Avoiding Holiday Hazard Insurance Claims: Tips for Property Managers and Retail Owners

By | November 19, 2015

ThanksgivingFor most folks, the holidays bring to mind good food, fun decorations, and good times spent with family and friends.

But for property managers and retail owners, the holiday season can be wrought with stress over possible insurance claims. With extra foot traffic in stores, holiday lights, and cooking turkeys, there’s always a possibility that an accident will occur that will ruin the holiday spirit.

Here are some tips to prepare for the season by making safety a priority:

Property Managers:

Cooking Safety

Cooking is one of the biggest causes of fires at home. So taking extra precautions while cooking that turkey dinner for Christmas or Thanksgiving is a must for your tenants. Making sure your tenants have information on cooking safety is one way to help prevent a potential problem. You can download a list here from the U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

Household Fire Hazards

Cooking isn’t the only way a fire can start. An unclean fireplace can lead to a buildup which will cause a fire.  Likewise space heaters or candles unattended while they are in use can cause a fire. You might be unaware that a live Christmas Tree can also be flammable if it goes dry. If tenants are using Christmas lights, remind them to make sure they don’t overload circuits and to check for faulty wiring.

Retail Owners:

Holiday Help

New or seasonal hires can bring an increased risk when it comes to frequency of injuries. Employee injuries can be significant enough to require a new hire to miss work, leaving retailers short-handed at a time when they need all hands on deck. Training all employees about workplace safety from day one is key.  Make sure new hires are familiar with their surroundings and responsibilities, as well as proper lifting techniques and ladder safety. Even employees with previous experience will be unfamiliar with new surroundings.

Holiday Decorations

Choose your decorations wisely by avoiding things like paper, decorated trees, and wreaths which could increase the fire load in an area. Also makes sure to keep decorations away from heat or other ignition sources. Using extension cords properly by ensuring you are not stringing multiple chains together, and avoiding trip and fall hazards is key. Choose smart locations for holiday displays and products, making sure you are not covering up emergency exit signs, over-crowding aisle ways, or any place that would make it difficult to get out in an emergency situation.

What safety precautions do you take around the Holiday season? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Prepping for Black Friday: 4 Things Retail Property Owners Need to Know

By | November 12, 2015

It’s the day that makes retailers rejoice (or tremble with fear) – Black Friday.

And while it’s no surprise that the official kickoff to the Holiday shopping season is expected to begin as early as Thanksgiving Day, some of the usual fanfare that is often associated with the day may be changing with the times.

Here are some anticipated trends to prepare retailers for the 2015 shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation:

1. Holiday shoppers aren’t just buying gifts for others

The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest survey shows holiday shoppers are planning to spend an average $463 on family members (which is up from $458 in 2014 and the highest in survey history). Meanwhile, the average amount spent per shopper is expected to reach $805, with more than half of shoppers planning to buy items for themselves.

 2. More shopping on devices thanks to earlier discounts

According to the NRF, American shoppers plan to do almost half of their blackfridayholiday shopping online this year, with one in five of those using their smartphones to purchase their holiday gifts – the highest since NRF first tracked smartphone shopping trends in 2011.

Also, NRF surveys show that early online promotions before the big Black Friday weekend may contribute to smaller crowds in the stores. According to the NRF survey, the average person who shopped over the weekend in 2014 spent $159.55 online, approximately 41.9 percent of their total average budget, down 10.2 percent from $177.67 the previous year.

3. Improving economy

Consumer confidence saw a slight rebound in 2015, and with gasoline prices continuing to decline, consumers added several billion to their wallets over the past several months. According to the NRF, shoppers today are still seeking value, but in different way – they are willing to pay more for an item if it comes with free shipping, or are more willing to spend some extra dollars if it means they can avoid the Thanksgiving/Black Friday rush.

 4. Savvy shoppers will wait until the last minute

The cat is out of the bag – most shoppers know that the best deals are not always the ones offered on Black Friday. While they can purchase something today, many might be inclined to wait because they know there are more deals and discounts coming in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. According to the NRF, shoppers have a few more dollars in their wallets, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be smart about how and when they spend.

All in all, the outlook for sales for this holiday season looks promising, but the NRF says it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Are you a retail property owner? How is your store planning for the Holiday shopping season? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Property Managers and Politics: How Landlords Could Play a Role in Voter Registration

By | November 2, 2015

Election season is upon us (in case you haven’t already noticed the barrage of commercials and front yard signs) and while most folks don’t think of their property manager as having a roll in the political process, an idea proposed by a Minneapolis City Council Member might change that.

Council member Jacob Frey proposed a strategy in effort to get more renters voting on Election Day: his plan would require landlords to provide voter registration information each time they rent to a new tenant.

“Between the ages of 19 and 25, you’re moving practically every year sometimes,” Frey told the Minneapolis StarTribune in an interview. “Even the most civically engaged vote2people can easily forget to register.”

Frey is looking to target folks who move often, making it difficult to keep their voter registration information up to date.

The concept behind providing voter registration information to renters is to make voting easier for students, a group which Frey believes could hold a great deal of political power in Minneapolis, if their voter turnout increases.

While the plan is still being formalized, according to Frey’s website the voter registration ordinance received unanimous support from the council committee in September and if passed by the full council, starting in March 2016 every tenant will receive voter registration info/forms whenever they move in to a new place.

“Like a mint on your hotel room pillow, new tenants will be greeted with the opportunity to participate in our democracy,” said Frey.

Are you a property owner? Would you consider handing out voter registration information to your tenants? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Real Halloween Horror: Scary Tenant Stories

By | October 29, 2015

Anyone who has been a landlord probably has them – stories of ‘nightmare’ tenants so ridiculous that probably only other landlords would actually believe them.

Just in time for Halloween, here are some of the ‘scariest’ stories from landlords across the U.S.


Courtesy of tenanthorrorstories.com:

The Animal Hoarders

“I rented to a veterinarian who had her boyfriend move in. The two of them started collecting animals. I had agreed to an outside dog only, but now they had four horses, six dogs, and I couldn’t count how many cats! They had fenced in the backyard and put the horses in the yard, right up to the back door, and had the basement full of animals and couldn’t possibly clean up after them. Then she left this guy. He stayed, and the contract was only in her name. We couldn’t get this guy out of our home.”

The Thief

“I had three rental properties. Worst case was a very rich guy, family lots of $, lots of $! He had utilities cut off, so he tapped into my property’s electrical lines with an extension cord and ran four heaters off it for a month, until it burned through on the new hardwood floor. Then he stripped wallpaper and moldings and sold them at a wood-supply business. He tried to take fixtures but was surprised by another tenant, who called me. He skipped. Family is still very big $ and supports him, I have been told, but they won’t pay any back rent or damage costs.  I was out $3,700 for him — the cost of his mountain bike, he told me once.”

The Squatters        

“We fell for a sob story from a prospective tenant, and we got burned. Her husband worked late hours, and she asked if she could take an application with her, (and) along with that could she take the key so they could come by when he got off work at midnight so she could show him the house. She loved the place; they were going to fill out the application and drop it off to us the next day along with a deposit to hold the property until the credit checks came in. We got a strange call from her a few days later, and on a hunch, my husband and I went by the house. Oh, yes, they were moved in all right; everything was unpacked hanging on the wall, and a cat running around. We had squatters. After the cops were called and the eviction process was started, they had the nerve to ask us if they could start over if they gave us the deposit then.”

The Drug Dealer

“I had rented to a mother and two boys (ages 3 and 7) who were supplied to me by the Department of Social Services. They were on a plan (two-year max) to help down-and-out single moms/dads get on their feet. I thought this was a good plan. Then the constant traffic started coming to the house apartment: 10 p.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. The smell from the apartment was horrible, and I eventually found out she was making and selling crack cocaine from my apartment.”

Courtesy of reddit.com:

Swimming Pools and Chickens

“Buddy of mine owned a 3 story house. Got a call from the 2nd floor tenants that water was coming though his roof. He went to the 3rd floor and when the tenants opened the door he could see one of those blow up swimming pools in the living room. Not the little ones mind you but one of the big 24 inch deep ones. As if this wasn’t shocking enough, the tenant had also removed all the kitchen cabinet doors and replaced them with chicken wire and had a dozen chickens living in them.”

Glitter Princess

“My landlords told me that they used to allow tenants to paint the walls but no longer did. This restriction can all be blamed on one girl who decided she wanted to paint the entire room (walls and ceiling) in dark midnight blue and then, while the paint was still wet, throw handfuls of glitter in it. My landlady said it was the biggest pain in the neck to get rid of because if you tried to paint over, the glitter would still show through. They had to scrape every surface. Now the whole house is the plainest of plain taupes.”

Do you have any tenant horror stories to share? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

So Long, Farewell…

By | October 21, 2015

We’ve had a blast at the 2015 IUC, but unfortunately we’ve reached the last day of the event! Attendees will have one more day to visit the Solutions Room, speak with an MRI expert about Version X or our other award-winning property management software, or schedule a private demo. Additionally, the final education sessions will wrap up this afternoon (make sure to attend the morning General Session to learn where IUC 2016 will be held!).vegasthanksyoushutterstock_42592978 We hope you learned a lot over the past few days and feel equipped to break through your property management chaos when you get back home. We cannot thank you enough for experiencing Las Vegas with us at the IUC.


Bon voyage from Las Vegas, Nevada!

Page 1 of 961234...1020...Last »