Autumn is always such a lovely time for many areas of our country. The changing colors are a large draw for people, even causing the term “leaf peepers” to be coined up in New England. For all of the beauty that some people see when looking at these changed trees, others see nothing but a nuisance. Having all of those dead leaves laying around their lawns and driveways can be considered unsightly and when it rains they may even become dangerous. This is just another thing that you need to be aware of as a landlord, especially if maintenance falls to you instead of to your resident. Leaf removal is one of the stickiest situations that you will find yourself in outside of snow. Most people don’t want leaves everywhere but dislike having a leaf blower running constantly. Naturally you won’t want to be outside by yourself with a rake gathering a huge pile, especially if you have a large property to deal with. This generally means that something with a motor is going to be your best bet in regards to getting all of the leaves and twigs together. So what can you do to keep everyone happy? The best time to collect leaves for removal is at a time when most people are either at work or already awake. I can speak from experience that no one likes to be woken up at seven in the morning on a Saturday by a leaf blower. If you are able to do this yourself, it will obviously save some money but hiring a company to do this is perfectly fine as well. Having people come in during normal working hours will generally prevent much complaining from your residents. Always be sure to check your township bylaws about leaf piles and removal. Some places have trucks come around to collect them while others have you purchase bags and deliver them to a certain location yourself. You always want to be sure to stay on top of these practices and remind your residents of what the law states as well. You may even want to try and have a work day where you offer food or refreshments in exchange for your residents helping out to clean up the leaves. Ask around and see if anyone would be willing to help out.
Around this time of the year, pet stores do a wonderful business. This is because many children want a pet for the holidays and many parents are willing to allow this as a way to teach their child responsibility. However, if they are renting from you they do need to double check that you will allow pets in your apartment. Pets can cause a bit of damage if not taken care of correctly, and if the animal is young, the problems may be even more complicated as potty training can be difficult to complete. Almost every child in America has at some point wanted a pet. Around this time of year, we see so many videos popping up online of parents gently wrapping boxes filled with puppies and kittens up with ribbons and bows so that their child can unwrap what they wanted the most. Unfortunately, if they are renting from you this means that they may have done this illegally. If your lease states that they are not allowed animals, or must have your approval beforehand, then getting a pet may just be something that isn’t possible for this year. This does unfortunately put you in a very difficult spot if a parent has gotten an animal without your approval and the child becomes attached to it. Naturally you don’t want to upset the kid who most likely didn’t even know about the clause in the lease, but if the parent did this with full knowledge that they were not supposed to allow an animal into your rental property then it can create an issue between you and the adults responsible. Allowing pets in your apartment is something that only you can make the decision on. Do remember, though, that it isn’t all or nothing. You may want to enforce a pet deposit to cover any damage that might be done by the animal or add a little bit of money onto the rent every month for the same reason. It is also fairly common for certain apartments to allow cats but not dogs, or even animals under a certain weight limit. These are generally good compromises for people who really want a furry companion. This time of year it is always a good idea to remind your residents of your pet policy just in case they are thinking of getting an animal for the holidays.
Now that the weather is starting to get a bit colder for much of the country, there are a few things that you need to start thinking about to help your residents prepare for winter. One of these things is making sure that the heating is working the way that it should be. When you have residents who are chronically ill, elderly, or otherwise higher risk, this is even more important. There are a few things that you may want to do to get everyone ready for the colder months and you always want to do them before the first big storm hits. 1. Blankets. One of the best things to ask your residents when it gets to this time of year is if they have blankets. This is especially true if they are older or prone to being cold. Even if the heating in your building works perfectly, there is always a chance that you can lose power or something else could go wrong. If you are a landlord that likes to give gifts to your residents around the holidays, you may want to give them a good blanket or two just in case they are left without power for an extended period of time. 2. Generators. Generators can literally save lives. While not every building can have an effective generator, it is more than worth it to check into the possibility of having one for the winter months, especially if it gets very cold in your area. Having something that can kick the power back on, or even just the heating, until power is restored can mean the difference between someone making it through the night safely or needing to go to a hospital. While they may be expensive, it is always worth the peace of mind to know that your residents will be safe if the power fails. If the power goes out due to a snow or ice storm, it is always a good idea to try and contact your residents as soon as possible. If they are older or chronically ill, this may truly mean the difference between life or death. Making sure that your rental property has sturdy heating is something you should check each year regardless of what the generalized forecast says. Things can change in the blink of an eye and nature is no exception.
Getting someone new into your apartment is always a source of a lot of stress for a landlord. This is especially true when you think about how much it may cost to accomplish this. Running advertisements in the paper and in certain places online for even a week can end up costing you a small fortune. When you think about the time of year right now especially, this can cause a lot of worry. The holidays are always expensive to begin with and you certainly don’t want to add another expense onto it with the possibility of no return. So what are some cheap or free options for you to find a new tenant? 1. Craigslist And Other Sites. The internet is full of websites that people can search for different goods and services. Craigslist is a page that is often used for things like furniture or pets but is also being used increasingly for things like jobs and housing. These pages are free to use and are frequented by many people who are looking for some options that they may not have seen anywhere else. 2. Posting Fliers. This is a tried and true method and doesn’t have to cost much of anything. While you can argue that you have to pay for the paper and the ink (or the printing if you have it professionally done), that price tag pales in comparison to what you would likely have to pay a realtor or certain websites that deal specifically with real estate. If you know local business owners, you may even ask to put some fliers in their establishment so that people can see them when they visit. 3. Ask Around. It doesn’t cost anything for you to ask your friends and family if they know someone who is looking for a new place to live. This also helps you in the sense that they have already been at least partially screened, seeing as how if your friends or family suggest them, hopefully they aren’t all bad. There are dozens of ways for you to look for tenants without spending a dime, these are only three of them. If you are unsure of these methods, call us and see how we can help you get the perfect tenant into your rental property.
Laundry is something we all need to do. However, in many places it is considered an amenity. Often, you will find apartment complexes which do not have laundry services on premises. This often means that there is a laundromat near the location, however sometimes this is not the truth of the matter. This becomes rather difficult to deal with as a tenant when they live somewhere that is not within walking distance to a laundromat or if they work odd hours. Sometimes you do not have the ability to have laundry hookups in the actual apartment, so what are your options? Let’s face it, running a washer and dryer is expensive. The washer uses a lot of water and the dryer often uses more electricity than most other appliances in a home. You often need special hookups for both as well, and in order to have a washer that will clean more than one outfit at a time this is especially true. It makes sense why most apartment complexes do not allow these machines in the individual units. However, having laundry on site is becoming more and more of a necessity for apartment complexes if they want to earn a decent amount of money for their units. If you are a complex that charges association or maintenance fees, you may consider raising these to cover the addition of washers and dryers and possibly even an extra building for them if it is needed. Explain to the owners that they can now receive more in rent due to the addition of the amenity and it will likely go over well. Another option which many complexes utilize is the fact of coin operated laundry. This works much like going to a laundromat, however normally it means that the residents have the keys to the door so they are the only ones that can use it. It is also generally a little cheaper and much more convenient to do it this way because they do not need to travel far to get their clothes washed and dried. Having an option for your residents to do their laundry onsite will certainly be appreciated by everyone. No one wants to not only wait until the last minute to do their laundry, but no one wants to smell the dirty clothes that others haven’t washed yet. Ask around and see if an onsite laundry would be a good addition to those who live in your complex.
October is mostly enjoyed by kids for one reason and that is the candy at the end of the month. Halloween is definitely a great time for children, but is often a stressful one for their parents. Unfortunately, people don’t always have the best interest of others in mind and some even like to cause fear and confusion. Although we aren’t saying that this is the case in your complex, it is likely that some parents are not comfortable sending their kids around to get candy from people they may not know. Here are a couple of ways for you to make trick or treating in your complex a little safer. 1. Approved Candy Stations. One great way for parents to be sure that candy is safe for their little ones is by having stations set up that you have already approved. You can have people sign up to sit at tables or something similar so that you know everyone who is giving out candy. They can even be made to show you the bags of candy first so that it has your safety approval before any kid gets to them. This also helps to prevent people who don’t want to partake in trick or treating having their doorbell rung or door knocked on. It’s quite a win/win scenario. 2. Earlier Hours. Although most townships will have set hours that they want people to trick or treat in, you may want to augment them for your specific complex or apartment building. By posting fliers or sending out an email stating what times people can trick or treat during, you may be able to make them a bit safer. You can do this by having the hours during the daylight and making sure everyone is back inside by the time night falls. Although this may not be something everyone likes, it can help to prevent any mischief that may be planned for the evening. Trick or treating is something that most kids really look forward to throughout the whole month of October. While it may be a bit more work for you to set these things up, it may also encourage some parents who worry a bit more than others to allow their children to go out with their friends and get some candy. Ask around and see what you think would work best for your complex.
One of the best things about having property like an apartment building is the option to have a model apartment. If you have a large amount of apartments that you can rent out, it may be more than worth it for you to set one apartment aside so that you always have a way to show a possible tenant what the place looks like without displacing someone else. This also prevents any issue with communication between the current tenant, yourself, and the person who wants to see the apartment. It is especially useful if one of the parties has odd work hours that simply cannot match up with the other. Another great thing about being able to have a model apartment is the fact that you always know what the state of the place will be. It is always off putting to a possible tenant to get into the apartment only for it to still be dirty or have items in it. I am currently in the process of moving from one apartment to another and can tell you that there were a few I looked at which had just been vacated that were so filthy that I couldn’t look past all of the work I would need to do to make it comfortable. With a model apartment, the only human element you need to contend with is yourself. This doesn’t mean that you can set up the model apartment and just leave it, however. Bugs may still get in, cobwebs can form, and air does get stale. Sometimes you will need to head in and open the windows and clean out the corners. This is hardly an issue, however, when you think of the alternative. If you go in once or twice a month and spot check the apartment, then there is no reason why it should ever look less than move in ready. Once you have decided to have a model apartment, the only other option you need to decide on is whether or not you furnish it. This can be done with little to no money spent if you know where to look, which is always a good thing. Go online and see what you can find to make sure that your model apartment is ready for your perfect tenant.
One of the biggest concerns that many of us have once it begins to get a bit cooler is our heat. Whether or not you pay for your tenant’s heat, you should always do a quick check on whether or not everything is working. This is especially true if you have elderly or chronically ill people living in your residences. For those who are vulnerable, heat is something that simply cannot be overlooked or left to the last minute like many of the rest of us do. After all, the cold aggravates many medical issues. If your residence is heated through oil or gas, it is always a good idea to get the supplier out around this time of the year, as they will be swamped later on in the season. If your rental property is heated through wood burning stoves or a fireplace, it is always nice of you to call and check in on your resident to make sure they have enough wood at least for now. Whether you are responsible for getting it or not, it is always nice to look in. This way they not only know that you care about them, but it may help to serve as a reminder for them if they have not purchased any yet. Prices will still be fairly low as it is early in the season and not too chilly yet in most places. If you have a relationship with your tenant that allows you to talk often, then there is no harm in mentioning the cooling weather. If your rental property has baseboard heaters, it may be worth a moment to remind your tenants to clear things away from them in order to correctly circulate the heat and not ruin anything, including their own items. Now is also a great time to replace the windows in your rental space to thermal ones which will provide insulation. This will cut down on heating costs, no matter who they go to. While they may cost a little more up front, they certainly save you in the long run. The difference is extremely noticeable not just for the resident, but also for the bill payer. With the weather cooling down, there are a few things that you may want to do or check up on. Heat is certainly up near the top of that list for your rental space. After all, we never know exactly how cold it will get over the winter.