Choosing the Right Smart Home Technology for Rental Housing

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Arize

In our connected world, even our homes are becoming smarter. The term is ‘smart technology’ and it is changing the way that apartment communities are being managed. Here are the answers to common questions regarding this fresh new concept.

  • Q: What is a smart apartment / smart home?

Smart apartments and homes use internet-connected devices to monitor and manage the home remotely, using a simple phone application. This includes everything from appliances and utilities to temperature and lighting controls. Think of it this way: just as your mobile phone has iOS and Android that connect us to just about all of our daily tasks, they now also connect us to our most important asset—our homes!

Smart apartments are very versatile and offer something for every tenant. In fact, they can be equipped with EACH AND EVERY ONE of the following smart devices (Note: all these devices allow for 24/7 monitoring and response): Smoke detector alerts, smart lighting control, thermostat automation, water leak detectors, keyless entry/smart locks, entry sensors (e.g., windows and doors), motion sensors and more. Additionally, smart apartment devices can all be automated onto one simple, streamlined platform.

Ask Kari – About Onsite Managers

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, SKY Properties, Inc.

(Editor’s Note: The “Ask Kari” now features a new monthly, “Question and Answer” format by Kari Negri, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of SKY Properties.  Ms. Negri has more than two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many real estate industry trade shows and expositions, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.  Ms. Negri would like to answer your questions in future articles and asks that you submit your questions to: Kari@SKYprop.LA.  Also, you can watch the SKY Properties online video series at www.skypropertiesinc.com

  • Question: “Hi Kari, I heard a building owner can be sued for not keeping proper timesheets for their on-site building managers? How can I avoid legal exposure?”

First and foremost, before I can even begin to address your question, you must have a valid, signed contract in place with any onsite manager.  You can a form onsite manager contract through the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (or you can pay for an attorney to draft one for you).  Having a valid contract in place between you and your onsite manager is not an option – it is mandatory for all onsite employees to have a contract even if you call them a “key holder,” “cleaner,” “security” or even worse, any “friend” or just plain old “tenant.”  Even if the building is small and does not require an onsite manager or employee, if you have a person at your building that is designated as such who is performing services in exchange for rent concessions, then there must absolutely be a contract that outlines his or her duties and responsibilities and the days and hours they are expected to work. 

Landlord / Tenant Law “Q&A” With Kimball, Tirey & St. John

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Ted Kimball, Esq., Partner, Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

  • Question.  If a tenant is evicted, does he forfeit his or her security deposit?

Answer.  Even though a tenant is evicted, he or she still has a right to an accounting of the use of his security deposit.  The deposit can be used for cleaning, repairs, and delinquent rent.

  • Question.  Does a resident have to stay in his or her apartment for a certain number of days per month for his or her lease to remain in effect?

Answer.  Not unless the lease requires actual possession.

Our Analysis of Housing Relief Provided Under the American Rescue Plan Act

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).  First and foremost, ARPA includes $21.55 billion in dedicated emergency rental assistance funding, which continues federal support of state and local rental assistance programs across the country. Combined with the $25 billion in rental assistance funding allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, these funds are a significant step forward in closing the growing “gap” of tens of billions of dollars of outstanding rental debt that have accumulated during the pandemic. Simply put, the funds are a lifesaver for both renters and housing providers who have been hardest hit.

Additionally, the new law does not extend the federal eviction moratorium that remains in place until March 31, 2021. The following summarizes the “key” aspects of the ARPA with regard to housing relief:

How To Create a Diversified Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) Portfolio

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Jason Salmon, Senior Vice President, Kay Properties & Investments, LLC

Diversification is one of the basic building blocks to any investment portfolio strategy. It is the simple concept of not wanting to put all your eggs in one basket.  Diversification across asset types helps to avoid concentration risk – and potentially a basket full of broken eggs. Diversification also has the potential to create other positives, such as achieving a potentially higher overall blended return for a portfolio and smoothing out the natural cyclical ups and down that can occur within sectors.

A Short History on Emotional Support and Service Animals

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Ari Chazanas, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lotus West Properties

You have probably seen service dogs in public assisting their owners with tasks and making their lives easier. You have also likely heard of amusing stories of unusual animals riding along with their owners on airplanes as emotional support animals or “ESAs.”  This article will give you short history of service and emotional support animals, describe the differences between the two, and provide advice on what you should do when you receive an accommodation request from a tenant.

Assistance Animals Revisited – Recent Guidance & Recent Regulations

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

April is Fair Housing Month, during which we will mark the 53rd anniversary of the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The law being over a half-century old does not mean that its interpretation and application does not continue to evolve.

The FHA has been amended twice; once in 1974 and again in 1988.  Later this year will come the 33rd anniversary of those 1988 amendments to the FHA that added provisions to ensure equal, or at least improved, access to housing for people with disabilities.  Just as with other aspects of law, when it comes to the FHA’s disability-specific provisions, their interpretation and application are not static.  Evidence of that fact is shown by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity’s (FHEO) issuance of updated guidance on assistance animals on January 28, 2020.  That update came just 4 weeks after the introduction of California’s first fair housing regulations, which can be found in Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), starting at section 12005.  That January 2020 introduction of regulations was the first phase of developing comprehensive regulations that will eventually address most aspects of fair housing law.  Among the topics addressed in the first phase is that of assistance animals.

The Earthquake Insurance Quandary: Is It Affordable?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Newfront Insurance

Many property owners today do not bother purchasing earthquake insurance due to perceived high costs and limited coverage.  Often, we are asked: “Is earthquake insurance affordable?”  The answer is, “Yes, it is.”

California considers Earthquake Insurance another type of “CAT” (catastrophic) coverage that is underwritten by several domestic and international carriers and has been the last of the CAT coverages to start experiencing rate increases, albeit moderate, due to the presently strained state of the Property Insurance marketplace.

Solving the Homeless Crisis Should Be a Public-Private Partnership

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Roderick Wright, California State Senator (Retired)

We can all agree homelessness or being unhoused is a social, economic and health problem.  The breakdown occurs when we try to solve the problem.  Nothing, particularly homelessness, is an easy issue to tackle, and if it were, it would have already been solved. 

Let us also all agree, people sleeping on the street is unhealthy, unsightly, and inhumane.  So now how do we solve this crisis?  U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered the City of Los Angeles to do something about the homelessness situation faced by the City following a lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights. In Los Angeles County and most others, the Public Guardian is responsible for people unable to care for themselves, and this obligates our government to act.  However, many of the homeless on our streets and in temporary shelters today have not attempted to obtain assistance. 

Opportunity Zones – A 1031 Exchange Alternative?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Christopher Miller, MBA

As a tax-advantaged investment and 1031 Exchange expert, I was intrigued when I first heard of Opportunity Zones.  This is a program created by the federal government that is designed to encourage investing in certain areas of the country.  It was initially described to me as a “1031 Exchange Alternative.”  After much research, I concluded that; while it does work to somewhat ease the pain of capital gains taxes, the Opportunity Zone is a poor alternative to a 1031 Exchange.  This month, I will talk about why.

What Opportunity Zones Are

Opportunity Zones were created to offer tax incentives that would encourage investment in certain areas of the country.  Based on that description, one would expect eligible properties to be unattractive; flooded areas of New Orleans, the former Packard factory in Detroit that has been vacant for 60 years, etc.   It turns out that this is far from the truth.  Opportunity Zones were created by elected officials, so every politician in the country had their hand out to create zones in “their” neighborhoods.  The state of California alone has 879 Opportunity Zones and include areas in Beverly Hills and along Fraternity Row at the University of Southern California.

So; if I invest in an Opportunity Zone, I’m not stuck investing somewhere that I need to wait 10 years for growth?  I can invest somewhere with the potential to grow now?  I was interested.  What are the tax benefits?