Questions from Property Managers – Part I

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Emailed questions from Property Management Pros

As anyone who has ever attended one of my property management classes knows, I welcome questions from the property management community in Nevada, and elsewhere. No, I don’t give legal advice, but I enjoy answering practical questions about the landlord/tenant business, fair housing, rental agreements, management contracts, policies and procedures, risk reduction, and other issues important to our industry. Whenever I do this, I learn something new.

 

This morning, it occurred to me that, if one person is asking, there may be ten with the same question who are not asking. Odds are, they’ll benefit from the information shared in these email exchanges, too.  So, with that in mind, here’s a sampling of questions recently emailed to me, and my responses.

 

Security Deposits

 

QUESTION: “The way I understand NRS 118A.242, I am allowed to collect a deposit that doesn’t exceed 3 months’ rent. Does this amount include the first month’s rent?”  Continue reading

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Accommodations and Modifications for Residents with Disabilities

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Silver State Fair Housing 2011 Winning Poster

 

Whether you are a property manager, owner-landlord, board member, or HOA manager, sooner or later you’ll be faced with a request from a resident for an accommodation under Fair Housing Law.

 

How about a quick test, just to see how ready you are for these requests…  Continue reading

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The Nevada Real Estate Commission at Work

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For the first time in several years, I attended a meeting of the Nevada Real Estate Commission this past Tuesday in Carson City. What an education! (Speaking of education, did you know that real estate licensees can get CE credit for attending Commission meetings?) For the Twitter users among you, the hashtag I used for the hearing was #NVRECOM.

 

Early on the Commission’s agenda were several matters including licensee discipline.

 

Let’s look at one interesting case…

 

It seems an overwhelming majority of the complaints submitted to the Nevada Real Estate Division concern property management activity; specifically, trust fund handling. Sadly, this case mirrors many others. This is the story of a broker and property manager in the Reno area, doing both sales and property management. After struggling for quite some time with owner complaints regarding her failure to remit funds in a timely manner, this property manager decided to throw herself on the mercy of the Real Estate Division. Sound crazy to you? As it turns out, it was the right thing for her to do. Read on…  Continue reading

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Asset Management in Nevada – A New Chapter of Law

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In an effort to address the horror stories of grandpa’s ashes being seized and taken to the dump, and homeowners being thrown out of their homes without so much as a judge’s blessing, our lawmakers have created a new chapter of law in Nevada governing “Asset Management.”

 

This new law was created with the passage and approval of Senate Bill 314 of the 2011 Nevada Legislature, a bill sponsored by Senator Lee, and heavily lobbied for by the Nevada Real Estate Division. Essentially, SB 314 attempts to address the unlicensed practice of property management, as it pertains to work done on behalf of mortgage holders. The law targets activities of those who attempt to seize property, preserve assets, clean up property, or perform other duties related to an impending foreclosure, trustee’s sale, and/or real property liquidation.

 

For my fellow Nevada Property Managers, in plain English, if you manage residential or commercial property for a mortgage holder, and that property is in some stage of the foreclosure process, this law applies to you!  Continue reading

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Big Changes in Commercial Landlord/Tenant Law for Nevada

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AB 398 - Commercial L/T Law

 

Yes. You read that right. Landlord/Tenant Law for commercial properties (any real property not considered a dwelling, as defined in NRS 118A.140) has arrived in Nevada. As commercial property managers in our state can tell you, prior to the passage and approval of AB 398, Nevada had no law specifically governing commercial landlord/tenant transactions, other than NRS 40 which primarily deals with eviction actions.

 

AB 398, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Ohrenschall and co-sponsored by Senator Parks, becomes effective October 1, 2011. The legislation amends Title 10 of the Nevada Revised Statutes by adding a new chapter of law pertaining specifically to commercial tenancies. During testimony given in committee, Assemblyman Ohrenschall stated:

 

“The impetus behind AB 398 was to craft a statute that would be in the best interest of commercial landlords and tenants. Right now, we have a landlord-tenant law which is mostly written for residential purposes, but we try to apply it to commercial tenancies. That is the drive behind this bill. It accomplishes many good things and brings us in line with 20 other states that have a commercial landlord-tenant law separate from residential landlord-tenant statutes.”

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Fair Housing Progress in Nevada

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Governor Sandoval has signed into law SB368 which affords fair housing protections to the LGBT community in Nevada. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Sheila Leslie and David Parks, adds to Nevada’s existing protected classes under fair housing law (race, color, religion, gender, national origin, family status, ancestry, disability) two more classes of individuals: gender identity/expression and sexual orientation.  Despite some pretty heated testimony in opposition to the bill, it made its way through both the Senate and Assembly without amendment.

 

Those opposed to the bill included “Nevada Concerned Citizens,” a group that testified, in part:  Continue reading

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Nevada Legislative Update – Landlord/Tenant Law

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AB226 Becomes Law in Nevada

Nevada’s AB 226 made its way through both the Assembly and Senate, is now enrolled and approved by Governor Sandoval. This change in landlord/tenant law becomes effective October 1, 2011.

 

Originally, the bill was written to afford foreclosure protections to tenants in short-sale properties, and to lengthen the time (from 24 to 48 hours) before a lockout could occur in an eviction. These two provisions were stripped from the bill via a significant amendment on the Assembly side.

 

The final bill contains the following new provisions Continue reading

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Are you Pet Friendly?

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Are you Pet Friendly?

In a quick review of our local CraigsList rental ads, the term “no pets” is a common refrain. My wholly unscientific poll on these ads places the “no pets” policy at a ratio of about 50% of the total number of ads. As a long-time Nevada Property Manager, I fail to see the logic in a “no pets” policy. Here’s why:

 

About 62% of households in the U.S. have pets

 

This is reason #1 for me, supporting a pet-friendly policy. No matter how you slice it, a “no pets” statement in your rental ad immediately eliminates over half your potential market. Are vacancies a problem in your management portfolio? Allowing pets will certainly help to bring occupancy levels up.

 

Pets are good for our health

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An Open Letter to the First-Time Buyer’s Agent

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Your buyer is our renter...

This post was inspired by the wisdom of a fellow Nevada property manager who, like many of us, is seeing an increase in the rate of real estate sales activity for the first-time home buyer. News articles, blog posts, and company press releases all tout how “easy” it is to buy right now, and how it’s actually possible, for the first time in years, to pay less on a mortgage than it costs to rent a comparable property.

As property managers, we’re all for that!

We property managers are part of the greater real estate community. Like you, we are real estate licensees, and we’re big proponents of The American Dream. We understand that today’s first-time home buyer is tomorrow’s investment property owner. Your first-time buyers are our future landlord clients!

Yet, today, these first-time buyers happen to be our tenants.  Continue reading

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