Posts Tagged ‘Property Management’

Crime Training Pays Off for Landlords

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

CrimeFighting_LandlordsLandlords all across the country are fed up with crime in rental properties, and all the associated costs. Many communities are now pushing landlords to adopt crime-free rental policies. Usually, this means landlords would go to training sessions hosted by the local police department, and allow in-depth inspections of their properties.

The goal in mind for landlords is attracting higher quality tenants who will help to maintain a higher quality rental property, which in turn keeps profits up. A crime-free property accomplishes that goal.

Landlords can learn how to prevent and identify crime directly from a crime prevention officer while completing a training session. It is very difficult for the untrained eye to spot signs of serious crimes like drug sales or manufacturing.

Local police departments are eager to assist landlords wishing to help lower crime in the neighborhood. For example the Salem, Oregon police department is actively registering property managers for its annual landlord training in April. This is a two-day intensive class focusing on local rental laws and crime prevention, with topics like drug recognition in and around rental properties. The cost of this two day workshop is about $70 per person.

This demonstrates a growing trend; landlords who care want advice on how to prevent crime in the rentals. Cities strive to provide that training.

The only downside is the fees.

In addition to tuition, property owners may have to pay an annual licensing fee for each unit, and inspection fees on an as-needed basis. It’s possible for a community to adopt a policy that forces all landlords to attend the training sessions, willing or not.

The alternative is self-education. A central focus on crime training is screening tenants. Most seasoned landlords already know the value of properly performed background checks — and how invaluable quality tenant screening can be. Focusing on who you allow into the rental property can greatly reduce the risk of criminal activity.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Fewer Tenants Can Afford Rent

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Rent IncreaseAccording to a report just released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a renter needs to earn $18.92 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental unit at fair market. That’s two-and-a-half times more than the federal minimum wage, and 52% higher than what was required in 2000.

The report, entitled Out of Reach 2014, reveals the drastic difference between what renters need to earn to afford rent and what the average renter actually earns. In 2014, the average renter earns $14.64 an hour. While housing costs vary nationwide, the report shows that a full-time minimum wage worker can’t afford a one or two-bedroom rental unit anywhere in the U.S.

According to Out of Reach 2014, the top five most expensive states are:

Hawaii, where renters need a wage of $31.54 per hour for a two-bedroom;
District of Columbia, $28.25 per hour for a two-bedroom;
California, where a two-bedroom requires $26.04 per hour;
Maryland, $24.94 per hour for a two-bedroom; and,
New Jersey, where renters need to make $24.92 per hour for a two-bedroom.

New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alaska, and Virginia finish out the list of top 10 most expensive states in 2014.

The most expensive metropolitan area in 2014 is San Francisco, where an individual needs to earn $37.62 an hour to afford a decent two-bedroom rental unit at market rate. At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25, Out of Reach 2014 calculated that it would take more than two people working full-time minimum wage jobs to afford a decent two-bedroom rental home for their family.

Even if the federal minimum wage was raised to $10.10 per hour, as proposed by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, it won’t help in everywhere — only in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico.

There were over 40 million renter households in the U.S. in 2012, making up 35% of all households nationwide. This is a 1.1 million increase over the previous year and double the rate of growth in previous decades. One in every four of these renter households are extremely low income, meaning they earn less than 30% of the area median income.

The population of extremely low income renters has risen to 10.2 million, and these are the households that experience the greatest housing instability and risk of homelessness. NLIHC calculates that there are just 31 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renter households. However, NLIHC says that closing this gap is achievable through funding of the National Housing Trust Fund, which could provide communities with the money to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households.

Extensive data for every state, metropolitan area, and county in the country are available online at

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

How To Handle Property Inspections for Occupied Units

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Property InspectionAs the owner of rental properties, whether it be one or multiple units, annual inspections are a vital part of the process. Sometimes, you might have a long-term tenant that religiously renews that lease year after year – and you appreciate that. However, unless you employ a property manager to handle daily operations, property upkeep is your responsibility and you’ll need to perform the occasional inspection while a unit is still occupied.

After all, you can’t fix things when you’re unaware of their current condition, making property inspections during tenancy sometimes unavoidable. Here are some tips concerning the do’s and don’ts of approaching that annual inspection when the time rolls around, even if tenants have previously approved of your right to handle the task within your rental or lease agreement.

Do Give Notice Prior to Inspections

Unless you suspect your current tenant of violating current restrictions or policies within their lease such as unapproved residents or pets, current tenants appreciate you giving notice before inspection. Even if the worst they have to hide is dirty laundry or dust, unless you’ve stipulated the potential for surprise inspections in your lease agreement, the law mandates advanced notice unless a local law or ordinance is being broken.

Do Encourage Resident Presence During Property Inspections

More importantly, you should encourage at least one primary leaseholder to be present during your inspection. This could prevent any accusations of theft or mischief down the line, and it will also give you the opportunity to ask the tenant about any potential problems with appliances, systems, or concerns about the unit. Residnets are often very willing to open their homes to you just to catch your ear about a needed repair or suggestion.

Do Let Residents Understand Why You’re Doing the Inspection

Is that tile chipped in the bathroom? Is the kitchen faucet leaking? How about servicing that HVAC system? Structural integrity and appliance and systems check are a part of homeownership, whether you lease or rent it or not. Let your tenant know the reasons for your visit, and that it is a routine event both for their benefit and yours.

Don’t Take Photographs Indoors of Personal Items

You may only intend to get that sagging windowpane, but you accidentally got part of the mantle that features family photos. Unlike a vacant home, occupied rental property inspections have certain rules, and taking photos of identifiable personal items like pictures, computers, valuables, pets, or people is a no-no.

Don’t Engage in Face-to-Face Confrontations with Residents about Issues

As the owner,  steam may be coming from your ears if you make an inspection only to find your property is being neglected in some way. It’s important to visually and physically document such issues, but it’s equally essential to address such problems with your resident – in writing. Verbal confrontations could lead to your tenant skipping out on you, bad mouthing your reputation as a renter, or even legal troubles down the line. Keep your notifications formal and in writing if problems surface during your property inspection.

Whether annual, interim, or spot inspections are on the agenda for your rental properties, keep these do’s and don’t in mind to keep tenants happy and to ensure you’re acting in accordance with renter’s legal rights.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

The 2 Rules Hidden in Every Lease

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Signing a LeaseEvery landlord knows that the lease controls when it comes to managing properties and settling tenant disputes.

But did you know there are two hidden rules inherent to every lease agreement, even if these rules are not written in the lease?


In every leasing situation, verbal or written, long-term or short, good or bad, a landlord has a duty to provide habitable premises. This is true if the lease is silent on the issue, and remains true even in cases where the landlord has shifted the responsibility to the tenant or attempted to limit this duty in some way.

While there may be language in a local statute and ordinance on habitability, this rule comes from simple contract law, and that makes it very flexible. The duty of habitability covers all the day-to-day necessities, including hot and cold running water, heat, and in some cases air conditioning, safe access, reasonable security from intruders, and compliance with zoning, building and fire codes.

The gray area: the tenant’s own actions. While the landlord has the duty to keep the property habitable at all times, a tenant may be liable for costs of repairs or remediation caused by their deliberate or negligent actions, including the actions of their guests.

Quiet Enjoyment

The biggest beef tenants have against landlords is intrusion on the right to quiet enjoyment, which exists whether or not it is mentioned in a lease agreement. Quiet enjoyment, the right to live without intrusion or nuisance, encompasses everything from excessive or unannounced landlord visits to noisy neighbors.

Despite the label, it’s not just noise that violates this covenant. Secondhand smoke is a common culprit.

Tenants’ Rights

When either of these hidden duties is violated, tenants have a number of possible remedies, including withholding rent (constructive eviction), or breaking the lease entirely, with no ramifications.

In a worst case scenario, the tenant can sue for damages that may go far beyond the actual rent paid under the lease agreement, so it’s important to keep these rules in mind when making property management decisions.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Multicultural Resident Retention

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by Vera Dordick


Every property manager knows that spending time and effort to retain residents is more cost effective than working to attract new ones: Each resident turnover is estimated to cost a property around $3,000. While much has been written about strategies for enticing residents to renew, little is said about the different challenges involved in working with residents from other cultures.

California has more foreign-born residents than any other state, putting its property managers in a unique position: Odds are quite good that they will be working with renters from other cultures. New York, Texas and Florida are the other states with high immigrant populations. According to the Public Policy Institute of California:

  • One out of four immigrants to the United States resides in California. (That’s more people than the entire population of Michigan!)
  • Of this population, more than half are Hispanic and 37 percent are Asian.
  • Asia has surpassed Latin America as the major source of immigrants to California.

Across the board, retention experts have identified good communication as a critical factor in keeping residents. The big challenge with multicultural renters comes when your communications style is not necessarily the same as theirs. Culturally based behaviors and styles affect communication and can impact every step of the property rental and management process, from leasing to maintenance.

Culture is a loaded word that means different things to different people.  It is based on your family history, your religion, your reality and your perceptions. For example, if you have never tried an ethnic cuisine, its ingredients, flavors and textures may seem strange.  Similarly, if you don’t understand why people from a different culture behave the way they do, their actions may also seem strange, unfamiliar, or even wrong.

They aren’t “wrong.” They’re just different. This is the key concept that will be most helpful in working with people from other countries.  In a world of cultures, there is no right or wrong culture, no one culture that is “better” than another. Approaching education in cultural sensitivity with an open mind, devoid of stereotypes can help you achieve the “cultural mind shift” that your perception may not be their reality.  This will help you work efficiently and effectively with any multicultural renter.

All residents of a community want to be valued and understood, and feel comfortable living in a community. By understanding the reasons that drive their behaviors – the “why” – you will be better prepared to handle various communication styles and achieve your goals without offending. Some countries have a fluid time culture that does not place significant value on punctuality. Others do not have a history of fixed-term or fixed-price leases. Cultural differences can also impact gender relations and issues of hierarchy on both sides of your business dealings, particularly during the initial leasing process. By taking into account these differences from your very fist meeting, you will set the stage for an open and welcoming atmosphere.

Helpful tactics

Accommodating cultural differences does not have to consume a great deal of time or money as long as you are prepared. Before showing units to any potential renters, it’s a good idea (and prudent legal practice) to ask if renters have any special needs or requirements. By asking everyone, you will not stumble into issues of stereotyping or run afoul of the Fair Housing Act.

Additional challenges may arise after renters join your community. Cultural differences can create concerns over safety and maintenance, which in turn can affect your entire property.

  • Some residents may not wear shoes in the home and pile them outside, creating a fire and safety hazard.
  • Renters from some cultures may remove closet doors and burn incense or candles inside.
  • Cooking smells can be distinctive and pervasive.
  • Maintenance in some areas of the unit may become a concern, such as grease build-up in the kitchen or water damage in the bathrooms.
  • Appliances may be damaged because of unintentional misuse.

In all of these cases, cultural differences are the root cause of the challenge.  Depending upon the culture of the renter, there are various ways that issues can be addressed to solve the problem without offending the client. Often, problems can be avoided by providing renters a list of leasing etiquette points that must be followed.  Essentially, it’s a list of do’s and don’ts, which can be useful for any renter.

Reminding renters that maintenance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can be critical.  In some countries, maintenance service – particularly without an extra charge – does not exist. Familiarizing residents with the availability of the service can save a bundle on repair costs when the situation is one that requires immediate attention.

Sometimes, communicating with non-native English speakers can be challenging. Be mindful of the language you use in speaking with multicultural renters. Speak slowly and avoid compound words and idioms, which can be difficult for them to understand. Don’t be afraid to say you are having trouble understanding and ask someone to repeat themselves.

Interacting with multicultural residents can be an exciting and personally rewarding experience. Their traditions, stories and perspectives can enrich the lives of the entire community.  Moreover, from a business perspective, they cannot be ignored. Most all ethnic communities have an informal network that newcomers use to find sources of goods and services.  It could be damaging to a property if it were to develop a reputation as being unwelcoming to foreign-born renters.

Progressively minded property management companies will seize the opportunity to attract and retain this sizeable market segment.  Educating and training staff members to effectively communicate with multicultural renters will have an immediate and tangible effect on a rental community’s bottom line.

TangibleDevLogo Vera Dordick | Company Website  |  LinkedIn Connect

Tangible Development helps companies thrive in a world of flux through cultural awareness training and improved global communication skills. It offers customized consulting with special industry expertise in property management, hospitality, higher education, science and technology, health care and financial services.

Preventive Maintenance, Taking The Time Saves Time

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Property maintenance“There isnt enough time to do time to do preventive maintenance,” might be the battle cry for every new maintenance supervisor.

“You’ll pay in time and maintenance expense, when you don’t perform preventive maintenance,” is the sage advice from any Obi Wan Kenobi that has a few years of experience in the lead maintenance role.

No one is ever going to find time for preventive maintenance. It has to be scheduled: a half hour a day, a half day per week. Therre’s isn’t one right answer. There’s only a wrong answer-NOT SCHEDULING!

At the beginnng of a month, or the beginning of the work week; determine the preventive maintenance focus for that time frame. Then determine how much time is needed to accomplish this task for the property.

– Changing furnace or air conditioning filters for 125 apartments.
– How much time for each apartment home?
– Enter
– Perform Service
– Check Smoke Detector, ALWAYS!!
– Exit, leaving door tag that says “Maintenance was in your home today.”

Worst case, ten minutes? So for 125 apartment homes, its 1250 minutes, about 21 hours of time to schedule. Almost three full days! To prevent maintenance operations from coming to a halt, could you schedule two hours a day for two weeks?

With a scheduled activity, the number of apartments being serviced can be managed to prevent overscheduling. In this case, twelve to thirteen apartments would need to be scheduled each day. A scheduled, controlled limited effort compared to giving notices to an entire property, something interrupts the schedule resulting in the domino effect of revising notices and mass confusion for maintenance and residents.

In many cases, it makes sense to combine quarterly initiatives; smoke detector test, unit inspections, or filter changes. It takes more time in each apartment home, but not near as much time as a repeat performancee of entering every apartment home again. Before undertaking a property wide initiative, look at the calendar, what items are on the immediate horizon? Budget Prep? Is it time to update the capital needs inventory for the property? Use the time effectively and efficiently.

Properties with consistent preventive maintenance almost eliminate after hour emergencies.

The number of calls for poorly performing air conditioners or furnaces that are remedied after a pricey service call to change the filter is frustrating to anyone reviewing invoices; what a waste of financial resources. In addition to the realization that failure to service HVAC equipment properly will result in premature failure of the equipment or systems.

Exterior inspections are a critical feature of preventive maintenance.
Do exterior doors close securely?
Any loose shingles, gutters or downspouts?
Are extensions in place on all downspouts, with splashblocks to take water
away from the building foundation?

Spring, fall and even winter can be wet seasons. Heavy rains and melting snow give building drainage systems a work out. Without extensions to drain the roof run off away from the building, the excessive moisture is a perfect climate for mildew to develop on interior surfaces.

A resident reports they found mold on the wall, in the closet, behind the sofa or when they pulled the bed away from the wall.

Step 2, ( after Step One cleaning the area) Exterior Inspection, are the gutters and downspouts properly draining water away from the building.

If this isn’t a regular maintenance practice, additional time will be committed to this effort to reinspect after future rainfalls to insure the problem is resolved.

Properties in northern parts of our nation need an appropriate plan for snow removal.
Who plows?
Where is it pushed to?
Is the equipment for the sidewalks in good working condition?
Is there gasoline for the equipment, ice melt products on hand?

“Getting Around To It” generally doesn’t happen until there’s no choice because it is now too late to prepare, its time for action. Scheduling is the key to success.

Taking the time to review items for the preventive maintenance agenda, determining the time to complete the task and scheduling is the first step to proactive maintenance in an environment that changes daily.

Lori_Hammond Lori Hammond | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Lori has 30+ years’ experience in the Property Management Industry, working with both market rate and affordable housing.  Lori has been privileged to work with some tremendous industry leaders during employment tenures with Oxford Management, NHP Management, AIMCO, Alliance Residential, Boston Capital, The Sterling Group, P.K. Housing and currently Management Resources Development.

Landlords Get Tough on Subletting

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

KeysSeduced by the promise of extra income — a $100 or so a night in many cases — tenants across the country are looking to vacation rental service Airbnb to turn their apartments into profit centers through temporary sublets.

The most active markets are in major cities, including those with rent limits. In some cases, rent-controlled tenants are making more money than the landlord is legally allowed to charge.

Some call it ingenuity. But others, including property owners and managers, say it’s illegal.

As the practice grows in popularity, landlords are fighting back. For instance, in a recent report from San Francisco, a tenant who was earning $185 a night by taking in temporary boarders just got the boot. An eviction attorney says he’s filed about a dozen of these cases in the last few months, according to the report.

In New York, a landlord was slapped with fines when a tenant’s sublet violated the ban on short-term lodging.  The landlord deferred the eviction when the tenant agreed to pay the penalties and to stop renting out the spare bedroom.

Airbnb offers a turnkey service allowing visitors to search online listings for extra rooms or even empty couches in large cities around the world. Sublets in San Francisco alone are estimated in the thousands, according to the report.

Despite negative publicity,  the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

If a lease agreement prohibits sublets, or short-term rentals violate local law, a landlord may have grounds to file an eviction. However, in some cases there is no built-in remedy for landlords against tenants who are exploiting a lease for profit.

And, some tenants won’t leave quietly. One tenant attorney told reporters that landlords are using the Airbnb situation as a “false pretense” to get rid of rent-controlled tenants. He negotiates lease buy-outs on behalf of tenants in cases where an eviction may be costly and protracted.

Airbnb says its policies discourage anyone from breaking the lease, or the law.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Transitioning From the Paper Trail to Digital Applications

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Just reaching your prospective renters through targeted marketing isn’t enough anymore. Without a full toolbox of digital tools you might be missing out on golden opportunities to close more sales. If you are straddling the fence between a paper leasing processes and a digital automated leasing system, here are a few details to help you get off the fence.

The Problem with Paper Trails

The paper application process isn’t efficient, it’s fragmented. Tenants look for a property online (or during a drive-by), pick up an application, mail it back, fax it in or hand deliver it to the leasing office, and wait for a leasing agent to manually key in the information. Depending on how motivated the prospect is, he may or may not view other properties while waiting for notice of approval.

At every point in the process, property managers risk losing the prospect’s interest. He or she might take the application, but get distracted by other properties before filling out the application.  He could fill out the application, but fail to return it. Maybe, another property using digital processing reaches a decision faster and closes the deal while your team is evaluating the paper application.

Digital (Mobile) Lease Flow

Mobile lease flow systems close those gaps. When an apartment seeker locates a property that piques his interest, he can complete an application from any mobile device, get an answer from management, and sign the lease – all digitally and without leaving your property. No loss of momentum and no interference from other properties vying for attention. This also means prospective tenants doing a drive-by don’t have to wait for open office hours to apply.

Supporting a Green Lifestyle

Digital lease flow systems support an eco-friendly lifestyle. Managing guest cards, non-paper applications and online virtual tour brochures drastically reduce paper waste and shrinks your property’s carbon footprint. An environmentally responsible, low-impact management style is very appealing to many urban apartment dwellers who look for sustainability-centered properties to call home.

Boosting Profits

Digital applications are efficient and cost-effective. Property owners and managers find that digital leasing systems reduce staff hours, while increasing closing ratios. Cost of printing and file maintenance also falls. Integrative, seamless paperless leasing options require fewer staff hours, but allow for more customer contact. It is like having a virtual leasing agent on call to keep your prospects engaged throughout the process from the point of interest to a signed lease.

Still Not Ready to Switch?

Beside appealing to today’s savvy, digital consumers, saving money on supplies and labor costs, and reducing your carbon footprint, there are a few more advantages for digitally integrated systems.

  • Speed up background check processing times.
  • Electronic payments reduce NSF chargebacks and late payments.
  • Paperless applications reduce turn-around time.
  • Electronic files are secure and archived for future retrieval without taking up file space in the office.

Changing the way you do business can be stressful. Switching to a system that saves you money and boosts efficiency relieves stress though, and is a great option for tenants and property managers.

appfolio Appfolio | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

How to Rate Your Property’s Appeal

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

gradesDoes your neighborhood get good grades?

With a new rating site Neighborhood Appeal, apartment seekers now can see how the neighborhood rates, based on a scale of A+ to F, for any city, town or zip code in America.

To determine the grade, Neighborhood Appeal analyzes:
Scenic beauty
Air Pollution

More important, Neighborhood Appeal allows visitors to submit their own grade for any neighborhood.

We believe this user-submitted “crowd sourced” Neighborhood Appeal grade will become the most reliable indicator of a neighborhood’s appeal on the Internet.

“Neighborhood Appeal is a free resource for people who are looking to move to a new neighborhood or travelers who want to find a nice area to spend the night,” says Michael Nirenberg, the website’s founder and chief “neighborhood enthusiast.”

The desire to live in an appealing neighborhood is a growing concern. Before deciding to move to a new neighborhood, people can use Neighborhood Appeal to find out the area’s appeal, or even ask the “natives” a question.

Good grades will help landlords attract the best renters.

Nirenberg started Neighborhood Appeal when he realized that the most important factor in choosing a place to live (or visit) is the area’s appeal.

“A lot of websites that analyze neighborhoods provide complex numbers and statistics,” Nirenberg says. Neighborhood Appeal simplifies all the numbers into a single, easy to understand grade. “Any child knows what an F means,” Nirenberg adds.

“Most people looking to move to or visit a neighborhood just want to know: is it a nice place?” Nirenberg continues. “Ultimately, the people who know the area first-hand will decide.” This is where Neighborhood Appeal’s user-generated grades shine.
According to the U.S. Census approximately 43 million Americans move each year. Of these people, 19% moved to a different county within the same state and 19% moved to a different state. Neighborhood Appeal is an easy way for people who looking to move to or a visit a neighborhood to check out its appeal.

Neighborhood Appeal allows discussion of just about any subject, topic, product or service, as long as it relates to the neighborhood. It is a place to announce you found a lost dog, need some help painting your house, or want to draw more people to a church or club event or fundraiser.

Michael Nirenberg, the founder of Neighborhood Appeal, has been on FOX news, the History Channel, PBS, Chicago’s WLS radio, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, FIRST for Women, and Whole Living magazine, and featured in other media sources. He is a practicing podiatrist, surgeon, forensic expert, walking instructor, and “neighborhood enthusiast.” Nirenberg has assisted law enforcement in homicide investigations involving foot-related evidence.

Nirenberg is currently expanding Neighborhood Appeal, adding a myriad of features and innovations. He plans to bring the platform to Canada, the UK and other countries.

logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website |

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Tenants Living Amid Rubble in Rent-Regulated Apartment War

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

The Fight for 98 Linden

After 23 years of living in their rent-stabilized apartment, Noelia Calero and her family are fighting to stay. The landlord, they say, is using intimidating tactics to push them out.

The letter from the landlord said he needed access to the apartments for a couple of weeks to make repairs.

The worker who showed up the next morning was armed with a sledgehammer and an electric saw, the tenants said, and took just hours to destroy the kitchens and the bathrooms. When the worker was done, the tenants in 1L could see the building’s basement through the remnants of their kitchen floor.

Eight months later, the kitchens and bathrooms in Apartments 1L and 1R, two rent-stabilized units on the ground floor of a six-unit building in Bushwick, Brooklyn, are still a gutted mess of exposed beams and debris. And the tenants and the landlord are locked in a standoff that underscores the anxiety coursing through changing neighborhoods, where many landlords are trying to capitalize on New York City’s robust real estate market while many lower-income tenants wonder how long they will be able to hold on to their homes.

“Our only sin is to have lived here for a long time,” said Carlos Calero, 52, a supervisor at a recycling company who pays $706 a month for the two-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife, two children and two young grandchildren.

Noelia Calero, right, and her family live in one of the apartments whose kitchens and bathrooms were destroyed. CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

Landlord-tenant disputes are a fact of life in a city where rental units are 68 percent of the housing market, though what has unfolded in that building in Bushwick, at 98 Linden Street, is not the norm, city housing officials say. But for many tenants and many landlords, the stakes are high, and who wins and who loses in such disputes has acquired new urgency amid rising housing prices that are putting pockets of the city out of reach of families like Mr. Calero’s.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to expand the number of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers to ease the housing crunch. But tenant advocates say that, in order to make a dent, the mayor must also focus on the loss of affordable apartments.

In gentrifying neighborhoods that can sustain double or triple the stabilized rent, legal aid lawyers and law enforcement officials say, many tenants face illegal and often successful pressures to move out, from buyout offers to demands that they offer proof of citizenship.

Apartments can legally be removed from rent regulation under certain conditions, including when a building’s government subsidies expire or there is a conversion to condominium or cooperative. But by far the most common way an apartment becomes market rate, according to data from the Rent Guidelines Board, is when it becomes vacant and the landlord is allowed vacancy- and improvement-related increases that bump the rent to or over the deregulation threshold of $2,500 a month.

A tightening of state rent laws in 2011 made it more difficult to deregulate an apartment, but there was still a net loss of more than 2,500 rent-stabilized apartments in 2012, the latest year for which statistics have been released by the state. That year saw at least 6,960 apartments added to the stabilized stock, mostly by property owners encouraged by tax incentives. But 9,499 apartments left the system during the same period, 71 percent because of vacancies.

Tenant advocates have the ear of Mayor de Blasio, who as public advocate ran a “worst landlord” watch list. Administration officials said that Mr. de Blasio intended for the city to “aggressively” intervene when large stabilized apartment complexes threaten removal from regulation and that he saw the need to beef up enforcement of housing and building code violations. The mayor has also promised to set up a fund to help tenants, most of whom go to housing court without lawyers, fight landlord wrongdoing.

Ms. Calero and her family have lived for months in their Brooklyn apartment with debris instead of a kitchen and bathroom. CreditDave Sanders for The New York Times

One of the families in the Bushwick apartments whose bathrooms and kitchens were destroyed, whose case is being handled by Legal Services NYC and Bushwick Housing and Legal Assistance, pays $675 a month in rent and says they could not afford anything over $1,000. That family, in apartment 1R, consists of a couple, Juan Calero and Gloria Corea, 67, their daughter Noelia Calero, 31, and her husband, Rolando Cajina, 44, the only one currently holding a job, as a road maintenance worker.

“If we had an alternative,” Mr. Cajina said, “we would have left already.”

Mr. Calero and Ms. Corea, immigrants from Nicaragua, moved into their two-bedroom apartment in the early 1990s, when the neighborhood was plagued by poverty and drugs and was far from the enclave of artists, students and now young professionals that makes recurrent appearances in shows like HBO’s “Girls.” Through that transformation, the number of rental units in Bushwick that are rent-regulated had fallen to 32 percent in 2011 from 43 percent in 2002, according to data from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University.

The families in 1L and 1R, who are related, have dug in with the help of other relatives in the building who let them use their kitchen and bathroom. Their lawyer, Brent Meltzer, said that help was one reason the tenants had not received an order from the city to vacate the building. Calls to the landlord, Joel Israel of Linden Ventures L.L.C., were not returned. In papers filed with Housing Court, Mr. Israel said Linden bought the building in January 2013 and had found “structural defects which pose a hazard to the residents.” The tenants, he said, have refused offers for alternate accommodations as he tries to rehabilitate the building.

But the city’s Buildings Department records show that a previous owner completed structure reinforcement work as recently as 2012. And Mr. Israel did not obtain permits for any construction work. Last August, the Buildings Department issued a stop-work order that has yet to be lifted.

The landlord has offered contradictory explanations for the damage to the property. Before the city’s Environmental Control Board to fight a violation issued by the Buildings Department for the unpermitted removal of plumbing fixtures and floors in the two apartments, Linden Ventures’ manager, Chaim Twersky, testified last November that the tenants had vandalized their own apartments because they were being evicted. The board’s administrative law judge hearing the case found for the landlord and dismissed the case.


Written By: By  FEB. 24, 2014

ElizabethWhited Elizabeth Whited | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Elizabeth is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, and reduce crime in their communities.