Did you know Missouri City has a Rental Registration program?

by jay.raman@ashokalion.com 25, May 2011 14:35

In our continuing series to educate landlords and investors about rental registration, we now turn our property management team's focus to Missouri City.  Missouri City is a great area to live as noted by CNN/Money Magazine rating it the "5th Safest Place in Texas".  In addition, it is easily acessible to major freeways that connect it to job centers like the Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston. 

Other accolades for Missouri City (obtained from the Missouri City website) include:

  • July 2010: Missouri City was recognized as #21  on the list of best places to live. 
  • December 2010: Missouri City was recognized by Avid Golfer as #1 of Best Overall Value under $40 for public courses

Living in a vibrant, caring community like Missouri City places a burden on investors to insure that their renters also have this same care and pride. Missouri City has instituted rental registration policies. Missouri City requests that property owners who have rental property display their permits on the inside door of the cabinet under the kitchen sink. If there is no door under the kitchen sink, then a landlord can place it on the inside of another cabinet door.

In Missouri City, if your property is not registered then the tenants can have difficulty turning on utilities; then the landlord or property management company will get a angry call requesting assistance to get this rental registration completed. Therefore, it is advisable to handle these matters prior to renting the property to a tennat. Ashoka Lion will assist landlords in getting this form to the appropriate city department by either paying with credit card (being reimbursed by the client) or mailing in the payment on behalf of the landlord.

Ashoka Lion provides property management services for landlords and real estate investors in the Houston metropolitan area including Missouri City. Contact our property management firm so one of our property managers can begin transitioning your property to the Ashoka Lion team.

Check out this cool video of a arial view of Missouri City, Texas.




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Know The Sugar Land Rental Licensing Requirements

by jay.raman@ashokalion.com 12, May 2011 05:13

Many agents and homeowners are considering in this real estate environment renting their homes. However, many people do not know that in Sugar Land has rental licensing requirements. In the City of Sugar Land, you must be register your rental property (either online or by mai), and pay a $80 fee.  When landlords or our property management firm register your property, you will then be required to setup a inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. If real estate owners are cited by the City of Sugar Land for some violation of their codes for maintenance, sanitation, or safety; then the landlord must remediate these issues in a timely manner.

Now, many landlords maybe wondering what is the big deal if they do not register. Landlords can be fined upto $500 a day for failure to obtain a license and water service can be denied. Imagine if the landlord does not do this registration process in a timely manner, then new tenants maybe denied water service till the landlord has paid the fines and application fees. Tenants maybe issued a temporary water service permit that is good for 30 days, but it is on the landlord (or his property management representative) to coordinate this matter to insure that the inspections are done in a timely manner. This can add a lot of unnecessary tension and headaches to your life as a landlord.

What does this mean for landlords? You must make sure that you have the time to take care of this registration in a timely manner and coordinate the inspection. If items are cited in a inspection, then you must be able to remediate those in a timely manner. This is important to do before you accept a tenant or you maybe at risk of not having the tenant have any water service.

Sugar Land is a great place to live and a lot of want to live there. To insure that you keep your tenants happy and being long term tenants landlords should be aware of the obligations that come with being a landlord in Sugar Land. The Ashoka Lion team is happy to work with our clients to handle this process on their behalf, so please contact us if you need our help with managing your property in the Sugar Land area.

Check out this great show put on New Year's Eve 2009 at Sugar Land City Hall. Enjoy!





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Fort Bend Landlord Sued For Failure to Maintain AC

by jay.raman@ashokalion.com 25, April 2011 16:28

A Fort Bend area landlord was named in a lawsuit that alleges his failure to maintain a air conditioning system lead to a disabled man's death in the Third Ward area.  His estate is alleging that the disabled man was hospitalized and eventually died to the heat and humidity in the home due to the broken air conditioning unit. This case brings up several issues that should be addressed:

1) Did his lease require written notice? If so, did the tenant provide the landlord or his property management company this notice?  This is why we tell our Houston and Dallas area tenants if they cannot provide certified mailed letters for the notice that they can provide notice by fax or online through their tenant portal.

2) Did he have a unpaid balance at the time of the written request being submitted? The Texas property codes allows for landlords to not be required to make property repairs if the tenant was not current on their rent.  This is why we provide tenants a portal to check their balances and make their repair request.  

3) Did the owner carry liability insurance coverage? Liability coverage can assist when the owner is found negligent for harm caused by property conditions.  Ashoka Lion recommends that our Houston and Dallas property management clients carry $1,000,000 of coverage, but at minimum max out your coverage (usually in a homeowners policy, $500,000 without any special underwriting required). Additionally, you can obtain a umbrella liability coverage to cover any amounts that are not covered in your primary insurance coverage. If you are not comfortable with determining your needs, you can contact a insurance professional to walk you through this process. Ashoka Lion requires all owners to name the property management company a additional insured on the policy to insure appropriate defense in suits like this.

However, the problem is that this landlord will have to incur cost and time loss due to these kinds of legal actions.   This requires a clear documentation of all actions and communications for homeowner and their property management company. This is why Ashoka Lion  works to transcribes our  notes to histories for our owners, tenants, properties, and vendors. Our goal is to archive all documentation and actions taken to mitigate claims of negligence on behalf of the property management company and the Houston and Dallas property owners that our property management company represents. You cannot prevent someone from suing you, but it is prudent for landlords and their property management companies to take appropriate risk mitigation techniques to reduce impact of charges such as these.