SPRING CLEANING FOR LANDLORDS & TENANTS
Springtime has arrived and it’s time to open the windows and clear the mustiness of winter. For landlords, it’s time not only for vital spring maintenance, but it’s important to tend to the external landscaping of the property. For tenants, now is an excellent time to deep-clean your space, change HVAC filters, and ensure you are completing any necessary tenant maintenance.
LANDLORDS’ SPRING CLEANING TASKS
While it’s important to complete the full checklist for vital spring maintenance, the transition to spring weather creates the optimal opportunity for cleaning of the exterior of the property. Make certain that the gutters are cleared of materials that fall and winter weather may have brought debris to. Leaves, small sticks or branches, and organic material can accumulate in the gutters due to autumn and winter storms. Make certain that your gutters are fully cleaned to prepare for spring showers which we just experienced here in Stockton. Furthermore, protect your building’s exterior with a good power wash to eliminate any gathered grime from winter.
Maintaining curb appeal is an important aspect to protecting your investment’s worth, there’s no better time than spring to guarantee your tenants and prospective tenants will adore the landscape. Get out your rakes and pruning tools and get down to business–and for added flair add a few new spring blooms to the mix.
TENANTS’ SPRING CLEANING TASKS
While one of the benefits in renting lies with having to deal with fewer maintenance tasks, renters are not off the hook completely. Seasonal changes serve as an excellent marker indicating that it’s time to change your HVAC filters and complete other recurring renter responsibilities.
Deep Cleaning Tasks
- Daily Tasks: Before the deep cleaning can begin, start with the daily tasks to set the stage. Tidy any personal items throughout your space, vacuum carpets, and sweep kitchen and bathroom floors.
- Dust: Work from the top down, starting at the ceiling taking pains to clean hard to reach spots that may be missed in the day-to-day cleaning tasks. Use an extendable duster to tackle any cobwebs or dust on ceiling fan blades and any crown molding.
- Clean Walls: Scuffs caused by furniture, children, or general use should be tackled with every deep clean. If a sponge and clear soap (avoid any dyed soap that could cause staining to light-colored walls) with a small amount of water doesn’t do the trick, using a product like the magic eraser should remove most scuff marks.
- Wash Window Screens & Sill: You may clean your window glass until it sparkles, but often the screen and sill get left out.
- Vacuum Low-traffic Areas: While ideally, you will be vacuuming low-traffic areas regularly, places like under furniture, the floors of closets, and other hard to reach spots are excellent candidates for spring cleaning. Move out furniture and items from closets to ensure that every area in your house is free from accumulating dust and allergens.
- Clean Carpets: To truly ensure you get your security deposit back, a good carpet cleaning once or so a year is a great way to maintain the cleanliness of your space, and keep it as clean as the day you moved in. Borrow or purchase a carpet cleaner (you can find consumer level versions for the same cost as an average vacuum) and do the task yourself, or confer with your landlord and offer to pay part of the cost of hiring a professional service. Either way, a clean carpet will ensure that your space stays fresh and will eliminate many household allergens.
In the end, both landlords and tenants are responsible for maintaining the property. Tenants who fail to regularly clean and maintain their home during tenancy can face a dwindling return on their security deposit should anything be damaged due to neglect. Landlords should strive to remind their renters of important cleaning and maintenance duties to protect the property and set tenants up for success.
Navigating the landlord-tenant relationship can be tricky at times, but landlords and renters don’t have to perpetually be at odds. During part 1 of this article, we touched on 5 ways to keep your landlord happy.
As we’ve discovered, in How To Keep Your Landlord Happy (Part 1) the unfortunate reality is, that most renters are unknowingly damaging their landlord’s perception of renters without even realizing it. Having a good history with your landlord is vital to ensuring that your landlord will be more willing to assist you if you come across a rare late payment or simply need a good reference for a future rental.
This time, we will talk about the last 5 ways to become an excellent renter and develop a great landlord-tenant relationship.
KEEP UP WITH MAINTENANCE:
It’s true that your landlord is responsible for most maintenance issues, but if you want a truly happy landlord or property manager be sure to tend to your renter maintenance responsibilities. Ensure your landlord-tenant relationship remains solid by caring for the rental as you would a home that you personally owned. This means ensuring that the HVAC is not damaged because the filter was not changed regularly, or that pipes are prepped for winter cold.
GET PROPER RENTERS INSURANCE COVERAGE:
Having renters insurance is vital to protect your belongings and convey to your landlord that you are a responsible tenant. Renters insurance can even cover damages should you cause unintentional harm to the property or if your dog bites someone who decides to sue. Renters insurance is surprisingly inexpensive, and can even offer coverage on your valuables outside of the home. Just don’t forget, a policy is only as effective as your documentation. Be sure to take a complete inventory of your belongings in case you ever need to file a renters insurance claim.
CAREFULLY EXAMINE AND RECALL YOUR LEASE TERMS:
If you want a happy landlord, you must follow your lease agreement down to the “T”. Many renters will look at a lease agreement as a mere formality that consists only of general guidelines regarding the rental and its respective rules. However, ignoring the details of your lease terms will guarantee a rocky relationship with your landlord, and could result in additional fees or even eviction. Pay attention to small details in the lease like who is responsible for snow removal, the use of nails when decorating your apartment or if you are allowed to keep indoor plants. These rules may seem nitpicky, but your landlord likely has specific reasons for their implementation, and failure to follow those rules could result in security deposit deductions, fines or even eviction.
AVOID CONSTANT COMPLAINTS:
The tenant that makes their landlord happy to have, is not the tenant that calls at all hours of the night and day to complain about menial issues. Altering your landlord to maintenance issues is important–and can even save your landlord some extra funds if prompt alerts prevent damage from getting worse. However, constantly requiring special attention will make your landlord weary of your tenancy. You’re better off resolving small matters on your own, change your own lightbulbs and deal with bad neighbors professionally on your own. Keep your complaints to a minimum and remember that you are not your landlord’s only priority, this will both keep your landlord happy and ensure that if you ever must make a complaint, it is taken more seriously.
Having a great relationship with your landlord can make your tenancy a breeze, and can put you first in line to keep your dream apartment when your lease is up for renewal. While there may not be such a thing as a dream tenant, you can come as close as possible by avoiding these mistakes.
KEEPING YOUR LANDLORD HAPPY (PART 1)
Navigating the landlord-tenant relationship can be tricky at times, but landlords and renters shouldn’t have to perpetually be at odds with each other.
If landlords are conscientious of the customer service they provide and listen to tenant concerns, and if renters responsibly care for the property and pay rent on time, the landlord-tenant relationship can flourish into one of mutual respect and satisfaction.
The unfortunate reality is, that most renters are unknowingly damaging their landlord’s perception of renters without even realizing it. Having a good history with your landlord is vital to ensuring that your landlord will be more willing to assist you if you come across a rare late payment or simply need a good reference for a future rental. If you want a great relationship with your landlord, these 5 ways to keep your landlord happy are sure to do the trick.
AVOID WHITE LIES:
We all know that trust is key in any relationship, and that big lies are sure to damage that trust. And while big lies are sure to cause trouble–if not get you evicted–white lies can slowly erode your landlord’s confidence in you as well. It can be tempting as a renter to indulge in a few half-truths now-and-then, but saying things like “the check is in the mail” and “sure, we totally read that maintenance checklist you gave us!” can add up to some big issues in the future. White lies tend to add up fast and can give you the reputation of being a flake–at best.
PAY RENT ON TIME:
This one should be obvious, yet late rent is often the most pervasive problem landlords face from renters. Give your landlord a reason to love having you as a tenant and avoid costly late fees. Rental agreements specify the due date with most contracts having a 3-5 day “grace period.” Pay your rent on time, every time. It’s better early than late. Remember, a day or two late may not seem like a big deal, but your landlord likely has property expenses that need to be covered with the rent payments. If you come across extenuating circumstances be sure to inform your landlord as quickly as possible, they may be dependent on your rent to supplement the property’s mortgage.
KEEP YOUR HOME CLEAN:
Exterior and interior cleanliness shows your landlord that you respect their house and your home. It also prevents against additional wear and tear due to layers of dirt or grime. Weekly cleaning tasks as well as, the occasional deep clean, are vital to ensure that your home stays in top shape. Not only will your landlord thank you for keeping the place clean, so will you!
GET ALONG WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS:
Good renters strive to be kind and respectful to those that live around them, and they know that (unless it’s written into the lease) it’s not the landlord’s responsibility to mediate between bad neighbors. While it’s important to notify the police if something illegal is occurring or you feel in danger, running to your landlord for every small issue will likely become very irritating. If you find that your neighbor plays loud music late at night, your best course of action is to be cordial and politely ask for a compromise. Sometimes a conversation is all it takes to resolve an issue.
AVOID HIDING HOUSEMATES:
Keep your landlord happy by following your lease agreement in full, and ensuring that anyone living on the property is there with your landlord’s permission. Having an uninvited guest stay permanently (without your landlord’s permission) is a sure-fire way to damage your relationship with your landlord. This is also true if your guest is a furry friend. Unauthorized pets are never a good idea, and can be cause for eviction. If you can’t live without a pet, be upfront prior to renting and ask if it’s a possibility, mitigate their concern by offering to pay a higher deposit and be aware of breed restrictions. For new roommates, ask if your landlord would be willing to allow a new person if they pass the same tenant screening you went through to stay at the rental.
Keeping your landlord happy is definitely in your best interests as a renter. Having a great relationship with your landlord can make your tenancy a breeze, and can put you first in line to keep your dream home when your lease is up for renewal.
Stay tuned for part 2 to find out the next 5 ways to keep your landlord happy, and how to shine like the dream tenant you can become.
BEST WAY TO DECLUTTER & ORGANIZE YOUR STOCKTON HOME FOR 2019
We’re now into the 2nd month of the new year, and it’s around now that many find that their resolutions are a little harder to accomplish than originally imagined. If one of your resolutions this year was to get more organized within your Stockton home, and you don’t think Marie Kondo will stop by your home anytime soon……. here are a few tips to get started.
The best part is, none of these tips will require any permanent installations, so your home or apartment won’t face any damage.
CONTAIN AND CORRAL:
Minimalism is growing in popularity, but that wasn’t always the go-to method to organize. Having less will allow for better organization, but you don’t have to abandon all your possessions to have a tidy home. Instead, try to contain and corral like items. House your belongings in a spot where they can be easily put away after use. Remember, the key to organizing for your home is ensuring your organization plan is easy to maintain. If you have to walk to another floor to put a small item away every day, it likely won’t make it there consistently. Put items away where you would most use them to make things easy on yourself.
USE COMMAND PRODUCTS:
Don’t underestimate the power of using your wall space. If you live in an apartment, it can be difficult to truly utilize the walls to their fullest without fear of the repercussions of damaging the space. Thankfully, taking advantage of all the command products available on the market today can help you organize and use the vertical space you have available. Removable wall hooks can be used to hang keys, coats and small baskets of items, while removable photo ledges can be used to house pictures, books or small bric-a-brac you would like to display.
REMEMBER THE CLASSICS:
Organizing can be a big goal, and with any large goal, it can be easy to toss aside all working and non-working solutions in hopes of starting from scratch. Realistically, organizing is all about finding what works in your home. Don’t hesitate to get rid of the methods that are clearly creating chaos in your space, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. For instance, a well-styled bookshelf is a classic and time-tested organizing tool that’s not just for books. Use photo boxes or magazine holders to house important papers, think in layers to display your child’s art and your beloved collections, and of course, they easily corral all your books.
IGNORE THE ONE-AND-DONE TEMPTATION:
You may be tempted to work excessively hard to reign in the chaos and then assume that you have completed the organization process long-term. This can be the biggest hurdle with organizing. Maintenance tasks will be key. Truly organized individuals devote attention to the task throughout the year. It takes just a few minutes every day. They clean as they go, refine solutions for their lifestyle, and set aside time to redo problem areas. All are important aspects of the overall organizational process. Remember, regular adjustments of your system will translate to less huge clean-up projects down the road.
Seeking a more organized home is a great goal for 2019, and one that will keep it enjoyable throughout the year. You may not have the floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving on every organization guru’s Instagram, but you can certainly find easy to maintain solutions for your place. Creating a haven out of chaos can be an overwhelming task, but taking it in small steps and remembering the basics can go a long way. It is your home and sanctuary, where you can relax and enjoy life to it’s fullest.
Norbert G. Huston
Make a lasting first impression with the following tips which include making a Rental Resume to make sure our team at Huston Property Managmenet remembers you during the rental application process.
Applying for a rental home can be as competitive as landing your dream job. The best properties will attract the most qualified tenants, and as a renter, the application process should be approached like applying for a new job. Just as a polished resume detailing your qualifications can make you stand out in a pool of job applicants, a rental resume detailing your qualifications as an outstanding tenant can make you stand out in the rental market.
A rental resume is a starting point to begin the rental process. Landlords and property managers should always conduct thorough tenant screening on all potential tenants, that include credit and background checks. But receiving a rental resume can help you elevate top applicants in the process. Not only does a rental resume present “need to know information” about an applicant, but it shows professionalism and responsibility for the extra step to go above and beyond.
It is in the best interest of the property manager or landlord to be pick the most qualified tenant for the property. They are responsible for ensuring the property is taken care of and maintained by their tenant. Qualified tenants are more likely to pay rent on time, report maintenance issues before they cause any damage, follow rules outlined in a lease and keep the unit well maintained.
Since it is illegal under the Fair Housing Act for landlords to discriminate against certain criteria, applicants do not need to include private information about race/color, national origin, religion, disability, sex and familial status on their rental resumes. Landlords can choose tenants they feel have responsible financial habits based on credit history and employment. And preparing a rental resume that shows current and past employment, rental history, and references gives your landlord reason to believe you are qualified to live in their rental property.
A rental applicant does not need to include familial information, likes names and ages of children under the age of 18. However, it is appropriate for a landlord to know how many people will be living in the unit. And a landlord can reasonably request that any person over the age of 18 be required to be on the lease.
Below are a few categories to include on a rental resume. As part of the application process, a landlord may request a potential tenant to still complete a rental application. A rental resume will be helpful for you in filling out a rental application as a lot of the requested information will be the same.
Rental Resume Guide – Sample Template Below
Name and contact information
Always include a way for how a property manager or landlord may easily contact you.
Just like a employment resume, an objective at the top of rental resume is a 2-3 sentence statement about your goals when looking for a new rental. An objective should include what you’re looking for in a rental, what your long-term goals are and why you are a qualified tenant.
“I am looking to relocate from an apartment to a modest single-family home in Stockton that is in walking distance to restaurants, shops and stores. As a working professional, I am looking for a low maintenance, newer home, in a quiet and friendly neighborhood. I am a responsible tenant, looking for long-term housing.”
The background section lets a tenant provide more information about themselves. This can include current employment, education and if you have pets or roommates. You can also consider including hobbies or interests to personalize you as an applicant. The background section lets a landlord get to know a little bit more about their potential tenant.
“I was born and raised in Ohala, CA and have lived and worked in Stockton, CA for the last 5 years. I have family here. I am a Dialysis Technician at DaVita Dialysis Clinic, where I have worked for 3 years. When I am not working, I enjoy hiking and playing on my company’s softball team. I do not have any pets. I do not have any roommates. I have never been evicted, arrested or convicted for any reason. I am happy to provide a letter of reference and a tenant ledger from my current or previous landlords regarding their experience with me as a tenant.”
Landlords need to know you have adequate income and job stability to afford rental payments. Showing your employment history demonstrates responsibility and willingness to make commitments. Make sure to include income details and employer contact information, as most landlords will want to verify employment.
Dialysis Technician, VaVita Dialysis Clinic, Stockton, CA
- Supervisor: Jason Santos — Contact: (209) xxx-xxxx
- Annual Income: $45,000.00
Rental history is one of the most important criteria landlords use when evaluating applicants. Displaying great tenant behavior on a rental resume is important. Include bulleted information or a few sentences about previous rental properties you have lived. It should include the address, your landlord’s or property manager’s name and contact information, the length of time at the property and the rent amount. It is also a good idea to state why you moved.
Apple Hill Apartments, 2310 Fuji Rd. Stockton, CA
- June 2012 – Present
- Contact: Jackie Onana, Property Manager (209) xxx-xxxx
- Rent: $700
- Reason for leaving: Looking to move into a house from an apartment
Just as employers look to references for recommendations for work behavior, landlords can use references to determine if they think an applicant will be a good tenant. You can include a letter of recommendation with your rental resume, but you can also provide reference contact information in the body of your resume.
Your references should include:
- The name
- The relation
- The phone number
- Email address
Additional Documents Available Upon Request
Letters of recommendation, income verification and proof of financial reserves are supporting documentation your landlord may require as part of the rental application. Stating that you have those documents available on your resume shows you are prepared, know what to expect and have nothing to hide.
Providing a rental resume when applying for a rental home is a great way to stand out in a pool of applicants in a competitive rental market but it is not a guarantee you will be approved. A landlord will still complete a rental application process that should involve more detailed tenant screening procedures, like running a credit and background check.
Bonus Tip — Other job seeking behaviors rental applicants can emulate:
- Arrive promptly to your appointments with apartment managers and landlords. This shows that you are responsible, value the landlord’s time and are able to keep commitments. Good time management can be an indicator that you value your home and can take care of your rental property.
- Dress to impress. While a full suit might not be necessary, business casual is appropriate dress for apartment interviews.
- Ask questions, be engaging. Asking questions about the unit and neighborhood shows that you care about where you are living and are truly interested in the property. If you are passive with your interest, your potential landlord might feel like you don’t even want the unit or do not care enough to take care of the unit.
Sample Rental Resume Template
About the Author: Norbert Huston is the Broker/Realtor of Huston Assoc. Real Estate specializing in residential property management in Stockton and surrounding communities. Our office is proud to use the RentecDirect software for our clients & residents, which also provides excellent content on a regular basis.