Posts Tagged ‘Tenant Evictions’

Highlights from the 2014 Income Property Management Expo

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Pasadena, CA – March 25, 2014

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We hope to see everyone back in Pasadena in 2015!

www.IncomePropertyExpo.com

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Landlords Get Tough on Subletting

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

KeysSeduced by the promise of extra income — a $100 or so a night in many cases — tenants across the country are looking to vacation rental service Airbnb to turn their apartments into profit centers through temporary sublets.

The most active markets are in major cities, including those with rent limits. In some cases, rent-controlled tenants are making more money than the landlord is legally allowed to charge.

Some call it ingenuity. But others, including property owners and managers, say it’s illegal.

As the practice grows in popularity, landlords are fighting back. For instance, in a recent report from San Francisco, a tenant who was earning $185 a night by taking in temporary boarders just got the boot. An eviction attorney says he’s filed about a dozen of these cases in the last few months, according to the report.

In New York, a landlord was slapped with fines when a tenant’s sublet violated the ban on short-term lodging.  The landlord deferred the eviction when the tenant agreed to pay the penalties and to stop renting out the spare bedroom.

Airbnb offers a turnkey service allowing visitors to search online listings for extra rooms or even empty couches in large cities around the world. Sublets in San Francisco alone are estimated in the thousands, according to the report.

Despite negative publicity,  the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

If a lease agreement prohibits sublets, or short-term rentals violate local law, a landlord may have grounds to file an eviction. However, in some cases there is no built-in remedy for landlords against tenants who are exploiting a lease for profit.

And, some tenants won’t leave quietly. One tenant attorney told reporters that landlords are using the Airbnb situation as a “false pretense” to get rid of rent-controlled tenants. He negotiates lease buy-outs on behalf of tenants in cases where an eviction may be costly and protracted.

Airbnb says its policies discourage anyone from breaking the lease, or the law.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Apartment Owners Sue Over Tenant Protections

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Law

A lawsuit challenging numerous amendments to New York’s rent stabilization regulations was filed by major real estate organizations representing thousands of residential property owners.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn the amendments, challenging the authority of the new Tenant Protection Unit, created by Governor Cuomo. The apartment owners contend that the status of TPU is in question, since the state’s legislature has rejected the proposed funding of the watchdog agency on two occasions since it was enacted in 2011.

The suit claims there is no legal authority for establishing the TPU, which, despite the lack of any complaint by a tenant, audits individual apartment improvements that owners undertake to improve their properties.

The rental owners also contend that the Governor had no authority to create the TPU in the first place – and even if such authority existed, the TPU, as it currently functions, violates constitutionally protected due process rights of building owners by demanding that they reduce or refund rents without affording them an opportunity to be heard or appeal the TPU’s decisions.

The second component of the lawsuit challenges many of the 27 amendments to
the regulations made by DHCR on the grounds that those amendments either conflict
with the State rent laws or constitute a violation of the separation of powers. For example:

The newly adopted regulations contradict the strict four-year statute of
limitations created by the State Legislature in 1997 relating to rent overcharge claims by tenants and record-keeping obligations for property owners. In fact, the newly adopted regulations now allow rent challenges to be brought at any time, by any tenant, and encompassing any time period throughout the entirety of an apartment’s rental history;

The amendments authorize tenants to stop paying rent, without the approval of any agency or court, if they do not believe that the property owner has properly documented improvements made to their apartments prior to the tenant taking occupancy;

The law creates obstacles which prohibit property owners from collecting legally authorized rent increases for major capital improvements and vacancy increases;

The regulations re-prioritize violations so that minor, even unintentional acts carry the same punishment as more severe actions.

The suit was filed by the Rent Stabilization Association, the Community Housing
Improvement Program, and the Small Property Owners of New York, along with individual property owners. The organizations represent owners and managing agents of thousands of large, medium and small residential apartment buildings throughout the five boroughs that include approximately one million rent stabilized apartments.

RSA President Joseph Strasburg adds, “Property owners will not sit by and watch
as their constitutionally protected property rights are trampled upon by government at the behest of tenant advocates.” RSA Chairman Aaron Sirulnick warns that it is small property owners who are the most vulnerable, and that the regulations will hamper efforts to preserve affordable housing.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

Why Do Evictions Take So Long?

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

eviction_noticeIt seems easy. Your renter is a deadbeat, and you want them out of your property. So why does it take so long to evict a tenant?

Unlike signing a lease agreement, a legal process so informal sometimes it’s done online, an eviction is a court process. A process that can be as acrimonious as a divorce.

Tenants are afforded legal rights that, when abused, can be used to delay the eviction for months.

First, the tenant has the right to contest the grounds for the eviction. The landlord will claim that the lease was broken, or a law was violated. Either way, the judge must be convinced that there is good cause to boot the tenant. If the judge grows sympathetic to the tenant, they may continue to live in your rental unit.

To begin the eviction process, notice must be given to the tenant — even if they disappeared or are refusing to accept service of the notice. If there is the slightest defect in the notice, it’s thrown out. A new one must be served, and the clock reset.

After being notified of the pending court case, the tenant has the right to challenge the eviction. While that commonly consists of a sweeping denial of whatever they are accused of doing, the tenant also can raise defenses at this time. That means challenges to the habitability of the unit, failure to make repairs or unfair treatment. Often, this is the first time any of these complaints have come to light.

If the tenant has made a reasonable-sounding denial, the landlord must then go to court and prove each aspect of the eviction claim. Without sufficient documentation, that won’t happen.

If you’re successful, the order you receive is just that — an order for the tenant to vacate. Now come the logistics. That order must be served, and a move-out date and time scheduled with the local sheriff’s office. More time spent.

Many courts separate out the eviction order process from any claim for unpaid rent or damage to the property. The logic is to speed up the eviction, but the effect is more time and money spent returning to court to pursue a judgment against the deadbeat tenant.

And finally, if money is owed, it must be collected.

If all that has you wondering how to avoid these consequences, then you’ll understand why some landlords negotiate the return of the rental unit by offering some incentive for the bad tenant to vacate — cash for keys. Maybe that sounds like giving in to a ransom demand, but from a purely business standpoint, it may be cheaper in the long run.

An important precaution is to run a tenant check, including a prior eviction report, on each applicant.

It should be clear just how important it is to have the right landlord forms, so your lease is airtight when you need it, and your rental application contains the clues that will lead a collection specialist to the money that is owned to you.

Lastly, keeping contemporaneous records on all applicants and tenants is the only way to protect yourself if you do wind up going to court.


logo_aaoa American Apartment Owners Association | Company Website 

Rental property management can be very demanding. Our job is to make this day-to-day property management process smoother. AAOA provides a host of services ranging from tenant screening to landlord rental application forms and contractor directory to apartment financing. 

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