Property Management Blog

Hurricane storm season preparation tips for HOMES

System - Thursday, March 14, 2019
Property Management Blog

Earlier this month we wrote about basic personal preparation (and see our owner newsletter for basic storm facts). Whether home owner or rental resident, there is something here for everyone to consider. There is still about 3 months to ponder and ultimately prepare (and not under pressure or panic!)

1. Doors, windows and skylights. Gale-force winds create flying debris that can act like bullets, easily passing through windows and sometimes doors. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, consider impact-resistant glass or shutters. Some shutters have a track system that allows you to store them while not in use; when a storm approaches, they’re fairly easy to install. Don’t overlook garage doors, either. They may need extra bracing to withstand high winds.

2. Landscaping. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed of dead branches; prune all trees back to keep a 10-foot safe zone around homes. Monitor any cracks or splitting in trees.

3. Eliminate flying objects. Before the storm, remove outside objects that can become airborne. Don’t assume patio furniture is heavy enough to withstand high winds.  If they can’t be moved, then secure these outdoor objects as well as possible.

4. Seal tight against water damage. Close and lock doors and windows. Ensure gutters are debris-free and will carry water away from foundations

5. Exterior structure. Because hurricane-force winds can easily pull homes apart, starting at the roof, consider a construction fastening system. In hurricane-prone areas, install hurricane straps to strengthen roof-to-wall and wall-to-foundation connections. Properly brace roof trusses. 

6. Get ready. Know first if you should be evacuating! Consider a portable generator to get through the storm’s aftermath. Keep basics on-hand: portable radio and plenty of fresh batteries, candles, water, non-refrigerated food and a first-aid kit. Make sure friends and loved ones know where you’re riding out the storm. Have an up-to-date inventory of your home and its belongings, using your smart phone’s video and photo capabilities, and upload these files to the cloud so that they can easily be retrieved.

Check this link for the 411 on hurricanes (especially if new to Florida!): https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

TAKE CHARGE!

System - Friday, March 1, 2019
Property Management Blog

NOW is the time….it’s 3 months prior to storm season. Yeah, no one likes to think about this at all but now gives you ample time to prepare, especially where insurance coverage is concerned.


  • Make sure your home owner’s insurance is up to date; check your flood zone situation
  • If you rent, seriously consider renter’s insurance
  • Have an online account with your carrier and keep reference info on hand
  • Update or create the detailed inventory of your contents
  • Photograph it and keep on flash drive or send to the cloud
  • Create a master list of accounts for reference (bank accounts, etc.)
  • Stock up on supplies between now and June while they’re plentiful

Check back later this month for more suggestions but 3 months out you have plenty of time to address the above if you haven’t done so previously. Do not forget what happened here in Florida with Hurricane Michael at the end of last season—be prepared, not scared!

EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule

System - Thursday, February 14, 2019
Property Management Blog

So earlier we outlined the what, how and why of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. If you missed it, see below (February 1)!

Now we’re going to reinforce why you need to pay attention and be in compliance because it affects something we know is important to everyone: your wallet!

SIMPLE: If repairs/work are not done according to the RRP rule, all parties involved could be fined $37,500.00 per incident.

If a contractor might disturb more than six square feet of paint in a pre-78 home, then you must engage a lead based paint certified contractor for the job—or suffer the consequences. What are the consequences again? See above. Many, many dollars.

What is that expression about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure????

Periodic Property Assessment

System - Friday, February 1, 2019
Property Management Blog

We talk about compliance a lot; it’s a big part of our job. It isn’t always a popular discussion as it often involves investment on the owner’s part but it is certainly more cost effective than non-compliance. Keeping the rental property in good condition is just good sense. It attracts responsible tenants and protects/enhances the value of the asset.


Here is the basic concept, as spelled out by the Florida Landlord Tenant law:

Single-Family Home or Duplex

At all times during the tenancy, the landlord of a single-family home or duplex shall:

  • Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing and health codes; or
  • Where there are no applicable building, housing or health codes, maintain the plumbing in reasonably good working condition and maintain the roof, windows, screens, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components in good repair and capable of resisting normal forces and loads.

Yes, it’s broad brush strokes but it gets into plenty of detail as you go and we study it constantly. If an investment property owner knows and understands this much, it’s a good “foundation” for the rest.

Next up, we’ll talk a little about the cost of non-compliance…

Speaking of JEA

System - Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Property Management Blog

Speaking of JEA…..letters have been arriving regarding back flow preventer testing and state environmental regulations.

As apparently mandated by the state of Florida DEP (Department of Environmental  Protection) any property with an irrigation system should have a back flow preventer and if it has not been tested (for proper operation) in the last 2 years, owners will be required to do so.  This must be done by a certified tester. 

JEA offers 2 options on facilitating this (see link below); one option has JEA taking care of it and the other allows you to choose how it’s handled but there is a time sensitive deadline!

Bear in mind if the testing, however administrated, finds failure you may need to be prepared for repairs and/or replacement. 

 Why is proper operation of the back flow preventer important? Parts can fail or corrode over time and it is the mechanism that keeps chemicals, grit and other pollutants, etc.  from entering the public water supply. 

2019 off on the right foot

System - Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Property Management Blog

Here’s an idea to start 2019 off on the right foot—plan to take advantage of JEA discounts!

If you’re thinking about the inevitable replacement of a major system or appliance OR upgrading, do your research first to see how your choices could affect not only utility bills but insurance as well!

Here are 3 big ones to consider:

  • Lighting Rebates: on Energy Star LED bulbs, with specific [participating retailers)


  • HVAC Rebates:  On purchases of new systems (Your home’s central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) is responsible for nearly 50 percent of the energy consumed in your home according to ENERGYSTAR®.) Currently offered for 16 seer


  • Insulation:  For blown-in loose fill fiber glass or cellulose insulation. The rebate amount is $0.20 per square foot up to a maximum rebate amount of $150.


For more details, visit https://www.jea.com/Ways_to_Save/Residential_Rebates/ or your utility’s website and contact your insurance carrier!


Don’t Forget About Homestead Exemptions!

System - Friday, December 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

We don’t profess to be the experts on this subject (which is why we’ve included a link to the real authority) but we do know a little!

If you are a (especially new) property owner in Duval County or North Florida, you may be eligible for exemptions and additional benefits that can reduce your property tax liability!

For example, military owners can keep their homestead if they use the address of the rental for their permanent address.  There are multiple aspects to the homestead exemption (s) and there are parameters that must be observed and followed. 

USE the link below to get to all the information, included easy to read 1 pagers on each aspect. It will be well worth your time!

http://floridarevenue.com/property/Pages/Taxpayers_Exemptions.aspx

Oh yes it’s that time of year again….and we’re not talking holidays (but we WILL get to that!)

System - Sunday, December 2, 2018
Property Management Blog

Even in Florida (especially here in Jacksonville & north Florida), temperatures can take a tumble and fall below freezing now and then. It rarely lasts long but we often forget (after months of stifling heat) and newcomers to the area may be unprepared to anticipate it!

Aside from reminding everyone of the important “P”s (People and Pets) there is another “P” that is critical and could adversely affect the previous two (People and Pets) if not cared for properly! That’s PIPES!


  • How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
  • Disconnect & drain garden hoses.
  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
  • Turn off the sprinkler system.
  • If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times. Water running through the system will prevent the line from freezing.
  • Keep the cabinet under the kitchen sink open so warm air can flow around the pipes.
  • Cover exposed pipes (both indoors and out) with insulating foam covers.
  • Call your landlord or property manager immediately if you suspect a pipe has frozen for further instructions.

As we move into our coldest months it is necessary to be vigilant and care for the BIG 3 “P”S PEOPLE. PETS. PIPES!

Thanksgiving—it’s only a week away!

System - Thursday, November 15, 2018
Property Management Blog

As always, this is a time of reflection and, despite all the trials and tribulations of the year to date, a time for gratitude. We all have vexing situations in our lives (and most of us shared one just a couple of weeks ago) but it remains important to count the blessings in our lives. 

If for no other reason, do it for your health. Yes, there is scientific evidence that gratitude is good for your physical and psychological health! It is known to improve sleep and mental strength. At work it can help with goal achievement and decision making and improves productivity. At home it can deepen your relationships. Gratitude is good for you!  

In the next week, take a few moments (or many—whatever works!) and reflect on all that is good in your life. Take stock of the people in it and give thanks. Reflect on some of those things you maybe take for granted: Your employer provided benefits?  The neighbor who watches your house when you are away?  The improvements the City just made in your neighborhood? Whatever it might be, when you think about it, you probably have a lot to be grateful for!

So….before you sit down to that bountiful table next Thursday, have a heaping helping of gratitude. It’s the healthiest thing you can do!






Your Property “Investigator”

System - Thursday, November 1, 2018
Property Management Blog

So we’ve outlined the areas that are evaluated in a home inspection—how does the rental “inspection” differ? Number one, while many property managers hold various designations in the industry --and 2 of ours are MPM® (Master Property Manager) -- they are not licensed home inspectors. If you want to know more about what it means to be an MPM®, just ask us! 

They will be looking at the same areas as a home inspector to the best of their accessibility. During occupancy can be a bit more challenging than during the move out process for obvious reasons but they are looking for “clues” to any potential issues in those critical areas. They are walking the exterior (and observing from the ground if roof needs further investigation), assessing condition of the yard, checking proper operation of major systems in the home and the smoke detectors, checking the HVAC system, looking for evidence of any water intrusion and so on. They look at many of the same things a home inspector does and make determinations as to whether more detailed, expert assessment is warranted. 

This is all in the interest of protecting the asset and insuring safety for the occupants. Critical stuff!


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