Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week at REI ~ Behr Paint - What Colors To Use Where and Why & Tips And Tricks

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At our last paint related meeting with Valspar they got a little long winded about several things and didn't get to some important topics pertaining to paint that we were going to talk about.

This REI meeting we will have a Behr Paint Representative who will be covering reasons to use certain colors and when they are done we will break into a conversation that will save you money on what is probably your most expensive maintenance expense. Repainting your properties.

Let me ask you some questions that we will answer through our collective experience.

1. What is the best way to paint a fire damaged property?
2. Are their any tips or tricks regarding painting a property that had smokers? Just painting as usual requires several coats to get adequate coverage.
3. Are there any particular colors that cover better than others?
4. What are the benefits to painting all of the interiors on your rentals the exact same color?
5. If you need to paint a damaged wood floor, are there any steps that should be taken prior to doing so? And what type of paint should be used?
6. Is their any fast way of ensuring a one coat paint job in a house?
7. What is the fastest and neatest way to paint trim, doors and cabinets?

Being aware of the intricacies, tips and tricks used by professionals in the know will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. REI is all about saving you money.  Don't miss this meeting! Money saved is money earned…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ronald Dennis, Notice Of Trespass

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Tenants Being Naughty... / NEW REALITY SHOW!!!

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So anyone know what that is? It's the leg of my deck. DUHHH,  LOL, Just kidding. That is marijuana. That is my tenants in the West End being naughty.

I told you from time to time I would add some of my stories of the weekly drama of being a low income landlord.

So lets go ahead and get this out of the way. Dallas, Did You Do A Background Check On Your Tenants? The answer is YES. I do both a civil and criminal background check on every tenant that lives in any of my units. If they have violent crimes or evictions they are automatically out of luck. Any string of crimes within the past few years will also get them looking for another place. But the past is the past and if a tenant had some minor drug charges or whatever many years ago I feel that they should have the opportunity to redeem themselves. I can tell you that I'm no angel and was quite the problem child years ago. However I am a grown man now and am a completely different person than what I was 15-20 years ago.

 So the pot plants were at one of my multifamily houses. One of my tenants that is a transsexual called me up and was very disturbed. She felt that another one of the tenants in the house stuck those marijuana plants outside her door to get her in trouble. She said that there are many people out there that hate transsexuals and felt that they were trying to get her arrested. I told her to calm down and don't worry about it, I'll take care of it.

So I drove over there and she showed me where they put them. She moved them off the back deck to the bottom of the deck so it would be away from her apartment. I told her to not worry about it. Honestly I think they put them outside for sun and didn't think she used the back door. I doubt that one of them were trying to get her in trouble but who knows.

Many of them were sitting on the front porch so just after I called the cops I went around the house and started taking pictures. I like to take pictures of any repairs I want done and text them to my contractor whenever I am at one of my properties. One of them asked why I was taking pictures of the house. They probably thought I was a code enforcer and were going to run me off. I told them that I am the landlord and am taking pictures of what I want fixed. You see, I don't know many of my tenants other than some communication on the phone or by text. Most of them have never seen me as my contractor rents all of my places.

I asked them who's pot plants are around the back of the house. They obviously all denied it and played stupid. I told them I could care less about what they do but I don't ever want to see anyone breaking the law on my property. Honestly I could care less about marijuana but it is still illegal in Virginia and as long as it is illegal I don't want it on my property.

So a few cop cars showed up. I think they all want to see it. An interesting call. But they pretty much had the same feeling that I do. They asked if I wanted them to search the house. I told them no. I really would just like to send a message to whoever it was that doing anything illegal on my property will not be tolerated. So they destroyed it right there and we left the broken pot on the ground so they would see what happens when they misbehave. The End.

Being a low income landlord comes with drama. It's not that bad though. I can definitely say that my life is very interesting. Most of the time I do enjoy being a source of affordable housing in the inner city. 

THOSE OF YOU THAT WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF A NEW REALITY TV SHOW CALLED "SLUMLORD MILLIONAIRE" THAT ME AND SPANKY ARE DOING ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO DO SO.

It's going to be allot of fun! We're putting together a few pilot shows. Essentially the subject matter will be low income landlording. We will show some of the drama that we have to deal with. We will expose what cities across the country are doing to the tax payer. And we'll show people how to make millions doing exactly what we are doing. FUN STUFF!


Inner City Landlording…

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I read an interesting list of inner city landlording tips that Jeffery Taylor with http://www.mrlandlord.com  sent out for the author of the ebook Building Wealth With Inner City Rentals.

It's really important to the community and your property values for low income landlords to have some involvement in the neighborhood. Visit your local neighborhood association from time to time and let people know who you are. I like to donate some money to the groups I attend from time to time for their special events. It's important for small business owners working within the community to be a part of it and show our goodwill.  To show that we aren't that evil rich landlord that so many think.

Sure, there are a few oddballs in the neighborhood groups that will hate you no matter what because you are a landlord but don't worry about them because they are not an adequate representation of the community. Most will like you and will end up getting a much different impression of how things work when you explain to them what can and can't legally be done.

I feel confident in saying that the neighborhoods that I rent property in feel that I am "one of the good landlords" as I have been told many times. That is mainly due to my involvement in the community. Many of the points listed below for inner city landlords are things I have been doing for a long time now.

If anyone is interested in finding out what neighborhood groups are in your areas of rentals, reply to this email with the roads they are on and I'll tell you. I can also lead you to the date and time of the next meeting.

8 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE INNER CITY LANDLORDS

Did you know inner city landlords have super powers? They can easily amass equity with very little effort, but all too often they don't even try.  You could improve the neighborhood surrounding your rental property by practicing some of the habits of highly effective inner city landlords.  You'll see improvements when you:

1 - Respect your hood - Simply being an inner city landlord grants you a little celebrity; use it to esteem others. 

2 - Show up after something bad happens - This act of kindness directly helps your bottom line through lower vacancy rates and a higher sense of loyalty.

3 - Fight disorder within and beyond their property lines - Disorder creates an atmosphere that encourages illegal activities. The neighborhood's appearance is your business; advocate for it.

4 - Harness the collective voice of Property Owners - Disorder flourishes when property owners don't communicate.  Collect the contact information of all the landlords on your block.

5 - Be a Landlord's Landlord - Encourage other landlords to work towards the common goal of a nicer neighborhood. They will happily lend support if you take the lead.

Landlords that create safety also create equity.

6 - Support annual community-building traditions - Local events and festivals give neighbors an excellent excuse to meet each other. 

7 - Promote and circulate good news - Like blight and disorder, good news also has a snowball effect. Actively spread good news to help change perceptions of your neighborhood.

8 - Support local reputable businesses - Encourage residents to support local businesses that cater to them. Simultaneously, use the power of your collective voice to reduce the density of non-reputable businesses (liquor stores, massage parlors, etc.) that bring neighborhoods down.

Make a Difference - Make a Profit
When you practice these habits, you will help build momentum to overcome any problem! Changing a neighborhood is a marathon, not a sprint, so don't quit until your inner city neighborhood becomes the next big thing.

-- By Al Williamson, author of the eBook Building Wealth with Inner City Rentals  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This Week We Will Be Talking About Rainwater Systems You Can Install For Potable or Non Potable Water

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This week our guest speaker will be Rick Hall of Rainwater Management Systems. Rick is going to educate us on the different types of systems that are available to collect rainwater that can either be filtered and used for drinking water or non filtered which can be used on gardens. They also are experts in setting up grey water systems to multipurpose the water you use. For example, the water from your sink or shower or something gets filtered and reused to water your garden or reused in showers or whatever.

If you have a house that is on well water, these systems are good to have when your well runs dry and can be used instead of your well when the power goes out which could be for weeks in the case of some sort of national or local emergency to the energy grid such as a bad storm or worst case scenario, a sunburst or an electromagnetic bomb which is one of the worst feared forms of terrorism in todays day and age.

If you have been reading these emails you would know that Roanoke City Council also has a new Utility bill that they are planning on giving all homeowners. They plan to start charging you for all of the water that comes off your roof, driveway, sheds, etc. You get charged based on how much space those things take up on your properties.

If you set up one of these kinds of systems and big daddy approves it, you will be able to cut your storm water utility bill in half. You obviously wouldn't do it just for this purpose alone because you're not going to be able to get a good ROI on it. But it would be an added benefit.

Self Sustainability also has it's merit. To not have to rely on the government to be there for you in the case of emergency. You don't need it until you need it and then it's too late.

As the great artist Salvador Dali said, "Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." REI is essentially a college level investment class that is fun and has no tests. We provide the knowledge for you to be well rounded within all aspects of our industry. Take the intelligence you gain and use it within your personal life and business endeavors.

Give yourself a mental vacation and come on out to our meeting Tuesday evening and enjoy intelligent conversation with like minded people.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Tough Being A Low Income Landlord…

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Ron Writing Up A Violation And Getting Ready To Trespass on my property
Bad Boy Ron Trespassing as I call over to him, Not So Fast Ron!
Ron on my property yelling at me as I take my court pictures, nice guy he is.
Being a low income landlord is a tough job that is filled with drama. You've got to have thick skin to do it and the ability to fight back when you are verbally or even potentially physically attacked by deadbeat tenants or code enforcement.

The picture you see is a picture I took of the angry code enforcer, Ronald Dennis. Ron and I am like Fire and Water. He is the fire as you can see in the picture below.

I never meant for it to be that way. It just is. He apparently didn’t like me right off the bat when he told me that I can not paint a kitchen floor and I told him I have every right to and he will have to take me to court if he disagrees with me.

I could tell by his nasty anti landlord attitude that we were starting out on the wrong foot. He said, all you landlords care about is money. It’s all about money for you Dallas... Wow, interesting how he can judge me like that when he doesn’t even know me. Also interesting considering the fact that I have a valid rental exemption certificate on every rental unit I have even though I don’t even have to participate in the program according to the case between the American Civil Liberties Union and Chesterfield Virginia.

I also am a Section 8 landlord so I have a rental inspection done on all of my units from them as well. And I have insurance inspections...  EVERY property I own is completely up to snuff. As a matter of fact, as a result of all of the inspections I have, I have some of the nicest houses in the low income neighborhoods since owner occupied property is not held to the same standards.

What a nasty mean spirited man Ron is. That picture shows Ron actually walking on my property when he already knows that he is trespassing if he steps foot on it. The nerve he has. He saw me sitting on the retaining wall at my house next door and stopped his car to look over the other house. And actually had the nerve to walk on my property and post a violation after already being notified that he would be criminally trespassing. Who the heck does this guy think he is? And then to yell at me as you see in the picture above to top it off?

I have to back up a minute, you see, Ron is not allowed to step foot on any of my properties anywhere as he has been maliciously attacking me for a long time now and I can't continue to live with this continual harassment. He has gone way above and beyond the call of duty.  He doesn't like me or my contractor who also has rental property and has been attacking us since Joanne Ellis left the Code Enforcement department.

The final straw just before the actual final straw was when I had my guys making room in one of my storage facilities. I had to pull out a bunch of left behind tenant belongings so I could make room for those stoves that Dan and I got. I had a trailer full of stoves and had a few more to get before I could load the tenant stuff on the trailer and take it to the dump. Within an hour of moving stuff out Ron went after my guys questioning them what I was doing with the stuff and demanding that it not be left there as if they didn't already know that from his frequent attacks.

This had been a regular thing with Ron, weekly violations for what my tenants were doing. It didn’t take more than a few hours and Ron would be jumping all over any issue that he saw at any of my properties. I had definitely been singled out by Ron and was on his hit list.

So I called him up and told him that he needs to leave my guys alone and demanded that he never attack them again. If he has problems he needs to contact me, not them. He said like he usually does, you landlords are always complaining about everything and how much he was sick of it.

I’ve got news for you buddy, I know you are close to your retirement and impatiently waiting for the day you can leave and get your pension but you WILL treat me with respect when you are on my property or you will never step foot on it again which is what ended up having to happen.

The final blow from Ron was a few months ago when an SUV plowed into my contractors rental property. It literally broke through the wall, hit his tenant and spun her around breaking her back in 2 places and destroying her jaw. When the car hit the next wall and stopped, the guy who was driving it still had his foot on the gas. The tire was on the poor girls leg spinning at full speed and burning the meat off of it. Imagine being woken up like that. WOW. It also threw her boyfriend who works for my contractor up against the wall and as he said, slung a TV at him. Their little baby was in a crib just a couple feet away and fortunately was left unharmed.

As you can imagine, this was a very traumatic experience for the family. And within minutes Ron was on the scene. He boisterously pushed his way into the house and immediately started taking pictures for court. While saying  how happy he was that he FINALLY can get access to the property. After he left he went over to the Hardees across the street and was bragging to everyone in there about how happy he was that he got into that rooming house so he can finally condemn it. Little did he know, a friend of mines maintenance people were in there and heard the whole thing.

You can’t just go around running your mouth where ever you are Ron because I know a lot more people than you think.

Ron has not been allowed to access this legal rooming house as it has a valid rental exemption certificate and the tenants are aware of their rights. This made Ron real mad because it doesn’t work well for his power trip when he is told no.

Ron’s complete disregard for this poor family who had their life completely and permanently turned upside down within a matter of minutes was the defining moment when both me and my contractor made the decision that Ron will never again step foot on our properties.

I called down to the Code Enforcement Department to have a conversation with Ron’s boss who agreed with what I initially thought that this is not behavior that was considered acceptable or promoted by the department. I’m not sure what kind of disciplinary action was taken but it’s crystal clear to me that whatever it was, Ron could care less about it considering the fact that he continues to walk on my property even after knowing that he is forbidden to do so.

Landlords in general are fearful of the code enforcement department. One landlord asked me “What if you really make Ron mad by giving him a trespassing notice.” My answer to that is I could care less. I keep my property in good condition and always support safety in my rental units. And who cares if Ron is mad at me anyway? It’s clear that he already is going after me every chance he gets. So what would be the difference if I made him even more angry?

This last throw it in my face thing he did by criminally walking on my property right in front of me is outrageous. He saw an old big screen television on the front porch that the tenants took out there to make room for their new TV and didn’t want to put on the street because I have told them already that they can only put “bulk trash” on the street every other week the night before bulk is picked up. So they tried to follow the rules not realizing that you are not allowed to put a TV or anything else on your porch under any circumstance in Roanoke City. And within a few hours of it being put out there Ron Dennis is giving violations as he usually does on my properties.

I have a question for the code enforcement department. Do you think that this type of behavior coincides with the original intent of the city ordinances? To harass it’s citizens? I would say we all know the answer to that.

I am curious how the Code Enforcement Department will handle this situation? Will Ron Dennis be continued to be allowed to walk on my property and continue to violate my constitutional rights? Do you see it as a simple and reasonable request for Ron to stay off my property and if he wants to send me a love letter to do it through the mail? How about continuing my initial request to have another code enforcer that isn't busy or one of the other 2 enforcers in SE to go to my houses if there is a problem? I'm working on trying to develop a solution to ending my continual harassment from Ron. I think the Code Enforcement Department should work together with me on this issue and protect me from him.

 

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