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Fair Housing in the United States

Fair Housing in the United States

The month of April in 2013 was the month the government dedicated to spread awareness about the Fair Housing Act and fair housing in general. It is essential for property managers to have a clear and complete understanding of legislation related for fair housing to make certain that the tenant selection process they employ is fair, and avoids unnecessary and unwarranted lawsuits. Choosing the right tenant is necessary to attract responsible people who respect the property which is their temporary home. But the choice of the right tenant has also to be carefully balanced to comply with state, federal, and local discrimination laws.

Protecting Yourself and Your Cordial Residents

A complete understanding of fair housing enactments – state and federal –is critical regardless of whether you are part of a sizeable property management company or a lone operator taking care of just a handful of rental properties single-handedly. Discrimination where property is concerned can have nasty consequences which can result in significant financial loss and the respect of the community if you wrongly refuse housing to someone. If that person does not pass a background check or appears to be a gangster or a thug, that is another matter though. If you cannot properly judge who is a thug or not you should not be working for this related government agency or a rental property company.
The genesis of current housing legislation began with the Fair Housing Act of 1968 a federal enactment which forbade discrimination on grounds of color, race, national origin, and religion. The law was subsequently amended to include discrimination on grounds of sex, disabilities and families with children. With the amendments came stricter penalties for violations.

This legislation covered real estate practices like pre-sale advertising, the terms of sale or a rental agreement, and refusal of housing for whatever reason.

Not Condoned at All

Property owners face severe consequences for discrimination. If a tenant believes there has been discrimination in the rental or buying process he/she can register a complaint with the local department of human rights and may also consult an attorney. Tenants are also protected by tenant advocacy groups and the last thing a property manager or owner needs is to be cited for perceived discrimination in a lawsuit.

Here are some points on discrimination and fair housing which property managers would do well to observe.

Treat all prospective tenants uniformly. Keep a high standard of communication by observing a polite and respectful tone at all times and have a standard list of questions for all. A respectful tone and consistency ensures unintentional discrimination or any situation which could remotely be alleged as unlawful.

Offer the same level of accommodation to all. This way no one tenant can accuse you of inconsistency or favoritism or having withheld advantages which were offered to others.

Stay clear of stereotypes or preconceived notions. Keep alert for warning signs but otherwise give the benefit of doubt to tenants. Do not entertain pre-conceived notions about a tenant because of race, nationality, or religion either at the screening process or after occupation.

Stay on top of state laws to ensure that you have a complete knowledge of local legislation to protect you from uninvited legal action. If you are not up-to-date on the latest enactments and local laws, take the trouble to educate yourself. It’s well worth the effort.

A Company Comprised with Kindness

Talley Properties of Charlotte NC is one of the oldest property management companies in the Charlotte region. It constantly keeps itself informed of changes in local laws and so keeps out of legal quagmires. As a policy this company prides itself on running a real estate business with consistency, equality, and respect being the overriding attributes.

Maintenance Checklist for Property Managers

Maintenance Checklist for Property Managers

In almost all property management agreements the responsibility for maintenance vests with the manager or property management company. A high standard of maintenance is the hallmark of a fantastic and committedproperty management company and something most don’t take lightly. A well-maintained property has fewer problems, happier tenants, and less pressure on the property manager.

A Crucial Checklist

More often than not all homeowners and property managers develop a property maintenance checklist which helps them keep their property in peak condition. Here is a typical maintenance checklist which covers most areas but can be amended to suit a particular property.

Inspect the roof regularly and certainly at least twice a year. You’ll have to do this more often during fall to clear dead leaves which are liable to block the gutters. If the property is in a storm prone area, inspect it after every bad storm to check for weather damage. Also look out for insect damage. Check out the guttering for leaf deposits and any blockage which can strain the metalwork or allow a torrent of water to fall on an outside wall.

Check the outside walls twice a year for signs of penetrating damp or rising. Inspect the damp proof course to make sure that there is nothing like a heap of earth piled against the wall likely to bridge it.

Inspect ceilings and outside walls every month for signs of rising damp, penetration or condensation. Check out the condition of the paintwork all over especially on woodwork and walls.

Check the attic or loft for signs of rot or woodworm and the inside of the roof for any indications of leakage. If the water tank is located here check the piping and insulation.

Schedule regular checks of plumbing and heating and especially when the weather becomes extremely cold. Before the onset of winter check pipe insulation and renew it if needed. If there’s a boiler this needs to be serviced annually at least. Check all faucets and change washers if they drip. Clean toilets weekly to ensure that they are stain-free.

Take a cursory look at the electrical wiring because it is generally concealed. Look out for any exposed wiring which should be attended to immediately.

Inspect the outdoors once every few months especially after fall when all the leaves have fallen. Ensure that the grass is mowed regularly and borders trimmed. Remove debris and clean off oil slicks or patches. Keep the garden well maintained. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to the appearance of the property.

The Professional People

Talley Properties is one of the oldest and best-known property management companies in Charlotte NC. It specializes in mid-range to high end residential and commercial properties not just in the Charlotte region but also the surrounding counties. Over the thirty years and more that the company has been providing property management services to the community it has developed its own maintenance schedules. It also has a list of tradespeople and skilled technicians it hires when needed. Talley Properties sets a high maintenance standard which is much appreciated by both tenants and owners.

Three Cast-Iron Strategies to Keep Your Tenants

3 Cast-Iron Strategies for Tenant Retention

Tenant retention is the key to maximizing net operating income. It’s plain to see why because on every occasion a tenant leaves there are a whole lot of additional expenses involved. You have to repaint and repair the premises, advertise them and in some cases offer free rent incentives. Add to that the revenue lost during the period the premises were vacant.

It’s precisely for this reason that tenant retention and lease renewal ranks high on the development strategies which property owners and managers of multi-family properties adopt as a cost-effective measure. This is not just when the going is good but always.

You can go online to find a basket of solutions for retaining tenants like gift cards, raffles, and providing free WiFi in common locations like the laundry area and so forth. These will always be appreciated as will amenities and friendly service, but sometimes the basic things are forgotten.

What is the real cause behind tenants moving out?

A study conducted in 2010 concluded that tenants opted out of renewing their leases for reasons which were within control. The vast majority of them made the decision because of poor customer service by way of unsatisfactory handling of maintenance requests and a lack of response to their concerns. Here are three cast-iron ways to help you improve your tenant renewal record.

Better Communication

                There is nothing a tenant would like better than to know that their concerns are being taken seriously by property managers and homeowners. Ongoing communication with tenants is crucial during their period of residence. Keep them informed of all events such as construction issues, or scheduled maintenance. This sends a signal to the tenant that you care. Tell them about your proposed plans for upgrades and improving amenities. Highlight the positives to give them a reason to renew their lease when it comes to an end.

Swift Maintenance and Follow-Up

Conduct a tenant satisfaction survey at regular intervals. It’s a fantastic tenant retention tool and helps with improvement planning as well. A survey will give you an insight into what your residents need to improve the quality of their lives. It also helps an owner or property manager identify projects which will benefit the tenants and by extension themselves. It is also another way to attain feedback on earlier projects how well they were received and how well they have delivered. A structured approach like this helps generate satisfaction, dedication to service, and intrinsic value all of which significantly counts toward lease renewal.

Update Your Website

Today we live in a world of information access at our fingertips. Most of your tenants would prefer to use the Internet to acquire updates on their issues. Most people today first try to resolve an issue on a company’s website before resorting to other avenues. When they are able to succeed they derive a sense of satisfaction. If residents are able to attain a status update on a maintenance issue they develop a sense of empowerment and a feeling of pleasure.

While property management is undoubtedly a service business, keeping a tenant satisfied and happy is the key to tenant renewal.

Setting the Bar Higher

No one is more aware of the significance of tenant satisfaction than Talley Properties of Charlotte, NC. This property management company has been providing excellence of service in and around the Charlotte area for over three decades now. When it comes to tenant service and satisfaction Talley Properties goes the extra mile and then some. This is why their lease renewal record is second to none.

The Debilitating Affects of Rental Concessions

The Debilitating Affects of Rental Concessions

At some point in time most property managers have had to think about concessions. It might be a discount on the rent for the first few months or even allowing a tenant a few months rent-free on signing a lease. Some property managers prefer a small giveaway. But during a hard economy when most property managers are feeling pressure on the bottom line, are rental concessions a wise move? There is no yes or no answer to this question but every property manager has to carefully consider the situation before making a decision on the way to go. Here are some questions you need to answer for yourself:

How will concessions affect your revenue?

What will concessions do to your bottom line if you choose a financingroute. For example, if your rental is $1,000 per month and you offer a discount of $50, your income stream is $950 and not $1,000 to the bank which doesn’t help with your financing goals. A concession fills up your apartments but does not contribute to your bottom line. A concession can grind down the value of a property pretty fast. If you want financing to replace a worn carpet or redo the landscaping, an eroded revenue stream doesn’t help.

What are your competitors doing?

Concessions are like a contagion. If word gets around that one of your competitors is offering concessions you feel obliged to do the same. This is a disease in many markets, but you have to make your decision based on hard facts and stick with it. You have to know your market when it comes to concessions. Tenants will come to you and use what your competitor is doing as a bargaining ploy. You have to know how to handle that and dig your heels in.

How will concessions affect your current tenants?

Tenants who have signed a lease recently for full rent will naturally be upset if a new tenant is given two months’ rent free. Tenants already in residence will feel undermined and an impression might be created that the owner of the premises is in some form of distress. But when the market is tight like it is at present because of social engineering, regulations, and high taxes, property managers will be asked for concessions and if that is the practice all around then they might have to concede.

Residents that receive these financial gifts are also instructed by management not to be too loose with the lips when meeting and talking with existing residents but this information will surface eventually and could undermine certain relationships.  

Another factor is that concessions could affect the standard of tenants which property managers rent to. A lower security deposit and a couple of months’ rent free might attract just the wrong type of tenant.

A third factor is that if the manager if offering new tenants a concession it might have to be extended to existing tenants in order to retain them.

Finally if you do decide to extend concessions, make sure you are not violating any laws likely to run you into legal problems.

Talley Properties

Talley Properties is an experienced property management firm in the Charlotte region of NC. In over three decades it has been providing property management services this company has seen a number of ups and downs in the rental property market. It has evolved its own formulas to counteract pressures in difficult times.

What is an Apartment Cosignor Guarantee?

What is an Apartment Cosignor Guarantee?

Property management companies and landlords invariably establish certain criteria for a prospective tenant. The landlord will typically examine an applicant’s income and examine his credit history to reassure himself that the person is able to meet the rent. The credit history will also provide an insight into how well the applicant manages his finances. Additionally the landlord might order a total background check to obtain a grasp of the person’s personal history and to know whether there is anything in it which sends out warning signals. These precautions are taken by a landlord or property manager to avoid having to face an ugly situation where a person might not pay the rent, damage the apartment, or perform illegal activities in it.

Financial Support

An apartment cosignor is a person or entity who stands guarantor for a rental or lease agreement. Sometimes a landlord or property manager might insist on an apartment cosignor for a particular tenant who plans to lease or rent an apartment and whose credit history might not be quite up to scratch. It could be something in the prospective tenant’s financial background which does not quite meet the required standards for renting or leasing the apartment.

Risk Involved

The cosignor assumes the liability to meet a rental obligation which may be outstanding and stands guarantee for any damages which may occur over and above the security deposit. Such contingencies arise when the tenant of an apartment defaults and causes damage to the premises. A cosignor guarantee can be sued by a property management company or a landlord for any money owed as if that person was the primary resident. The cosignor’s credit could also be impacted in certain jurisdictions if the primary renter fails to meet his/her financial obligations.

Character Support

Sometimes a tenant’s income or background might not meet the criteria the landlord has set, or the tenant’s income might not be adequate or he might have a poor credit history or no credit history at all. In such cases the landlord may consider renting or leasing the apartment provided the tenant is able to bring an apartment cosignor who is financially stable. The landlord will apply the same tests to the cosignor. If the cosginor qualifies, he/she will have to sign off on the agreement and agree to meet all obligations should the tenant default.

Worst Case Scenario

A person assumes several risks when cosigning on an apartment lease or rental. The most noticeable is if the primary tenant defaults on his rental obligations or damages the apartment and refuses or is unable to pay for such damages. The problem arises when the cosignor is not informed until a suit is filed against the tenant where the cosignor is cited. Apart from being involved in a lawsuit where the cosignor is not the primary defendant, the judgment and lawsuit can also reflect on the credit report and damage the credit rating of the cosignor.

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