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Wilkinson Property Management

  • 09/22/2013

    Early Move Out/Breaking Your Lease

    Great information provided by the Apartment Association of North Carolina :http://www.aanconline.org/info-for-renters/faqs/


    I'm buying a house. Can I get out of my lease?

    There seems to be a common misperception that buying a home allows you to break your lease; that's not true. Unless you and the property owner agreed to some special provision when the lease was signed, you will still be responsible for any charges noted in your lease if you move out early to purchase a home. Such charges may include the remainder of the rent through the end of your lease term, less rent received from a subsequent resident.

    My company is transferring me to another city. Can I get out of my lease?

    Unless you have a transfer clause in your lease that was agreed to by all parties when the lease was signed, you'll still be responsible for any charges noted in your lease if you move early because of a job change or move. Such charges may include the remainder of the rent through the end of your lease term, less rent received from a subsequent resident. You may want to discuss this with your employer when you are negotiating the transfer.

    I don't think the property is maintained well. Can I get out of my lease?

    Maybe, but that decision will likely be made in court. If repairs are not being made to conditions that materially affect the health and safety of the ordinary resident, and you follow the appropriate notice provisions outlined in state law, you may exercise statutory remedies that can include terminating your lease. However, you must follow the notice procedures carefully. You may want to get legal advice before trying to use these provisions in the law.

    I don't feel safe at the property anymore. Can I get out of my lease?

    If a crime occurs at a property, it's unfortunate for all concerned: the victim, the other residents at the property and the dwelling owner. Most owners don't give any guarantees about the security of the property, or promise you that no crimes will occur on the property. So the owner is not likely to be in default of the lease if a crime does occur on the property. You can certainly discuss the specific situation with the owner or management to see if they are willing to accommodate your requests, or can advise you about additional precautions you should take. If you still want to move out, you can do so, but you will likely be responsible for any penalties outlined in your lease for moving out early.

  • 08/10/2013

    Section 8 and the Housing Choice Voucher Program from the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA)

    For more information about the Charlotte Housing Authority, please visit their website at http://www.cha-nc.org. The below information comes directly from http://www.cha-nc.org/page.asp?urh=HCVP and from http://www.cha-nc.org/page.asp?urh=GoSection8

    The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments. The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
    Vouchers are limited to low-income families and individuals. CHA determines eligibility based on:
    1. Annual gross income;
    2. Whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and
    3. U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.
    If a family is eligible, CHA will check references to ensure that the family will be a good tenant. The Authority will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the community's environment.
    The Charlotte Housing Authority offers two (2) types of vouchers:

    Project-Based Vouchers
    Project-Based Vouchers are a component of a public housing agency's (PHAs) housing choice voucher program. A PHA can attach up to twenty percent (20%) of its voucher assistance to specific housing units if the owner agrees to either rehabilitate or construct the units, or the owner agrees to set aside a portion of the units in an existing development.
    Please refer to the following link to find properties with CHA Project-Based Vouchers: Real Estate Properties

    Applications for Project-Based Vouchers are accepted at the properties. To review properties that are accepting applications, please click here.

    Tenant-Based Vouchers
    Tenant-Based Vouchers increase affordable housing choices for very low-income families. Families with a tenant-based voucher choose and lease safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.

    Recently, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) partnered with www.gosection8.com, which provides an enhanced program to list rental properties on line. Listings are available to potential housing choice voucher tenants (HCV) seeking apartment units, duplexes, single-family homes or townhomes in the private market. If you have any questions regarding registering, creating or viewing property listings, please contact the GoSection8 toll free help line at (866) 466-7328.

  • 06/17/2013

    EXPLANATION OF HOA GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

    Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CCRs”):

    CCRs are recorded with the Register of Deeds in the initial phase of development of a townhome
    or planned community. CCRs govern the use of the real estate. In the CCRs you will typically
    find:

    • A description of the property covered by the CCRs
    • Language establishing an HOA
    • Protocol for levying annual and special assessments for common expenses
    • A description of the common areas and amenities
    • Easements for the HOA and utility companies across common areas and lots for maintenance of common property, landscaping, drainage areas, and utilities
    • Restrictions on lot and home size
    • Architectural restrictions and provisions for the establishment of an Architectural Review Committee
    Restrictions on use, such as:
    o Building set backs
    o Limitations on fences
    o Storage of commercial vehicles, trailers, boats, RV
    o Pets (e.g., vicious or dangerous animals)
    o Keeping of livestock
    o Placement of storage sheds or outbuildings
    o Placement of signs, flags, or “yard art”
    o Restrictions on rental of homes

    In sum, the CCRs govern what an owner may, may not, or must do with respect to the real
    estate. Because they impact the use of real property, they must be recorded, and must appear in
    the “chain of title” to the property in order to be effective and enforceable against a property
    owner.

    Bylaws:

    Most HOAs are set up as non-profit corporations. Like any other corporation, an HOA needs
    bylaws to set forth how the corporation will be run. In the bylaws you typically will find:
    • Description of the various classes of membership and their voting rights (lots owned by a developer are often in a different class, with different voting rights)
    • Provisions for calling and holding annual and special meetings of the members.
    • Provisions setting forth the number, terms, and qualifications of directors
    • Powers and duties of directors
    • Provisions setting forth the number, terms and qualifications of officers
    • Powers and duties of officers.
    • Protocol for calling and holding meetings of the directors
    • Provisions for the establishment of fiscal policies (budget ratification, establishment of reserve accounts, authority to hire accountants and attorneys)
    • Indemnification provisions for the directors
    • Protocol for amending the bylaws
    • Financial provisions, such as the establishment of reserve accounts for capital projects
    Rules/Regulations

    The purpose of rules and regulations typically is to interpret, clarify, and assist in the
    administration of the CCRs. Rules/regs cannot place additional restrictions on the use of real
    estate that do not already appear in the CCRs; in other words, rules/regs cannot be any more
    restrictive than the CCRs. Sample rules/regs include:
    • Regulations on Use of Common Areas
    •  Architectural Guidelines
    • Landscaping Guidelines
    • Exterior Maintenance Guidelines
    • Parking Regulations
    • Pet Policies

  • 06/16/2013

    Tenant Security Deposits

    Tenant Security Deposits

    TEN TIPS ON TENANT SECURITY DEPOSITS

    Real Estate agents who engage in property management or who themselves own rental property often unintentionally violate the law because they are not fully aware of the requirements of the Real Estate License Law and the North Carolina Tenant Security Deposit Act. The following are ten tips to help property managers remain in compliance with the laws regarding security deposits.
    1. If the landlord chooses at the beginning of the tenancy to hold the security deposit, the tenant should be so notified. If your services are discontinued during the term of the tenancy, you must follow the owner's wishes with respect to the disposition of any security deposits held by you, including turning over the deposits to the owner upon his request. However, you should remind the owner that he must either deposit the funds in a trust or escrow account in an insured North Carolina bank or savings institution or supply a bond and notify the tenants of the location of the funds. (The owner, unlike the agent, is allowed to supply a bond. See # 2 below.) In addition, you should provide written notice to an tenants that their security deposits are being turned over to the owner.
    2. Deposit an security deposits in a trust or escrow account In an insured balm or savings institution located in the State of North Carolina. If you are acting as a property manager on behalf of another, you cannot supply a bond in lieu of placing security deposits in a trust account. You must maintain and deposit an money that you receive while acting in the capacity of a real estate broker. [See N.C.G.S. Section 93A-6(a)(12)].
    3. Within thirty (30) days after the beginning of the lease term, notify tenants of the name and address of the bank or savings institution where their deposits are located. This can be easily accomplished by simply setting forth in the lease agreement the name and address of the institution where the monk win be deposited. [See N.C.G.S. Section 42-50] 
    4. If you manage your own rental properties along with rental properties owned by others, be sure to segregate the tenant security deposits into two separate accounts— one for your own properties and one for the properties of others. Failure to do so win constitute commingling which is a violation of the Real Estate License Law. [See N.C G.S. 93A-6(a)(12)] 
    5 . Limit the amount of the security deposit to the following: Two weeks rent if the tenancy is week-to-week; one and one-half month's rent if the tenancy is month-to-month, and two months' rent for terms greater than month-to-month. If you require deposits in excess of these amounts, you win be in violation of the Tenant Security Deposit Act. [See N.C.G.S. Section 42-51]. 
    6. Maintain the security deposit in your trust or escrow account for the duration of the lease term. Security deposits cannot be spent on any expenses or losses during the tern of the lease, even if the expenses or losses are caused by the tenant . [See N. C G. S. Section 42-51 which provides that upon termination of the tenancy, security deposits can be applied to various expenses and damages incurred by the landlord or his agent].

    7. In addition to the regular security deposit, the landlord may legally require that you charge a reasonable, non-refundable fee for pets kept by the tenant on the premises. [See N.C.G S. Section 42-53]. 
    8. At the termination of the tenancy, apply the deposit only to those expenses for which you or the owner are legally entitled to be compensated. These expenses are limited to the following acts of the tenant: (1) Any nonpayment of rent; (2) damage to the premises, (3) nonfulfillment of the rental period; (4) unpaid bills which become a lien against the premises due to the tenant's occupancy; (5) costs of re-renting the premises after breach by the tenant; (6) cost of removal and storage of the tenant's property; or (7) court costs in connection with terminating the tenancy. Neither you nor the landlord may withhold as damages part of the security deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and tear nor may you retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds your actual damages. For example, if you are able to re-rent the premises to someone else, you cannot keep the entire security deposit for nonfulfillment of the rental period; you can keep only enough of the deposit to cover the days during which the premises were not rented. [See N. C. G. S. Section 42-51 and 42-52]. 
    9. You may assess a "cleanlog fee" against the deposit only In those cases where the tenant has left the premises "filthy ' thereby causing damage to the premises. Costs incurred for routine cleaning cannot be charged against the deposit because they are considered part of the normal wear and tear of the premises. [See N.C.G.S. Section 42-51 and 42-52]. 
    10. After determining the amount of any damages to which you and/or the landlord are legally entitled as set forth in paragraphs eight and nine above, apply that portion of the security deposit to the allowable expenses actually incurred, and refund the balance to the tenant along with an accounting itemizing the deductions from the deposit. All this must be done within 30 days from the termination of the tenancy. [See N. C. G. S. Section 42-52]

  • 06/16/2013

    Bed Bugs....Whose Fault is it?

    Bed Bugs? Whose fault is it? Could be landlord, could be tenant, could be vendor, could be a stranger you come in contact with!! You can get bed bugs by sitting in a seat just vacated by an infected person on a subway, park bench, taxi, or airplane. Since not all people react to bed bug bites, people often spread bed bugs without even knowing they have them.

    What does a Bed Bug Look Like?

     
    For additional information on Bed Bugs, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs/#myths
    Also see FAQ's on Bed Bugs: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs/bedbugs_qa.html

  • 06/14/2013

    CMPD New Requirement for Property Owners

    Effective January 1, 2013, all property owners that own rental property in Mecklenburg County must register with the City. This new ordinance is now in effect.

    Per CMPD: Although the owner may list a property manager as the point of contact, the owner is ultimately responsible for what occurs on or in the property. If the property violates the ordinance, the owner is responsible for the fees.

    The fee is only applied if the property falls under the ordinance for crime and disorder activity. The online registration is mandatory, but free for owners.

    The owner will need to list their contact information. He or she can list a property manager's information as a secondary contact.

    Please make sure you register within 6 months as this is mandatory. You can register and read the ordinace here:
    http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CMPD/resources/Ordinances/Pages/RentalOrdinance.aspx