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  • Frank Rizzi manages Bos Commercial in West Covina and has been in real estate since 1988. Since then, he has made millions for his investors over the last decade.

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    BOS Commercial has positioned itself to handle every aspect of your commercial property
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Security Principles for Apartment Managers

Safety for residents and guests should always be a concern for Apartment Mangers. By Law, most courts find where there is a foreseeable risk of harm and it is the Apartment Managers duty to make sure that they take all “reasonable” measure to prevent such an occurrence. There are a few principles to keep in mind when ensuring proper security for your apartments. A Manager should look at risk analysis, the physical security program, manpower, and policies and procedures. Let us take a closer look at these principles to better secure the safety of our tenants and their guests.

Risk Analysis: This should be the first step in the security process. What you should be looking for is the level of crime in and around an area, apartment industry education and awareness, proximity of property to major thoroughfares, and existing security features.  Once you have a better idea of these aspects you can determine the appropriate measures to implementing an appropriate program for your building. Law enforcement agencies may assist property managers with crime assessments and ongoing programs that alert managers to crime in and around particular area. If law enforcement is not available, professional security consultants should be contacted for the assessment process.

The Physical Security Program:  This should involve three areas of equipment, man-power and policies and procedures. According to the risks of a particular security analysis, certain equipment is necessary. Most common equipments are; locking devices, vehicle and pedestrian access control devices, lighting, signage, mirrors, and closed circuit television. No matter what equipment you use it is important to make sure that someone with experience and knowledge design the layout and strategic locations for all equipment that will be used.

Manpower: At times a call for security guards is recommended. It is important to ensure that a guard force is properly trained and constantly monitored. IF the guard force is not doing his or her job the manager needs to make decisions on what would be the best course of action and find someone that would be able to secure the premises. Remember leave it those who have been trained in this area.

Policies and Procedures: In the last area of a physical security program there needs to be security polices and procedures. A trained individual should be the one to write such plans and operating procedures to make sure that the building will run as smooth as possible.

Overall customer service includes providing a safe environment for residents, employees, and property visitors. So identify your risks, provide appropriate security measures, and implement adequate security. Good Luck!


Having Good Relationships with Tenants

Constructing a solid foundation between your tenants requires a Landlord to engage in a lot of communication skills. In this I mean, you need to be able to talk to your tenants in a clear, direct, and honest manner. I have listed a few skills that can help establish effective communication in order to foster a good relationship between you and your tenants, this will hopefully boost, tenant retention and overall satisfaction of both parties:

  1. Make your tenant feel welcome. Have a happy and positive attitude when communicating with them from the start. All tenants have a different background and you never know what their reason for moving is, so be sensitive to their needs and be open to difference.  Let them know that staying in your apartment and joining your community will make a big difference in their life.
  2. When they are moving in be there to aid them in any questions they may have or issues that may arise.  Ensure that the lease contract, the rules and regulations, schedule of rent payment, contact information and how to request for maintenance and repair are easy to understand and are clearly provided to them with their set of keys.
  3. Some Landlords provide their tenants with a welcoming present, a cold drink or some snacks, some toiletries or a plant.
  4. Make regular property checks so you can make immediate repairs before it can get worse and escalate your maintenance costs.
  5. Communicate with your tenants periodically to see if they need some help with maintenance or if they simply want to voice their comments or concerns. This shows your tenants that you care about them and want to keep them happy and satisfied.
  6. Respond to calls and requests within 24 hours. Let them know that their concerns demand immediate attention.
  7. Keep an open line of communication between you and your tenants and make them feel comfortable when they approach you with issues and requests. This establishes loyalty among your tenants which in return will make them want to stay longer.

By exercising good communication/interpersonal skills together with great managerial skills should in turn bring you happy tenants and properly maintained property.  Let the tenants know that you are investing in them to make their stay as comfortable and as happy as possible. Remember they are your business, so make sure they know you value them.

All this being said, remember that you want to have a good relationship with your tenants but keep in mind you do not want to get to chummy because down the road you may have to evict them. A respectful responsible relationship with good communication and a clear understanding without crossing boundaries is best.


Educating Owners and Members of Associations

It is my responsibility to educate and inform my home/condo owners and board members on issues, topics, and policies that effect or are important to their association. The manager (myself)  must be trained and understand all the issues that have, can or will come up in any association to provide adequate knowledge to his/her tenants, owners, and Association members.

It is vital to first find out what your members need and want. This helps to understand what needs to be addressed and what matters have to be discussed. Implementing needs assessment will help establish your training plan.  Asking questions like what time of the day would be better for a meeting, how long do you want the meeting to last, what about weekend meetings, what type of format (round table or lecture), what do you know about your association, what bothers you about your association, what questions do you have for the boar, etc. Additional information will be added by the manager to make sure that all bases are covered.

Once you have your feedback make sure to pay attention to all comments, questions, and or concerns in order to tailor your training session to your Association.  It is important to incorporate your member’s assessments into your session because it will relate to them better, it will be easier to understand, and it will be clear for them.  Relating to your Association will make the training session run smoother, be more productive, and ultimately accomplish your purpose (to inform).

When you are creating your session be sure to include personal stories that will relate your training points to the association, educate the members with your past experiences to shed light on possible potential issue, and above all remember to make it interactive in order to maximize members interaction with the material. Do not just overload them with information like an 8th grade history class; make it stick, by making it fun! As the trainer it is important that your presentation is exciting and clear. Although your job may not be a professional “Public Speaker” it is still important to deliver a “good presentation” with vocal variety, passionate expressions, and engaging nonverbal communication. 

By taking an assessment you will be able to have a choice based training program that allows members and managers to select topics that they are interested in. However, there will still be topics that need to be emphasized even though they might not come up in the assessment but overall a program that is more student-directed will be more successful.

Management companies should be brave and attempt things they haven’t done before! Training your association may be a great starting point. So get out of your comfort zone and involve the board members! Educate! Educate! Educate! Your Associations will learn and grow and thank you for it!

Condo Crime Prevention Programs

Home Owner Associations and Condo Associations have become very popular in the United States.  The Community Associations Institute estimates that by the end of 2010, there will be approximately 309,600 community associations nationwide, consisting of 24.8 million housing units and 62 million homes.

Community association boards of directors are becoming more aware of the need to protect, maintain and develop their associations. Examining ways to battle potential harm to residents and property values is essential to the rise of associations. One way is a tenant screening process for those units that will be rented. Screening can be a valuable tool in reducing potential crime. To implement a screening process you can start off small, for example a simple credit check to a nationwide criminal background check, these are great starting points to ensuring safety to your community.

Some communities have mandated that homeowners require tenants to execute a Crime Free Addendum. Potential tenants review this addendum prior to executing and renewing a lease so that they understand and agree that they and their guests will not engage in criminal activity, including drug related activity, on or near the property and that they will comply with all rules and regulations of the association. The addendum further details specific crimes and inappropriate behavior as well as the consequences for these actions.

Additionally, working with the local sheriff to maintain a nonviolent and pleasant community will assure the residents of a safer commonplace.  Having a close interaction with law enforcement may successfully remove sexual offenders living too close to schools, drug dealers, and various other criminals.

An association board of directors interested in safer commonplace practices should make sure the association’s governing documents and state statutes authorize the board to pass such rules and the programs are drafted and implemented properly. Once the programs are in effect, the board and manager must take the necessary steps to assure consistent and fair enforcement. This may only be the beginning of a prevention program, however in the end there may be great benefits to the community as a whole.

3 Initiatives for your Condo Association Board

1.  Have your Condo Association go Green. In short, going green is about energy conservation in your condo buildings. Green buildings are blooming up all over America. They help save environmental resources, boost the bottom line, and are good for human health and moral. . Consumer demand, residential builders, federal government incentives, and local government policy are making this happen. Many consumers, real estate professionals, and property owners are taking steps towards greening their properties. Here are a few ideas to help convince your association that this is not only more cost effective but is a trend that potential buyers of existing units are looking for.

a.  The bottom line should be broken down for your members in dollars and cents. There used to be a time when energy efficiency and other green initiatives were much more expensive than conventional alternatives, making them a losing proposition financially. But in an era of higher energy and water prices, and at a time when a green building is increasingly going mainstream– that can no longer be assumed (Energystar.gov).  

b.  Education is Power…literally in this sense, informing residents of the need for and benefits of going green, is absolutely essential. The more residents learn about these issues, the more pressure can be brought to bear on the condo board or HOA to go green. Additionally, it will increase the number of residents who adopt green living practices in their own units, which can add up substantially regardless of what the board does. You can do this by sending out a newsletter about how to go green or even bring in a speaker from the community to help understand going green (sometimes an interactive forum helps residents learn the importance of going green and may clarify any lingering questions).

c.  Those who run for the board and/or its committees should be green. The best way to implement change is from the inside. In particular those who run for example for Finance, Groundskeeping, and others with a direct influence on green issues. Your association may simply need a new voice that will speak on behalf of the environment. You are bound to get a lot of support from other residents who may be displeased at your HOA’s inaction on environmental concerns.

d.  Fix repairs right away. It is essential that the board provide a very easy way for residents to report and fix things like leaky faucets, running toilets or drafty windows. These are the easiest things that help with conservation. Encourage the board and its staff to place priority on these easy repairs, with a quick turnaround time.

e.  Make sure that the condo board follows the law. Inspectors can and do show up unannounced to ensure compliance. If the law supports your green efforts, make sure your condo board is aware of it and implements it. If the law is silent, then write to your City Council member and urge them to support recycling and other green legislation.

2.  Start a Condo Association Website
There are many different condo association website service providers that specialize in hosting condo websites and all you need to do is update it on a regular basis. A condo association website will help raise the property value and enhance communications with condo boards and condo owners. Remember to include meeting information, pictures, and don’t forget to update the information regularly. Maybe you can even create a member long in page for finances. In addition to adding value to the property in gives off a professional image that adds to the Association as a whole.

3.  Start your own Condominium Association Loyalty Program
This service combines a condo association website with a shopping portal, where as condo association members make purchases at affiliated retailer, the condo association gets a percentage of the sales. Loyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage loyal buying behavior, behavior which is potentially of benefit to the Association.