Sunday, February 26, 2017

Marketing Yourself To Private Money Investors This Week At Real Estate Investors of Virginia

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Hello Everyone,

This week we have another knock it out of the park meeting with an interesting topic.

We all know that you’ve got to have access to money to make money. If your credit is good and you already have a house with equity or something to get a line of credit on, than you can go the traditional route and get your money from an investor friendly bank such as our sponsor, the Bank of Botetourt. Money from a bank typically has the lowest interest rates.

If you can’t get a bank loan another viable option is to use private or hard money which is an equity based loan most often secured by your deal that you’ve found. These types of loans often don’t rely much on your credit so they are an option for most. Hard money usually comes from a company or private investor who professionally loans money for a living. These loans typically carry the highest interest rates. However, I have seen some hard money lenders recently that have had very favorable terms that are pretty close to what you would often get from a private money lender.

A “relationship based” private money lender is typically somewhere in between the cost of the bank loan and the hard money lender. They don’t typically loan money out for a living. They have extra personal money to lend. And their motivation in many cases would be to either pull their money out of the volatile stock market before an upcoming crash or simply to make a better interest rate than they would by having someone else manage their money in the traditional investments.

The subject of the upcoming meeting will be about marketing yourself to private money lenders. Which will include information pertaining to putting together a brochure that you can give to a private lender to get them to invest with you.

Going to be a fun meeting so cancel any other plans so you can make it to REI this Tuesday. Bring your friends with you as your guest.

Monday, February 20, 2017

We’re Not All Going To Die Because Of Mold… Confirmed

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Hello Everyone,

I was at the Home Show, that our member Dave Urgo runs, and Dave introduced me to a guy named Andy Brady of Green Home Solutions. Andy is interested in teaming up with Landlords and Flippers to assist with any kind of mold related issue.

These guys use some high tech machines that put off a mist of enzymes in the air that will actually eat the mold. As you know back in the day the mold guys used to tell us that they had to completely gut the place and you would end up with a mega bill that wasn’t with it. And if you didn’t do that you are all going to die. LOL.

The prices that Green Home Solutions charges are very affordable. You can now buy those houses that have massive mold issues, get it for a huge discount, and get Andy to come in and get rid of all of that mold for next to nothing.

And this is why its such a benefit to be a member of our group. We actively search out these kinds of opportunities that you can take advantage of. When you know the right people you can turn major disadvantages into advantages for you that will make you lots of money. When other investors don’t know what you know or who you know you have the ability to pay nothing for a property and then get it fixed up for next to nothing. The other guys and gals are thinking they have to rip it out down to the studs and start over and their price is going to reflect that.

Andy showed me some before his machine, and after his machine photos. It’s absolutely amazing what these enzymes do without having to tear the place apart to do it.

Andy is also a good guy to have on your side in a tenant dispute regarding mold. And I’m sure if you threw him a few bucks he would go to court with you as an expert witness if needed as well. As you know mold is the next big thing that the previous federal administration had targeted via the EPA which is currently being gutted and rebuilt to be fair. Andy has a much more realistic outlook about mold and what to inexpensively if you do have an issue. And he will be on your side from the start to the end which is important with such a litigious society that we currently live in.

Come on out and hear about this new enzyme technology and meet a young man who is gunning for our business.

See you there!

PS: PS: PS:
A reminder to everyone who hasn’t paid dues yet. We are now coming to the latter half of February and dues were due on January 1st. We’re not going to twist your arm if you don’t pay at this upcoming meeting but I’m just letting you know we’re getting ready to start twisting and make you call out Uncle, Uncle, Uncle while we’re at it ;-)

The same as last year, we’re going to bump it up to $150 for anyone paying after February. Dues to this group are VERY CHEAP at $100. They are cheaper than your other groups. So pay NOW please. Look below at the several possible ways to pay. You will save much more than that measly 100 dollars in what you learn in our meetings so stop being so cheap. You will save way more than that if you use our group discounts at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. You will also earn thousands of dollars every single year as a result of our group if you take full advantage of it and network. If you don’t know how to do that you can ask me and I’ll tell you. I didn’t have that totally figured out myself the first few years due to being so antisocial but I have it figured out now.

Let me remind you that we are all volunteers so it’s not like you’re personally helping us out or anything. You’re helping out the group as a whole. Helping us work towards developing an organization that will always be here for investors even if the current officers decide they are tired of doing free work and quit. We are working towards the group actually earning enough income to pay someone to manage it. I sure would like to be able to come to the meeting one day and kick back to just listen without having a single bit of the daily effort I currently have to do to keep it afloat. And I know the other officers would like the same.

This is a lot of work to keep it going and we need you to help us out with this tiny yearly amount so we can get it up on it’s own feet and off our backs.

Ohh, and if you want to help out and become an officer of the group you are also more than welcome to do that as well. We always have boatloads of projects that we don’t have time to accomplish. Right now, in particular, we are looking for someone who is interested in the political aspects of Real Estate and legislation. We need someone who will work with our assistance on rewriting some laws, word changes, etc that we can submit to local legislatures to attempt to make some statewide changes that will benefit small business in our industry. That person, if they wanted to, could also be in charge of looking at some of the local issues we have and potentially talking with attorneys to see what grounds we have for various lawsuits to defend our members who have good cases that we want to take. There isn’t a lot of prior experience with any of this required.  We can help guide you and bring you up to speed with what’s currently going on. So if you’re interested, please let me know.

See ya at the investor meeting!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Save Your Life And Give Your Tenants A Place To Drop Off Rent… This Week At REI

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Hello Landlords,

There previously was a misunderstanding on the dates that Scott and Tammy from the UPS Store were to speak at our group. They are lined up for this Tuesday meeting for sure.

If you are having tenants mail their rent to your personal house: Let me tell you… you are nuts! Landlords are killed all the time. Several landlords have been killed right here in Roanoke. And when a landlord is killed it almost always has to do with an eviction. So be smart and let your home be your safe place that you don’t have to worry about stray bullets flying past your couch as you watch TV. Or some punk throwing their shirt off and yelling at you in the front yard that they want you to come out there and give them a beating.

This week our guest speakers will be Scott and Tammy from the Electric Rd UPS Store. These guys are entrepreneurs in the truest form. I’ve been using them for almost 2 years now to collect my rent for me and it’s turned out to be a great service that I wouldn’t do without. I don’t waste my time or endanger my life by physically running down tenants to collect my rent anymore. I’m in control of my business these days. I don’t let tenants control it. Several of my tenants want to have a place to physically hand their rent so with the UPS Store they have the option to either mail it to me there, or physically hand it to them at the store.

Try doing that at the post office. As crazy as it sounds, if you get a P.O. Box, and your tenant brings their rent payment to the post office, they will still mail it to Greensboro; even if they are standing no more than 5 feet from your box. It’s hard to do business with idiots like that.

Scott also offers all kinds of other services or "custom services” that are specially designed to help your very specific business need.

At this meeting we will also talk with Scott about developing some fill in the blank software for REI of Virginia that will help members put together highly professional quotes for the bank that will automatically calculate the numbers that they like to see in making a loan decision.

We will also talk about their help with your business cards and creation of brochures.

This is going to be a fun meeting that will include lots of out of the box thinking regarding what types of services investors in our area need.

Come on out to keep your eye on the prize in 2017. Your regular attendance to REI meetings will help you grow your company and reach your financial goals. I promise you it will. I personally attribute my continual focus on investing as being the reason that I have been able to obtain a large highly lucrative portfolio over a relatively short period of time.

To do this successfully, you have to associate yourself with like minded people. Step back and have a look at the woods once a week rather than dealing with the day to day BS. That dedicated focus on real estate industry education will force you to fulfill your goals and objectives.

2017 is going to be YOUR big year.  That is ONLY if you make it YOUR big year. We still have years to come of low prices so it’s still a buyers market here in our area. The city has not and is not likely going to do anything to increase property values as they don’t recognize there is a problem. Get them while the getting is good.

Come on out to our meetings and have some fun while you’re working on your first few million in equity. Be there… or be square!!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

This Week Our Special Guest Speaker Will Be Roanoke City Councilman, John Garland.

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Hi Everyone,

We’ve got a fantastic meeting lined up for this Tuesday. Our special guest speaker will be City Councilman John Garland.

Last time John was with us was during our City Council Debate. Most REI members voted for John Garland & Michelle Dykstra and John is coming to talk to us about what he has been doing to help us.

Historic preservation, historic rehabilitation, tax credits, economic development and code enforcement are going to be some of the topics that we will discuss.

I have had several conversations with John since he was voted in for council and since then we have seen many examples of how the city is extremely difficult to deal with. When we first started talking John explained to me how his personal experience working with the city has been very easy. But I think since then he has been given enough other perspectives that he may have changed his mind.

One of our friends who came out to our meeting once, Darryl Thompson, is currently getting attacked in court by the city for having beautiful antique amusement park rides on his land.

Just a few weeks ago a pizza shop was to open in the West End of Roanoke and the city jumped in the way and prevented it from happening. Corbin Prydwen, the person who is opening it, has always done very high end work and is largely responsible for the dramatic positive changes that have happened within the neighborhood over there. The highly qualified building inspectors also looked it over and were happy with the work as expected. They determined that everything was done safely and to code.

But the city decided to throw up a road block and complicate things requiring architectural drawings as well so they can look it back over for a while. They have stated that they needed to have those by law. I don’t know for sure if that is true as I have personally caught a few of them lying to me in an attempt to satisfy their objectives several times. Regardless, if it is the case that an architect is required by law, for all change of use of a building, even when no walls are moved, than they should have an architect on staff that will help people through the process to the degree of even holding their hand and doing the drawings themselves. Just like the Zoning Department will do with the complicated zoning appeals. They are very good about giving you a helping hand to get through it when needed. And they will write the entire appeal for you if they agree with what you’re doing.

This isn’t rocket science guys. It’s real easy to think out of the box, determine what types of problems exist and develop good positive solutions to fix them. But the city for so many years now has not been interested in going outside the boundaries that they have historically created for themselves. And it appears that the lower level management is incapable of change. Or they are being told by the upper management to hold their ground and circle the wagon. I don’t know.

Then for icing on the cake, just last week Grover Price’s Hope Center, a non profit that helps inner city children in NW Roanoke, had to shut down. They were being attacked by the city and threatened that they would chain the doors and shut them down. Chris Chittum, Roanoke City Planning Director, who is the top guy over all of the departments down there that pertain to zoning, permits, code, etc, replied to the news video below. He didn’t seem to know exactly why the Hope Center was being attacked so he guessed.

Have a look at this video. It’s pretty sad. And not just because the city did this to the children or a non profit. It’s sad that they would do that to ANYONE.
http://www.virginiafirst.com/news/local-news/non-profit-the-hope-center-closes-its-doors-due-to-building-permit-issues/649084888#.WJTUL6Qx5gI.facebook

These are ONLY issues that I am personally aware of. I’m sure there have been several businesses per week that have had road blocks set up. Some of which decided that they will just do business elsewhere. Those that didn’t and had to attempt to push through it were the ones that already had too much invested in the city to easily or cost effectively back out. No wonder why so many people say Roanoke City Hates Business.

I’m told every week by someone that they will never buy another commercial / residential rental within the city limits. That they would rather spend their money in towns that value their investment dollars.

It’s real important for the city and neighborhood groups, some of which are doing the whining, to fully understand what happens to the value of property when they drive off investment dollars by nit picking businesses to the degree that they force them out. And attacking businesses is not the way you get the business to do what you want them to do. Obviously positive relationships are required.

Those of us who are buying these low income beater houses and fixing them up to make them nice places to live are an extreme treasure to the city. We are willing to spend our hard earned investment money within the city limits which in turn ends up raising the tax assessed value of every surrounding property including the one we fix up. Further lining the pockets of the city. We should be treated with utmost respect.

When they city runs us off the economic impact is tremendous. No wonder why we have been skimming across the bottom ever since the property values dropped from the recession. We never got that big return like everywhere else did. Several areas such as Tampa Florida are not only back to pre recession levels but they are much higher.

Fewer and fewer people having a desire to buy city property and then set themselves up to go through the attack by the city causes the values of all property to drop. And one would ask why people try to duck and dodge the permit process even though the property that they are working on they fully intend to fix up to code, without a permit. When investors are driven off and don’t want houses in a given area due to the problems associated with ownership, it creates a higher supply of those houses, which in turn causes the values of them to decrease as a result of the limited handful of people bidding on them. And when those values drop, so does the tax assessed value and the money that the city has to work with.

It’s a nasty circle. But it doesn’t have to be. The city does have the ability to fix the problems they have instead of trying to foolishly act like they are perfect and everything they do is right. Fortunately they still do have investors willing to stick their hand out and forgive them for what they have done in the past. Investors willing to jump on board and work together in a positive manor that will result in increased property values for all. But the city has to realize that they must listen to us and compromise is required. It’s not my way or the highway as it has always been with them. Otherwise change will never happen and nothing they do will work. ALL parties have to be willing participants.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we ALL believe in operating safe businesses. As landlords we obviously don't want to get sued. We also like to keep our tenants as it’s a pain to rent to someone and then a few months later have to clean the place back up and do it all over again. And no tenant is going to stay long in a house that is in bad shape. It’s real important to us to keep safe, clean and habitable environments for our residents.

But this isn’t something that I have to tell you. You already know that. I have to explain that time and time again to the city as for some crazy reason they seem to believe that if you complain about a rogue code enforcer going beyond what they legally are allowed to do than you must be a slumlord. The simple fact that they even think that is quite shocking and offensive.

As a former board member for Roanoke City Neighborhood Advocates, I have even heard people say REI of Virginia in it’s entirety is a slumlord group. All 850 people… Are you kidding me??? This only comes from a small handful of these sick minded people that want to blame everything on the landlord. The level of ignorance and hate out there is quite shocking. I have been to several of their very own homes that are riddled with code violations.

They don’t seem to realize that our houses get rental certificate inspections every 4 years. We also often get Section 8 inspections as well as insurance company inspections. My houses in the low income areas are the NICEST houses there largely due to all of these inspections.

The primary legitimate complaints that these people have are all very easily solvable and pertain to what the tenant does. Such as a tenant having outdoor storage. A tenant leaving an inoperable vehicle in the driveway with the tire off for a couple days because they aren’t wealthy enough to buy another one immediately. A tenant putting a couch on the porch because they feel that its perfectly acceptable to do so. A tenant not keeping the grass cut at exactly 10 inches and not a millimeter higher.

These issues mainly pertain to different socioeconomic status. They hate poor people and the way they live. It’s as simple as that. And they blame that hate on Landlords not doing anything about it to force these people via the lease to live the way they want them to live. As if they were in a neighborhood association. They think they are better than you at running a rental business even though they have never done it before and they have no idea about fair housing laws, what the judges do and don’t care about, etc.

I have been to most of the various neighborhood group meetings across the city. They most often consist of anywhere from 2 to 15 city employees on the clock including neighborhood police, code enforcement, a deputy, and on rare occasion a city councilman, etc. Several of them, such as code, or a neighborhood cop and a deputy are scheduled to be there at every single meeting. I have been to several where the city employees far outnumber the neighborhood association members.The typical group has from 2 to 15 total people in attendance who live in the neighborhood.  Several consist of no more than 2 to 3 people that get together once a month. A far cry from our massive group of heavily taxed citizens / business owners. I’ve found that in many cases these people are not an adequate representation of he neighborhood as they are hated by almost everyone in it. It’s not only the landlords that they complain about. They are busy bodies and they spend a great deal of their days turning in other owner occupied neighbors as well for any city infraction they can find.

The city also sends employees to regularly attend some of the other business groups such as the Williamson Rd Business Association and the Downtown Business Association. But they never decided that it was important to send regular people to the largest group of property owners in this region and likely the entire state. Even though we own on average 63% of the entire residential areas of the city. In some areas it is reported as much as 85%.

All of these problems that the city has are fixable to a thinker capable of developing solutions. But these types of insurmountable problems probably are best off solved by someone who has actual entrepreneurial business experience rather than the bureaucrat who has worked for someone or the government their whole lives. Those people are trapped in a world that makes them brain dead.

Fixing the problem requires listening and understanding that there is one. Not just listening to the squeaky wheel that is yelling and screaming but listening to all of those involved. Attacking small businesses and landlords will never be the solution. Throwing up road blocks won’t be either. One has to understand that when someone is opening a business there already are plenty of other things that they are thinking of and trying to figure out. The last thing they need is the city trying to make them beg to grant them the special privlagdge of being able to earn a living.

Yes, that’s right, I said it. Government get out of the way!

It’s going to be a fun meeting. Cancel your plans. Come on out and spend an evening with some good like minded people.

See you there!

Open Letter With One Of The 2 Heads That Run The Water Authority. A very angry man...

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This letter is to inform you, if you care, what the laws are pertaining to the Water Authority, what they have illegally been doing to landlords lately, and what they currently can and can’t do.

On a side note the city has refused to allow REI of Virginia to have a representative seat on the Water Authority board which consists of 3 city appointed people. We should be permitted to have at least 1 seat on the board when we are getting attacked and forced to pay the delinquent bills of the tenant. Their refusal to allow this only creates more animosity. I’m sure the Water Authority said they do not want to have 1 person out of their 13 person board challenging them. So what….

Hi Mike,

I talked with Mica today there at the Water Authority and she told me that she was fining me $100 for illegally turning on the water at 2115 Salem Tpk and refuses to turn the water on until I pay her fine. I looked back at my records when getting back to the office and that was a Section 8 tenant that lived in that house and I was paid through October so she lived there through the end of October. Mica told me she turned off the water on October 10th. I don’t know why she would have done that but regardless it’s none of my business what she does really until it effects me like it has now. I didn’t even gain possession of the property until the end of the month so my guys clearly did not turn on water. This girl as you will see in our records is notorious for not paying her bill. Over and over almost every month for the entire time she lived there I got a letter from the Authority saying that she hadn’t paid and I was going to get a lien for it. And apparently she kept paying late time and time again as she never got her water cut off as far as I am aware. I’m not sure why the Authority would try to accuse my people of turning on the water illegally. Surprised, I asked them and they didn’t.

At the time when talking to Mica I didn’t know what she was talking about regarding dates and everything because I was not sitting in my office. Regardless, I would like to be sent the exact law that states that the Water Authority can fine a landlord $100 and refuse to turn the water on for the tenant illegally committing a crime against the Authority. Or even a law that states that the authority can put these types of fines on landlords and not go by the legal process that has been laid out by the state.  I have never seen that anywhere in the law. Or anything like it. When I asked Mica how many gallons were used to try to determine what happened she wouldn’t tell me. She just continued to press for the fine staying that that is what I’m going to pay, not the water usage. Bully customer service you have there that have been trained by bullies obviously. I’m very curious if this is something you are now doing to all landlords. Mica falsely told me that the Authority is not governed by state regulations and implied that they can implement any policy they want. She told me to talk to a manager but I’ve historically found that when you talk to a manager at the Authority there is never a different result. They will parrot exactly what the customer service rep said. You can listen to the recording as you have before for verification.

It’s looking like now after my new tenant talked to Mica that she will probably be backing out since she can’t get the water turned on. If she does I’ll have a month or two of lost rent damages against the Water Authority and possibly more. No one can legally live in a house without water so clearly she has no option than to break the lease. I wouldn’t try to hold someone to a lease without being able to have water as I don’t do scummy things like that. And the way I see the law, the Water Authority does not have the legal right to do this. If she breaks the lease that I have with her, at no fault of hers, I’m going to have no other option than to seek damages which will include lost rent as well as anything that happens to the house such as broken frozen pipes, break ins, etc,  from the Authority forcing it to remain vacant.  As of right now I’m out one day of rent at $900 a month which is $30 a day. I can’t charge her for the first of February as she was not able to stay there.  If we get further down the road without resolution and I end up getting foreclosed on due to not being able to pay that note as a result of this action that the Authority is taking, which I see as being illegal, than I’m going to have to seek future damages as a result of my credit being tarnished and my business not being able to grow as a result, the full cost of the equity in the house that I lost, etc. The damages I will suffer will be tremendous. This is something that we are going to need to immediately resolve. Time is of the essence.

This is real interesting that these types of things happen to me considering the fact that most properties I own are multifamily and I pay the water so there are no issues. I only have a few single family houses. I hear these complaints from REI members continuously and am wondering if the Authority is now taking the stance that they will do whatever they wish without regard to the law. I can only imagine what the landlord who operates all single family houses has to go through in dealing with the Authority. I wouldn’t think that that would be something that you would push for Mike. Especially considering how much leeway the state has already given the Authority to bill a landlord for their customers unpaid bill. To push it even further than the law allows is shocking.

I also would like for you to send me the laws stating that the Authority is authorized to accept a fake lease from someone for my house at 1910 Moorman and turn the water on, then put a lien on my property for that when they don’t pay it. Don’t you think the Authority has a duty to at least check what my last lease looked like so when you get a couple page internet lease you will instantly recognize that it is fake?  The Authority historically has been real good about calling any time a tenant turns on the water. ONLY on my real leases. They told me they only call when a lease looks like it is subject to fraud. So all the times the Authority called me on my 20 something page lease that they thought was fraud I said yes so my legit tenant could have water. But they decided on the couple page one they clearly pulled off the internet that it’s legit so they didn’t need to call and find out on that one. The Authority always has known exactly what my lease looks like. They have several copies of it.

I was told by the lobbyist for the state municipalities, John Lain, lobbyist for the Water Authorities and municipal water, Preston Bryant, and the attorney / lobbyist for the Realtors association, Chip Dicks, that the Western Virginia Water Authority broke the law on every single lien that they put on anyones property in our area as well as all charges that were billed to landlords as the process wasn’t handled by what was required by law by having the form signed. They all said that if that form is not signed by the landlord than the Authority is agreeing to not take part in the lien program. They said the language for that is crystal clear. I believe that timeframe would have been all liens from 2012 to now when the Realtor, Apartment Association, Builders Association bill was passed. REI of Virginia members have been waiting to see what you are going to do about that. We naturally would expect this would be handled ethically and once the Authority was notified of this by John Lain that they would do the right thing.

From what it appears, with this new stuff regarding the fines that are being pushed through customer service, the Western Virginia Water Authority has decided to double down and take this stuff far out of the realm of what is legally allowed. What’s your opinion on this Mike? Is this a matter of rogue management that is making up their own rules and passing them on to the staff or is it something that the Authority really is standing behind?


Best regards,


Dallas

__________________________________________________


Dallas, good afternoon.  Quite a list of issues in your email.  As they jump around a bit, I have tied to consolidate them.  Please let me know if I miss one or more.  Also, please excuse the length but again, your email does touch on quite a few points.     

1. The Authority takes meter tampering and theft very seriously.  We have had an administrative compliance fee for many years to recover the cost of such issues as 1) investigating meter tampering and /or theft, 2) compensating the rate payers for unauthorized usage, 3) repairing or replacing damaged or stolen infrastructure or 4) unauthorized discharges of wastes to the sewer system.  This charge appears on our schedule of rates and has been adopted and re-adopted by our Board of Directors a number of times over the years.  For meter tampering, which includes turning service on without authorization, the fee assessment for the first offense varies between $100 to $500 depending upon the amount of damage.  A second offense is $500.  Additional offenses are $500 and/or referral to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for prosecution.     
      
Most often, this fee is assessed to customers who turn their service on after being disconnected.  This generally involves customers cutting locks and activating service or bypassing the meters with hoses or pipes.  Other instances when the fee is assessed include property owners activating service for themselves, or their guests, without signing up for service or in the case of rental properties, maintenance contractors using water to clean units before being rented again.  Please let your membership know that if they need water for cleaning or maintenance, the proper procedure is to either a) call and activate service or b) let our staff know that they would like the property to be listed as “revert status”.  This means the service automatically reverts to the owner’s name and is not actually turned off.  This allows for cleaning and other uses.  When the property is rented, the service goes out of the owner’s name and into the new tenant’s.  The owner receives a bill for any consumption during the revert period.

Finally, Code of Virginia § 15.2-5114. Powers of authority, items 2 and 10 provide the basis for this fee and indeed most of the Authority’s business policies.

2. With regard to 2115 Salem Turnpike specifically, the last tenant discontinued service on October 10, 2016.  She left in good standing and received a deposit refund.  I am not sure why you decided to disparage her.  Her forwarding address appears to be valid so I will ask staff to send your email to her and ask her to confirm when she actually did leave and if she has any documentation such as a deposit refund or property inspection form.  You may of course provide such information yourself to support your position.  As Nica related to you, after the tenant discontinued service October 10th, there was no consumption until October 26 & 27, then no consumption after.  This usage alerted our staff to follow up, which they did on Nov 2nd and found the meter active.  The most likely explanation is that your maintenance contractor, who would have had access to the property and likely the knowledge to restore service, turned the water back on.  In listening to your conversation with Nica, you offered to pay for the water consumed and agreed to check with the contractor.  That seems to be an admission that, at a minimum, you suspected your staff used the water.   

Since you made threats to sue the Authority, staff contacted me shortly after the conversation Wednesday afternoon.  As the new tenant had a past debt and was not prepared to pay on Wednesday anyway, as a good faith gesture, I asked that the fee be suspended so that your concerns could be addressed.  The new tenant started service on Thursday.  With regard to the telephone call itself, Nica remained calm and professional while you ranted, threated, and bullied her.  I believe we have discussed previously that type of behavior is unacceptable.  You may yell at me all you want but not the staff, who are just doing their jobs.  With regard to your statements about loss, I would be quite surprised to find that you prorated the new tenant’s rent based upon this event.  I am happy, however, to forward any claims you may have to the Authority’s attorney for review.      

3. I am not sure why we are re-litigating the 2013 lien at 1910 Moorman.  It was handled appropriately and in complete compliance with both the Authority’s regulations and state code.  I would remind you that the Authority is the party that lost $120.14 not you.  Further, if fraudulent leases are such a concern for you, the code provides a notification process where you can send notice to the Authority when you rent properties.  If the individual signing up for service does not match your notice, then problem solved.  Additionally, you are authorized to deduct final utility bills from the tenant’s deposit.  In summary, the tools are available for landlords to act proactively in these matters, they just need to be used.      

4. I spoke with John Lain after the meeting in the fall.  John’s version of the meeting’s discussions differs quite a bit from the account in your email.  I would point out that “not liking” a point of law or disagreeing with it is not the same as it being illegal.  We have followed the law in both letter and spirit and have no plans regarding outstanding liens.  I will however forward your email to John Lain, since he is mentioned prominently, and let him decide if he wants to respond to you.   In any event, the point of disagreement in the code is being removed through the Senator’s bill.  We support the bill as it both endorses the Authority’s long standing use of leases and makes the program easier to implement.      

As you are well aware, Gary and I have reached out to your organization on multiple occasions to settle our differences only to be rebutted each time.  You did not even bother to show for the meeting that the Senator arranged with us last fall.  While I understand the reality of having a whipping boy to help with membership drives and fundraising, Gary and I are still willing to talk,  if you have the courage.   

Michael T. McEvoy
Executive Director Wastewater Services
(540) 283-2904
www.westernvawater.org

________________________________________________________
Hi Mike,

My email does not jump around at all. It states a few clear and concise points. Sorry I should have numbered it for you.

1. I’m sure you do take meter tampering theft very seriously. I also take it very seriously when I have your and my customers walk out and not pay me thousands of dollars and then not pay their water bill so I get a lien on my house on top of the damages inside, lost income and court costs. And you are more than welcome to charge the tenant for tampering / stealing your water as I already clearly told you they were in possession of the property the entire month. You have no legal ability to charge the landlord for the theft of another person. I have no need for turning on water after a tenant moves out as my contractor wipes off countertops with a gallon of water and uses a self contained power steam mop and a little generator for power to run it and vacuum, etc. I have no need to pay for power OR water in between tenants.

And #2 and 10 of Code of Virginia 15.2-5114 does not give you authorization to implement a fee to a landlord for theft by the tenant. And note that #10 that you referred to also states that “Such rates, fees, rents and charges shall be charged and collected from any person contracting for the service or the leasee or tenant who uses or occupies any real estate which is served by or benefits from any such system.” The landlord is not "contracting for the service”.  We also are not the "leasee or tenant". You have no legal ability to institute such a fee to the landlord and it needs to be immediately terminated. You’re references that you gave do not say what you’re saying they do. This is an outright violation of the law.

2. I have every single letter the Authority sent to me time and time again of the tenant at 2115 Salem Tpk not paying their water. I’ve never in my life got so many letters from you in a years period of time from one person. If she left in good standing, than why is it that you are telling me that she turned the water back on while she was in possession of the unit? And no, this tenant was Section 8 and I gained possession of the unit at the end of the month. As a matter of fact, I never even got full possession as I never got the keys back and had to tell the Section 8 office that if she is out than she has to let me in the unit. My contractor had to drill the locks out.

And as I told you that you read over, when I was talking to Nica I was not in the office and also didn’t have the benefit to ask my contractor if some reason he didn’t do as we always do. But when I got to the office I instantly noticed that the dates she provided prove who was in possession of the unit. And when talking to my contractor, he did it as we always do. Gallon of water, self contained stem mop, vacuum and generator. Paint brushes are kept in plastic wrap so they don’t dry before being able to clean them up if painting goes beyond 1 day which is rare. Yup we have been doing this for many years and do have a good system down. I will never deny anything without all of the facts as I have no reason to lie to anyone about anything. If water was in fact used by my contractor I obviously would have no problem paying what was used. But it wasn’t. I don’t have a reason to lie as you have accused me of as a few gallons of water is insignificant in cost. Did you guys try to implement this fine because you are finding that some landlords will turn the water on? Is this hundred dollar fine to try to get around the $25 dollar minimum lien limit from them using a couple gallons of water that’s stated in 15.2-2119 Section E? Why don’t you just secure your water and put a lock on it if you are having problems? Seems pretty natural that a company would do that. The power company locks their boxes. Do you not want to pay the expense of locks? You have to invest in your company at least to a small degree.

And I don’t know what you’re talking about ranting, raving and bullying. Why don’t you provide a copy of that voicemail for everyone on this email rather than trying to act like I was bullying her? You have my approval to do so. I was obviously shocked to hear that she was trying to impose an illegal fine on me. And obviously I denied several times that I am legally responsible for that as she kept threatening me that I had to pay it or the house would be shut down so it could not be rented until paid. Sorry but I do not agree to that. She threatened to shut my business down and you’re crazy if you think I’m not going to tell her she has no legal right to do that and I will sue if I have to. Email the recording please so everyone can hear your false accusations. Anyone would defend themselves that is being illegally victimized by the Authority, told the house will be shut down unless I pay your extortion fine. Never once did I bully her. I told her I will sue the Water Authority if I have to as you have no legal right to do this to anyone.  Sorry but that isn’t bullying. It’s simply stating the truth.

And Nica broke the law in the name of the Authority by refusing to turn the water on for my new resident. I suggest you look at Virginia Code 15.2-2119 Section I. “Unless a lien has been recorded against the property owner, the locality shall not deny service to a new tenant…” The Authority can not just do whatever it wants to do to people. I’m sure you’re used to talking to people that don’t know the law but you can not bully me as I do have a pretty good understanding of it. You are not above the law and you do have to work within the boundaries that you have been given. Nica also told me that the Authority doesn't have to abide by state regulations. That’s an example of an extreme lack of training because I’m going to assume the best from her that she wasn’t lying but rather was misinformed by your management. It’s important to train your staff the law so your customers aren’t getting taken advantage of. It appears that they are being given marching orders by your management to break the law. Is that getting passed to your management from you?

And I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about regarding this statement either.  "I believe we have discussed previously that type of behavior is unacceptable.”  We have never had any conversation even remotely resembling this. Actually the last conversation that we had pertained to some sort of  “landlord program” that your staff told me that they were putting me in. As I recall that conversation was after the Authority sent me a bill for service at a property. Then later talking to one of your agents that told me as I recall that this landlord program was a new thing you were doing to automatically turn the water on in the landlords name after all tenants. And that the landlord didn’t have a choice as the Authority set this new program up and that is the way it was going to be. You listened to that voicemail and apologized for their inaccurate information. Please don’t confuse me with someone else Mike. Who are you thinking you are talking to? How many other landlords have been bullied into this “landlord program” that you have your customer service reps pushing?

3. I’m also not sure what you’re talking about the Authority lost $120.14 from your customer and that I didn’t lose $120.14. You’re right. I lost WAY more.  I lost a couple thousand from them. Let me make myself real clear. You have no legal right to turn the water on for someone who is not my tenant. The person you turned the water on for has the same last name but in NO way where they even authorized to be in my house. The real tenant, of which I have and showed verification from my eviction and my lease to your management, obviously got their relative to turn on water. It is the Authorities responsibility to either get a copy of the REAL lease or at minimum contact me to find out if the person is a tenant or not. The lease they sent me is clearly an internet lease. The Authority has MANY copies of my lease as they have seen it year after year, time and time again. I received no contact from the Authority at all about this. And when talking to your management, they told me that they ONLY contact people if they feel the lease is fraudulent. So you guys contact me almost every time on my REAL lease but on that obvious fake lease you decided that it was OK? And why before, in the email between you and me, that you said why didn’t you contact me Dallas I would have taken care of it for you, regarding this lien? Were you trying to get me to not have a problem with the Authority breaking the law so frequently so you could continue to take advantage of other landlords? We have talked about this already Mike. I suggest you check your sent emails.

4. “Not Liking” a part of the law has nothing to do with what that we are talking about right now. What we are referring to on this point is the Western Virginia Water Authority continually breaking the law, on many occasions, and putting liens on landlords properties without getting the written or electronic authorization form that is required by law. This law was rewritten to be understandable and I’m sure you have read it several times. If the Authority chooses not to get this form filled out than they are agreeing to not participating in the lien program. I have an entire room full of many people, in the meeting we had as a result of Senate Joint Resolution No. 75, that all stated that the law clearly outlines these obligations of the Authority. Those people all will also verify that your very own lobbyist stated that the Authority broke the law and those liens should not have been placed. It doesn’t really matter to me if you feel like he was being nice to you when he was talking to you as he clearly stated to the whole group, it is not his responsibility and he has no power or control to be able to get you to comply with the law. All he has the ability to do is to let you know what it says if your attorney didn’t guide you on this matter. I have evidence that the Authority illegally put liens on landlords property and billed landlords for tenants delinquent bills without having this authorization form. As well as collected money from these illegal liens at the sale of properties.

Yes, I do suggest, that before you continue to debate 15.2-2119 with me, that you get your attorney involved. It is important that you have them read the law over and give you direction on how to proceed. We all just want to do the right thing Mike. And I think you can reasonably understand why landlords want to be treated according to the law. Did you realize that we were told by several lobbyists on this issue that, throughout the state, there is no single Authority that is having problems like you guys are? That they have had to make a little clarification here and there on the law but every time it was immediately resolved. It’s just us here, under the Western Virginia Water Authority, that can’t seem to get things resolved. I think it’s due to that Customer Is Always Wrong philosophy that I keep being told by everyone that the Authority here has.

BTW Off topic, the 150K in losses per year that you told our group that you have as a result of nonpayment…. That is a drop in the bucket compared to us. I ALONE have on average $50,000 per year in judgements that will never get paid. And I don’t even have very much property compared to most people I know. Our losses are to the tune of several million every single month...

In summary:
A.) 2115 Salem Tpk - The Authority has no legal grounds to extort a landlord to pay a self imposed fine or shut down the house until paid, for theft of the public water they cleaned, when this theft was by a tenant or someone other than the landlord or his or her management. This policy must be immediately terminated and any income that the Authority has made from this illegal bullying tactic over the years must be returned to every landlord. 15.2-2119 Section I  tells you the process you must follow in order to deny service to a future tenant. You did not follow that process.

B.) 1910 Moorman - The Authority has no legal grounds for turning the water on in a landlords house without the landlord filling out written or electronic authorization form defined in the legislation that was designed for you to follow. Then to top it off the Authority didn’t even call or get a valid lease or anything. Inexcusable. The Authority must remove all liens it has placed since 2012 on all landlords property where the water was turned on for someone who is not a tenant. 15.2-2119 Section A explains this process and describes how the Authority verifies who is and isn’t a tenant.

C.) Generality regarding All Liens placed since 2012 without the required Written or Electronic Authorization Form - All monies from 2012 until now, that have been collected by the Authority based on threats of placing a lien need to immediately be given back to the landlord. All money from liens that the Authority got paid as a result of a sale of property must be returned to the rightful owner. All liens since 2012 need to be vacated and no liens may be placed back on properties until the Authority follows the laws that the state legislature have set in place. See 15.2-2119 Section A

A. For water and sewer services provided by localities, fees and charges may be charged to and collected from...
“ (iii) a lessee or tenant, provided that the lessee or tenant has written authorization from the owner of the property to obtain water and sewer services…” There is a form that must be filled out and the entire law is essentially a contract that the landlord would have to sign. That’s why it starts with information from the landlord and ends with preparation instructions and what you were supposed to file with your liens.  That’s the only way they were able to get around contract law which doesn’t allow you to send a bill to someone that belongs to someone else. Mike, Did you file that authorization form with your liens? I don’t see how it’s possible since no landlord in our entire organization of 850 landlords has filled it out or even been asked to. Were you sworn under oath that these illegal liens do in fact exist and what contract exactly did you record?

 The law also says “A locality providing water and sewer services may establish, by adoption of a resolution, that water and sewer services may be provided to a lessee or tenant pursuant to provision (iii) without obtaining an authorization form from the property owner.”

Also please note Section F where it says to mail the property owner to the "address listed in the written authorization form” a duplicate copy of the bill. Section G & H also refer to the required written authorization form. It’s literally throughout the entire legislation.

You’re acknowledging that you have adopted this resolution by not having this authorization form filled out. In which case you are not participating in the lien program.

I know you are angry that you guys have illegally put all of those liens on landlords property and charged them when you have agreed to forgo this lien program due to not participating in the authorization form program that was outlined for you. That anger has lead to your hostility calling me both a liar and a thief. But that is to be expected, as I was saying, I also have experienced the same as everyone else has with your organization.  The customer is always wrong. Sorry to tell you that I’m not wrong Mike. A room full of the very people who actually wrote the bill verified that. Including your own lobbyist. We have been waiting for you to do the right thing and it’s now been several months of inaction on your part which seems now to be in "bad faith".

Please take care of these things at your earliest convenience.

P.S. I am also now officially giving notice per Section I  that any time any tenant that I have becomes 15 days delinquent, I immediately be sent a notice of this to dallas@powmarcom.com for my records and to give me an opportunity to at least attempt to get them to pay. Fortunately most of what I own, I pay my own water bills. I’m one of your best customers as I always pay my bills on time for all of my LLC’s. I’m certainly not treated that way though. That’s Ok because I still like you Mike.


Best regards,



Dallas

Thursday, February 2, 2017

REI Project House ~ Bids Needed ~ Volunteers Needed ~ Free Pizza & Refreshments ~

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Hello Everyone,

We will be at the REI Project House, 1018 Forest Park Blvd, Roanoke, at 11:00AM this Saturday February 4th. If you would like to come by to view the house and possibly bid on some of the work to be preformed, please stop by. At about noon, we will be starting demolition and yard work. If you would like to volunteer to help, we will be supplying free pizza and refreshments.

Hope to see you there!
 

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