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6 Steps to Damage Proofing Rentals

The thing landlords fear most: damage to their rental. Yet, depending upon the type and location of the property itself, damage often comes with the territory. There are, however, measures that any manager can take to help protect the property and the owner’s interests for the long-term. Here, we take a look at the top six.

Damage Proofing Rentals:

  1. Screen Applicants. The importance of screening cannot be emphasized enough. Through a thorough background and references check, a tenant’s history is easily discovered. Whether or not he/she has had issues with former landlords, has a problem with non-payment, or has even been evicted are all items that can be quickly uncovered. Calling on past landlords, running a credit check, and verifying employment can provide a reliable personality snapshot to be used in determining suitability. In this case, a little effort now can help prevent significant challenges in the future.
  2. Put it in Writing. The contract is the best place to include any notices, obligations, responsibilities, etc., to and of future tenants. This is the opportunity to clearly define the condition to which a unit and surrounding property must be maintained, as well as the applicable penalty that may arise in the event the conditions are not met.
  3. Get a Deposit. Look at the deposit as a safety net. In the event damage occurs and there is no way to seek retribution from the tenant, his or her deposit can be applied to repairs, keeping insurance or out-of-pocket to a minimum.
  4. Foster Relationships. An absent landlord who pays little mind to his tenants is most likely to have tenants who feel neglected, and will treat the property as such. Be involved. Take an interest. Foster a sense of community. If you know where your tenants are and what they are up to, they will sense your awareness and recognize the lack of freedom to do whatever they want to the property. Additionally, an involved and caring landlord has better chances of earning respect, which encourages loyalty from tenants who wouldn’t want to do harm to someone who cares for their well-being.
  5. Follow Through. If your contract threatens legal action in the event damage is done to the property, you need to follow through. Not only does this help you attempt to recoup lost costs, but it also sends a message to current and future tenants that you’re true to your word.

A Great Property Management Company

The sixth measure any owner can take to help damage-proof her property is in the hiring of a good management company. Having a party in your corner who knows how to construct the best contract, vet all applicants adequately, and monitor the goings-on of the property on a consistent basis helps ensure its viability and return for years to come. Class A Management is here to help you. Call us today to learn more at 817-295-5959, or send us an email to .

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5 Simple Ways to Attract Tenants Using Green Tactics

Green Apartment Living

A number of property owners and managers get understandably nervous when they hear words like sustainability and going green. In the years following the birth of this movement, the available enviro-friendly options were anything but cheap. The focus, in fact, was on insulation, new windows, HVAC units, and other high-ticket improvements. But times have changed. Green apartment living is finally doable.

Now, with very little effort and even less money, you can ready your apartment complex or rental property to attract those tenants with a flair for the greener things in life. Better Homes & Gardens is here to help. They’ve compiled the following list of small actions you can take to achieve this goal:

  1. Lighting: Energy efficient light bulbs may not seem as though they are capable of a big change, but the energy they save adds up. According to BH&G, they turn energy into light instead of heat, saving up to 75% of energy and lasting nearly 10 times longer. Equipping units with these light bulbs, advertising that you’ve done so, and the encouraging tenants to continue the practice will make an impression on these eco-savvy consumers.
  2. Recycling: If the community where your property is located offers a recycling program, make sure to inform tenants and prospects. If it does not, you can easily create your own complex-only program by setting-up marked receptacles at a central location and then arranging for pick-up through a local service or by delivering the items yourself. Recycling should include plastics, aluminum, paper, and even electronics.
  3. Gardening: Community gardens offer tenants a way to get involved and get to know each other, while also providing sustainable food options for the complex. To read more about this option, read our article, “How to Build a Community Through Gardening.”
  4. Plumbing: The water waste from a seemingly small drip can be a significant problem. Ensure you’re having the property’s plumbing checked on at least an annual basis for any major issues. Educate tenants as to their responsibility for reporting leaks as well as prepping for weather changes that could place the plumbing in jeopardy.
  5. Landscaping: Paying careful attention to the type of landscaping you choose not only has the potential to save money on maintenance, it can also be an eco-friendly solution. Choosing gravel or recycled rubber over grass for common areas is a great start, as it cuts back on both law mowing and watering. Choosing climate-appropriate shrubs over flowers will also help keep water usage down as they need less to thrive.

Of course, you can do everything listed here and still not attract the right tenants if you fail to let them know about your efforts. So, always ensure your marketing materials and website have a special call-out area where those with a flair for green can find the highlights. Call Class A Management to learn more at 817-295-5959.

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5 Tips for Keeping Tenants Healthy

Keeping Tenants Healthy

If you haven’t noticed, there is a movement for a healthier America going on right now and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. In the past, we’ve seen trends like this. We’ve watched as everyone joined in on aerobics with Richard Simmons, then a trend started toward Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, and somewhere in there we ran through several periods of really bad fad diets. But this movement isn’t like those.

Today, the buzz is centered on all-natural, clean eating and high-impact workouts (think Cavemen). Eating clean is about getting rid of anything that is processed, unnatural, or that has been stripped of vital nutrients from our diets. It’s organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, grass-fed and free-range meats and dairy, lots of water, and choosing to cook in the healthiest of manners such as baking instead of frying. The workouts are just as they sound: lots of heavy lifting, which is indicative of approaches such as CrossFit and P90X.

Keeping Tenants Healthy

As a property owner, there are many benefits to helping your tenants stay healthy. The care it shows for them and the opportunity it provides to build a sense of community are two surefire ways to encourage tenant loyalty. So, here are five ways to make it happen:

  1. Spread the Word: Whether through a property newsletter or regularly distributed email, make health a part of the ongoing conversation. Build a call-out box or special section that just focuses on eating and exercise tips, such as weekly tips and stats, recipes, and easy-to-replicate exercises.
  2. Encourage a Group Effort: Tenants want that sense of community. What better way to get everyone involved and keep them healthy than property-wide activities. From hosting a PX90 get-fit class to encouraging an organized walk around the complex at sundown, there are plenty of options to accomplishing this.
  3. Make it Home Grown: Community gardens is something we’ve talked about in other blogs, mainly because they are a hot trend that tenants demand. It gets them involved and it encourages loyalty because they aren’t as apt to walk away from the project. But the added benefit is getting those locally-grown fruits and veggies that are becoming so coveted.
  4. Get it Discounted: Fitness clubs and gyms want your tenants to join. Your property is a treasure trove to them because it offers the prospect of many new memberships. And, because of this, they will be more willing to offer exclusive discounts and benefits to tenants of your complex. Make sure your tenants are aware.
  5. Create a Challenge: Do you have sister properties or a friendly rival with another property in town that would be willing to go in on a little wager? Utilizing the power of self-quantifying apps, your tenants can challenge those of another complex on results achieved within a certain amount of time. Even if it’s not against another complex, you can create some healthy competition with rewards just between the tenants themselves. Not only is everyone getting healthy, but a few discounts each month are being thrown at them for doing so.

Need some more tips like these? We have the latest on exactly what your tenants are looking for and what they expect from you. Call the professionals at Class A Management today and get plugged-in. You can reach us at 817-295-5959 or by email at .

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How to Build a Community Through Gardening

Build a Community through Gardening

The green movement is coming to a lawn near you, and it’s out for your sod. Acting now will enable you to leverage the movement to build a community through gardening.

Community gardens have become part of the mainstream green movement. A venture that hearkens back to World War II victory gardens, community gardening answers the call for locally raised food. It’s a call that young people are answering with their shovels and compost tumblers, and one that may be coming to a property you own. So if you’re ready to build some community, let the community build a compost pile and a few raised beds with some basic guidelines:

  1. Require that the garden have at least three designated garden managers and a set of bylaws. Approve the bylaws with the help of a property attorney.
  2. Ask the group to provide their own garden insurance, a liability plan that won’t indemnify your property in the event of an accident or food contamination.
  3. Have the managers present you with a garden plan, including a list of plants and their water requirements, a rainwater catchment and reuse plan and a sketch of the garden. Complete a walk-through of the area you’ve set aside, and envision how it will affect curb appeal.
  4. Lend a hand. Encourage the effort once the planning process is complete, and instead of a green lawn you may be helping grow green thumbs.

Even if you’re not ready for a community garden on your property, don’t be surprised if one springs up around the corner. The professionals at Class A Management can help you sort out the details and build your community, either through a garden or other methods. Call us today at 817-295-5959 or e-mail, .

Source: Starting a Community Garden, www.communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php

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Multifamily Property Disaster Prep for Owners

Multifamily Property Disaster Prep

When you hear “Hurricane Katrina,” failure is the first thing that comes to mind. The levee system failed, sure, but so did the people responsible for the safety of the city. We all know the horrors of Katrina could happen again, and when you’re a property owner responsible for the health and safety of hundreds of people who live in a building you own, it pays to be prepared. Do you have a multifamily property disaster plan in place?

The term “emergency preparedness” is bandied about by every agency known to man these days, but what it means to commercial property owners can be different – and simpler – than what it means to city government.

The first thing any property manager should know is what type of disasters they should prepare to meet. Fire is always the number-one enemy of stick-built structures and the people within them; but is your property also in a flood zone? Would you feel the effects of a weak hurricane, or could a Category 5 storm move far enough inland to require you to have a hurricane plan? How prevalent are tornadoes in your area, and do you know when tornado season begins so you can prepare your tenants with that weekly “safety tip?”

A little advance research can pay off big-time when disaster strikes. Having rock-solid plans in place can also help management establish that sense of community with residents that is so important for compliance. It also doesn’t hurt to tell them, “We’re all in this together.”

For a property manager who knows how to establish and implement emergency preparedness plans, contact Class A Management. We know property management, and we know how to plan for anything. Call us today at 817-295-5959 or e-mail, .

Sources: “Emergency Preparedness,” National Multi Housing Council, www.nmhc.com.