Greetings, fellow property managers! Today’s blog is a guest post by one of our own, Robert Frenchu of Coldwell Banker Best Sellers in Carson City, Nevada. It’s a humorous take on the myriad issues surrounding roommates in rental properties. Enjoy!
The very word sends chills down the spine of property managers. The only other things we’d rather not hear are, “…water leaking since last Tuesday,” and “…when the garbage truck plowed through the living room….” Why do we develop nervous tics whenever roommates apply for a rental? Besides dealing with the competing priorities and motivations of two or more different people, roommates many times have trouble understanding some basic concepts.
A lease is a contract— a legal agreement between two- or more- parties. Any time you add another party to the mix, things can get more complex, and often do. Many leases have language that describes the obligation being between the owner and multiple tenants, and that language is “together and severally.” (Think of the word “severed” instead of “several.”) That means the agreement is • between the Owner and Tenants A & B, and • between the Owner and Tenant A, and the Owner and Tenant B.
Now that you understand the concept behind multiple signatories on contracts, let’s cruise through some examples of situations you need to think about before you sign on the dotted line. Continue reading “Roommates”→
Joining states like California and Florida, who have responded to real estate market conditions, the Nevada Legislature amended NRS 118A.242 in 2009, allowing landlords and tenants to negotiate the acceptance of a surety bond in lieu of all or part of a security deposit on a residential dwelling. Now, instead of having to come up with a large sum of money in advance, tenants (if the landlord agrees) are able to purchase a surety bond to cover all or part of the security deposit.
Here’s how the Nevada law reads:
NRS 118A.242 Security: Limitation on amount or value; surety bond in lieu of security; duties and liability of landlord; damages; disputing itemized accounting of security; prohibited provisions.
1. The landlord may not demand or receive security or a surety bond, or a combination thereof, including the last month’s rent, whose total amount or value exceeds 3 months’ periodic rent.
2. In lieu of paying all or part of the security required by the landlord, a tenant may, if the landlord consents, purchase a surety bond to secure the tenant’s obligation to the landlord under the rental agreement to:
(a) Remedy any default of the tenant in the payment of rent.
(b) Repair damages to the premises other than normal wear and tear.
(c) Clean the dwelling unit.
3. The landlord:
(a) Is not required to accept a surety bond purchased by the tenant in lieu of paying all or part of the security; and
Every now and then, I’ll hear from a property manager expressing frustration over a request they received for permission to keep a “companion animal.” The request comes either before or during occupancy by a tenant (or owner, if in a condominium or similar housing) claiming to have a metal or physical disability. I’ve been told, “Anyone who wants a pet can have one just by getting a doctor’s letter.”
The frustration expressed by these property managers is clear. The assumption is that some residents “take advantage” of laws allowing companion animals as a fair housing accommodation when they don’t appear to have a medical need for the animal. The managers feel they’re being “worked,” by residents who want to circumvent landlord policies limiting pets.
Although, to some, the need for such an accommodation may seem unrealistic or exaggerated, medical science is continually proving that pets DO provide quantifiable health benefits. The Delta Society has a number of articles on its website pointing to medical research that substantiates these facts: Continue reading “The Healing Benefit of Pets”→
This is not a smiley-happy post. In fact, the topic is downright depressing. 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 25+ years, 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 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.
As professional property managers, we recognize the importance of implementing rules, regulations, policies, and procedures for the protection of our clients, our renters, and ourselves. How often do we view those policies with the eyes of the consumer? How often do we consider Fair Housing Law when implementing our policies?
“A man’s home is his castle.”
These are powerful words for most Americans. Whether we rent or own our homes, as a society we recognize the importance of having a home to which we can retreat from the pressures of daily life; a place where we feel safe and secure. For renters, this security can be threatened by unreasonable intervention of the landlord. Once our security is threatened, we begin to question the motives behind the perceived threat. The policies and rules imposed by the landlord are often a source of Fair Housing complaints by renters. Continue reading “How many people can live here?”→
A question that arises frequently among property managers is,“How can I be sure I’m treating all rental prospects equally?”
The initial telephone interview with a prospective resident sets the stage for the landlord/tenant relationship. Your responses and behavior at this critical stage are the first indication the prospect has of your professionalism. And, for you, it’s your first opportunity to make a connection with the prospect. These moments will either make or break the rental transaction. Many fair housing complaints are filed in response to prospects’ perceptions of how they were treated at the very earliest stages of the relationship. Continue reading “Consistency and Documentation – The Property Manager’s Mantra”→
Here’s a question from a Nevada property manager I think most of us can relate to:
__________________________________ “I just evicted a tenant for non-payment of rent. It’s obvious to me that he took what he wanted, and left the rest. You wouldn’t believe this mess! Some of the junk he left is actually useable, which is a fortunate twist. I’m not sure where he moved, but I’m really glad he’s gone. It’ll cost me about $3,000 to put this place back together. His deposit was that much, so I’m only out the rent. I’m just glad to be done with him. I AM done with him, aren’t I?”
This week, I’ll be teaching a class in Reno on the subject of accommodating residents’ needs when a disability requires either physical changes to a dwelling unit, or exceptions to the housing provider’s rules and policies. In preparing for the course, I ran across an exchange I had with a property manager a few years back:
“I manage a 5-unit building, all one level, that is about 9 years old. A prospective renter who is in a wheelchair told me that I need to widen the entry door, and install a ramp going in the front door. He also asked for grab bars to be installed in the bathroom. He said I have to do these things at my own expense. I thought modifications were supposed to be paid for by the person with the disability. What should I do?” Continue reading “Modifications for Residents with Disabilities”→