Energy Tips to Reduce your Heating and Cooling Bills
We've had some cold weather lately and that means a sharp increase in your gas and/or electricity bill!
To combat this, make sure you are using proper thermostat settings. Gulf Power warns that turning your heater up and down uses more energy than leaving it at a constant temperature. If anything, increase or decrease the termperature only at night. They also recommend keeping the heat set at 68 degrees or below during winter and set at 78 degrees or above during summer.
Other items you can do to improve your energy efficiency in the winter months include:
- Open curtains on sunny days to allow sunlight and close the blinds and curtains once it's dark.
- Replace your air filter monthly! This is often overlooked in winter when units are not in use as much but should not be ignored.
- Make sure the switches on your ceiling fan are in the up position instead of the up position!
Realty Masters of FL
Here's a list of our most common lease violations!
Are you in compliance with your lease agreement?
Guests are authorized under lease for 14 days. Any guest who desires to occupy the property longer than two weeks must complete an application with our office for approval. While the occupant does not need to be added to the lease agreement as a lease holder, any occupant(s) must be approved in writing by our office
Any pets must be authorized by the property owner prior to being in your household. Aggressive breed pets are not allowed under any circumstances and can be grounds for eviction. Pets can be granted upon owners approval and with the appropriate $250 non-refundable pet fee.
Not Abiding by Homeowners Association Rules
Failing to abide by the HOA Rules and Regulations in your community can result in a fine. While the rules may seem trivial to some, a fine can be issued against the homeowner for these minor infractions including, but not limited to, leaving your trash visible, parking a boat in the driveway or parking on the road, and having a basketball goal. If the HOA gives notice of a violation of the rules and regulations, make sure to correct this issue immediately.
Failing to Give 30 Day Notice or Breaking the Lease
Failing to give proper notice to vacate under the lease agreeement or breaking your lease early can have costly cosequences. Your lease agreement states you must give a 30 day notice to vacate prior to the end of the month. Unless you are active duty military using the military clause to break your lease, notice must be given on the 1st of the month and move outs are for the last day of each month.
Trampoline and Above Ground Pools
The property owner's insurance can be cancelled because of a trampoline or above ground pool, therefore, these are not allowed under your lease agreement.
Parking on the Lawn
Parking on the lawn will kill any vegetation or grass and is not allowed.
If lawn maintenance is your responsbility in your lease, you must maintain the lawn properly. In the spring and summer months, most Florida lawns need to be mowed bi-weekly. It is also your responbility to edge, remove leaves, water the grass, and keep the lawn in the same condition you received it in. If it's too much work for you, hire a lawn guy to perform a routine service for your property.
Forgetting to Change A/C Filter every 30 Days
Failing to change your heating and air conditioning filter is cause for a 7 day notice. Repeat offenses can lead to an eviction without the opportunity to cure. If you do not change your filter timely, this can lead to a breakdown in your system. Additionally, because this is defined as neglect in your lease agreement, you can be charged back the cost of any services that result from neglect.
Removing Smoke Detectors
Under no circumstances should you remove any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to stop a chirping smoke detector. Your smoke detector must have working batteries at all time. If you have been living in your property for more than a year, be sure to check the date on the back of your detector to ensure the smoke detector is not expired.
Changing Locks and Not Providing a Key
You cannot change your locks without providing the office with a new key. This is against your lease agreement. If requests for a new key are denied, the landlord may re-key the locks to gain access to your property. If you'd like to change your locks, just let us know and provide us a key!
Not Running Exhaust Fans in Bathroom
Failing to run an exhaust fan in the bathroom can result in mildew or mold growth in your bathroom. Please use your exhaust fan when showering or taking baths. If you do not have an exhaust fan, make sure to crack a window and leave the bathroom door open to allow the steam and excess to moisture to dissipate before shutting the bathroom door.
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
Please be aware there is some serious upcoming weather headed to our area this week. Review the information we have compiled below to prepare for the heavy rains / potential flooding coming our way.
Weather Information Article
FloridaDisaster - Florida Division of Emergency Management
Florida Disaster Website
08/06/16 - Florida Gulf Coast Residents and Visitors Urged To Prepare For Heavy Rain; Potential Flooding Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials are urging residents, visitors and businesses from Tampa to Pensacola to prepare for heavy rainfall and potential flooding as the National Weather Service monitors a developing weather system along the Gulf Coast.
FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon said, "The National Weather Service expects this to be a slow moving heavy rain event which could last through Thursday. We’re urging everyone along the Gulf Coast to prepare for increased flooding potential as rainfall totals accumulate throughout the week."
Potential impacts include:
The National Weather Service forecasts a large swath of rain currently extending from the Big Bend to the Tampa area to remain through Sunday before shifting west, placing portions of the Big Bend and Panhandle under a risk for heavy rain Monday through Thursday of next week.
Locations from Tampa to Pensacola will have the potential for heavy rain and flooding.
The current National Weather Service forecast calls for 10-15 inches of rain in locations from Tampa to Pensacola through the next 5 days.
Isolated areas could receive rainfall amounts in excess of 18 inches over the next week.
Rivers and creeks near the coast could also be susceptible to flooding
Flash flooding could occur in areas that receive rain amounts in excess of 3 inches in a short period of time.
The National Weather Service has issued Flood Watches for Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties and may issue additional watches as conditions merit.
Plan for severe weather and follow these important safety tips:
Turn Around, Don’t Drown: NEVER drive through flooded roadways as road beds may be washed out under flood waters, and less than one foot of fast-moving water can move most cars off the road. If you see a flooded roadway, turn around and take another route.
Avoid areas known to flood: Flash floods can occur near streams, drainage channels, culverts and other low-lying areas with little or no warning.
Be aware of flash flooding: If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
If thunder roars, go indoors: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning and should seek shelter.
Turn on your weather radio: Ensure it is programmed for your area or stay tuned to a trusted local media outlet for the most current weather situation.
Check your emergency supply kit: Make sure all of your emergency supplies are updated and accessible.
If a tornado warning is issued: Seek shelter immediately in an interior room away from any windows.
Know Your Zone: Know where you are located, and prepare to follow all instructions from local officials.
*The Florida Division of Emergency Management is the state agency charged with preparing for all types of disasters in Florida. The Division is the state's disaster liaison with federal and local agencies, and is the lead consequence management agency for the State Emergency Response Team (SERT). The Division maintains the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee and the State Warning Point, the 24-hour communications and command center for response coordination.
Residents Encouraged to Monitor Weather
MyEscambia webpage with helpful information and details on how to be prepared.
MyEscambia - Inclement weather - Flood
The National Weather Service in Mobile is forecasting an extended period of heavy rain, with rainfalls in our area up to 15 inches, Tuesday through Saturday. At this time, the greatest threats to our area are minor to moderate flooding along area rivers, creeks and low lying areas that typically have poor drainage and possible flash flooding of roadways. Escambia County Emergency Management staff are continuing to monitor the system.
At this time Residents are encouraged to:
Monitor the weather forecast daily as conditions can change quickly.
Remember that sand and sand bags are available at local home improvement stores for purchase.
Clear your yard of any debris that might clog stormwater drains when washed to the street by rain such as leaves or limbs.
Turn off any automatic sprinkler systems and do not water your lawn until after the storm passes.
Remember heavy rain may quickly flood low-lying areas including roads and bridges. Standing water creates a serious road hazard, even when only a portion of the roadway is flooded. Most deaths from flooding in the United States are due to people driving their cars into flooded areas - “Turn around, don’t drown.”
*For the latest updates on this storm system or other issues impacting our county, sign up to receive news via email at myescambia.com by clicking the subscribe button and selecting “Emergency Updates” or follow them on their Facebook page here.
SERVPRO of Santa Rosa County
What you can do until help arrives
Water Tips - After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
Is it safe to stay in the house?
Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
What To Do After Flooding
Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
Don't use television or other household appliances.
Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
*SERVPRO of Santa Rosa County
"Like It Never Even Happened"
850-939-4700 NAVARRE, 850-932-2488 GULF BREEZE, 850-983-0091 MILTON, 850-994-0320 PACE, 850-939-5995 FAX, 850-232-5866 CELL
- What does Florida Landlord Tenant Law say about owners visiting their properties while the home is tenant occupied?
As a local landlord with or without a professional property manager, you may be required to visit your rental property regularly for inspections, maintenance, and showings. You may also just be in the area and inclined to drive by and check up on your tenants. Before you do that, make sure you know and understand your state’s landlord tenant laws.
For those Florida landlords who live close by their rental properties, here are the 2016 Florida Landlord and Tenant Statutes to consider.
“83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—
(1) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit from time to time in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply agreed services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.
(2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises. “Reasonable notice” for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit when necessary for the further purposes set forth in subsection (1) under any of the following circumstances:
(a) With the consent of the tenant;
(b) In case of emergency;
(c) When the tenant unreasonably withholds consent; or
(d) If the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments. If the rent is current and the tenant notifies the landlord of an intended absence, then the landlord may enter only with the consent of the tenant or for the protection or preservation of the premises.
(3) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access nor use it to harass the tenant.”
- Landlord's Access to the Property
The law protects both landlord and tenant and provides the landlord access to the property without violating the privacy of the tenant.
The law allows you to inspect, make repairs, and show the property “from time to time” with reasonable 12 hour advanced notice during reasonable hours even if the tenant refuses to consent. As a landlord, you can give prior reasonable notice and visit your home to routinely inspect how it’s being cared for.
- How should you notify your tenants?
Call your tenant ahead of time to notify them.
If your tenant does not answer, consent, or acknowledge receipt of your message, you should post a notice to the door outlining the time and reason for the visit.
The law does not allow the tenant to refuse entry under normal circumstances as long as reasonable notice is provided. While twelve hour notice is required under the law, best practice is to provide at least next day notice for showings, inspections, etc. If the tenant consents to earlier notice, the landlord is allowed entry under the law.
- In Case of Emergencies
The law does protect you in case of an actual emergency.
Say you own a condo and the HOA calls to yell you water is leaking from your unit. You have tried to contact your tenant and they are not responding but you have left a message. You can legally enter the property (after knocking) with a key to turn the water off. You do not have to wait for the tenant's authorization or post reasonable notice on the premises. Make sure to examine the situation and ensure it is an actual emergency prior to entering! It is always better to get the tenant's authorization prior to entering the property.
If you cannot reach your tenant and are worried about their health or safety, best practice is to call the police for a welfare check on the property. You cannot enter without adequate notice or the tenant's approval.
- Outdoors and Backyards
Keep in mind, you may be held in violation of the law if you are accessing the backyard or any outbuildings, especially if it’s a fenced backyard and/or locked, without prior notification and consent.
Exterior pool or lawn maintenance should be planned in advance or scheduled on a routine basis. Under the law, you cannot show up in the backyard without some sort of advanced notice.
There is a fine line between being proactive with your tenants and offending them and breaking the law! Confronting your tenant with anger or other elevated emotions will only worsen your situation. It’s best to keep cool if you see something you don’t like about your rental property or tenants behavior. You must keep in mind that the tenant is paying rent and you have granted possession under the law to the tenant.
- If you have an issue with your tenant, address it properly.
Provide advanced notice for inspection to the tenant to inspect the situation further. Document your issues properly with photos and a dated written report.
Discuss your issues with your tenant and give them an opportunity to cure the issues. If they don’t, you can provide them with a 7 day notice under the law to cure any lease violations.
Be sure to follow procedures under the law to ensure safety for both your tenant, your property, and yourself.
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