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Denver Property Management - Security Deposit Disposition 12

Scott Lukes - Friday, December 30, 2016
by Scott Lukes

By Colorado Real Estate law, a landlord has 30 days to return the tenants security deposit after t have regained legal possession of the property – unless, they otherwise state in their lease: up to 60 days. No more than that. 

With the Security Deposit Disposition, the landlord took in a certain amount of money from the tenant upon signing a lease agreement to cover any damages during their stay. When the manager is doing the Disposition, it iss simply an accounting of how much money was collected minus how much was used for repairs that are being charged to the tenant (beyond normal wear and tear). The difference is returned to the renter via check, and with an itemization of amounts deducted from their original deposit. It’s a good idea to mail that final check with a delivery confirmation so they tenant can’t come back and say they never received it. This will be covered in more detail in a future topic. 
One area where landlords get into trouble is determining exactly when the 30 day clock starts ticking from when they will need to return security deposit. When does it begin? The answer: when they regain legal possession of the property. It’s not a simple as it may sound. Obviously, the easiest way to regain possession of the property is when the lease is over and the tenant hands the keys back to the landlord. At this point we have the property back in legal possession. 
What about an eviction? If the tenant is in the eviction process (the lease is now expired) when does the 30 days notice begin? The answer: the 30 days begins when the landlord gains possession of the property from the court. What happens when the tenant is still in the property and their possessions are still in the house? The landlord will have to order a sheriff’s eviction. Then, typically, it would be a good idea to get an attorney involved at this point. It’s usually at that moment the sheriff’s eviction takes place when the 30 day notice clock would start ticking. 
What can the landlord withhold for? Please see our other reference material on “Normal Wear and Tear” where we go into details on this topic explaining many items and time periods that are and are not appropriate to withhold security deposit for in the name of normal wear and tear. 

For more information on this and other topics, please visit us online: 
http://echo-summit.com/education 
If you prefer to watch a video on this topic, visit us at: 
http://echo-summit.com/education/videos 

Renting has increased sharply across age groups - even for Denver rentals 12

Scott Lukes - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

 

Harvard Center for Advanced Studies

Colorado Marijuana laws for Denver Rentals Management

Scott Lukes - Saturday, December 17, 2016

Property management usually has more to do with ‘grey’ areas than it does with black and white.  There is no more grey right now than with medical marijuana and outright legalization of marijuana through Amendment 64.

The big issue, of course, is that federal and state laws differ from one another.  On the federal level, HUD enforces the federal Fair Housing Act (Amended, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to be exact). HUD’s viewpoint is that marijuana use, even for medical purposes, should not be allowed.  HUD is against housing providers granting reasonable accommodation requests related to medical marijuana, even in states like Colorado that have a Constitution that allows it.

 

So where does this leave the landlord?  General consensus is that as long as a landlord has an -enforced- policy in place that they disclose and follow consistently, they probably won’t get into trouble for allowing or not allowing marijuana.  The most conservative approach adopted by professional property managers is prohibition... marijuana use is prohibited even if the resident possesses a medical marijuana card or makes a reasonable accommodation request. The prohibition policy is legally defensible because marijuana use or possession is a felony under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

 

But how could a landlord get into trouble? A typical scenario would be someone with a pot card wants to rent from them.  The tenant says  “this card says I’m disabled, so under the American with Disabilities Act I’m asking for reasonable accommodation from you.”  This is a fair statement just as if someone in a wheel chair would ask for a wheel chair ramp, or someone with a seeing eye dog asks to bring their dog into a no-pet property. They are asking for the same accommodation.    As long as you have a published policy (that you strictly enforce and never waiver on) that says you do not acknowledge the pot card, and do not allow the use of marijuana you’re going to be safe.  The problem arises when 1) the applicant was never notified of this policy before their credit was run and/or before they moved in, or 2) the landlord allows tenant A to use marijuana (medical or not), and does not allow tenant B to use it. In this case, they have opened themselves up for a possible discrimination lawsuit.

The best way landlords can protect themselves from this potential outcome is to have their policy included in a published “rental applicant selection criteria” document. When someone fills out an application they need to communicate to the applicant what their selection criteria is for marijuana.  Then, when they sign the lease, the landlord should reiterate their policy through a thorough Crime and Drug-Free Addendum which further details their policy on marijuana and helps to further protect against liability.   

We are not suggesting that landlords allow or disallow the use of medical marijuana or other consumables, but they do need to have a policy and follow it consistently… as with anything in property management. 

Another area where landlords have to be very careful; if allowing growing on-premise, and it turns out that the renters are doing something illegally (or violating some form of code), the landlord might be brought into and legal proceedings, and held equally accountable.  If you allow growing, know your stuff and seek legal advice in advance.    

Denver Property Management - Denver Property Management Utilities

Scott Lukes - Tuesday, December 06, 2016
As the rental market continues to thrive and home sales stay sluggish many homeowners are deciding to rent their homes until housing prices increase again. There is a long check list of items to consider when transition a personal residence into a rental. This report will be focusing on how to change the responsibility of the utilities from the homeowner to the new tenant in the context of Excel Energy.

The Landlord Agreement (LLA)
The first step in transitioning the utility bill is to include it in the Landlord Agreement. Utilities companies sometimes call this an LLA. The Landlord Agreement Team is an organization within the utility company that specifically handles this process. The Landlord Agreement provides a certain level of protection for the landlord with the key distinction of determining who the client is. Is it the homeowner or the new tenant? In this case the new tenant becomes the utility company’s client. As a result, any issue surrounding the utility bill, is exclusively between the company and the tenant. The landlord will have no visibility into any matter.

The Turn On, Turn Off Form
One of the provisions in the Landlord Agreement protecting the landlord is called “automatic turn on” and “automatic turn of.” So when a tenant moves in the landlord submits the turn on form and the utility bills goes out of the landlord’s name and into the tenants and vice versa when the tenant moves out. Another component of the turn on and turn off agreements is to be sure to have a 3rd party notification clause so if the tenant is not paying the utility bill, the landlord is notified monthly including the amount owed.

A good lease agreement will have language stating that the tenant is responsible for not only paying the rent but the utilities as well. This further protects the landlord from any financial exposure with regards to the utility expenses.

First Mover Advantage
Both the landlord and tenant have to fill out, sign and date the automatic turn on form. The party that first notifies the utility company as to what date the utilities are to be transferred; that date will be on the record. If the landlord believes, for example March 15th is the date of transfer but the tenant notifies first that the date is April 1 it’s that date that will be recognized. Any discrepancies of dates will have to be resolved between the landlord and tenant. The utility company will only recognize the date submitted first.

The Turn Off
When the tenant decides to move out the turn off form is completed with the turn off date. Both tenant and landlord sign and send to the utility company. If the tenant decides to move out a few days prior to that date they are still responsible for the utility expense up to the date on the form.

Another Way the Landlord is Protected
Sometimes a tenant might get way behind in paying the utility bill or in one particular winter month the bill spikes to several hundred dollars. They don’t have the money and decide to change the name on the bill to another family member, boyfriend / girlfriend….or maybe, back in the name of the landlord! By the basis of the Landlord Agreement and the Turn Off / Turn On Agreement the tenant cannot do this, hence, the importance of having the Landlord Agreement in place to protect the landlord. The Tenant is not allowed to change who is responsible for the bill unless both parties agree.

For more information on this and other topics, please visit us online: http://echo-summit.com/education
If you prefer to watch a video on this topic, visit us at: http://echo-summit.com/education/videos

Average rents in Denver increasing ---- AGAIN - Great news for landlords

Scott Lukes - Thursday, December 01, 2016

Average rents in all Denver counties increasing... AGAIN - Great news for landlords

 

 

 

 

Colorado Division of Housing


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