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PM Magazine So-Cal Property Manager Magazine

Information | Resources | Training

Issue 9 | Feb 2011


Keep Your Eye On The Ball


Legislature Updates


Pooper-Scooper Violators

2011: Plan A Productive Year



from the Editor

What’s Holding You Back?

Information | Resources | Training

Editor and Publisher ELAINE SILBERBERG

This Issue’s Contributors

“Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence to take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of their TV and treat life as if it goes on forever.” Philip Andrew Adams




Proof Reader HEIDY RIVAS

Published by Clever Publishing Company P. O. Box #1234, Tustin CA 92781 Ph: 949-275-1453  Fax: 877-381-0751

For Advertising Call 949-275-1453 or Email us at Copyright 2011

PM Magazine is published by Clever Publishing Co. All rights are reserved. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Publisher or Staff. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information presented in this issue is accurate and neither PM Magazine nor Clever Publishing Co. is responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine.


s the New Year starts, we carry on unrealized expectations from 2010. There are things we wanted to change and things we wanted to have happened, but it didn’t. We find ourselves going around and around in a circle while we wait. What are we waiting for? We’re waiting for that day when life will suddenly change. We dream of a big break, of winning the lotto, or some another meaningful breakthrough. Meanwhile, we fail to take control of our lives because of fear - fear of taking risks. But there is no change without a risk. “A man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”  Andre Gide. Personally, I’m well acquainted with changes and taking risks. There are great rewards for risk-taking. First, you will never regret not trying! Second, you become much more experienced: you tried the safe route and the risky route, you obtained victories and dealt with failures, and as a result you became a stronger person. On this issue of PM Magazine, Natalie Gahrmann shows that by looking at 2010 more objectively we will be able to plan a better 2011  Plan a Productive Year (page 6). The author asks 10 questions to help us take inventory of our lives and bring closure to unresolved issues.

If you’ve ever asked “What is distracting or keeping me from pursuing my lifelong desires?” you will want to read Getting in Control (page 22). Eileen McDargh suggests ways in which we can begin to gain control of our lives and relieve ourselves from self-induced pressure. What if we would take courage to embrace changes in 2011? We can find inspiration by meditating on the words of Denis Wait, from the book “Seeds of Belief: Attitude is Everything.” “The most important three words you can say to yourself: “Yes, I can!” If you believe you can... you probably can. If you believe you won’t... you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”

Elaine Silberberg Publisher & Editor-in-Chief


cover story 15


Manager Spotlight Kanya Smith, Community Manager of Park Summit Apartments

departments 6

Time Management Plan a Productive Year! by Natalie Gahrmann




Keep Your Eye on the Ball! by Anne Sadovsky


Team Building 4 Steps to Building a Powerful Incentive Program by Ernest F. Oriente


Legal 2011 Legislative Updates

by J. Kathleen Belville, Esq. & Jamie Sternberg, Esq.


Resident Relations


Pet DNA: Find Pooper-Scooper Violators Courtesy of BioPet Vet Lab


Security Deposit Disputes So, When Do I Get My Money Back? by Jackie Ramstedt


Inspiration Getting In Control by Eileen McDargh

www.pmmag- s o c a l . c o m



 time management

Plan a Productive Year

 by Natalie Gahrmann


new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning, a rebirth, or a transformation. It’s a chance to review life, affirm your values, and outline your course of action for the year ahead. If you are hoping to make 2011 easier on you and your family, one of the key secrets to create an easier life as a working parent is to clean up your 'messes' and then design a personal practice or system that doesn't permit them to recur. Things in your life that are unresolved, unfinished or left hanging are referred to as an incompletion. Incompletions are those

’s New Yeaorns: ti lu so e R ebt

of D bGet out cise er x E b

physical, emotional or mental items that are in some way unresolved in the current moment. They can be about an issue in a relationship, unpaid bills or fines, unmanaged health problems, commitments you didn't honor, work issues, things like clutter in your physical environment, or, even, your own personal level of stress or uncertainty. Left unresolved, an incompletion of any kind drain your energy. Your life will simply be easier and flow better when it is intact and you feel whole. Start the year by reviewing 2010 and looking at yourself objectively. Begin by evaluating where are in your life, where you want to make changes and where you have unfinished business. List all the challenges you endured, the joys you shared, the goals you accom-


“ of the key secrets

to create an easier life as a working parent is to clean

up your 'messes' and then design a personal practice or system that doesn't

permit them to recur.” plished, the people who made a difference in your life, the mistakes you’ve made, and what you intended to accomplish but did not. The following questions will allow you to take inventory in some important areas of your life. It's important to be honest with yourself and explore what's going on in your life, what's up, what's in progress, what might be stuck, or what just isn't working. It's also important during this process to detach your critical judgment of yourself and to look at your life with a new perspective. The better you are at defining your current reality, the easier it will be to gain clarity about what needs to be done, created or accomplished in your life. 1. What excited and stretched you in 2010? What are you most grateful for? 2. What have you learned this past year? What can you continue building upon in the year ahead? 3. Where has your life felt in balance? Where has your life felt out of balance? 4. How many events have you missed in your children's life because of work commitments? 5. How many days have you taken off work for your own illness or obligations? Or, to care for others? 6. What recurring patterns or behaviors do you see in your life? Which are working? Which are not? 7. What stresses have your experienced in your life? How have you handled these stresses? How can you handle them for effectively?

PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

8. What do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of in your life? 9. What do you most want to accomplish next year?

10. What goals do you want to achieve short-term and long-term financially, mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually? These questions are meant to bring clarity to specific work and life areas; it is not intended you use them to beat yourself up. If you’re not happy with some of your answers, begin getting clear on actions you can take to raise your level of satisfaction. Review, summarize and prioritize your answers to these questions and decide what you’d like to add, change, or eliminate from your life. Seek out help from a professional coach, rabbi, priest, therapist, friend, work colleague or trusted partner, if necessary. You can make changes when you become astutely aware of where those changes need to be made. The first step to living the life you want is to honestly evaluate where you are so that you can consciously design your life to work for you! PM

About The Author

Natalie Gahrmann is an internationally certified professional coach and leadership development expert who works with organizations to underscore the causes of stress and productivity issues and teach their employees how to better self-manage their burgeoning workload – in all aspects of their lives. She delights in helping entrepreneurs, executives, and SuperBusySM Parents balance their work and personal life, achieve better results, and create more fulfillment and congruency in their life. She is the author of the award winning, Succeeding as a Super Busy Parent and Tools for Creating Success, Fulfillment and Balance in your Work, Family and Personal Life. Natalie has helped thousands of people through individual & group coaching, workshops & keynote presentations, on-line advice, a monthly column in Moms Business Magazine, and her free e-newsletter. To learn more about how coaching can help you or to arrange an introductory coaching session, contact To subscribe to free bi-weekly e-newsletter, visit online at

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 marketing

Keep Your Eye on the Ball! By Anne Sadovsky


s the manager drove me to the property, I questioned

ditioned prospective renters to walk in or telephone and ask

her about things like competition and office hours.

"What's your special?" If your special isn't bigger and bet-

When I asked about weekend traffic, she glared at me and

ter than the one across

said "Don't mention weekends to my boss. We don't work week-

if you make sure

ends and we're not going to." Here I was consulting with the

biggest one in

town, you still

owner about a 25% vacancy factor, and they were closed on

lose because

you probably

the weekends! Why? They were closed on weekends at 100%


the mortgage

occupancy and didn't reposition when the market changed. There's a great story in baseball about a player running out in the field to catch a fly ball. Just then his cap blew off, he leaned down to retrieve it and missed the ball. Stop today and brainstorm, look at the way things are being done (or not being done) and take action to properly position yourself in today's challenging market. Start with the following ten areas:

1. Check the community policies for revision. For example, if your policy is "no pets" consider choosing a few buildings for residents with pets. Have good written policies, pet leases with photos of the animal and strong pet deposits. As our society continues to mature, many of us have furry, feathered or finned companions and are willing to pay extra to have them share our home. While reviewing policies ask yourself "could this policy be costing us leases? If so, should we consider a change?"

2. Stop the bleeding. Focus on resident retention by remembering that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Today's resident expects service, fair treatment, good communication and to be rewarded at renewal time. If you treat the resident like they're stuck with you, they will be sure to prove you wrong.

3. Get off the "giveaway" track! We have con8

PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |


the street, you lose. And your special is the


 marketing About The Author 4. Shop your people regularly. Relationship selling is the strategy of the 90’s. Do you really know how your staff is treating your customers? In a market where every lease counts, shopping should be a standard practice, it should also be a positive learning experience for your team.

5. Drive your property through a prospective renter’s eyes during the day and again at night. Is it well lit, can you see the signs, how’s the curb appeal? Do you have guest parking, balloons, banners, flags, flowers and signs? If they can’t find you, they can’t lease an apartment!

6. Fair Housing "ain't gonna go away!" Be absolutely positive that you and your staff aren't going to get you sued. Know the laws, be sure personal prejudices aren't coming to the office, and best advice, treat everyone exactly the same way! PM


Anne Sadovsky, CSP, CAM, CAPS, RAM, has been in this industry since 1968. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has earned the prestigious designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Based in Dallas, Texas, she was named one of the top trainers in the industry by Multi Housing News. Her success story has been featured in Money Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and Texas Business. Anne Sadovsky is the owner of a Dallas based marketing, consulting and seminar firm – where she and her associates provide training, keynotes and counsel to a variety of industries, businesses and associations. She is the former Vice President of Marketing and Education of Lincoln Property Company. Her expertise in multifamily housing makes her a sought after consultant and trainer. As a consultant, Anne has saved and made her clients millions of dollars. To contact Anne by phone: 866 905-9300 or e-mail: or visit her website at


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 team Building

4 Steps To Building A

Powerful Incentive Program  By Ernest F. Oriente 

Do you want to build a successful incentive program for your property management company? Have you dreamt about finding ways to have more fun at work and still see big results?


t the heart of every employee incentive program is the ability to motivate and reward your property management team for excellent performance. In this article, I will show you four easy steps to build

an incentive program that allows everyone to win!

Setting Objectives For any type of employee incentive program, your property management team must feel the goals are attainable and realistic. An incentive program should also fit into your company’s overall business strategy and be easy to measure. Using targets such as revenue growth, occupancy, resident retention and NOI, are some of the ways to establish incentive objectives. In addition, the ideal incentive program will allow each person in

pancy at a property or the number of leases

many participants within your property man-

your company to feel they have an opportu-

renewed each month can be easily mea-

agement company don’t---or can’t---achieve

nity to win.

sured. Once you have outlined the goals to

their incentive objectives.

Tip From The Coach: To build a powerful

be measured, then build a specific schedule

incentive program, plan a brainstorming ses-

of how frequently you are going to report

sion with a few of your key resident man-

the progress of your incentive program. For

Start by establishing your budget for this

agers and property supervisors so they can

instance, if your incentive program is going

incentive program by defining the projected

share unique insight about ways to make the

to run for three months, then plan on an-

number of awards to be given. Then, con-

program a giant success. Listen to their in-

nouncing the rankings every two weeks, to

sider the “people-profile” of your property

put, as they will lead you to the gold!

keep top-of-mind awareness. Lastly, clearly

management team to develop appropriate

outline the rules of your incentive program

awards that will be memorable and the win-

in writing and define the specific time period

ners will take pride in receiving. This is an-

to be measured.

other great topic to brainstorm with a few

well defined. Then, do everything possible to

Tip From The Coach: When building your

of your key resident managers and property

ensure your company goals can be evaluated

strategy, be certain to focus on win/win.

supervisors. Given an open forum, they will

fairly and objectively. For example, the occu-

Also, consider what will happen to morale if

tell you exactly what is important to them

Developing A Strategy Be certain your objectives are simple and


PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

Establishing Awards

 team Building and to those they manage. Tip From The Coach: Your team will be most inspired if they feel the incentive rewards are meaningful enough to justify their efforts. Some award ideas: a nice dinner with the President of your company, education/training classes paid for by the company, a paid day off with cash for shopping, a special plaque to reward top performers, special recognition at your next company meeting, or a trip to a vacation resort.

Evaluating The Results Bravo! Your incentive program is completed and now is the time to evaluate the results and to justify the success of your program. Start by getting feedback from your property management team by surveying them and asking for their feedback. Ask them if the incentive program made a difference in their performance and ask for any suggestions they have to improve future programs. Then, evaluate if the program helped your property management company achieve its goals while consider any improvements you would make for the next incentive program. Tip From The Coach: When evaluating the success of your incentive program, look for any side benefits you didn’t expect, such as a new spirit of enthusiasm, reduced turnover or increased teamwork. PM

ABOUT THE Author Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995 (24,560 hours), the author of SmartMatch Alliances, and the founder of PowerHour, has a passion for coaching his clients on executive leadership, hiring and motivating property management SuperStars, traditional and Internet SEO/SEM marketing, competitive sales strategies, and high leverage alliances for property management teams and their leaders. He provides private and group coaching for property management companies around North America, investment banking services, executive recruiting services, SEO/SEM web strategies and powerful tools for hiring property management SuperStars and building dynamic teams. Since 1995, Ernest has written 172 articles for the property management industry and created 250+ property management forms, business and marketing checklists, sales letters and presentation tools. To subscribe to his free property management newsletter go to Contact Ernest by e-mail at or visit online at

Legislative Update By J. Kathleen Belville, Esq. & Jamie Sternberg, Esq. Courtesy of Kimball, Tirey & St. John

CA Bills Becoming Law In 2011

This section requires installation of carbon monoxide detectors. The State Fire Marshall is required to certify and approve carbon monoxide detectors and instructions. By July 1, 2011, certified detectors must be installed in all single family dwellings having a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance (such as a gas stove or oven), fireplace or attached garage. Installation in similar multi-family dwellings will be required as of January 1, 2013. The number of detectors installed must be consistent with new construction guidelines. At least one device must be installed on each floor of a dwelling. The penalty for failure to comply is up to $200 for each offense, after a 30 day notice to correct. The owner of the dwelling unit must maintain the detector(s). The owner may enter the dwelling unit to install, repair, test or maintain the detector(s). The tenant must notify the owner if he or she becomes aware that a detector isn’t working. Upon notification, the owner must repair the detector. Unlike smoke detectors, CO detectors must be replaced every 7 years. Note that hearingimpaired residents may need smoke detectors and CO detectors that emit flashes of light in addition to sounds.

penalty under certain conditions, upon 30 day’s notice. This new law provides protection from eviction and the right to change the locks. Eviction: A landlord may not evict (or fail to renew a lease) solely on the basis of domestic violence against a tenant or a tenant’s household member if the abuser is not a co-tenant unless:  The tenant lets the abuser visit the property or  The landlord reasonably believes that the abuser poses a physical threat to others or their right to quiet possession of the property.  Additionally, the tenant has been given a 3 day notice to cure the violation. Lock change: This portion of the law applies to leases entered into on or after January 1, 2011.  A domestic violence victim can request in writing that the landlord change the locks on the dwelling unit. If the landlord fails to make the change within 24 hours, the tenant can change the locks even if the lease prohibits such change. The tenant must give the landlord notice that they have made the change within 24 hours and make arrangements to provide the landlord a key. The tenant is required to make the change in a workmanlike manner and use locks of similar or better quality than the original lock.  If the abuser is a co-tenant, the victim must give the landlord a copy of a court order that excludes the abuser from the dwelling unit. The landlord will not have liability for allowing the abusive tenant to be locked out, and the excluded tenant remains liable under the lease.  If the abuser is not a tenant, the victim has the same rights to request and/or change locks but can do so only upon presentation to the landlord of either a temporary restraining order or a police report alleging the domestic violence.

SB 782 Domestic Violence

Water Conservation

Additional protections have been provided for residential tenants who are victims of domestic violence. In last year’s session, victims were given the right to terminate a lease without

Water-conserving plumbing fixtures are required to be installed in all single-family homes by January 1, 2017, and in multi-family properties by January 1, 2019.

SB 183 Carbon Monoxide Detectors


PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

 legal updates Additionally, when a building permit is issued, the builder must install waterconserving plumbing fixtures when a certificate of completion or approval of a final building permit is sought after January 1, 2014.

New Federal Requirements Lead Regulations As of April 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements regarding lead paint training went into effect. One must be certified to do repairs or maintenance on surfaces that potentially contain lead-based paint. This applies to pre1978 properties when more than six square feet of interior paint or twenty square feet of exterior paint are disturbed, unless the premises have been certified to be lead-free. Specific work practices must be followed, and there are no longer

opt-out provisions regarding the occupants (for instance when there are no children under 6 or pregnant persons present). In addition to the pamphlet required at the beginning of the tenancy, there is now a pamphlet called “Renovate Right,” which is required to be distributed prior to qualifying repairs. The rule is available at:

“Red Flags” Identity Theft Rule Prompted by the nearly 10 million Americans that have fallen victim to identity theft, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and required financial institutions and creditors to develop and implement written identity theft programs aimed to protect businesses and consumers from identity theft. The FACTA establishes new rules referred to as “Red Flags” that require financial institutions and creditors to develop policies and procedures for identifying, detecting and responding to any practice or activity that may indicate potential identity theft. The compliance date for the red flags rule was recently extended to December 31, 2010. After the effective date,

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 legal updates financial institutions and creditors must have in place written programs to protect against identity theft. While it is not clear whether the rule applies to landlords, prudent industry professionals are complying with the regulations in order to reduce the risk of harm to debtors and protect themselves from potential future liability.

Trends Proposition 19 Although this proposition did not pass, many landlords have expressed concern about the possibility that marijuana may be legalized in California in the future. It does not appear that there would be any significant difference between restrictions on tobacco smoke or marijuana smoke if the general use of marijuana becomes legal. The use or growth of marijuana for medical purposes would not likely be affected by legalizing non-medical use. Currently, landlords must make a determination as to whether such use or growth for medical purposes is a “reasonable” accommodation, given that it is still illegal under federal law.

Surety Bonds in Lieu of a Security Deposit Insurance companies now offer Surety Bonds for use by prospective tenants who wish to avoid payment of a security deposit to a landlord. It does not appear that landlords must accept such bonds, but failure to accept should be justifiable or the refusal might be alleged to be an unfair business practice. If accepted, the landlord would make a claim against the bond in the event the tenant incurred damages that would have been covered under the state’s security deposit law, Civil Code §1950.5. If damages exceed the limit of the bond, the landlord would retain the right to pursue the former tenant for the amount that was not covered by the bond.

Mandatory Recycling Many cities have passed mandatory recycling legislation for multifamily properties. Trash diversion plans are well-intentioned but can have negative repercussions for landlords who either do not have room for recycling bins or cannot control use of them.

Mandatory Water Conservation In response to mandatory water cuts, most water districts in Southern California has implemented mandatory water conser14

PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

vation measures. Many of the measures “penalize” heavy users by charging them considerably more for any water usage that exceeds the water allotment amount assigned to the property. This puts owners and managers of multi-family properties where the units are not separately metered or sub-metered in a Catch-22 position. Water usage is a subject of controversy because of governmental resistance to support either Ratio Utility Billing Systems (RUBS), which apportions the water bill among non-metered tenants, or in-line meters, which would measure usage to each unit. It is clear that people will have a tendency to use less water if they are responsible for paying for excess usage. Note that the landlord’s sewer fees are directly related to the quantity of water that goes through the system as well.

Smoking in Rental Housing Many cities (including Belmont, Burbank, Calabasas, Dublin, El Cajon, Glendale, Loma Linda, Novato, Pasadena, San Mateo and Temecula) have passed anti-smoking legislation, either allowing or requiring landlords to protect residents from secondhand smoke. New smoke free laws are being added rapidly. If your property is designated smoke-free, there are marketing opportunities available online through smoke-free housing registries. PM

About The Authors Kathleen Belville was a licensed California real estate salesperson prior to receiving her Juris Doctorate degree. She entered the practice of law as a generalist in real estate matters, becoming a specialist in the representation of landlords in 1989. She is the Managing Partner of the Fair Housing Training and Defense Department. She is also a rental property owner. Jamie Sternberg has been the Managing Partner of Kimball, Tirey and St. John’s Business and Real Estate Group since 1999. She was formerly a Partner in Nostrand and Lange before joining Kimball, Tirey and St. John. Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners & managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact KTS at (800) 338-6039 or

 manager spotlight

Manager Spotlight Kanya Smith

Community Manager of Park Summit Apartments

Kanya began her career in property management on March 2004. However, before entering into property management, Kanya worked as a free-lance photographer for a publishing company. One day, while talking to the manager of the apartment community that she lived at, Kanya found out an assistant manager position was available. The manager was willing to train Kanya, as she had some management skills and could start immediately. Photos by Stephen Coburn Story by Elaine Silberberg www.pmmag-so c a l . c o m


 manager spotlight

After weighting the pros and cons of changing her career direction, Kanya realized that the no-commute, “9 to 6” job was not a bad deal after all. So it was at this point on March 2004 that Kanya became the assistant manager of Summer Breeze Apartments Today, Kanya is the Community Manager of Park Summit Apartments, in Anaheim. “My property is not very large, but it is cozy and friendly,” says Kanya, “and my team keeps it very clean.” This friendly environment is what keeps Kanya at Park Summit. Kanya has a son, Liang, and her job allows the flexibility to be there for him when he needs her. She could have taken on more responsibilities at larger properties, but she has chosen to stay at Park Summit. “It takes time to build a stable team that cares and to have residents that appreciate you and where they live.” Kanya is proud to talk about her property: “when I came to be the manager here, the curb appeal needed a lot work – the lawn was in very bad shape and the walkway was unattractive. Now there are flower pots decorating the common area and even a small water fountain in the central courtyard.” 16

Since Park Summit doesn’t have pool or other major amenities, Kanya and her staff uses the “friendly atmosphere” as their greatest sell-

PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

ing point. During the summer months, they organize a resident’s event called Meet your Neighbor. Kanya explains: “Meet your neighbor is always a great

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Prompt, Safe & Reliable success, with over 70% participation of our residents. The property pays for BBQ and drinks and our residents bring their side dishes. Since our demographics include people from several different nations, we get to taste food from everywhere in the world.” After 6 years working in property management Kanya has realized that “the success of a great apartment community doesn’t happen from one day to the other; it takes working to build a team of staff members and residents that appreciate the property. When you get everyone focusing on the same goal, the success is inevitable!” PM

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Pet DNA: New Tool To Get Pet Owners To Clean Up Their Act.

t may be surprising to know that some of the fiercest battle lines in civic dialogue are being drawn around the matter of dog poop. Words, and more unpleasant items, are being flung between neighbors in apartment communities. People are passionate about the subject and evidence of the need to clean-up behind our pets is piling up like so much of the waste Fido and his friends deposit on a daily basis. “The problem of pet owners not picking up after their pets is tearing apart communities,” says BioPet Vet Lab CEO Tom Boyd. “It’s no wonder that Consumer Reports lists ‘dog poop’ as one of the nation’s top ten personal gripes. BioPet Vet Labs has come up with a solution to bring peace back to the neighborhood.” BioPet Vet Lab, an industry leader in DNA-related pet services, knows a product with a name like PooPrints™ is going to generate a few giggles. And, that’s fine with them as long as it opens the doors to a conversation about a serious problem in communities across the globe. PooPrints™ is a dog DNA identification program built on a solid scientific foundation, providing communities with a means to enforce community regulations for pet waste clean-up.

ous to children and others with weakened immune systems. Toxocara canis, a roundworm found in dog waste, is especially dangerous to children and can cause blindness. Meanwhile, Researchers If I Had 2 Hands are tracking how unclaimed dog I’d Clean It Up waste is eventually being washed MYS ELF! from green spaces to storm drains, Don’t Make ME arriving untreated at the closest waterway. In the past decade, E. coli bacteria from dog droppings have been identified as significant sources of pollution in rivers, parks, and regional watersheds. In light of this, apartment communities struggle with providing a welcoming environment to pet owners and maintaining vigilance against the few irresponsible owners who turn shared community space into a biohazard site, endangering the health and safety of their neighbors.

“The Stuff Underfoot”

Identifying Pooper-Scooper Violators

Dog waste is more than an aesthetic issue. Yes, the stuff is underfoot quite a bit. In the United States alone, the nation’s 73 million dogs generate approximately 6.3 billion pounds of waste annually. Approximately 40%, or 2.5 billion pounds, is never picked up by owners. Indeed, dog feces is a bacterial breeding ground of diseases that are especially danger-

Debbie Logan, a property manager at Twin Ponds Development in Nashua, New Hampshire, has been on the front lines of the dog poop debates. “Even though we provide pet stations and dog playgrounds,” said Logan, “we quickly learned that a small percentage of our residents were not cleaning up after their pets. As an extremely popular

PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

Look Bad!

 resident relattions community with pet lovers, a small percentage of violators could quickly ruin it for the responsible residents. After much research we found the ideal solution with BioPet’s PooPrints™ program.” PooPrints™ is a dog DNA identification program from BioPet Vet Labs built on a solid scientific foundation, providing communities with a means to enforce pooper scooper regulations in multifamily communities. Communities such as Twin Ponds are requiring pet owners to register their pets in the PooPrints DNA database. Offending waste left unpicked up is collected and analyzed. When a DNA match is discovered, the community has the evidence needed to warn or fine the pet owner. Success has come early for the community at Twin Ponds. Within the

first four samples tested, two violators were quickly identified. According to Logan, “The program is just fantastic for us. It was easy to implement and everybody wins. We are spending less time looking for violators and residents have a clean, healthy community.” PM About BioPet Vet Lab: BioPet Vet Lab is an animal DNA testing laboratory located in Knoxville, Tennessee. BioPet’s research and development group explores genetic science in order to offer new tests that can be used to improve the healthcare and quality of life for our beloved pets. For additional information about BioPet Vet Labs, visit their website at

13th Annual International CRIME FREE CONFERENCE When: July 11 - 13, 2011 Where: San Diego, CA Who Should Attend:  Property Managers  Apartment Owners  Business Owners  Law Enforcement

Registration: $250 ($275 after 6/12) Includes:

 3-Days Training  Breakfast and Lunch  Annual Banquet Dinner  Entertainment & Give Away Items

You Will Learn:

More Information:

 How to Make Your Property Safer

Contact Samantha Scheurn, El Cajon

 How to Work With Law Enforcement

Police Department - 619-579-4227

 3-Days Train the Trainer Certification

(starts 07/10 - no extra charge)  Taught By National Trainers

or visit ICFA website at

Security Deposit Disputes

By Jackie Ramstedt

So, When Do I Get My Money Back? One of our greatest industry challenges between our on-site personnel and the resident is the question of “Did you really clean the apartment upon move out?” Often times, the resident actually makes the comment: “I left it cleaner than when I moved in!” Perception is reality in the eye of the beholder; and if you don’t have “proof” here is where the problem originates. The aspect of “cleaning”, specifically, has many different levels of interpretation from “I took a toothbrush to the tracks of the windowsills and had the carpet professionally

fice to argue about the charges made and

ing the property”, when they move out. It

steam cleaned” to “Well, I got all my stuff

demanding their money back because, “I

should begin with the phrase:

out and I ran the sweeper”.

told you I cleaned the apartment before I

Here is the problem in a nutshell:

left!” Arguing ensues between former resi-

“Release of the Security Deposit is subject to the following provisions”:  Full term of the lease has expired;

 The property fails to let the resident

dent and the management company until

 Written notice to vacate must have

know of the criteria for getting the securi-

“someone” gives in. Not the management

been given and approved, at least 30 days

ty deposit back, from the onset of move in;

company because they will just put it on

prior to move out;

 No correspondence regarding this issue

your credit until you pay; and not the resi-

comes up until after the resident moves out;

dent because they will take it to the Small

 Management fails to process final pa-

Claims or Tenants Council, or worse, the

perwork including security deposit dispo-

local TV station! And so on, and so on, and

sition of monies until too late to get paper-

so on.

work or check to former resident within the

No wonder we have such difficulties

“21 day time period” as per California law;

in this area! Before we start accusing the

 Former resident calls several times

residents of not doing their part, let’s look

wanting to know “Where is my money?”

at our part of the equation.

 All keys must be returned the day you are vacating;  All personal items, debris, trash, etc. must be removed;  Forwarding address must be left with Management Office;  Damage to property beyond normal wear and tear will result in charges;  All rental amounts, prorated rents

and on site personnel states “We’ll con-

The first step in eliminating this “mis-

of additional days past the lease ending

tact our home office to see where it is.” or

understanding” is to make sure your ex-

dates, and any outstanding charges in-

worse “Your check is in the mail!”

pectations are very clear from the begin-

curred while residing in the apartment,

 Finally resident receives the letter

ning. The very day you accept that security

must be paid for be paid for prior to move

stating that charges have been taken out

deposit check or money order, give the


of the security deposit;

resident a copy of your “Security Deposit

 Apartment Condition forms must be

Refund Criteria”. This criteria will help to

completed and signed upon “walk through

defuse all perception issues when it comes

with Management”. Please schedule this

to either getting their money back or “ow-

“joint inspection” in advance.

 There are disagreements in opinions of “cleaning” or other damage charges;  Former resident calls back to the of-

Additionally, there should be explicit cleaning instructions that

“blood sucking landlord” who, no matter how much a resident

cover just how thorough you want them to clean. There are many

cleans, still keeps the Security Deposit. Fair, but firm, should be

cleaning tasks that are never addressed, such as:

the motto. PM

 All cabinets and drawers must be wiped clean and liner paper removed;  Damp wipe or dust all miniblinds and ceiling fan blades;  Remove all decals, paper towel holders, nails, plant hangers, etc. from walls and / or ceilings;  Stove top, oven, drip pans, racks, and vent hoods must be thoroughly cleaned;  Bathtubs, sinks, commodes, shower doors, etc. must also be thoroughly cleaned;  Distinction between cleaning charges for “Light Clean, Moderate Clean, and Heavy Clean”, which would include “trash out.” Finally, a list of “Schedule of Costs” should accompany the criteria. We jokingly always referred to this part as “You break it, you buy it!” It should include, but certainly not limited to these items, such as:  Costs for cleaning a specific item such as stove, oven, refrigerator, or bathtub - $25.00 each;

About the Author: Jackie Ramstedt is a nationally renowned Motivational Keynote Speaker, National Trainer, Consultant, and Performance Coach who has more than 25 years experience in the multi-housing industry. Her energetic and enthusiastic speaking style makes her seminars fun and exciting with a “down to earth” approach to education. Jackie’s “real world solutions for real world challenges” focuses on empowering others to reach their full professional and personal potential through “balance” in their lives while reminding us of the important role continuing education plays in the success of our performances. You may contact Jackie by phone 800-925-5169 or by email Visit her website at

 Pet damage or special flea treatment or de-odorizing of carpet;  Replacement items such as light bulbs or drip pans;  Damages to sheet rock, doors, windows, light fixtures, tile, countertops or any other major item. There is always a variable in the amount of damage and therefore, the words “Actual Costs”, could be listed instead of a dollar figure. Contact an outside vendor


and have them supply an estimate, in writing, for the cost of repair.

PM MAGAZINE believes

This helps in two ways: first, to have a “third party’s opinion”, so as

that every property

not to be accused of impartiality, and secondly, to document the actual amount charged to the resident. If for some reason the damage is quite severe, take photographs of all “chargeable” items. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and if this goes to court, you don’t have to rely on just your word for proof. After the groundwork is laid by giving the resident the “policies”,

management professional should receive industry publications to help them improve in their profession.

make sure to follow through with your part when the resident physi-

Not a photocopied ver-

cally moves out. If the resident has met all the afore mentioned cri-

sion, but a copy mailed

teria, the “ball is now in our court”, and the clock is ticking! The legalities of not getting that security deposit check or a record of the disposition of the security deposit monies, to the resident within 21 days of move out, can result in a lawsuit where the resident is entitled to receive the entire deposit back. Documentation, good communication, and understanding of these policies by all parties involved, are the keys. Remember your reputation is on the line, and you don’t want to be known as the

directly to them. Because You Are Worthy!

Subscribe online for FREE at



Getting In Control


n a world where “too much to do and too little time” is a common mantra, there’s a sense that everyone and everything has more control over our day than we do. While we might be at the beck and call of clients, there are still areas where the culprit is none other than ourselves. Using the word “CONTROL” as an acronym, let me suggest ways in which we can begin to gain some relief from self-induced pressure.

Can The Clutter Do you walk into your office and instantly feel a sense that you could get buried in all that mess? Papers are piled on the desk, on the floor, and in tiered boxes. Note that if this is your natural style of organization, you’d feel pressure by having items out of sight! But if you’re like a great majority of people, clutter only adds to the time spent in finding what you need. Do you use everything that you have on display?

Can you find items when you need them? If you’ve answered “no,” proceed to the next recommendation.

Out With Excess Paper Examine what surrounds you. What can you throw out, give out, leave out? If you are months behind in journals and other publications, scan the table of contents and keep only those items which you know you’ll need. Throw the rest away.

No, Not, Never, Not Now Say it. Practice it. We frequently nod our heads “yes” like a wind-up toy because of guilt,

By Eileen McDargh

fear, or a sense that obligation. Ask yourself, why do you say “yes”. Perhaps even a “not now” would suffice. I am convinced that if we do not put limits on our time, it will vanish with our unknowing permission.

Talk Up To curtail long conversations or meeting, learn these sentences. “I would like to be able to talk with you but I have another engagement. Can you please tell me your request (situation, concern, etc.) in 25 words or less?” First, you won’t be lying with your opening statement. You will always have another engagement – even if it’s with the report in your computer. Second, you have indicated a willingness to respond. You have merely put a concise cast to the conversation. It’s amazing how “25 words or less” can increase the speed and fluency of conversation. As a variation on this theme, you

can also curtail a drawn- out conversation with this question: “How would you like this conversation to end?”

Read Only What Matters And what matters concerns your business, your future, your soul.

Operate Early This can mean everything from getting up early to doing things early. If you pack for a trip, don’t wait until the last minute. Prepare, in advance, your suitcase, your briefcase. The only things that need to be added are last minute items. Create artificial deadlines which are in advance of the true deadline. You’ll always

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eileen McDargh is a woman of many hats: author, radio commentator, organizational development consultant, acclaimed international speaker, and retreat facilitator. Author of four books including Work for a Living & Still be Free to Live, and The Resilient Spirit, she’s a frequent contributor to numerous business journals and produces a radio commentary, Celebrating the Human Spirit.Visit her web site


PM Magazine | Feb 2011 |

feel more in control.

Lighten Up Perfect isn’t always perfect. Look for and relish the unexpected. There is serendipity when we allow ourselves to surrender to events and times over which we have no control. The weather-hold which keeps my plane grounded allows me to complete a piece of writing I could not have finished. The shop which closes just as soon as I approach the door lets me walk down the street and find other stores which I had never noticed before.

Getting in control is ultimately about getting clear on our work habits, our priorities, and our values. PM

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Property Manager Magazine February 2011  

Property manager magazine February 2011 issue

Property Manager Magazine February 2011  

Property manager magazine February 2011 issue