How to Keep Mold & Moisture Out of Your Home.
Mold Management and Prevention Tips for Landlords and Renters.
It’s a problem humans have battled since the dawn of time—controlling mold. It lurks in the corners and can cause major damage and nasty health issues. Mold can be a landlord’s and tenant’s nightmare. As long as moisture and oxygen are present, mold can grow indoors or out on virtually any organic substance, including wood, paper, carpet, insulation and food. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled by keeping moisture in check. Moisture control is key—mold cannot grow without it.
Left untreated, mold gradually destroys the material on which it is growing. Because molds produce allergens, irritants and toxins, they have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and can exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma. Other responses to mold infestations are: sore eyes, coughing, sneezing, congestion, itchy skin, and sore throat. These symptoms are akin to multiple illnesses. However, if you notice your symptoms worsening in the evenings or on weekends, when you’re spending more time at home, that could be a sign that of a reaction to a mold problem.
If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. If an area becomes water damaged, it is important to dry that space and any damaged items within 24–48 hours to prevent mold growth. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water to prevent recurrence. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
It may also be a wise idea to review your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy to see if mold is covered in case there is an emergency. Many policies have exclusions for claims against mold invasion and damage. Other policies can provide funds for lodging and damages if your home is subject to mold contamination.
For more information on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth, download the Environmental Protection Agency’s free publication, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf
Renting in a Community Association
If you are an owner who leases your unit, we’d like to make the leasing experience successful and positive for everyone by informing you of your responsibilities. This will help preserve your property value specifically and maintain the association’s property value in general.
Your tenants may not be familiar with common-interest community living. Please take a few minutes to explain to them that living in a community association is very different from living in a rental apartment community. Specifically, your tenants, like all residents, are subject to the rules and regulations of the association, and it’s up to you to educate them and see that they comply. The association will assist you in this area, but the responsibility lies with you. We recommend you provide your tenants with written copies of all policies and rules and advise them on the proper use of the association’s facilities. You can obtain copies of these and other useful documents from the manager.
We strongly recommend that you have a written lease agreement with your tenant. As a lessor (landlord) of a home in a community association, the lease you use must require tenants to comply with the association’s governing documents. In the event your tenant fails to comply with these documents, including the bylaws, or its rules and regulations, a representative of the association will first contact your tenants in an attempt to remedy the problem. The association will send you a copy of any notice sent to your tenant.
If the tenant does not correct the violation, the association will contact you and expect you to remedy the violation using the recourse available to you through your lease agreement. If you are unable to correct the violation, the association may pursue appropriate legal action against the tenant, and possibly against you.
Follow these simple steps and you, the tenants and the association will all have a positive community association living experience:
- Provide your tenants with copies of association rules.
- Educate tenants about the need to follow association rules, and see that they comply.
- Advise tenants on the proper use of association facilities.
- Use a written lease agreement.
- Make sure your lease requires tenants to comply with all association governing documents.
- Provide the association with contact information for your tenants.
Renters: If you don’t have a copy of the association rules or you’d like more information about the association, please contact a board member or the property manager.
If you have questions about your home or are having problems with a tenant complying with your Association’s governing documents, call us today and see what we can manage for you.
We’re Having What Kind of Meeting?
If you live in a HOA or Condo, or are on the Board in a HOA or Condo, you are probably getting notices left and right about meetings.
What’s the difference between a board meeting and a special meeting, or an annual meeting and a town meeting? Confused? Here’s some clarification.
Annual meetings—or annual membership meetings—are usually required by your governing documents, which specify when they’re to be conducted and how and when members are to be notified about the meeting. This is the main meeting of the year when members receive the new budget, elect a board, hear committee reports and discuss items of common interest. Click here for our HOA/Condo annual review meeting checklist or view below.
Special meetings are limited to a particular topic. When the Board calls a special meeting (which they can do at any time), they must notify all members in advance. The notice will specify the topic so interested members can attend. Special meetings give the board an opportunity to explore sensitive or controversial matters—perhaps an assessment increase. Members do not participate in the meeting, unless asked directly by a board member, but they have a right to listen to the board discussion.
Town meetings are informal gatherings intended to promote two-way communication; full member participation is essential to success. The board may want to present a controversial issue or explore an important question like amending the bylaws. The board may want to get a sense of members’ priorities, garner support for a large project or clarify a misunderstood decision.
Most of the business of the association is conducted at regular board meetings. Board members set policy, oversee the manager’s work, review operations, resolve disputes, talk to residents and plan for the future. Often the health and harmony of an entire community is directly linked to how constructive these meetings are.
The governing documents require the association to notify you in advance of all meetings, and you’re welcome—in fact, encouraged—to attend and listen. The only time you can’t listen is when the board goes into executive session. Topics that the board can discuss in executive session are limited by law to a narrow range of sensitive topics. Executive sessions keep only the discussion private; no votes can be taken. The board must adjourn the executive session and resume the open session before voting on the issue. In this way, members may hear the outcome, but not the private details.
Occasionally the association notifies all residents of a meeting at which absolutely no business is to be conducted. Generally these meetings include food and music, and they tend to be the best attended meetings the association has. Oh, wait! That’s a party, not a meeting. Well, it depends on your definition of meeting.
Here is our annual review checklist which will come in handy for what type of meeting? An annual meeting!
How to Save on Your Homeowners and Renters Insurance Policy.
(Renters, if you don’t have insurance, you should.)
Whether you own or rent your home, insurance is essential to protect your property and household goods. Comparison shopping for the best rates will certainly save you some money, but you also can save by following these tips:
- Choose a higher deductible—increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your insurance premium.
- Ask your insurance agent about discounts. Dead bolts, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, security systems, storm shutters and fire-retardant roofing material are just some of the home safety features that can often lower your rate. You also may be able to get a lower premium if you are a long-term customer or if you bundle other coverage, such as auto insurance, with your provider. Some companies also offer senior discounts for customers who are older than 55 years.
- Don’t include the value of the land when you are deciding how much coverage to buy. If you insure your house, but not the land under it (e.g. in a condominium) , you can avoid paying more than you should. Even after a disaster, the land will still be there.
- If you’re a renter, don’t assume your landlord carries insurance on your personal belongings. They likely don’t provide renters insurance. Purchase a separate renters’ policy to be sure your property—like furniture, electronics, clothing and other personal items—is covered.
Don’t wait until you have a loss to find out whether you have the right type and amount of insurance. For example, many policies require you to pay extra for coverage for high-ticket items like computers, cameras, jewelry, art, antiques, musical instruments, and stamp and coin collections.
Furthermore, not all coverage will replace fully what is insured. An “actual-cash-value” policy will save you money on premiums, but it only pays what your property is worth at the time of loss (your cost minus depreciation for age and wear). “Replacement” coverage gives you the money to rebuild your home and replace its contents.
Finally, a standard homeowners’ policy does not cover flood and earthquake damage. The cost of a separate earthquake policy depends on the likelihood of earthquakes in your area. Homeowners who live in flood-prone areas should take advantage of the National Flood Insurance Program.
If you have questions about the properties you own, call us at (503) 779-5884 or visit us at our Bend office in the Old Mill District!
©2017 Brick House Property Management. Brick House Property Management understands that each investor, landlord, and tenant may have a unique circumstance. The information provided on this website is general, and may not be applicable to you. If you have a specific legal issue, you should speak with an attorney.
A Must Read for Portland Landlords and Tenants.
Information on City of Portland Ordinance 188219,
On February 2, 2017, the Portland City Council passed Ordinance 188219. The ordinance is commonly referred to as the Relocation Assistance Ordinance or the Tenant Protection Ordinance. The new law mandates that Portland landlords provide relocation assistance to tenants if they issue a no-cause eviction or increase rent by 10% or more in a 12-month period. Ordinance 188219 only applies to rental units within the city of Portland. Depending on the size of the living space, landlords have to pay tenants between $2,900 to $4,500. Relocation Assistance must be paid to the tenant at least 45 days before the move out date given on the tenant’s termination notice. There are some exceptions depending on the type of lease the tenant has and the number of properties the landlord owns. For example, the ordinance does not apply to week-to-week tenancies, tenants who occupy the same dwelling unit as the landlord, and a landlord who rents only a single unit in the city of Portland
The definition of a no-cause eviction is the eviction of a tenant who has not broken the terms of the lease. Tenants evicted for for-cause (aka just-cause) evictions would not qualify for relocation benefits under the Relocation Assistance Ordinance. To view the factsheet that the City of Portland created about the new landlord/tenant law, click here. To view Ordinance 188219, click here.
If you have questions about the properties you own, call us at (503) 779-5884, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us at our Portland office!
©2017 Brick House Property Management. Brick House Property Management understands that each landlord and tenant may have a unique living situation. The information provided on this website is general, and may not be applicable to you. If you have a specific legal issue, you should speak with an attorney.
Are You Ready for Cold Weather?
Winter preparation starts now if you haven’t already. Cold and wet conditions not only make you miserable, but they can damage your home. Some winterizing can wait, some can’t. Make a list of what needs to be done, and tackle the time-sensitive tasks first. Here’s a simple checklist to help you get a jump on winter.
- Examine doors and replace weather-stripping as needed.
- Examine window caulking and reseal where needed.
- Examine and repair vents where needed.
- Clean chimneys and flues.
- Remove items near heat vents.
- Place nonskid runners or door mats outside to help keep water, sand and salt out of the house.
- Cut back tree branches and shrubs that hide signs or block light.
- Examine outdoor handrails and tighten if needed.
- Turn off electrical breakers for outdoor equipment.
- Close hose bibs.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Clear yard drains.
- Spray outdoor locks and hinges with lubricant.
- Stake driveway and walkway edges that may be difficult to find under deep snow.
Assemble, stockpile or refresh winter supplies:
- Candles and matches
- Ice melt and deicer
- Snow shovels
- Generator fuel
For more tips, click here!