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Finding Your Balance When You Unplug

May 25th, 2016|

Welcome to the new world of work, where 5:30 p.m. is far from the end of the day. It is a world in which smart-phones, iPads and laptop computers — devices that ostensibly enable us to work faster, more efficiently and more flexibly — have become 24/7 intravenous hookups to our jobs. Not only do [...]

CYBER THREATS FACT NOT FICTION

February 10th, 2016|

You read about the security breaches caused by hackers that occur almost every day. These occurrences are spreading across the cyber landscape so frequently that it hardly causes a ripple in the news. According to the 2015 Cyberthreat Yearbook, successful cyber-attacks on businesses of all sizes have increased by 144% over the past four years. [...]

Be Precise When Drafting Security Deposit Refund Checks

July 29th, 2015|

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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.

Smaller Cities Led the Way in Rent Increases in 2014

January 23rd, 2015|

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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.

Who Paid The Highest Monthly Rents in 2014

January 23rd, 2015|

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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.

Real Estate Commission Compliance Back on the Radar

December 17th, 2014|

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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.

Companion Animals Not Always A Companion Animal

December 9th, 2014|

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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.

Abandonment

December 4th, 2014|

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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.

Why Is Credit Reporting Important?

August 6th, 2014|

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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.

Common Questions About Collecting Rental Debt

August 6th, 2014|

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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.