Pool Etiquette For Renters  

Modern Apartments With Swimming PoolsJust because you have a pool at your apartment doesn’t mean you can go wild. The heat outside certainly makes you rush over to the pool to enjoy, but before you do, do you know the proper etiquette? It’s likely your pool already has some ground rules, but there are also etiquette rules most renters aren’t aware of. So, to avoid any embarrassments or confrontations with other renters, make sure you follow these rules too.

Know the Rules Already in Place

Your apartment already has some rules. Check your lease or look for rules posted outside the pool area and always adhere to those. Not listening could result in you losing pool privileges. If you have guests sharing the pool with you, make sure they follow those rules too. It is your responsibility to ensure everyone that enters the pool area under your name follows the rules.

Always Clean Up After Yourself

If you bring snacks and drinks to the pool area (and it’s allowed), make sure you clean up after yourself. That means picking up your trash and throwing it out, cleaning up any spills and not leaving crumbs for ants to find. If there is a poolside grill, clean it out so it’s ready for the next person.

Be Courteous with Sunscreen

We don’t mean share your sunscreen, just remember there are other people at the pool when you put it on. Spray-on sunscreen, while convenient, can get everywhere. Make sure no one is standing by you or move to an area of the pool that you won’t spray others while spraying yourself. Even better, spray it on at home before even coming out to the pool.

Don’t Give Out Your Key

The key to your pool area is your responsibility; therefore don’t give it out to anyone. Also, sharing the key to public areas like this could be a violation of your lease and could result in you being evicted. If friends or family want to go to the pool, go with them.

Make Sure Your Kids Aren’t Bugging Others

Your kids are there to have fun, and they should. But make sure that fun isn’t at the expense of others. If your kids are running around, splashing or screaming, make sure they quiet down and respect others who are there with them.

Pool Attire Should Be Tasteful

String bikinis might show off your figure, but they could offend others at the pool. Make sure to keep the pool attire tasteful and appropriate for all ages.

Keep Music Low

You can listen to music, but keep the volume low or wear headphones so that you don’t disrupt your other pool-goers.

13
Jun 2014
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The Responsibilities of Your Landlord

Couple Get a Key to a New HomeRenters usually have the disadvantage, especially because they’re locked into a contract. But, renters often don’t know what responsibilities their property owner has — and what responsibilities they aren’t holding to.  While most landlords fulfill their duties, others bank on the fact their renters won’t know the law. So, before you rent, familiarize yourself with the legal responsibilities of your landlord.

Landlords are Required to Provide a Safe, Quiet Environment to Tenants

Most states require landlords to provide safe, quiet environments for their tenants. This is implied in a lease agreement, even if the lease agreement doesn’t straight out state that. That is why landlords often have quiet hours and noise restrictions in their lease agreements. In terms of safety, landlords have a few requirements that must be met, such as providing smoke detectors, having locks on the doors and performing background checks on all employees and potential renters.

Repair Requests Must Be Responded To

It is the landlord’s job to make sure their units are well maintained. That means responding to repair requests in a timely manner. While every state has their own definition for what “timely manner” means, it usually means quick. This is especially true for major repairs that could be potential life hazards.

Your Security Deposit Is Stored

You might hand over a check to the landlord, but security deposits aren’t just deposited into the bank and used for whatever. Instead, states require landlords to store them in a separate account so that they can be refunded promptly. Some states may even require a landlord to store them in an interest-bearing account.

Laws and Responsibilities Vary By State

While there are general laws for most states, the responsibilities and laws for landlords can vary. In California, you can find the landlord responsibilities regarding repairs on the California Department of Consumer Affairs site.

Check Your Lease

Always read your lease thoroughly and see what laws are listed in your lease. Most landlords include applicable tenant/landlord laws and responsibilities. Also, read your lease carefully to ensure you understand:

  • How repair requests are submitted and how long the property owner has to respond to them.
  • How and when your deposit is due, when it will be refunded, etc.
  • How your rental payments are handled, when they are due, etc.
  • Your responsibilities for maintaining your apartment. Some landlords require cleaning and other routine maintenance performed by their tenants — and you will only know that if you read your lease.

 

12
Jun 2014
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Tips for Dealing with Bad Neighbors

For RentIn an apartment complex, you have many neighbors to deal with. It’s likely you’re sharing a wall (or two), floor and ceiling with other people. It doesn’t matter how great the apartment is, there will come a time you have to deal with your neighbors — and not in a good way. But before you storm over there ready to share your opinion, take in these tips for dealing with your difficult neighbors. 

What Does the Lease Say?

Some leases have strict noise restrictions. If your neighbors are being loud past 10:00pm and your lease restricts that, bring it up with your property owner. It is important to point out lease violations to your property owner, because if there is ever an issue between the other tenant and yourself, you will already have proof they have violated their rental contract.

See If the Other Neighbors Agree

Ask the other, non-offending neighbors if they have the same concerns as you do. While you might be annoyed, it might not be something that is bothering all of your neighbors. By making sure you’re justified, you can avoid any headaches when you do confront your neighbor.

Always Be Nice

Your neighbor might be annoying you, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it intentionally or even realize they are annoying you. Sometimes all it takes is a polite confrontation with your neighbor to let them know how much they are bugging you. They may even hear out your concerns and fix the problem — but if you walk in there rude and ready to fight, it is unlikely you’ll get very far.

Are You Noisy Too?

Before you start going around and accusing your neighbors of being annoying, make sure you’re not equally loud and disruptive to your neighbors.

Get the Landlord Involved

After you have discussed the issue with your neighbor and the problem is not resolved, the next step is to tell your landlord. Give them a call and discuss your concerns with them. This is a good time to point out any lease violations, but also let them know you have already spoken to the neighbor with no results.

Write It All Down

Every time you have a noise disturbance or you speak to your neighbor about it, write it down. If you discuss it with your landlord, write that down too. This is important. Because if your property owner doesn’t take action against the disturbances, you may have a case for breaking your lease, but you need accurate documentation to prove your case.

Ready to Move to a Smaller Apartment? A Few Tips for Making the Transition

Happy couple carrying boxes moving into new home apartment houseDownsizing an apartment can prove to be very beneficial — not only will you save on rent, but you’ll save on utilities and reduce the clutter. But, making the transition from a larger apartment to a smaller one still takes a little work. You have a lot of decisions to make, like whether or not to put your excess in storage for a bigger home down the road, sell it or donate it. The challenge will be downsizing your life in general; that way everything fits into your new, more affordable space.

Keep What You Really Love, Get Rid of the Rest

When you’re downsizing, you want to maximize the savings benefits. If you have to pay a monthly storage fee for a storage unit, you’re really not saving that much money. So, downsize everything and only keep what you really love and cannot live without. These times can be stored in a smaller unit or might even fit in the new place — that way you don’t have to spend extra money just to save money.

Declutter Your Closet

Many people have a closet full of clothes that they rarely wear. Use the time for downsizing as an opportunity to get rid of all of those clothes you don’t use. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it is likely you won’t wear it again — so donate it, give it to a friend or sell it online if you can.

Get Furniture That Has Multiple Functions

When you have a smaller unit, you need furniture that doesn’t take up space without offering some sort of function. Find furniture that has multiple uses, such as a small table that can extend into something bigger; a couch that folds out into a bed; an ottoman that has secret storage. The more double-duty your furniture is, the easier it will be to squeeze into less square footage.

Declutter Before You Pack

There’s no point in moving everything to the new place before you downsize it. Instead, go through everything before you pack and decide what will go, what will be donated and what can be thrown away. This not only means less boxes to carry on moving day, but less hassle when it comes time to pack.

Decide How Much Space You Really Want

You have a smaller unit, so how much of that space do you want your personal items to take up? The more cluttered your rooms are, the less space you will feel like you have. So, if you can, try to maximize the space by not cluttering the new apartment — that might mean getting rid of more furniture and personal items that you initially thought.

26
May 2014
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How to Create Better Blog Posts for Your Apartment Community

Image of female touching virtual icon of social networkAs a property manager, you know the importance of keeping up a blog. It helps promote your brand, keep residents informed, and makes your apartments a little more personal. But to keep your tenants (and hopefully prospective tenants) reading your blog, you need catchy posts. Here are a few tips to help you create better, more tenant-focused blogs.

Know Your Target Audience

Think about your target reader. Most likely, your readers will be current tenants, but you may have a few prospective tenants keeping up to date on your blog too. If you’re not sure what types of posts your tenants want, create a survey and ask the top ten things your tenants want to read.

Create Killer Titles

Your title ultimately determines whether someone will read the blog post. So, make sure you use blog titles that get their attention. That might mean using a controversial title or just using a list approach, such as “5 Ways to Create Better Blogs”.

Make Your First Paragraph the Attention-Getter

Your readers aren’t going to bother reading your entire blog if the first paragraph is boring. Make the first paragraph really count and keep it catchy. It should sum up what the reader is about to get if they read the entire post. Some ways you can make that first paragraph more interesting can include:

  • Asking a question
  • Sharing a statistic
  • Presenting a common issue your tenants are likely looking for an answer to.

Break It Up and Make It User Friendly

Have you ever opened a website or blog and found nothing but a wall of text? That’s not interesting or easy to read. Break up your blog posts using small paragraphs, but also use subheaders to really grab your reader’s attention. That way they know what they’re getting in each paragraph.

Keep It Conversational

The purpose of having a blog for your apartment community is to really speak to your readers — your tenants. So, write as though you were speaking to them in person and keep it interesting. Readers shouldn’t feel like they’re getting a lecture and your posts should be written in the first or second person — never in the third.

Use SEO Effectively

Your posts will need some keywords and a stellar meta description to get the attention of search engines too. By using SEO and ranking in the search engine results, you can attract people who aren’t tenants and encourage them to read your blog as well, which could help fill your vacancies faster when they pop up.

22
May 2014
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