Welcome!

Posted: 4th January 2012 by Melissa in Uncategorized
 

Welcome to the FBS Rent Sense Blog. We will be posting weekly Rent Sense Articles written by Neil and Chris. These articles can also be seen in major publications such as the San Diego Union Tribune. Our goal is to bring quality information to help counsel those already in or interested in the industry. Check back each week to see what is new and exciting in the Property Management world.

“Nearly half of all the housing in San Diego is offered for rent. This condition has existed locally for decades and will continue for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that rental owners and rental residents respect the other for their important role in the essential segment of our local economy. The more informed each are about their respective rights and responsibilities as well as changes in the marketplace the more realistic are the expectations. That just makes good sense; Rent Sense.” – Neil,  2008

Where your home matters…

Ms Management Oct 2017

Posted: 11th October 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags:
 

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q – I’m a leasing agent for almost a year now. I’m a good closer but I’m getting stiffed and here’s why – we have a stupid rule. First to show gets the dough. What I want to know is am I going to run into this limitation to my leasing bonuses at other properties or companies. Is this an industry thing? I’d like to understand the pros and cons of this system.

A – In my experience with all kinds of onsite teams across the nation I have encountered several methods being employed. Though the method you are experiencing is a popular one there are certainly variations. For instance, some teams stipulate that the bonus goes to the one that physically tours the property or the one to get the application. Usually these methods require that the application to be processed is complete and accompanied by money. Some go further to define “complete”. Other teams choose to pool and split leasing bonuses. As you can imagine there are pros and cons to any devised method to recognize individuals while maintaining leasing as a team activity. Some companies have gone so far as to converting community leasing specialists to full commission; at least on new lease-ups, especially during construction or property repositioning. Other companies have decided to eliminate leasing bonuses entirely and/or have implemented other measurements to use for individual and/or team bonusing. There are also severe swings in market conditions that govern. For instance, in a market of many high-price alternatives our potential leasing customers are going to investigate more properties looking for the “best bang for their buck.” It stands to reason that such a customer will also re-visit each property of interest more times and might purposely inquire with different members of the team to learn something else.

If you believe that the policy that governs your leasing bonuses is not fair to you and/or you think you have a better idea then speak to your supervisor. Remain open minded to existing policies and willing to see if there are examples that are to your advantage. What I believe you will find is that whatever the policies are it requires strong leadership to hold everyone to the same set of standards over a sufficient period. Performance standards must be maintained through written policies that should be understood by the entire team. If policies are managed consistently over time the benefits will normally favor longer-term members of the team. This should mean that someone getting the short straw this time will likely benefit next time.

KTS Legal Questions Sept 2017

Posted: 4th October 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
Our tenant owes us back rent and is stating that he is probably going to file bankruptcy. We’ve been trying to work with him but are getting nervous now. Do we lose all the back rent if he files bankruptcy?

Answer:
It depends. If he files a Chapter 7, there is little hope. If he files a Chapter 13, you may receive all or a portion of the back rent.

2. Question:
If a tenant’s rent is due on the first day of the month and there is no grace period, what is the earliest date I can serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit?

Answer:
You can serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit when the rent is legally delinquent. California law requires that one business day must expire before the rent is considered delinquent. So, if the first day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, you must wait until the day after the first business day expires before serving the notice. If the first day of the month is a business day, the notice can be served on the second of the month.

3. Question:
If the landlord accepts a rent payment from someone other than the lessee, does that give them any rights?

Answer:
It could if they are occupants of the property. They would have to convince the court that they are now tenants under a verbal agreement.

4. Question:
There was a grease fire in one of our rental units due to a tenant’s lack of knowledge of cooking. What is my obligation to provide alternate accommodations for this tenant? Am I required to keep her as a renter?

Answer:
You are not obligated to put the tenant up. You may have a right to evict her based upon waste of the unit, which requires a 3-day notice to quit.

5. Question:
The tenants living in one of our apartments signed a one-year lease which states that there will be no pets allowed. They now have two cats in the apartment and are only in the second month of the lease. We served a 3-day notice to perform covenant or quit. They have chosen to leave. The rent for the entire month was paid. Are they entitled to the prorated amount of rent for the unused portion of the month?

Answer:
No, they are liable for the remainder of the lease or up to the time you relet the premises, whichever occurs first.

6. Question:
My tenants paid an extra deposit for a pet. They gave away the dog after 2 months. Now they are asking if the pet deposit could be returned.

Answer:
You do not have to account for the use of the deposit until 21 days from the date they return possession of the premises, so you don’t have to refund any of the deposit.

7. Question:
What is a request for a reasonable modification?

Answer:
A reasonable modification is a physical change to the apartment or the common areas that is necessary to afford a resident with a disability full and equal use and enjoyment of the rental property.

8. Question:
I rented an apartment to a young man; he signed a one-year lease and paid the deposit and first month’s rent in full. He moved in today and less than 24 hours later, he is requesting to get out of his lease because another apartment that he prefers became available. Is there any kind of buyer’s remorse on signing a lease?

Answer:
Your tenant is obligated to pay rent through the lease term or until the time the premises are relet, whichever occurs first. There is no buyer’s remorse.

9. Question:
My tenant claims he paid the rent by mailing us a money order. We never received it and he says we should have received it. Who would bear the loss if we do not find the missing payment?

Answer:
Under most leases, it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the landlord receives payment. Since it is up to the tenant to choose the method of delivery, he or she bears the risk that the payment is in fact made. However, some leases determine the method of delivery. In those cases, the landlord may bear the risk that the payment reaches the landlord.

10. Question:
One of the recent applicants to our apartment community claims he is paid “under the table”. How do I verify his income?

Answer:
You really can’t, and because he is committing fraud, you should not consider this a legal source of income. If they fail to otherwise qualify, you can deny his rental application.

11. Question:
One of our tenants was recently arrested and has not paid the rent. We served a notice by “post and mail” and it has been over three days. How do we serve the unlawful detainer (eviction) on the tenant while in jail?

Answer:
Most jails will allow your process server to serve the tenant while in jail. It may take several hours before they are able to pull the inmate up, but your process server can be waiting for him or her and legally serve them while incarcerated.

12. Question:
One of our residents served us with a written 30-day notice and has failed to vacate after 30 days. Can I start the eviction process or must I serve a 30-day notice first?

Answer:
If a residential tenant serves the landlord with a written 30-day notice and the rental term is month-to-month, the landlord may immediately file an unlawful detainer (eviction) action in court on the 31st day, providing the 30th day fell on a business day.

Ms. Management Sept-2017

Posted: 21st September 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
 

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q – I’m a regional vice president for a leading property management company. I’m recently experiencing more difficulty holding onto key team members. The economy is returning and offering more
external opportunities; in and out of our industry. I believe that people are leaving important team assignments that will lead to promotions and employment satisfaction within our company. It’s frustrating to see and I need to believe we can fix this. What recommendations can you provide?

A – First, I need to pass along some perspective. As an economy, we are emerging from a prolonged recession and recovery period during which individuals were concerned to obtain and keep a job. Since our industry consistently hired during the recession while others did not it stands to reason that we might have captured and/or kept employees that we might not have if other options existed. The slow recovery kept us from facing the underlying regional reality that there are not sufficient qualified people to fill the additional employment requirements within our industry. So, the reality is that finding and hiring as well as training, retaining and managing career tracks are the real industry challenges for the foreseeable future. Don’t be discouraged by this new reality. Rather, attack the problems strategically.
I suggest that you update your strategies and methods in favor of creating an environment conducive to multiple generations. I say this knowing that most industry companies are steered by boomers and the culture and communication style of such companies need a re-boot to accommodate millennials. By doing this you will find that the working environment will better support everyone. Examples include –

• Create a communicative style that is direct, transparent and collaborative. Clarify upward mobility while managing expectations about needed experience and education.
• Put them in charge of their career providing support including onboarding that points them to where company resources are kept, who to ask and when, how to get started and why.
• Build a learning environment with individualized video and/or computer-based presentations, experiential checklists, coordinated peer shadowing including Q and A sessions.
• Schedule higher frequency for periodic evaluation and feedback that emphasize your willingness to listen and coach while directly and transparently letting each employee know where they stand at this moment.
• Provide constant support with ongoing education and advance technology so each team member believes that they are growing because they are staying.
• Know each team member better by asking them what they think and feel; giving them real responsibility and credit for performance. Find out what engages them versus what is wearing on them. Always give them general encouragement but also hands-on help for tough specifics that they can’t budge.
• Whose opinion is important to them; parents, siblings, friends and significant others? Ask about those opinions of their current economic status compared to others and/or expectations.
• Finally, remember that you are going to experience turnover no matter what you do and you want to upgrade your team no matter how good they are so recruit and interview as an ongoing priority. Your existing team needs to see that your company is “the greener pasture.”

Meet Neil and Chris….

Posted: 15th September 2017 by Melissa in Uncategorized
 

Meet Neil and Chris, the authors of Rent Sense. Let them introduce you to their company as they did in this recent television network interview. This brief clip might also introduce you to the $9 billion annual rent collected in the region as an essential industry mostly composed of small independent rental ownerships like yourself.

Neil Fjellestad and his wife Cheery founded a real estate investment company built on the unique requirements of individuals wanting to create wealth and financial independence. Neil had been Director of Brokerage Services for a statewide real estate company since his graduation from SDSU three years before. This company specialized in apartment and commercial transactions throughout California; particularly 1031 exchanges. The young couple had already acquired a small personal portfolio of apartments besides their first home. Neil had discovered a continuous flow of real estate investors came from the adult classes in R.E. Law, Investment Analysis & Taxation he taught for the SD Community College District in the evening.

In business, as in families there are generations. Generations of hard work, education, excellence built upon integrity. Beginning in 1972, hundreds of aspiring professionals built that initial generation bearing the Fjellestad brand of brokerage, consulting and management.

Chris DeMarco joined the Fjellestad companies in 1989 with a unique combination of small business acumen, property & people skills, a famous mid-west work ethic; a practical passion that after time became the driving force for a needed change; the beginning of our 2nd company generation. Still active in the company, Chris & Neil alongside four other key leaders including those from our 3rd company generation make a multi-generational executive team blessed with 125 years of combined experience to ground them while navigating the demands of today’s unique millennial growth.

FBS operates single rental homes and condos, apartments and commercial buildings in 69 zip codes. May we help with your property?

 

 

1. Flushable baby wipes and sani-wipes: No matter what’s on the label, “flushable” wipes do not disintegrate in water as quickly as toilet tissue does. Test it for yourself. Put a flushable wipe and a piece of toilet paper in water for an hour. You’ll see that the toilet paper quickly breaks apart while the wipe stays intact. That means it can lodge in sewer pipes and clog the toilet.

2. Dental floss: Waxed or unwaxed, dental floss becomes a veritable seine net catching all sorts of debris, clogging toilets and sewer pipes. When septic systems are involved, dental floss winds around moving parts and burns out motors.

3. Kitty litter: Some manufacturers say their kitty litter is flushable, but Agugliaro does not recommend flushing it down the toilet. “Today’s water-saving toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. That’s not enough water to keep the kitty litter moving,” he explains. Plus, it adds more “stuff” that water purification plants need to remove.

4. Dried poop from a litter box: Toilets are designed for water-soluble waste. When cat poop sits in litter, it gets dehydrated and becomes hard as a rock. These “petrified poops” can get lodged in the labyrinth of pipes exiting the toilet and cause a clog. So, from now on, bag up your litter — poop and all — and dispose of it in the garbage.

5. Hair: Hair will never dissolve in water. In fact, it floats and easily gets caught on its way out the toilet, snagging whatever comes its way. So, don’t clean a brush and toss the hair in the commode. And if you wear hair weaves and one falls in the toilet, fish that lock out or you could face a big repair bill.

6. Condoms: Condoms will clog toilets and septic tanks. Toss them in the wastebasket. Period.

7. Bleach: Bleach is a very harsh chemical that does not belong in sewerage lines or septic systems. “The toilet bowl doesn’t need to be cleaned with bleach or an industrial cleaner. It has a glazed finish, so just swish it with a toilet brush to clean it,” says Agugliaro. “If you want to use something stronger, try white distilled vinegar. Toilet bowl stains are caused by the minerals in the water and not from human waste,” he adds.

8. Cigarette butts: Cigarette butts belong in the trash, not the toilet. They can clog the toilet and wreak havoc with a septic tank — especially filtered or plastic-tipped smokes.

9. Diapers/sanitary napkins/paper towels: Think about it. These are made to absorb water, not break apart in it. Dispose of all of these items in the trash.

10. Chewing gum: Chewing gum never dissolves in water and, worse yet, it can adhere to other flushables to form a clog. Wrap it in paper and toss it in the trash.

11. Cotton balls/swabs: These items are not going to dissolve in water. Instead, they’ll clog your toilet, especially swabs, which can easily lodge in pipes and create a logjam.

12. Food: Some may argue that food is biodegradable, and it is. But it can lodge in plumbing and create a stubborn clog while it’s decomposing. Never flush it down the toilet.

13. Grease: It might be liquid when it enters the pipes, but as soon as grease cools it solidifies and creates one powerful clog. It takes a professional to remove this kind of blockage.

14. Fish/snakes/little critters: Flushing live animals down the toilet is not only inhumane, it is stupid. Find a home for unwanted pets instead. About those dead animals: there’s no way they’re going to disintegrate in the toilet water and there’s a good chance they’ll create a clog. Give them a decent “burial” in the garbage can or yard.

15. Medication/Illegal drugs: Toilet water cannot destroy the active ingredients in medicines or illegal drugs. What you toss in the commode has to be extracted from the water in order to recycle it safely. That means your local water treatment facility has to invest in the technology and equipment to do this.

To get rid of old medicines, bring them to DEA-sponsored collection sites. The exception to this would those drugs that the FDA placed on their list of medications. These drugs can be lethal to people and pets and therefore should be flushed down the toilet.

Bottom line: The toilet was invented to dispose of human waste. Using it for any other purpose can not only damage your plumbing, it can also pollute the community’s water supply. Flush smart.

KTS Legal Questions Aug 2017

Posted: 21st August 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
My tenant moved in a few years ago with a roommate, and they paid the security deposit together. One roommate moved out and another roommate moved in. At that time, the rent was increased and they paid some additional security deposit. Who is entitled to the security deposit when the unit is vacated?
Answer:
You should make the check out to all of them unless you receive in writing from any one of them that he or she has relinquished all rights to the security deposit to the others.

2. Question:
Can a small claims court action regarding a security deposit dispute be appealed?
Answer:
If the action was in small claims court, you can only appeal if you were the defendant, and then the case is heard all over again before a different judge.

3. Question:
Under a twelve-month lease on a single family home, if a tenant breaks a window and does not repair it after a week or two, can we take the money out of the next rent payment?
Answer:
It is better to fix the window, or require the tenant to fix the window with a licensed contractor. If the tenant refuses to pay for or fix the window, serve a 3-Day Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit. If he/she refuses to pay or fix the window in three days, you can commence the eviction.

4. Question:
We have a tenant who has been in the unit for one year and has painted it dark purple. Can I charge the resident for returning the paint color to white when he vacates the unit?
Answer:
Yes, if you have a lease provision against making alterations without your consent. You can only charge the actual cost of turning the paint from purple back to white.

5. Question:
After sending a tenant an itemized disposition of security deposit, (there is a balance due to us), how long must I wait before taking her to court? Should I contact her one more time before doing so?
Answer:
You can take the tenant to court immediately, and if your lease was written, the time within which you must bring an action is 4 years. It is always a good idea to attempt to resolve the issue first before seeking court action.

6. Question:
One of our tenants claims we owe him for the loss of his food stored in his refrigerator. The refrigerator broke down, and we had it fixed within two days. Do we have to pay for his food? Answer:
Not unless your tenant could prove that you were negligent in the maintenance of the refrigerator or knew or should have known it would break down. Landlords are not the insurers of their tenant’s property loss. Smart tenants purchase renter’s insurance to cover these types of losses.

7. Question:
I am an owner of a duplex and I suspect my next door neighbor is dealing drugs. I have a 6- month agreement with him that is not up for several more months. What can I do?
Answer:
First, call the police and inform them what you know about the illegal activity. Work with the police to gain enough evidence that will allow you to proceed with an unlawful detainer (eviction). If you can prove the illegal activity, the law allows the owner to serve a 3-Day Notice to Vacate. Failure to comply with the notice will give rise to an action for unlawful detainer.

8. Question:
I rent out a condominium unit and I have a problem with people leaving half way through a one year lease. How do I collect my lost rent?
Answer:
In order to collect your unpaid rent, you could sue your former tenants in small claims court. Once you receive a judgment, you could go through formal collection procedures such as garnishing their wages or levying on their bank accounts.

9. Question:
I heard that unless your rental agreement requires rent to be paid in advance that it is not owed until the end of the month. Is this true?
Answer:
Under California law monthly rent is not due until the end of the month unless the lease or rental agreement require the rent to be paid in advance. That is why almost every written rental agreement contains that language.

10. Question:
I rent a garage to two young men under a 6-month lease and I suspect that they are living there. I specifically told them they could use the garage for storage of their personal property only.
What can I do?
Answer:
In California, an owner of rental property can limit the tenant’s use of the property for specific purposes. If the tenant uses the rental for something else, he could be evicted. If you could prove that the tenants were residing in the garage, you could serve them a 3-Day Notice to Perform or Quit, followed by an eviction if they fail to stop using the garage as their residence.

11. Question:
What are some examples of a reasonable accommodation?
Answer:
Common examples are allowing a resident to have an assistive animal, reserving a special parking space for a resident, allowing a resident who needs to move due to a disability to terminate a lease without further obligation for rent, or modifying a rent due date to coincide with the receipt of disability payments.

KTS Legal Questions July 2017

Posted: 13th July 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: ,
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
Do I always have to give written notice to our resident before making a repair? They called yesterday and we simply made an appointment for the plumber to meet them at the property next week.

Answer:
Normally, you would have to give a written 24 hour notice, but if the tenant and the landlord orally agree to an entry to make repairs or supply services for a specific date and time, and the entry is within one week from the date of the agreement, no written notice is required. Also, in cases of emergency or abandonment, the landlord is not required to give written notice.

2. Question:
Can a resident legally drink alcohol in the outdoor common areas of an apartment community?

Answer:
Landlords have the right to restrict the drinking of alcohol in the common areas of the premises.

3. Question:
My rental property is a house in a rural area. I do allow animals, but do not want any pit bulls. Can I specifically state that?

Answer:
You can determine what type of animals, if any, you allow on the property and should make this clear in the lease or lease addendum. If the animal is a support animal for a disabled resident, however, different rules apply.

4. Question:
If a tenant gives a 30-day notice on the 15th of the month, is it legal to charge them the full rent for the next month and return the prorated remainder of the rent once they have turned in the keys?

Answer:
No, they are only required to pay the pro rata portion of their rent for the next month.

5. Question:
This month’s rent check from a tenant had a second name printed below the tenant’s name on the upper left corner of the check. If I cash the check for this month’s rent, am I changing the terms of tenancy?

Answer:
The mere fact that another person is listed on the check does not change the terms of the tenancy. You should inquire about the other person or find other ways to determine if there is an unauthorized occupant, and if so, either have the extra person apply for residency or serve a 3-day notice to perform covenants or quit.

6. Question:
If I give a 60-day notice (tenants have lived there for over a year) to tenants, can they move before the 60 days are up? If so, do they have to give 30 days’ notice, or can they just move?

Answer:
They can move out within the 60-day period by serving you with a 30-day notice. If they leave before the 60-days are up without serving a 30-day notice, they still owe rent up to the date the 60-day notice expires or the premises are relet (you have to try to relet the premises).

7. Question:
I am considering selling a duplex I own. Both sides are rented under one year leases. A potential buyer said he would need to move into one side of the unit and could not wait for the lease to expire. If there is a sale, doesn’t that terminate any lease I have with the tenants?

Answer:
A voluntary sale of leased property does not terminate the rental agreement or lease; the new owner steps into the shoes of the former owner and has the same rights and obligations of the former owner.

8. Question:
One of our single tenants who was renting a small one bedroom unit recently died. There are still three months remaining on his lease. What should I do with the security deposit?

Answer:
A tenancy for a specified term does not terminate on the death of either the landlord or the tenant. Once the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate returns possession, you should account for the use of the deposit and direct the accounting to the administrator or executor.

9. Question:
What is a request for a reasonable accommodation?

Answer:
A reasonable accommodation is a change or exception to the property’s rules, policies, practices or services that is necessary to afford a person with a disability full and equal use and enjoyment of the rental property.

10. Question:
I understand that if a building contains 16 or more units, there must be a resident manager. I have given some responsibilities to an on-site maintenance person, but I do not call him a resident manager. Does this situation comply with the law?

Answer:
The California Administrative Code requires that a building containing 16 or more units on a parcel must have a person who lives on site and is responsible for representing the owner of the property. The person does not, however, have to be a “resident manager.”

11. Question:
I have a tenant who is driving everyone in the apartment complex nuts. He plays his stereo and television all day and all night and keeps everyone up. We call the police constantly but they can only do so much. I want to evict him but he signed a one-year lease. None of the notices I have make sense in this situation. What can I do to get this noisy tenant out?

Answer:
If the tenant is producing major and continual disturbances to the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property and it is severe enough, the court could allow you to evict the tenant after service of a 3-day notice to vacate. This notice does not allow the tenant to cure anything.

Therefore, it has to be a severe situation. Otherwise, writing warning letters and documenting the disturbances can bolster your case if the tenant does not stay quiet.

Ms Management July 2017

Posted: 6th July 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags: , ,
 

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q: I’m an onsite property manager in my third year at this apartment community. We have enjoyed resident satisfaction and renewals despite steady rent increases. However, with new construction now leasing up in our marketplace we are getting “push back” on our renewals. We send our renewal notices but residents put us on “ignore” while they check out their options. Meanwhile, requests for repairs seem to be ramping up.

This changing situation is putting my team back on their heels. The maintenance guys are being stretched between “vacant turns”, maintenance and other service requests. Our leasing specialists are under pressure to hit their leasing numbers and therefore, are offering greater latitude to potential residents: alternative floorplans, locations, condition and move-in dates. Our existing residents are getting wind of what is being done to accommodate new leases and demand similar treatment. Of course, all this custom treatment is impacting the service team as well. We need every renewal and right now we are working hard to get it done. Any advice to help us work smarter?

A: Last time we focused on why it is essential that our entire team understand renewals and manage as a priority. While you cannot control the marketplace or your residents you can work together accomplish incremental improvements to retention; say 3-5% increase in the retention rate. I focused on why this was a leveraged benefit suggesting that once the team understands “why” they can process and execute the “how” to get it done as a project. In management, we don’t settle for a series of successful projects. Rather, wherever possible onsite teams with leadership and support establish renewal performance standards and routines to control results.

How

Renewal teams don’t control external market conditions but they certainly “know their market” because they shop their competition (any alternative rental that is capturing their customers). Outreach efforts need to be managed with a schedule and feedback. This should include maintenance since different eyes see differently. Communication updates the entire team; new renewal ideas are considered and energy around renewal expectations gain momentum.

A leasing matrix takes shape when the team has data in front of them that measures leasing traffic and results for your property during each month of the year. The object of the matrix is to better match your expectations with the current realities to control results. Let’s say that during the first quarter you have 100 leases that are expiring while you can anticipate 150 of leasing traffic. However, a closer look reveals that your leasing ratio is right at 33% and retention at 50% in past first quarters. So, if your experience works just right you’re okay (50 renewals and 50 new). However, when there is additional new availability in the marketplace traffic and/or renewals might become deluded so even small market incentives and you can lose control of leasing results.
What if you capture more leasing traffic by “matching” incentives? Maybe you design a “Look & Lease”

contest? You give something to learn something. In this case, you’re uncovering what are the real competitive incentives and how likely are such incentives to continue into other quarters?
Maybe you create an incentive for renewals with the two-fold goal of: a) reducing the need for leasing traffic and new leases during the 1st quarter and b) modify the lease term to move the lease expiration into the second or third quarter when you have traffic to fill vacancies even at a lower closing rate.

Renewals Need Personal Attention

Treat each renewal like your onsite team knows that an existing customer is certainly as important as a new customer. Here are some suggestions how-
1. There’s time for an official notice letter but remember, at 120 days from expiration send a formal invitation to renew. Emphasize that you know they have choices. You would appreciate the opportunity to review the choices you can offer should they choose to renew.
2. Prepare for and schedule a renewal appointment early enough to become aware of customer concerns and reservations about renewal. Also, what incentives might be necessary and/or effective.
3. Review their resident file for understanding about their service requests and other communication during the lease term. Become aware of the team’s responses/actions/results.
4. Be prepared with market intelligence on availability of similar feature-benefits, comparable floorplans, trends and cost to move analysis.
5. Track renewal process, results and possible changes. This information should be shared with the entire team to sustain renewal as a leasing priority.

Build a Renewal Culture
The ideas contained herein are based on real renewal turnarounds that I have helped initiate and/or utilized to coach onsite teams across the country. We have barely scratched the surface on useable renewal improvements but the goal is the same. Create and sustain a team renewal culture as a building block to your leadership reputation. Everyone thinks about renewals even when you’re not present because your reputation precedes and follows you.

Legal Questions June 2017 Part 2

Posted: 17th June 2017 by Melissa in Uncategorized
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

11. Question:
I agreed to allow a resident to move in even though he could not pay the full security deposit. He was supposed to pay one third of the deposit each month. He made the first two payments but has now failed to make the third and final installment. What type of notice should I use?
Answer:
The law provides that in the event of a breach of the lease other than non-payment of rent, a three-day notice to perform conditions and/or covenants or quit be utilized. Like a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, this notice only allows the resident three days to comply or be subject to unlawful detainer litigation.

12. Question:
I have a tenant who never pays his rent until he receives a three-day notice. We normally serve notices on the eighth of the month even though the rent is due on the first. He is on a one-year lease and I don’t know my legal rights.
Answer:
You can try serving him with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit earlier than the eighth of the month. If he fails to make payment within the three-day period you have the right to refuse the rent and commence eviction proceedings.

13. Question:
One of our tenants has a guest who has been verbally abusive to me whenever I ask him who he is visiting. We have a large apartment community with many amenities and we need to be careful that complete strangers are not using our facilities. What can I do?
Answer:
A tenant is responsible for the conduct of his guests. Rude conduct and behavior for enforcing reasonable rules may lead to your decision to not renew the tenant’s lease when it expires. If it continues or escalates to a major disturbance, an eviction can be filed.

14. Question:
I have a tenant who always “races” his car in the parking area. We have families with small children and a posted five mile per hour speed limit. What can I do to make him stop?
Answer:
Creating safety hazards on the premises in a continuous manner may be good grounds for eviction based upon the nuisance activity. If the reckless manner in which he operates his vehicle continues after warnings, a three-day notice to perform covenant or quit may be served.

15. Question:
I have a tenant who left her window open when it rained causing water damage to the floor. She said she did not have to pay for the damage because we have insurance for this type of thing and we did not lose anything. What should I tell her?
Answer:
Your insurance has nothing to do with a tenant’s responsibility for negligence. If your insurance paid for the damage, they would have the right to be reimbursed by the tenant who caused the water damage. You would also be able to recover the deductible you paid. If the tenant has renter’s insurance, he/she may be covered for this type of loss.

We had to evict a real trouble-maker recently, but he keeps coming back to the property to use the swimming pool and jacuzzi. He is not anyone’s guest and some of the residents are frightened of him. What should I do?
Answer:
Calling the police for a criminal trespass and disturbance of the peace is the first recommended action.

17. Question:
I have a suspicion that one of our tenants falsified his application by giving me a different name and social security number than his own. If I can prove this, what are my rights? I have a six- month lease and he just moved in.
Answer:
If you could prove the falsification and you would not have rented to him had you known the true set of facts, the lease would be deemed based upon fraud and set aside. You could bring an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit to regain possession of the premises.

18. Question:
My evicted tenant left the property voluntarily three days before the sheriff was scheduled to do the lock-out. Is it wise to keep the appointment or should I just cancel?
Answer:
In some cases, it only appears that the tenant has vacated voluntarily. A wrong guess could lead to problems. Many property managers elect to meet the sheriff for the official lock-out. Some property managers decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to take possession prior to the sheriff’s arrival.

Legal Questions June 2017 Part 1

Posted: 7th June 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
What is the code section pertaining to the tenant’s obligation to pay rent subsequent to a thirty- day notice?
Answer:
California Civil Code 1946 requires the tenant to serve a thirty-day notice or a landlord to serve either a thirty-day or a sixty-day notice to terminate the tenancy. The rent is owed until the lease terminates.

2. Question:
Several prospective tenants have inquired about renting an apartment for a month or two. The high turnovers could be detrimental to the units and will create a lot of work for us in terms of doing paperwork and cleaning. Are there any rules that require a tenant to rent a minimum amount of time?
Answer:
There are no laws requiring you to rent month-to-month or a minimum or maximum amount of time. Many landlords require six-month or one-year leases.

3. Question:
A tenant reported a broken refrigerator at Monday, 10 a.m.. We replaced the refrigerator on Wednesday, at 6 p.m., in the same week. Now, the tenants want us to pay for the spoiled food. Should we?
Answer:
You would only be liable if the tenant could prove you were negligent in maintaining, purchasing or repairing the refrigerator. Landlords are not guarantors or insurers of the tenant’s personal property.

4. Question:
I took a $300.00 deposit from a tenant to hold an apartment pending a credit check. The credit check came in and I declined the application. How long do I have to return the money?
Answer:
There is no statutory requirement regarding “holding deposits.” If the agreement did not state a time frame, the court would impose a reasonable period of time considering the tenant’s need for the money to rent another premise, so the sooner it is returned, the better.

5. Question:
One of our clients owns an apartment building that we manage. He wants to rent some storage rooms on the property. If he does rent the rooms, would the unlawful detainer process have to be followed if the renter did not pay the rent? Or, do these units have the same rules as storage companies?
Answer:
Yes, he would need to follow the unlawful detainer process unless the unit is in a “self-service storage facility” as (as defined in California Business & Professions Code 21701(a)).

One of our tenant’s dogs is constantly barking and growling at anyone who passes by their apartment. It has scared many of the other residents and they have complained numerous times. I have explained that the lease allows pets. What can I do?
Answer:
If the dog is disturbing other residents and is not being properly restrained, it may be a violation of your lease if it contains a clause requiring tenants to refrain from unreasonable annoyances or disturbances. If this is the case, you could enforce the lease through a notice to perform or quit. It is also useful to have pet rules that spell out acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

7. Question:
I am evicting a tenant and gave her a thirty-day day notice. When I handed her the notice she didn’t read it, she just dropped it on the ground, so I read it to her. I then gave it back to her but she wouldn’t take it, so I dropped it on the ground. Is this considered a legal notice?
Answer:
So long as she was notified that you were giving her a legal notice and you didn’t take it back, most judges would consider this adequate personal service. If she doesn’t vacate in thirty days, an unlawful detainer (eviction) action may be filed in court.

8. Question:
We have an undesirable tenant in our apartment community. He is also consistently late paying rent. We have a month-to-month agreement and I want to serve him a thirty-day notice. The next time he pays late, I want to serve him a three-day notice to pay or quit as well. Can I serve both notices at the same time?
Answer:
A thirty-day notice and a three-day notice to pay or quit can be served at the same time. If the tenant fails to pay rent within the three-day period, you may immediately commence eviction procedures.

9. Question:
While on vacation, my assistant was responsible for serving three-day notices to pay rent or quit in the apartment community we manage. She forgot to sign the notices. Is this a fatal defect? Answer:
California law does not specifically require the manager or owner to sign notices served on tenants. While signing is the recommended practice, an unsigned notice should still be held to be sufficient.

10. Question:
I have been a resident manager for over four years and would like to know what a manager can do other than evict when a tenant continues to cause disturbances, e. g. loud music, singing, throwing cigarettes over the patio, etc…
Answer:
The threat of eviction sometimes is enough to convince a tenant to respect the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property. Calling the police for extraordinary disturbances may also serve to quiet down an unruly tenant. If all else fails, you may consider eviction before other residents decide to move.