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Archive for September, 2013

Is An Apartment Landlord Liable For Dog Bites? – By Dale Alberstone, Esq.

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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There is an old adage, “Every dog gets one free bite.”  While that is not true as to the liability of the canine’s owner, generally it is true for the owner of an apartment building whose tenant’s pet [...]

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Garbage Collection Rates Increase Dramatically – By Henry Karnilowicz

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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At our last general meeting, representatives from Recology spoke about the approximately 21% rate increase they are seeking for garbage collection, about average for the Bay Area counties.

Recology’s position in applying for the hug rate increase is that it needs to raise rates to fund its programs and to offset rising fuel and operating expenses, including [...]

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Now is the Time to Invest in California Real Estate – By Bruce Norris

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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In July, we spoke to a sold-out crowd of nearly 500 investors and real estate professionals at our “California Comeback 2: Fast, Furious & Dangerous” event.  In our 280-page report, with over 350 charts, I shared with the audience why [...]

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Resident Appreciation – It Means Everything! © – by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Want to know the secret for keeping your residents forever?  And what if you could keep your properties full and plus have a waiting list, because your residents loved the way you appreciated them?  In this article, you will learn how easy it is to develop a powerful resident appreciation program.  Once in place, an appreciation program will forever change the way you operate and manage your apartment communities.

Developing a Monthly Appreciation Plan

At the beginning of each month, develop some fun ideas to “thrill” the residents at the properties you own or manage.  Start by planning a short brainstorming session with your key property supervisors, resident managers and their leasing staffs, so you can hear their unique insight about ways to make the program a giant success.  Their input is critical as each property has its own special resident profile, so customize your appreciation plan accordingly.  Once your appreciation plan is finalized, provide a written recap for your leasing team so everyone will know exactly what their role will be.  Clear communication makes for perfect implementation.

Tip From The Coach:  Consider building your resident appreciation plan for six to twelve months in advance.  This makes for better financial budgeting, a more thoroughly developed appreciation plan, and your leasing team will have the time to evaluate several competitive proposals for the cost of each month’s theme.

Building Appreciation Themes

As you consider the theme for each month’s appreciation program, start by looking for specific holidays or seasonal times of the year.  For example, summer time is perfect for fun poolside events and outside activities.  Have your leasing team take plenty of photos and fill your next newsletter + website with pictures of your residents having a great time.  Everyone loves to see pictures of themselves and for those who couldn’t attend, they will certainly be encouraged to participate at the next event.   Another appreciation theme, depending on the profile of your residents, might be more educational.  For example, have a local computer store give a live demonstration for your residents about ways to maximize their use of the Internet or social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Your residents will be thrilled to hear more about the Internet and the computer store gets to meet lots of potential new customers… a win-win for all.  Finally, speak with your vendors and neighborhood businesses as many would like to co-sponsor your appreciation program.  Your residents might just be perfect new customers for them.

Tip From The Coach:  Certainly your residents will love the appreciation you show them each month and so will your future residents.  If appropriate, invite every future resident who comes to the properties you manage, to participate in your resident appreciation program.  Take this small step and watch your closing ratio double, with the future residents who attend!

Evaluating the Success of Resident Appreciation

Start by asking your leasing team to make written notes of any nice comments shared by your residents or prospective new residents.  These nice quotes are perfect to include in your next property newsletter + website and makes for great reading, especially for those who could not attend or participate.  Next, evaluate the number of residents who attend or participate each month, as this helps for planning future programs.  Of course, monitor your resident retention percentages, as this is the critical measurement of how well your appreciation program is working.

Tip From The Coach:  Remember, your residents will feel important when they know they are a top priority.  Implementing a resident retention program will not cost much.  But the return on your investment will be significant based on less resident turnover, happier residents will send more referrals, and more fun for your leasing staff.  Why?  Because The Coach says so!  Plus, good news travels fast and so will the sterling reputation you earn with your residents.

Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions? Send an E-mail to ernest@powerhour.com and The Coach will E-mail back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call.  On this call we will discuss 25 appreciation themes your residents will love.

Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995, the author of SmartMatch Alliances and the founder of PowerHour has a passion for coaching his clients on executive leadership, hiring and motivating property management SuperStars.  He provides private and group coaching for property management companies around North America, investment banking services and executive recruiting services.  To subscribe to his FREE property management newsletter go to www.powerhour.com, call 435-615-8486 or  E-mail ernest@powerhour.com.

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The 5 Money-Making Advantages of Multi-Unit Investing – by David Lindahl

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Having rehabbed over 820 properties in the last 18 years and collected over 7,400 apartment units I’m often asked, how can I become wealthier faster investing in real estate?

While most investors concentrate on some aspect of single-family houses, I was always interested in [...]

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The FREE “Million Dollar Trade Show and Landlording Conference”! – Los Angeles, Thursday, September 26th!

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 26th for AOA’s “Million Dollar Trade Show and Landlording Conference” in Los Angeles. You will meet [...]

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How to Manage Your Tenants by Mail – By Jay P. DeCima

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Managing tenants by mail is a totally different concept for most rental property owners.  In fact, even professional property managers will tell you it’s not likely to work very well because [...]

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Letters to the Editor…

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Dear Mr. Faller:

We hope this Email finds you well and ending a wonderful week.

It is not often that we send complimentary letters, however, we thought it important to let you know the excellent advice and customer service we received this morning from Rebecca in yourSan Fernando Valleyoffice.  Not only was Rebecca knowledgeable but she took the extra time to answer our questions and also make sure we understood our rights and out tenant’s rights.  We utilize our AOA membership often and always receive courteous and solid advice however, Rebecca really “took it up a notch” this morning.

Thank you for providing such a valuable resource (and helpful people such as Rebecca) for our industry Mr. Faller.

PS:  Thank you for never taking God out of the equation as well.  We are happy to see you and many of your speakers put Him first.   Warmest regards,

Duke & Lori Sterling, GrandView Property Management LLC 

Dear Mr. Faller:

Please extend my thanks and appreciation toMarilyn.  While I have been an AOA member for some time, I called last month for the first time and spoke to Marilyn.  She was very patient, pleasant and knowledgeable.  I was so impressed that I recommended to a friend that she join AOA immediately.  You are aware of the challenges landlords face.  You must also know that when we have a problem, it is so reassuring to know that there is a kind listener and someone to give accurate advice at AOA.

Marilyn is, indeed, an asset to your organization  Thank Marilynand thank you for the work that you do.                                                                        Sincerely,  Gladys C.

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This Probably Never Happened to You, But …. – By Finley Beven

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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Can I Change the Locks?

The tenant from #3 called, and she was very concerned.  She said that her co-tenant had moved out, but she was worried that he might return, un-announced.  She said that she had no particular reason to fear him, but just did not like the idea that he still had a key to the apartment.

She asked if she could change her locks.

It has long been our policy to carefully avoid taking a stand between a tenant and their feeling of need for additional security.   In general we do not allow “security doors” (you know, the metal kind), but certainly any upgrade in locks would be encouraged if a tenant wanted to change the locks.

Her concern was so deep that she also asked that she have the only keys.  As her now ex-co-tenant was also on the lease, we could not keep him out, or refuse to give him a key if he asked for one -if we had keys.

We permit our tenants to make such changes, but do not get involved with the changing of the locks.  It is and remains between the two tenants.

There are two complications when we, as the managers, do not have direct access to a unit.  The first is ordinary repairs.  Our agreement with this tenant, and any others in her situation, is to be clear that if ordinary maintenance is needed within the unit, that she will need to be there to accommodate entry, even if this means that she must miss work for several hours.  The second is if an emergency entry were needed (as with a fire or flood).  In our agreement with these tenants, they agree to take full responsibility for any resultant damage in the event that a forced entry was needed.

This approach has worked well for us, caused few real problems, and provided the tenants with a greater sense of security.

 

Seven Suggestions Regarding Pets

Unit #4 has been vacant for almost three weeks.  This unit is in a six-unit building.  An applicant showed clear interest, but was concerned that the property was clearly advertised as “NO PETS”.    She had owned her dog for nearly six years, and just could not part with her.

This has always been an interesting subject to me.  When we first started in this business, the Unruh Act was in effect, and it prohibited discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin.   In those early days for us, discriminating against families with children was permitted, and “ADULTS ONLY” buildings were somewhat common.  Although subsequent court rulings and legislation changed all of that, our company back then made it a policy to not discriminate against families with children.

The logic was more than just altruistic.  By accepting families with children, we were taking customers from other owners who did not want them.  Because we had more customers ready to rent from us, we know that we filled our vacancies faster, and made more income for our owners.

Now, apply that same logic to pets.  From our application records, we have found that roughly 25% of our applicants either have a pet or would want one.  Some of our owners allow pets, some do not.  Those who do, it would seem, have a significant marketing advantage over those who do not.

As I mentioned earlier, in this example, the building is just six units – there is no resident manager.  As such, it is only by “luck” if we were to discover that a tenant had a pet.   Sure, we could issue a 3-Day Notice to Conform, but all a tenant has to do is move the pet elsewhere for a few days, and then the process starts all over again.

Some owners are, and always will be firm in their conviction about NO PETS.  I have no problem with that.  However, in these times of higher vacancies, others may consider allowing pets.  The trick here is to do “right”. As to what is “right”, I have seven suggestions.

 

  1. Charge a pet deposit.  It does not have to be huge, as it will be coupled with the security deposit.  Actually, combining it with the security deposit gives you more options at move-out.
  2. Avoid “puppies” if at all possible.  Regardless of breed, they just tend to be more destructive.
  3. There is no “magic” to small dogs.  They can be more destructive, and noisier than larger dogs.
  4. Insist that dogs be “walked” off of your property, and that the dog-owner clean up after his or her dog.
  5. If it is a cat, it must always be kept indoors.
  6. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER permit known dangerous breeds, such as pit bulls.
  7. Have a contract provision that is signed by your tenants to the effect that if they violate the pet rules, the owner will have the unilateral right to void any lease with 30 days notice.  This will alert the tenant to the fact that you are very serious about your pet rules, whatever they may be.

In these days of high vacancy rates, anything you can do to say “yes” to the needs of your tenants (and tenant-applicants) should be good for your business.  It has worked well for us.

Finley Beven is with Beven & Brock Property Management Co., Inc.  The contents of these articles are merely opinions of the writer.  They are not intended as specific legal advice and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  For more information, call (626) 243-4145 or visit www.BevenandBrock.com.

 

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How to Tell If You’re Rich – By Alexander Green

Posted on 01. Sep, 2013 by .

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One of the biggest points of contention in the last election was whether the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Polls show the majority of voters don’t believe [...]

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