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Articles – Property Management

Smoke detector certification requirement for residential rentals in Virginia

February 27th, 2023 by admin

In accordance with §55-248.13 (8) of the Code of Virginia, generally known as the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, the Landlord shall: “Provide a certificate to the Tenant stating that all smoke alarms are present, have been inspected, and are in good working order no more than once every 12 months. The Landlord, his employee, or an independent contractor may perform the inspection to determine that the smoke alarm is in good working order.” Upon each such inspection, Landlord shall:
1. Test the smoke alarms of Tenant to confirm such alarms are in good working order and that batteries (if such alarms are not AC hard-wired) are not expired as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Confirm that all smoke alarms are still in the installed locations and have not been moved, removed or tampered with.
3. Replace any removed, damaged or expired smoke alarms.
4. Confirm that all smoke alarms are compliance with the uniform set of standards for maintenance of smoke alarms established in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) and subdivision C 6 of § 36-105, Part III of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§36-97 et seq.)

Feel free to contact us should you have any questions regarding property management.

Maintaining Your Home to Protect Its Value

January 15th, 2023 by admin

Buying a home is just the beginning. Keeping it up with proper maintenance will uphold its value and minimize frivolous repairs.

Here are few basic maintenance tips:
– Change the air filter every 2-3 months. Have an HVAC technician check the air conditioner in the spring and heater in the fall to ensure the system operates properly. The maintenance contract typically costs $550-650 a year, depending on specific service provider;
– Power wash and seal the deck and fence, especially if the construction materical is wood;
– Repair and paint over any exterior wood rots around the house. Consider wrapping the window trims with PVC (non-wood material) to avoid wood rots in the future;
– Check and repair any water leak from the ceiling, faucets, below sinks, or at the basement;
– Clean the gutter every year, especially if the house is surrounded by trees or located in a wooded area;
– Paint the interior walls every five years or so to give the house a fresh look.

A well maintained home will not only increase housing value but also bring positive energy to your life.

Should I Outsource Landlording Responsibilities?

November 27th, 2022 by admin

Acquiring an investment property is one thing and managing it requires a totally different skill set. Ask yourself the following questions before deciding whether or not to manage the property yourself:
1. Where is your rental property located? How much time does it take to drive out there averaging 1-2 times a month?
2. How busy is your schedule? Do you have time to take care of tenant’s requests?
3. Are you a handy person? Do you have the skill and interest to fix household related problems?
4. Do you handle stress well? Does it bother you if tenant calls you late at night for urgent matters?
5. Do you have a good supportive network — contractors, plumbers, HVAC technicians, roofers, electricians, attorneys, etc whom you can call upon should the need arise?
6. Are you familiar with the Landlord-Tenant Act that outlines the landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities?

All of the above are considerations when decising if you could manage the rental properties yourself. Having a property management firm to take care of your property is often worthwhile if you don’t have the expertise to handle tenant issues. It will save you money long term because the value of the property will be maintained and any repair or legal expenses could be kept to a minimum.

We offer a Landlording 101 seminar 1-2 times a year. Please contact us if you are interested to be on the seminar distribution list.

Finding a Dream Tenant

October 27th, 2022 by admin

No one likes landlording headache so getting the right type of tenant is key. A dream tenant is one who pays rent on time, takes care of your property, has a multi-year lease term and leaves the house in a move-in condition when the lease ends. He or she makes no unreasonable demands and abides by the rules of the homeowner association throughout the lease term. Does a dream tenant really exist? YES, in fact majority of the tenants that we manage belong to this category. The secret lies in our rigorous screening process. In addition to running a credit check, we also verify the applicant’s employment and rental history. It is extremely important to be assured of the applicant’s ability to pay rent and there is no history of delingency rental payments.

Keep in mind that there are many good tenants out there despite low credit score due to recent short sales or foreclosures. If the applicant does not have a pattern of late payments long before or after the short sale or foreclosure occurs, he deserves a second chance. One of the tenants we manage had filed bankruptcy three years prior to the lease. Because of his determination to rebuild his financial credit, he has been paying rent early and has done a wonderful job keeping the property in top shape. He has now lived in the property for over five years. Because of his steller rental record, he is considered a dream tenant.

In summary, dream tenants do exist. Have a screening process in place and stick to it.