Property Management Blog

It’s Holiday Shopping Season!

Web Admin - Friday, December 01, 2017

We realize this advice may be a day late and dollar short (no pun intended!) since it’s past Cyber Monday but we suspect there are still several of you out there that have some shopping to do and since it’s December now, may be doing it online.

We scoured all kinds of resources and it pretty much boils down to these tips (USA Today was best and most to the point):

  • Look for the symbol: Look for the little padlock in the address bar or a URL that starts with “https” instead of “http,” as the “s” stands for “secure.”
  • Use secure payment methods: Only shop on sites that take secure payment methods, such as credit cards and PayPal, as they likely give you buyer protection just in case there’s a dispute (your debit card almost certainly will not).
  • Be password savvy: A strong password is at least seven characters long, has a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and with some uppercase characters, too. Change passwords routinely. Or use password management apps if you’re worried you won’t remember the password.
  • Do your research: Don't forget about the No. 1 tip about shopping: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid unbelievably hot “deals” from unknown merchants, check merchant reputation, etc.
  • Mind what you download: Or click on--beware “fake” shopping sites and apps
  • Connectivity Caution: Try not to shop using a public system or free Wi-Fi- you never know if your information is being tracked and logged — so it's best to wait until you get home. Or use your smartphone as a personal hotspot, which is safer than free Wi-Fi.

More Food for Thought………

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

So we said we’d continue with some more details re: Airbnb; even if the lease did permit such activity, there are further considerations…..

Legality of offering lodging

Sourced from Airbnb

Some cities have restrictions on subletting for a short period of time. In some cities, collection of a transient occupancy tax by Airbnb is required. In many cities, hosts must register with the government and obtain a permit or license. Airbnb has published a list of regulations and requirements by city; however, only cities in the United States are included. In addition, many landlords or community associations also have restrictions on short term sublets. Hosts may be required to pay income taxes on income received via Airbnb and, in the United States, Airbnb sends tax forms to hosts that have earned over $20,000 in rents and received over 200 reservations via Airbnb in a calendar year.]

Insurance

Airbnb recommends that hosts obtain insurance which covers damages caused by guests. Airbnb offers secondary insurance, called its "host guarantee". The guarantee covers property loss and damage due to vandalism and theft. When first launched in August 2011, the program covered up to US$50,000. However, the maximum was later increased to US$1,000,000. The company also has a 24-hour customer service hotline and a task force to review suspicious activity.

Holidays are Coming………………..

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Hard to believe another year is almost over. Does anyone even remember what was going on, say, in February? Neither do we though we’re pretty sure we were probably already talking about making preparations for the coming warner temperatures, etc. Same things we bring up annually because, well, preventative maintenance!! Rest assured, we’ll be talking about it again in 2018.

So now the holiday season is upon us—you’re either traveling or hosting right? In comes the Airbnb concept. Many people love it and if you’re the owner of the property, it may be a viable strategy in any number of situations. However, if you are currently leasing the property you reside in and—without the express written consent of the owner and/or property manager—list the property on Airbnb and “book” guests (and/or take payment), you are subleasing. Check your lease first—it may prohibit subleasing, again unless you have procured express written consent from the owner and/or property manager.

Then there are the possible legal and insurance implications…more to come on that.

Fencing Issues Post Storm

Web Admin - Monday, October 16, 2017

Fencing is one of the most likely complications from a strong storm. To date, most of what we’ve seen in Duval, Clay & St. Johns counties has been partially damaged fencing due to wind and/or tree or other heavy object crashing into it.

Depending on the extent of damage and age of fencing, it may become a question of just replacing the affected parts or replacing all the fencing. Either way it raises a host of questions, especially if replacing:

First and foremost, does the fencing in question belong to you? If unsure, check your survey and verify it does not/did not encroach on neighbor’s property line. Once certain of ownership and fencing placement then verify if a permit is needed! Requirements can vary so what applies to an owner in Julington Creek or Atlantic Beach may be different from that in Riverside or San Marco—just as examples!

If repairing: How viable/how much useful life is left? Can it be easily matched and tied in to?

If replacing:

Intent: Privacy? Barrier for animals or children? Aesthetics?

Type of fencing: Wood or vinyl? Straight slat or shadowbox?

Posts: Size? Cement in or not?

Gates: Add?

Maintenance: Will it withstand normal conditions? Will it have to be pressure washed or painted periodically?

Roofing Issues Post Storm

Web Admin - Tuesday, October 03, 2017

We learned a few things from past storms and have an arsenal of qualified vendors who are practiced at navigating repairs/replacements for insurance claims in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.

Regardless of how “intact” the roof appears after the storm, if there is even one lone loose shingle or branch visible, it should probably be assessed/checked out after the storm. A professional roofer can tell us/an owner if there is any damage (especially not seen from the ground) that would warrant an insurance claim.

If such damage may result in consideration of a new roof, several things to consider and these are just a few:

  • Vent ridges (what type)
  • Shingles (what type)
  • Boots
  • Peel & stick vs felt

When a new roof is all said & done, a wind mitigation & 4pt inspection should be conducted for submission to insurance carrier for possibly lowered premium.

Home Warranties: Cost Savings?

Web Admin - Friday, September 15, 2017

We promised (and despite the storm aftermath) to talk about costs associated with home warranty programs as a follow up to our discussion regarding the pros and cons….

A service call for a warranty provider to show up and diagnose a problem runs anywhere from $65-$125. (roughly the same or a bit more than most of our property management vendors). One key difference is many of them require this payment up front before they show up; our vendors typically don’t.

WeUsually the warranty is most useful in covering issues impacting 4 key dynamics: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and Appliances. This is where it gets difficult to pin down costs but we’ll attempt to provide some broad generalities here, using APPLIANCES as an example:

  • Fridge Replacement cost: $500+ depending on type (average life 6-15 years )
  • Stove Replacement cost: $500+ depending on type(average life: 10-15 years)
  • Dishwasher Replacement cost: $400+ depending on type (average life: 8-10 years)
  • Washer/Dryer Replacement cost: $400+ each, depending on type (average life: 8-12 years)

Repair or Replace: We weigh if repair cost is close to half of cost of replacement and depending on age. Warranty company will always try to repair first which could translate into repeated issues, repeated service calls and various replaced parts over time.

This is why we urge due diligence in selecting the plan and, in the case of appliances especially, find out what brand they would replace any appliance with and research the service record/performance of that line. If you can, also find out what vendors they work with local to your property’s area: Julington Creek? Riverside/Avondale? Atlantic Beach? It could inform your decision…..

So You Think You Want a Home Warranty…….

Michael Hodges - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

We agree—you should consider it! Can we give you some possibly helpful suggestions and thoughts before you pull the trigger? FPM Properties has a bit of history and experience dealing with home warranties…..

If we sold you this house and you are going to be living in it, you might be very glad you made what is, in the grand scheme of things, a small investment for some protection. Even if we didn’t sell you the house (and you don’t already have a home warranty from the purchase) a home warranty could be a good thing. Take the time, if you haven’t already, to get to know some facts about your home. How old are the major systems in the house (electrical, plumbing, HVAC)? How old are the various appliances? Who are the manufacturers?

Fire up Google and do a little research about what you have. Some brands of appliances have better track records than others. Ditto on accessibility of replacement parts and/or sources qualified to service.

These are all dynamics you should factor into, subsequently, the evaluation of various plans you may look at/consider. Most warranties have specific parameters for what aspects of a major system (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) they will cover or not cover. Appliances—same thing.

Another important consideration—if there is no proof of regular/ongoing maintenance of the system in question, they may decline to cover an item (otherwise covered). Weigh the cost of the deductible, the items that aren’t covered (and the possible associated cost) with the savings you may realize on the covered items. Next time, we’ll talk a little about what things tend to cost……..

Lead Based Paint---What Do I Have to Do?

Michael Hodges - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We’ll stay focused on pre 1978 housing but remember this also pertains, at least in part, to child occupied facilities. First let’s clarify what the EPA considers to be “renovation”.

If the surface to be painted is not disturbed by sanding, scraping or other activities that may cause dust, the work is not considered to be renovation. However, if painting projects involve surface preparation that disturbs paint, such as sanding & scraping, then it is considered renovation.

Here’s an abbreviated list of what you must do prior to renovation:

  • Distribute EPA’s lead pamphlet to occupants/residents
  • For multifamily common areas: distribute pamphlet to tenants or post informational signs about the pending work where they can be seen and contain dates, nature and location of work and be accompanied by pamphlet and/or instructions on access to it.
  • Utilize a lead based paint certified provider for the work

So what’s the big deal? Penalties can go as high as $37,500.00 per violation, per day. For a sobering check, visit this link: - https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/fy2016-enforcement-actions-lead-renovation-repair-and-painting-rule-rrp

FPM Properties has not one but two MPMs (Master Property Manager) and well over 50+ years combined experience on the team and extensive history managing properties in Riverside, Avondale, San Marco, St. Nicholas, Atlantic and Neptune Beaches (just to name a few) which have high concentrations of pre 1978 homes. If you own or are considering purchasing such an investment property and don’t want to deal with all this, you should contact us!

Lead Based Paint---What’s the Deal?

Michael Hodges - Tuesday, August 01, 2017

What is the EPA’S Lead Based Paint RRP Program?

Great and important question! Let’s tackle first from the vantage point of a homeowner (or property manager) with a home OR child occupied facility built prior to 1978.

  • It’s a federal regulation aimed at protecting against lead based paint hazards associated with renovation, repair and painting activities (like painting, carpentry, window replacement, plumbing and electrical work as well as remodeling/repairs)
  • The rule requires workers to be trained to use lead safe work practices and requires renovation firms to be EPA certified (these became fully effective April 22, 2010
  • RRP= Renovation, Repair and Painting. It applies to residential houses, apartments and child occupied facilities (like day care centers) built before 1978.
  • Anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing and child occupied facilities built before 1978 must follow requirements (like painters, plumbers, electricians, general contractors and carpenters)

There are further parameters and details to this which we’ll address in our next blog; for now, if you can’t wait another moment for more details, call us at FPM Properties (904-497-4200) or check out: www.epa.gov/lead

Homes in Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beaches as well as San Marco, Springfield, Avondale, Riverside and Murray Hill (to name a few) could be subject!

Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong will go wrong. It never fails right?

Michael Hodges - Monday, July 17, 2017

The absolute worst time for the air conditioner to act up is now—and that’s when it happens! Should you find yourself with underperforming or non-functioning AC-- and you are awaiting the service provider to the rescue—here are some helpful hints to keep cool.

  • Use box and ceiling fans to keep air circulating. Open doors throughout so circulation is not blocked. Open windows at night (if feasible) and close windows, blinds, etc. during day.
  • Leverage the power of water: Soak feet in cool water. Keep a cool towel or bandana around your neck. Take a cool shower. Spritz with cool water. Get in a pool (if you can!) or the ocean!
  • If your home is more than one level, stay below (you know this—heat rises)! Eliminate heat producing sources when not necessary, i.e. stove, overhead lights, etc.
  • Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Eating “lighter” so you can avoid increasing your metabolic rate/body temp.
  • This is a great time to visit the Mall or movies or STAY with a family member who you are overdue to spend time with (if your system is being replaced)!

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Fax: (904) 387-6436

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