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Tenant Screening Tips for Property Managers

2/26/2024 (Permalink)

Landlord handing keys to tenant in apartment. Effective Tenant Screening Tips for Property Managers

A positive tenant-landlord relationship is very important for successful property management. That's why taking time to screen tenants to find the right fit is essential. While renting can sometimes feel transactional, the reality is that responsible, consistent tenants can be counted on to act as co-stewards of a property. Life is better for tenants and landlords when proper, legal vetting occurs. So, how do you screen tenants for your rental properties? Here are five screening tips for property managers to consider when searching for great tenants!

1. Make Sure You Know Your Responsibilities as a Landlord or Property Manager

Are you familiar with the Fair Housing Act? This piece of legislation is must-read material for anyone who screens tenants or reviews rental applications! The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, sex and sexual orientation, family status, or disability. While discriminating against someone for any reason may be the last thing you would ever do, it's essential to become familiar with housing laws to avoid the appearance of discrimination. According to the law, discrimination can come in the form of refusing to negotiate for housing, setting different terms or conditions for rental, imposing different rental rates, and more. Once you create your tenant screening blueprint, be sure to use a consistent method across the board to avoid the appearance of using different criteria when vetting different tenants.

2. Use a Basic Questionnaire for the First Round of Screening

Before you invest time and money into running professional background checks, offer a short screening questionnaire to make sure that a tenant's goals and needs are compatible with what your property offers. With the Fair Housing Act in mind, consider putting together a brief tenant-screening worksheet with the following questions:

  1. What is your monthly income?
  2. Are you currently employed?
  3. How long do you intend to stay in the property?
  4. Have you ever been evicted from a rental property?
  5. Have you ever broken a lease?
  6. Can you provide a reference letter from your current or previous landlord?
  7. Do you have pets that will be living in the unit?
  8. Do you agree to a background check that includes a criminal history check as part of the tenant screening process?

If a tenant passes the first vetting phase, have them fill out a complete rental application. The application should include a line for the applicant to sign off on having a background check conducted. Getting consent in writing on the application provides the green light to move forward!

3. Verify Employment and Income

For a landlord or property manager, one of the main goals of screening is to verify that a tenant can pay rent on time. Letting a tenant get in over their head with rental payments that do not leave money left over for life basics isn't doing anyone a favor. One of the best tenant screening tips for property managers is to pre-screen tenants for "free" by simply being honest and transparent in your rental listing.

Include the monthly rental cost to allow tenants to scratch it off their list if they know it is not within their budget. Once you have a tenant application, comparing the monthly rent payment to a potential tenant's income becomes vital. The best way to do this is to verify income using pay stubs. However, property managers can also request W-2 forms, ask for a letter of verification from an employer, or require bank statements.

Generally, landlords utilize the rent-to-income ratio to decide if a tenant can reasonably afford rent on a property. There is some leeway for the ratio based on whether you live in a high-cost or low-cost area. Landlords may feel more comfortable with tighter ratios in cities with high rents. However, most landlords feel uncomfortable approving rental applications when the monthly rent is less than 30% of the renter's income.

4. Conduct the Right Background Checks

There's no question that you want peace of mind when choosing potential tenants! In many ways, inviting someone into your rental property is like inviting them into your home. That's why the law gives you the right to investigate someone before you approve a lease. Here's the blueprint for background checks you can't skip:

  1. Criminal Records: A criminal record check can pull up information regarding felonies, minor offenses, and other "dings" on a person's record. However, landlords and property managers need to be aware that the presence of a criminal record doesn't necessarily make it legal to deny a tenant application. In California, the nature and date of the crime both matter. For example, denying a rental application based on a decade-old driving offense might not be lawful. However, denying an application due to a recent arson conviction could be legal. Remember that only arrest records that resulted in conviction are relevant to the tenant screening process!
  2. Previous Evictions: A history of evictions can be considered a valid reason to deny a rental application.
  3. Previous Bankruptcies or Poor Tenant Behavior: Landlords are legally empowered to set criteria for tenant approval based on factors that have a reasonable business purpose. This can include a poor credit score and bankruptcy. Even a poor reference from a previous landlord that reveals that a tenant consistently failed to pay rent on time can be a valid reason to deny an application. However, the best way a landlord can stay protected is to have a no-bankruptcy policy drafted up in the tenant requirements that apply to all applicants.

It's important to let tenants know that you require background checks. In fact, landlords should be ready to present a copy of a criminal history check to an applicant upon request. Additionally, landlords should be accepting of mitigating information provided by potential tenants with criminal histories.

5. Remember That Tenants Are Also Screening You

Remember that it takes a high-quality property to attract high-quality tenants. That's why the final tip on the list of tenant screening tips for property managers is ensuring your property is always putting its best foot forward! Nothing scares reliable tenants away like the sight of disrepair or water damage. If your property has a history of water issues due to neglect, weather events, or previous tenant behaviors, consider flood restoration before listing the property or opening it up for showings. In addition, property managers need to be clear and transparent regarding building policies that affect tenants' lives. Let tenants know ahead of time if smoking and pets are permitted.

If you need help getting your rental property ready for walkthroughs with potential tenants, bring in service pro cleaning for expert restoration and cleaning services!

Important Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Property management laws and regulations can vary significantly by state and local municipality. Property managers must familiarize themselves with the specific laws applicable to ensure compliance and avoid any legal violations. We strongly advise consulting with a legal professional to obtain guidance tailored to your situation and jurisdiction.

Effective Ways to Resolve HOA Complaints

2/19/2024 (Permalink)

Apartment and condo buildings Transform your approach to handling HOA disputes with our detailed guide.

Living in a homeowners' association (HOA) managed community offers residents many benefits but is not without challenges. From parking issues to abandoned doggy doo in shared areas and other problems, the variety of complaints covers a lot of ground. When residents express their grievances to the HOA, each complaint warrants communication, careful consideration, and effective strategies to resolve the issues. When the HOA board focuses on how to resolve HOA complaints instead of ignoring or minimizing them, the result is a better community for everyone.

Parking Issues

In some HOA communities, street parking may be in short supply, causing complaints about the limited parking spot availability. Sometimes, people park on the streets in ways that block neighboring driveways. Residents may also park their cars in guest spots instead of their driveway or garage. They might also park an extra, rarely-used vehicle on the street and not move it for extended periods. Finally, unauthorized vehicles that don't seem to belong to residents, but take up valuable street or guest parking, also trigger complaints.

HOAs must provide clear signage to state the community’s rules for parking and enforce those rules or regulations consistently for them to have an effect. Other potential solutions include adding more parking areas designated for guests or issuing parking permits to monitor and effectively manage community parking.

Noise Problems

Neighbors can disrupt the peace by generating excessive noise, from loud music late at night to using noisy equipment in their yard or garage early in the morning. Another common complaint is continual barking from dogs who spend much time in the backyard.

When considering how to resolve HOA complaints about noise, HOAs can establish specific quiet hours for the community and encourage respectful communication between neighbors to resolve issues. Consider implementing a formal process for residents to lodge noise complaints for repeat disturbances.

Problems with Pets

The barking dog is cliché, but many other complaints also come up about neighborhood dogs. Some residents like to walk their dogs off-leash, which can endanger other pets, especially smaller breeds. Some neighbors do not pick up after their pets and leave pet feces on neighbors’ lawns or in common areas for others to deal with.

To resolve these complaints, establish pet regulations and enforce them consistently. Consider installing pet waste-bag stations with trash cans in key areas so residents can use tools to clean up after their pets. In the community newsletter, offer training resources and educational articles to inform pet owners and consider a program to require pet registration.

Neglected Maintenance

Residents may become concerned and lodge complaints if they feel the community upkeep is not up to par, such as overgrown common-area landscaping that blocks walkways, burned-out lights left unrepaired, and buildings with dirty or aged exteriors.

To resolve these issues, put maintenance on a regular schedule and include routine inspections. Promptly handle issues reported by residents and ensure that the HOA can cover maintenance costs by allocating sufficient budget dollars to the community’s upkeep.

Architectural Violations

Neighbors often complain when they see a resident changing their property without proper approval. These alterations can include unauthorized plantings in the front yard or paint colors that are not on the “approved” list. It also includes any structural modifications that have not received approval. For example, a homeowner may add a deck to their house without adhering to the HOA’s defined guidelines.

To resolve these complaints, the HOA can educate residents on the appropriate architectural guidelines for the community. It can also provide homeowners with resources and steps to get approval for home modifications. Conduct regular inspections and institute penalties for any violations to enforce compliance with the guidelines.

Misuse of Community Amenities

This common complaint usually involves reports of community amenities being abused or misused. Examples include residents having parties in common areas without getting proper approval or non-residents using pool and barbecue areas or the community clubhouse without prior permission. Some communities with locked pool areas have issues with residents making key copies for non-residents and their children to use the pool.

To resolve these complaints, the HOA must monitor the amenities regularly to enforce HOA rules. To prevent misuse and keep non-residents from accessing the amenities, consider a reservation system and access controls such as keys or key cards where possible. Use an electronic lock to track which keys are used to access the areas, and assign serial numbers to keys to prevent duplication.

Neighbor Disputes

Conflicts between neighbors can trigger complaints, such as disagreements over shared areas, property boundary disputes, and noise issues. After a disaster situation, such as a fire that involves more than one home, the HOA, and homeowners may have disputes over which insurance company should cover the fire damage and safety concerns that arise during fire restoration work, such as who covers the costs, work delays and questions about the work quality.

When resolving HOA complaints, maintaining open, clear, and transparent communication is the best way to minimize disputes and misunderstandings. The HOA can offer mediation services and other resources for neighbors with difficulties resolving a dispute amicably. Communication is also key for issues such as fire restoration involving multiple homeowners and the HOA.

Taking prompt action and coordinating between homeowners, insurance providers, restoration contractors, and the HOA board can ease many concerns and ensure residents that the damaged properties will be restored to pre-fire conditions as quickly and satisfactorily as possible.

Ensuring Harmony in the Community

In many ways, the HOA acts as a peacekeeper for the community, making it vital to proactively manage and address resident complaints. With clear communication, diligence, and a focus on fair outcomes, the HOA can offer constructive solutions to resident complaints. Enforceable regulations and other strategies can minimize conflicts while upholding the community’s collective well-being. Let SERVPRO Arcadia be part of the solution by offering high-quality, professional fire restoration and other services to HOAs to restore property values and family routines. Contact us today for more information!

Marketing Ideas for Property Managers

2/16/2024 (Permalink)

Home and computer Effective Marketing Techniques for Property Management Success

When you really think about it, running a successful property management business is all about marketing. A piece of real estate is what it is – a piece of real property. The role of property management companies is to market the features of real estate to generate demand from high-quality tenants and manage the needs of each tenant and property.

Property owners need to show prospective tenants why they should choose a particular property over other options, but more importantly, why they should want to choose a particular property over others. In a sense, this type of marketing is about demand generation just as much as lead generation.

Unfortunately, property management marketing ideas can be hard to come by when you’re busy. Trying to put all of your ideas together in one plan can feel like you’re always playing catch up, especially in high-competition areas. While you’re busy trying to find innovative marketing ideas, you also have to contend with repairs, tenant concerns, rent collection, tax and insurance issues, and more.

We’re Here to Help

To help you save time and expand your marketing efforts, we’ve put together some simple property management marketing ideas you can begin to implement this week. Remember that property marketing in the real estate business is an ever-evolving journey, and no one solution will be a silver bullet; however, these marketing ideas, when implemented with consistency, can go a long way in generating leads for months or even years to come.

Rely on Your Website to Do the Work for You

If you’re serious about property management, you no doubt have a website for your company. While having a website is a great start, you won’t get the most out of it without investing in digital marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial component for digital marketing and website success in the crowded property management field, and local SEO is even more important.

SEO and your website work hand in hand to bring more relevant traffic to your site. Also, SEO strategies can help your property management website rank higher in search results. This means getting your site and properties in front of local people who are already searching for places to lease.

Resources like blog posts add to your website's value and create opportunities to develop backlinks that point to your site. Search engines typically value websites with lots of high-quality backlinks, and your backlink profile can be a ranking factor when your website comes up in local search results for properties for lease.

Consider Online Ads

Another way to attract digital leads is to place web ads through search engines, social media, and industry publications. Online paid ads can be effective property management marketing ideas because they allow you to choose who sees your ads and on what platforms.

Most digital advertising platforms let you select various factors to create a target audience. Some of these factors may include age, location, income level, and hobbies or interests. By selecting the right demographic information for your target audience, you can ensure that the right people see your ads for your location and type of property.

Use Social Media

You can also use social media marketing to engage with prospective and current tenants. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to showcase your properties and present opportunities to show off your company’s personality and style.

Social media profiles are great places to list openings, discuss the benefits of communities around your properties, or update tenants on the latest news. For instance, if you’ve recently had water damage restoration completed at a multi-unit rental property, use social media to share before-and-after pics so that your tenants can see that you’re on top of things. This type of social media content can also help to strengthen the bonds between your company and its tenants.

Solicit Online Reviews

Online reviews are great property management marketing ideas as they allow your tenants to do the marketing for you. Soliciting online reviews from happy tenants and displaying these reviews on the web is a fanatic way to build social proof. People tend to trust the opinions of others when it comes to making purchasing decisions, and a glowing online review can go a long way in building trust with minimal work on your part.

You’re encouraged to be cautious, however, as negative online reviews can be quite detrimental to your plans. Unfortunately, people tend to only leave online reviews when they’ve had negative experiences, and if someone sees many negative experiences associated with your company, they’re likely to steer clear.

If you come across negative reviews, you can combat them by responding promptly but always remaining professional. Demonstrate in your response that your company is committed to making things right if something goes wrong on your end, and encourage private contact between your company and the person who left the review.

Partner With Local Businesses

If you’re looking for offline marketing ideas for your property management business, or if you’re seeking hybrid marketing ideas that combine online and offline strategies, consider partnering with local businesses. For maximum effect, try to find businesses that complement your own.

For instance, consider what your tenants may need when they start planning a move. A moving or supply company would likely fit the bill here, so see what you can do to establish relationships with moving companies or supply companies in the area.

You can then try to find ways to market your business through these partnerships. An example of this may be when you agree to provide branded promotional materials as welcome gifts to a moving supply company. That moving supply company then hands these out to people purchasing packing supplies. The potential exists for someone to see your property management company as they are packing to move and consider contacting your company to see if opportunities are available.

Measure Your Success

No matter what methods you use to market your property management company, measuring success is important. Keeping track of metrics on a regular basis allows you to see what’s working and what may need adjusting. Having access to metrics and knowing what you plan to measure and why can help your company focus its marketing strategy for more effective results.

Protect Your Investment and Keep Tenants Happy With SERVPRO of Arcadia

At SERVPRO, our team is here to make your job easier. We provide property managers with fast response services for fire restoration, mold remediation, and more to ensure your tenants are safe and your properties stay protected. To learn more about SERVPRO restoration, call our team in Arcadia, or use our contact form to reach us online right now.

Cybersecurity Basics for Property Managers

2/9/2024 (Permalink)

Cyber security on laptop Explore essential cybersecurity strategies for property managers.

Property managers wear many hats whether they're responsible for large commercial complexes, multiunit residential properties, mixed-use facilities, or any other property. From managing occupancy rates to handling day-to-day operations or even hiring a water damage restoration company after a major incident, the eyes of tenants, employees, and stakeholders all turn to the property manager. With all of that on their collective plates, it's easy to see how cybersecurity takes a back seat for most property managers.

However, the unintended consequence of that lack of prioritization is a significant increase in the potential liability should a cyber incident occur. Cyber attackers frequently target property management companies, real estate companies, and other related industries Due to the sheer quantity of sensitive information that they possess. For that same reason, data breaches in those industries come rife with negative consequences. You could be facing civil liability, regulatory fines, restitution, and the reputational damage your company would incur from a reported breach.

What Information Should Be Secured?

Without basic training in cybersecurity for property managers, it's likely that they don't even know why they could be targeted for a cyber attack. Property management systems, in particular, provide a mouthwatering target for cybercriminals. Tenants' personal information is sometimes one-sided, with maintenance requests, operational technology, contract details, etc. Cybersecurity risks abound, and high-risk industries like real estate must become proficient in managing those risks.

Property Management Cybersecurity Basics

To that end, we've compiled some of the cybersecurity best practices you can implement to protect your sensitive information from being compromised in a data breach.

Conduct Cyber Risk Assessments

We just mentioned how prevalent cybersecurity risks can be, and you can't possibly mitigate those risks if you don't know where your exposure is. Regular cyber risk assessments should be conducted whether you use a vendor or your in-house personnel. You should evaluate what kind of data you store and utilize, how it's transmitted and backed up, who has access to the sensitive information, and what monitoring solutions are in place. Once you have identified the risks, you can then focus on narrowing the attack surface by enforcing things like multifactor authentication.

Educate All Staff

Just like training in cybersecurity for property managers is essential, all employees need to have a basic understanding of cybersecurity as well. This should include training on possible threat vectors, sensitive information that is at risk, your enterprise's cybersecurity policies, and why those policies are in place. Including the reasoning behind your policies as a part of your training regimen not only makes your staff well-informed but also increases the likelihood that they will then comply with those policies. It's also critical to realize that this training is an ongoing effort. Initial training should be provided during onboarding, but cybersecurity training should be a recurring effort that includes hands-on practical exercises and tests.

Establish Role-based Permissions

Regardless of the size of your company, you should implement system access controls using role-based permissions. This means that instead of applying individual permissions to each user as you add them, you create defined roles within your network that have preset access limits and permitted functions assigned to them. As you create new users, you assign them a role, and all of the permissions associated with that role are automatically applied.

This also reduces the risk of making a mistake when creating a new user and has the added benefit of streamlining the process during onboarding. These roles should be defined using principles of least access, meaning that personnel should only have access to the sensitive data and other information that they truly need to accomplish their assigned tasks. All users should require multifactor authentication to access company networks.

Audit Your System

This applies to both real-time monitoring and true audits. You want to make sure that network activity is within normal parameters. This means tracking and auditing access logs, purchases, and other critical databases to ensure that suspicious activity is not missed. You can leverage software solutions to help you accomplish this task, and some of the best programs out there can learn the patterns of activity across your systems and identify behavior that is outside system norms.

Purge Data and Users

Depending on your enterprise's area, you may encounter applicable data privacy laws that govern what sensitive information or personal data you can request, maintain, and use, as well as rules governing how long you can hold onto that data. Many data privacy laws also require responsible disposal of that sensitive information once it is no longer needed or must otherwise be purged. In addition to cycling out old personal data for tenants and others, you should immediately lock out employees upon their separation from employment. Even if the parting was amicable, the potential for cybersecurity risks with former user accounts still being active is far too high. That doesn't begin to consider the malicious insider threat that could be present.

Encryption

Shockingly, most companies, including real estate property management organizations, do not use encryption regularly. When you have sensitive data, effectively using encryption should be one of the first steps you should take. End-to-end encryption may seem unnecessary, but when you hold payment data for rent payments, personal data of tenants, contractors, employees, and other sensitive information, many regulatory bodies require that you use encryption. Even if they don't, failure to properly protect this information during a data breach can lead to serious consequences. Should you suffer a data breach, it's far better that the attackers find themselves to be the new owners of what appears to be gibberish rather than lists of tenant bank accounts and routing numbers.

Regarding real estate and property management, cybersecurity isn't your only concern. If you suffer a devastating leak, fire, or even storm damage, SERVPRO cleaning can get you back on track and back in your home or property. With residential and commercial experience, SERVPRO has the knowledge and equipment to make your property look like the incident never happened. We can even help manage the insurance process. Contact us today to see exactly how we can help you.

Multi-Unit Property Management Best Practices

2/6/2024 (Permalink)

Photo of apartment building Learn essential tips for multi-family property management.

Managing a multi-unit property is a big job but can also come with big rewards. According to some salary sites on the web, property managers for multi-family unit properties can earn upwards of $85,000 annually, and this is on top of the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you’re helping others to live richer, fuller lives.

Although multi-family property management best practices are very similar to those used in managing single-occupancy dwellings, some special considerations come along with managing multi-unit properties. If you’re considering moving into management for multi-family properties or are considering upgrading your current property management career to include multi-unit properties, below are some best practices to keep in mind:

Establish Clear Communication From the Outset of Tenant Relationships

The most important thing you can do as a multi-family property manager is establish and support clear communication from the outset of any lease agreement. Maintaining clear communication can help your property management company avoid legal issues and can help avoid conflicts surrounding matters like rent payments. When you support strong communication, you have the opportunity to avoid tenant relationship breakdowns and conflict.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll likely end up working with many different people over the course of your career, all of whom will have their own personalities and styles of communication. To make things run smoothly between all of these different personalities, it’s a good idea to have a written policy on tenant communication in place. This document isn’t meant to govern how tenants communicate with staff, but instead, it should lay out acceptable forms of communication for different concerns.

For example, matters regarding rent or repair disputes should be submitted in writing to establish a paper trail. Conversely, you may decide it’s best to discuss matters involving neighbor disputes in person with a witness present. No matter how you decide to lay out your communication policy, document it and present your requirements to tenants before they sign leases.

Take Care of Maintenance and Repair Requests Quickly

Addressing maintenance and repairs promptly according to the terms of a lease agreement is vital for maintaining trust with your tenants. This is especially true in cases where property damage may affect tenants' quality of life, such as after a fire. You’ll want to seek out fire damage restoration services quickly in a case like this since damage after a fire may pose a health hazard to tenants. Also, by taking care of property maintenance issues quickly, you build trust with tenants and reduce disruptions to your daily workflow.

Maintenance and safety issues may also be matters of the law. Most states have specific laws regarding tenant rights and landlord obligations. If you or your property management company do not uphold a tenant’s rights or fulfill your obligations, the issue may end up in court. Losing a legal battle can result in fines, fees, and damage to your professional reputation. When you stay on top of maintenance and repair requests, you avoid these issues and may even boost your reputation.

Have a Screening Process in Place for Tenants

A comprehensive tenant screening process is vital among other multi-family property management best practices. When you screen tenants for suitability, you reduce the chances of dealing with headaches and conflicts over issues like rent collection, and you’re less likely to experience tenant retention challenges.

Tenant screening is also good for tenants so they don’t end up renting units for which they are not financially suited. Of course, you must follow state and federal housing guidelines when screening tenants, but having measures in place to ensure a thriving community will benefit you and your tenants.

When designing a screening process, set reasonable requirements that factor in the possibility of past mistakes. No one is perfect, and people change. You need to protect the integrity of your property and look out for the safety and well-being of all tenants. Still, you don’t want your screening process to become so stringent that it alienates otherwise viable renters.

Use Tech Tools for Efficiency and Safety

The use of technology like property management software is also among the top multi-family property management best practices for real estate professionals. Successful property management is all about efficiency when dealing with multi-family dwellings. As a property owner or manager, you will likely be dealing with numerous requests from multiple tenants daily, so anything you can do to maximize productivity during your workday is good. The software allows you to keep track of all of your rental properties from one place, and many programs provide access to budgeting tools to monitor cash flow.

Security technology is also a good investment for multi-unit properties. These types of properties are often large and sprawling, meaning there’s lots of ground to cover. Installing security cameras and quality lighting in strategic areas around your entire property can serve as a deterrent to criminals, and it can also be a benefit if a matter needs to be investigated in the future.

Consider installing door access technology that lets tenants come and go by swiping an electronic keycard. This can prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your properties. When integrated with property management software and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, these elements add an additional layer of security to protect tenants and your properties.

Contact the Experts at SERVPRO Arcadia to Learn More About

SERVPRO Arcadia is your partner for successful property management. SERVPRO restoration services are the perfect complement to multi-family property management best practices, and we’re here for you for fire damage repair, mold remediation, storm damage cleanup, and more.

Strategies for Effective HOA Vendor Selection

1/24/2024 (Permalink)

Tools surrounding a house Effective HOA vendor selection made easy! Explore our expert tips on due diligence, cost-effectiveness, and maintaining strong vendor relationships.

Selecting vendors for a Homeowners Association (HOA) is a multifaceted task combining analytical decision-making and nuanced human judgment. This intricate process entails weighing various dynamic factors to ensure optimal vendor choice.

Leveraging HOA Documents for Guidance

The vendor selection process begins by consulting the HOA’s governing documents. These documents are critical as they outline the standards and regulatory compliance requirements that potential vendors must meet. Thoroughly reviewing these documents is vital to ensure all criteria are considered, and no essential aspect is overlooked.

Systematic Vendor Screening Approach

A structured screening process is essential for effective vendor evaluation. This includes developing a vendor evaluation matrix to assess licenses, certifications, qualifications, and insurance coverage. The matrix is a tool to determine if vendors align with the HOA's standards and local regulations, aiming to minimize liability risks by selecting vendors who can deliver competent and compliant services.

Advantages of Soliciting Multiple Bids

Obtaining bids from several vendors is recommended rather than choosing the first option. This tactic provides insights into the market’s competitive pricing and service quality. Issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) can help get detailed proposals, ensuring vendors understand the work scope, expectations, and other critical details.

Vendor Proposal Assessment and Meetings

Post-proposal submission, scheduling meetings with each vendor to discuss their proposals and address any queries is important. Decisions should not be based solely on price; the emphasis should be on the quality of service and the vendor’s ability to meet the HOA's specific needs.

In-Depth Reference Checks

Reference checking is a crucial phase. It involves reviewing online feedback and conversing with previous clients to assess the vendor's reliability, work quality, communication skills, and approach to resolving complaints. This comprehensive evaluation helps construct a detailed picture of each vendor's performance and dependability.

Clear Contractual Agreements

Having clear contract terms is crucial to prevent disputes. Contracts should clearly outline the work scope, timelines, payment terms, and consequences of contract breaches. Regular reviews of existing vendor contracts are also significant to ensure they remain relevant and compliant with regulatory changes.

Choosing Specialized Vendors

Certain tasks, such as stormwater management, require specialized expertise. Selecting vendors with the necessary knowledge ensures complex systems are maintained properly and compliant with regulatory standards.

Building Partnerships with Vendors

Choosing the right vendors is akin to forming partnerships with entities that share the HOA's commitment to maintaining high standards. Specialized service providers, like a mold damage company, are vital in sustaining the community's quality and safety.

Detailed Process for Vendor Selection

  1. Initial Review of HOA Documents: Examine the HOA’s governing documents for guidance on standards and compliance requirements.
  2. Developing a Vendor Evaluation Matrix: Create a matrix to assess critical aspects such as licenses, qualifications, and insurance coverage.
  3. Soliciting Multiple Bids: Obtain several bids for a comprehensive market view. Use RFPs to get detailed and comparable proposals.
  4. Meeting and Evaluating Vendors: Schedule discussions with vendors to review proposals and clarify doubts. Focus on both price and quality.
  5. Conducting Thorough Reference Checks: Investigate past performance by examining online reviews and speaking with former clients.
  6. Drafting Clear Contracts: Ensure contracts are explicit regarding scope, timelines, and payment processes to avoid misunderstandings.
  7. Periodic Review of Contracts: Regularly update contracts with existing vendors to reflect any changes in regulations or requirements.
  8. Opting for Specialized Vendors: Choose vendors with specific expertise to ensure compliance and effective management for complex tasks.
  9. Partnership Approach with Vendors: Aim for a collaborative relationship with vendors who align with the HOA’s standards and values.

Final Thoughts: Ensuring Optimal HOA Vendor Selection

The selection of HOA vendors is a critical task that requires a blend of analytical and subjective decision-making. By following a structured approach that includes thorough document review, comprehensive vendor screening, soliciting multiple bids, and conducting detailed reference checks, HOAs can make informed decisions. Clear contracts and choosing specialized vendors for specific tasks further enhance the effectiveness of this process.

Ultimately, the goal is to form partnerships with vendors like SERVPRO of Arcadia, who provide 

residential restoration services, and are committed to maintaining high community standards, thereby ensuring the well-being and satisfaction of the HOA community.




Ways to Prevent Water Damage After a Leak

1/17/2024 (Permalink)

Water damage to walls, floor, baseboards occurred from a leak Learn how to prevent water damage effectively after a leak in your home. Essential tips to safeguard your property and avoid costly repairs. Act now!

Preventing Water Damage After a Leak: Expert Tips

Plumbing leaks are some of the most common problems in homes and businesses across California and the U.S. While some leaks are only mildly annoying, others can turn into plumbing disasters, resulting in water damage, wood rot, and expensive property repairs.

According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, as reported by This Old House, close to 15,000 homeowners across the country experience the effects of water damage daily. The average insurance claim for water damage is somewhere in the neighborhood of $12,000, meaning this type of damage is not trivial when it comes to your wallet.

Preventing Water Damage When Faced With a Leak

The good news is that there are ways to prevent water damage after a leak. In virtually all cases, the sooner you address a leak, the better your chances of preventing water damage, but it’s always important to take some action. Leaks tend to get worse over time; even a small leak can become a flood if left unaddressed.

If you’re concerned about protecting your property, below are some ways to prevent water damage after a leak:

Call a Professional

Often, the best way to stop water leaking into walls and floors is to contact a professional at the first sign of trouble. Some signs of water damage can include damp carpets or water stains on walls, but you may also notice mold growth along baseboards or a musty, moldy smell in the air.

If you believe that you have mold growth, you may need more than just a plumber. While a plumbing company can deal with the leak itself, a mold damage company is going to be the solution for water damage repair involving mold growth. These companies may also help remove water pooling after a serious leak or flood, but you will need to ask your mold remediation technician about this option when you schedule service.

Turn Off Your Water

If you can’t get a professional to your home quickly, you will want to stop leaking water at the source. This usually involves turning off your home’s main water supply, often located under a grate in your yard or at a shut-off valve in a garage, closet, or basement. This can be a good option when you can’t determine how water enters your home.

For example, you may have a leak in your water heater, but that water heater may be located in an area of your home that isn’t easily accessible. Without the ability to check for standing water around your water heater, choosing to shut off the water until a professional can address the situation is often the best idea. Water leak detection services utilize specialized equipment to track down the source of leaks so that targeted repairs can be made.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Your home insurance policy may cover water damage, but this varies from provider to provider and policy to policy. Flood insurance covers serious water damage caused by major leaks in some cases, but you will likely need to add this as special coverage as most general homeowners’ insurance policies don’t include flooding under general claims. Although flood insurance will not directly prevent water damage after a leak, it may cover the cost of repairs related to water damage caused by a leak.

Unfortunately, you can’t add flood insurance retroactively, so you must weigh the pros and cons of carrying this coverage. For many homeowners, the cost of additional flood insurance is worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you won’t have to worry about expensive repairs in the event of a water emergency.

Check and Maintain Your Plumbing on a Scheduled Basis

It’s also a good idea to check and maintain your plumbing on a regular basis. Older hoses for things like washing machines that get used often tend to develop leaks after many years of service, and changes in water pressure inside plumbing pipes can cause joints to loosen and leak over time.

By checking and maintaining your plumbing pipes, hoses, and fixtures, you can prevent water damage caused by leaks. Remember that leaks typically cause structural damage slowly over time, and it can be easy to miss signs of damage until something major happens. You can protect your home by creating a plumbing maintenance schedule or having a professional plumbing company maintain your home’s plumbing system.

Install Sensors and Sump Pumps

You can also consider installing wireless sensors to help you get notified of leaks, standing water, and flooding. These devices measure water flow and pressure and can send alerts to your smartphone if a leak or flooding has been detected. Moisture detection sensors may be placed around areas where pipes are located but can also be placed in bathrooms and kitchens.

A sump pump may also be a good idea if you have a basement. These devices automatically pump out excess moisture in low-lying areas of your home if flooding occurs after a leak becomes serious. As an added benefit, sump pumps can prevent flooding in basements during heavy rainfall if moisture seeps into basement areas of your home.

Vigilance is the Key

Although water damage following a leak can seriously threaten your home's structural integrity, vigilance can prevent disasters. By checking your plumbing often, watching for signs of water leaks, and partnering with professionals at the first sign of trouble, you stand a better chance of protecting your home and your health. If you do experience a leak, taking care of it quickly can typically prevent serious damage from occurring, but it’s always a good idea to have a professional check questionable areas for your own peace of mind.

Contact SERVPRO in Arcadia for Fast Restoration Services for Water Damage

If you’re concerned about water damage following a leak in Arcadia, CA, SERVPRO of Arcadia is here to help with comprehensive residential restoration services. Our team of experts is available 24 hours a day.

2024 Trends in Commercial Property Management

1/4/2024 (Permalink)

Trends in Commercial property management. A commercial building. Stay ahead of the curve with 2024's Commercial Property Management Trends.

Commercial property managers have had their hands full over the past few years, responding to the pandemic and all the resulting changes. In 2024, as the commercial property rental landscape continues to evolve and adapt, property managers can take proactive steps to find and take advantage of the opportunities within these challenges.

The dynamics of the economy, changing tenant expectations, and continual technology innovations have combined to create a profound transformation in commercial real estate. Innovation and adaptation are the friends of commercial property managers, and the following points discuss some of the trends to look for in 2024.

Advancements in Technology and Automation

Technology for Tenants

As people shop online more and package stealers continue proliferating, many properties have added smart-locker storage for tenants to receive their packages safely. This trend is expected to grow, and tenants will look for additional technology integration, such as SMS notifications and other tech-related options that enhance their convenience.

Keyless entry is another growing trend that tenants appreciate. More commercial properties offer digital amenities like free WiFi and 5G integration, and this trend is expected to continue. For areas where theft is an issue, video doorbells and security cameras can set your property apart. Landlords and property managers can also use security cameras to manage and monitor the property around the clock remotely.

Operational Software

Operating commercial properties involves many moving parts, and commercial property management trends in 2024 will continue to emphasize automating, streamlining, and improving workflows with SaaS and cloud-based software platforms. Cloud-based property management software connects operational teams online, increases effective communication, and offers tenant portals for more efficient repair requests and other tenant needs.

Managing properties using virtual tools such as Zoom interviews or property tours is becoming a norm, and integrating AI and IoT will continue to grow. IoT, or Internet of Things, refers to tools that typically use WiFi or Bluetooth to automate activities. Property managers are implementing IoT tools such as automated or smart lighting, smart laundry, smart locks, automated lawn care, and smart temperature control.

AI will enhance property management by refining processes such as more personalized tenant experiences where AI anticipates tenant needs and preferences. Property management software may also use AI to improve virtual property tours to help tenants more effectively imagine themselves in the unit. AI tools may offer insights that drive coordinated smart building systems, such as assisting in adapting their operation to environmental conditions based on the property’s occupancy patterns. These adjustments can save on energy consumption and other resources while reducing costs.

Continued Evolution of Tenant Preferences and Market Dynamics

More Multifamily Units

The rents for multifamily units often cost less than those for single-family dwellings, driving increased demand for additional multifamily units. Renters are also migrating to states with lower taxes, and while they want the lower rents of a multifamily unit, they also want more spacious homes with additional amenities. Tenants for all types of rental properties also demand more services and amenities in exchange for the rising cost of rent, including high-speed internet, in-unit washers/dryers, and HVAC.

More Property Management Services

Demand for more professional property management services should continue to increase in 2024. Tenants expect and desire the expertise of knowledgeable management, especially when dealing with property repairs, disputes, and other issues in multi-unit settings. Tenants also demand the technological tools often provided by professional property management, such as online portals for repairs, questions and issues, and the ability to pay their rent online.

Commercial property management trends in 2024 also emphasize using tools like improved and streamlined tenant screening processes and advertising available units on multiple platforms, including social media.

Updating Business Strategies and Addressing Economic Factors

Managing Costs to Improve Profit

In 2024, commercial property managers will benefit from prioritizing profitability while keeping costs under more strict control. Acquiring new properties can increase revenue and profits through operational synergies. In contrast, new services like outsourcing to high-quality vendors such as a reliable restoration company can save on labor costs and keep properties in tip-top shape to command improved rents. Adopting technology such as specialized property management software can also reduce labor costs by automating some of the back-office administrative work of property management.

Considering Economic Factors

During rising inflation, property managers must constantly monitor and reduce costs wherever possible. Additionally, the new year is a great time to focus on scaling up the business by implementing growth-hacking strategies and considering refinancing options to take advantage of potential federal interest rate cuts.

For 2024, although there is no guarantee, sources predict the Fed will continue to reduce mortgage interest rates. Savvy property managers and owners will poise themselves to refinance more expensive loans and leverage the increased value and higher equity in existing properties to make additional investments. Lower interest rates often stimulate economic activity, which may create opportunities to improve occupancy rates and achieve higher rents, especially if the rental market remains tight.

Political and Regulatory Challenges

Taxes (and Other Costs) Go Up While Loopholes Disappear

Commercial property management trends in 2024 include strategies to offset the effects of rising taxes and closing financial loopholes for commercial property landlords. Property managers can expect changes such as government measures attempting to capture more real estate-related revenues. Governments may pressure property managers and landlords to lower or normalize rents to aid housing crises in higher-priced housing markets.

Additionally, landlord insurance for rental properties is undergoing changes that affect tenant evictions and other issues while becoming more costly. Commercial property managers can potentially lower the cost of the policy by increasing the deductible, prioritizing as many safety features on the property as possible, and requiring renters to carry renter’s insurance. Safety features include updates like carbon monoxide sensors, tankless water heaters, and fire-resistant roof coverings.

Political Motivations

Politicians may focus on a growing homelessness problem and the lack of affordable rents in many areas. Leading up to the 2024 election, some politicians may highlight a need to enforce regulatory compliance among landlords and property managers as part of their platform.

A Consolidating Industry

The entry of large corporate property management companies may challenge independent or smaller property management firms. Sometimes, these larger companies have more extensive resources to provide cost-effective services, increased marketing resources, and value-added options such as financial reporting for multi-unit properties or property portfolios. These firms may also offer lead-generation services and additional brand-building for properties under their management.

Win by Staying Ahead of the Changes

Successfully navigating the changing climate of commercial property management relies on property managers recognizing trends and proactively embracing and managing them. While preparing to take your properties into 2024, consider these trends and how to extract opportunities from them to improve and grow your business.

From integrating technology that automates operational work and provides additional tenant amenities to anticipating and staying ahead of economic shifts, vigilance is critical. Reducing costs by outsourcing work to commercial restoration services and other third parties is one of many strategies that can help you leverage innovation and position your business to handle the changing landscape in property management more effectively.


Stay agile and informed; the coming year of challenges and opportunities will reward your property management business with success and prosperity. At SERVPRO of Arcadia, we can help you with water damage cleanup, mold remediation, cleanup from fire and other damage, and general cleanup. Call us today at (626) 447-4128!

Insurance Coordination

12/12/2023 (Permalink)

Women talking on the phone Our general manager, Amy Moufarrege, discussing claims with an insurance adjuster.

SERVPRO of Arcadia works closely with insurance companies to streamline the claims process for our clients. We assist in documenting the damage, providing accurate estimates, and communicating with your insurance provider to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Our goal is to alleviate your concerns and make the restoration process as seamless as possible.

A Summer At SERVPRO

12/11/2023 (Permalink)

We're issuing monthly newsletters for our fans (pun intended!) to stay up to date with our latest events, jobs, and blogs. 

Here in this August Newsletter, you will be able to read up on a special employee of the month, find out what they do and how they help make the dream work.

You will also learn about some of the bigger jobs we've completed for the month of August. 

Keep reading and our marketing team is featured on what they've been doing to keep the company active!

Click the link below to be redirected to our August Newsletter! 

See what we've been up to!