November 1, 2012Kyle KazanComments 0
Every now and then I like to take a step back and take a 360 degree look at how I’m operating my properties. This includes asking those who work in the operations what I can do better to improve how we do what we do. It is truly impressive to see how much those around you know and often their insights are really invaluable to going to the next level.
I must confess that many of the suggestions which I’ve shared as your Apartment Reporter came from the team and I was simply smart enough to listen and implement.
In preparing for the coming year, one thing we do is to see how the legal landscape is about to change. A couple of years ago, I shared when the US Environmental Protection Agency came out with their RRP law. For owners of California rental properties, I will be sharing some changes coming effective January 1, 2013. If you don’t own in the Golden State, be ready as the laws here are often a bell weather of things to come throughout the country. It is wise to get ahead and prepare so that you stave off a future headache.
California Senate Bill 183 requires installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all of your units (single family units should have them already) before January 1, 2013. There are some caveats (for instance all electric buildings) so educate yourself so that you are in compliance. For more information, please go to this website: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/strucfireengineer/pdf/bml/Frequently%20asked%20questions%20on%20Carbon%20Monoxide.pdf.
It is vital that you buy the correct detectors and install them in the right places.
Many owners allow only declawed cats or “devocalized” cats/dogs in their units. Under California Senate Bill 1229 neither policy is allowed. Meaning if you allow cats in your property, their claw status can no longer be considered. Also if the barking of a dog is a nuisance, it will be almost impossible to remove the resident for that reason.
A lot of us are enjoying the ease of taking rental payments electronically. I for one notice how quickly it is accounted for, that nobody has to scan or take to a bank and I have the use of the money quicker. One landlord tried to make it a requirement and threatened to remove any resident who didn’t comply. Now we have California Senate Bill 1055 which allows residents to make payments in a form other than cash and electronic funds transfer.
Two laws which I appreciate are California Assembly Bill 2303 and 1679. Bill 2303 raises the value of abandoned property (from $300 to $700) which can be disposed after the termination of tenancy. There are some nuances to this law so know it before you throw stuff away. That said, know it so that you can turn a unit instead of storing property under the right situations. Bill 1679 allows you to agree with the resident to transfer a security deposit refund electronically and send the itemized statement via e-mail.
Lastly, I can’t tell you how much I recommend doing an annual inspection (if not one every 6 months) in every one of your units. While there are many good things that come from this, two of the most important are spotting and correcting water leaks along with making sure that your residents are treating your property well. Getting ahead of higher water bills and/or a severely damaged apartment will save you money.