REAL ESTATE MARKET REALITY

One of the more difficult scenarios for property managers occurs after the property has been leased for a few years and the owner decides to sell the property.  Somehow, over the time the tenant was in place, the owner’s recollection of the condition of the property at move in becomes rosier and more perfect.  It is not unusual for owners to think that tenants should pay for work that a professional property manager considers a condition caused by normal wear and tear.  However, this perception is often magnified when the owner decides to list the investment property for sale.

The landlord needs to remember that even if the rent didn’t cover the owner’s mortgage, the rent did offset expenses.  There was someone in the home, using the appliances and systems, which is better for the home.  The tenant may have paid utility bills and been responsible for part of landscaping responsibilities.  Also, many insurance companies won’t insure a home if it is vacant or if they do so, the price may be much higher.

In the current market, most owners have gained significant appreciation in the last several years.  Having a tenant in place made it much easier financially to hang onto the property until the market improved.  The downside is that someone lived in the home and wear and tear occurred.  It is normal for an owner to have expenses associated with preparing a property for sale, whether owner occupied or tenant occupied prior to listing it.

Prior to putting a property in the rental pool, a prospective landlord needs to understand that there will be costs associated with owning an investment property, including at the end of the lease when the home is going to be listed for sale.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

 

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TENANT DEPOSITS

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The Washington State Residential Landlord Tenant Act requires a written move in inspection report, signed by both parties, if a deposit is collected.  If there’s no written inspection report, the landlord can’t withhold any portion of the deposit, even if the tenant significantly damages the property or owes rent. Without a written report, documenting the condition of the property at move in, it is impossible to prove that any damage didn’t pre-date the tenant’s occupancy.  The law specifies a written report; photos alone won’t suffice.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.
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Landscaping. Who takes care of it?

A common issue in rentals is who is going to maintain the yard.  Because maintaining the yard helps maintain the value of the property, it often makes financial sense to include some level of yard service in the lease.  Landlords need to consider not only the appearance of the yard during the current tenant’s lease but also what the condition will be when the landlord is marketing for a new tenant.  For large yards and those with a lot of money invested in the yard, it may be a good idea to include full yard service in the lease.  For other properties, doing a spring and fall clean up may be sufficient.watering can cutout

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

 

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WASHINGTON STATE – #7 AND GROWING

Top 10 States in Employment Growth[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

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PROPERTY ABANDONED – WA STATE

If a tenant abandons the rental property the landlord can take possession.  HOWEVER, the tenant must have indicated by word or deeds AND have unpaid rent before the landlord can declare the property abandoned.  If the tenant abandons any personal property that has either emotional or financial value it must be stored for 45 days and there is a process for notifying the tenant.

A judge can award a tenant up to $500 per day for every day a tenant is without his/her personal property if a landlord illegally removes a tenant’s property.  If a landlord disposes of the tenant’s property without due process, the landlord could also owe the tenant the stated value of the belongings.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

 

 

 

 

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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SEATTLE LAW OVERTURNED!

scale of justiceA King County Superior Court judge overturned Seattle’s “First Come, First Served” Ordinance.  The ordinance went into effect last year and required landlords to accept the first applicant who met screening criteria.  The judge ruled that while the goal of the law, preventing discrimination, was laudable, that it was too far reaching and violated landlord’s property rights.  She also found that the rules in the law regarding rental advertising violated property owner’s free speech rights. The city has not yet revealed whether they will appeal the decision.

It has been the policy of Coldwell Banker Bain Property Management to accept the first qualified applicant with four caveats.  If multiple applications are received, we will choose between them based only on the following:

  • Proposed move in date
  • Length of lease requested
  • Amount of rent offered
  • Whether the applicants have pets

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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WASHINGTON STATE – FREE ADVICE

Washington State has a free advice and referral service for low-income people for civil matters, including Landlord-Tenant issues.  “CLEAR” has limited resources, but may:

  • Give verbal or written advice that may help solve the problem;
  • Send written legal information and/or forms to help solve the problem;
  • Try to resolve the problem through negotiation;
  • Referral to another provider of legal aid.

Contact information:

  • Outside King County: Call 1-888-201-1014 weekdays 9:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.
  • King County: Call 211, 206-461-3200 or 1-877-211-WASH for information and referral to an appropriate legal services provider weekdays 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. Information on legal service providers in King County may also be accessed through 211’s website at www.resourcehouse.org.
  • Persons 60 and Over: Persons 60 or over may call CLEAR*Sr at 1-888-387-7111, regardless of income.
We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!
Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.
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HOW MANY IN A BEDROOM?

The HUD guideline of ‘two plus one’ needs to be considered only a guideline.  The rule of two persons per bedroom plus one extra, would allow for seven occupants in a three-bedroom rental (3×2 + 1).  However, HUD has clearly indicated that this is only a guideline.  A recent case in California involved a family of 12 that applied for a 2,583-square foot home where the landlord denied tenancy because the family, “had too many kids.”

Per HUD, what is reasonable for a specific home depends on the size and configuration of the property – including the number of bedrooms, the size of the bedrooms, the total living space, if there are any physical limitations in the home, the ages of the children and “other relevant factors.”  Although the landlord thought he was safe by applying the two plus one rule when he denied the family of 12, he lost.

We are here to help you and your clients comply with all aspects of rental laws. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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SEATTLE – SEATTLE – SEATTLE

Seattle’s “Fair Chance Ordinance” goes into effect on February 19, 2018.  This ordinance prohibits Seattle landlords from considering criminal history when screening a prospective tenant.  The only applicants who may be denied rental housing will be those listed on sex-offender registries because of adult convictions, and landlords denying housing to such people will still need to demonstrate a legitimate business reason for doing so.

Civil penalties for violations of this ordinance shall not exceed $11,000 for the first offense, $27,500 for second and $55,000 for the third in a seven-year period.  Tenants will have up to a year to file a complaint.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.
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RENT TRENDING LOWER???

Apartments rents had the largest drop in in price in the last decade in December.  This is primarily due to the large number of new apartments opening in the area.  Brand new complexes are offering move in specials in order to get their properties filled.  According to a survey by Apartment Insights, this has resulted in a decrease in rent of 2.9%, or an average of $50/month, for apartment renters.  In and around downtown Seattle, the result is an average of $100/month.  Rents dipped more than 6% in the more popular areas of First Hill, downtown Seattle, Belltown, South Lake Union, Ballard, Redmond and the Sammamish/Issaquah area.

This decrease in apartment rental prices is impacting condo and single-family home rentals.  The question is, will it impact the sales market if rentals become more affordable?

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

 There are no warranties, express or implied, including fitness for a particular purpose, made with respect to this communication. Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.
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