Monthly Archives: May 2017

Phantom Smell Syndrome

QUESTION: I am on the board of a retirement community. We have a resident complaining of cigarette smoke. We investigated and could not smell any smoke, nor is there anyone around her who smokes. She is threatening to go to Fair Housing if we don’t do something about it. What should we do?

ANSWER: Your resident may be suffering from a condition known as phantom smell syndrome. The medical term is phantosmia. She smells things that aren’t there. Medical literature describes a long list of causes for this unfortunate olfactory hallucination–some serious and others benign.

Noise Complaints. I had a similar situation with an older woman in a luxury highrise who heard noises in her bedroom that kept her awake at night. Her lawyer daughter threatened to sue the association if the board didn’t stop the “common area” noise.

Duty to Investigate. The board’s obligation is the same whether a resident complains of odors or noises–it must investigate. I asked the board to have at least two individuals schedule a time to listen to the noise. Two directors volunteered and invited me to attend.

The three of us, plus the manager, went to the unit and exchanged pleasantries with the resident. She invited us into her living room and pointed out the noise to us. We all strained to listen and heard nothing. She was disappointed and told us it was much louder in the master bathroom and led us to the room. We all stood quiet as mice and listened. Again we heard nothing. She was insistent and informed us the noise made it impossible to sleep. She reminded us her daughter was a lawyer. We thanked her and headed for the door.

Decision. The board was more than willing to fix the noise, but there was nothing to fix (at least not with the building). The resident was hearing phantom noises–a medical condition known as “musical ear syndrome” where a person suffers from auditory hallucinations. The malady got its name because people often hear music.

Paper Trail. I wrote a letter to her lawyer daughter about the investigation and the board’s decision. I offered a renewed investigation if she hired a licensed acoustical engineer who could record the “loud noise” and offer an expert opinion that it was loud enough for a jury to deem it a nuisance. The daughter never filed suit and her mother stopped complaining.

Annoyance v. Nuisance
. We live with sounds and smells around us every day. They might be an annoyance, but that doesn’t mean the association is required to take action.

[E]very annoyance or disturbance of a landowner from the use made of property by a neighbor does not constitute a nuisance. The question is not whether the plaintiffs have been annoyed or disturbed … but whether there has been an injury to their legal rights. People who live in organized communities must of necessity suffer some inconvenience and annoyance from their neighbors and must submit to annoyances consequent upon the reasonable use of property by others. (Schild v. Rubin (1991) 232 Cal.App.3d 755, 764.)

RECOMMENDATION:  We have a lot of aging baby boomers living in condominiums. I suspect boards will run into more complaints of noises/odors both real and imagined. When complaints are made, boards should decide if the noise/odor is a mere annoyance or an actionable nuisance.

Directors don’t need to personally investigate. Managers, maintenance personnel, or experts can investigate and report their findings. If the board concludes the noise/odor is not a nuisance (or doesn’t exist), the finding should be documented in a letter to the person. If the matter ends up in court, the board’s investigation, deliberation, and decision should satisfy the the Business Judgment Rule and be deferred to by the judge.

JENNIE PARK
JOINS ADAMS STIRLING

I am pleased to announce that attorney Jennie Park joined the firm.

Education. Jennie’s undergraduate degree is in Economics with a minor in Philosophy from UCLA. This was followed by a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School.

Conflict Resolution. Early in her legal career, Jennie gained valuable experience in conflict resolution as a neutral conciliator at a high-volume public interest clinic. This was followed by a stint with the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps where she counseled civilians and military personnel at all levels in the chain of command.

Litigation. Jennie’s litigation skills were developed defending healthcare providers in medical
malpractice suits and administrative board proceedings. She is
well-versed in all phases of litigation from discovery, to law and motion, to settlement or trial.

Business Counsel. Prior to joining our firm, Jennie served as general counsel to commercial real estate businesses, start-up companies and business owners. She developed expertise in cyber liability, federal privacy laws, and intellectual property issues.

If your association needs legal counsel, contact us for a proposal. We continue to recruit attorneys for our Northern California, Inland Empire, Orange County and Los Angeles offices.

No Board Quorum. One of our board members recently resigned and there is no longer a quorum on the board. I was wondering how this affects parking enforcement in the complex. If the company was hired while there was a quorum of board members, can it continue to patrol? Or are they supposed to stop until another director is appointed?

RESPONSE: Your parking enforcement company, landscapers, management company, and other vendors should continue to perform the duties they were hired to perform. Losing your quorum on the board does not affect their contractual obligations. Even so, you should appoint directors at your earliest to fill all empty seats.

Surprise Audit? We have a group of homeowners who are concerned about our association’s financial health. Our board puts a lot of confidence in our manager’s ability to act on our behalf and don’t supervise the manager. What steps can we take to initiate a surprise audit of our records?

RESPONSE: Members have the right to inspect the association’s books and records. You also have the right to designate an agent to inspect the records. (Civ. Code §5205(b), Corp. Code §8311.) If you have concerns about your association’s finances, you can hire a CPA to review financial records. You can schedule a time with the management company to review them or pay for copies of records which you can provide to a CPA for analysis.

Out of Town Director. We are Canadians who have property in Southern California. I was elected to the board and reside there for approximately five months and then back to Canada. I know I’m obligated to attend board meetings. Is the board obligated to ensure I can attend?

RESPONSE: We are quite fond of our neighbors to the north. Your fellow directors must give you notice of meetings and allow you to attend by telephone. Attending by phone is the same as physically attending the meeting. (Corp. Code §7211(a)(6); Civ. Code §4090(b).) Since the law requires that you have the ability to hear everyone and they all hear you, your association should invest in a good conference phone.
Adrian J. Adams, Esq.


Adrian J. Adams, Esq.
ADAMS | STIRLING PLC

We are friendly lawyers. For quality legal service, boards should call (800) 464-2817 or email us.

Another Perspective: Affecting Legislation at CLAC’s 2017 Legislative Day at the Capitol

My experience as a first-time attendee – what I learned and how I was able to participate in affecting legislation.

Once a year, homeowners and individuals who represent many facets of the HOA industry travel to Sacramento for Legislative Day at the Capitol.  The goal is to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss the significant impact selected bills being considered by members of the Senate and Assembly will have on all homeowners living in Common Interest Developments in California.  This year’s day at the Capitol provided a very valuable experience to see first-hand how we can affect legislation.  I am actively involved in several CAI chapters including Inland Empire, San Diego and Coachella Valley.  The reason I was in Sacramento is because I serve as Chair of the Coachella Valley Chapter’s CLAC Legislative Support Committee (LSC).

While I had a cursory knowledge of current legislation, I was surprised by what I didn’t know.   Prior to Legislative Day itself, attendees participated in an entire day of education and preparation sessions which armed us with the ability to speak intelligently about the bills when meeting with legislators the next day at the Capitol building.

Day 1 – Education

As Chair of CAI-CV’s CLAC LSC, I had a fair amount of knowledge of the bills introduced this year that would affect homeowners associations.  I knew a little bit about a bill becoming a law and I also had general understanding of the impact case law has in the courts.  Our sessions began with “How a Bill Become a Law.”  This session walked us through how the bills pass from the Assembly to the Senate and back.  This session laid the groundwork so we could understand how exactly our lobbying efforts fit into the entire process.  Another notable session was learning about specific case law and how this influences future CID court cases and legislation.  We wrapped up the full-day of sessions with Louie Brown introducing the bills CLAC has been watching and why.  This was a preliminary discussion prior to the instruction we would receive the next day before visiting legislative offices.  The education I received brought clarity about the bills and allowed me to view the overall legislative process. It was a great day and I was prepared and full of anticipation about our trip to the Capitol.

Day 2 – Legislative Day at the Capitol

The big day arrived and began with a bill briefing from outstanding keynote speakers.  It was in this session that we were educated even further on the details of the bills CLAC was supporting and opposing.  Not only did we receive direction from Louis Brown but we heard from various CLAC Executive Board Members.  We received handouts with the pros and cons for each of the bills, written in laymen’s terms.  We were given a very clear understanding of what to expect once at the Capitol and how to handle the discussions with the legislators and their staff.  In addition to the bill briefing, we also heard from industry leaders on the state of our industry.  This was valuable information that we could share in our meetings across the street to the Capitol.  We also enjoyed hearing from Assemblyman Phillip Chen, who authored AB 731, one of the bills CLAC was supporting and received an inspirational story about his life and his journey into becoming a public servant.  As we organized to walk to the Capitol, we were arranged into 14 subgroups based upon where we live in California.  This was done so we would be talking with our own representatives.  Each group had a team leader experienced in meeting with legislators and we were armed with our talking points, hand-outs and summary letter from the CLAC executive team to leave with the legislator and his/her staff.  We found the legislators and their aides to be very receptive of our visits.

I left Sacramento feeling as if I personally had assisted in a great team effort to influence legislation.  I learned that the laws enacted by our legislators have an incredible financial impact on homeowners.  To know that we could play a role in educating legislators and impacting their decisions was incredibly rewarding.  I cannot say enough about the tireless effort on the part of CLAC, both through its staff, advocate and executive team to prepare all of the attendees for this experience.  Without a doubt, I will be attending next year and will be sure to let every board member, homeowner, and CID professional know why they should also participate in this highly-impactful effort.

Sue Anderson, Adams Stirling PLC

Sue Anderson is the Regional Director of Business Development at the law firm Adams Stirling PLC. Adams Stirling is dedicated solely to the community association industry. You can reach Sue at (310) 945-0280 or sue@AdamsStirling.com.


5 Simple Updates to Improve Energy Efficiency & Attract New Renters

The demand for modern, upgraded properties is steadily rising in today’s rental market. Features that improve energy efficiency are becoming more attractive to renters–not only because of the decreased impact on the environment, but because it saves them money.

As a landlord, completely renovating your property to include cutting-edge features that improve energy efficiency isn’t always feasible. Luckily, there are cost-effective changes that you can make in order to gain that competitive edge–without emptying your savings account.

This starts with an energy assessment, or an audit where an energy specialist provides you with a list of energy-saving recommendations. From there, it’s time to focus on what’s within your budget.

Here are 5 ideas to improve energy efficiency and attract new renters–without a complete remodel.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency: Tip #1

Buy New Windows and Doors

The frequent opening and closing of doors and windows isn’t the only way that outside air gets inside your home. Older doors and windows have cracks and weakened structures that let in more unwanted air. This leads to a financial burden on your tenants, especially in extreme temperatures.

One particularly cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency is to upgrade to new high-efficiency models that will minimize this airflow. The best part is that this will pay off for you and your tenants, and is an upgrade that you can market for years to come.

“Winterizing your home with energy-efficient, good-looking and low-maintenance exterior doors is an investment that pays dividends for as long as you live in your home,” explain experts at Empire Siding and Windows.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency: Tip #2

Replace the Thermostat

Digital programmable thermostats make it easy for residents to control energy usage by setting the thermostat on a schedule. If you can afford it, smart thermostats conveniently connect to smart phones. This makes it easy for your renters to change the thermostat on the go, allowing you to significantly improve energy efficiency over time.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency: Tip #3

Update Your Light Fixtures

One of the easiest ways to improve energy efficiency is to swap out lightbulbs in frequently used fixtures across your properties. New bulbs will last longer and improve energy efficiency–a win-win. In addition to indoor lamps, consider replacing bulbs in outdoor lighting that might be left on for a long time.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most popular options, with LEDs using just 20-25% of the energy used by traditional incandescent lightbulbs. “For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR,” suggests Energy.gov.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency: Tip #4

Save Water

New and improved water-efficient fixtures can save water, energy, and money without sacrificing performance. Your choice of faucets, shower heads, and toilets can reduce your indoor water use by at least 20%. If you don’t want to replace all of your fixtures at once, start with those that you use the most. Be sure to purchase fixtures that are WaterSense labeled, a registered mark of the EPA.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency: Tip #5

Don’t Forget Interior Design

While upgraded features and technologies can always help you to improve energy efficiency and attract new renters, interior design updates have the potential to do so as well.

For example, painting your walls in pastels and light-hued neutrals reflects more light, allowing tenants to use less energy to brighten the space. Similar interior design tricks include:

  • Hanging window treatments to keep cold air out in the winter, and hot sun out in the summer
  • Adding area rugs to keep warm air from escaping through hardwood floors
  • Trees to block harsh winter winds and summer sun

Improve energy efficiency and attract new renters with these simple upgrades. Your tenants will be happy to save money and decrease their carbon footprint, and you’ll have new features to market when the property becomes available again.

The post 5 Simple Updates to Improve Energy Efficiency & Attract New Renters appeared first on All Property Management.

Tenant Screening Louisville

Louisville tenant screening laws are definitely going to make an impact on how well a landlord can find and sign the best tenants. The city is full of people looking for rentals, and landlords that own property in Louisville have plenty of opportunities to make a good match. There’s no excuse for landlords in Louisville to ignore key aspects of running a real estate business. Knowing the Louisville tenant screening laws and regulations will help them find the best applicants for their properties.

Louisville landlords that read this post will learn about:

  • Louisville tenant screening laws
  • Free landlord resources
  • The tenant screening process
  • How to locate the best tenant screening services 

Tenant Screening Louisville Laws

There’s no excuse for landlords to ignore Louisville tenant screening laws, Metro areas like Louisville have a lot of landlords and tenants, all trying to achieve their goals. Most of all, the laws help keep everything familiar and balanced.

These are some Louisville tenant screening laws that everyone should consider:

  • Neither the city or the state place limits on how much landlords can charge for an application fee.
  • In Louisville, application fees are non-refundable.
  • Security deposits and application fees are separate transactions from the renter to the landlord.

With Louisville tenant screening laws to regulate all the rental properties, there’s a fine chance for good landlords and good applicants to find each other.

Avoid This Common Screening Mistake

Too many Louisville landlords think they have what they need to run a background check on all the applicants they have for a rental property. However, their paperwork doesn’t provide a place for the applicant to sign for consent. A Louisville landlord cannot run a background check on an applicant without their signature. Remember that if current applications do not have a signature line, the document should be changed immediately.

This RentPrep form is a good example:

louisville sad-tenant-screening-services

 

Where the top red arrow indicates, applicants are reminded that any fees are non-refundable. Of course, that bottom red arrow is where  the applicants provide their signature of consent.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Louisville

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. Therefore, there’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Many landlords are adoption a “no blank space” policy. As a result, this allows them to deny applications that don’t have every question filled out completely. However, an incomplete application is unable to be checked, so landlords only spend time on completed ones.

Louisville Tenant Screening Process

Landlords in Louisville are going to be able to stay consistent and fair when processing applications when they rely on a tenant screening criteria list. Remember, it’s a handwritten list created by the landlord that reflects every feature they want in their ideal tenant. With a realistic tenant screening criteria list, landlords can sort through applications to find qualified applicants.

Here’s an example tenant screening list:

  • No smoking
  • Income to rent ratio at least 2:1
  • No evictions
  • Single dog with current vet records and vaccinations; no cats
  • No violent criminal history
  • Any bankruptcies must be 7 years old or more

Sticking to the list is an excellent way to narrow down applicants. The final few applications will best match a landlord’s criteria. As long as the landlords are not using certain factors to discriminate, they can use the tenant screening list to select applicants of their choosing. Learn more about fair housing standards in the city of Louisville at this website, and landlords can learn more about federal fair housing at the hud.gov website.

So remember, Louisville tenant screening laws include:

  • There’s no limit to how much landlords in Louisville can charge as application fees.
  • An application can be denied if it doesn’t meet the landlord’s tenant screening criteria list.
  • Landlords can get into legal trouble if they discriminate against protected classes.

Filling up rental units is a much easier process when landlords follow the Louisville tenant screening process. For more on Louisville tenant screening laws, click here.

Check Out Your Kentucky Screening Guide

In many cases cities have their own screening rules and regulations while the state has another set of rules that govern the screening process.

Click here to go to our post on “Kentucky Tenant Screening Process.”

Getting the Best Tenant Screening Services

When Louisville landlords are ready to run the background check, they should look for a fine tenant screening service with a good reputation. The screening service should provide a detailed report on:

  • Prior evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Any judgment and lien
  • Previous address history

With all the information in hand, a Louisville landlord can choose the applicant that best fits their rental property. Landlords in Louisville are on the right track when they use a professional background service to find out the details of application finalists.

At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Tenant Screening Louisville appeared first on RentPrep.

Make That Home Greener: Energy-Efficient Mortgages

By Michele DiGirolamo, Guest Contributor from MoneyGeek.com  If you’re in the market for a new home, there’s a way to save the environment and some cash at the same time: Consider a “green” mortgage. An energy-efficient mortgage (EEM), the umbrella term for these types of loans, allows buyers to fold expenses for energy-saving home improvements […]

Tenant Screening Las Vegas

If you are a landlord with property in Las Vegas, you have the opportunity to attract lots of different kinds of tenants. Trying to get the best tenants–the ones that pay rent in time and in full–are not easy to find, but when you follow the Las Vegas tenant screening laws and regulations, you have a better chance. Compliance with the tenant screening laws and regulations for the city. It makes good business sense to get fine tenants in a rental unit, because bad tenants waste a landlord’s time and money.

This article will help Las Vegas landlords learn about:

  • Las Vegas tenant screening laws
  • Multiple free landlord resources
  • An overview of tenant screening process
  • How to find fair and affordable tenant screening services 

Tenant Screening Las Vegas Laws

Like any business, landlords are responsible for knowing the laws that regulate their business. Las Vegas tenant screening laws are put in place to make things as fair as possible between landlords and tenants. Many metro areas like Las Vegas have separate laws that help them determine what and where they can do with regards to rental properties.

Check out some of these Las Vegas tenant screening laws:

  • The city and the state put no no limit on how much a landlord can collect for an application fee.
  • In Las Vegas, application fees are not refundable.
  • Also, application fees are separate transactions from security deposits

Las Vegas landlords are in a unique position in that they live in a city with a lot of people that want to live in rentals. That’s why it’s so important for them to comply with Las Vegas tenant screening laws because they will definitely have an impact on their business.

Avoid This Common Screening Mistake

Often, landlords feel like they have the right to run a background check on anyone that wants a rental property, but when it’s too late, they discover they haven’t done this one important thing to make it happen. A background check can only be done on an applicant that has provided written consent. In other words, Las Vegas landlords are not able to run a background check on applicants without a signature. Any documents that currently don’t have a signature line should be amended right away.

Here’s how we do it at RentPrep:

las vegas-tenant-screening-services

 

Look at the top red arrow, where it shows applicants that their fee is not refundable. Now look at the bottom arrow, where it asks the applicant to provide a signature.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Las Vegas

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Many landlords in Las Vegas use a no blank space policy. This means that if an application is submitted without every answer filled in completely, it is automatically denied. Because it’s impossible to investigate an applicant’s background without proper answers, landlords should only research completed ones.

Las Vegas Tenant Screening Process

Did you know that once some completed applications are submitted, a Las Vegas landlord can further sort them according to their own criteria? A tenant screening criteria list is an excellent way to consistently and fairly sort applications. The landlord writes up a list that contains all the features they want to see in a tenant, then they compare the list to the application.

Here’s an example of a tenant screening criteria list:

  • No smoking
  • No previous evictions
  • Income to rent ratio must be 3:1
  • Credit score over 580
  • One dog under 25 lbs. and proof of vaccinations
  • No violent criminal history
  • No bankruptcies

Las Vegas landlords can sort applications that match their screening criteria. As long as they aren’t discriminating against a protected class, they can do this. However, if they discriminate, they could get into a lot of legal trouble. Las Vegas fair housing info can be found here, while federal fair housing info is found at the hud.gov website.

Las Vegas tenant screening laws include:

  • No restrictions on what landlords may charge as application fees.
  • A Las Vegas landlords can’t discriminate against a protected class.
  • Any application may be denied if it doesn’t meet the landlord’s screening criteria.

Las Vegas landlords want the best tenants, but they have to follow the tenant screening process correctly to get them. There’s no doubt that Las Vegas tenant screening laws, as found here, is ideal.

Check Out Your Nevada Screening Guide

In many cases cities have their own screening rules and regulations while the state has another set of rules that govern the screening process.

Click here to go to our post on “Nevada Tenant Screening Process.”

Tenant Screening Questions Answered

Tenant screening can be a pretty dry subject.

That’s why we try our best to make our tenant screening course more fun.

You can follow Laura as she shares tips and advice throughout the tenant screening process.
Tenant Screening

Getting the Best Tenant Screening Services

Las Vegas landlords now have to find a good tenant screening service that will do the hard work of conducting the background check. The final reports should provide exact details on the rental history, criminal background and employment confirmation of every applicant.

Most reports include:

  • All prior evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Judgment and liens
  • Address history

Las Vegas landlords have everything to gain when they follow the city’s tenant screening process.  Instinct or a gut feeling is simply not good enough when it comes to choosing a tenant. Only the Las Vegas tenant screening process can eliminate bad applicants and find the best tenants.

At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

The post Tenant Screening Las Vegas appeared first on RentPrep.

14 Smart Ways to Grow Your Property Management Business

In today’s market, a property manager can have all of the industry knowledge and technical skills in the world; but they’ll still fall behind competitors who are aces at marketing and self-promotion.

In this post, you’ll learn how to grow your property management business with 14 smart ideas that you can set into motion today.

How to Grow Your Property Management Business

1. Contact home sellers

Ask if they would be interested in renting their home instead of selling it outright. This gives you the chance to catch homeowners at a critical decision point: You know they’re planning on exiting their home–it’s just a matter of finding a seller who’s not counting on the proceeds from the home sale. (This probably won’t make you very popular with local real estate agents.)

2. Offer a referral incentive to current clients

For example, you can give a free month or two of property management services for a referral that turns into a one-year property management contract or more. Remember, property investors and landlords talk to each other.

3. Join your local real estate investment club

Volunteer to host clinics on how to be a successful residential landlord. Don’t go to solicit business–be an effective leader and a great teacher now, and they’ll come to you later.

4. Connect with local real estate agents

For example, you could compensate them for referring their unsuccessful buyers to you: People who are not ready or able to buy at the moment, or people on temporary assignments that could turn permanent.

5. Go to networking events

The best networking groups, in our experience, are ones that you pay to join, since they attract a more serious group of professionals. The chances are good that you’ll make a useful connection or learn valuable information.

6. Have a content strategy

You’re not the only one who turns to the internet for advice and information on real estate investment and other topics. It’s always a good move to establish yourself as a subject matter expert within your market by publishing informative articles and blog posts on your website.

7. Target a few important keywords and own them

When it comes to your online content, the more specific keywords that you can target, the better. It’s tough for a small property manager to dominate keyword searches for huge cities and popular topics. However, a small business can be competitive in local keyword searches for a specific suburb, development, or niche topic.

8. Schedule time each week for marketing and prospecting

It’s easy to get caught in the weeds and minutiae of managing a busy property every day. However, if you don’t take time to seek out new business, your practice will stagnate–potentially drying up as natural turnover takes its toll. If you find that you just can’t break free from managing properties to sell your services to new customers, it’s probably time to hire some additional staff members.

9. Set sales activity goals

You can’t control how many people sign on with you–but you sure can control your sales activity. Set manageable goals and track them. For example, your monthly activity goals can look like this:

  • Make 200 phone calls to potential property investors or clients
  • Attend 3 or more investment clubs or networking meetings
  • Set 3 appointments with property investors to discuss managing their properties
  • Ask at least one qualified property owner to sign a contract with you

10. Cold call For Rent By Owner listings (FRBOs)

Many times, if a do-it-yourself landlord has been trying to rent his or her property for few weeks with no takers, they’ll be ready to hire a property manager just to take the problem off of their plate. They don’t want to be spending a lot of time answering phones or showing the place to unqualified buyers and tire-kickers.

11. Publish your own newsletter

Even if you have just two clients, publish a short newsletter. Keep up with real estate news and trends–the more local, the better. This is a great way to add value for your clients and further cement their loyalty to you. Make it easy for them to share your articles with their friends and associates, who may well be real estate investors, too.

12. Invest in a first-rate website

For any business, property management firms included, your website is a potential customer’s first impression of you. Many real estate websites are still stuck in the ’90s. Get a designer with good taste and an up-to-date portfolio. They’ll cost a bit more, but the business that a well-designed website brings in will make the investment well worth it.

You should also consider building an owner’s portal into your site so that owners can log on and see their account statements, reserves, rental status of each unit, etc. right on the site, 24/7. It will take a bit of work to keep it updated; that’s a good assignment for a staffer. Just have the web designer build a good back-end management program. You can also invest in property management software that includes these capabilities. In 2017, it’s often the manager with the best technology who wins the bid.

13. Be active on social media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are proven social media platforms that can help you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. Be active on local real estate topics. Join or start Facebook and LinkedIn groups for local real estate professionals and investors. Become a go-to source for expertise, perspective, and analysis–and show potential customers what working with you would be like.

14. Start a Meetup group

Go to Meetup.com and open an account. Start or join a real estate investment Meetup group in the area that you want to target. Promote it via social media, newsletter announcements, and direct mail. Try to keep the non-investor vendors to one per industry, so you don’t have 12 real estate agents trying to gang up on your poor, beleaguered investors.

Have you figured out how to grow your property management business? Do you have any time-tested strategies you’d like to share with other property managers? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.

The post 14 Smart Ways to Grow Your Property Management Business appeared first on All Property Management.

What If My Tenant Applicant Doesn’t Have An Email Address?

If you’re currently screening tenants and a tenant applicant doesn’t have an email address it can make things difficult.

An article from September 2016 finds that 13% of Americans don’t use the internet.

When running a background check many services fall under the, “tenant involvement” category.

This means you’ll need a tenant applicant’s email address in order to run a background report.

This is because many tenant screening services use a “token system” where the tenant applicant possess the background report and gives permission to the landlord to view the report.

For instance, SmartMove is a popular screening service which requires an email so the applicant can authenticate their identity.

tenant applicant no email address

The screenshot above shows a three step process the applicant goes through that requires an email address from the applicant.

How Do I Run A Background Check Without A Tenant Email Address?

You’ll need to use a “zero tenant involvement” service where the screening company can run a background report without needing an email address.

At RentPrep, we have three screening packages that don’t require tenant involvement.

Our Basic, Pro, and Platinum packages are all zero tenant involvement. This way you can run a background report on your applicant as long as you have signed consent (typically this is a part of your rental application).

Someone might be a good renter despite not having an email address. You still want to make sure you run a background check to make sure they meet all of your screening criteria.

Advantages of zero tenant involvement

One of the advantages of zero tenant involvement is that it’s much easier to complete a screening report because you don’t have to wait on a tenant applicant.

With SmartMove (which is a service we offer as well) the process begins once the applicant responds to the email and goes through the screening process.

If the applicant loses that email, doesn’t open it, or doesn’t have an email address the report won’t get completed.

We’ve found about 70% of our SmartMove orders are completed because 30% of the applicants never take the necessary steps.

 

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Tenant Screening Portland

As one of the busiest cities on the West Coast, Portland is attracting lots of newcomers thanks to a robust economy and vibrant culture. Portland is also home to many rental properties, and landlords in the city should definitely have no problems filling vacancies. Of course, some tenants are better than others, so how do Portland landlords find the best ones? The answer is to follow all the Portland tenant screening laws, because it’s the best way to attract and sort the best applicants for a rental property.

This post will assist Portland landlords in learning about:

  • Portland tenant screening laws
  • All the free resources for landlords
  • The tenant screening process
  • How to find the best tenant screening services

Tenant Screening Portland Laws

The federal, state and municipal laws are put in place to regulate how landlords and applicants come together and determine whether or not the rental unit is a good fit. Portland landlords lead the way in maintaining compliance with the laws. Failure to follow them can land them in legal trouble. Portland tenant screening laws are worth following because they protect both parties.

Here are a few Portland tenant screening laws:

  • Portland laws don’t limit how much landlords may charge for application fees.
  • All application fees are non-refundable in Portland
  • In Portland, a security deposit is a separate financial exchange from the application fee.

Information on Portland tenant screening laws and more are available here.

Many Landlords Make This Common Screening Mistake

Most Portland landlords want to do a background check on applicants for their rental unit. However, they often overlook the one thing they need to do so. Landlords must have written consent from the applicant in order to run a background check. Without a signature, Portland landlords won’t be able to run a background check on an applicant. 

Here’s an example in a RentPrep document:

portland-tenant-screening-services

 

Top arrow: Shows that the application fee is not refundable.

Bottom arrow: Shows the signature line where applicants grant consent to a background check.

Resources for Tenant Screening in Portland

RentPrep has gathered a helpful list of links for you to use in your real estate business. There’s no better way to find top tenants than to use the information here.

*Portland landlords can adopt a no blank space policy, where they deny all applications that are not completely filled out. If there’s a blank space instead of an answer, that application will not be processed any further.

Portland Tenant Screening Process

Smart landlords create a tenant screening criteria list so they have a consistent standard when reviewing applications. A Portland tenant screening criteria list should be realistic, yet represent the ideal tenant. As the criteria is constant, it makes it easier and more fair for applicants seeking to rent.

This is an example of a possible Portland tenant screening criteria list:

  • No evictions
  • Smoking allowed
  • Credit score above 625
  • Income to rent ratio at least 2:1
  • No violent criminal history
  • One dog under 25 lbs accepted with vet papers
  • No bankruptcies

Portland landlords can create a tenant screening list with numerous factors, but they must never include any discriminatory features. Protected classes are those defined by federal, state and municipal law. Every landlord needs to learn more about anti-discrimination laws in their city. This Portland website covers all the laws and regulations about discrimination in the city. Of course, landlords can visit the hud.gov website for details on federal standards.

In summary, Portland tenant screening laws include:

  • Landlords have no limit to what they can charge for an application fee.
  • Portland landlords cannot discriminate against protected classes.
  • They can deny any application that doesn’t fit their tenant screening criteria list.

Portland’s landlord/tenant laws can be complicated, so this website can help them get up to speed.

Check Out Your Oregon Screening Guide

In many cases cities have their own screening rules and regulations while the state has another set of rules that govern the screening process.

Click here to go to our post on “Oregon Tenant Screening Process.”

Finding the Right Tenant Screening Services

Landlords are ready to run a background check when they have a few applications that meet their approval. Now it’s time to find a tenant screening service to help out. The best tenant screening services will give Portland landlords an excellent report for a fair price.

Portland landlords should look for a tenant screening company that checks on these areas:

  • Previous addresses
  • All evictions
  • Judgments and liens
  • Bankruptcies

Once the background check report is done, Portland landlords can make an informed decision on who to rent to. It’s best when landlords follow the Portland tenant screening process because it is the best way to find the best applicants, which have the lowest risk of becoming bad tenants.

At RentPrep, we have experience with over 21,000 landlords over the past 10 years. Check out our tenant screening packages to see the services we offer.

Our FCRA certified screeners will put your mind at ease by providing the best tenant screening report available.

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#156 Security Deposit Funds

 

In this week’s episode we’re talking about security deposit funds and what to do with the funds.

A good resource is to check your state laws with our state specific resources page.

Discussions in this episode:

Intro – How $38 held up a real estate sale
0:50 – Most states have specifications on what you can do with security deposit funds
2:00 – Get a receipt when returning funds
3:30 – How security deposit interest can hold up a real estate sale
7:16 – Crazy Massachusetts laws
10:30 – Creating separate accounts for your security deposit funds

Leave us a review on our podcast if you like what you’re hearing.

Also, join the discussion in the RentPrep For Landlords Facebook Group.

 

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