Receive news, updates and special deals by Joining AOA's Online Newsletter. Click now to sign up!

Archive for April, 2012

Why Smart Meters Are Not Smart For You! – by Ellen and Tobie Cecil

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

Introduction to Smart Meters
As Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in Northern California along with Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in Southern California roll out a combined total of 11.7 million new electric and 10.6 new, gas Smart Meters (so-called), we as a property management team see Californians’ Constitutional rights and personal freedoms eroding right before our eyes! [...]

Continue Reading

Turn Your Dreams in to Your Goals – by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

On February 9, 1996 I was fired for personal reasons from an executive position with a large sales organization within the multifamily industry.  For some, this day would be considered the day a large door was slammed shut. Instead, I will always remember this date as the day 1000 windows were opened!  On this day in 1996 my wife and I climbed a small hilltop near our home in Southern California¦and we planned our future for many hours.  Using the principles of mind mapping, we created our written plan as we envisioned a new life for ourselves and for our family: [...]

Continue Reading

Working with Residents During Tenancy: What You May Not Have Considered – by Julie Johnson

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

There are many different scenarios that can happen during tenancy.  Here are a few with tips on how you may want to consider handling them.

Making Exceptions
If you need to make an exception when implementing the rules, make sure you document exceptions carefully.  For example, if you decide not to charge a late fee for a tenant who has consistently paid rent over three years, you might add a new rule that you will waive the first late fee if someone has been on time with rent for the previous x-number of months.  Bottom line; analyze situations on a case-by-case basis.  Be sure not to make exceptions as a rule, based on someone’s protected class and make sure you document the reasons for the exceptions thoroughly.

Rule Changes
A landlord can change the rules easily if a tenant is renting month-to-month by just giving 30 days advanced written notice of the change.  However, if the tenant and the landlord have a fixed-term tenancy (a lease), the landlord cannot make a substantial change to the rules of a rental agreement during tenancy without the tenant’s consent.

Visitors
Sofa Surfers are guests of your tenant who don’t leave.  In other words, they come to stay only for a short time, but end up staying long term, often moving in permanently.  These guests could be family members, friends or simple acquaintances of your tenant, who have found an easy place to crash or hangout.  Often, it doesn’t stop there, as these folks then begin to bring their guests into the unit. With no monitoring, these Sofa Surfers turn into permanent residents.  They need to go through the same tenant screening as any other prospective tenant.  They need to fill out an application and pay the screening fee.

Creating Disturbances
Tenants who create a disturbance, whether it be arguing or playing music too loudly are usually a problem for other tenants and neighbors.    Neighbors should be encouraged to call the police as a nuisance is happening “ this way it is documented by a non-biased third party.
In cases of emergency, such as immediate threat of bodily harm, inform your tenants to call 911 and then ask tenants to report the problem to you, the owner/agent.  Be sure your tenant has your contact information.

Waste, Nuisance, Illegal Use
If a tenant is engaged in any of the above activities, a landlord may choose to issue the tenant proper [7-day legal notice] to terminate tenancy.  Waste is when the tenant’s life style is destroying the unit.  Nuisance and illegal use is when the tenant is engaged in drug activity or threatened the use of a lethal weapon.  Before using this notice, it is wise to seek legal advice.

Personal Property Damage
Most leases state that the landlord is not responsible for loss or damage to the tenant’s personal property and may require renter’s insurance.  Despite this lease language, a court may hold the landlord responsible if the loss or damage was caused by the landlord’s negligence.  A tenant should first seek reimbursement for lost or damaged property by writing to the property manager/owner.  A landlord should be aware if they try to settle with a tenant through an attorney and do not report the event to their insurance, they could be jeopardizing their insurance coverage.  Seek legal advice to understand all of your options.

Damaged Property/Displacement
The landlord has the option of quitting a lease/rental agreement if the property has extensive damage.  In the event the tenant cannot live in the dwelling unit when repairs are being done, the rent is to be abated.  The landlord is not obligated to find shelter for their displaced tenant.

Tenant in Jail or Hospital
When a tenant is hospitalized or incarcerated, personal property should not be released to anyone without a written authorization from the tenant, the police or appropriate court.  If the tenant will not be occupying the unit for an extended period of time, the landlord may ask the tenant if he wants to abandon tenancy and authorize a person to take charge of his person property.

Military Service
Under [some] state laws, a member of the armed forces, including national guard and armed forces reserves (or their spouse or dependent), who is on a month to month tenancy may terminate a rental agreement if the tenant receives reassignment or deployment orders that do not allow a [30] day notice or if they are on a lease, may terminate tenancy for a specified time if the tenant receives reassignment or deployment orders.  Federal law under the Service Members Civil Relief Act gives a clearer explanation of what notice should be given to the landlord and what rent they are obligated for.

Reprinted with permission of UPDATE, the official publication of the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound.

Continue Reading

The New Estate and Gift Tax Act – by Jeff Reed

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

On December 17, 2010, the President signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Act), revising the income, estate, generation-skipping transfer (GST) and gift taxes for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
For 2010, the Act retroactively imposed an estate tax at a 35% rate with a $5 million exemption and a GST tax at a 0% rate with a $5 million exemption. [...]

Continue Reading

Home vs. Business Expenses and Tax Deductions for Landlords – by Completelandlord.com

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

No matter what anybody tells you, you cannot deduct personal, living or family expenses as business expenses.  The IRS is committed to keeping your business expenses separate, despite a rise in fraudulent home-based business tax schemes.  The IRS noted that the following examples are not considered ordinary and necessary expenses to run a business: [...]

Continue Reading

Apartment Insurance Costs Increase for the First Time in Four Years – by the National Multi Housing Council

Posted on 30. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

The cost to insure apartments rose slightly in 2011, the first time in four years, according to the National Multi Housing Council’s annual Apartment Cost of Risk Survey (ACORS).
The survey, which is based on data covering 750,000 units operated by 57 apartment firms, shows the average (nonweighted) total cost of risk (TCR) rising 1% between 2010 and 2011.  By comparison, [2010's] report shows a 6% decline in the TCR.  (Total Cost of Risk reflects the cost of the three principal components of insurance premiums; property, general liability and workers’ compensation. [...]

Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor¦

Posted on 29. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

Dear AOA:
I had missed a few issues of the monthly magazine after moving to Arizona.  This may have been due to our unsecured street mail box.  When I realized that I had not been getting the magazine, I called AOA and spoke to Shelly.  I explained what had happened and also provided her with our new P.O. Box for mailing.
She offered to try and scrounge up the three back issues which I was missing and I received these shortly afterward and she also got my subscription correctly routed after that.
I am often quite critical these days of poor customer service from not only our government agencies, but large private businesses as well.  This is why Shelly’s efficient help and pleasant phone demeanor is especially appreciated.  She is a credit to your organization.    Sincerely, Robert M. [...]

Continue Reading

Failure of Leadership in the Rent Stabilization Revision – by Michael Millman, Esq.

Posted on 29. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

Below is an open letter sent to Mayor Villaraigosa.

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa:

Approximately six years ago, the L.A. City Council arranged for the Economic Round Table Group to investigate the feasibility of continuing with rent control within the City.  The Council allocated $1,000,000 for the report.  The report was issued and apparently, Mercedes Marquez failed to deliver the report to others. Ultimately, it was revealed that the Round Table recommended many substantial and fundamental changes in the RSO. [...]

Continue Reading

The Tax Planning Countdown to 2013 Starts Now! – by Cliff Hockley

Posted on 29. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

As we begin 2012, all real estate investors need to pay very close attention to the ever changing tax landscape.  Particular attention needs to be paid to the significant tax increases slated to occur in 2013.   Investors considering whether or not to sell and pay their taxes, or sell and 1031 exchange, must consider the year-over-year tax implications. Real estate investors will have a much greater tax burden in 2013 than in 2012. [...]

Continue Reading

Is Your Fire Protection System in Compliance With the Fire Department or Your Insurance Company? – by CV Fire Protection, Inc.

Posted on 29. Apr, 2012 by .

0
Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that all fire protection systems be inspected, tested and maintained periodically in order to ensure a reasonable degree of protection of life and property from fire. It is your responsibility to perform all other periodical inspections and testing of the fire sprinkler system. An “Annual Test” will provide you with preventive maintenance instead of costly major repairs. Most building owners find out of these repairs when a “Five Year Test” is performed on the sprinkler system and they realize the lack of maintenance over a long period of time. [...]

Continue Reading