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Rental Housing Journal Metro

May 2014

2. Why to Go Green?

14. Are We Past the Economic Bottom?

3. Positioning Family Real Estate Ownership for Future Results

15. The Simple Solution to Handling Packages

4. Creating Member Value Through Service

16. It’s Time for Sales Managers to Tip the Boat! How to Make a Splash by Managing at All Levels

6. Shoptalk 9. Dear maintenance Men:

17. ORHA NEWS: Final Accounting Tips

11. How to Turn an Unhappy Resident Into a Raving Fan! by Ernest F. Oriente

WWW.RENTALHOUSINGJOURNAL.COM • PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHING, INC

PORTLAND/VANCOUVER

Published in association with: METRO Multifamily Housing Association; Rental Housing Association of Oregon; IREM & Clark County Rental Association

How to Use a Resident Survey to Improve Your Properties By Mary Girsch-Bockfrom

I

t’s safe to say that property managers are constantly in search of ways to improve their properties. While some are obvious, others may not be quite so apparent. For instance, do you really know what your residents think of your clubhouse? Are they happy with property staff? Is staff response to complaints prompt or nonexistent? If you’d like to know more about what how your tenants really feel consider a survey. Resident surveys are a great way to find out what your tenants are really thinking. It’s inexpensive, convenient to distribute, and the answers are honest (as long as the survey is anonymous). But all surveys create two potential issues: what kind of questions should you ask in order to get the most out of the survey results, and how do you convince your target market – your tenants, to complete it? Here are some suggestions you may find useful: • Keep it short. Most people don’t mind filling out a survey, as long as it’s not three pages long. Anything longer and most people will either quit filling it out or simply not start in the first place. • Consider what method you will use to deliver the survey, but remember to make it as simple as possible for tenants to respond. • Provide an incentive to respond if possible. While you’ll want to keep some survey responses con-

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Market Overview Portland, Oregon RED CAPITAL GROUP® Multifamily Housing Update 4Q13 April 2014

4Q13 Payroll Trends and Forecast Payroll Job Summary Total Payrolls 1,053.7m Annual Change 24.2m(2.3%) 2014 Forecast 17.1m 2015 Forecast 16.1m 2016 Forecast 18.3m 2017 Forecast 0.1m Unemployment 7.0% (Feb.) Portland employers hired at a brisk clip, adding workers to payrolls at a 24,200-job, 2.3% year-onyear rate during the fourth quarter, moderately faster than the 22,100job, 2.2% pace recorded during the year’s first nine months. The construction and tech sectors exhibited considerable forward momentum, the former expanding at a 4,300-job, 8.9% annual rate, fastest in ten years. Conversely, skilled service sectors decelerated. Notably, financial, education and health care services concerns expanded at a collective 2,400job, 1.1% rate, down from 4,000 jobs in 3Q13. Preliminary first quarter data were mixed. Twelvemonth comparisons were up by an average of 27,800-jobs in January and February, but thee seasonally-adjusted series recorded only a moderate 2,500-job two-month net gain for the period. Variables in RCR’s Portland payroll model (adj- R2=98.0%) include two lags of the dependent variable, U.S. payrolls, metro personal income and the SP500t-4 index. The model detects a decelerating trend and projects it forward through 2014.

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Growth is projected to reaccelerate to the high-1% area in 2015-16, before slowing in the out-years. 4Q13 Absorption and Occupancy Rate Trends Occupancy Rate Summary Occupancy Rate (Reis) 97.1% RED 50 Rank 6th Annual Chg. (Reis) +0.7% RCR YE14 Forecast 97.0% RCR YE15 Forecast 97.1% RCR YE16 Forecast 97.4% RCR YE17 Forecast 97.4% A surge of new supply — developers delivered 924 units to market — gave hard-pressed Portland rent-

ers a welcome set of new apartment options. They responded by absorbing a net of 984 units, highest in three years, according to Reis. Average occupancy was essentially unchanged, however, at 97.1%, equal highest in the 24-year series. Axiometrics surveys of 179 larger stabilized properties found average occupancy of 95.7%, up 80 basis points year-on-year, down 50 bps sequentially. Class-C properties posted the highest occupancy (96.8%), up 40 bps y-o-y, while classes A (94.3%) and B (95.8%) trailed. New properties continued to lease-up quickly but at a somewhat slower pace than the robust 24-unit per month average rate observed in 2Q13 and 3Q13. continued on page 3

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Why to Go Green?

Pam McKenna Multifamily NW President

By Pam McKenna Let’s face it; people have started to roll their eyes at the term “going green”. We see it in politics, on the news, in fashion, through construction, and in technology. The term has been co-opted by ad agencies to sell products and we receive a constant stream of messages; reduce your carbon footprint, eat organic, turn down the thermostat, take colder showers, ride your bike, recycle and reuse…. it can be overwhelming! Yet, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact you can have by making a few changes. Everything we do has an impact on our environment, how you shop, how you eat, how you travel and how you operate your business. A record number of property management companies are focusing on going green, which means avoiding waste and improving the natural environment. So how can you have an impact at your community through the way you manage? Start by reviewing your building’s energy efficiency. An energy audit

can be performed by a trained professional and in some areas can be completed for no out of pocket costs to the owner. The audit should include weatherization, added insulation, window replacement, heating and cooling upgrades and common area lighting. Look for local programs like the Energy Trust of Oregon that create a higher rate of return for your ownership not only through reducing utility costs but through rebate programs. Go paperless in the office. This will reduce your operating costs and increase your business productivity. Electronic signatures are legal today allowing you to create a seamless leasing process from start to finish. Software today will allow you to rent apartments online through the website, complete your lease once approved, submit work orders online, communicate with your residents directly and creates a more efficient way to conduct business with less data entry and wasted paper. Educate and encourage your residents to be Eco-Friendly. Did you know you can actually reduce your carbon footprint based on where

Save the Date for Fair Housing Education May 7 - CAM Fair Housing

May 22 - Reasonable Accommodations What: Don’t be caught off guard when a resident or applicant requests an exception to your policies. This class details the steps a landlord needs to take in the Reasonable Accommodation process. Who: Andy Hahs, Bittner & Hahs, P.C. & Diane Hess, Fair Housing Council of Oregon Where: Eugene Hilton, 66 East 6th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401 Time: 12:30pm-2:30pm

June 2 - Fair Housing for Leasing What: Learn the Do’s and Don’ts of how to follow the Fair Housing rules when leasing an apartment or single-family residence. Who: Sharon Jackman, Certified Fair Housing Trainer Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 14850 Kruse Oaks Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 Time: 9:00am-11:00am

July 7 - 10 Common Fair Housing Mistakes to Avoid What: Learn the most common Fair Housing mistakes, like personal statements and intent vs. effect, and how you can avoid them! Who: Sharon Jackman, Certified Fair Housing Trainer Where: Chemeketa Eola Events Center, 215 Doaks Ferry Road NW, Salem, OR 97304 Time: 9:00am-11:00am

July 8 & 18 - Fair Housing for Maintenance What: Do you realize your Maintenance Professionals are more likely to interact with residents than your office staff? Make sure they are prepared! July 18: Who: Fair Housing Council of Oregon Where: Housing Works, 405 Southwest 6th Street, Redmond, OR 97756 Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm

Register online: multifamilynw.org Questions? Call 800-632-3007

2

and how you live? Maintaining an environmentally friendly building for your residents is an added value and is a very strong selling point in the Northwest. Set up a community garden with fresh vegetables. Not enough space for this at your community? Plant an herb garden in pots for residents to use. Help your residents find local farmers markets for fresh locally grown produce. Encourage residents to shop and eat local, within walking distance if that is an option. Create green spaces around your building with healthy trees and plant materials that improve the air quality. Post building energy usage to validate the impact the residents have by monitoring their usage. Offer convenient composting and effective recycling options. Advertise your public transportation options and provide a Tri-met Transit Tracker digital display in your lobby. Post Google Bike Maps to encourage use of nearby paths and trails. For move in gifts, provide refillable bottles with green cleaning products and reusable grocery bags. Review your maintenance practices. Walk with your landscaper to develop ways to reduce water usage such as smart irrigation based on evapotranspiration controllers that determine irrigation efficiency.

Choose products that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Install motion sensors in maintenance closets and shops. Check that faucets are working correctly with low flow aerators and showerheads. Install digital thermostats for more precise controls. Save cardboard boxes from move-ins for new rentals and upcoming move outs to reuse. Switch to electric golf carts instead of gas powered. Start using low VOC paint and participate in the appropriate paint recycling programs. Use the Ipad or smart phones for maintenance requests. Only order online and reduce the number of orders placed to reduce delivery truck use. Learning how to manage resources more efficiently can improve your bottom line. It creates a positive environmental impact for your residents and the surrounding community. Going green is not just a fad or a trend – it is a viable option for those looking to respect the environment and improve things for future generations. I challenge you to be the advocate for your community, to improve the bottom line for your owners and reduce the impact your business has on the environment.

Multifamily NW

What: Enhance your professional growth in the multifamily industry. This 8-hour class will detail and cover every aspect of federal, state and local Fair Housing laws. Who: Sharon Jackman, Certified Fair Housing Trainer Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 14850 Kruse Oaks Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

July 8: Who: Sharon Jackman, Certified Fair Housing Trainer Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 14850 Kruse Oaks Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 Time: 9:00am-11:00am

16083 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Suite 105, Tigard, OR 97224 503-213-1281, 503-213-1288 Fax www.multifamilynw.org

Events Calendar May 2, 2014 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM Spectrum Exhibitor Early Registration (Portland, OR) May 6, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM OR Landlord/Tenant Law Part 1 (Portland, OR) May 7, 2014 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Fair Housing Class (Portland, OR) May 9, 2014 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM NALP: Rental Policies and Procedures (Portland, OR) 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM It's the Law Lunch Time Series: Terminating Tenancies - Which Form, Which Strategy? (Portland, OR) May 12, 2014 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Customer Service for Maintenance (Portland, OR) May 13, 2014 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Air Conditioning Maintenance & Repair Part I (Portland, OR)

May 15, 2014 5:45 PM - 9:30 PM ACE Awards Ceremony (Portland, OR) May 16, 2014 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM NALP: The Market Survey Presentation (Portland, OR) May 20, 2014 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Air Conditioning Maintenance & Repair Part II (Portland, OR) 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM OR Landlord/Tenant Law Part 2 (Portland, OR) May 21, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PDX Monthly Luncheon: Section 8 Rules (Portland, OR) May 23, 2014 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM Accounting & Client Trust Accounts (Portland, OR) May 27, 2014 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM New Hire Training (Portland, OR) May 29, 2014 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Project Management (Portland, OR)

p l e a s e v i s i t u s at www. re nt a l ho us i ng j o ur n a l .co m Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Positioning Family Real Estate Ownership for Future Results By Clifford Hockley President Bluestone and Hockley Real Estate Services

f. Changing lease terms by increasing common area costs tenants will pay

A

3. I recommend setting an exit date keyed to cash flow, expense and, appreciation of the asset and tax implications.

1. Usually real estate investors establish an initial investment time frame for each investment, typically 5-10 years with a median hold time of seven years.

After the Basics Once you have completed the basics and the investment is making a significant return and has appreciated in value, you have a few choices to make about the future of that specific investment

s you purchase real estate assets for future success you have some basic planning issues to consider:

2. This usually works off the initial purchase costs and gives you some time to improve the operation of the property and allow it to appreciate in value.. With time and physical and managerial upgrades you can improve the prospects for consistent returns.

• You can keep the property, o This means you will most likely need to refinance at the end of your first loan term o

The Basics Some of these upgrades might include a. Improving the building 1.

Replacing roof and gutters,

2.

Completing a new paint job,

3.

Resurfacing the parking lot

4.

Repair of damaged siding,

5.

Improving the landscaping and site signage

b. Improving Management

a. Increasing rents 6. Replacing the HVAC units,\ b. By reducing vacancy With high energy efficient c. Reducing tenant turns units d. Improving customer service 7. Completing Interior proper

ty upgrades

e. Generating ancillary income

You will have to decide if you want to pay it off and if there are benefits to paying it off.)

• Refinance the property and use the proceeds to reinvest in a larger property • Sell the property through use of a 1031 exchange and trade in to another property ...continued on page 10

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO • Elizabeth Carpenter, President • Elaine Elsea, Treasurer • Cari Pierce, Office Manager • Teresa Carlson, Member Services • Suzanne Fullerton, Member Services Asst. • Pam Van Loon, Bookkeeper 10520 NE Weidler Portland, OR 97220 (503) 254-4723 • fax (503) 254-4821 info@rhagp.org • www.rhagp.org

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President’s Message: Member Value & Section 8

HA Oregon President Liz Carpenter talks about creating member value through service, volunteerism and Section 8 changes. When I think of May, I think of May Day flowers, Mother’s Day and the start of Rose Festival at the waterfront. Did you know May is also National Bike Month, National Salad Month, National Hamburger Month? What about National Chocolate Chip Day, Lucky Penny Day and National Sea Monkey Day? Well I didn’t either. What I do

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know is that at the RHA, we keep a busy calendar between classes, our dinner meetings which feature excellence speakers and highlight RHA business members, and the community service we give our time to. Since 1927, the RHA and its membership has not only stood up for each other as small landlords, but together, we have also lead the way in building our communities. We do this by supporting the children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, lending a hand to those without a home through our partnership with

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JOIN Portland and by participating with countless other organizations from church groups to Boy Scouts and beyond. It’s simple: The reason the RHA is so focused on service is because it’s a reflection of who we all are. When you’re a small landlord, you’re invested in helping people. We know our tenants, we know our business, and we love our communities. If you haven’t been active in RHA in recent months, I encourage you to take another look. Check out our new website at www.rhaoregon.org. You’ll find photos of members, lists of upcoming events, easy ways to find service providers to help you in your rental business and for ways to get in touch with the Board, the office team and each other. I think many of us are looking for easy ways to help within our community. And at the same time, to talk with people who understand what we need to take care of daily: Rents, notices, law changes. For instance, starting July 1, the Section 8 law takes effect and everyone will have to accept applications from

Liz Carpenter RHAOregon President

Section 8 clients. It’s a few months off, but we are already planning for the change. Join us at RHA for two classes on Section 8 and the changes we anticipate that will affect you. Jill Smith from Home Forward with be instructing at the RHA Oregon office on May 8th at 6:30pm and again May 15th at 11:30am. Anytime you need a hand, an answer, or a place to invest your time with people who totally get your situation, the RHA is ready to help. I’m not too sure about National Chocolate Chip Day, but the coffee is always on! Hope you all have a wonderful May. Sincerely, Liz Carpenter, Rental Housing Alliance Oregon President Since 1927, the Rental Housing Alliance Oregon has set the standard for community participation by landlords providing affordable and quality housing.

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Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Market Overview ...continued from page 3

Reis surveys recorded $7 (0.8%) and $34 (4.0% sequential quarter and year-over-year rent increases to an average of $884 in 4Q13, largely in line with 3Q’s results. Axiomet-

rics same-store surveys of stabilized properties were more positive, displaying a robust 8.1% y-o-y advance, despite a small seasonal sequential quarter setback. The metric was the strongest recorded in two years and suggests that Portland may be resisting the rent slowdowns observed widely in U.S. markets. Class-B (8.2%) properties posted the fastest growth in the Axiometrics survey universe, but classes-A (7.9%) and –C (6.8%) were not far behind. A slight up-tick in concessions was noted among properties in lease-up, however, suggesting that competition among new assets increased. Although new construction is exerting a modest degree of pressure on pricing power, the rent outlook remains favorable. Our model foresees a mild decelerating trend due to slower job growth, but projects that 3% or faster annual gains will persist through 2016, and rents will ascend at a compound annual rate of 3.0% through 2018, faster than Portland’s 2.5% long-term mean.

The information contained in this report was prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal, tax, accounting or financial advice, or recommendations to buy or sell currencies or securities or to engage in any specific transactions. Information has been gathered from third party sources and has not been independently verified or accepted by RED CAPITAL GROUP. RED makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the information, assumptions, analyses or conclusions presented in the report. RED cannot be held responsible

for any errors or misrepresentations contained in the report or in the information gathered from third party sources. Under no circumstances should any information contained herein be used or considered as an offer or a solicitation of an offer to participate in any particular transaction or strategy. Any reliance upon this information is solely and exclusively at your own risk. Please consult your own counsel, accountant or other advisor regarding your specific situation. Any views expressed herein are subject to change without notice due to market conditions and other factors.

Absorption rates in Portland are correlated to payroll job formation. Therefore, demand is expected to decelerate through 2015 based on our job forecast. But supply is expected to moderate as well, allowing average occupancy to ascend to the mid97% area by 2016 and possibly higher thereafter. 4Q13 Effective Rent Trends Effective Rent Summary Mean Rent (Reis) Annual Change RED 50 Rank RCR YE14 Forecast RCR YE15 Forecast RCR YE16 Forecast RCR YE17 Forecast

Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014

$884 4.0% 11th 3.9% 3.3% 3.0% 2.3%

4Q13 Property Markets and Total Returns Trade & Return Summary $5mm+ Sales 18 Approx. Proceeds $405mm Avg. Cap Rate (FNM) 6.1% Avg. Price/Unit $110,881 Expected Total Return 7.5% RED 46 ETR Rank 25th RED 46 RAI Rank 22nd Risk-adjusted Index 2.51 The pace of trade was leisurely in the first half of 2013, when only 13 properties valued at $5 million or more exchanged hands for total proceeds of less than $300mm. But transaction velocity gained momentum after mid-year as investors acquired nine assets of total value $300mm in 3Q13, and 18 assets valued at $405mm in 4Q13, Prices averaged $123,114 and $110,881 per unit during the third and fourth quarters,

respectively. Regional owner/managers and family funds continued to dominate trade, but national institutional and private equity players made their presences felt in the fall and winter, acquiring four high-end trophies in recent months. Trophy property cap rates ranged from about 4.5% to 5.2%. Standard class-B assets trade at about 5.5%. RCR’s 4Q13 forecasts for Portland job, home price and rent growth and slightly softer, with comparable effects on expected returns, which fell from 8.0% (#13) in 3Q13 to 7.5% (#25) in 4Q13. The metro risk-adjusted index was not greatly affected, however, declining from 2.66 (#21) to 2.51 (#22).

5


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Q

Q: We are a tax credit property with certain income restrictions, but not everyone who calls or stops by is aware of this. I try to find out about monthly or annual income right away because I don’t want to waste their time or mine. However, I am getting the impression that people are embarrassed or put off by my line of questioning. What’s the best way of figuring out if people are incomequalified without offending them? A: Whether your community has income restrictions or not, ev-

ualifying prospective renters can seem especially challenging when you must establish their eligibility to rent based upon income. While it is necessary to determine if callers and visitors can qualify to rent at your community, coming right out and asking someone for their annual income can be perceived as an invasion of privacy. (Would you like a total stranger to ask: “How much money do YOU make?”) Recently I was asked the following question on this subject:

ery community has a set standard or policy for qualifying prospective renters based on their income. Whether someone must make twice the monthly rental rate or make no more than a specific amount annually, everyone who applies to rent must qualify “financially” in some way. As such, there is no need to treat anyone differently or label someone as “unqualified.” It’s all a matter of using effective communication so that everyone will understand what the criteria is to rent at your commu-

nity. Rather than saying, “I need to know how much money you make,” you could take another approach. Perhaps after you have established a rapport with the phone caller or visitor you could say something like this: “I need to let you know that our community has certain income restrictions, based upon the number of people in your family. For a household of four, your income may not exceed $32,000. Does this work for you and your family?” continued on page 8

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Tenant Damages ...continued from front page response to tenant complaints fidential, a survey on clubhouse or interaction with tenants, ask improvements or amenities does tenants about it on the survey. not have to be. Questions about the level of • Eliminate ‘yes/no’ answers on courtesy tenants feel they receive the survey. If your tenant says or if their concerns are always ‘yes’ they would recommend the handled promptly can help to property, or ‘no’ they wouldn’t point out problem areas that you isn’t nearly as important as may not be aware of. knowing why or why not. • Choose a few areas you wish to • Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it’s pointless include on the survey and stick to send out a survey just for the to those. For instance, it you’re sake of sending out a survey. thinking about upgrading the Serving Metro areasresponses, since 1990 Study the tenant look clubhouse, askPortland what tenants likeand Vancouver for patterns, and start immediabout the existing clubhouse – ately to address those concerns. then list some potential new features you are considering and • PropertyManager.com a Service of measure the responses. AppFolio • Same thing goes with staff. If you’re concerned about staff

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Future Results ...continued from page 6 By offering qualifying criteria in a professional manner, you are helping each prospective renter make an informed decision about their ability to qualify for an apartment at your community. In addition, you are showing respect and consideration for their privacy, as well as preserving their dignity. Would you want to be treated any differently if you were in their situation?

ments and suggestions are ALWAYS welcome!

If you have a question or concern that you would like to see addressed next month, please ASK THE SECRET SHOPPER by making contact via e-mail. Your questions, com-

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

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

Dear Maintenance Men: I am starting my planning for a major kitchen cabinet remodeling project in my rental units. However, I am having a difficult time making material and design decisions. What recommendations can you give? Allen. Dear Allen, When doing a kitchen or bath material selection, cohesive and functional design is important. Kitchen and bath rehabs are some of the most expensive work you can do in an apartment unit and proper planning is a must. In order to appeal to a larger segment of the population, try to keep the interior color scheme to neutral earth tones. Cabinetry quality varies greatly. Don’t let the cabinet fronts fool you. Manufactures designed their cabinets to look good at first glance. Keep in mind, being in a rental environment, the cabinets also need to hold up to abuse. Look at the actual construction of the cabinet box or frame. There is no need to use custom cabinets to fit your existing layout. The use of prefabricated modular cabinetry can greatly reduce the time and cost to have a finished kitchen

or bathroom. Using real wood cabinet fronts with 3/8” plywood sides is essential for durability. The drawer fronts and sides should be connected with a dovetail or other positive lock construction. Drawers that are held together by nails will not hold up to tenant abuse, nor will particle board constructed cabinets. On a side note; if you are gutting the kitchen or bathroom, use this time to relocate and add more electrical outlets and under cabinet lighting. Dear Maintenance Men: I am looking into alternative methods to cleaning my apartment carpets. I am aware of both dry chemical carpet cleaning and steam cleaning. What is the difference and which do you recommend? Martin Dear Martin: The two primary methods of carpet cleaning are dry cleaning and hot water extraction or steam cleaning. First, let’s dismiss a couple of misconceptions; dry cleaning is not technically dry, but more of a “moisture-controlled” process and steam cleaning does not use steam, it is a process of hot water under high pressure.

Carpet dry cleaning methods use chemical cleaning solutions to extract dirt. There are three methods: Dry Foam: The foam is applied to the carpet and allowed to dry, then vacuumed up along with the dirt. Dry Chemical: A cleaning solution is applied to the carpet and a machine spins a large bonnet from side to side to absorb the dirt from the carpet. Dry Compound: An absorbent mixture resembling wet sawdust is spread over the carpet. A machine brushes the mixture into the carpet to absorb the dirt. When the mixture dries, it is vacuumed out, taking the dirt with it. The dry method does not get as much of the deep dirt out, but is very effective at cleaning the visible portion of the carpet and the carpet may be ready for traffic within an hour. The wet carpet cleaning method uses hot water extraction to force a hot water based cleaning solution into the carpet under high pressure and then sucks it back out of the carpet along with the dirt. There are two water extraction methods: Portable Extraction: The carpet is cleaned by a small machine using hot tap water and powered by the elec-

tricity source in the house. This is the typical DYI method of steam cleaning; some professionals also use this system. Truck Mounted Extraction: This uses a large cleaning machine mounted on a truck or van. The water is heated to a higher temperature and is shot into the carpet at a higher velocity than is possible in portable machines. Out of all the methods listed above, we recommend the Truck Mounted Extraction method. We believe it is the most effective way to clean, mostly because the heat kills bacteria and the extra power separates dirt. These powerful machines also pull most of the water back out of carpets, leaving them damp but not wet. The carpet may be ready for traffic within a few hours or more. One a side note: Most major carpet manufactures listed on the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) website (A nonprofit trade association), recommend the use of hot water extraction systems to clean carpets. Dear Maintenance Men: I am running into a hot water issue with my 100-gallon gas fired water heater. The tank is about 5 or 6 years ... continued on page 13

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Future Results ...continued from page 3 • Sell the property and pay taxes and depreciation recapture. • Gift shares of your property to loved ones or charity ( if you have an LLC) Real estate investments, especially in the short term, don’t always make money. A number of issues can present themselves throughout the process, but its important to remember not to panic and sell the property too soon. Give your self a change to renovate the property improve the occupancy rate and deal with the vagaries of the local economy. There could be external factors, such as the area’s real estate market, local employment and health of the area’s economy that are creating stumbling blocks for you. For example many years ago we managed an apartment property that was located close to a freeway and jobs. That property was like a slot machine, we never had a vacancy. Not three miles away we had another property that ran a continuous 10 % vacancy rate, and had a hard time attracting quality tenants. You would think that three miles would not make a difference, but it did. (The same issues apply to commercial properties. ) Bottom line not all properties make money. If you make a mistake and buy the wrong property and you are not making money, try to see if

you can fix it in less than twelve months. If that is not possible take your lumps and get out. If you can sell it for more that you purchased it for, you may want to wait until you have owned it to evade short term capital gains taxes. (These are higher than long term capital gains taxes, which apply after the first year) (Please confirm your particular situation with your CPA,>. Consult with real estate professionals and your CPA to understand what options you may have for selling the property or holding out for improved cash flow. The future Imagine you are now at the end of your investment career. Your assets are all in a trust and you want to have your kids enjoy the fruits of your investments. You have many choices. First you need to establish if your heirs want the real estate investments, or just want the cash. If they want the real estate investments then you have to strategize five things: • Which one of your heirs will take over from you? • What is the operating/ownership structure of your entity in the event there are multiple heirs? o Will all of the future heirs have a vote in decision making or will there be a leader/manager

o You may want to consider assigning a family leader ( though this may cause friction based on conflicting family needs) • Do you need money from your investments till you pass? • Do you want to give to charities? • What are the tax implications? Once you have considered these questions and assigned future leadership, what is the best course for your investment to take? Here are a few strategies we have used in the past that have seen success. • Shift from residential properties to single tenant commercial properties for ease of management. • You could invest in an UpReit and have the kids inherit the UpReit shares • You could give to a charitable organization and create a generation skipping trust, so the grandkids get the money (to avoid some state taxes) • Sell your assets and pay the taxes (not your best choice, especially if you sold assets and traded up over and over again using 1031 exchanges.) OR… Leave well enough alone and have them figure it out after you die. ( At over $10,500,000 in estate value, combined federal estate taxes kick

in, in many states estate taxes start at over $1,000,000 so the tax hit is not huge if your estate tax is under $10,500,000.( Every case is different please check with your CPA and estate Attorney). So this is not a bad idea. Summary As you plan ahead you need to always plan on your final exit from your real estate investments. As your need for cash and your desire to manage the details of your real estate empire diminishes (it may or may not), you need to simplify your decision making. The more assets you have the more confusing the variables. At that stage you may only want a pain free check every month. Worrying about tenant retention and the health of your investments should eventually become a job for the next generation. You want to reach this point but it takes years of skilled planning to position yourself, your family and your investments for future success. So, Don’t wait till the last minute to reposition your portfolio, include these decisions in your long range planning and your life will be much easier and less stressful.

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Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

How to Turn an Unhappy Resident Into a Raving Fan!

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by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach {Article #213…since 1995}

his can happen when you least expect it: An unhappy resident has just arrived in your leasing office while your telephone is ringing, budgets are due in 25 minutes and six future residents are waiting to tour your wonderful apartment community. Time to panic, right? Not a chance! Read this article and use these three easy steps to handle an unhappy resident while turning them into a raving fan. Listening carefully: The moment you realize you have an unhappy resident, take a deep breath and ask this person in a soft voice, if they would be kind enough to join you in your office. This gives you a few seconds to gather your thoughts and will give the two of you the privacy to have a reasonable conversation. Plus, you really do not want your current residents nor any future residents to hear this unhappy conversation. Next, ask your team to hold all your telephone calls, clear your entire desk and take out a blank sheet of paper to take notes. At this point, ask your unhappy resident to begin telling you exactly what the problem is. Take detailed notes while listening patiently, making certain not to interrupt him/her while they are speak-

ing. Remember, your resident is not attacking you personally, so keep your cool during this entire conversation. Once your resident is finished explaining why they are unhappy, ask him/her this key question, “Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” This is a key question because it signals to your resident that their turn is now done and you are ready to address and answer their concerns. Tip From The Coach: Before addressing the concerns from your resident, let’s be certain we understand what’s at stake when handling resident problems and why it’s important to handle each resident as if they were liquid gold. A typical resident pays $800 per month or $9,600 per year. In addition, anticipate that each of your current residents will refer two prospects a year to your apartment community, which represents another $19,200 in new revenue and if each of these referrals send you two more referrals this year, that’s another four more new residents at $38,400 annually. So, $9,600 + $19,200 + $38,400 = $67,200 in potential new revenue, per resident, per year. Can you clearly see why we must convert unhappy residents into raving fans?

Diffusing the situation: Once your resident has shared with you exactly why they are unhappy, start your half of the conversation by thanking them for their comments. Next, say to your resident, “Let me see if I understand you completely.” Restate this person’s concerns as you slowly read from your notes. Reading your notes slowly does two things: 1) It gives your resident a chance to calm down; and 2) It shows that you were truly listening to what they had to say and are ready to take action. Now, apologize if you or your team made any mistakes and look for at least one or two points with which you can agree. By conceding a point or two right away, you show that you are not defensive about their concerns and that you really want to solve their problems, not duck blame or make excuses. Tip From The Coach: Whenever you are interacting with a current resident or a future resident, customer service experts call this a “moment of truth”. When you are dealing with an unhappy resident, this is called the “pinnacle of performance”. SuperStars in the property management profession do not mind

handling an unhappy resident because they see this as an opportunity to shine—to win this resident’s longterm loyalty. Converting an unhappy resident into a raving fan: OK, now comes the easy part. Ask your unhappy resident exactly what action steps they would like to see you take. Promise your resident that you will do everything necessary to fix or handle the concerns they have shared with you and tell them exactly when and by what time, they can expect the problems to be handled. Now, look to resolve these problems as quickly as possible--well in advance of the day and time you promised your resident. Motorola calls this, “under-promise, over-perform” and they have used these magic words to create a multi-billion dollar company. Next, take the time to either call this resident or visit them in-person, to tell them the concerns they had shared with you are now fixed and resolved. In addition, take a few minutes to write a small note apologizing again for their unhappiness and thanking them for expressing their concerns. At last, your resident should be completely satisfied that continued on page 12

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Raving Fan ...continued from page 11 you have addressed their important concerns and you have earned their respect and goodwill. Tip From The Coach: Ready to convert your former-unhappy resident into a raving fan? Consider purchasing the book “Positively Outrageous Service”, written by T. Scott Gross. His book gives you a step-by-step plan for creating raving fans, and will give you lots of fun and great ideas for converting very unhappy residents into your best referral sources. I have read his book several times and highly recommend you read his pearls of wisdom. In fact, once you are done reading his book, you will realize that handling

unhappy residents is really the best way to win new friends! Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions about raving fans? Send an E-mail to ernest@powerhour.com and The Coach will E-mail you a free PowerHour invitation. Author’s note: Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach/trainer since 1995 [31,930 hours], serving property management industry professional since 1988--the author of SmartMatch Alliances™, the founder of PowerHour® [ www.powerhour.com ], the founder of PowerHour SEO [ www.powerhourseo. com ], the live weekly PowerHour

Leadership Academy [ www.powerhourleadershipacademy.com/pm ] and Power Insurance & Risk Management Group [ 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, national real estate and apartment building insurance, SEO/SEM web strategies, national WiFi solutions [ www.powerhour.com/ propertymanagement/nationalwifi.html ], powerful tools for hiring property management SuperStars and building dynamic teams, employee policy manuals [ www.powerhour.com/propertymanagement/employeepolicymanuals.html ] and social media strategic solutions [ http://www.powerhour. com/propertymanagement/socialme-

dialeadership.html ]. Ernest worked for Motorola, Primedia and is certified in the Xerox sales methodologies. Recent interviews and articles have appeared more than 8000+ times in business and trade publications and in a wide variety of leading magazines and newspapers, including Smart Money, Inc., Business 2.0, The New York Times, Fast Company, The LA Times, Fortune, Business Week, Self Employed America and The Financial Times. Since 1995, Ernest has written 225+ articles for the property management industry and created 400+ property management forms, business and marketing checklists, sales letters and presentation tools. To subscribe to his free property management newsletter go to: www. powerhour.com. PowerHour® is based in Olympic-town…Park City, Utah, at 435-615-8486, by E-mail ernest@powerhour.com or visit their website: www. powerhour.com

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Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Dear Maintenance ...continued from page 9 old. The tenants are complaining of not getting enough hot water. I have checked the tank and the thermostat is working, the water is hot. Everything seems fine, so why are my residents not getting the hot water they need? Jim Dear Jim: The water heater may need a bit of maintenance. The first thing to do is clean out the sediment at the bottom of the tank. This will require a shutdown of the heater for a couple of hours and some hands and knees work. Most 100-gallon gas water heaters have a clean-out port at the front of the tank. The port is either round or oval. Be sure to get a new clean-out port gasket before starting this job. Once the water is drained and the port opened, remove all the sediment from the tank. You can expect to haul out one to two buckets of calcium buildup. (Sediment removal should be done once a year.) Removing the sediment will greatly improve the heating efficiency the water heater. Because of the age of the tank; while you have the port open, check the inlet dip tube and the anode rod inside the tank. If the anode rod is corroded, replace it by pulling it out from the top of the tank and inserting a new one. The anode rod is a sacrificial zinc rod that helps keep the tank from corroding. The second item to check is the cold-wa-

Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014

ter inlet dip tube. Cold water entering the heater is routed to the bottom of the tank by the dip tube. If the tube is corroded, broken or missing, the tank will develop hot and cold areas, leading to complaints about short-term hot water. The dip tube is located inside the cold-water inlet pipe. Replacements for both the anode rod and dip tube can be found at most plumbing supply houses.

QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? We need more Maintenance Quetions!!! To see your maintenance question in the “Dear Maintenance Men:” column, please send submission to: Questions@BuffaloMaintenance. com Please “Like” us on Facebook.com/ BuffaloMaintnance Bio: Please call: Buffalo Maintenance, Inc for maintenance work or consultation. JLE Property Management, Inc for management service or consultation Frankie Alvarez at 714 956-8371 Jerry L’Ecuyer at 714 778-0480 CA contractor lic: #797645, EPA Real Estate lic. #: 01460075 Certified Renovation Company Websites: www.BuffaloMaintenance. com & www.ContactJLE.com www.Facebook.com/ BuffaloMaintenance

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO President • Lyn Ayers Vice President • Blain Cowley Secretary • Patty Silver Treasurer • Janine Ayers Membership Committee • Roger Silver Contact • Lyn Ayers • Phone (360) 693-0025 • info@ccrawa.org

Are We Past the Economic Bottom?

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O

ur industry is still challenging but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Housing starts are higher. Home sales are showing an improvement. The stock market is showing some life. But there are still many challenges facing the nation. Continuing layoffs and on-going downsizing are just a couple of hurdles. Our tenants

continue to struggle. This discouraging news means the rental industry will continue to face challenges in spite of increasing demand. Yet when we read or listen to the news, we learn that housing prices in Clark County are not as depressed as most other parts of the country. This means that our news is less-bad. It’s a glass half-empty versus half-full

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situation. The challenge for us is to look at it as half-full and move ahead with our lives. Hopefully you receive this issue before May 25th. If you do, reserve your space at our next all-day landlord seminar immediately. If you are considering investing in real estate, are a new landlord, or want to make sure you are current with the latest changes, reserve Saturday May 31st for the seminar at Club Green Meadows. For $40.00 (for CCRA members) we have speakers lined up who will talk about tenant screening, review rental forms, provide tips on marketing your units on-line, and even a free lunch. You will be glad you attended. Call 360-693-2272 to make your reservations now. Legislative activity in Olympia is winding down, but it was crazy there for a while. At one point, our lobbyists were tracking some 50 bills that would have impacted us. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that none of the “negative” bills passed; the bad news is that none of the “positive” bills passed either. With that being said, whenever the legislature is in session there is

always a chance they will do something unexpected and unplanned, so we must remain vigilant. We continue to work with various city departments to develop new lines of communication. We want our community to have a better understanding of the challenges landlords face. It is important for us to gain insight into city policies and objectives. Do we expect to move mountains? Of course not! We do hope that we will eventually be viewed as a resource with a perspective that is valuable to the city. As we are successful, we hope to be given opportunities to influence decisions and the implementations of new policies. Keep looking for ways to improve your business. Challenge yourselves to find ways to trim your costs or to upgrade features. Work on providing a nicer environment for your tenants. If it were easy, everyone would be a landlord or manager. Being a good landlord is a worthwhile challenge for all of us.

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

The Simple Solution to Handling Packages By Barry Hume, Package Concierge President

M

any of today’s consumers enjoy the convenience of purchasing everything from groceries to gadgets online rather than traveling to brick-andmortar stores. While the convenience is a great benefit, online shopping is driving the need for creative solutions to manage package volume in apartment communities – and that has made digital package lockers one of the hottest new amenities in 2014. Why is the pressure growing for these kinds of solutions? The answer is simple: Package volume is rising rapidly. A typical 250-unit apartment community receives more than 20,000 packages each year. That’s more than 50 packages per day. That kind of volume requires concierge or leasing staff to spend more than 20 hours per week managing packages – time that could be much better spent catering to other resident services. And there is no end is sight. Online sales have grown exponentially over the last decade, and eMarketer predicts ecommerce in North America will grow from $482.6 billion in 2014 to $660.4 billion by 2017. With the growth in online sales, package management is becoming an increasingly significant part of the property management business. Owners are recognizing that on-site professionals who manage packages are spending substantial amounts of time to individually log, store and send alerts for every package they accept. And that’s only the front end of the job. On the back end, they have to help residents when they come to pick up their packages throughout the day. For residents in apartment communities, the growth in ecommerce has made package management a critical and valuable amenity. In fact, a 2013 National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) resident survey ranked access to packages as the second most important amenity, right after fitness centers. The reasons for the high importance ranking are clear: consumers don’t want to miss deliveries because they’re not home; they want to know their packages are safe and secure; and they want to have access to their packages at convenient times. And while the greater volume of packages is a boon for delivery carriers, it also raises considerable operational challenges. If no one is available to accept a package delivery, it means the delivery professional needs to return and try again. Efficiency is an important factor in carrier profitability, and re-delivery of packages takes away from route optimization. Plus, more driving means higher gas and emissions from delivery trucks at a time when carriers are trying to meet higher sustainability goals. Everyone involved in the process Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014

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– residents, delivery carriers, owners and property managers – are looking for solutions to keep up with the rising popularity of online shopping. So, digital package lockers have become one of the hottest new amenities in 2014 for good reason. Owners offer them as a cutting edge amenity for automating package handling – an amenity that residents are often willing to pay for. Property managers advocate for them so that they can focus on their jobs, rather than on logging, storing and retrieving packages. Carriers love them because they only need to scan a barcode and deposit their packages into a locker; it doesn’t matter if no one is available to accept a delivery. And residents want them so they can rest easy that their packages will be safe and secure in a locker they can access at their convenience, 24/7. Ultimately, digital lockers are also

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

It’s Time for Sales Managers to Tip the Boat! How to Make a Splash by Managing at All Levels By Kevin Higgins, Sales Management Expert

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ngoing management. Low performers, mid-level performers and even high performers need it. It does not assume high performance, and once high performing, does not assume it will always continue. Everyone needs to be managed on a consistent basis. In sales, the goal of ongoing management is participation rate. Participation rate is the percentage of sales team members who are at or above plan. For a sales team, participation rate is easy to calculate. On a team of ten people where four are above their sales plan on a YTD basis, the participation rate is 40%. Participation rate is a statistic that rarely scrutinized. Why? Sales managers are measured for making their quota. If the quota is $100 million, the sales manager’s goal to get each sales person to deliver an average of $10 million. Some will produce $15 million and others will produce $5 million; the sales manager only needs the total to add up to $100 million. The sales manager is incentivized to keep average performers. A sales person who only delivers 50% of their quota is better for the sales

manager than the 0% they would contribute if the sales manager let them go. Research reveals that a participation rate of 60% or less will give sales managers a 10% chance of making their revenue plan. Sales managers must aim for a high (70%) participation rate to have a good chance of making plan, although it is not guaranteed. Given this, why do sales managers tolerate poor performance? What stops them from having tough conversations? Sales managers are nice. They do not want to rock the boat. Their strategy is hope. A sales rep’s performance can be evaluated on two criteria – behavior and results. Assessing whether a sales rep is or could be delivering results is fairly straightforward – it’s a math problem. There are four performer categories a sales manager works with: 1. High Performers = Deliver results + behave correctly 2. Coachable Performers = Behave correctly but results are not 100% yet 3. Tough Performers = Deliver results + behave poorly 4. Poor Performers = Poor results +

poor behaviors In an ideal world, a sales manager would have 100% High Performers. Neat concept, most likely not going to happen. What is the next best thing? One hundred percent High Performers and Coachable Performers. This is attainable but it’s not the norm. Most leaders will have some Tough Performers and some Poor Performers. Imagine having ten direct reports with two in these groups. Not bad, manageable. Now imagine four out of ten. Life is tougher and tough moments happen on a daily basis. At six out of ten, it is probably tough to get out of bed in the morning. Ongoing management of performers involves monthly (minimum) One-on-Ones, observational coaching with feedback, sit downs to try and help – all the day-to-day routines to try and lift behavior and results. When these fail to work, that’s when it’s time for the performance conversation, which has five key steps: 1. Set a clear standard and set milestones of performance for the direct report. 2. Inform the direct report where they are not meeting the standard and set milestones.

3. Give the direct report the opportunity to meet the standard and set milestones. 4. Offer assistance to meet the standard and set milestones. 5. Advise the direct report of the consequences of not meeting the standard and set milestones. Sales managers know how to do this – the issue is getting up the nerve. Sales managers need to have the conversation as soon as needed – putting it off spares no one. Sales reps who want to be with you will step it up and improve. Those who are not capable/not interested will show very quickly (weeks not months) after the performance conversation. If things still don’t improve, the sales manager can move to the final warning, consulting with HR to effectively handle this and how to go your separate ways if that is required. Kevin Higgins is CEO of training organization Fusion Learning, recognized by Selling Power as one of the top 20 sales training companies in North America and as one of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers for 2014. He is the author of Engage Me: Strategies From The Sales Effectiveness Source.

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You can contact us at: 503-521-7458 or office@ultimatecleaninginc.com Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Final Accounting Tips By Jim Straub

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’ve noticed a trend in Helpline questions lately about Final Accountings. By now, I believe you know the basics: a final accounting must be post-marked on or before 31 days after you receive possession of the property from your tenant, and it must itemize the amount of the deposit you initially collected from your tenant, the amount and the reason you are withholding portions of the deposit, and the amount the tenant owes you or the amount of the deposit you’re returning to the tenant. Those basics can leave lots of room for interpretation, and I’d like to offer you a few tips on final accounting: 1) I have seen some landlords err on the side of caution and give too much information in their final accountings. How can that be? This is one of the few times where offering more information than you’re required to give can actually create drama where there might not have been any. I’m thinking specifically of the portion of the final accounting where you itemize what you’ve withheld. Oregon landlord tenant law only requires you to state how much of the deposit you’ve held and why. For me, this means providing a clear

Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014

itemization and an amount, such as “window cleaning - $45” or “damage to door - $75”. This does not mean “window cleaning , outside only – 3 hours at $15 per hour” or “damage to door – labor $45 per hour plus $35 supplies – sandpaper, spackle, mask, etc. (receipts enclosed).” Technically, both approaches are correct. However, the second approach practically begs the tenant to call you to dispute that it took 3 full hours to clean the window or that your cleaning person shouldn’t have charged you $15 per hour when they’re only making minimum wage at their job or in the second case, that you could have bought the supplies considerably cheaper at a local hardware store than at Home Depot and that they shouldn’t be charged for a sanding mask because that’s just part of doing the work and the person making the repairs should have already had one. The point is that you don’t owe the tenant this additional itemized information. Now, generally speaking, most tenants know they are going to be charged for damages and cleaning when they leave that work behind to be done by you (or someone you hire). So they’re not surprised when they get the bill for “cleaning” or “repair” at “x” charge. When you provide them with receipts and a specific itemization, though, it can really set

some tenants off emotionally. They usually don’t have the background in home repair and are surprised by how much these things actually cost when you break them down. So don’t give them any information that you’re not required to and that might confuse or anger them. When do you have to disclose these details? Only when a court orders you to, generally when the tenant has filed a small claims court case against you. Then, and only then, are you required to provide this information to the tenant. Now occasionally, I’ll get a final account dispute from a former tenant (which I always require that they put in writing to me, so that I can analyze their concerns line by line) and I have a decision to make. There are times when providing more details to a former tenant who is disputing the final accounting may prevent them from filing against you in small claims court. If I believe my tenant will see how carefully I’ve documented all of the work done and have receipts for each and every little thing, then I know it’s possible they won’t risk the time, effort and cost associated with a small claims case. In that case, there are times when I’ve provided a more specific breakdown. I always take it on a case by case basis, though. 2) What makes a good final ac-

counting breakdown and helps ensure you’ll win in any small claims court case? Good documentation, a reliance on knowledgeable contractors and other professionals in the housing maintenance and repair field, and receipts. As long as you can demonstrate you have charged your tenants fairly, meaning the going, professional rate for work and repairs done, you should be fine. This means either hiring a professional to do the work or, if you do the work yourself, being sure that you don’t charge your tenant more than a professional would have charged you to do the work. In other words, when you do a job, make sure you’re not just pulling a dollar figure to charge from out of the air. If you’re ever called to defend your figures, you’re going to have to show where you got the dollar figure you charged the tenant. This also applies to the hourly rate charged. It’s fine to say, “I called a contractor and they told me they charged $50 an hour, so that’s what I charged” as long as the total cost doesn’t exceed what the contractor would have charged to do the whole job. In other words, if the contractor would have done the job for $50 an hour in two hours for a total of $100 and, instead, you did the work and charged $100, great. However, what Continued on page 18

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RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

Accounting Tips ...continued from page 17 you cannot do is decide to do the work yourself, take six hours to do the work, charge the tenant $300 (6 hours x $50), and say it’s fair because you charged the same rate as a contractor. Whenever you’re weighing what to charge your tenant, always keep the total job cost in mind and be sure it’s fair. 3) Your best ally when completing final accountings is a licensed and bonded contractor. The most airtight situation for a landlord is when the contractor actually does the work for you and sends you an itemized invoice upon which you can rely for their professional opinion. The invoice should list exactly what work was done, the amount of time the job took to do, and the cost for time and materials. You should also request that the contractor note if there is any damage done by the tenants that they were not able to repair or return to the condition it was in when the tenants received the property, and also note what the depreciated value of the property is. For instance, let’s take the door repair I mentioned above. A tenant has punched a hole in the door and you’ve hired a contractor to patch it so the door is salvageable. However, even with the patch, the door doesn’t look like it did before the hole was

punched and it, therefore, isn’t worth as much. In other words, it has a depreciated value. How do you determine what that depreciated value is? Your best bet is to ask the licensed professional. Again, if you ever found yourself in court defending the amount that you have charged your tenant, a judge wants to see that you have relied on the expertise of a professional experienced in the area at hand and that you didn’t just pull a number out of the air. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a contractor to do the work for you, I always recommend calling a professional to ask their opinion about depreciated value to rental property. (Most are happy to take the time to talk to you and will hope that you remember their expertise the next time you do need to hire a contractor.) Then, it’s perfectly legal to charge your tenants both the cost of the repairs and a deduction for the depreciated value of the property. After all, you paid for the repairs and, even after the work is done, the door is still not worth what it was before. The tenant owes for that, and you should withhold it from the deposit. As you can see, final accountings can be tricky and there are, as much as we sometimes don’t like to admit it, some grey areas. I hope this inforContinued on page 19

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Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014 Color forand National Tenant Networkthat Logouse Rentegration.com for companies managers can Standards track income expense access to forms generation, archives, property management database, basic accounting, vendor ordering and other services.

for each • unit, property and company. Per- only forms generation will save time and Logos are provided on the CD in all three forms: all black, reversed to white, or inproperty PMS 280 Blue/PMS 7543 Gray spot money or 4/color applications. over other methods. Mid and small fect for mid and small size managPlease see below for specific use examples. ers and independent rental owners, who size property managers and independent • No other colors are acceptable for use for the logo. neither have the need or budget for larger, rental owners can manage their entire busi• No altering of the logo is allowed. If you have a special circumstance that requires something not

19


RENTAL HOUSING JOURNAL METRO

20

Rental Housing Journal Metro • May 2014


Metor (Portland Area) Rental Housing Journal May 2014