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City of Phoenix offers educational classes for landlords…….

 The City of Phoenix is the only city that offers a certified Landlord/Tenant Counseling Program in the state. If you are a new landlord than knowing the rules and requirements of tenant management is imperative. Additionally, you may be having some difficulties understanding the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act in its’ entirety.  One major responsibility of the counselors at the program is to put on free workshops that educate residents on the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The three-hour class features experts from many departments within the city including a speaker on fair housing issues, lead paint, crime and the city’s top eight code violations. The class is fully educational for landlords and tenants.  The program consists of three counselors who work for the city but educate landlords and tenants across the state on the state laws regarding landlords and tenants. The counselors are not attorneys so they do not offer advise or mediation but they can provide excellent information especially if you are currently deciding if becoming a landlord is for you.  For more information about the clases contact:

Landlord/Tenant Counselors Program
Neighborhood Services Department
200 W. Washington St., 4th floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone: 602-534-4444
Email: landlord.tenant.nsd@phoenix.gov
Questions or comments

And for a free copy of the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act visit the Arizona Secretary of State at www.azsos.gov.
For more information on Phoenix Property Management Services contact us at info@rpmwestvalley.com or 855 748 7841. 
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INTEREST RATES AND YOUR RENTAL

INTEREST RATES AND YOUR RENTAL
Even though interest rates have risen over the summer they are still well below rates in the past causing home purchases to be very attractive.  Additionally, those who are now three years from their foreclosure can now purchase again and in some cases people who did short sales just two years ago can also purchase and unfortunately these individuals have been making up our tenant applicant pool for the last several years. Now landlords are faced more frequently with less qualified applicants which of course greatly increases the chances of damages and or rent not being paid.  Here are a few suggestions for landlords in order to mitigate your risks:
1. Take the maximum amount of security deposit allowed in your area.  In the Phoenix metro area for example it is 1.5 the monthly rent amount.
2. Require the full security deposit to be paid up front prior to move in.
3. Require several references on each application including family members with phone numbers and email address and don’t be afraid to call the phone numbers to be sure they are correct.
4. Complete property inspection regularly in an effort to catch any issues sooner rather than later.
5. Price the property at or slightly below market rent in an effort to attract the more qualified tenant.
6. Be sure your property looks the best that it can for all prospective applicants.
Lastly, although no landlords like for their property to be vacant, don’t rush into approving an applicants who really don’t have the track record of paying housing and bill payments on time.
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Phoenix Rental Statistics May 2013
According to RENT CHECK which is the monthly publication from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing System, the median lease price for metro Phoenix in May 2013 was $1,074.  Additionally, the average lease was $1225 and average days on the market were 51.  Often utilizing a phoenix property management company for your investment property can reduce the number of days on the market for you rental.  For example, take a look at the average days on market for the first half of 2013 for rental properties managed by Real Property Management:
  
Anthem 31
Avondale 16
Buckeye 23
Chandler 31
El Mirage 11
Gilbert 56
Glendale 23
Goodyear 23
Laveen 26
Litchfield Park 26
Mesa 64
Peoria 33
Phoenix 19
Scottsdale 31
Surprise 27
Tolleson 27
As a reminder, the price and how the property shows to prospective tenants does greatly effect the ability and time to place a qualified tenant.
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Bed Bugs – They are the Landlords Problem

So your tenant’s just moved in and they are calling regarding bed bugs – can you hold them responsible???  Can you assume that THEY brought the bed bugs in??  Not unless you want to risk paying high damages in court!  Not only are landlords responsible for treatment BUT they are responsible to disclose upfront if a property may have a bed bug infestation.  There is a bit of good news however in that as part of the bed bug treatment you can require the tenant to comply with a bed bug check list which includes the following:

1. Remove all clothing from furniture
2. Bag all clothing items
3. Remove bedding from bed
4. Remove all clutter from rooms
5. Throw away mattresses or purchase mattress covers

All clothes need to be sent through the dryer on high heat to kill all stages of bed bugs – prior to doing so, sort by color so you don’t have to sort after.  Also, be sure that dryer isn’t overloaded with each load.  After the clothes go through the dryer, place them in new bags so that none of the bed bugs or eggs transfer to the dried clothes.

Additionally, if you decide not to use professional property management services, make sure that you are doing regular inspections of the property to ensure it remains clutter free thereby reducing the risk of a re-visit of the annoying bugs.

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The best tenant reasons for not paying the rent on time……

I thought I would share these entertaining reasons why a tenant can’t pay their rent on time as I figure that if a landlord hasn’t received their rent by the 12th of the month they can probably use a good laugh…..I hope you enjoy.

“I can’t pay my rent because my BMW is in the shop, and I can’t afford to pay for both.”

“I can’t pay the rent because my daughter ate my husband’s paycheck.”

“I deposited my paycheck in the bank teller machine and it got caught in the rollers.  It took six days to tear apart the machine.”

“I had my choice of paying the rent or buying a car. I bought a car.  I thought you would understand.” 

“I am sure I paid — YOU must have lost it.”
“It’s your fault.  You deposited my check too late.  My automatic withdrawals went through the bank before the rent check.”
 
“I am straight broke.”
 
“I can’t pay my rent because my income tax return was supposed to come in a week ago, so I spent all of the money from my paycheck, and now my tax return check has been delayed until 2 weeks from now.”
Lastly if I had $1 for every time a tenant told me they couldn’t pay because they were in the hospital I would be a VERY, VERY rich woman!

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Understanding the advertising options for your rental

The Right Property Management Choice

Often times people who contact me regarding management services are very confused about the pricing structures and advertising that is available through management companies for their rentals so I will use this post to explain the different options that are available.  If you want your rental home rented quickly to qualified tenants than your choice should also be the company who offers the most advertising mediums and not the company with the lowest tenant placement fee because after all you do get what you pay for!  If when shopping management companies, your prospective company does not charge any upfront costs for tenant placement but instead takes all fees from the first month rent than mostly likely their only advertising medium will be the Multiple Lisiting Services (“MLS”).  MLS can be a great avenue for very high end rentals in which a great number of tenants will higher a Realtor to represent them on the leasing process.  However, if you rental is more along the lines of a “typical” three or four bedroom property than you will be losing out on all of the tenants who search and find rentals on their own.  Even more confusing are then the options to reach the tenants who search on their own such options include free rental sites such as craigs list and paid rental sites.  If the management company you are interviewing does have  an upfront marketing cost, most likely they will utilize paid rental sites as some of your upfront cost will go to those costs.  Keep in mind that normally the paid advertising sites rank higher in Search Engine Optimization meaning there is a nood chance that your rental will be on a higher link during searches.  Additionally, these sites tend to draw more qualified applicants who are more diligent with their searches as opposed to applicants who only search on craigslist (the home of the most rental property scams in the US).  Additionally, these management companies may also post to free sites meaning that your rental will have the greatest exposure. But what if these companies don’t utilize any of the first months’ rent for tenant placement???  That means they don’t offer MLS so now you are missing out on the Realtor market.  But what if they use up the first months’ rent and some for tenant placement???  Now you may be paying them upfront for advertising AND paying them a leasing commission once the tenant is placed which really is double dipping.  Your ultimate choice for phoenix property managmement services is a company such as Real Property Management (RPM) West Valley in which you have all the choices – including online paid advertising, free online advertising such as craigs list AND MLS listing in which there is no additional fee or commission paid to RPM West Valley if a tenant is placed through an MLS Realtor.  Although it may seem expensive in the long run if all of the advertising mediums help to place a tenant thirty days faster than without you will be ahead in the long run.  Call today about services.  623-748-7800 x105

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Little known fact about military orders……….

SCRA – BE SURE TO READ THE FINE PRINT
So every landlord is aware of the section of the SCRA (Service members Civil Relief Act) which provides a service member who receives permanent change of station orders or who is deployed to a new location for 90 days or more the right to terminate a housing lease. However most landlords think that the lease must terminate on the day that the service member must report to the new base which is not always accurate.  For leases in which rent payments are due on the first of the month, the date the lease is terminated is 30 days from the first full month after the notice is received by the landlord.  For example if the tenant provides the written orders to the landlord on June 6th that they must report at a new base on June 30 the tenant is not released from the lease until July 30 so the tenant must pay June and July rent in full.  The landlord however can not then collect rent from a new tenant until August 1 so essentially the landlord can’t “double collect” July rent.  Additionally, the tenant does not legally have to return possession of the property to the landlord until July 30.  Many landlords however do not pursue the full rent but instead hold the tenant responsible for 30 days of rent from when the orders are received which in the above example would be July 6 however it is important to understand that you do have the option to obtain a true full 30 day notice.  Lastly, be sure to confirm the orders by using a verification form just to be sure that all information is accurate.  
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So you live and breath by online reviews……THINK AGAIN!!!!

It truly is best not to believe everything you hear or in this case read.  Businesses often hire other companies to manage their online reputation by ensuring that only good reviews are posted on online sources.  These companies for hire either hire individuals to write fake reviews from home or they will have staff members write fake reviews from various sources so that the computer IP addresses are never the same.  The differing IP address are an important component to achieving successful fake online reputation status because they make the reviews appear to be from actual customers and the online company (such as google, yelp, yahoo) can’t tell they are fake.  Here is a good example, do a google search for Rathbun Realty & Investments and check out the yellowpages.com that gives them an overall review of 4 stars out of 5 – be sure to pay the most attention to the reviews that were posted in May, June of 2012 that are pretty much raving about how wonderful the services are.  Now, after readying that would you be surprised to hear that the Arizona Department of Real Estate issued a cease & desist to stop all operations in March 2013????  Seems strange that in August 2012 the reviews were glowing yet just six months later they can’t even participate in any real estate activities!  
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How do I financially prepare for my rental property?????

As a residential phoenix property manager, I am always surprised by the number of people considering becoming landlords without the expectation of any costs exception their mortgage.  Unfortunately this mind set can cause tremendous stress to the tenant, landlord and property manager.  No one can predict what the actual repairs will be during the lease and landlords can get themselves into trouble if they base the repairs off of their owner occupied experience.  Let’s say for example that you decide to rent out your current owner occupied property that only you (1 single person) has been living in.  During your occupancy you probably rarely utilize for example the guest bathroom and most likely have not had to replace even a cartridge in there which is a standard wear and tear item.  You turn the property into a rental, and end up renting to a family of 4 (and remember due to fair housing you can’t decide not to rent to families) and now suddenly the guest bathroom is being used constantly.  It would be a mistake if you hadn’t budgeted for possible plumbing issues with that bathroom such as cartridge replacements which are a relatively common normal wear and tear item.  In general a good rule of thumb is to put aside 1.5 times the rent amount towards repairs through out the lease agreement.  Keep in mind however those funds do not include any normal wear and tear items that may be needed once the tenant vacates which can run from $0 to several $1000 depending on the tenant.  Furthermore, make sure you save enough money to cover 1-2 mortgage payments for times of vacancy – you don’t want to suddenly be surprised that you don’t get your rent check yet the mortgage is still due.  In conclusion owning an investment property is just like any other type of investment: Once tenant occupied, the property represents an unsecured investment which can bring about large gains but also the possibility of losses so it is best to mitigate your times of loss by preparing!
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“It was already like that when i moved in”

MOVE IN/MOVE OUT
When you have a new tenant moving in to a rental property either you as an owner or your property manager should conduct a move in inspection with the tenant and a move out inspection when the lease expires. Your report should be consistent with the kind of detail you would need if the tenant decides to challenge the disposition in court.  Such detail includes noting the condition of the paint, doors, baseboards, flooring, inside cabinets, landscaping etc.  Make sure that you use the same report for the move in as the move out so that the same items are noted.  Also, take lots of pictures right before the tenant’s take possession and during the move out inspection.  Be sure that the power and water are on for both the move in and move out because you can’t go back once the reports are signed and add items without the tenant present.
When conducting the move out, do not commit to the tenant on what the charges will be – instead explain that you need to review all of the documentation and pictures and will call them to review once complete.  Remember you only have 14 business days in Arizona to get the disposition in the mail so be sure to give yourself enough time after the move out to really thoroughly review everything.  Keep in perspective that the security deposit is the tenant’s money and therefore can only be applied to actual tenant damages.  
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