There’s an old saying, “Good, Fast, or Cheap – Pick Any Two”. The concept is simple. Choose two of the three options: good, fast or cheap. You can’t have all three. If you want something fast and cheap, it’s not going to be good. If you want something good and cheap, it’s not going to be fast. If you want something good and fast, it’s not going to be cheap. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, but for the most part we’ve found this to be fairly accurate.
It really doesn’t matter what line of business you’re in, customers all want their product done good, fast and cheap; however, it is impossible to create work in this manner. It just does not work that way.
Property management companies are not all created equal: They don’t cost the same, they don’t deliver the same quality of service, and they don’t provide their services at the same speed. So why do landlords choose to evaluate property management firms solely on how much they cost? When the success of your investment property, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is at stake, why choose a “cheap” property management option?
Too often, the “cheap” property management option comes with many gaps, when compared to a more reputable and marginally higher-priced firm — gaps related to cost, quality and promptness. You wouldn’t expect steak and lobster at a fast food restaurant, just as you shouldn’t expect first-class management from a “cheap” property manager.
Liability is always a concern for landlords. Thus, it’s easy to understand why the mention of “mold” and “millions” together would give a property owner nightmares. Not only is indoor exposure to mold known to cause respiratory problems and other health issues in some individuals, but mold is everywhere — and because moisture is critical to its ability to grow to elevated levels, something as simple as a leaky pipe could prove costly.
A web search for “mold lawsuits” reveals horror stories, one about a couple ordered to pay nearly $3 million in damages for selling a California home rife with mold. The same search shows that numerous law firms stand ready to sue property owners on behalf of tenants who believe mold made them sick.
While causation is difficult to prove, you as a landlord have enough to do without being tied up in court. And whether there is litigation or not, a prevalence of mold could lead to tenant loss.
For a landlord, mold remediation can save a host of problems. (Document efforts in case of legal proceedings.)
Mold issues in buildings are a result of water/moisture problems. Mold also needs an organic food source — and many building materials serve that purpose — and high relative humidity. The water source is the easiest factor to control.
As a landlord, the mold problem is not yours alone. Mold can grow in 24 to 48 hours after a water intrusion, so the tenant bears some responsibility for notifying the landlord the mold situation or water leak exists, and for reporting water stains that indicate a leak. Tenants also should use exhaust fans and control humidity. Mold can be hidden in many places, and a landlord generally cannot be held liable unless he or she knew — or should have known — the problem existed.
If the area where mold is growing is small, researching how to clean mold as the landlord and doing the work yourself can save the cost of hiring a mold remediation specialist.
As a landlord, the mold issue is one you must take seriously. Acting quickly and thoroughly can reduce liability risks. The accompanying infographic describes some typical mold situations, steps for mold remediation, and tips to prevent mold.
Bev Roberts Rentals is happy to announce the arrival of two new leasing agents direct from the North Pole! John is placing a sign in the yard to market the rental property and Rookie is on her iPhone scheduling showing appointments with CSS. With their magical touch, they should get this home rented in no time!
When your landlord tells you it’s time to inspect the rental property, do you panic?
If you’ve turned the property into the next potential candidate for Hoarding: Buried Alive, or if you’re using the property as a grow house for weed, you probably should panic because your landlord could, and probably will, evict you for breaking the lease terms.
But don’t worry. If you haven’t damaged anything and the place is in the same shape as when you moved in, your landlord won’t want to ask you leave, and in fact, will probably want to renew your lease at lease renewal time.
Some tenants think that landlords only want to inspect a rental property so they can discover something, anything, in an effort to keep the security deposit.
But don’t worry about that, either. Most landlords aren’t looking for a way to get out of returning your security deposit when they inspect a rental property. They are merely keeping tabs on their investment.
When landlords inspect a rental property, they are merely keeping tabs on their investment.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look regarding rental property inspections, why they happen, and what you can expect.
Most landlords do a move-in inspection with you and a move-out inspection with (or without) you. They do that to determine whether you left the place in the same condition as when you got it, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.
But it’s a good idea for landlords to check on their property before the year is out, during the lease term. That way, if there is a problem, the landlord can take care of it before it worsens.
Here are some examples of what landlords are looking for:
- What if you secretly brought in a pet to get out of paying pet rent?
- What if you moved someone else in?
- What if there’s a maintenance issue, such as an overloaded circuit, that you weren’t aware was problematic?
The only way your landlord would find out these and other issues, issues they have a right to know about, is by performing an inspection.
One, Two, or Three Times a Year is Normal
Some landlords don’t do inspections at all. This is a bad idea. Maybe your landlord is uncomfortable telling you they want to do an inspection. Or maybe your landlord doesn’t realize the importance of conducting routine inspections. Whatever the case, you can’t count on your landlord never inspecting the rental property.
Some landlords are just the opposite, wrongly believing they can enter the property anytime they like to check out their place. Note to tenants: they can’t! You have what’s known in the law as “the right to quiet enjoyment.” That means your landlord can come over only for specific reasons and can’t come over excessively.
Read your lease to see whether an inspection is specified in the lease. Landlords often inspect once a year, but some inspect a rental property twice a year or quarterly. Whatever the case, you are entitled to get notice, usually 24 or 48 hours in advance, before your landlord comes by to do the inspection.
What You Might Hear from Your Landlord
There are some common issues your landlord might find during an inspection:
- If you have hardwood floors and aren’t maintaining them properly, such as using a wet mop on them, your landlord might notice how dull the floors are looking. They will probably give you instructions on how to care for hardwood floors.
- If there is evidence of a pest infestation, your landlord will want to get an exterminator to come out ASAP. The longer a pest infestation is allowed to go on, the worse it gets. Your landlord will probably tell you to let them know if that happens again.
- If there are holes in the doors or walls, your landlord will probably tell you to fix them. If you don’t, you can expect a deduction from your security deposit.
- If the lawn is your responsibility per the lease, and you aren’t maintaining it, the landlord might do one of two things. They might go over what is expected of you, and then do a follow-up inspection. Or they might hire someone to regularly mow the lawn and deduct the cost from your security deposit.
If you don’t want to risk losing out on getting any of your security deposit back, you should take care of the place as if you owned it. If there are maintenance issues, notify your landlord right away, so they can fix them.
Landlords are allowed to drive by, walk by, or bicycle by their property anytime they like. They can’t go on the property during these drive-by inspections or disturb you in any way. They can just check to see whether everything looks good from the outside.
The property you’re renting from someone is a big investment for them. Regular inspections, along with tenant screenings, are the best tools landlords have to protect their investment.
Across the country, a divide is emerging between cities that are growing outward and remaining affordable and ones that are hemmed in by geography and onerous zoning codes and are becoming more and more expensive.
As a whole, U.S. cities are expanding as rapidly, as they have throughout the last half-century. From the 1950s until the 2000s they have added about 10,000 square miles per decade, or an area roughly the size of Massachusetts, according to research byIssi Romem, chief economist at real-estate site BuildZoom, to be released Monday. But beneath the surface a divide is deepening.
On the one side are cities such as San Francisco, Boston, New York and Miami that have slowed their pace of expansion dramatically since the 1970s, in part as they have added layer upon layer of building regulations. On the other side are cities concentrated in the southeast and Texas, which have grown outward and seen much slower price growth.
The developed residential area in Atlanta, for example, grew by 208% from 1980 to 2010 and real home values grew by 14%. In contrast, in the San Francisco-San Jose area, developed residential land grew by just 30%, while homes values grew by 188%.
The developed residential area in Raleigh, N.C., grew by 219% in the same period, while home values grew by 27%. In Seattle, the developed area grew by 69%, while home values grew by 119%.
Mr. Romem draws the distinction succinctly: expansive cities versus expensive cities.
“If you don’t let the city grow, you’re going to get prices going upward…and see the middle class being pushed out,” Mr. Romem said.
Mr. Romem’s research reads on its face like an argument for suburban sprawl, which has come under fire both for its environmental consequences and tendency to lead to oversupply that can lead home prices to crash.
Mr. Romem said ideally cities would relax regulations and build upward rather than outward. But, he said, promoting development on empty fields is more politically feasible than building apartment towers in single-family neighborhoods, and thus likely to ease affordability pressures more quickly.
Many of the more expensive cities are prevented from growing outward by natural barriers, such as oceans or mountains. Those cities are unlikely to grow significantly upward or outward in the next couple of decades, he said, and thus the price divide is likely to continue to widen.
That could be good news for cities such as Atlanta and Raleigh, N.C., that have long been overshadowed by more economically powerful legacy cities.
“These cities are growing more important because of having more population. They have become more viable places for certain types of firms to locate,” he said.