoint owners to fill them. If no one is willing to serve, you should amend your bylaws reducing the board to five or three directors instead of seven. If you can’t even recruit three directors, the remaining directors can go to court to have one or more provisional directors appointed or, worst case, a receiver or custodian. Once a special assessment has been levied and dues raised to pay for the court-appointed directors, volunteers will line up to serve on the board.

*****

Assembly Bill 1799 allows associations to forego expensive balloting when elections are uncontested.


AB 1799 #1
. What if an HOA accepts write-in candidates on its election ballots? AB 1799 would eliminate the write-in capability. That doesn’t seem right. -Jim O.

RESPONSE: The bill addresses this issue. If your governing documents provide for write-ins, the board must vote in open session to declare the election is uncontested. It must then allow 15 days for a write-in candidate to submit his or her name to the inspector of elections. If one or more names are submitted, an election is held. If no names are submitted, the association can forgo the cost of mailing ballots.

AB 1799 #2. I started to fill out the letter to my Assembly person re: AB 1799. When I read the content of this letter I got confused. It says that it allows for write-in candidates (which our HOA does NOT currently allow). If there is NO ballot due to uncontested seats, how can one “write-in” a candidate? -Carol B.

RESPONSE: If your governing documents do not provide for write-in candidates, the association must provide at least 15 days’ general notice of a self-nomination process and vote in open session to declare the election is uncontested (and allow members to make objections to the board making the declaration). Once that is done, the candidates can be declared elected without expensive balloting.

AB 1799 #3. Assuming we are dealing with associations where quorum is difficult to obtain, how is forgoing elections really helpful, considering we still need a vote for the IRS Rollover Resolution each year? Last week you stated AB 1799 would mean we can still hold the annual meeting without quorum, but we still need quorum to pass the IRS Rollover Resolution. Which means we might as well still send ballots, because not enough members are going to show up in person. Am I missing something here? -Kevin K.

RESPONSE: Don Haney, CPA, MBA, MS(Tax) sent a response on the IRS Resolution issue:

“Someday I hope clarity prevails on this 70-604 issue:

1. If the HOA files form 1120H, then 70-604 does not apply and not needed.

2. If the HOA files form 1120, then 70-604 may be invoked. But, it is not the best option and could cause more issues than it cures.

In almost 40 years of filing routine to complex HOA tax returns, we have never invoked 70-604.”

*****


Doggy Poo. What about disabled owners with service animals? Do they have to clean up after their dogs?

RESPONSE: Yes, they must clean-up after their animals. Dog feces in common area hallways or lawns present a health hazard. No one wants to step in it and track it into their cars or units.

Blind Clean-Up. Guide dogs for the blind can be taught to go on command. That way, the owner can clear the common areas before issuing the command. In the alternative, the owner can pick it up with a waste bag. The blind are amazingly capable at doing things, including cleaning up after their dogs. They know when their dog is doing its business and have a good idea of where it will land.

Statutes. Under the California Disabled Persons Act, an owner of a housing accommodation can establish terms in a lease or rental agreement that reasonably regulate the presence of guide dogs, signal dogs, or service dogs on the premises of a housing accommodation. (Civ. Code, §54.1(b)(6)(B).) It also states that a tenant is responsible for damage caused by their animal. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act incorporates Civil Code §54.1 into the Act. (Gov. Code, §12948.) This can be applied to associations.

Case Law. In Prindable v. Association of Apartment Owners (2003) 304 F.Supp.2d 1245, a homeowners association had a “no pet” policy. An owner submitted a request for accommodation to have an emotional support dog named Einstein. The association granted temporary approval while it made a determination, provided that Prindable agreed:

(1) to take full responsibility for Einstein; (2) not to permit Einstein to defecate or urinate at the complex; (3) not to permit Einstein to disrupt the quiet enjoyment of other tenants; (4) not to wash Einstein in the shower provided for residents; (5) not to permit Einstein to go into the laundry room or to stand on the common area furniture; (6) to keep Einstein within unit 102 or within the limited common yard area of the unit at all times; (7) to use the shortest possible route when taking Einstein to and from the unit, that is, through the pedestrian entrance and exit of the garage; and (8) not to walk Einstein on the project grounds or common areas, except when taking him to and from the unit.

Prindable filed a housing discrimination complaint against the association alleging it had failed to make a reasonable accommodation. The court noted that nothing in the FHA precludes the imposition of appropriate rules and regulations designed to lessen the impact of housing a pet in a no pet building. The court ruled for the association.

RECOMMENDATION: Legal counsel should review an association’s rules to make sure they are reasonable. If a disabled or emotionally challenged person claims they can’t clean up after their animal and want reasonable accommodation, legal counsel should be contacted.

Many thanks to attorney Jane Blasingham for researching this issue.

*****

NO NEWSLETTER. Sorry, no newsletter for the next couple of weeks. I’m gearing up for trial and will not have an opportunity to write them.

On the bright side, it will give you more time to watch the presidential election primaries.

Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
 
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
ADAMS | STIRLING
A Professional Law Corporation

We’re friendly lawyers–boards and managers can reach us at (800) 464-2817 or info@AdamsStirling.com.

How To Create A Roommate Agreement

Wondering if you need a roommate agreement? Living with roommates can be an ideal way to save a little bit of money while still maintaining the kind of living situation you want. Sharing a home with other adults can be tricky because boundaries need to be created and respected in order to have a cohesive relationship.

When there are multiple tenants in a property, most landlords prefer that there be only one name connected to the lease, which means that you are responsible for divvying up how rent is collected and are subject to other issues that could potentially cause chaos.

One of the easiest ways to create a peaceful, well run home is to sit down together and create a roommate agreement that will be signed by everyone and referred back to when needed. A roommate agreement can be created at any time, and there are several templates available online for you to follow and modify as needed. Just like landlords require tenants to sign a lease agreement, roommates can also have an official document to spell out the rules and regulations for a happy and harmonious living situation.

Some of the items up for discussion should include:

  • Space Divisions – Who gets which room and how are the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator space going to be divided?
  • Chores – Decide on a chore chart and ensure that everyone is clear on what they are responsible for and when. It may help to make a visual chart that everyone can see on a daily basis.
  • Noise – Noise after hours seems like an obvious subject for discussion, but don’t forget to also bring up acceptable music or television levels. These can be a source for friction, but shouldn’t be addressed in the heat of the moment.
  • Rent – Because the lease is usually in one person’s name, deciding how rent is going to be collected is important for household peace and a fair deal for everyone.
  • Arguments – It is inevitable that you will have spats and disagreements that you can’t solve on your own. It is a good idea to designate a third party that you all trust to help mediate issues (this probably shouldn’t be your landlord unless you all have a particularly personal, trusting relationship with her.)
  • Guest Etiquette – It is always good manners to check with your roommates before you have overnight guests whether they are in your room or crashing on the couch. Create a policy that you all can live with and stick to it. If you want to request changes, make sure that you take it to the group first.
  • Moving Out – Things happen, life changes and one roommate may need to leave earlier than they agreed to. This is an area where it can be extra helpful to get a written and legal contract between roommates so that financial compensation can be made for those still on the property, especially the roommate whose name is on the lease.

Following the guidelines you create as a unit is the best way for roommates to get along comfortably. A roommate agreement is one of the best ways to make sure everyone is on the same page and it’s a resource that everyone can refer to when disputes arise. While you will need to plan for inevitable clashes and occasional disagreements, being mature and compromising about the way you approach living together with roommates can go a long way toward a happy home.

The post How To Create A Roommate Agreement appeared first on RentPrep.

My Favorite Staging Accessory: Mirrors

Styled Staged & Sold will be featuring staging professionals’ favorite staging accessories and props over the next few weeks. (Do you have a favorite? Submit your favorite for consideration to mtracey@realtors.org.)   Go-to prop: Mirrors Stager: Natalie Gray, Gray Group Design, San Clemente, Calif.       Why I love them: “Mirrors are my favorite […]