Page 39 - AAGLA-NOV2021
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 Property Management
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the growing trend of people moving out of Los Angles instead of into Los Angeles. Because of the competitive and changing market dynamics, all of us in the rental housing business will need to vastly step-up our game in this department.
New buildings are finally being built and adding to the pressure to “do better” and get higher rents without over investing in our properties. Because rental rates are ever changing, the first task would be to train onsite managers to conduct a proper market survey. Also, keep in mind that with the majority of available rental units on the market today being subjected to rent local or statewide rent control here in California (Thanks to our dear Governor Newson!), it is also imperative that training be done with your onsite manager to serve timely rent increases on your tenants that are supportable by local market rates and always compliant with local regulations for the area where your property is located. Rental properties that have units being rented below market should be served the proper increase notice at the appropriate time. To do this successfully, this takes knowledge and training.
Just about fifteen years ago, SKY Properties added language into our leases requiring that all new tenants be charged utilities, which saved our clients / owners about 26% on their utility bills because when tenants are responsible for paying for utilities, they are more conservative on the energy they use. We at SKY Properties were way ahead of the curve on this one, both in saving money and in establishing ourselves as a green company.
Manager and other personnel training should be on-going and your employees should be encouraged to share their ideas and have a sense of pride instilled in them so that they want to help in achieving the goals of ownership. Onsite managers should be trained as an integral part of a team and to be mindful of expenses. They should also be taught to appreciate the need to be proactive, to be conscientious of lowering the cost of maintenance; for example, changing old water heaters before they flood your units. Your managers and other employees should have an in-depth understanding of property they are responsible for, and its quirks as well as the surrounding neighborhood.
In order to keep on top of getting the most from the income your property generates, your employees should keep tabs on the competition and make their building stick out as the “gem of the block,” and make sure your property is known as best that it can be, and all this can easily be done over time with low-cost upgrades and some elbow grease. Always be sure to remind your on-site manager to walk the property (both interior and exterior) a minimum of once every day to look for potential hazards and reduce liability, and always make sure they are on top of the outdoor appearance of your property. Never be an absent owner for too long, be sure to drop by to see that everything is being kept in great shape. You should do this even if you have professional management.
In addition, as a practical matter, property owners should regularly confirm with their bank account that all rents have been collected and proper approved notices given to tenants that have not paid. Many larger owners include as part of compensation packages for on-site managers a free or reduced-rent apartment, but it is extremely important that you document an on-site manager’s employment with the proper contract form (backup all of their work with time sheets so that cannot claim they worked 24/7) which you can get from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles’ Legal Forms Library. For properties that have 16 or more units in California, not only is an on-site manager required by law, but many owners have run into trouble by not documenting and treating an on-site manager’s employment correctly, which can cost you thousands of dollars and lots of misery.
Be sure to give yourself the fresh start you deserve for the New Year. If you are not yet a member of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, join today at www. aagla.org/membership so you can have access to the latest information and rules about employing on-site managers and obtain the most up to date property management contract forms available in the Legal Forms Library.
 Kari Negri is the Chief Executive Officer of Sky Property Management and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. Do you have a question for me? Please send your questions and comments to me at Kari@SKYprop.LA.
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