11573 Jollyville Rd.
Austin, TX 78759
PO Box 202344
Austin, TX 78720
Alps' vendors are the best. Most of them are considered "Preferred Vendors" meaning that when they have a choice of calls to work, they put us in first position and in turn we reward them as our first to go to when the need arises. Below is an example of advice we get from one of our best vendors.
HONEST AIR CONDITIONING. Where A Handshake Still Means Something
- The most important part of system maintenance is to identify small issues before they become bigger, more expensive problems. Most of the problems we find on service calls are caused by dirty filters, improper set-up or lack of maintenance. These are all identified during routine maintenance.
- By doing maintenance before there are failures late in the cooling season we can minimize the downtime for tenants by catching the smaller problems and getting them remedied in a timely manner.
- When systems are not maintained, they usually don't keep up. This ends in the system running constantly shortening the life cycle of it.
- By checking systems before they fail we can offer the tenants a little peace of mind in knowing that their property owners and management company are working together to make sure their system is working safely, effectively, and efficiently.
- The end result of proper maintenance is better system longevity, reduced failures, and less downtime due to failures. All of these factors reduce rental turnover, repairs and system replacements, which leads to more capitol for the property owner.
- Real Estate Services to Buyers and Sellers
- Out of State Property Management Company Referrals
- Maintenance and Make Ready Services for our Owners and Referring Agents
Mike Ebert, REALTOR®, RMP®
Director of Property Management
512.794.8171 X 211
Rebecca Panacci, REALTOR®
512.794.8171 X 216
Yvonne Dougherty, CTA
Leasing and Management Coordinator
512.794.8171 X 220
Changes to Federal Energy Requirements for Water Heaters
In April 2015 new requirements will go into effect for all water heaters in the United States. The changes require all water heaters to be more efficient. This change resulted in water heaters having more insulation and thus a larger size tank for the same amount of water. The changes also caused the cost of water heaters to increase.
In most cases, we will be able to replace water heaters with the new type without issue. However, some water heaters located in small areas such as a crawl space, or areas accessed by a small opening will create an obstacle for installing the new unit. For example, if the water heater is in the attic and accessed by an attic pull down or scuttle hole will require the access area to be modified (we will need to make the hole larger), or possibly require us to change the location of the water heater entirely.
When we encounter these obstacles we will contact you with a bid from a professional plumber and carpenter in those cases requiring structural changes. There is no way around the regulations. As of April 16, it will be illegal for plumbers to install water heaters that do not meet the federal requirements.
Child Safety in Investment Properties
Some property owners would like to avoid renting to tenants with children because they feel this can lead to more damage and additional expense when it comes to safety. However, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination of familial status. There are exceptions such as properties that qualify under the senior housing exemption but exceptions are few. Discriminating against children and violating Fair Housing is definitely not the solution for any investor to avoid child safety.
In addition, the URLTA (Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act of 1972) requires that landlords provide habitability in rental property and that includes safety. While it is true that parents should provide supervision and responsibility, property owners are still ultimately responsible for providing a safe environment for all residents, including children. There have been many court rulings in the millions against landlords who fail in this critical area.
Here are key steps for investors to take to provide child safety in properties.
- Property owners should abide by any legislation or guideline that specifically targets child safety. Two examples of this are lead-based paint and asbestos. Lead-based paint applies to properties built prior to 1978. When children inhale either lead-based paint dust or asbestos fibers, it can lead to significant health problems. Dangerous levels of either toxin can make any rental unlivable and usually constitutes a violation of the implied warranty of habitability. There are many federal and state laws for lead-based paint and asbestos, as well as for other safety issues.
- Property owners and managers should always take safety complaints from tenants seriously. Mold problems can lead to asthma for some individuals. Pests, such as insects and rodents, may trigger asthma and severe allergies. Structural issues such as loose handrails and stairs may lead to falls and injury. If there is a problem, property owners should act quickly to avoid extreme financial risk and demonstrate their commitment to provide safe housing in the event of legal action.
- There should be a review of any rental property for child safety. If an inspection reveals a problem, take action. By making practical expenditures, investors can often avoid high risk. For example, replace blinds with long cords that could easily choke a child. In California, a four-year old child died from choking on long blind cord in a rental. The tenant sued and the court ruled against the property owner. If the property owner had replaced the older window covering with a safer one, it would have avoided the tragedy, the suit, and a settlement that awarded over $10 million dollars to the tenant. A preventative approach is always the best measure.
Below are specific examples of steps geared to prevent liability for children. Rental units vary and could require additional measures.
- Provide working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Ensure all doors, handles, and locks are working properly
- Ensure all windows and doors can lock and unlock safely
- Provide window screens with child safety latches
- Supply safe window coverings and remove coverings with very long cords that can loop
- Keep electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems operating safely
- Provide electrical outlet covers throughout the property
- Fix all leaks and plumbing problems to avoid moisture and mold
- Install non-slip strips in the shower and bathtub
- Protect children from scalding by adjusting the water heater so that it is 120 degrees, or below
- Provide proper trash receptacles and arrange for trash pick-up
- Exterminate infestations of rodents, pests, and other vermin
- Install child-proof latches in storage areas
- Secure all bannisters and railings
- Provide motion sensitive garage doors to detect small persons
As your property management company, we know that safety for children is an important issue and that taking preventative measures is the most practical solution to protect your investment.
Check Your Insurance: Events can happen - flood, extreme heat, earthquakes, fire, and more! It is important to check your insurance to obtain the best coverage possible and ensure that it is current.Review now with your insurance agent before a disaster/emergency occurs.
If an Emergency Occurs: Please be patient and avoid tying up critical phone lines and our time. Our first priority during any emergency is to handle the situation, taking any necessary measures for the safety of your property and your tenants. Then, we will contact you as soon as we are able.