Residential Property Maintenance – Systems and Procedures

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HomeRepairAs property managers, one of our most important responsibilities is to oversee the maintenance and repair of the homes we manage. In fact, most states’ laws address this, in one form or another. For example, Nevada law, in its Property Management licensing section, states:

NRS 645.019  “Property management” defined.  “Property management” means the physical, administrative or financial maintenance and management of real property, or the supervision of such activities for a fee, commission or other compensation or valuable consideration, pursuant to a property management agreement.
(Added to NRS by 1997, 954; A 2003, 932)  (Emphasis added)

Despite  guidance of both law and “common sense,” too often, our responsibility for overseeing the physical maintenance of the properties we manage is handled in a reactive, rather than proactive, manner. We wait for something to break, as opposed to thinking ahead and planning for maintenance and repair, before things go wrong. In upcoming posts, we’ll explore residential property maintenance, from the property manager’s perspective.   Continue reading “Residential Property Maintenance – Systems and Procedures”

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Client Retention – Property Management Style

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Dog

With so many of our owner/clients falling into the role of Landlord by chance, rather than by choice in the last few years, it’s no wonder we’re facing challenges gaining their loyalty. Often times, the rental property owner doesn’t have the slightest clue how to manage such an investment. In many cases, the property wasn’t originally purchased as a rental. The investment strategy, if one exists at all, is vague and constantly shifting.

 

A single expense, a “bad” tenant, or a month without income, and the “Accidental Landlord” panics. “How am I going to make my mortgage payment?” “I can’t afford to pay for that!” Does this sound familiar? Before you realize what’s happening, this property owner is moving on to what he perceives as greener pastures, with another property manager.

 

Gaining client loyalty is one of the greatest tests of a property manager. Without that loyalty, we cannot succeed. How can we, as professional property managers, create an environment in which the owner/client trusts us enough to remain loyal, even when management difficulties arise?

 

CB026637It starts before the contract is signed…   Continue reading “Client Retention – Property Management Style”

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When Saving Time Can Cost You Time (and Money!)

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As successful property managers, we quickly learn the importance of streamlining our policies and procedures, by establishing methods to save both time and effort. The profit margin in this business is tight, and if we fail to employ standardization and time-saving strategies, we’ll never succeed. I’ve noticed the average burnout time for most new property managers seems to be about 2 years. That’s how long it takes to realize it’s not a money-making business, unless we have policies and procedures in place that make the job doable.

Continue reading “When Saving Time Can Cost You Time (and Money!)”

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Judy’s Bill Watch List – Nevada 2013 Legislature

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NevadaThis 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:

Continue reading “Judy’s Bill Watch List – Nevada 2013 Legislature”

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Nevada Seeks to Protect Tenants Who Are Domestic Abuse Victims

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stopping handProperty 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 “Nevada Seeks to Protect Tenants Who Are Domestic Abuse Victims”

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Disparate Impact: You don’t have to intend to discriminate to violate fair housing law!

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JuEqual_Housing_Logo_GIFst today, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its “final rule”   on disparate impact under the federal Fair Housing Act.

This final rule responds to a heated battle between housing providers (broadly defined to include all parties involved in selling, renting, insuring, lending, and zoning of residential property in the U.S.) and fair housing advocates that ended up in front of the Supreme Court last year. (Just this month, the case was withdrawn, presumably in response to HUD’s published position on the issue.)

 What is “Disparate Impact?”

Section 100.500(a) provides that a “discriminatory effect” occurs where a facially neutral practice actually or predictably results in a discriminatory effect on a group of persons protected by the Act (that is, has a disparate impact), or on the community as a whole on the basis of a protected characteristic (perpetuation of segregation). Any facially neutral action, e.g., laws, rules, decisions, standards, policies, practices, or procedures, including those that allow for discretion or the use of subjective criteria, may result in a discriminatory effect actionable under the Fair Housing Act and this rule. For examples of court decisions regarding policies or practices that may have a discriminatory effect, please see the preamble to the proposed rule at 76 FR 70924-25.

Simply stated, disparate impact occurs when a housing provider’s policies or actions, although neutral and non-discriminatory on their face, serve to disproportionately negatively impact a protected class of individuals, as defined under the Fair Housing Act.   Continue reading “Disparate Impact: You don’t have to intend to discriminate to violate fair housing law!”

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How many of your owner/clients want to handle their own evictions?

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It's in the judge's hands, now.

 

What if your local court, the one with which you do business regularly as a Property Manager, ruled you can no longer represent your clients in eviction matters? The property owners must handle their own evictions, or hire an attorney.

 

Think that couldn’t happen? Continue reading “How many of your owner/clients want to handle their own evictions?”

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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 “Accommodations and Modifications for Residents with Disabilities”

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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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