Should You Require Tenants to Hold Renters Insurance?

contract-signing-1474333It is estimated that fewer than one third of all renters carry any kind of insurance. That begs the question: should you require your tenants to hold renters insurance while living on your property?
As a landlord, your insurance policy covers the building structure only – not any of the personal belongings inside the unit. Should a pipe burst or a burglary occur, any items damaged or stolen won’t be covered by your insurance policy. That’s why it’s so important for tenants to protect themselves with renters insurance.
It’s a good idea to require renters to show proof that they hold such insurance. Include the requirement in the lease and ask for it before turning over the keys to the apartment. For tenants who refuse, consider adopting a Tenant Liability Insurance Program. The program protects landlords should a resident be liable for damage to a unit in the event of a fire, sewer overflow or water damage.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Should You Pay for Good Reviews?

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Last week, we wrote about the necessity of handling bad reviews in a polite, fiar manner. But this week, we’re digging into the slightly seedier side of the review world: paid reviews.
They’re more common than you think. Whether you’re reading up on a local pizza joint’s reputation or getting feedback about a new gadget from Amazon reviews, chances are good, at least some of the reviews you’re reading are fake.
It’s easier – and cheaper – than ever to buy great reviews of your property. There are even companies that specialize in just that. It doesn’t take more than a few Google searches to find writers willing to create unique Yelp reviews for your property. The question isn’t can you – but should you buy fake reviews?
We recommend you don’t. Here’s why: consumers are catching on to these trends. Websites like Fakespot.com and Reviewskeptic.com use algorithms to analyze reviews and find the fakes. And once someone realizes you’re paying for good reviews, your reputation tanks faster than if you’d had a page full of mediocre reviews.
So when it comes to paying for good reviews, just don’t!

Bad Reviews: Best Practices for Managing Expectations

agreement-survey-scale-3-1236576In the era of Yelp, everyone turns to the web to read up on local businesses. Whether you’re looking for the best Chinese food in town or searching out prices for a local lawn care business, chances are good that you’ll end up online reading reviews. It’s no different for apartment hunters.
So when a current or former resident leaves a nasty review of your community, it’s hard not to worry about the long-reaching ramification of their words. This is especially true when there aren’t many reviews of your property at all – the bad ones stand out.
The best way to handle a bad review? At Cal Bay Property Management, we recommend responding quickly to the complaint and then take things offline. By publicly addressing the review, readers will likely see you as honest – or at least willing to hear feedback and make necessary changes. Even if the person who left the bad review never changes their mind about your community, potential new residents will appreciate a property owner who tries to make things right!
– Scott Safadi

Breed Restriction Policies: Do They Make Sense?

dog-1369266The debate about pit bulls has waged for years. Critics of the breed argue the dogs are predisposed to violence and therefore are more likely to attack people. Animal lovers, however, challenge that idea, claiming that dog owners – not pit bulls themselves – are to blame for bites and attacks.
Left in the middle of the debate are property managers. More and more communities are placing breed restriction policies in their leases. While many such policies limit the ownership of a pet over a certain weight, some explicitly forbid breeds like Rottweilers, pit bulls and German Shepherds.
At Cal Bay Property Management, we appreciate just how nuanced this argument can get. On one hand, there’s no denying pit bulls cause many of the thousands of dog bite injuries each year. On the other, a dog’s exact genetic background can be difficult to know. The term pit bull itself can refer to several different breeds of dogs.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it is important to do your due diligence before deciding on a policy for your community.
– Scott Safadi

Inexpensive Ways to Attract New Tenants

balloons-1194000Finding new tenants is a constant challenge for any property manager – no one knows that better than our team at Cal Bay Property Management. And when your marketing budget is dwindling with no real leads, it is easy to start panicking. Have no fear – try one of these quick and easy ways to attract the very best new tenants.
Increase your followers. One of the best way to generate quality leads is to reach out to your existing tenants for referrals. There’s no easier way to do this than through social media! If you’re not on Facebook, you should be! If you’ve got a social media presence, be sure to keep it to date. You should be posting at least weekly!
Host an open house. Even with an appointment, many potential new tenants are no-shows. An open house can be a more efficient way to show off your property, since visitors can come and go as they please. Offer snacks, informational brochures and applications to go.
Give away. Whether you’re entering new applicants into a raffle to win a new iPad or printing your logo and phone number on pens, being generous can pay dividends. It doesn’t take a lot of investment to see real results. Try partnering with another local business to share leads.
– Scott Safadi

Rethinking Apartment Pet Policies

rethinkingpetsWhether you’re a pet lover or not, there’s undeniable appeal in having a furry roommate. A sleepy cat to warm your lap or friendly pup to get you outside and active can dramatically increase a person’s quality of life.
For a lot of property managers, though, pets spell disaster. Loud dogs can cause tension between residents. Cats can tear up carpet. Lazy pet owners can be bad about picking up after their dog while out on walks. And, of course, there’s the matter of animals simply being unpredictable – dog attacks send hundreds of people to the hospital each year.
But pets don’t have to result in lawsuits or property damage. In fact, allowing pets in your rentals can do more good than harm – most potential tenants won’t even consider your property if they can’t bring Fido along. We at Cal Bay Property Management recommend outlining clear expectations – and consequences – regarding pet misbehavior and damages. With the lines firmly drawn, you can set up a positive relationship with the pet owner from the start.
Find a way to negotiate – and compromise – with pet owners, and you might just find yourself a loyal new resident.
– Scott Safadi

 

3 Must-Have Smartphone Apps for Landlords

Skip the paper check list and try one of these apps!

Skip the paper check list and try one of these apps!

Being a landlord has never been easier, thanks to new technological trends. Automatic bill paying makes collecting rent payments each month way more efficient, but that’s really just the start. These are just three examples of the way the role is shifting – for the better.

Legal4Landlords
Got an iPhone? You’re in luck. This app is your key to unlocking your potential new tenant’s background. If they’ve been evicted or blacklisted by agents or landlords, you’ll learn about it fast.

The Landlord App
Keep track of your current tenants and find new ones with this app. Manage rent payments and schedule utility bills right from your phone. You can even link associated properties, making this a one stop shop.

Rightmove
Knowing your competition is invaluable as a landlord, which is why Rightmove is such a useful tool! Free on both the Android and iPhone app stores, the app helps keep you in touch with your rental market fluctuations. Use GPS to track details of local properties and their prices.

– Scott Safardi, Cal Bay Property Management