Tag Archives for " cleveland ohio property manager "

How are pests handled?

Whether it is nesting mice, pesky bed bugs, or gnawing termites, pests are unfortunately a frequent headache to property owners. On one hand, professional extermination can be pricey, and in certain situations, there can be health concerns depending on the chemicals used and the level of care used by those doing the extermination process. However, in many circumstances, if you don’t get professional help in order to exterminate a pest problem, you can put your tenant’s health at risk as well as cause damage to your property.

But who should be addressing a pest issue? The landlord? The tenant? The answer to that question varies. When a call comes in for pests, we encourage your tenant to handle the issue themselves using easy to find, affordable over the counter pesticides. If the tenant can prove there is an infestation (defined as “to inhabit or overrun in numbers or quantities large enough to be harmful or threatening”), then the landlord will need to send out professional services. We normally ask for pictures to prove there is an infestation.

Pests can be a very frustrating issue for both landlords and tenants.

Any boring insects, such as termites, need to be handled right away as it’s damaging to the property. If it’s clearly not the tenants fault, you as owner would be liable. Bed bugs, however, are usually something that is brought by the tenants. We suggest you have them take care of it themselves. However, be aware that the tenants can call a city health inspector and they can make the landlord pay for a bed bug infestation.

The responsibility of pest extermination for multi-family properties often falls on the landlord because it can be hard to prove which one of the tenants caused the situation. On either case, it is important to keep an open channel of communication between landlord, tenant, and ourselves in order to get rid of any pest problem as soon as possible.

The importance of video inspections in property management

Learn how to protect yourself and your property.

Our ultimate goal is to make investment property ownership a stress-free and profitable for the property owners. There are many ways we do that, and we are always working to find new ways to meet the needs of our property owners. This is why we strongly suggest video inspections.

One of the many services we offer are video inspections. This includes a recorded walk through of the apartment prior to a new tenant moving in. It also includes a recorded work through of the apartment when the tenant moves out. Video inspections are provided when large repairs or improvements are being recommended.

We have found the use of video inspections to be positive for both us and the property owners. When a property owner decides to work with a property manager, there is a certain level of trust needed.

For example, when a manager contacts the owner to let them know about repairs needed to the property that will cost the owner money, the owner has two options:

  1. Trust the manager is making a good and necessary repair
  2. Refuse the repair until you get proof that it was absolutely necessary. This creates an awkward situation for both the owner and the manager.

One thing we do to lessen the potential for a bad situation and to build that trust with the owners is to do video inspections. This is good in several ways. You can see a lot more detail in a video that you can in photo. It allows us to zoom in on areas of damage while still providing perspective on where the damage is.

A video provides a better overall view of the property. This is especially helpful when comparing the condition of the property when a tenant moves to when the tenant moves out.

Limitations of video inspections

Video inspections can be limited in that it creates a sometimes long process. Particularly if you have to look through an entire video just to find one area of damage. However, we lessen that limitation by using the video inspections along with a written inspection report.

For example, if a property has exterior damage that needs to be addressed. We can provide a written report detailing the damage, repairs needed, and expected cost. We send it with a video of the damaged area. In this respect, the video will enhance the information provided in the written report.

Interior video inspections while a tenant is living there are sometimes difficult to get. However, this particular limitation can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Benefits of Video Inspections

By providing the video inspections along with inspection reports we are building trust between us and the property owner while getting rid of a possible awkward situation of the property owner feeling the need to ask for proof of property damage and repair estimates.

Videos are also helpful when a case goes to court. We have found that video is much more effective when a tenant needs to be evicted or taken to court and there is property damage involved. Getting a video tour of the damage has a greater emotional impact than photos. The videos can also be used to show a clearer before and after condition of the property in court.

If a deposit is withheld due to damages and the former tenant argues that they deserve all or part of their deposit back, it is the property owner’s responsibility to prove the damages were legitimate and caused by the tenant. This is when before and after videos are most useful.

Video can also be used to lease properties faster and more effectively. How to use the power of video to promote your properties will be covered in How to Use Video to Lease Your Property Faster.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

Why it is so important to check criminal and eviction records manually?

Have you been to your local courthouse lately?

About four years ago we approved a tenant application, the tenant moved in, and then we had to evict them roughly six months later. On a whim, we went to the local court and found out the tenant had a recent conviction that did not show up on the background check we had conducted with the tenant application. This caused us to take a look at our tenant screening process.

We found that the national databases we had been using were not as accurate or timely as we had assumed. For a variety of reasons including infrequent updates and missed filings, national databases were limited in their accuracy. While we still use them to search for out of the area information, for local background checks, we rely on manual background checks.

Manually checks are beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy. Conducting the background check manually will ensure it is done thoroughly and the information is available as soon as it is filed. This means it doesn’t matter if the tenant had an eviction filed the day before, we’ll find out about this. We manually check eviction and criminal records.
  2. Better understanding.  Manually doing checks allows you to better understand the process and filing system within your local courts. You know how it works and how to find information quickly and easily.
  3. Limit frustration. Manual background checks have allowed us to limit the frustration of evictions and other problems property owners may experience when dealing with bad tenants.

When screen tenant applications, be sure to also conduct a Landlord Verification. Follow the link to learn the benefits and challenges of verifications.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you

 

7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening

Through years of experience in the field, we’ve narrowed our tenant screening process down to a specific set of steps that allow us to work quickly to fill the apartments and houses we manage with the best possible tenants. This is an overview of our process. Hopefully it can help you in screening your tenants.

  1. Create a checklist. We’ve learned that working from checklists ensures consistency and accuracy in everything we do. While some feel that checklists are tedious, it will actually save you time and frustration. You won’t need to worry about forgetting anything. Additionally, following a checklist will provide the consistency needed to help keep you out of Fair Housing Hell. We use property management software that allows for the creation and monitoring of checklists, but you can also just use a notebook and pen.
  2. We send a welcome email and phone call after an application is submitted. The welcome email will include additional information we’ll need to run their application, and the phone call is to ensure they received the email. The additional information requested includes employer and landlord waivers that need signed and returned, so we can contact them.
  3. Run background checks. This includes a credit, eviction, and criminal background checks. We check a nationwide database, but also manually check with the local courts. Again, we’ve learned over the years that national background check databases are limited in how accurate they can be, so it is essential to Manually Check Eviction and Criminal
  4. Get other verification in order. In addition to background checks, we conduct a landlord verification to try to find out if they consistently pay their rent on time and if they caused damage to their previous residence. Read Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution to learn more about landlord verification.
  5. Collect information. We request copies of the previous 30-days’ worth of pay stubs, a copy of a photo ID for each adult that will be living on the property, and a photo of any pets they have. Photos and IDs are important, so you know exactly who and what animals will be living there.
  6. Create a summary. Once all the verification and background checks are complete, compose a summary of the results. Within the summary, we include the final decision on whether or not the lease will be offered to them. This is important because if they insist on knowing why they were not offered the lease, the reason needs to be clear to keep you out of Fair Housing Hell.
  7. Notify tenant and collect hold fee. If the applicant is being offered the lease, they are notified immediately and asked to pay a hold fee. The hold fee, unlike a deposit, is non-refundable. If they go through with renting the property, the hold fee is applied to their deposit.

Hopefully, this was helpful. If you have any questions about our process, feel free to ask. If you are interesting in having us handle your leasing process or learning more about the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

What will any upcoming inflation do to landlords?

Are you having trouble selling your house? Are you having trouble finding renters? Don’t worry…things may be turning around soon. I’m clearly not an economic forecaster, but I do pay attention to what is happening. Based on a broad range of factors, I would say there is a substantial chance of inflation soon. .

Now, inflation can sound scary and has a pretty bad reputation. Typically, when people think about inflation, they only think about the prices of everyday items increasing. However, if you are a property owner, inflation may work to your advantage.

During inflation, interest rates will increase, property values increase, and rents rise. I know many business people, who have been able to pay off their mortgages and become debt free thanks to inflation.

Here are just a couple of the potential benefits:

  1. Rent goes up. As the amount you can charge for rent increases, you can pay off your mortgage faster. The key is to not offer long-term leases with locked in prices. You also need to focus on putting that extra money towards the mortgage because once the mortgage on your rental is paid off, you’ll be making significantly more profit on your investment.
  2. House values increase. As home values increase, you will have a better opportunity to sell your property for a profit. This will also help out the many people that have wanted to sell for some time but didn’t want to lose money due to low house values.
  3. The potential for greater profit. For some property owners, who were planning to sell, the potential for increased profits may entice them to stay in business. This is when hiring a property manager may be especially useful because it will allow you to remain in business and enjoy the profits while not having to deal with the deal-to-deal hassle of owning rental properties.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Is Your Current Manager Licensed? Don’t Get Hurt!

Don’t get hurt! Only trust licensed professionals.

While looking for a property manager, you may see ads for people offering to do property management. Maybe they are handymen or contractors, and they post ads that they can help manage your properties. They boast their ability to handle the maintenance themselves. But are they licensed?

The one most important question you need to ask when contacting someone is if they are licensed to do property management. Ohio Law states that when working as a property manager; leasing properties, collecting rent, etc. you have to have a brokerage license.

A brokerage license is not easy to get or keep. You might think having a license isn’t a big deal as long as they get the job done. However, you have to think about it as a commitment and investment. If a property management company went through the work of getting and maintaining their license, it is a sign of professionalism and commitment.

Someone operating without a license can disappear on you. They may be looking to make some fast money and get out. Likewise, if their business is maintenance and they decide to offer property management as a means of getting more business, you have no real guarantee that they have the experience and knowledge needed to manage your properties, which is a lot more than just the physical maintenance.

Having and maintaining a license is a means of protecting the public. For example, as licensed property managers, we have audited trust accounts. These ensure that deposits and rent money is being safely handled. If we are managing 300 rental units, we may have anywhere from $300,000 to $600,000 in the bank. That is a lot of money. For someone with little to lose, that money could just disappear. As licensed property managers, we are held responsible for every dollar.

If you have an issue with how we manage, you can go to the state. Then the issue will be looked in to. If we are found at fault, our license can be pulled. Because we are committed to our business, we work in the best interest of our property owners to ensure we maintain our license.

Additionally, operating without a license is a criminal offense with a $1000 fine per incident. If an unlicensed person is managing multiple properties, that fine can be huge. It does not take much for the state to find unlicensed people working as managers and put them out of business, which would leave the property owner in a serious bind.

As professional licensed property managers, we have the systems in place to care for many properties for both local and out-of-state property owners. Our system and processes are well developed and allow us to go beyond minimum care. We manage all the properties under our care as if they were our own, which provides peace of mind especially for out-of-state owners, who are unable to physically check on their properties.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Do you manage your Cleveland Ohio property or does your property manage you?

Do you manage your Cleveland Ohio property or does your property manage you? This is a question you may ask yourself. Being a landlord can be hard and time-consuming. Tenants may feel the need to call you at all hours of the day and night. they may or may not pay their rent on time. Things get damaged. Neighbors fight. The life of a landlord is one filled with uncertainty and surprises.

This can put a big burden on a landlord trying to handle everything on their own, and It can play havoc on their life. It can negatively impact relationships, finances, and peace of mind. It is why many landlords leave the business or fail to make their business profitable.

When you feel like your properties are managing you, it may be a good time to look at what a property manager can do for you. Here is what we do for our property owners.

  1. We manage. This one may sound like common sense, but managing properties is our business. Our sole focus is on managing properties and making the property-owning experience as stress-free as possible, we have gotten quite good at it. How do we manage? Through the use of procedures, checklists and more checklists. We have learned that while following checklists may feel tedious, it actually saves time in the long run. It eliminates forgetting to do things. We never have to stop and wonder if the unit is completely ready for rent We don’t have to leave a lease signing wondering if we remembered to tell them everything. There are procedures and checklists in place for everything we do. This includes collecting rent, accepting maintenance requests, dealing with after hour’s emergencies, preparing rental units, and showing apartments. If we discover an area or process we don’t have a checklist for, we create one.
  2. We set tenant expectations. Not setting tenant expectations from the start leads to unneeded drama. We communicate with tenants. Set times they are welcome to call as well as acceptable topics to call about. We accomplish this with our tenant expectation checklist. This starts with requiring new tenants to watch a video that goes over the lease. It also covers how and when to report problems. This eliminates the Sunday morning calls to complain about the neighbor or the 3 a.m. calls to report the toilet is clogged.

One of the greatest challenges for landlords are dealing with “emergencies.” We have learned that setting expectations and following our checklists and procedures eliminates emergencies. Eliminating the emergency calls also eliminates a great deal of the stress. We work hard for both or local property owners and our out-of-state property owners. We can manage your properties, and we can provide you peace of mind.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

What Cleveland Ohio landlords need to know about large deposits and deposit accounting

Landlords accept security deposits as a form of insurance. If the tenant damages the property or leaves with unpaid bills, the landlord can use the money from the security deposit to help cover those expenses. When accepting a security deposit, there are several things landlords need to understand to protect themselves and their property.

  1. The security deposit does not belong to the landlord or in our case, the property manager. That money needs to be held in a secure account, so when the tenant moves out, it can either be returned or applied to acceptable expenses. That money cannot just be put into an account with the rents and other income streams to be spent as needed. It needs to be available if and when the tenant moves out.
  2. You may have to pay interest on the security deposit. If you collect anything over the first month’s rent, you have to pay 5% interest on that amount on the one-year anniversary of accepting the money and every year after that. For example, if the rent is $1000 per month, and you collect a $2000 security deposit, you will have to pay interest on the $2000.
  3. Withholding security deposit money for damage is not always supported by law. The law states that ordinary wear and tear cannot be deducted from the deposit. However, the description of “ordinary wear and tear” is highly subjective and judges enforce it differently from one community to the next. For example, I do not believe having to repaint due to the walls being so dirty they can’t be cleaned or full of scratches and marks should be considered “ordinary.” Most courts, however, do not agree with that and will not allow landlords to deduct for painting costs. Our policy is to make the deductions we feel are necessary and appropriate and then if the court questions it, we can make our case and work with the owner regarding what the court decides. This is another example of when before and after video inspections become helpful
  4. You MUST provide an accounting of the deposit within 30 days. By law, the landlord is required to either provide the tenant with their deposit, and itemized account of repairs needed that used up their deposit, or a combination of part of the deposit and the itemized list of repairs. It does not matter if the tenant is getting nothing back due to damage to the apartment, the landlord MUST provide the tenant with a written statement regarding the deposit. If the tenant can prove the landlord did not provide this within 30 days, they can get as much as double their deposit back.

As a property manager, I understand the laws regarding security deposits inside and out. I am also familiar with the courts in the greater Cleveland area and what each of them generally finds as acceptable wear and tear. That knowledge along with the various processes and checklists we have in place to run our business enables me to provide the best care for the properties I am entrusted with.  Regardless of whether the property owner is local or out-of-state, they can rest assured that their security deposits are protected, and they are protected from needless fines and aggravation.

 

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Top ";