Zillow Buys Hot Pads for Cool 16 Million Cash

Zillow just announced that it has acquired HotPads, the San Francisco-based rental and real estate search site for $16 million in cash. 

 

According to the Tech Crunch article, Zillow plans to create one single database for rentals that will be available on Zillow, HotPads and the company’s other properties. HotPads, will continue to exist as its own brand and Zillow will commit additional engineering resources to help the company grow.

 

Between Zillow Rentals and HotPads, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff  expects the company can now offer a rental marketplace at scale – something that wasn’t previously available to users in the highly fragmented rental market. For Zillow, this is also an opportunity to build a relationship with a younger audience – the kind that’s shopping for a first rental but not ready to buy yet. Once they get to the point where they are looking to buy, they will hopefully come back to the Zillow brand.

 

What does this mean to Showcase Property Management? I believe Zillow and HotPads will provide our rentals even greater exposure in a rental market that just keeps expanding. Our investors rely on us to quickly place tenants in vacant properties. The more exposure we have the great chances we have of finding qualified tenants. 

Visit RentWithKaren.com to search for rentals in Brevard County, FL

SECURITY DEPOSIT TIME LIMIT

 

Your old tenant is moving out and you have a new one coming in.  Let’s say the old tenant left in a hurry, so you and staff have to now move out the trash and leftover belongings, steam the carpet, repaint the walls, do minor repair work.  There’s a huge chunk of change from the security deposit that you want to use to cover expenses.  You think to yourself you have 30 days to notify the previous tenant of your plans to use the funds to cover rehabilitation expenses.  That’s well within your rights.

What if you only use part of the deposit for repairs and/or rehabilitation?  Still think you have the full 30 days to deliver the remaining balance of the previous tenant’s deposit?  Not so, says Florida Law.  You have fifteen days to return the rest of the deposit to the previous tenant if you are not making any claim. That means, if you don’t have to do any cleaning, repairs or rehabilitation that requires you to take some/part/all of the previous tenant’s deposit, you have fifteen days to return/refund the full amount. If not, then you are opening yourself and the corporation to a lawsuit (and potential add-on fees that would double or triple what you would have to pay). So, be sure to ask your company’s attorney or the attorney you have on hand to handle your real estate/tenant legal issues.   The last thing you would need is to have to pay thousands of dollars, in addition to returning the previous tenant’s deposit, when you first were notified of the tenant’s intent to vacate the premises.

 

Tips to secure your property in a hot rental market

Make preparations to rent property:

Due to short sales and foreclosures there is a high demand for rental properties. I recommend you view the Showcase Rental Application and gather all of the required documents you will need to submit your application, property management companies ask for basically the same information. Application fees which run from $45 to $75 must usually be in the form of a cashier check or money order. Typically personal checks are not accepted, some companies do accept a credit card, most do not.

If you have pets: at Showcase Property Management you will have to provide a recent pet certificate from your vet as well as an additional pet deposit.

Once you are approved: you will be required to provide the security deposit, do this as quickly as possible. The property remains on the market until the security deposit is paid in full. After the deposit is received and the property is removed from the market, the deposit is not refundable. This means  if you DO NOT sign the lease, the money for the security deposit IS NOT refunded.

Discuss making arrangement to turn on utilities when you provide your security deposit.

You will receive keys at the lease signing, if you request to move-in prior to your lease date, rent is pro-rated on a daily basis.  Prior to moving in be sure to take photos and note any issues pertaining to the property so you will not be held responsible.

Please keep in mind agents work on a percentage of the lease amount, they are not compensated until after the lease signing. Agents  work diligently to help you find the ideal place to call home, all they ask in return is your loyalty to work to them until you sign your lease.

You can request a copy of the Showcase Property Management application in the comment area below.

Why You Should Buy a Rental Property…

I came across this post, Why You Should Buy a Rental Property and when I read, “The best investments we’ve made are the ones no one else would touch.” I can see why David Ackman is hot on the Single Family Home Rental Property.  “They are cheap,” he says.  “They are a buy.” All I have to say is I agree 100%, properties are cheap in many areas of Brevard County as well as the entire state of Florida.

Now is the time for investors to scoop up these properties priced drastically below market value. My long time experience as a property manager not only helps investors determine where to buy for the best rate of return, but I am also able to provide the services of managing properties and help protect their values. By conducting regular inspections, my team and I are able to determine if the property is being maintained and to check for issues tenants may not even realize are problems.

With all of the short sales and foreclosures there is a growing need for rental properties. People coming out of distressed sales need a place to live. Most of these people make excellent tenants, they’re just victims of the economic disaster.

Why should you buy a rental property? Because the time is ripe to buy not one, but maybe two or three rental properties. When the market rallies back to stability selling them should produce a very nice profit.

 

Link to the article:

http://www.noradarealestate.com/blog/why-you-should-buy-a-rental-property/

 


WITHOUT EXCEPTION

     So, you have a couple looking at one of your open units at your condominium building, very personable and they look like a responsible pair of people. You check their backgrounds and see some financial information that causes you to re-think their application. However, you want to rent the unit and you now want to place a clause in the lease that provides in the event the resident files bankruptcy, you as the landlord will be excluded from the effects of the bankruptcy, and that the resident cannot use the bankruptcy as a way to stop or suspend paying the rent.

     Sounds like a great idea but it is not possible. If it were possible, then every creditor would have this type of clause in their contracts.  Their lawyer and the judge would laugh you right out of court.  These clauses are completely unenforceable, however badly you want to cover all your bases. When you own or manage a building full of condominiums or apartments, all landlords take a risk that their residents may file bankruptcy, and there is simply nothing you can do about it.

     If you receive notice that your resident has filed bankruptcy, call your attorney immediately.   Your attorney may or may not be able to place a lien or something similar on their income, other property or anything he or she may be able to find.  Get to know your eviction laws in your city, county and/or state as well. See what you can do to protect you and your property.


TIME ON OUR HANDS

     There comes a time when some tenants want a month-to-month lease (or a non-renewal).   It could be a college student who is in their last year and doesn’t want to get stuck owing months of rent that’s left on a lease.  It could be a family buying their first house and requires a few months to get everything together.  Or, they’re looking for what they feel is a better bargain in another complex, house or condominium.  Regardless, how do you, as the landlord, handle the end-of-term notices?

     First, what is a month-to-month?  A month to month tenancy is created when the landlord allows the resident to stay after the expiration of the lease agreement, or in the event that there was never even a lease in the fist place and the resident pays monthly. The resident presumably continues to pay the rent money until such time as either the landlord or the resident decides to terminate the tenancy.

     What about the rent and notice?  If there is a short-notice (usually less than 15 days) the renter typically owed for the entire month.  The landlord’s non-renewal notice to the tenant must be accurate concerning this date. It is usually a good idea to “cross-notice” the resident with your own notice of non-renewal.  Please see your real estate attorney for a proper notice or cross-notice.

     Be careful with partial-acceptance of rent for the last month.  Often a resident will not give you proper notice OR will give you a partial rent payment covering the time period in which they will stay. If you accept that partial payment, you may be accepting the “terms” of the resident’s notice, be it proper or improper. If you take a partial rent payment when the resident has given you insufficient notice, you may not be able to charge the resident for the remaining days in the month in which he leaves, even if he has otherwise given you proper notice.


ESTOPPEL…NO, NOT PIG LATIN

     Let’s say you’re a landlord who’s got a tenant that’s been paying late for a few months or usually pays half her rent on the sixth (after the fee start date) then pays the rest at the end of the month.  You accept the partial payments because, well, gosh darnnit, you’re so nice and you feel sorry for the renter. She comes up with sob stories and excuses that are always out of her control.

On the seventh month, you get tired of the constant late payments, whining and excuses.  So you start eviction procedures and wish her well. 

     In court, you see an attorney by her side; she’s looking pretty happy and snappy. She looks at you and winks.  Her lawyer pipes up and asks the judge to throw out the case based on the doctrine of Estoppel. The judge agrees. The same result often happens when the property manager constantly accepts partial payments.

     Courts will rule that the doctrine of estoppel will apply if : 1. Words and admissions, or conduct, acts, or all combined cause another person to believe the existence of a certain state of things 2. In which the person speaking, admitting, acting and acquiescing did so willfully, culpably, or negligently, 3. By which such other person is or may be induced to act so as to change her own previous position injuriously. What does that mean? If the property manager is giving the impression to the tenant that the terms of the lease need not be followed, then the landlord seriously jeopardizes her ability to enforce the terms of the lease.

     So, in the future, follow the rules of the lease term agreements to the letter.  No matter how sorry you feel for the renter.  You may be bosom buddies longer than you wanted.


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

When you, as a landlord, have people interested in a unit, you’re maybe seeing dollar signs in rent.  Maybe you’re thinking of increasing the rent every few months.  Or maybe you have a problem tenant who is after you to continually reduce the rent.  Guess what?  There is something to protect each of you.  It’s called a “Lease”. 

     Neither party should be wary of a lease.  It helps lay the ground rules for tenant, owner, who is responsible for what, when and where.  There are different types of leases: a one year lease may provide for a lower rent (a rent discount or concession) for the first month or months to induce a rental. A yearly lease may provide for higher rent with an automatic annual renewal or a roll over to month to month tenancy. A multi-year lease may provide for a rent increase at the start of each new lease year.

     There are many areas which the lease can cover for both the tenant and landlord.  For example, when leases provide for periodic changes to the rent, are clarity and notice.  If the rent change is based on something other than a dollar amount (e.g., the monthly rent shall increase to market rent), then the terminology (market rent) must be clearly defined.  A lease providing for an initially lower rent should clearly state if it is a one time or continuing concession, if the total concession amount is applicable to the initial month(s) or spread over the entire lease, and if it is recoverable if the lease is breached.  The resident may be unwilling to renew the lease. If a lease term expires and the resident remains in possession and continues to pay rent that is accepted by the landlord, then a month to month tenancy is established at the old lease rent amount.

     For more information and help in drafting a lease, please see an appropriate attorney.


ISSUE WITH SEXUAL PREDATOR/OFFENDER

     Let’s say you’ve rented out all your units and no problems have arisen lately.  Suddenly, it comes to your attention that one of your units has a Sexual Predator/Sexual Offender.  What do you do?  Do you run screaming with pitchfork and burning, flaming torch and gather a mob?  No, what you do is reassure any concerned residents that you are fully aware that there is an “unauthorized person” or “unauthorized occupant” residing in the complex. 

     Next, boot up your computer and go to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website and look up the individual in question. If the person is a SP/SO, it will show up and give a brief description of the offense along with a physical description of the individual and a photo. An important aspect of the information will be the address that the individual has registered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website

     There are different laws regarding removal of the “unauthorized person”, depending on if the address is registered as your property address, if he or she is a resident or visitor or even on the lease or not.  You are under no obligation to send out a notice to the other residents that there is a Sexual Predator or Sexual Offender in the complex.  What you can say, is that you are full aware there is an “unauthorized person” in the complex and that taking all legal steps to have the person removed, and that it is a legal process that takes some time.


STOP! IN THE NAME OF…

     You’ve filed numerous eviction notices the past few months on residents for numerous reasons.  Late or no pay, noise violations, trash, vandalism, and the list goes on.  One of your slow or late payers suddenly comes into your office with a money order for $2000 to cover the past rent.  You begin thinking of the empty apartments/condos/homes you have on the property, other late payers and begin to reconsider the eviction on this particular resident.  Afterall, two grand will certainly help in these troubled times.

     So, you accept the money order, call your attorney to stop the eviction and all is sunshine, daisies and buttermilk.  Not so fast…have you thought this through?   Your attorney will want to get paid, regardless if you stop the eviction, courts will want to get paid for any time they’ve put in.  Did you as the resident to cover that?  Did you include that in your eviction notice?  If not, guess who pays that.  That’s right, you do. 

     No one wants to evict a resident and if the said resident ponies up that lost money, everyone’s copasetic, right?  The lease may state that the resident is liable for all attorney’s fees and costs, but by accepting the rent and voiding the eviction, a resident can fight you on this, especially if she did not realize that you would be trying to take the money owed from the security deposit when she vacated.