Page 1


Professional Publishing, Inc


Vol. 7 Issue 10

October 2013

Get Social With The Landlord Times

Monthly Circulation To More Than 5,000 Apartment Owners, Property Managers, On-Site & Maintenance Personnel Published in association with: METRO Multifamily Housing Association & Rental Owners Association

Fair Housing Case Brought & EPA Takes Action on Lead Violations By Jo Becker, Education/Outreach Specialist, Fair Housing Council Serving Oregon and SW Washington

Discriminating against families with children – even in pre-1978 properties that have lead – can also cost you! It is illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)1 to deny housing to otherwise qualified families with children (or otherwise treat them differently in any way) simply because there are children in the household, unless the housing provider is exempt as a “designated senior community. The Renovation, Repair and Painting rule protects homeowners and tenants from dangerous lead dust that can be left behind after common renovation, repair, and painting work. It requires that contractors and subcontractors be properly trained and certified, and use lead-safe work practices to ensure that lead dust is minimized. Lead exposure can cause a range of health effects, from behavior problems and Continued on page 3

A Personal Board of Directors… Do You Have One? by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach {Article #211…since 1995}

Property management is rapidly changing, and you are faced with more decisions then ever before. Today’s fast-paced lifestyles create information overload. During your lifetime, you will have 10 or 15 major decisions and another 25-30 semimajor decisions. Developing a Personal Board of Directors will help you make great decisions and this article will tell you exactly how to implement this important idea. Once in place, you will never look back! Developing your Personal Board: Let’s start with the obvious. Your Professional Publishing, Inc PO Box 6244 Beaverton, OR 97207

Personal Board of Directors might include: a doctor as a health/medical resource, a CPA for tax advice, an attorney for legal guidance, a banker for financial guidance and a priest/ rabbi/deacon for spiritual support. Here are some of the less obvious: a sales and marketing professional, a public relations expert, a business coach, a child care specialist, a human resource professional, a webmaster for Internet guidance, a property management professional three levels above you, an executive in an unrelated industry to property management and/or a business owner in

Current Resident or

PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Portland, OR Permit #5460

the property management industry but not a competitor, based on geography or your resident profile. Tip From The Coach: Think of a Personal Board as your “inner circle”, as each person on your Board will share in very important information about your personal and professional life. Carefully consider every individual you invite to be on your Personal Board, as they should be selected and remain on your Personal Board for the rest of your life. You can always make changes to the people on your Personal Board, but richness comes from working together during good times and bad. Like a great bottle of wine, proper “aging” of your Personal Board will give it fullness, maturity and increasing value. Working with your Personal Board: Once you have formed your Personal Board, the next step is to make a list of the ways your Personal Continued on page 3

What Renters Want By Katie Poole Putting yourself in the tenants shoes may not be something you’ve done often, if ever. As our clients, it’s very important to know what tenants want and what will make your best residents rent long-term. High tenant satisfaction can not only enhance retention and occupancy rates, but also lower expenses and improve your bottom line. With so much riding on the satisfaction of your tenants, it is critically important to stay close to their priorities, perceptions and concerns. To be heard is a universal human need, and our tenants are no exception. Treat an existing tenant the way you’d treat a new one. From the first meeting through the end of the tenancy, practice active listening. This means don’t interrupt them, maintain eye contact when in person, acknowledge what they’ve said and repeat back what you’ve heard to make sure they feel understood. Take an interest in each resident’s business and stay in touch with them regularly, not just when they complain or it’s time for a renewal. When a tenant calls to complain, you should listen, empathize, and solve the problem. Don’t make excuses. Most often tenants just want someone to listen to their stories or concerns. Continued on page 5 Page 2

President's Letter Page 4

Important News for Landlords/Tennants

Multifamily NW President • Paul Hoevet Past President • Jeff Denson Vice President • Pam McKenna Secretary • Kirsten Bailey Treasurer • Chris Hermanski

Paul Hoevet

Multifamily NW President

Hello Everyone, WOW! The Spectrum Education Conference and Trade Show was truly magical this year. On September 19th, over 1150 attendees made their way to the Oregon Convention Center for a day of education and networking. They were able to choose from 32 educational offerings and visit over 130 Supplier booths. It was the largest Spectrum to date. Many thanks and kudos need to go to the Multifamily NW Staff, the Spectrum Committee and volunteers that helped make Spectrum a wonderful event. I can’t wait for next year! Please make sure to come and join us for the Fall 2013 Apartment Report Breakfast. The event will be held at

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

President’s Letter the Multnomah Athletic Club on Wednesday, October 16th. Twice a year Multifamily NW compiles the report based on industry data obtained from an extensive survey. The Apartment Report is the most comprehensive study of its kind in the area. The results of the survey will debut at the breakfast event and be discussed by our esteemed panel: Keynote Speaker:

• Dan Saltzman – Portland City Commissioner

• Amy VanderVliet – Regional Economist, State of Oregon

• Mark Barry – Mark D. Barry and Associates

• Janine Lind – Guardian Real Estate Services LLC

• Eric Cress – Urban Development Partners

Emcee: Steve Rose – Bristol Equities Don’t forget to register for the Reverse Vendor Tradeshow. The 3rd Annual Reverse Vendor Tradeshow will be held on November 14th at the Convention Center and is stacking up to be the best one yet. This is a member only event that affords our supplier members the opportunity to meet and present to decision makers of potential and/or current customers. Currently, there are over 15

property management companies planning to attend and we’re expecting several more to participate. If you are a Supplier, you do not want to miss this event. All proceeds of the Reverse Vendor Tradeshow will go towards sustaining Multifamily NW’s legislative efforts. I look forward to seeing all of you there. These are just a couple of the many educational and networking events that Multifamily NW has planned for the remainder of the year. For a complete list, please visit our calendar of events at



D&Z – What Were You Thinking Moments: Work Orders Suzy Manager – Dana, I have noticed lately that the maintenance department are taking too long on their work orders. This is causing residents to call and complain, what am I missing? D: Suzy Manager, I have always wondered why the administrative

department doesn’t take more ownership in the maintenance issues. A little more effort will only benefit the property and improve the service you provide. Imagine saving money and time on most work orders. Administrators that know maintenance basics can provide enough information for the maintenance

team to allow them to only make one trip with all of the supplies they need to fix the work order. Furthermore, the questions the office team ask the resident in regards to their work order may lead to an easy answer to fix the problem and avoid a work order altogether. A little effort and knowledge by your leas-

ing managers and on-sites can make the lives of your residents and maintenance team a lot easier. SM: That makes perfect sense. I am scheduling a meeting with my maintenance supervisor to discuss educating my leasing agents on maintenance basics and how to best Continued on page 5


The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013


Lead Violations ...continued from front page learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing. “Using lead-safe work practices is good business and it’s the law,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is taking action to enforce lead rules to protect people from exposure to lead and to ensure a level playing field for contractors that follow the rules.” The enforcement actions address serious violations of the RRP rule, including fourteen actions where the contractor failed to obtain certification prior to performing or offering to perform renovation activities on pre-1978 homes, where lead is more likely to be present. Other alleged violations included failure to follow the lead-safe work practices, which are critical to reducing exposure to lead-based paint hazards. Recent enforcement actions across the country include 14 administrative settlements assessing civil penalties of up to $23,000. These settlements also required the contractors to certify that they had come into compliance with the requirements of the RRP rule. Additionally, EPA filed three administrative complaints seeking civil penalties of up to the statutory maximum of $37,500 per violation. As required by the Toxic Substances Control Act, a company or individual’s ability to pay a penalty is evaluated and penalties are adjusted accordingly. You can read up on the settlements at For more about lead and instructions on getting certified go to www.epa. gov/lead. You can also find additional information, including

required pamphlets and disclosure forms as well as additional lead articles at Following is a media release from Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston The Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston (FHCGB) announced that a West Roxbury Property Management Company has agreed to pay $15,000 in a housing discrimination case that resulted from posting a Craigslist advertisement indicating their unwillingness to rent to families with children because of the lead status of a rental unit. On September 3, 2013, the FHCGB entered into a settlement agreement with Charles River Realty Group and Karen Coffin, property manager for Charles River, in order to resolve a complaint filed by the FHCGB with the City of Boston’s Fair Housing Commission (BFHC). The complaint, filed in April 2013, alleged that Charles River, through its property manager, posted advertisements for available rental units on Craigslist. org which stated that the available units were “not deleaded.” Investigations by the Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Clinic and the FHCGB revealed that Ms. Coffin made discriminatory statements to potential tenants with children under six, in violation of federal, state, and municipal fair housing laws. In the settlement agreement, Charles River Realty agreed to pay $15,000 to the FHCGB, and further agreed to promise to comply with all fair housing laws; to have all of its employees attend fair housing training; and to have all of the rental units that it owns tested for lead paint. Furthermore, Charles River Realty agreed to submit all of its advertise-

ments for available units to the FHCGB to review them for compliance with fair housing laws prior to making the advertisement available to the public. The FHCGB works to eliminate housing discrimination and to promote open communities throughout the region. It serves five counties in eastern Massachusetts (Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth). Under federal and/or state fair housing laws, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or a family seeking housing because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status (e.g., children or marital status), national origin, handicap/disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, genetic information, or receipt of public assistance. As the media release above points out, it is illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)1 to deny housing to otherwise qualified families with children (or otherwise treat them differently in any way) simply because there are children in the household, unless the housing provider is exempt as a “designated senior community.” (For information on familial status protections and the housing for older persons exception visit families.htm). The Boston settlement is just one more example of case law that has reinforced the fact that housing providers may not discourage potential

residents with children simply because the property has or may have “hazards” such as steep stairways and balconies, busy streets, the presence of dangerous equipment or lead-based paint. It is up to the household to determine if a given property is appropriate for them; it is not up to a housing provider to determine this for them. For more on familial status protections visit or for other fair housing information.



This article brought to you by the Fair Housing Council; a nonprofit serving the state of Oregon and SW Washington. All rights reserved © 2013. Write to reprint articles or inquire about ongoing content for your own publication. To learn more… Learn more about fair housing and / or sign up for our free, periodic newsletter at Qs about this article? ‘Interested in articles for your company or trade association? Contact Jo Becker at jbecker@FHCO. org or 800/424-3247 Ext. 150 Want to schedule an in-office fair housing training program or speaker for corporate or association functions? Visit pdf

A Personal Board ...continued from front page Board can assist and support your success. Some examples of professional and personal topics to discuss with your Personal Board: a new career, the start of a new business, advancement in your property management company, the relocation of your family for professional or personal reasons, how to handle a problem employee or supplier problem, life and legacy planning, your children and their development, financial planning, and the health of your marriage, just to name a few. You see, your Personal Board will be a rich resource to you in many ways, so long as you speak truthfully with them and are open to their specific advice and feedback. Tip From The Coach: While your Personal Board can give you powerful guidance and suggestions, the final decision must always be yours. When making an important professional/personal decision, take a blank sheet of paper and list all the pros and cons surrounding the issue, then ask for and gather the feedback from your Personal Board. Next, write a brief summary statement to yourself explaining the reasons for The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013

your decision and store this sheet in a special place. Lastly, mark your calendar for some point in the future to evaluate the results of this important decision. A review of each important decision you make during your lifetime will help you evaluate your accuracy and clarity about the future. Remember, “perfect practice” makes for perfect decisions! Communicating with your Personal Board: The next step is to decide how often you will meet with your Personal Board. For some, monthly is perfect, for others twice a year is great and many meet on a quarterly basis. The frequency is up to you and your Board members, but the frequency should depend on the velocity of issues or decisions you are making. Here are some examples of ways you can meet or communicate with your Personal Board: in person, by telephone, by teleconference as a group, by E-mail, by letter, by videoconference or during a nice meal. With today’s menu of technology, the distance between you and your Personal Board members is no longer an issue. Instead, invite only the best to be on your Personal Board Continued on page 7 3

Rental Owners Association President • Jim Straub Vice President • Michael Steffen Secretary • Scott Smith Treasurer • Pat Costello

205 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401 (541) 485-7368 (541) 284-4052 info@

Board Members: Christy Albin, Mitch Allen, Dennis Casady, Dennis Chappa, Robei Ellis, Devin Gates, Eric Hall, John Morrison, Tia Politi

Important News for Landlords/Tenants: The 2013 Oregon Legislative Round-Up: The Landlord-Tenant Coalition Omnibus Bill. The ORHA Newsletter is included in our ROA October Bulletin. This legislative update covers very important Law changes on a variety of topics, including Renters’ Insurance, Screening Applications – Prior FED/ Evictions & Criminal Arrest History and Conviction History, NonCompliance Fees, Temporary Occupants, Security Deposits, Smoke Alarms/Carbon Monoxide Alarms, Foreclosure, various Housekeeping Provisions, along with the 2013 Legislative Priorities. In each ROA bulletin issue we will include a Legislative Planning Session Worksheet. I encourage you to voice your opinion. Please fill it out and return it to: Rental Owners

Association, PO Box 51318, Eugene, OR 97405. ***Our meetings and workshops have officially moved to the Hilton Garden Inn at 3528 Gateway in Springfield, due to Blvd Grill’s up & coming deconstruction for student housing. At the Hilton Garden Inn, we were able to retain the same cost point for our members, a delicious menu, along with a new atmosphere. We hope to see you at our next General ROA Meeting, which will be held on October 24th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springfield. At this meeting, members will have the opportunity to listen to Attorney Allen Gardener speak to us about “Landlord Liability: The Traps,

Sinkholes and Quicksand.” Our Affiliate Spotlight Speaker of the evening will be Christy Albin, owner of Lady of the Lake Process Servers. Please keep in mind that if you would like to attend one of the upcoming ROA Workshops, we will need you to pre-register and choose your menu selection by Wednesday, the week before the workshop is held. See the new Workshop Registration Form with the Menu, which is included in the October ROA Bulletin. If you have any questions or need additional Workshop Registration Forms, please call the ROA office at 541-485-7368. Our General Meeting in July showcased a panel of experienced contractors who shared their solutions to common household repair problems. Those attending this meeting had the opportunity to listen and

ask our Panel of Experts questions. The Panel of Experts included Richard Brand of Accurate Leak Detection, Devin Gates of All Around Property Solutions, Art Morris of Greener Zone, Mark Nearing of Mark Nearing Plumbing, and Ken Reiling of Sparkle Wash of Lane County. Thank you for your time and expertise! Many thanks also, to Karen Warren of CenturyLink, for her Affiliate Spotlight presentation and for the Dutch Brother’s gift certificate raffle item. Jim Straub, President

Advertise in the Landlord Times Valley Circulated to over 5,000 Apartment owners, On-site, and Maintenance personnel monthly. Call 503-221-1260 for more information.


The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013

VALLEY Landlady Katie ...continued from front page Keep all lines of communication open with your residents. Don’t be a stranger. It’s not enough simply to provide a lot of services to tenants. Being available in person can sway that renewal decision. Be timely in your responses to requests or questions your tenants will have. Not only are we bound by laws in our response times to some repair requests, but it is also a good business practice to respond within a reasonable time. Recap conversations in writing to maintain a paper trail of important communications. If you’re going to be unreachable at any time, be courteous and let them know how to handle any emergen-

cies in your absence as you would expect this of them contractually. While it’s important to stay in touch and build a good working relationship with your residents, you also need to respect their need for privacy. Don’t make up excuses to “stop by” or leave notes for your tenants at the property unless absolutely necessary. Not only could this be construed as harassment but it can also be annoying. The rental is their home. By law, you must give tenants plenty of proper notice before paying any visits to the property. Make clear your inspection policies and practices at move-in so that it is clear when they can regularly expect you.

Lastly, would you live in your rental comfortably if you had to? Is the yard manageable? Do the appliances work consistently and to their potential? Is the unit weatherized to help keep the energy bills reasonable? Your rental should be a place that you can be proud of and that tenants will maintain with integrity. If you make sure that your property stands out as well-kept, then you can ask for slightly higher rent rates than those that don’t. Be flexible in your concessions. If tenants are offering to make improvements and they won’t be able to take with them at moveout, help them out. Help can mean purchasing the materials for a

desired project while the tenants pay a contractors labor, or splitting the costs with your renters to add new internet jacks to a back bedroom. Spending on upgrades may hurt the bottom line over the short term, but improvements will pay dividends in long-term tenants. Offer a fair deal, use comps to explain your offer, and communicate your position clearly. If a property is well-maintained, it gives tenants a reason to stay.



What Were You Thinking ...continued from page 2 interact with maintenance staff. D: What are your thoughts on the relationship and interaction between leasing staff and maintenance, Zach? Z: Clarity and communication are they key. Let’s clarify from the start. A service request is simply something anyone at the site may want to be done by the maintenance staff. On the contrary a work order is when a service request is written down and documented. Based on my experience, I would make it mandatory for office staff to write up any service request into work order form, no matter how small. If a request is not written up on a work order then it never really happened. Maintenance techs work best off of lists. A stack of generated work orders is the best type of list, because it forces the maintenance staff to address each work order and assign it to a specific destination -- either “not started”, “in progress”, or “completed”. This can correspond to work order bins at the office, so that each service request that is generated into a work order is assigned and returns to the office to be completed later or filed away as complete. Now that we have clarified that, let’s look at an easy way to generate clearer work orders from the service requests the office staff receives. Most office staff doesn’t understand maintenance diagnosis and find it hard to generate clear work orders from the information that’s given to them by the residents. So, many work orders end up being written up like “toilet is broken” or “garbage disposal not working”. For a maintenance tech this can be as easy as a plunger or a disposal hex tool, and take him less than 5 minutes to perform, or it could mean a new wax ring or new disposal which could take closer to 45 minutes and extra trips to the shop.

The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013

Here is a simple process that can be put in place to help your office staff ask the right questions during the service request process in order to generate a work order that will save your maintenance staff time and effort, and maybe even some work orders all together. It works like this; I print and laminate a chart of the 10 most requested work orders and accompanying questions to ask. I usually tape it to the desk of the leasing staff and manager if they will let me. In my experience, this simple process has lead to hundreds of hours of free time. I explain it this way; if it takes your maintenance tech 7.5 minutes to walk to his shop because he didn’t have what he needed on the first trip due to a poorly written work order that equates to 15 minutes of lost time round trip. This doesn’t even take into account time wasted looking for parts in a disorganized shop (that’s a topic for another time). If this 15 minute generalization holds and that tech has to make 4 unexpected trips to the shop that’s 1hr/day, 5hr/ week, 20hrs/month. That is more than 2.5 days of lost time and effort per month due to poorly written work orders. The manager complains that things aren’t done and the maintenance staff is complaining that there’s not enough time. They are both right if we continue to generate poor work orders.



Dana Brown and Zach Howell have been working and training Managers and Maintenance staff in the property management industry for 20 + years. They are excited to give back and share the crazy stories that can only happen in our industry. We would love it if you would share your stories and “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” moments with us as well as questions that you need answers to. Dana can be reached at: Zach can be reached at:



hile market conditions continue to fluctuate, there may be times when you find yourself in a situation where you have no apartments to show. Maybe you don’t have a model or the one you have is “out of commission” or you are in a make ready process with the vacant apartments that are available. Recently, I was asked the following question:


I know I shouldn’t show an apartment that isn’t ready, but I hate to ask someone to come back. I’m concerned they won’t make the time to come out a second time. What can I do?


First of all, you do not have to show an apartment in order to rent one. While many people are “visual” and having a model or vacant apartment to show is a tremendous tool, it is not the only tool. Following are some comments from a shopping report in which the leasing consultant did not have anything to show: With a diagram of the 2 bedroom, the consultant “walked me through” the apartment as though we were inside. She used the terms “you” and “yours” during the entire “virtual” tour. She pointed out the various storage areas, using the floor plan, and she even showed me the shelf and cabinet over the washer and dryer. The consultant used descriptive words like “oak cabinetry” and “counter with breakfast bar.” She mentioned the wood-burning fireplace and also the vaulted ceilings. She then pointed out where the fireplace is located and indicated where the ceiling begins to get higher. The consultant made sure I understood the lay out of each room, and helped me visualize what type of furniture would fit in each area. When I questioned her about the location of electrical outlets and phone jacks, she was able to help me pick out the best place for my computer. When the apartment “presentation” was completed, the consultant walked me over to the location of the upcoming apartment. She pointed out and described the amenities we saw along the way and discussed the proximity of each one to the location of my apartment. She made sure I understood where I could park, as well as my guests. When we were outside the apartment, the consultant pointed out the other advantages of this particular location. She drew my attention to the private patio, nearby fountain and lush landscaping. She also mentioned the quiet, friendly neighbors who live upstairs and next door. Once the leasing consultant confirmed that I was pleased with what I had learned about the apartment and community, she asked if I would like to put a hold on the apartment until it was ready for me to view. When I declined, she told me that she understood my hesitation since I had not actually seen the apartment. However, she reminded me that it was the only one she had coming available, and that without a deposit she could not hold it for me. When I continued to hesitate, the consul6

tant told me that my deposit would be fully refundable if I did not like the apartment once I saw it. As you can see from the example above, having no apartments to show did not hamper that leasing consultant’s ability to sell AND close the sale! In fact, it was quite the opposite: With no apartment to show, this leasing person became even more creative in selling her product, as she was forced to describe the apartment in order for her prospect to visualize what she was talking about. Sometimes a client will get MORE detailed information in these situations, not less. Remember: You only get ONE chance to make a good first impression. Selling what you have to offer, even if you can’t show it will increase your leasing ratio. Rather than demonstrating a dirty apartment or asking prospective renters to come back, put your product knowledge to the test: Give a thorough presentation with whatever sales tools you have at your disposal, and then close the sale. Once you rent that last vacant apartment, then you can start working on those unrented notices.

Quit Hiding. Get Your Name Out There For As Low As $139 per month! The Apartment Manager/Valley Serves the Willamette Valley Rental Housing Industry, and distributes to more than 5,000 professionals monthly. A

Shell of a Deal.




October 8, 2013 VALLEY

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM ELEVATE: The Anatomy of Multifamily Roofs

October 16, 2013 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM Fall 2013 Apartment Report Breakfast


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 or fax. Your questions, comments and suggestions are ALWAYS welcome! ASK THE SECRET SHOPPER Provided by: SHOPTALK SERVICE EVALUATIONS Phone: 425-424-8870 E-mail: Website: Copyright Shoptalk Service Evaluations

October 9, 2013 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM October Landlord Study Hall - Property Maintenance: A Schedule to Safeguard and Winterize your Property October 15, 2013 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM ELEVATE: Forms and Notices - Portland 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM ELEVATE: Winterizing Your Property

October 21, 2013 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM ELEVATE: New Hire Portland October 24, 2013 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM ELEVATE: Unit Inspection / Turnover Portland October 28, 2013 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM ELEVATE: Oregon Landlord/Tenant Law Part 1 - Salem, OR October 30, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Puzzled by Section 8 Procedures? Homeforward Session 1

November 4, 2013 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Puzzled by Section 8 Procedures? Homeforward Session 2 November 5, 2013 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM ELEVATE: Oregon Landlord / Tenant Law Part I - Portland November 11, 2013 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM ELEVATE: Oregon Landlord/Tenant Law Part II - Salem, OR November 19, 2013 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM ELEVATE: Oregon Landlord / Tenant Law Part II - Portland

The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013

Dear Maintenance Men: nel conflicts” where two or more devices compete for the same channel and knock each other off. When this happens, your residents will experience lots of dropped connections. In situations like this, the proper way to setup wireless is to use a centrally managed, commercial grade system with multiple access points. The access points on these systems each give better coverage than a consumer grade product designed for single family homes. They also function more like a cell phone network. In other words, there is a single connection point (or SSID) for the entire network. You can initially establish a connection at one end of the building (let’s say through access point #1) and then walk to the far end of the building without dropping a connection. As you move away from access point #1 and your signal becomes weaker, the central management device tries to find you another access point to connect to with a stronger signal and manages the handoff in such a way that the connection does not drop … essentially the way a cell phone network works. Given these systems work with a single router & firewall, you will only need one connection to the Internet, you will only have one SSID for your entire network, and you only have one central place to manage passwords. The downside of these systems is they are more expensive than consumer grade products and are much more complicated to program which is why I recommend the use of someone who specializes in this technology.

By Jerry L'Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez Dear Maintenance Men: We are thinking of offering free WiFi at our 25 unit apartment building. What are the steps involved and what are your recommendations? Ryan Dear Ryan: Very interesting question! The short answer is hire a professional IT company who has experience in large wireless Internet installations. For the long answer, we contacted Paul at Acutech Network Services, Inc. . We have worked with Paul’s IT company for over ten years knew he would have a good answer: Today, consumer-grade wireless routers and access points are fairly easy to install and work well in most single family homes or small businesses and they will provide good coverage over a 100-150’ area and marginal coverage up to 200’. In a 25 unit building, one access point will not provide the coverage you will need. Without seeing the building, my educated guess is you will need about 6 access points. Now if you use consumer grade products, 6 access points will give you 6 totally independent SSID’s. (The SSID is what you see on your laptop or smart phone and connect to. Essentially, it is the connection point to the wireless network.) This will mean your residents will have to pick from one of 6 devices to connect to. For you, it will mean you will have 6 devices to manage, including managing passwords. And worse yet, because all these are independent devices, you may end up with “chan-

Dear Maintenance Men: I have 25 or so units (condos/ houses) all spread out and I am not

sure how to handle keys. I hate to think that a previous resident will come and access the unit after they have moved out, but the $50 replacement of the lock has prevented me from replacing it every turn. I have heard about those easy to rekey locks where you simply put a pin in the front of them. Do you have any ideas how to manage this? Brian Dear Brian: As you are aware, you should always change locks on a unit turnover. You never know who might have keys to that unit. I think we can find a simple solution to your problem. Since your units are spread out and not all in the same building, a swap system can be put into place. Supply yourself or your maintenance team with two or three lock sets and when you get a vacancy, swap out the existing lock set with the spare set. The unit now has a new or different lock set and the old lock set can now be swapped into another unit the next time you have a vacancy. This system only works safely if your units are spread out geographically. Another system that works very well with all rental units is the Kwikset Key Control Deadbolt system. This system allows the owner or management company to have one master key and the ability to rekey the lock without removal. It only takes a few moments to rekey a deadbolt. With this system, a temporary vendor key can be setup while the unit is being made rent ready. When the unit is rented, simply rekey and hand the new

VALLEY resident their new apartment key. Dear Maintenance Men: What is a pre-hung door and why would I want to buy one over a regular door? Matt Dear Matt: Pre-hung doors come already installed in the doorframe. The components include the door, outside frame and the hinges. Before the advent of “Pre-Hung Doors”, hanging a door required a skilled installer. Now a door can come already in its frame with the hinges in place. You must start with a rough opening, which means the old doorframe must be removed. The skill required is minimal and you can often do a professional looking job the first time.



QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? QUESTIONS? We need more Maintenance Questions!!! To see your maintenance question in the “Dear Maintenance Men:” column, please send submission to: Please “Like” us on BuffaloMaintenance

A Personal Board...continued from page 3 and allow technology to facilitate your communications. Tip From The Coach: As you invite each member to participate on your Personal Board, be very clear about your expectations for each board member, the frequency you will meet or be in touch, and your request for pointed and honest feedback. After each person agrees to be on your Personal Board, discuss how they would like to be compensated for their time. In most cases, a trade or barter is done for goods or services, in many cases a small gift or favor is enough. If necessary, offer to pay a small fee to each board member, as the value of their feedback will be returned many times over. Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions? Send an E-mail to and The Coach will E-mail back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a PowerHour conference call. On this call we will discuss how to form your Personal Board of Directors, in 30 days!

founder of PowerHour...[ and and ], 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 [ www. insurance.html ], SEO/SEM web strategies, national WiFi solutions [ www. nationalwifi.html ], powerful tools for hiring property management SuperStars and building dynamic teams, employee policy manuals [ html ] and social media strategic soluALLEY tions [ propertymanagement/socialmedialeadership.html ]. Ernest worked for Motorola, Primedia and is certified in the Xerox sales methodologies. Recent interviews and articles have appeared more than 7000 times in business and



Author’s note: Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995 [31,000 hours], a property management industry professional since 1988--the author of SmartMatch Alliances--and the The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013



The LandlordTimes - Valley • October 2013

The Landlord Times Valley Oct 2013  

Published monthly by Rental Housing Journal, The Landlord Times Valley is the business journal for the rental housing industry in the Willa...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you