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Professional Publishing, Inc

Vol. 5 Issue 9

September 2013

www.TheLandlordTimes.com

COLORADO

DENVER METRO • COLORADO SPRINGS • BOULDER

Monthly Circulation To More Than 7,000 Apartment Owners, Property Managers, On-Site & Maintenance Personnel

HUD SECRETARY ANNOUNCES DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR COLORADO STORM VICTIMS Foreclosure protection offered to displaced families

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of Colorado and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides. Last week, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties. The President’s declaration allows HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in these counties. “Families who may have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available to begin the rebuilding process,” said Donovan. “Whether it’s foreclosure

relief for FHA-insured families or helping these counties to recover, HUD stands ready to help in any way we can.” HUD is:

• Offering the State of Colorado

the ability to re-allocate existing federal resources toward disaster relief – HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs give the State and communities the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster victims. HUD is currently contacting State and local officials to explore streamlining the Department's CDBG and HOME programs in order to expedite the repair and replace-

ment of damaged housing;

• Granting immediate foreclosure relief – HUD granted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages;

• Making mortgage insurance

available – HUD's Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from participating FHA-approved lenders are eligible for 100 percent financing, including closing costs;

• Making insurance available for

both mortgages and home rehabilitation – HUD's Section 203(k) Continued on page 2

Three Important Steps For A Positive And Profitable Employee Review

C

by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach {Article #209…since 1995}

an employee reviews really be positive and profitable? You bet! Follow the steps in this article and the changes in your property management company will be felt immediately! How you and your company handle each employee review is a direct reflection of your leadership and the importance of each individual within your property management company. Preparing for each review: Start by establishing the frequency and time frame for your company employee reviews and be certain this is outlined in your administrative guidelines and employee manual. If each review is tied to a person’s anniversary date, keeping track of employee review schedules can be a challenge. Consider doing all reviews during two months of the year, for instance-November and May. Each of your managers should be given a blank copy of the review form required by your property management company, and a list of their team members, Professional Publishing, Inc PO Box 30327 Portland, OR 97294-3327

who are scheduled for a review. Instruct your managers/supervisors to prepare each review in a typed format, as this makes it easy to read and looks more professional when being presented. Lastly, ask each of your managers to give you a copy of the final review notes, prior to it being formally presented. This gives you an opportunity to assess the quality of the work being done by each of your managers/supervisors and gives you a window for making any changes. Tip From The Coach: In the same way you give a blank copy of the employee review form to your managers/supervisors, give a blank copy of the review form to each person being reviewed. This will give your employees an opportunity to make notes about their performance, prior to each performance review. This step is critical because it allows each of your managers to “see” the gap between their point of view versus their employees’ point of view. This

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gap is exactly where the best coaching can be done to improve the performance of each person on your property management team. Conducting each review: Since your manager and your employee will both be well prepared for this review, the exchange of ideas and the depth of feedback will make for a rich and rewarding meeting. The review should start by having your manager explain how each person’s review is a special time for personal and professional growth and the tone for each review will be both positive and productive. Have your manager begin by reading out loud the first question, then read his/her comments about their employee. Next, their employee should read their comments out loud. After each person has read their response to the first question, then specific feedback should be given by your manager or supervisor, about how the comments are similar and a discussion about Continued on page 4 Please note any problems below and notify us at:

Dear Maintenance Men: By Jerry L'Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez

Dear Maintenance Men: We are taking out the old wood closet doors and putting in the mirrored sliding doors. What product would you use to fill where the door hinges were? I need something that dries quickly and won't bleed through the new paint. Kim Dear Kim: We would use a product called Wood Filler by Bondo, then prime the repair followed by two coats of paint. M ost two part wood fillers can be applied and be ready for sanding within fifteen minutes and ready for paint in twenty-five minutes. Use a disposable plastic putty knife to apply the filler and begin sanding as the filler starts to harden. If there are any remaining imperfections, apply a second thin skim coat of filler. After rough sanding the high points, use a block or electric sander to smooth and feather the edges. If you cannot find the brand name Bondo, use any two-part wood filler product found at most hardware and home improvement stores. TIP: It is better to fill in a deep repair with multiple layers verses one big layer. Dear Maintenance Men: I have been hearing a lot about tankless water heaters lately. Are they better than the traditional water heater? Can I use one in my apartment building? Any information will be helpful. Deanna Dear Deanna: That is a good question. A tankless water heater would sure free up some real estate in the laundry room of most apartment buildings. After getting your question, we did a bit of research on the subject. We have all heard the radio advertisements for various tankless water heaters saving a ton of money each month. That might be true if you don’t consider the cost of the tank less heater & installation. The savings would Continued on page 2

PO Box 30327 Portland, OR 97294-3327 ❑ My name was misspelled ❑ Remove my name from the Colorado mail list ❑ Change of address:

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Dear Maintenance Men ...continued from front page also depend on the amount of use the heater gets. The tankless heater operates on demand, which means it only uses gas when someone opens a hot water faucet. On its face, that sounds great, but getting ambient temperature water to rise to 110 or 120 degrees in an instant takes a tremendous amount of energy. In theory a tankless water heater should supply hot water for as long as you needed it. If you exceed the heater’s flow rate and use more hot water than it can produce, there will be fluctuations in water temperature. A typical home tankless water heater flow rate is up to 5 gallons a minute. In a single shower setting that should be adequate. But, consider if a second valve is opened such as a dishwasher, laundry machine or even another shower. The flow rate will quickly exceed the heating capability of the heater. A commercial rated tankless heater’s flow rate is close to 10 gallons a minute. To meet the demands of a four-plex, you would need at least two commercially rated tankless heaters connected in a series. The tankless water heater cost & installation for an average home use system is between $2,500 and $4,500 depending on intended use or compatibility with existing plumbing. A commercial system for a small apartment building will average between $5,000 to over $8,000 at minimum. The chances are you will pay off your 30-year mortgage before recouping the savings of the tankless water heater. Another issue is service and parts availability. Tankless water heaters are far more sophisticated than a standard tank water heater; therefore the cost of parts and repair will be higher. Bottom line is, we like the tankless water heaters for saving space, but we will still buy a standard tank water heater because of the cost and abundance of hot water available. Dear Apartment Owners: Remember, the holiday season starts with Halloween and the demand on your properties only increases from there. Check each stove and oven for proper operation, many residents only turn on their ovens at this time of year, and the problem may be as simple as a blown out pilot light. With the holidays comes heavier than normal use of the plumbing; it may be a good idea to snake out or hydro jet your main plumbing lines. In addition, send out a note to each resident explaining the proper use of the garbage disposal including what they should and should not put down the disposal unit. A few items to include on this “Do Not” list are: banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds and any stringy food. Also, make sure they turn on the water before using the disposer and put down small amounts of food at a time. Using the disposer as a trash can and turning it on when full, will lead to a clog. Christmas and other holidays 2

also mean more people than usual walking on your property. Is your property safe? What are some of the liabilities to worry about? Check trip and fall hazards. Do you have sprinkler heads sticking up above the grass near walkways? Use pop-up heads to solve this problem. Look for sidewalks that have been pushed up by tree roots. This can be solved with a concrete grinder or replacement of the concrete section and removal of the tree root. Cut any low hanging tree branches and look for branches that may break in heavy winter wind, rain or snow. Check your decking for cracks or damage and inspect the exterior stairways for wear and tear. Inspect all your garage door springs, winter wind and rain may make them heavy causing the door to close or fall unexpectedly. Check all property lighting and timers. Remember: Preventive Maintenance is cheaper than Emergency Maintenance! QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? We need more Maintenance Questions!!! To see your maintenance question in the “Dear Maintenance Men:” column, please send submission to: Questions@BuffaloMaintenance. com

Housing Without Borders loan program enables those who have lost their homes to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. It also allows homeowners who have damaged houses to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home; and

• Offering Section 108 loan guar-

antee assistance – HUD will offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development and repair of public infrastructure.

• Information on housing provid-

ers and HUD programs – The Department will share information with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties. This includes Public Housing Agencies and MultiFamily owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.

Read about these and other HUD programs designed to assist disaster victims.

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @ HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Mailing List.

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COLORADO

Don’t Tell The Truth. Obey The Law.

By Katie Poole

H

ow do, you as a property manager, respond when a potential applicant asks you for information about the racial, ethnic, religious or family composition of an available unit, neighborhood or complex? Think of your response carefully. Such questions don’t necessarily mean that the questioner has the intent to discriminate, so we need to think seriously about how to handle these situations. Some landlords take the stance that such questions should be answered by “telling the truth”. That approach has downsides. First, what is the truth? Hearsay is not truth. Something that may have been true at one time may no longer be true now, and there is always our individual disputed version of “the truth”. This version is based on our own life experiences and is rarely exactly the same as other people. In sports, we have independent authority figures, referees, which use their experience in the sport and knowledge of rules to decide what actually happens. However, in a landlord/ tenant interaction, when a prospective applicant asks about the composition of the population in a neighborhood, chances are that neither other versions of “the truth”, nor a

referee, are usually present. Next, even with what may seem to be a “truthful” answer, if the result is discrimination, then you have violated the fair housing laws. Intention is not the problem -- what happens is. If you accidently break fair housing laws, you are still likely to cause unintentional pain and suffering. The bottom line is breaking the law is breaking the law, no matter intent. The most cautious approach to these kinds of questions is to explain what’s required of you under the law and the potential effects they may have on both you and the prospective tenant. By simply stating the state and federal laws you may be able to appease the questioner. You may also let them know that you do not have the information to give them, nor will you be gathering that information, because it has no bearing on renting the property. What if you are the agent for the property owner and your client sug-

gests that you should avoid renting the property to someone in a protected class? It is our fiduciary responsibility as their property manager to protect them. Explain to your client that making decisions based on discriminatory practices may violate fair housing laws and could subject them to substantial penalties. The have hired you to do a job, so make sure you’re doing it properly and within the laws to protect yourself and the client, regardless of whether they like it or not.

Katie Poole – Hussa is a Licensed Property Manager, Continuing Education Provider and Principal at Smart Property Management in Portland, OR. She can be reached with questions or comments at Katie@SmartPM.com.

COLORADO

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720-989-6551 Visit us at: www.sheltoninconline.com The Landlord Times - Colorado • September 2013

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COLORADO Profitable Employee Review

...continued from front page

sider the comments from both your manager and your employee. This means a final decision about the size of each person’s salary increase should be given one or two days after the review is completed. If a salary increase is given at the close of each employee’s review, this says to your employee that their feedback was not important, as the salary increase had been pre-determined in advance. I know this sounds like a small point…but it will make a BIG difference to those on your team! Using the review for grooming and growth: So, the review is finished and the paperwork can now be placed in the employee’s file to gath-

any comments that are different. This “gap” leaves room for personal and professional growth and is the perfect place to build action items to be addressed between this review and the next one. After completing the first question, have your manager continue the rest of the employee review, using this format. Tip From The Coach: This review format communicates mutual respect for each employee of your property management company, but it must go one step further. Since the feedback of each employee is important, and since you are requesting their feedback during each employee review, a salary increase must con-

Serving the Portland/Vancouver Multifamily Housing Industry More than 21,000 Distributed Monthly www. TheLandlordTimes.com The statements

and representations made in advertising and news articles contained in this publication are those of the advertiser and authors and as such do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Professional Publishing, Inc. The inclusion of advertising in this publications does not, in any way, comport an endorsement of or support for the products or services offered. Metro Apartment Manager is produced monthly and is published by Professional Publishing Inc. An Oregon Corporation. PO Box 6244, Beaverton, OR 97007. (503) 221-1260 • (800) 398-6751 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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er dust for the next year, right? Not a chance! Have your manager or supervisor end each employee review by first recapping all the positive comments that were shared and have them summarize each actionstep required for improvement or growth. These action steps should focus on the goals and objectives for the next period and must be in alignment with the goals of your property management company. Have your manager schedule a short meeting in 30 days, to review the progress being made for each action item, as this review will become an important part of each month’s conversation between your manager and his/her employee. Then continue to use this employee review monthly until the anniversary of the next formal review. Tip From The Coach: While your manager is using this “year-around” review process, ask them to keep you posted on those who are making the most progress on their action steps. This is a good sign and a strong indicator that this person has leadership abilities and can easily be groomed for additional responsibility. As you identify these leaders in your property management company, develop a second set of action steps to accelerate this person’ career path within your company. Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions? Send an E-mail to ernest@ powerhour.com and The Coach will

E-mail back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call. COLORADO Author’s note: Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995 [30,700 hours], a property management industry professional since 1988--the author of SmartMatch Alliances--and the founder of PowerHour... www.powerhour.com http://www.powerhourseo.com www.powerhourseo.com www.pirmg.com 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, executive recruiting, investment banking, national utility bill auditing: http://www.powerhour.com/prop ertymanagement/utilitybillaudit. html www.powerhour.com/property management/utilitybillaudit.html national real estate and apartment building insurance: http://www.powerhour.com/propertymanagement/insurance.html

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The Landlord Times - Colorado • September 2013


The Landlord Times Colorado September 2013