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Personal Information when Qualifying Applicants

Some landlords do not understand our policies in regards to releasing information on applicants when asking our owners to approve or deny marginal applicants. We want to explain this a litle better for our landlords.

As Equal Opportunity Housing Providers, our screening policies are designed so we are in compliance with the many government regulations we are required to adhere to. We are subject to several privacy laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Additionally, we believe in the principles of fair housing. Here's a few of the laws we are subject to:

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that details how consumer credit information can be collected, given out, and used.
  • The Fair Housing Act prohibits the discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you get public assistance.


Often times, we are unable to communicate details that property owners would like us to about prospective applicants, as we are not allowed to release sensitive information to you regarding applicants. Common questions we get in opposition to Fair Housing Act include "How old are they?" and "Are they married?" We cannot answer these questions or any questions along these lines.

Tenants are not allowed to wave their right to privacy under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Because of these regulations, we are unable to give you a copy of the credit report (we can't even release it to the tenant!) or relay the exact credit score.

Both the FHA and the ECOA do not allow us to deny based off the type of income received. As long as the applicant meets the criteria outlined and the source of income is stable, the source is not a factor. That's why we aren't supposed to reveal what their income is.

As you can see, it get's really tricky in determining which information we can and cannot pass on to you, the homeowner, when approving or denying tenants. If the tenants meet all of our criteria, then we will approve them. If they do not, we will come to you for conditional approval or denial. If you don't feel comfortable making a decision off the information we limited information we are allowed to pass along, please feel free to deny the applicants and wait for someone qualified. In the lower rent apartments and homes, it is sometimes necessary to accept an under qualified applicants. In these instances, we already recommend a conditional approval with a double deposit.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this information! 

07-11-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Landlords
07-11-2019
Normal Wear & Tear Versus Tenant Damage

Landlords and tenants alike have a lot of questions when it comes to what is defined as normal wear and tear versus tenant damage. Since there is not a clear cut answer to this, we rely on years of experience with Landlord Tenant attorneys and judges who set forth case law and guidelines to establish normal wear versus damage. Keep in mind, even when an item is tenant damage, the law requires items to be pro-rated to take into effect useful life and the time a tenant has remained in the property. Since this is a complex formula, we take each instance on a case by case basis; however, the following chart will help to demonstrate some basic differences between wear and tear and tenant damage when it comes to specific items in the home. 

Normal Wear & Tear                                        Versus                             Tenant Damage 

Well-worn keys and locks/knobs                               vs.        Missing keys, damaged or pried locks

Sticky keys/locks                                                       vs.        Key broken off inside lock

Worn pattern/spot in counter tops                             vs.        Burn mark on counter tops

Rusty, scratched refrigerator shelf                             vs.        Missing/cracked/broken refrigerator shelf

Discolored, worn, or scuffed flooring                         vs.        Cracked/chipped tile, tears in vinyl, burn marks,
                                                                                                gouges, scratches from pets

Carpet seam unraveling                                            vs.        Stains, pet damage, burn marks on carpeting

Cracked paint at seams                                             vs.        Holes in walls, pet damage, crayon/marker on walls

Faded, blistered, sun-damaged blinds/drapes          vs.        Torn/ pet damage, dusty/dirty blinds or drapes

Window/vertical blinds won’t close properly              vs.        Missing turn stick, missing blinds

Faded, dirty or tears on window screens                  vs.        Bent window screen

Wobbly toilet                                                              vs.        Broken toilet tank lid, cracked toilet bowl

Rust stain under bathtub spout                                  vs.        Chip or crack in tub, dirt/scum build up

Loose, inoperable faucet                                           vs.        Missing/broken faucet handle

Bathroom mirror starting to ‘de-silver’                       vs.         Mirror cracked, caked with residue, missing mirror

Mildew in shower due to lack of ventilation              vs.         Mildew due to lack of cleaning or running fan being installed or no window                                                                               ventilation fan

The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing! 
Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
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04-16-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Wear & Tear Versus Damage
06-25-2019
Landlords: 10 Year Tamper Proof Smoke Detectors

As a landlord, you have to mitigate liability by ensuring that your property meets all applicable city, county, state, and national laws. One of the biggest challenges for the do-it-yourself landlord is staying on top of all of these regulations! 

One regulation you may not be aware of is the need to have 10 year tamper proof smoke detectors in your rental property. 

In 2015, Florida Landlord Tenant Law added language that requires all battery operated smoke detectors to be replaced with 10 year tamper proof batteries. Of course, the lithium battery detectors cost more and can be up to $30 for each detector (versus under $10 for the old kind). They still sell the old 9 volt battery detector at your local home improvement store, however, be advised that this detector does not meet the threshold of Landlord Tenant Law (and likely new building codes, although I am not an expert on following those). 

The law dictates if you have to replace the detector, you must replace it with a tamper proof detector. 

Battery operated smoke detectors expire every 10 years. Check the date on the back of the detector to make sure the detector is not expired. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are not optional expenses as they are required under the law. 

The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing! 
Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
Sales Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #52B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 453-9220 www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com
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01-04-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Smoke Detectors
01-16-2019
Multi-Family Properties for Sale in Pensacola, Florida

Multi family investment properties for sale in Pensacola, Florida

I ran across this article on Bigger Pockets recently entitled "Here's Why I'll Never Sell My Multifamily Investment Properties" and thought it was really telling as to why there's always low inventory in the small to midsize multi-family sector. Most investors, especially the seasoned investors, are in the landlord game for the long haul as this gentlemen is.  The end game is passive retirement income. Sure, it ebbs and flows, and some years are better than others, but over time, the reward is worth the pay off as long as you purchased a property in good condition in a good location and have active management. 

Duplex, triplex, fourplex, and other multi-family owners tend to purchase and hold for long term making less opportunities for others to get into multi-family housing.

Looking at sales prices of duplexes and quads over the last ten years:

2007   Duplexes: 51   Average Sales Price $144,209   Quads: 38  Average Sales Price $223,275

2008   Duplexes: 17   Average Sales Price $139,712   Quads: 12  Average Sales Price $159,200

2009   Duplexes: 18   Average Sales Price $94,338    Quads: 16  Average Sales Price $149,227

2010   Duplexes: 28   Average Sales Price $53,089    Quads: 11  Average Sales Price $99,750

2011   Duplexes: 26   Average Sales Price $47,319    Quads: 12  Average Sales Price $112,650

2012  Duplexes: 30   Average Sales Price $84,715     Quads: 14  Average Sales Price $96,279

2013  Duplexes: 33   Average Sales Price $74,076     Quads: 19  Average Sales Price $96,766 

2014  Duplexes: 49   Average Sales Price $80,440     Quads: 19  Average Sales Price $88,400

2015  Duplexes: 30   Average Sales Price $76,670     Quads: 22  Average Sales Price $98,851 

2016  Duplexes: 44   Average Sales Price $107/521   Quads: 17  Average Sales Price $164,770

2017  Duplexes: 55   Average Sales Price $142,582    Quads: 18  Average Sales Price $174,851

Looking at some stats on Pensacola MLS this year, 76 multi-family properties sold YTD at an average sales price of $201,600. Currently active, there are 42 multi-family properties with an average listing price of $290,273.

We've been getting so many calls and emails from investors trying to locate income producing multi-family investments in the Northwest Florida area. We are having an increasingly hard time finding our clients investment properties that cash flow and make sense as prices and interest rates continue to increase. If you have a duplex, triplex, fourplex, or other apartment in the Pensacola area, we can find a buyer for you. Looking at the last ten years of multi-family sales, now may be a good time to sell. 

If you're interested in purchasing a small or midsize multi-family property, reach out to Pam in our office as she's always on the hunt!

Nicole St. Aubin
The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing! 
Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
Sales Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #52B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 453-9220 www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com
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09-27-2018
Nicole St. Aubin
Mulit-family
01-16-2019
Escambia County Ranked #57 out of 449 Counties as Best County to Invest in

Pensacola ranked #57 among counties to buy investment real estate

Across the country, low inventory and increasing home prices are causing rentals to be more indemand. The Pensacola Real Estate market, is definitely a Seller and a Landlord's market as of 2018. The supply of quality homes for rent is currently exceeded by the demand.

In a recent study done by attomdata.com, we see that Escambia County is 57 out of 449 best counties to invest in single family rental properties in 2018, according to the analytics. Pensacola ranked the highest among all Northwest Florida Counties. The data reports less than a 5% investment property vacancy rate and an 11.8% 2018 Annual Gross Rental Yield. 

Neighboring Santa Rosa County was ranked 299 out of 449 and Okaloosa County was ranked 219 out of 449. 

Demand for Single Family Rentals

One of the major things shown by this report, is that there is a demand for Pensacola rental property. People simply want to live is this beautiful area! From our trendy downtown areas to our upscale beachfront communities, there is something here for every person and every budget. Pensacola is still ranked as one of the most affordable markets in Pensacola. 

So what are some contributing factors to Pensacola’s booming rental market? One of the most influential factors, is the military presence in the area. The next factor would be the large growth in the north side of the county due to new jobs being created at the Navy Federal Credit Union. Additionally, we have two colleges including University of West Florida and Pensacola State College which feed the rental market. Finally, there are the renters who simply appreciate the fact that when something goes wrong, they have property management to turn to.

Investing in Pensacola Real Estate

The article points out that the people benefiting the most from the current economic condition of rental real estate, are the owners who have invested in 6 homes. With the demand for rentals on the rise, rents are increasing in the area. We are seeing low supply and high demand so we must admit that it's tough right now to purchase an income producing property. You need a good realtor to help you find, identify, and act fast on good income producing properties.  

As we are fellow real estate investors ourselves, we want to help you build income producing real estate investments. We are here to come beside new and experienced investors to streamline the process. Our sales team and property management team work together to identify viable properties to purchase and our sales team of qualified Realtors are prepared to walk you through the investment process with honest, reliable advice. 

When you are ready to rent it out, our property management team is ready and willing to assist. So if you are considering investing in the Pensacola area or in Escambia County, give our agents a call!

Click Here for the original article and more data on real estate markets around the state and country. 

The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing! 

Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
Sales Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #52B, Pensacola, FL 32503  (850) 453-9220 www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com

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04-04-2018
Nicole St. Aubin
Real Estate Investments
04-04-2018
How long will the components in your home last?

Thanks to Florida Realtors for doing the research and providing this inforgraphic to tell our homeowners how long the average components and systems in your home will last.

This information is especially important for landlords! Don't be surprised as you have to replace major components in your rental home. As your home ages, so do the components in your home. Keeping up with preventative and routine maintenance is imperative for a landlord.

Average Lifespan of home components

Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
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#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses 

03-08-2017
Nicole St. Aubin
Maintenance Tips
05-15-2019
Landlords access to property
  • 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. 

Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments
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07-14-2016
Nicole St. Aubin
Landlords
01-06-2018

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