By: Nick Griffith & Nicole Fandel, Director of Conventional Housing and Marketing Specialist
How We Keep Our Clients in Compliance with the Law
One of the most important facets of property management is maintaining legal compliance. As daunting as that can be for one owner, Arbors has a dedicated Compliance Department to ensure that you and your property are in the clear.
So how do we keep our clients legally compliant? We’ll break that down in this article over these five different categories:
- Fair Housing
- Occupancy Permits
- Reasonable Accommodations and Reasonable Modifications
- Compliance Department Review
1. Fair Housing
First and foremost, we want to make sure your property is compliant with fair housing regulations, one of the most important aspects of managing rental properties. How do we keep you in compliance with fair housing law?
One of the best ways for us to do this is through our screening criteria. We’ve developed our screening criteria over the 40 years that we’ve been in business and abide by that criteria on properties that we manage in order to avoid any fair housing violations.
In an effort to eliminate unfair advantage or preference among applicants, we process applications by the standards set by the Pennsylvania State Law. We also process applications in the order that they are received.
Additionally, our agents representing you have their real estate salesperson license. With this comes continuing education to ensure we stay up to date with all legal requirements and updates pertaining to keeping you compliant with local, state, and federal laws.
2. Occupancy Permits
Another way that we keep you in compliance is by keeping your property in rental housing code compliance with any state, local, or municipality housing standards. One of the items that is included in many of these local requirements is an occupancy permit or a rental registration.
If you do have a rental property under our management, we will take care of occupancy permits or rental registrations required by any local municipality or governments. This includes:
- Payment on our clients’ behalf of rental registration fees
- Coordinating and potentially attending occupancy inspections
- Arranging any repairs needed in order to stay compliant with local municipality occupancy standards
We perform annual inspections – we call them interim inspections. At these inspections, we’re looking for common things at your property that are required by the local municipalities to make sure that you’re able to obtain occupancy permits. The most common things are:
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Any other obvious safety deficiencies at the property
If we do find that any of these items need attention, we will address them.
4. Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications
Occasionally, a resident may request for a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification to your property.
We are trained and well-versed in the requirements necessary in order to approve or deny these requests.
We will handle the proper paperwork and forms to document the request to complete everything, all while making sure – you guessed it – that you are staying in compliance by abiding by fair housing laws when accommodating or denying a request.
Here’s the difference between the two:
Reasonable Accommodation: request for a change in our policies and procedures to accommodate a resident for a need that they have.
*Responsibility of the landlord to pay
Ex: Allowing a service animal to occupy a property with a no-pet policy
Reasonable Modification: request to change the physical nature of the property to accommodate a resident for a need that they have.
*Responsibility of the resident to pay
Ex: Installing a ramp to the front entrance of a property because the resident is wheelchair bound
5. Compliance Department Review
Any new residents moving into your property will be reviewed by our Compliance Department in order to ensure that we met all of the screening criteria appropriately.
A few items that the Compliance Department review are:
- The lease
- Credit and criminal reports
- Photo identification
- Proof of income
If they do find any errors or discrepancies, our management staff will be alerted and those will be corrected as soon as possible.
Arbors Management Keeps You Compliant
With over 40 years of experience in property management in Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, we’ve learned a thing or two about legal compliance.
When you hire Arbors Management to manage your property, you are also hiring a dedicated Compliance Department that ensures that you and your property are operating within the bounds of the law.
If you have any questions about our professional Pittsburgh property management services, including how our Compliance Department works, please contact us through this form, or give us a call at 1 (800) 963-1280.
Disclaimer: We are not attorneys and the information herein is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with your attorney for any matters pertaining to your specific situation.
By: Nicole Fandel, Marketing Specialist at Arbors Management
6 Renter Friendly DIY Projects to Make Your Rental Feel More Like Home
There are a lot of perks to renting: you don’t have to worry about home maintenance, you have more flexibility with moving, you’re not tied down by home ownership, etc.
But there are also some downsides to renting – one of them being the feeling that you can’t properly personalize the space or make it your own.
However, there are ways around this! There are renter friendly DIYs that are temporary, cost-effective, and won’t violate the terms of your lease or upset your landlord.
Here are 6 DIY projects that you can do as a resident to make your rental feel more like home:
1. Peel and Stick Backsplash Tile
Does your kitchen need a facelift? Something that is often overlooked but makes a world of a difference is backsplash.
Sounds permanent though, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.
Yes, there is such a thing as temporary backsplash, and it can take a rental kitchen to the next level. All you have to do is select your tile, peel, stick, and you’re done!
Take a look at this tutorial to get an idea of what materials you need and how the finished product will look. Trust me, you won’t be sorry you did this project.
2. Make a Gallery Wall
Did you know that thousands of famous paintings are considered to be public domain, meaning that you can download high quality files of them for free online?
That’s right, you can find a ton of famous artwork online on websites like this and this and download it all for free, no strings attached. Find a high quality print service in your area, print the artwork at your dimensions of choice, frame, and hang!
To make things even more personal, why not add some of your own pictures into the mix? Pictures of friends, family, pets, anything that makes home feel like home.
3. DIY Artwork
Use an old piece of artwork you have or spend an afternoon at your local thrift shop browsing the aisles and see if you can find a cheap canvas that could use a new look. I’ll admit, this project may take a little more creativity than some of the others, but hey – minimalism is definitely in, so you don’t have to go too crazy!
Personally, using spackle and creating a textured piece is one of my favorite techniques to repurpose a canvas that I’ve seen lately. It’s a little messy, but the end result is totally worth it.
4. Revive Old Furniture with Contact Paper
If you’ve been using the same end tables or desks for a number of years now, it’s probably safe to say that they could use a little freshening up.
If you’re not familiar, contact paper is an adhesive, decorative paper that can be applied to a variety of surfaces and comes in an array of different patterns – granite, wood, marble, and more – there are a ton of high quality designs to choose from!
For just a little bit of money and a little bit of time, the results are more than satisfying – take a look at this blog post to learn more about resurfacing with contact paper.
5. Refresh Floors with Peel and Stick Tile
As we all know, everyone has different tastes and design preferences, even when it comes to things like flooring. Trends and styles come and go, but changing up something like flooring isn’t always that simple – but now, it can be!
Peel and stick tiles are a great way to bring new life to an outdated floor without ruining what’s underneath – a.k.a., a great temporary fix for renters looking for a change.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do, check out this article on how one man changed the entire style of his kitchen with a few hours and some peel and stick floor tiles.
6. Create an Accent Wall with Peel and Stick Wallpaper
In order to keep things simple and appeal to a range of people, most rental houses/apartments stick with a very basic color scheme on the walls, oftentimes plain white or a very light neutral shade.
Because of this, it can feel like your space lacks character or individuality. However, there is a solution that doesn’t involve a paint can and an upset landlord: peel and stick wallpaper.
Peel and stick wallpaper is available in a ton of different colors and patterns, like regular wallpaper, and can completely change the feeling of a room. With a statement wall like this, both you and your guests will be more than impressed with how personalized your rental home can be.
All in All…
When it comes to personalizing a rental home or an apartment, people often feel stuck, limited, or like they are unable to really make a space feel like home without making major, expensive, permanent changes. But as you read above, that certainly is not the case!
As we discussed above, you can personalize you home as a renter in a variety of different ways:
- Peel and stick backsplash tile
- Creating a gallery wall with prints of artwork and personal pictures
- Creating your own artwork on thrifted canvases
- Using contact paper to liven up old furniture
- Cover up old flooring with peel and stick tiles
- Making an accent wall with peel and stick wallpaper
Even though these changes are temporary, it’s still a good idea to check your lease agreement and with your landlord to ensure that any modifications you make are acceptable. All of these changes are able to be reversed or removed, so make sure you leave your rental the way that you found it once you move out!
All of these projects can be done within a day or two with basic tools and actually are very cost-effective options. So, if you’re looking for fun, inexpensive ways to liven up your rental – you came to the right article. Happy DIY-ing!