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

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A day in the life of a Property Manager

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A day in the life of a Property Manager...

This one came in from a Facebook friend, and fellow property manager. It’s a situation that occurs more frequently than you might imagine, so I’ll share it with you for your feedback.

 

“I had to do a lock-out eviction on a tenant who owes about $2,000 in back rent. She is the only tenant on the lease, although she has allowed other people to live there. We have possession of the property now, but there’s an issue with personal property. Everyone who has ever lived there is claiming ownership of some of the property. None of them were ever on our lease. The tenant who was named on the lease states that none of the property is hers, and she doesn’t care what I do with it.

 

What do I do? Continue reading “A day in the life of a Property Manager”

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Clearing the Confusion: Trust Accounts in Nevada

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Within the last week, I have had no fewer than 4 Nevada Property Managers ask me the same question.

 

“How do we maintain a contingency fund for our owners, if the Trust Account has to be zeroed out every month?”

 

It seems there may be some misinformation floating around out there. Let’s clear it up!

 

First things first… the “operating” Trust Account – the account where you hold the property management owners’ money – does not have to be “zeroed out” at all – everContinue reading “Clearing the Confusion: Trust Accounts in Nevada”

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I Was Going to Write About Bed Bugs

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After all, everyone else has. And, there are a bunch of good articles out there on the subject. I have read many of them, and I suggest you do the same. After all, what do I know? I’m not a pest control expert. All I can tell you is this; I’ve gotten 3 emails in the last week about existing bedbug problems – all of them in the Reno-Sparks area. I have to conclude, bed bugs are a problem in Reno-Sparks rental properties, just as they are in many other locations throughout the United States. Bed bugs seem to be more prevalent in multifamily properties, than they are in single family. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You know, adjoining walls, and such…

 

But, I’m not writing about bed bugs, because, I really want to write about something else. And, besides, I’m no expert. I don’t have a pest control license.

 

But, speaking only for Nevada, NRS 118A says, in order to be considered “habitable,” a residential rental unit must be “reasonably free of insects” at the time the tenant moves in. Continue reading “I Was Going to Write About Bed Bugs”

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Legal Discrimination

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Tenant Selection

As a property manager in Nevada, one of your responsibilities is to qualify tenants to rent your properties. We know we are prohibited by both state and federal Fair Housing laws from discriminating against a potential tenant because of his race, skin color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status (presence of children under 18), disability, or ancestry. Yet, is “discrimination” always illegal?

As humans, we discriminate on a daily basis.

In its most basic definition, to discriminate “is the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently.” There are legal ways in which landlords determine the qualifications of prospective tenants.

Show me the money.

As property managers, our owner/clients expect us to verify prospective tenants’ income, employment and credit. We need to know whether the prospect pays his rent and other bills on time. We want to know whether he’s been evicted before. These factors are essential in determining whether a prospect is qualified to enter into a rental contract. Continue reading “Legal Discrimination”

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Surety Bond in Lieu of Security Deposit

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Surety Bond in Lieu of Security Deposit

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:

(emphasis added)

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

(b) May not require a tenant to purchase a security bond in lieu of paying all or part of the security. Continue reading “Surety Bond in Lieu of Security Deposit”

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Death of a Tenant

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Death of a Tenant

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.

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Following are a few guidelines to help you deal appropriately with a death in one of your rental units: Continue reading “Death of a Tenant”

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Consistency and Documentation – The Property Manager’s Mantra

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Your telephone interview with a prospect will make or break the rental transaction.

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”

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