Municipalities Can No Longer Invade Tenant Space

Municipalities Can No Longer Invade Tenant Space

Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 107 into law on November 28, 2017.  The bill, popularly called the “Tenant Permission Bill,” was promoted by the Rental Property Owners Association of Michigan (RPOA-M), Apartment Association of Michigan (AAM) and the local Rental Property Owners Association in Grand Rapids (RPOA).  The law, now Public Act 169 of 2017, will take effect 90 days from the Governor’s signature which is February 26, 2018.  The law changes various aspects of the Housing Law of Michigan rental inspection enforcement regulations.

 The most prominent change under the new law is the removal of the right of a municipality to enter a rental premise for an inspection—without the tenant’s permission–under the landlord’s contractual right within a lease to enter the premises.  Several U.S. courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled time and time again that municipalities must obtain permission from a tenant before entering their unit for a rental inspection, except in cases of an emergency.  This new law will now require municipalities to obtain permission or an administrative warrant or wait until the unit is vacant before entering for an inspection.

 Specifically, the new law requires a tenant to allow a municipality entry in the following situations:

·                   The lease authorizes an enforcing agency inspector to enter the leasehold for an inspection. (A clause in the lease must specifically state that the tenant agrees to allow the enforcing agency inspector to enter the premises for a municipal rental inspection.)

·                   The lessee has made a complaint to the enforcing agency.

·                   The enforcing agency serves an administrative warrant ordering the lessee to provide access.

·                   The lessee has given consent.

What about units where there are more than one tenant/leasee?  Requesting and receiving permission from one leasee satisfies the permission for the entry requirement.

 What about a landlord’s rights?  The same Federal courts which have ruled that tenants must give permission have also ruled that municipalities have a right to carry out rental inspections for health and safety purposes and may enter a unit if the tenant gives permission—with or without the consent of the landlord.

 Under the previous and new modified Housing Law, landlords must, in good faith, seek to obtain permission of the tenant for a municipal inspection.  Landlords are not allowed to discourage, in any way, a tenant’s choice to allow entry.  Doing so could endanger the landlord’s protections under the law.  This does not, however, mean that a landlord cannot inform the tenant of their right to refuse the inspection.

The law also includes two very important protections for the tenant and the landlord, namely that neither the tenant nor the landlord can be discriminated against for the tenant exercising their right to refuse an inspection.  For the tenant this means the municipality can’t threaten the tenant with condemnation of their rental unit or otherwise fine the tenant for refusal of entry.  For the landlord, this means that the municipality cannot condemn the property, remove a certificate of compliance or otherwise charge a fee or fine for the tenant’s refusal of entry if the landlord has fulfilled their obligations under the other parts of the law.

 So, when do landlords have to allow the municipality entry?  Here are specific circumstances under the new law when a landlord must provide entry:

 ·                   The lease authorizes an enforcing agency inspector to enter the leasehold for an inspection. (A clause in the lease must specifically state that the tenant agrees to allow the enforcing agency inspector to enter the premises for a municipal rental inspection.)

·                   The lessee has made a complaint to the enforcing agency.

·                   The leasehold is vacant.

·                   The enforcing agency serves an administrative warrant ordering the owner to provide access.

·                   In cases of an emergency.

 The changes to the law were necessary to protect tenants from aggressive municipal tactics that used threats of eviction and more to enter a rental premise—all of which were contrary to the rights of all citizens under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Clay Powell, Director of the RPOA-M and RPOA, stated that it has taken nearly four years to get these changes made and wishes to thank all the legislators that were involved along the way to make the changes reality and bring Michigan into compliance with Federal Law.

As always, except in cases of an emergency, a landlord/property manager must give tenants a 24-hour notice before entry.

DIY Upgrades That Make Your Property Feel Like a Luxury Rental

DIY Upgrades That Make Your Property Feel Like a Luxury Rental

Renovations can be expensive, especially when you want to turn your property into a luxury rental to attract higher-paying tenants. While materials and furniture can be expensive, the prices really start to climb when you bring a professional into the mix. Luckily for your budget, that isn’t always necessary.

Instead, try these DIY upgrades, all of which will make your property feel like a truly luxurious rental.

Update the Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen isn’t just a place to cook and eat; it’s often the space where tenants spend time with friends and family. A simple way to turn the kitchen in the most lavish space in the home is to update the kitchen cabinets. This gives the space an instant facelift at a fraction of the cost of re-doing the entire space.

The lowest-cost update is to paint the cabinets a fresh new color. If you have a little more budget, consider refacing the current cabinets or replacing them altogether. Finally, take it one step further and replace the hardware on your cabinets for another visually impactful, yet simple DIY project.


Update the Fireplace

The fireplace is a coveted feature, but one that’s not in top condition can be an eyesore and detract from your property’s value. Not to mention, it’s a centerpiece of the home, which means the smallest changes can make a big difference. A few ways to upgrade the fireplace include:

1. Replace the doors with tinted glass: Tinted glass looks classy, and keeps the mess covered: “Your fireplace is the ugliest place in your home. It’s covered with soot, ashes, and is a grayish blackish mess. Glass doors with tinted glass do a great job of hiding the unsightly mess. It’s like closets. No matter how well organized they are, most people still like a door to keep them out of sight,” says Sam Wilhoit, of Brick-Anew.

2. Paint the brick: Bring your fireplace to life with a fresh coat of paint. Consider re-staining or painting the mantle as well to create an entirely new look that elevates the entire room.

Update the Backsplash

An easy and economical DIY project is updating the backsplash in the kitchen. Fresh tile has a significant visual impact without being expensive. “This is another tenant appreciated upgrade that can be very economical if you get tiles on sale and install yourself. Even if the tiles are not on sale, you’re usually only covering an area that is 2 feet by 10 feet = 20 square feet of area = 20 tiles,” shares Nathan Richard with

If you want to skip the sometimes-tricky installation, go with peel and stick subway tiles instead. These are both inexpensive and easy to use, giving the kitchen a luxurious look without the high price tag or extensive sweat equity.

Update the Garage Door

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to boost curb appeal and the value of your property is to replace the garage doors. Having worn out or out of date garage doors can make a poor first impression, losing potential tenants before they even step inside.

The best part: garage doors can easily be replaced, and you can also upgrade or replace the hardware on the doors to make an impact without the extra work of a full replacement.

Upgrade Lighting

Lighting has an immediate impact on the feel of a home, making it feel dark and closed off or well-lit, open, and inviting. “One of the worst things about rental units has got to be the outdated light fixtures. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest switches. Simply swap out that light fixture for something more your style. Just be sure to reattach the original fixture before moving out,” says Keri Sanders with

Updating lighting fixtures can be as inexpensive as your budget needs, with a wide variety of options at varying price points. Consider some of the most popular modern styles, including unique chandeliers and wood and metal materials.

Finally: Clean the Property

Never underestimate the impact of a clean rental, especially if you want it to have that luxurious feel—it’s hard to sell relaxation when the space is filthy: “Nothing will turn off a potential renter more than a dirty place,” says Patricia-Anne Tom with

It can seem almost too simple, but a good cleaning is a great opportunity to make the rental shine—literally—to prospective tenants. Deep clean the rental twice yearly, if possible, and hire a professional if possible. Don’t forget the often overlooked areas like baseboards, window treatments, ceiling fans and appliances.

A small budget can go a long way to turning a mediocre rental into one that looks could be in a luxury home magazine. Use these ideas to take your space up a notch and attract renters who are ready to spend more.

Find out which rental property kitchen and bath trends are making a statement in 2017.

Original article:

Hey Real Estate Agents, we can help you!

Hey Real Estate Agents, we can help you!
  • Do you  have a client interested in leasing their home while they work abroad for a few years?
  • Do you have a client currently underwater on their home but would like to buy a new home?
  • Do you have a client who wants to lease their home but is nervous about being a landlord or lives in another state?
  • Do you own investment properties and want to see how property management services could make your life easier?

Rental Management One (RMO) is a great resource when dealing with any of the above scenarios. We are a full service property management company and proud to be a part of the Real Estate One Family of Companies. We have the entire state of Michigan covered offering operational oversight, efficient leasing and marketing strategy, financial reporting and top notch Owner and Tenant Services.

Here are a few things we offer your clients:

  • 24/7 Online Owner Portal
  • 24/7 Online Resident Portal
  • Careful 5 Point Tenant Application Screening
  • Rent Collection including e-payments
  • Direct Deposit of Owner Proceeds
  • Emergency, Preventative and Routine Maintenance Coordination
  • Lease Docs and Compliance Review
  • Complete Security Deposit Handling
  • Property Inspections
  • Owner Reports & Tax Statements
  • Payment of All Property Expenses
  • Eviction & Legal Services

What we offer you:

  • Agent Referral Fee – We will pay you a referral fee (See attached Agent Referral Program)
  • Lead Loyalty – We carefully protect your lead so if the Owner should want to buy another home or sell the current one, you are given back the lead.
  • The ability to offer your clients an additional option when selling isn’t possible.

Other Important Information:

  • We do not list and sell real estate. At Rental Management One we manage commercial, single family, multi-family and vacation property exclusively. Because we do NOT list and sell homes, local brokers and agents have found us a reliable ally and partner in their efforts to service their customers and clients.
  • We have a combined 75+ years in property management experience on our team. When the client you refer experiences our professionalism and quality service they will thank you.
  • We can manage all your rental inventory.Most Brokers or Agents manage rentals because they feel they must in order to get repeat listing and sales from their clients. Now you don’t. We will take over your inventory of rentals, pay you a referral fee, give your clients and customers great management service, and when your client is ready to sell, or purchase again, you get the client back. We have done this for other brokers and agents and it works great for the both of us. It really is a win, win.
  • You can refer the property management services and still do the lease listing. Many agents don’t recommend management services because they don’t want to lose the leasing commission. However, this is not a problem. You have the option to refer the lease and management services or just the management. Many agents prefer to refer both as a lease listing can be very time consuming but you do always have the option to refer management services only. We will still provide you with support for your lease listing such as lease doc preparation and tenant screening services.

To send your referral to Rental Management One, it’s easier than ever. Just visit our website at and click on “client referrals”.


5 Ways a Property Management Company Can Benefit Your Portfolio

5 Ways a Property Management Company Can Benefit Your Portfolio

Your rental portfolio is growing, and managing resident requests is getting more difficult. Maintenance at some of your properties needs extra attention, and renewals are just around the corner. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for you. Just keeping up is leaving opportunities on the table.
It may be time to enlist the help of a property management company to handle the details.

The obvious upside to owning rental property is passive income. With owning investment properties comes negotiating obstacles that require time and extra money if not managed efficiently. Failing to efficiently navigate the difficult issues inherent to property management can stall growth opportunities and ultimately stall the portfolio’s growth.

“Property management is a problem-based business,” says Amelia Christensen, Director of Property Management for Homespot Property Management LLC . “If we don’t have problems, we really don’t have a job.”

Relationships are everything in property management

Christensen, who has been a property manager since 2011 at the family-based business in Portales, N.M., says even the smallest of single-family owners can benefit from letting someone handle the details. Property managers can be a buffer between owners and the resident and help find common ground with issues that concern both parties. In addition, companies like Homespot Property Management, LLC, can help with the entire scope of asset management so owners can improve their portfolios.

The key, Christensen says, is to work with a property manager that focuses on relationship-based management. Forging mutually beneficial relationships is how Homespot Property Management, LLC, has organically grown from managing 35 single-family properties in 2011 to more than 350. A couple of owners have about 30 properties, but smaller portfolios compose the rest the company’s business.

“Working with a property management company is a relationship based thing,” she said. “You need to have a good relationship. There are going to be mistakes made, there are going to be problems and you want to be working with someone who you’re comfortable working through problems with.”

A strong working relationship also helps create a greater bond with residents. With a property management company, the owner can let someone else help with unpleasant issues while improving relationships with residents.

“I have owners who talk to tenants and they’ll always say, ‘Go talk to Homespot for the details’,” Christensen said. “They don’t want to be the bad buy, they want to be the happy, good guy.”

It’s also a good idea to clearly understand the fees for the property management company’s services.

“You want to know what they are going to charge, how they charge it,” Christensen said. “Do they charge whether the property is rented or not, are there flat fees involved, or is it a percentage based off of rent, are there associated fees for handling maintenance repairs, that kind of thing.”

5 Benefits of working with a Property Management Company

Here are five benefits of working with a property management company, according to Christensen:

1. Keeping an eye on the details

A property management company keeps an eye on the little things entailed in day-to-day property management. Managing leases and renewals are key functions, as well as handling maintenance issues. Also, PMCs help plan for bigger maintenance issues like tree trimming, painting, repairs and owner improvements.

2. Charting a path

Determine what you want your rental portfolio to look like and enlist the help of a property management company to help plan for the future. A PMC can help the property owner take a look at the bigger picture and ultimately determine how the asset will be used toward achieving an end goal.

3. Asset and financial planning

In addition to handling the books through a property management system like Propertyware, PMCs can help owners know what to ask of their accountant for tax planning.

4. Handling the dirty work

Christensen says owners can empower experienced PMCs to do the background checks, collect money and manage the tough issues that go along with rental properties. She said often unknowing owners can duped by residents who want to take advantage of the system. “Most owners want to be the hero, you want to help someone out, but sadly there are people who take advantage of kindness.”

5. Provide that special touch

Christensen says good property management revolves around great relationships with owners. When the PMC and owner work in harmony, good things are accomplished. A PMC should be able to work with you to provide a level of service everyone is comfortable with.

“You have to have someone you can work with during the good times and even in the bad times,” Christensen said. “You have to be able to celebrate wins but be able to trudge through the losses. It’s part of owning rentals.”

Original article here



WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today issued “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP) guidance that addresses how the Fair Housing Act would apply to claims of housing discrimination brought by people because they do not speak, read, or write English proficiently. More than 25 million people in the United States do not communicate proficiently in English. Read the new limited English proficiency guidance here.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits both intentional housing discrimination and housing practices that have an unjustified discriminatory effect. People with limited English proficiency are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. However, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on seven protected bases, including national origin, which is closely linked to the ability to communicate proficiently in English. 
Housing providers are therefore prohibited from using limited English proficiency selectively or as an excuse for intentional housing discrimination. The law also prohibits landlords from using limited English proficiency in a way that causes an unjustified discriminatory effect.

“Having a limited ability to speak English should never be a reason to be denied a home,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Every family that calls this nation home has the same rights when it comes to renting or buying a home, regardless of where they come from or language they speak.”

Nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population is limited in English proficiency. Approximately 16,350,000 (or 65 percent) of these individuals speak Spanish, while 1,660,000 (7 percent) speak Chinese, 850,000 (3 percent) speak Vietnamese, 620,000 (2 percent) speak Korean and 530,000 (2 percent) speak Tagalog. Housing decisions that are based on limited English proficiency may have a greater impact on these and other groups because of their nationality.
The guidance addresses how various legal approaches, such as discriminatory effects and disparate treatment, apply in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing-related decision – such as a landlord’s refusal to rent or renew a lease – involves a person’s limited ability to speak, read, write, or understand English.

Discriminatory practices, for example, could include applying a language-related requirement to people of certain races or nationalities; posting advertisements that contain blanket statements, such as “all tenants must speak English;” or immediately turning away applicants who are not fluent in English. Targeting racial or national origin groups for scams related to housing also constitutes intentional discrimination.

A housing provider also violates the Fair Housing Act when the provider’s policies or practices have an unjustified discriminatory effect, even when the provider had not intended to discriminate. Determining whether a practice has a discriminatory effect involves a three-step legal evaluation of the statistical evidence of a discriminatory effect; whether the housing provider’s policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest; and, if so, whether there is a less discriminatory alternative policy or practice.

In addition to the new LEP guidance, which is limited to the Fair Housing Act, HUD published a “Notice of Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons” in 2007.

Recent Analysis Shows Many Big-City Renters that Earn Enough to Buy, Prefer Convenience of Renting

Recent Analysis Shows Many Big-City Renters that Earn Enough to Buy, Prefer Convenience of Renting
SEATTLE, WA – Across the country’s largest rental markets, almost 14 percent of on-market renters have strong credit scores, relatively high incomes and could afford to buy the median home in their market.

As the homeownership rate has declined over the past decade, a broader socio-economic swath of Americans are renting than at any time in recent history. That means people who could afford to buy are renting instead, increasing competition for limited available homes for rent, according to an analysis of financial qualifications reported via the Zillow Renter Profile feature.

San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco have the largest segments of on-market renters who have the credit score and income necessary to purchase a home, making those metros highly competitive for renters. Los Angeles, New York and Seattle also made the list of metros with large segments of current renters who are financially qualified to buy a home.

To determine which markets have the highest number of financially stable and thus most competitive renters vying for the attention of landlords and property managers, Zillow examined the self-reported credit scores and incomes of renters who were on the market during the first half of 2016. Zillow also looked at regional median rental and home values and competition to determine the markets with the highest share of renters who reported a monthly income equal to or greater than necessary to afford the typical rental and median home in the metro area.

There are also long-term demographic trends impacting renter qualifications and competition: young adults, both the affluent and otherwise, are renting longer than ever before as they delay many of the hallmarks of adulthood that typically lead to homeownership, such as finishing their education and starting families.

In general, markets with lower homeownership rates have higher proportions of on-market renters with both strong credit and high incomes. That said, even when controlling for the homeownership rate, booming markets closely associated with the tech industry – such as San Jose and San Francisco – tend to have exceptionally high proportions of highly qualified, on-market renters.

At the other extreme, markets that tend to have higher homeownership rates, such as Houston, and metros that were particularly hard hit during the housing bust and foreclosure crisis, including Cleveland and Detroit, have lower shares of renters who report both strong credit and high incomes.

“When faced with hurdles of high prices and low inventory, first-time homebuyers are renting longer than ever before even if they are qualified to buy,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “San Jose, San Diego and Seattle are among the most competitive places for buyers, and the going isn’t any easier for renters – as they are competing against throngs of financially sound applicants with strong credit and high incomes. This is a conundrum for many young people who move to those cities because of their strong job markets, only to find tight inventory and steep competition standing between them and their dream home.”

Courtesy of:…

Skills All Property Managers Need

Skills All Property Managers Need

The best property managers know how to apply a broad skillset to the unique situations they encounter. They move with ease into situations that require strong communication, negotiation, customer service, and organizational skills. Property managers also have the ability to manage more tangible property-related concerns, such as maintenance and repair issues.
Here are five essential property manager skills that all property managers must develop in order to excel in the field:

1. A Property Management Company Needs Strong Communication

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “learning how to effectively communicate with others while choosing the right words can literally make or break your growth in the marketplace.” While your properties are an important part of your rental property management company’s portfolio, it’s the way in which you interact that will seal the deal for tenants. If you treat prospective tenants with respect during the screening and move-in, move-out process, they will know that they can trust you and your business.

Respect means that you communicate clearly, you’re easy to access, and when you’re not available, you have processes in place that allow tenants to connect with your company. A tenant portal that allows tenants to ask questions, find information, and pay bills online at a time that is convenient for them is a communication investment that will pay off. Keeping the lines of communication open is a great way to build and maintain good relationships with your tenants.
Property managers need to have strong customer service skills backed up by effective property management systems.

2. Property Managers Must Exemplify Responsive Customer Service

For tenants, excellent customer service and exceptional communication skills go hand in hand. When tenants communicate a question, they want an answer as soon as possible. You must have a way of tracking tenant queries and concerns. A tenant portal makes these questions and concerns visible to tenants. Then, you must act. For example, if a tenant is concerned about a possible leak in the roof, you need to treat this issue as the emergency it is and respond quickly. To do this, you need a list of pre-approved contractors at the ready and a schedule that shows when your employees and those contractors are available to manage the customer’s problem.

3. Managers Need to be Exceptionally Organized

Property management requires a high level of organization. For example, that leaky roof might have been avoided if your company conducted an annual evaluation of large maintenance concerns, such as the integrity of the roof and the safety of stairs and railings. According to, exceptional leaders look for patterns to improve the company’s processes: “they are constantly scanning themselves, other people, and processes to identify patterns and changes in the patterns.” To avoid the leaky roof, you could identify the need for a stronger ongoing maintenance schedule that involves not only yard maintenance but checking appliances, plumbing, and other common problem areas in the home. Help your managers put these systems in place with rental management software that can be used in the development of a maintenance schedule and ongoing tracking of maintenance and repairs.

4. Managers Need to Know the Basics of Marketing

Most property managers are skilled in property maintenance and related tasks, but not everyone has extensive marketing experience. Do you find it challenging to write about your properties, add that information to listing services and your website, and develop the site itself so that the listings speak to certain desired groups of tenants? Writing a great property description requires knowledge about the amenities of the property and surrounding area, as well as an understanding of how those amenities will attract a specific group of tenants. Digital property marketing assistance can help you develop a website and list your properties even if you don’t have a lot of experience with web listings.

5. A Property Management Company Needs to Have Hands-On Skills

Property managers need to have a diverse range of skills, and they must understand properties as well as people. Some property managers come from a background in customer service, while others come from a background in building maintenance. Each manager should have an understanding of how buildings work so thorough and well-documented inspections can be conducted. Managers also need to understand the typical problems of rental properties so that they can respond appropriately and rank maintenance issues according to their urgency.
Written & Published by Propertyware June 2016