When Does a Rental Property Become “Uninhabitable?”
Safety Precautions for Holiday Seasons
Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the most family-oriented holidays in America, which means that during those holidays, transportation and travel increase dramatically. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the number of long-distance trips increases by 54 percent during Thanksgiving and then another 23 percent during Christmas. Because of the increase of traveling and the number of homes that are left unattended during these holidays, the number of break-ins also tends to go up around those times. This means that it is important that you take safety precautions for your rental property if you or your tenants are planning on traveling during these holiday seasons. As property managers in Redding who have over twenty years of experience managing properties in Shasta County, we would like to offer you some safety precautions that we feel are best for the holiday seasons.
Keep your travel plans offline
One way to make sure that your rental home or apartment stays safe during the holidays is to not spread the news that you are going out of town. It’s easy for people to get excited about telling the world where they are going for the holidays without realizing that they are also putting the message out there that their home will be vacant for the holidays. And if you do not have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts, you could potentially be giving out that message to people you don’t even know.
Secure any valuables
Make sure to remove any valuables from plain sight in the instance that someone does break into your rental home or apartment. The best place to put these valuables is in a safe that has a combination lock or code and is hidden somewhere in your home. These valuables could be expensive jewelry, important documents, money, or antiques either purchased or passed down from family members.
Give the appearance that you are home
Another great precaution to take when you’re traveling during the holidays is to keep all the blinds closed in your rental home or apartment so that people can’t actually see what valuables you have in your home. It would also be great to get some simple solar lights that come on at night inside your home so that people think that you are home.
Have a friend or family member check on the house
Find someone you really trust, whether it is a family member, a friend, or a neighbor, and let him or her know that you are going out of town for the holidays. Give the person a spare key and ask him or her to check on the home every day and take any mail or packages that are sitting outside inside the house. Mail piling up on the outside of your home sends a clear message to everyone that you are not home.
Make sure you have a security system
In the case that someone does try to break into your home, a security system will alert the authorities to come and check on your home. Having a security system installed can give you peace of mind while you are out of town. Knowing that someone else will be there to check on your home in the case that the security is breached while you are out of town is comforting.
Lock all of your doors and windows
Keeping all of your doors and windows locked while you are gone is pretty common sense, but make sure to check them all just in case you accidentally forgot to lock any of them, especially the windows. It can be easy to forget to lock windows after having them open. There is no harm in double-checking everything just to make sure. Be sure to also check to make sure that the locks on your windows and doors actually work. Make sure to also hide any spare keys that you may have sitting around your house in the case that someone actually does break into your home. You don’t want any burglars to gain access to your home in the future by getting a hold of one of your spare keys. Lastly, make sure that any extension chords that are running to any lights outside are coming from the outside of the house and not the inside through an open window. These open windows easy entry points for burglars.
If you would like more information on how you can take precautions in keeping your rental home or apartment safe during the holiday seasons, feel free to call us at Authority Property Management. We have experience doing property management in Redding and Shasta County and would love to serve you in any way we can by answering any questions you may have. If you are a landlord and are looking for someone to handle the stressful tasks that come with managing your rental properties, we would love to take those tasks out of your hands by managing your properties for you. Don’t hesitate to call us at (530) 410-6085.
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Getting Your Rentals Ready for the Summer
Summer is just around the corner and as we enter into the hottest time of the year, there are some things that you as a landlord can do to make sure that your rental homes or apartments stay in top-notch shape as the heat approaches. Redding, California, has been named one of the hottest places to live during the summer in the United States. Temperatures during the summer in Redding can get up to 115 degrees. With this kind of heat, it is important to take precautions against this weather with your rental properties so that they stay in great condition. So what can you do to prepare for the summer heat?
- Prevent against potential fires – Fires tend to be a common occurrence in the summer near Redding and Shasta County. One way that you can keep your rental homes and apartments safe from fires is to keep your lawn mowed down. While Redding is the greenest it has been in the last several years, it is still good to take some outdoor precautions against the dry heat that commonly hits around this time of year. Keeping a fire break of 100 foot radius around your rental properties if surrounded by low bush is recommended by local fire departments for fire safety.
- Summerize your swamp coolers – Swamp coolers are a common form of air conditioning in Redding and Shasta County. If your rental homes or apartments have built-in swamp coolers, it is important to check and make sure that the swamp coolers are in great condition before your tenants begin running them consistently throughout the summer. A great way to check out your swamp coolers is to take off the cover and check the pads, the float and the motor. Depending on how old they are, you may need to put in new pads and some new parts. Once you do that, you can turn on the water pump to get the system going. Instructing the tenant on how to properly use their evaporative cooler is important also.
- Install screens on your windows – Some of your tenants may open the windows in the homes or apartments at times during the summer to air out some of the hot air and to let some fresh air in. If you do not have screens installed on the windows in your rental properties, it would be a good investment to install them and to keep your tenants happy. Having screens on your windows will give your tenants the ability to air out the house while also preventing any insects from getting into the home.
If you would like more information on how you can best manage your properties during the summer season, feel free to give us a call at Authority Property Management! If you are a landlord who does not want to deal with the potential stress that can come with taking care of critical tasks for your property, you can hire a property manager to take those critical tasks out of your hands. A property manager will not only handle maintenance and help you prepare your rentals for the summer, but they will also handle your relationships with your tenants! Authority Property Management does property management in Redding and Shasta County and would love to serve you!
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When it comes to keeping pests away from your rental homes or apartments, the best thing that you can do is to take intentional steps towards pest prevention rather than waiting until pests have invaded your rental properties. The most common reasons why pests make their way into homes or apartments are because food is often left out, spills and crumbs are not cleaned up or swept up, or the trash is not disposed of on a regular basis. Making simple changes in your lifestyle at your home or apartment can be one of the greatest ways to keep pests out. So what are some action steps you can take towards pest prevention?
Here are some great tips for keeping pests away:
Do not leave food out – whether it is an unfinished meal or snacks left over from watching a movie on the couch, make it a habit to either seal it and put it away immediately or throw it in the trash right away. Food left out is one of the most common ways pests are drawn to peoples’ homes or apartments.
Take the trash out regularly – in the same way that food that is left out will draw pests to your rental homes or apartments, trash that is left out will also draw pests to your rental homes or apartments because trash commonly contains food.
Clean up spills and crumbs – this is one you have to be incredibly intentional about making a habit because often, spills and crumbs can go unnoticed. Our schedules can get so busy that we often put off cleaning the floors and don’t realize how bad they are getting until we find ourselves stepping in crumbs or messes that have been sitting there for days. Make an active effort of quickly sweeping and mopping around the house on a regular basis, especially underneath furniture.
Seal your food – how clean are your pantries and cupboards? Are you stuffing chip bags and other types of food items into your cupboard that are left unsealed? Pests are very active in searching for food, and they are not prone to high places. Food that is left unsealed is a target for pests.
Hire someone to clean on a regular basis – if your schedule is so busy that you don’t think you can do these things on a regular basis, a great option is to hire someone who can spend time doing them for you. Hiring someone to clean on a regular basis will help in preventing pests from entering your rental home or apartment.
If you have followed these tips and suggestions and still are suffering from an invasion of unwanted pests, there are a lot of home remedy options to controlling pest issues, many of those options are tailored towards the type of pest invading your home or rental. Identifying the type of pest is important to the method used especially when attempting to handle the issue yourself. Of course, calling an expert is always a good idea if home remedies are not successful.
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Myths About Bed Bugs
Myths about bed bugs and why as a landlord who is renting out homes or apartments in Redding, it can be incredibly beneficial for you to gain knowledge on bed bugs so that you can not only do your best to prevent an infestation in your rental homes or apartments but so that you can also be prepared and know what to do if your rental homes or apartments do become infested. According to pestworld.org, the top two of the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are apartments and single-family homes. This commonly happens when tenants move in second-hand furniture that has been infested without their knowledge, and those bed bugs then transfer themselves to the rental home or apartment. With that being said, it is vital that landlords know how they can best prevent this situation and also prepare for this situation if it does occur. To best prepare you when it comes to bed bugs, we as property managers would like to lay out some of the most common myths that have been put out there.
Here are a few myths about bed bugs:
- Myth – They only come out at night to feed. Bed bugs are most commonly found in beds because they feed on people when they are resting. And because nighttime is the designated time people usually rest their bodies for long periods of time, bed bugs usually come out at night. However, because bed bugs come out based on when people are resting and not what time it is, If you are resting during the day, they will come out.
- Myth – They can spread diseases. While it is known that bed bugs can carry diseases, it hasn’t been proven that they spread diseases to their hosts.
- Myth – They can’t be seen with the naked eye. If you look up bed bugs on Google, you will see that they are big enough for you to see them with your naked eye.
- Myth – They die when you place them outside in the winter. While bed bugs are not intolerant of cold weather, they can withstand the cold weather for weeks. That means that putting them outside in cold weather will not necessarily kill them.
- Myth – They always leave a huge welt where they bite. Bed bugs can have a different effect on each person. For some people, they get large welts. However, other people have been almost unaffected by them. It depends on the person.
- Myth – They are only found in beds. Because bed bugs are called “bed bugs,” it seems pretty normal for us to believe that they are only found in beds. However, bed bugs can be found in any place where people commonly rest. This includes couches, chairs, desks, etc.
- Myth – Over-the-counter treatments will get rid of them. While it might seem like the greatest option to research and try out different remedies to get rid of bed bugs on your own, it can potentially make things worse in most cases. If your rental home or apartment has bed bugs, the best thing you can do is hire a professional to get rid of them.
Now that you have gained some knowledge on bed bugs and how to best prevent them and prepare for if you do encounter them in your rental homes or apartments, you may be realizing that this is something you may need to take precaution towards as a landlord. And maybe that feels like a lot of work that you don’t want to put your time or energy into. If this is how you feel, the good news is that there are property managers who would be willing to take these critical tasks out of your hands!
Authority Property Management offers high-quality property management in Redding for those who rent out homes and apartments. We have over 20 combined years of experience in property management. We previously owned and operated the largest property management company in all of Shasta County. In 2014, we handled over a thousand rental units. We would often oversee up to 50-tenant move-ins and move-outs every month. We relieve the stress of landlords by putting our time and energy into the critical tasks that they do not want to stress over, and are focused on providing high-quality work in all that we do. If you are looking to find a property manager in Redding that you can trust, don’t hesitate to call Authority Property Management! 530-410-6085
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One of the most important concerns for landlords, property managers, and tenants is maintenance issues. For landlords and property managers, you want to keep your maintenance costs low and keep your tenants happy. For tenants, you want to rent a property maintained in good condition. It can be difficult sometimes to find a happy medium. The spectrum can swing high on both sides. You may get a landlord that doesn’t understand wear and tear or you may get a tenant who nitpicks every detail of a property. The goal is to meet somewhere in the middle. One way to do this is preventative maintenance.
As a landlord or property manager, doing through walk thru’s of your properties when they become vacant or while they are occupied helps keep you aware of the condition of the property. Ask your tenant if they are having any issues, notice things wearing a little more in some spots than others. Doing an annual walk thru’s lets the tenant know you care about the upkeep of your property, also keeps the tenant responsible for the property because they know you are checking up on it.
Some common maintenance issues that can happen are clogged drains. Tenants may not be aware of what they can flush down a drain or put in a garbage disposal. Advise your tenants when they start their tenancy if the drains are sensitive to too much toilet paper, feminine products, baby wipes. It is also important to warn a tenant that if a clog occurs and comes back as an unnatural clog they will be charged for the service call. Making the tenant aware of the chances of them being held responsible causes them to be more cautious. Calling a plumber to clear a drain on a holiday weekend can get very spendy. Same goes for garbage disposals, if a tenant has never had one, they may think everything can go in it. For example, garbage disposals do not like fish tank rocks. The more aware you make your tenant, the better they are at taking care of the property.
Another common issue is being locked out of the unit. If a tenant calls in the middle of the night do you provide lockout services? Do they get one free pass and then they are charged? Or do you just advise them from the beginning, not your problem, call a locksmith. You may want to provide them with an extra key, advise them to give it to someone they trust or hide it in a safe location on the property. Preventive maintenance, planning for emergencies saves your time and saves you money.
Winterizing and summarizing swamp coolers are another common maintenance issue. Planning ahead not only helps the units last longer but also allows you to have scheduled maintenance. If you plan ahead and have your maintenance scheduled, you avoid unhappy tenants. When summarizing the unit, you can have the pads changed out, make sure the motor is running smoothly, check the roof to make sure the unit is not leaking and causing damage to the roof. A roof replacement can be very costly. Winterizing allows you to turn everything off to the swamp cooler, cover the unit to help maintain heating costs for the tenant and again increases the life of the swamp cooler. Winterizing the unit means there is no water sitting in the unit rusting it out all winter long.
The most important thing is to provide maintenance to your property in a timely manner, plan ahead. Landlords and property owners should be aware that not taking care of maintenance issues can cause your property to deteriorate and lead to costly damage down the road. Another reason to perform routine maintenance is tenant retention. Happy tenants do not move. Which helps with wear and tear and keeps your vacancy rate low and that is the goal!
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