Monthly Archives: October 2014

Park It

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. As it gets generally colder and wetter across the nation, unless you’re one of the tenacious few who refuses to stop biking no matter what, you’re probably going to be driving more. Even if you live somewhere where the climate mostly stays the same, you still probably drive a lot. So listen up to the Hometown Rant’s guide to parkin’ your whip.

Here in America, a car is a symbol of individual freedom, and having a place to park it is one of your rights as a member of society. This right, however, is not found in the constitution. Parking is a right guaranteed by an even higher order of document–the rental lease agreement.

Obviously, parking will depend on the type of rental property in question. Apartments or Condos may have designated spaces in a communal lot, whereas houses or other standalone properties might have a driveway and/or garage. Location also makes a big difference–downtown will be hard to find street spots, whereas out in the country you could be like this guy.

Parking is a hot commodity, so landlords and property owners should make sure to advertise it when posting properties for rent. If the property you’re trying to rent out doesn’t have included parking, maybe look into how you could work it out so your tenants have a consistent place to leave their rides.

As a renter, it’s important to look for rental properties that have the space for your vehicles, and also to be realistic about it. If you rent a place with two parking spaces and have three people with cars plus guests driving over, you’re going to constantly be searching for street parking to the point that it could put a strain on your relationships. Don’t lose friends or significant others because they park you in all the time.

If all else fails and you have to scramble for street parking, just practice parking like these guys for a while and you should never have to worry again.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

How To Halloween: An All-Hallows Guide

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. We’re approaching the end of October and with it comes everyone’s favorite costume, prank and candy-centric holiday: Halloween. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, so you can be sure it’ll be extra crazy, but luckily the Hometown Rant has you covered when it comes to all the tricks and treats.

The word Halloween is actually a contraction of All Hallow’s Eve, an early christian day of feasting and remembrance for the dead, thought to have been based on earlier Celtic harvest festivals. Modern American Halloween is more about indulging in processed sugars and celebrating your favorite brands and celebrities by dressing up like them. But it’s also about communities and trusting your neighbors to give your kids candy and not put razor blades in it. A well-celebrated Halloween is a sign of a healthy neighborhood.

So where do you fit in? Well, as a landlord or property owner, you should probably be aware of neighborhood policies regarding Halloween and trick or treating, since there are usually are some. If the property you rent out is in a neighborhood with a lot of kids, there may be a designated time for trick-or-treating, after which you’ll know the kids out are up to no good. If you have access to any of that information, you might want to send it to your tenants to let them know what’s up.

As a renter, hopefully you’re in good enough standing with your neighbors that you’ve already been given this information, if it exists, but if not don’t worry. You can still get in on the fun. We’ve conveniently posted our guide here with enough time for you to prepare your house, apartment, duplex or condo for any and all comers.

First up is your costume. You have to take some time and think about it. Do people often say you look like a particular famous person? Can you do any good accents? Take everything into consideration, and above all have fun with it. Then look at your rental property. Can you do anything to make it go with your costume? If not just buy a bunch of this stuff and string it around everywhere.

 

Next, and equally important is your candy. If you want to go all out and be loved by neighborhood children forever, get king sized candy bars only, and bask in your adoration. If you don’t want that kind of attention, at least go with some fun size, and get some chocolate and some non-chocolate for a little variety. Whatever you do though, don’t hand out these or these unless you like cleaning egg off your windows and toilet paper out of your trees.

If you’re a mean-spirited person who doesn’t want to participate at all, that’s ok. We get it, you have to work Saturday morning and you wish everyone would stop having fun. The international code for this is to not decorate, and to turn your lights off so people know not to bother you. Maybe you should dress up as the grinch next year.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We ain’t scared:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Winterization is Coming!

Hey there all you Tenants, Landlords, Property Owners and Property Managers. We’re already well into October, and it’s starting to show. The weather outside is changing, and the inconvenient truth is that there are measures you’re going to have to take if you want your House, Apartment, Condo or Duplex to stay warm and cozy even as the global climate goes totally haywire, creating a worldwide superstorm that plunges us into the next ice age. Okay, maybe not if Dennis Quaid has anything to say about it, but still, it’s getting colder.

Obviously your response to the changing climate is going to vary depending on where you live. For some of us it means snow, for some of us it means rain, and for people in Southern California it means maybe wearing a shirt with sleeves. Winterizing your rental property means something different across the country, but it’s always important. Winterization? you might find yourself saying, but it’s only fall! Well that’s true, but the point of winterization is being prepared so you don’t have to worry later, when it’s actually winter.

So what should you do? Well, as a Property Owner, Property Manager or Landlord, you should be vaguely aware of the climate in which your property exists, and therefore have an idea of the type of weather your tenants can expect in the coming months. Let your tenants know if there are things they should do, and if there is any assistance you can provide them. They might need to switch out the screens for storm windows, and they might want to make sure the heat works in the house before they really need it later. This stuff should be in the lease, but it might be helpful to contact your tenants as a reminder if there are things they need to do.

On the other hand, Tenants living in a house, apartment, condo or duplex and preparing for the changing seasons should heed any instructions passed on from a property manager or landlord. If they’re telling you to do something, it’s probably for a reason. Things like making sure the flue in the fireplace works before starting a fire will save you smoking your whole rental property out. Things like having someone come to fill up your oil tank if you have an oil-run heating system will keep you warm later.

There are optional steps you can take to further insulate your property as well, since heat retention is key for keeping heating costs down. Window covers and insulating door seals are cheap, easily removed ways to improve heat retention, especially on older houses that have less insulation built in.

Whatever it is you need to do though, the most important advice we can give is to get started on it now, while it’s still nice enough to do things outside without being miserable. That way you can be relaxing at a balmy 75 degrees in the coming months instead of huddled around a space heater with your teeth chattering. Remember. Winter is coming.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Let us know: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Garbage Day

Hey there all you Landlords, Tenants and Property Owners. This week, we’re talking about a certain special day of the week. No, it’s not Tuesday. Or maybe it is, depending on where your rental property is. Anyways, this time on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about garbage day.

Western Civilization is founded on a few key principles, and one of them is that the municipality in which you live has a system for dealing with the refuse associated with the average consumer lifestyle. In order to keep a populace olfactorily satisfied, you need to deal with all the trash.

So what does this have to do with you as a Renter, Landlord or Property Owner? Well it should be pretty obvious. As a renter, unless you’ve created some sort of perfectly sustainable mecca within your rental property you’re going to have to get rid of stuff every week. As a Landlord or Property Owner, you don’t want your tenants to fill your property with trash, so you want to make it as easy for them as possible to deal with it themselves.

Cities and Towns often charge a fee for garbage collection, usually monthly. Landlords who have the option might want to pay for this up front and add the amount to the tenant’s rent. This will create less individual bills for the tenants to worry about, reducing the chances that a bill goes unpaid and your rental property becomes a dump that you’ll have to clean up later. Whatever you decide though, make it clear in the lease who is supposed to take care of trash so there can be no confusion later on.

Renters are like it or not the people who will be dealing with the trash on a week to week basis. Gross, we know, but get over it. If you don’t like it, be cleaner. The main difficulty of waste disposal for you is going to be separating trash from recycling, and glass from that. Most cities have those categories, and some even have compost. Check out our earlier article for more on responsibly letting stuff rot in your yard.

The easiest way around the issue is to separate your trash as you throw it away, so that when it comes to garbage day you aren’t stuck digging through your own mess, or worse, left with a full can the morning after because you didn’t separate things right. Good Garbagemen and Garbagewomen don’t play–if your trash isn’t right, they won’t touch it. Get yourself a few of these guys to make your life easier, and know that you’re doing the world a favor by not letting people bury your used yogurt cups for the next hundred million years.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be a stranger:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com