About Judy

Property Management Mentor

“Can you get a bid on that?” (How to handle owner requests for bids on small jobs)

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little-builderAs a Nevada Property Manager, you know how challenging it can be to find and retain qualified vendors to do the myriad small jobs for the rental homes you manage. Now that we’re working against The Tesla Effect,” it’s becomming even more difficult to find vendors who are willing to take on those small jobs at fair prices. Many of us expect this trend to continue, for at least the next 3-5 years.

 

Enter the conscientious landlord. This may be his first foray into rental property ownership; perhaps he once lived in the home. Although she hired a professional property manager, which was a savvy decision on her part as a new investor/landlord, she still wants to know what’s going on, especially when repairs are needed. “Can you get a bid on that?” We hear it all the time, don’t we? As property managers, we know what a losing proposition it can be to seek bids for small projects. But, how do we effectively communicate this to our owner-clients?

 

I had just this very occurrence recently, and my initial reaction was not my best reaction. I think I said something like, “It doesn’t make sense to get a bid for a job this small. We’ll just get it taken care of.” Not very reassuring to a small portfolio client, is it? Luckily, I thought better, and cleaned up my response. I’m  sharing my ‘new and improved response’ with you now, in hopes you find it helpful when you’re in a similar situation with your owner-client.

 

“To clarify, the job is pretty small – a routine repair. It’s a time and materials kind of thing. When we ask contractors to bid something this small in advance, they usually estimate the job based on a “worst case scenario.” In other words, they bargain for variables that may or may not occur with the job. Not exactly “padding,” but making sure they don’t under-bid, which can happen if they don’t take variables into consideration. Most times, when a job is pre-bid, the invoice for that job matches the bid, to the penny.

 

On smaller projects, it typically works to our owner/clients’ best interests to simply dispatch good vendors to take care of the jobs, and trust that they’ll invoice the job fairly. Overall, it’s the best way we know of to keep maintenance costs down without reducing service to our owners, their properties, and tenants.”

hand-hand-hand

So many times, we forget how confusing this business can be to our clients. To some property managers, the resolution to reducing the confusion is to avoid communication altogether, except when absolutely necessary. Yet, if your approach to the business is a bit more personalized, it will help you to remember that our clients sometimes need a little hand-holding along the way.

 

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

Warm regards,

Judy

 

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Nevada Property Managers – Consent to Act

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32251852This topic seems to come up very frequently, in my Nevada classes. “When should I present the Consent to Act form?”

 

Although there are varying opinions on this subject, I’ll share mine. And, should your view differ, please don’t hesitate to comment on this post. Sharing information and opinions is a vital component of our success as Nevada Property Management professionals!

 

As a matter of personal/office policy, I never introduce the Consent to Act form.

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Disparate Impact – Stop with the Panic Bells, Already!

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united-states-of-america-signAs you likely are aware, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down its ruling this week, affirming the validity of Disparate Impact Theory in Fair Housing cases. Immediately, some of my colleagues in the property management industry began ringing the panic bells. “This will change everything!” No, it won’t.

This is Nothing New!

HUD and DOJ have been using Disparate Impact Theory to prove fair housing cases for 40 years! All this SCOTUS decision did, was to uphold policies, rules, and practices that were already in place. This changes nothing. It simply affirms what has been the case for decades.

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Service Animals, Companion Animals, Assistance Animals…Oh My!

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Service_AnimalsAn open letter to the Property Management community…

As a property manager myself, I certainly understand and sympathize with your concerns around the topic of service animals. There still seems to be a great deal of confusion in the industry over which laws apply, in this area. In a blog post a few years back, I discussed the difference between the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA). It’s important to remember that these are two different laws, with entirely different applications. ADA applies to public accommodations only – not housing. The FFHA, however, applies to housing. If you’re not clear on the differences, please take a few moments to read that blog post. It contains links to important HUD documents that explain the differences between the two laws, particularly in the area of service/assistance animals.

 

In very brief summary, ADA holds quite a narrow definition of “Service Animal.” For purposes of ADA, a Service Animal is a trained dog (and, in some cases, a miniature horse) – one that is specifically trained to perform a task to aid a person with a disability. The FFHA, on the other hand, takes a much broader view. The terms “service animal,” “therapy animal,” “comfort animal,” “companion animal,” “assistance animal…” all mean the same thing, under fair housing law. (For purposes of simplicity from this point forward, I’ll collectively refer to these animals as “Service Animals.”) Essentially ANY animal (or animals) who aids a person with a disability, in some way, to cope with the outcomes of that disability is considered a Service Animal under the FFHA. Furthermore, those animals do not have to be trained to perform a specific task. Sometimes, their ‘job’ is simply to exist! There is a great deal of scientific evidence out there to support the fact that animals are beneficial to our health. This concept is embraced by the FFHA.   Continue reading

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Nevada’s HOA Super-Priority Lien at Risk

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Nevada Legislature

Nevada Legislature

This post is offered as a courtesy to the Community Associations Institute (CAI), and its local Nevada chapters, who are fighting hard to protect the integrity of Nevada’s super-priority lien status. The 2015 Nevada Legislative Session ends in just a few days, and AB359 is being hotly contested right now. The following is quoted verbatim (with permission) from an email received today. I’m posting it here for you, as some of you may not be on CAI’s email list, but may still have interest in this topic: Continue reading

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Summer Newsletter for Tenants

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Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border

Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border

Tenant Newsletters are a great way to keep your renters informed, and remind them of the routine maintenance tasks for which they’re responsible.

Yet, year after year, many of us either crank out well-worn repeats of earlier newsletters, or worse, ‘stock’ newsletters written by an outside organization. And, some of us simply postpone the task until it’s a moot point. In talking with property managers all over the country, I hear more and more frequently their frustration over tenants not reading the newsletter, when it finally does reach their in-box.

 

How can we better communicate these important messages?  

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Additional Insured vs. Additional Interest

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This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as I’ve been chasing insurance companies for the better part of the last two weeks, struggling to get proper evidence of coverage for my owner/clients’ properties. What continues to surprise me, is the fact that the insurance companies often play as though they don’t understand what we want. simple-handshake

In part, our property management agreement (PMA) states,

“LIABILITY INSURANCE – Owner shall obtain and keep in force adequate insurance against damage and against liability for loss, damage, or injury to property or persons which might arise out of the occupancy, management operation, or maintenance of the Premises. Liability insurance shall be adequate to protect the interest of both Owner and Agent.  Owner shall furnish Agent with proof of fire insurance policies in force and shall obtain adequate vandalism coverage for the Premises.  The deductible required under all such insurance policies shall be Owner’s expense. Owner agrees to name Agent as an “additional insured” on its liability and fire insurance policy, and furnish Agent with certificates evidencing such insurance within ten (10) days of the execution of this Agreement. In no event will such liability coverage be less than $500,000 in value. Said policies shall provide that notice of default or cancellation shall be sent to Agent as well as to Owner, and shall require a minimum of ten (10) days’ written notice to Agent before any cancellation of or changes to said policies.”

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Converting Rentals to 55+ Status (HOPA)

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seniorsThe Reader’s Digest version of this post, for those who prefer that kind of thing, is “No.” Just no. Only in very rare cases, can you convert an existing rental property from a traditional residential rental (welcoming families with children), to a 55+ property, under the exemptions contained in the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA).

A property manager recently asked me whether her client could declare the client’s duplex a “55+ Community,” ‘since it’s a multifamily property.’

First, I suggested he talk to his lawyer, or Silver State Fair Housing Council. Then, “A duplex isn’t a ‘multifamily’ property. That term generally applies to 4+ units. Since this property is not part of a larger ‘association’ of similar properties who’ve formed an association… and, since there are no governing documents for your client’s property that address any kind of HOPA exemption, no. No, your client can’t do that.”  Continue reading

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Updated Class Schedule for Reno NV

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Wandbild_eines_SeiltänzersIn response to numerous requests for a CE class in Property Management, I’m pleased to announce we’ve just scheduled “Risk Reduction Strategies for Property Managers” to be held in Reno on November 13th. Ticor Academy, a division of Ticor Title is sponsoring the course. (Thanks Ticor Team!) Please contact Ticor Academy for more information and registration. General details of the class are here.

Hope to see you in November!

Warm regards,

Judy

 

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Marketing Property Management Services

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FanfareIf you’ve been in this business for a while, you’ve probably noticed how competitive property management has become! It seems that everyone is a Property Manager! It’s a much bigger challenge than it used to be, to attract and keep a good client base. A solid marketing campaign, consistently applied, will set you apart from your competition.

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Here are a few proven tips…

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