The finishing touches have been applied, and it’s ready to go! A brand new class entitled “What’s New in Fair Housing: Cases, Settlements & Trends for Property Managers” is the result of many months of research, analysis, and compilation of information about the steadily-evolving trends and cases around the Federal Fair Housing Act, today. As a property manager, you’re undoubtedly aware of the huge impact this body of law has on our industry. Still, you may find yourself confused about such things as
- The differences between a “service animal,” “therapy animal,” “companion animal,” and “assistance animal.”
- What you can and cannot ask a prospective resident about his or her disability.
- Whether you could be held liable for a discriminatory statement made by someone else.
- Whether you can continue to use the same tenant qualification criteria you’ve always used, without risking a fair housing claim.
This course was designed as a 3-hour program, but can be extended to as many as 6 hours, depending on the needs of your organization. Believe me, there’s plenty of information to fill the time!
Not only will this class be an eye-opener for all who attend, you’ll actually take away some very practical tools for use in your day-to-day business – stuff you can put to work for your company right away!
Want more information? Ask away, by leaving a comment below!
Hot off the presses! The U.S. Department of Justice just announced a settlement with a Reno, NV apartment complex regarding the management’s treatment of residents with assistance animals. From the DOJ’s press release:
“The department’s complaint had alleged that the owners, employees and management company of Rosewood Park Apartments violated the Fair Housing Act by limiting individuals with certain assistance animals to a particular section of Rosewood Park Apartments; subjecting such individuals to pet fees; requiring assistance animals to be licensed or certified; and barring companion or uncertified service dogs altogether.”
The settlement in this case was $127,500, payable to a family who was denied housing (because of their assistance animal), Continue reading
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something’s just not right…
Whether you inspect your occupied property management homes annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or more often (Careful here! How does your state define ‘harassment?’), you undoubtedly use a form for that purpose.
Is there a perfect form for an “interim inspection” of a rental home? Maybe. But, in most cases, the property condition issues vary with the locality and climate. Would you stress AC operation and maintenance a bit more strongly in Las Vegas, than you would in Bozeman, MT? Probably so.
The art is not in the form itself. It’s in knowing what to look for – with your own inventory, with your particular geographical location and weather conditions.
Short, and sweet, Nevada’s AB 194 was passed by both houses of the legislature, and signed by the governor this week. It becomes law on October 1, 2013.
The new law specifically calls for criminal liability for renters who willfully damage or destroy the rental property:
“This bill clarifies that a person who holds a leasehold interest in the real property of another person may be criminally liable for the willful or malicious destruction or injury of that real property.”
The text of the bill is nice and simple:
“THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. NRS 206.310 is hereby amended to read as follows:
206.310 1. Every person who shall willfully or maliciously destroy or injure any real or personal property of another, for the destruction or injury of which no special punishment is otherwise specially prescribed, shall be guilty of a public offense proportionate to the value of the property affected or the loss resulting from such offense.
2. It is not a defense that the person engaging in the conduct prohibited by subsection 1 holds a leasehold interest in the real property that was destroyed or injured.”
Tip for Nevada Property Managers: This might be good language to add to your residential and commercial lease agreements, as a deterrent to willful property damage. At the very least, you’ll want to remind your tenants of this provision of law if you become aware of any tenant-caused damage to the property.
This is a revival of a post from a few years ago. I’ve had a couple of emails recently from property managers across the U.S. who are dealing with this issue right now, and they’re looking for answers. So, what does the property manager need to know (and do) when a tenant of ours dies in one of our rental units?
Yes, I know. This is a rather depressing topic. Not something we ordinarily want to discuss. Yet, if you’re in this business long enough, eventually, someone’s going to die in one of your rental units. It happens. In my 30+ years as a property manager, I’ve had three deaths. The first was a drug overdose; the second a “peaceful” death, and the third was suicide.
No matter the circumstances, there isn’t anything much more disturbing than to find a dead body in an apartment or rental house you manage. The event can haunt you for months. At the moment you discover the death, it’s easy to make critical mistakes – confusion takes hold, and we don’t always think clearly about what we should be doing.
Following are a few guidelines to help you deal appropriately with a death in one of your rental units: Continue reading
This is shaping up to be a very light year for bills impacting the property management industry in Nevada. Both landlords and tenants have little to watch, in terms of new legislation on the horizon. Property Managers may be interested in a few of the items on my watch list, however.
Unless something changes significantly in the next few weeks, this is the last of my posts on the Nevada 2013 Legislature. I’ll keep you informed, however, should circumstances warrant a “heads up” for Nevada Property Managers. For now, in no particular order, here’s what I’m watching. You’ll note that each bill number listed links to the bill information itself:
Property Managers in Nevada will want to follow this one…
Nevada Assembly members Lucy Flores and Elliot Anderson have introduced legislation that, if passed, would significantly amend the state’s Landlord/Tenant law to allow early lease termination for victims of domestic violence.
AB 284, introduced on March 15th, would allow a tenant to terminate his/her lease on 30 days’ notice, and/or require the landlord to change the locks on the rented property, if that tenant can substantiate that he/she is a domestic violence victim. The proposed bill provides three alternative methods of establishing the tenant’s status: Continue reading
Just introduced yesterday, AB 334 is the bill we’ve all been waiting to see. It’s short and sweet; only 4 pages, but its impact is a big one! The bill summary reads:
“AN ACT relating to contractors; exempting certain property owners, licensed real estate brokers and salespersons from provisions relating to contractors; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.”
As Contractor’s License Law in Nevada currently provides, a property owner may build or improve a residential structure on his/her property, as long as the structure is intended for the owner’s occupancy, and not for sale or lease within a year. AB 334 removes the limitation that the property be solely for the owner’s occupancy, unless a building permit is required for the work.
“There are moments at work where my mind wanders to happier times… like being in the dentist’s chair. Yes, my work is a vessel of fun. “Fun,” like rusty sword-swallowing fun!”
Real Estate Licensee, Property Manager
35-year industry veteran
Property Management can be a very challenging profession, in terms of communication. Most often, when the telephone rings, it is a problem. The tenant is unhappy because something needs to be repaired. The owner is unhappy because he’s not making as much money on the property as he thinks he should. The vendor is unhappy because he wasn’t paid the day he submitted his invoice. Property Managers must balance the needs and wants of all parties in landlord/tenant relationship, whether residential or commercial, while at the same time setting appropriate boundaries, mediating disputes, and communicating difficult messages.
Property managers often ask me how I handle pursuing tenants who move out owing sums in excess of their deposit. Owners so frequently expect the property manager to act as a collection agency, and many of our contracts do not address the manager’s responsibility for those activities. Furthermore, federal law strictly regulates the property manager’s efforts in collecting tenant debt. What should the property manager do in these cases?
Make sure your owners know your policies. Communicate those policies in writing. Your management contract should specifically spell out what you will and will not do in the event of “bad debts” by tenants. Should the situation arise, remind your owners of those policies and any associated charges.
Your records speak for themselves. Prove it or lose it! If you are unable to prove a debt, you will be unable to collect it. Continue reading