Air Conditioning Rights: How to Handle an HVAC Repair in the Heat of Summer

We’re facing some of the hottest temperatures of the year this month, so when air conditioners break down or stop cooling apartments as they should, life can be rough. Understandably, tenants become irritated and impatient when their HVAC system isn’t working as it should. So how do you handle breakages?
In California, landlords are required to provide adequate heat in the winter, but there are no requirements for providing air conditioning. That said, very few people want to live in a home without AC in the summer, so if you’re including it in your lease, make sure you include language about repair responsibilities.
So what should those repair responsibilities be? Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management advocates for operating under the “golden rule.” Just as we are taught as children, it’s important to treat others the way we would like to be treated. So while it’s totally legal to fix a tenant’s air conditioning in a vague but “reasonable” amount of time, it’s best to keep tenants in the loop about their timeline.
If the forecast has temperatures into the uppers 80s, 90s and beyond, it’s best to shell out the cash as soon as possible to call in a repairman. You risk angering your tenant if you don’t. While you’ll be within your legal right to wait, you face potentially nasty reviews from them on social media. The last thing any landlord wants to be accused of is being apathetic!
Instead, fix the AC in a timely manner. Not only will you prevent harsh reviews from being posted, you may in fact win over your tenants in a new way. Turn a negative into an opportunity to prove what a great place to live your community truly is. Most people understand that air conditioners break and will be reasonable in their expectations for repairs. Bowl them over by going above and beyond and fixing their AC as soon as possible. This is how you create truly appreciative tenants who are incredibly grateful for your help.
If they ask how they can repay your kindness, simply ask them to tell their friends about how much they love living in your community!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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