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The Importance of a Social Media Strategy

With 2 billion users on Facebook and 328 million on Twitter, apartment owners cannot ignore social media if they want to create brand awareness. Social media can drive traffic to an apartment community’s website. Quality, clickable content [with pictures] will generate interest that will entice prospects to call or schedule a tour to see your [...]

April 16th, 2018|

Be Alert for Industry Scams

Thieves and con artists are always looking for new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. As processes get automated, defrauding apartment complexes becomes less about tricking the staff and more about gaming the system. A client recently alerted THS of one such new scam in the industry. The fraudster submits an application online, making [...]

July 11th, 2017|

Be Precise When Drafting Security Deposit Refund Checks

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When returning a security deposit, it’s important to make the check payable to all of the Residents.  This prevents one of the Residents from individually claiming the Landlord failed to meet the statutory duty to timely account for the deposit.

The Pay To The Order Of line should list each Resident name and include the connector “and”.   Example: “Joe, Sue and Fred”.  This verbiage requires all the Residents to endorse the check.

July 29th, 2015|

Smaller Cities Led the Way in Rent Increases in 2014

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Rents in the U.S. continued to rise in 2014 due to strong demand and short supply.  Making it the fifth consecutive year for rising rates.  The national average rental rate was $1,124.38 per month in 2014.  While rental rates have continued to rise, vacancy rates fell to 4.2%, the lowest point since 2000.

The biggest surprise in the rent increases for the year was the fact that the largest jumps came in the smaller and mid-size metros with Denver leading the way with the highest rise at 7.9 percent.

January 23rd, 2015|

Who Paid The Highest Monthly Rents in 2014

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According to Zillow, the online real estate database company founded by two former Microsoft executives, the numbers speak for themselves.  Data shows that U.S, renters spent a combined $441 billion on housing in 2014 with rents continuing to outpace incomes.

When looking at the 50 largest metros in the U.S. it is surprising to note that a comparison of average quantity renters paid per month ranked by city had San Jose, California leading the list with renters paying on average $1,807 per month.  The top 20 list of the most highly-priced metro areas for renters has four of the top five located in California with San Jose #1 ($1,807), San Francisco #2 (1,598) , San Diego #4 (1,362) and Los Angeles #5 ($1,308).  The only east coast city to break into the top five was Washington D.C. at number three at $1,428.

January 23rd, 2015|

Real Estate Commission Compliance Back on the Radar

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Real Estate Commission compliance is once again a hot topic; partly because of the flood of new owners and property management companies coming to Colorado; and  partly driven by the Colorado Real Estate Commission’s step-up of enforcement efforts.  Due to budget cuts and political considerations, the Real Estate Commission (the “Commission”) had stopped random audits for a number of years.  Since property management is one of the leading sources of complaints received by the Commission, the Commission has recently reinstated random audits as part of its proactive and stepped up enforcement efforts. As a result of the complaints received, the Commission considers property management to be a complex area of practice.  A blog cannot address the complexity of the Commission regulatory scheme.  However, we can answer some of the most common questions client ask.

Do we need a Colorado Real Estate Broker’s License, is by far the most common question we are asked.  The quick answer to this question is straightforward.  If you own the property you manage, you do not need a broker’s license.  This is commonly referred to as the “owners’ exemption”.  If you third party fee manage, you need a license.  The question is not complicated for fee managers.  Fee managers must be licensed.  Whether an ownership and management relationship meets the owners’ exemption can be extremely complicated.

December 17th, 2014|

Companion Animals Not Always A Companion Animal

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Companion animals are also known as emotional support animals or therapeutic animals.  Companion animals are a form of assistive animal under fair housing laws.  As a form of assistive animal, there is no difference between a companion animal and a service animal.  Recently the number of companion animal requests are going through the roof.  It is important for landlords to adopt and have policies in place to deal with companion animal requests.

Companion animal requests are skyrocketing for several reasons. Money makes the world go round, and thus is the primary driver of the rapidly increasing number of companion animal requests.  Because the companion animal is not a pet under fair housing laws, landlords cannot charge pet fees, pet deposits, or pet rent.  Savvy tenants know this.  So now Fido’s owner is much more likely to suffer from depression.  Websites spread the word that tenants do not have to pay pet fees for companion animals.  Websites also encourage tenants to claim their dog or cat as a companion animal by selling assistive animal documentation, for a fee.  Specifically, websites will certify an animal as a “certified service animal”.  Websites also sell letters (prescriptions) that document a tenant’s need for a companion animal.

December 9th, 2014|

Abandonment

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Abandonment is a timeless issue.  Clients never stop asking about it since abandonment scenarios happen regularly.  Because failure to follow abandonment best practices can cost you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, this month we want to reinforce everything you need to know about abandonment.

In layman’s terms, abandonment means that the tenant has left, and is not coming back.  Abandonment turns on the answer to two questions.  Has the tenant left?  Does the tenant intend to give up his right to possess or occupy the unit?  While there are common signs of abandonment, such as removal of personal property, there is no black and white test.  Courts determine the answers to abandonment questions on a case-by-case basis.  However, Colorado law is clear on the effect of abandonment.  If a tenant has abandoned a rental unit, you may take possession of the unit without having to evict.

December 4th, 2014|

Why Is Credit Reporting Important?

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Does credit reporting significantly increase collections?

Credit reporting does benefit collections, but its overall impact is not well documented.  Credit reporting’s impact on collections is more anecdotal (somebody wanted to buy a house so we got paid), and probably grossly overestimated.  Most collection agencies report to the credit bureaus.

If credit reporting magically collected money, collection agencies reporting 100% of the debt referred to them would be liquidating at phenomenal rates.  However, ACA International, the leading trade association representing credit and collections professionals, reported in 2008 that just 18% of all money referred to collection agencies is eventually recovered.  Based on our experience with clients, collection agencies often liquidate rental debt at substantially lower percentages.

August 6th, 2014|

Common Questions About Collecting Rental Debt

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What is a collection rate, or collection percentage?

Almost, without exception, all rental debt is collected on a contingency percentage, also known as a collection rate, or collection percentage.  You pay nothing if no money is collected.  If an agency is successful in collecting money, the agency’s fee is a percentage of the amount collected.  If a collection agency rate is 40% and they collect $100, you get $60 and the agency gets $40.

August 6th, 2014|