Fort Hood Area Rental Market News

July 26th, 2013 2:13 PM

There is a new Landlord's Rules and Regulations Book available at
 
www.ArmadilloProperties.com/Rules

It contains clarification on the requirement to leave utilities on until the end of the 5th business day after keys are returned. It also includes new sections on water softener and clothes dryer preventive maintenance, as well as a host of other updates.

Read It Today!


Posted by Michael Zehr on July 26th, 2013 2:13 PMPost a Comment (0)

May 17th, 2013 5:18 PM

It is that time of year again. Temperatures are rising all across Central Texas, so we thought this would be a good time to remind you of some very important tips regarding your home’s air conditioning system. HVAC systems are rarely thought of until they stop working. It is important to note that, like with many other appliances in your home, Tenants do bear some responsibility in keeping these units functioning properly throughout the year. The following procedures will help ensure you are comfortable in your home, whatever the outside weather is like; will save you money on your energy bills; and will ensure you are not held responsible if there is a problem with the HVAC system.

Filters:

A clean system runs more efficiently which SAVES YOU MONEY. Dirty HVAC filters will cause the system coils to become clogged, which can restrict airflow to the point where the system actually freezes (ice will form). It will also cause the drain line to become clogged; forcing the normal condensation that should flow out the drain line to overflow into your home. If either of these happens, the Tenant will be billed for the cost of cleaning the system, extracting any water from the property, and the cost of repairing any water damage to the home. These costs are very expensive. So, change your HVAC filters every 30 days! This will prevent dirty coils and clogged drain lines while keeping your energy consumption low. If you notice moisture in/around the HVAC closet, contact us IMMEDIATELY.

All central heat & air conditioning systems have filters. If you cannot locate yours please call our maintenance department. They will be happy to assist you. If the filter is a washable type, clean and reinstall it monthly. If it is disposable, replace it with a new one every month. Whichever type it is, ensure that it fits snugly on all sides and stays down securely. Contact us immediately if the filter that is in place when you move in is dirty, not the right size, missing, damaged, or installed incorrectly.

Outside Compressor and Condenser Units:

Keep grass, dirt, and other obstructions away from the outside unit. Be careful when mowing and trimming not to cut electrical or copper lines, and not to throw grass onto the unit. If needed, switch the unit off and clean it with a water hose.

Keep pests away from the outside unit and/or drain. Ants are attracted to the magnetic field generated by the switches in the unit, and can prevent them from functioning properly. Many pests are attracted to the water coming from the drain line of the unit, and can clog the line, causing water to overflow inside your home. Remember, pest control is a Tenant responsibility, and any damage caused by a failure to control pests can be charged to Tenants.

Make sure pets do not chew on lines running to your outside air-conditioner. Animals like to make resting places around the unit and will chew on these. Hair from these animals also gets sucked into the system coils causing a lack of airflow. Finally, make sure the drain line (usually plastic or copper) is exposed and is free to drain. Do not bend or kink this line. Most drains come out somewhere around the outside unit. Some may be tied into a drain system in your house.

As always, contact us immediately if you are experiencing problems with your unit.

 


Posted by Michael Zehr on May 17th, 2013 5:18 PMPost a Comment (0)

April 12th, 2013 3:12 PM

Posted (edited version) with permission of the author, Robert Locke.

 
Owning a rental property is like owning any business, and being a Landlord increases your chances of getting sued. It just comes with the territory.

The first, and cheapest, line of defense in protecting yourself from the liabilities of the landlord business is a good Landlord Policy. Landlord policies cover property damage as well as liability risks. The landlord policy is specifically designed to cover risks associated with owning rental properties. Most insurance companies offer landlord policies, however, they differ in many ways. Here are some things to consider when you buy a landlord policy:
  1. Make sure your policy has an All Risks Provision.
    Basic landlord policies only cover natural disasters (fire, windstorms, tornadoes, and floods). This may not be sufficient coverage. A policy with an All Risks Provision expands basic coverage to include such things as theft, vandalism, and malicious mischief. If you have this coverage it will cover the damages caused by an angry teenager spray-painting the kitchen black to get back at his parents, or the cost of a tenant taking your refrigerator when they move out. It’s reasonable and it’s a must. Make sure your policy has an All Risks Provision.
     
  2. Many landlord policies reduce (or cancel) coverage if the property is vacant more than 30 days.
    Make sure you know what the premium changes to (or what coverage is dropped) during a vacancy.
     
  3. Make sure your policy has a Loss of Rents Provision. 
    A Loss of Rents Provision means if the house burns down, the insurance company will continue paying you rent until the house is back in rent-ready condition. Without this provision you will be funding your own mortgage during the restoration period.
     
  4. Increase your liability coverage.
    Basic liability coverage on a landlord policy is typically $300,000.00. In today’s world you need more than that. Most companies offer $500,000 or $1,000,000 for pennies in additional premium. Typically it costs $20 to $30 per year to raise your coverage to $500,000. This is too cheap to pass up.
     
  5. Make sure your property manager is covered.
    Most management agreements require the manager’s name added as an “additional insured” for the purpose of liability. If a house burns down and a lawsuit develops over wrongful death, your insurance carrier will cover you and your property manager. It costs nothing to add them to the policy. You can add your manager through an endorsement if the language in the policy does not automatically cover them. Bottom line is: make sure your property manager is covered. It is a standard practice in the industry and costs you nothing. 
     
  6. Shop around for good coverage.
    Like any other insurance there is good coverage, and not so good coverage. Our experience shows that companies like State Farm and AllState have very good landlord policies.
     
  7. Consider a Personal Umbrella Liability policy.
    You should always carry a Personal Umbrella Liability policy. Consider at least $1,000,000 policy. It covers your home, your car, your boat, your RV, your big wheel and your I-POD. It is inexpensive (under $300 a year) and the day may come when you wish you had it.
     
  8. Consider a Commercial Umbrella Liability policy.
    Here is the problem. After you buy your fourth or fifth rental property your personal umbrella policy becomes void. The company just stops covering you the day you buy your next property (every company has their own formula). A Commercial Umbrella Policy is reasonable and covers everything you own without limits. 

 
Why you should add your property manager to your Landlord Policy as an “Additional Insured”

  1. Property managers take on liability to manage your property …
    If a tenant gets hurt on the property by falling off the roof, or hurting their hand in the garbage disposal, or getting injured in a fire, their attorney will find a reason to sue you, your manager, and the last three contractors that worked on the house. They name anyone they can think of in the action. We have had all these things happen and it just works that way. Your insurance company will come to everyone’s defense if the manager is named on the policy. It costs you nothing and it is standard practice with your insurer.
     
  2. Management Agreements require it …           
    There is language in the management agreement you sign with your property manager requiring that you add them as an additional insured.  Every company does it.
     
  3. It is standard practice …
    Most landlord policies “automatically include the management company” as an additional insured (State Farm is one example). Some insurers require that you ask the agent to add the manager (like AllState).
     
  4. It costs you nothing …                                                         
    There is no additional premium charged to add your property manager to your policy. It is standard practice.

We are not insurance agents.
You must talk to a competent insurance agent for reliable information on this subject. These notes are simply guidelines to get you started in the right direction and asking the right questions.


Posted by Michael Zehr on April 12th, 2013 3:12 PMPost a Comment (0)

March 8th, 2013 10:54 AM

Go Green LogoAlthough we no longer accept credit cards for rent payments, tenants can now pay rent through the tenant portal using our Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Simply log into the tenant portal, click “Setup Payment Account”, and follow the onscreen instructions. The system will only allow one time payments and there is a $3.50 processing fee per transaction. If you would like to set up monthly recurring ACH payments, that must be done manually in our office. We strongly encourage tenants to take advantage of our recurring ACH payment system as there are many advantages.

For a discussion on the benefits of ACH payments over paper checks, see:

What Are the Benefits of ACH Payments?


Posted by Michael Zehr on March 8th, 2013 10:54 AMPost a Comment (0)

January 28th, 2013 1:00 PM
We're very sorry, but due to the increasing costs associated with accepting and processing credit card payments, Armadillo Properties will no longer accept credit cards. We will continue to accept in office debit card payments, as well as ACH deposits, military allotments, checks, or money orders.
 

Posted by Michael Zehr on January 28th, 2013 1:00 PMPost a Comment (0)

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