apartment, property management, real estate

Fires and Codes

All property owners fear new codes and regulations because of cost.  Unfortunately some can not be avoided and are necessary changes to keep occupants safe.   Retrofitting a building with sprinklers is daunting but should it be required no matter what the cost is?  How about alarms?  Some defects may not be able to be changed as in the high rises in England only having one stair case in high rises.  I can’t imagine any builder allowing that but it seems to be common.

apartment, landlord, property management, real estate

Tenant’s Buying Homes

As a property manager, people ask me often “why do people rent if they can afford to buy?”.  I also get asked during different economic cycles if we are gaining vacancies from tenants buying a home.

1st question – People rent for many reasons.  On the higher income scale it is usually because they are in transition.  On the lower income scale it is out of necessity.  There will always be a need for rental properties but the demands change over time.  Right now our communities need low income properties built.  There is definitely a shortage in that area.  We get numerous calls for Section 8 subsidized housing every day.  Private landlords don’t want that business right now because the high end has been so strong.

That may be changing.  Recently I am seeing more tenants buy than I usually do.  I’m losing my high end tenants and I’m not replacing them as quickly as I did over the past ten years.  Part of that is because lending has gotten easier again.  Interest rates are low and people are working.  People who were hurt in the last recession are beginning to bounce back.

Will this lead to higher vacancy rates?  It’s too early to tell.  Right now I can’t tell if it is a seasonal slow down or if overall leasing demand is cooling.  The bigger overall question is who will pick up the needed shortage on the low end.100_1641

apartment, landlord, property management, real estate

Move out pictures

A picture is worth 1,000 words.  In the old days it was difficult to manage move in and move out pictures.  Polaroids, negatives, storing, organizing.  It took a lot of time, money and storage space.

Today there is no excuse.  Take a lot of move in pics and move out pics.  And be ready to defend your charges.  And be ready for nasty reviews on the internet…..”I left this cleaner than it was when I moved in and they kept my whole security deposit!”

I thought this would be a bigger issue with low income rentals.  High end rentals can be worse because the tenants will use greater effort to clear their record, credit and security charges.  The pics below are two recent move outs in $2,000 a month units.  They certainly aren’t the worst I could find but they show a little bit of what we encounter daily.  The second house cost $850 to clean and the tenant blasted me on Google for ripping him off.



apartment, landlord, property management, real estate

Rising Rents

Rising rents may spur first-time home buyers

Annual rent increases across the U.S. last month outpaced the rise in home prices for the first time in at least five years, a milestone that should spur the sluggish home-buying market.

The median U.S. rent climbed 4% in April from the year-ago period to $1,364, according to real estate database Zillow. That’s the biggest jump since March 2013.

Home sale prices, meanwhile, increased 3% to $178,400, rising less than 4% for the second month after 24 straight months of stronger gains. As a result, rents grew faster than home prices for the first time since Zillow began tracking the data in 2010.

Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/05/17/national-rents-rising/27372141/

apartment, property management, real estate

On Line Reviews

On line reviews have become a part of our lives whether we like them or not.  Anyone can write one – even if they have no experience with the product or service.  In fact, the review can be a total lie and there’s not much anyone can do about it.  In response, many people and businesses are writing fake positive reviews to balance out their ratings.

I have had mentally unstable tenants (and owners) write slashing reviews.  I have had parents write negative reviews because they thought we overcharged poor Sally or Johnny.  I’ve had owners who were slum lords slam us for doing repairs and “gasp” charge for them.  Let’s face it, who is going to take time to sit down and write a nice review for their landlord?  I’ve thought about offering gift cards to tenants for writing positive reviews but never followed through with it.

Before there were on line reviews we might receive complaint letters.  When it was a one to one issue, we could try to resolve the conflict.  Now complaints become dirty laundry that anyone can hang out for the community to read.  The article below demonstrates what happens when the dirty laundry becomes a battle:



apartment, landlord, property management

The fight between home owners and rentals

Rental housing issues come to a head in Cedar Falls

February 15, 2015 6:00 am  • 

The result is a lot of noise with a few shared notes piercing through, but passionate disagreement about how — if at all         those notes ought to be strung together.

That’s what happens when you ask what the word “rental” means in Cedar Falls these days. Are rental properties good or bad? What should be done about them? What shouldn’t? The discord raised by those questions is loud and pervasive.

The role of conductor has fallen to the City Council. When city residents complained of the shabby appearances of rental houses, the council ordered the police department to ratchet up property-related code enforcement.

The council then passed a moratorium, banning any new single-family home rentals for six months in certain parts of the city. banning any new single-family rentals.

read more please: http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/rental-housing-issues-come-to-a-head-in-cedar-falls/article_5e190ffb-0f05-59c7-a29e-0cf74a4ce7a1.html

apartment, landlord, property management, real estate

$50,000 fines

Ithaca pursues up to $50K in fines against landlord

An Ithaca landlord could face up to $50,000 in fines after pleading guilty to repeatedly violating local and state maintenance laws, the city announced Tuesday.

Ronald Bergman, owner and landlord of a two-unit rental house at 312 S. Plain St., pleaded guilty Thursday in City Court to 350 violations, according to the city.

He signed a $25,000 judgment confession and agreed to remedy all violations in about four months or pay the second $25,000 installment and forfeit the property to the city, according to the city.

An inspection in August 2012 led to the building being posted as condemned but at least one tenant kept living there until Ithaca police helped relocate the remaining tenant and the Department of Public Works secured the building, according to the city.

Bergman was charged in April with more than 8,000 violations, according to the city. Typically, property codes may treat each day of being out of compliance as a separate violation.

Among offenses Bergman pleaded guilty to were failing to have a valid certificate of compliance, failure to obey a building commissioner’s order and failure to provide safe egress.

Neither Bergman or his attorney could be contacted Tuesday evening.