Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Liquor sales in Hayesville

In this sleepy little town of Hayeville, N.C. an amazing thing has happened. Today was the election on whether to have 4 things happen. They were all related to liquor sales. Liquor by the drink, malt sales, ABC stores and wines sales. 

Clay county has a population of 10,000 people with supposedly 8659 registered voters. This number is very suspect but on with the story.  Several months ago a group of concerned citizens got together and said “We need to keep tax dollars in Clay County”. They decided to get a petition going that would put liquor sales on the ballot. They would need 35% of the registered voters to sign the petition to get it on the ballot. They needed 35% of 8659 registered voters which is approximately 2900 people. Volunteers set out to get those signatures. They had a plan and they had a goal. They needed so many signatures each week. They worked hard and got the signatures with 20 to spare.

Now was the time for the people to be heard.

 Did this tiny little town nestled in the Tusquittee Mountain range need or want change to happen? 

Tonight the results came. There were 4613 ballots cast out of 8659 registered voters. The number of registered voters has been very suspect but what really matters is that 4613 ballots were cast.  In all 4 categories the vote was approximately  

60% voted FOR Liquor sales in all 4 categories

40% voted AGAINST Liquor sales in all 4 categories

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tenants are gone

We no longer have the tenants. Someone came in the night. So sad. They left one egg but I really don't believe that it will hatch. Nature can be hard to deal with just as people can be difficult. Understanding is needed in both cases. Tomorrow will be another day and hopefully someone else will come live in the the nest.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tenant will fly away

WE Have a new tenant living just outside our office. They moved in about 7 days ago. They have no lease and will probably fly away . We are so excited to have them here. They are so nice and are truly a blessing to our office.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What happens to the security deposit when a tenant moves out. Depending on the state laws and the lease agreement, but in general the tenant will receive their entire deposit back minus any repairs for damage. In the state of Georgia, once the tenant has vacated the property and turned in the keys, the landlord has 3 business days to inspect the property and notify the tenant if there are any repairs to be done which were caused by the tenant or their guests.
This is where things can become complicated. The tenant had lived in the house for 4 years. He had taken good care of the home. His teenage daughter has spilled something on the floor in a bathroom and admits that even though he had it professional cleaned, he would be responsible for replacing/repairing the tile. 
After inspecting the house, we found that the tile indeed would need to be replaced. There was additional minor damage that would be considered  "Normal wear and tear. Now the owner is expecting to take most of the tenant's security deposit to handle all the repairs. We are now in the middle of a situation that both parties are not happy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This just came into my email account and I just had to pass it along.

I threw out a mother years ago as she was left in a garage and in my opinion (not knowing momma was in there) all the items appeared to be trash.  The tenant sued me for throwing mother out, as well as some other junk (which he admitted was junk).  I felt bad that momma got spread at the dump but the judge did dismiss the case as I could not have possibly know she was in there and she was not actually thrown out until 7 days later as it was a low priority make ready and the tenant didn’t call during those 7 days get access for the junk or momma.  Sometimes tenants can really give you a curve ball. 
Being a member of NARPM(National Association of Residential Property Managers) gives me an opportunity to learn from my peers. We have what is called a list serve where we email each other and ask questions. We try to respond to situations that we may have dealt with in the past. One that was interesting to me was when a tenant moves out and leaves food in the refrigerator but has the electric turned off, how do you get the smell out of the refrigerator. There were many different answers. Everything from Baking soda, coal & Clorox. 

This was the latest.

In the “I thought I’d heard it all” department:


We got a call this morning from a tenant who stayed for a month in one of our vacation rental properties.  She is looking for her mother and thinks she may have left “Mother” at the rental property.  Turns out mother died and was cremated during the daughter’s visit to the Monterey Peninsula, and the daughter had her ashes in a box, which, upon returning home,  she cannot locate. 


Sure hope the housekeepers didn’t throw anything away . . . there is now a new tenant in the property .

Responses from her problem.

look in the trunk of the car....... that is where a friend of mine found her husband.

Evict the new tenant for too many occupants and charge the old tenant for improper cleaning for not cleaning the ashes

We try to have a laugh now and then just to make sure we are still sane.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer is definitely the time for crazy people. It must be the heat. Here are the things that I dealt with yesterday. 
1. Owner calls and says that tenant has moved out of Unit F and did I know that.
2. An owner who I terminated the management agreement wanted to know what happened to his couch and chair. The tenant has moved out and had taken the couch and chair which had been given to them by the owner and now the owner wants to be an Indian Giver.
3. Tenant had to move out of a house temporarily until repairs were made. She did not think she should have to pay rent or electricity at the temporary house.
4. Tenant calls and says she doesn't want to live with her live in boy friend any more and wants to get out of the lease. How does she do it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The crazy's are still out there. It seems like the month of June is for Crazy people. This morning I went to a hearing to have an existing tenant evicted. One of them falsified their  rental application and the other one was arrested for stealing prescription drugs from the next door neighbor. They wanted 3 weeks to move out!! Do you think that they would have paid the rent during that time? The judge gave them 9 days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The crazy people are out!! Watch out. I had an appointment with Carolyn Phillips at 1 pm today. She was interested in renting something in August,September and October. There was a possibility she wanted to rent longer and wanted to discuss with me her options. She got to the office 5 minutes early. Andi, my assistant greeted her and told her that it would be just a few minutes before I could see her. She said that if I did not come out right now then just forget it. She left!!

If she comes to your office would you mind telling her that I was in the bathroom and I am sorry that I could not finish fast enough to suit her!!
Your Professional Landlord

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vacation- Vacation Rentals that are doing well are the ones that have reduced their rates to bargain basement prices. Everyone wants a bargain. They are expecting the Tah Majal for Motel 6 prices. This is a difficult time for owners and property managers. Trying to decide what rate will bring people to the table without giving away the farm in the process.As always, the lake front properties are the most popular but there are still people looking for nice clean homes.
Cleaning has been our biggest problem. There is now a solution. For the past 6 years we have struggled with cleaning. We would pay someone way too much and still not get a clean house. Lynda does not like to go clean up after the maid!! We hired several and gave them a GUARANTEED  Salary each week. That did not work. We paid for cards to be left at the homes, hoping that if the maid did a good job they would get a tip. The tip part worked but the maids didn’t work!! One of the problems is, “What is your perception of clean.”
Now we have gotten a little creative. We are thinking outside the box. We now have Adwoa(pronounced Ad Jew Wa) from Ghana. She is absolutely delightful. She will be cleaning our vacation rentals and also homes that have not been cleaned properly by departing long term tenants. She just arrived on June 2 at 11:15pm at the Atlanta airport. Lynda was not doing her best on June 3rd. They did not get back to Hayesville until 2:30am.
Long Term  We are leasing properties which is the good news.  The bad news for us and several owners is this past month has been extremely difficult. We are having owners going into foreclosure and some have been nice enough to let us know. Others are not so willing to keep us informed. Some are saying that they knew nothing about the foreclosure and others are just walking away and leaving us holding the bag. We feel very strongly that no matter what we still have a “Fiduciary” responsibility to the owner even if they leave us holding the bag.  So when banks  tell us we must do certain things and then refuse to give us any kind of documentation we are not very nice. We represent the owner until we have documentation that tells us otherwise!!!! Bankers are being overworked and are cutting too many corners. So this is what we do to earn our fees plus a lot more.
There is a full moon right now and we believe it has been a full moon for the past month!. We have gone to court with a commercial tenant in Murphy who says the only reason that he has not paid his rent is because “Lynda is mean”. We got the judgement!The magistrate had a hard time holding back his laughter. Also this month we began proceeding on a tenant who had been going to lots and lots of doctors and getting lots and lots of pills. You can see where this is heading. Police were called when this tenant decided to go into the neighbors house and steal her pills. What a life!! Someone has to take care of these properties and Mountain Manager is determined and dedicated to doing so.
You can sleep at night knowing that we are here as “Your Professional Landlord”

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Property Management has its ups and downs. Right now is a very trying time with foreclosures and bankruptcies. We have changed how we approve tenants. Never before would we allow someone with a bankruptcy to rent one of our properties. Now it is common place. There are so many bankruptcies and foreclosures that you have no other choice. Most of these people are good people and have no other choice. It is a very sad time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The petition for Clay County has been certified. They have 27 additional signatures. This means that there will be a special election in September. On the ballot will be do you want alcohol sales in Clay County!!

This was in the Associated Press: Buried in a housing law signed last week by President Barack Obama are protections that will help thousands of renters stay in their homes — at least for a while — after their landlords have been foreclosed on.

The law allows tenants to remain in their foreclosed rentals through the end of their leases and then 90 days after that before being forced to vacate by lenders. Renters without leases will have 90 days, a big improvement over what most received before: almost no notice at all.

“Until this law was enacted, there had been no national protections for any of these households,” said Linda Couch, deputy director at the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This gives renters time to adjust their lives.”

This is an excellent law. I have already had to deal with this and it is such a problem for tenants.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Liquor sales in Hayesville

For the past couple of months there has been a lot of activity in Hayesville. There are petition going around to have liquor sales in Hayesville. They need approximately 2900 people to sign the petition in order to have this issue put on the ballot to vote. There has been much controversy over this issue. The "Church group" thinks that liquor is bad and should not be allowed in the county. The other side feels that Clay County needs these additional dollars coming to the county instead of going to Towns County and Cherokee County. The petition now has approximately 2500 signed and confirmed signatures. The deadline for  having the 2900 signatures is June 1 if they do not have all the signatures they will have to start over again.
This has been a very interesting event to watch. I personally hope it passes. Clay County needs the additional income as many counties do in this difficult times.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What a month!!! Banks are going crazy and not being very nice. Everyone is in the defensive mood. My company is in a rural area and has not been effected with the quantity of  foreclosures like in major cities. Most of the foreclosures have been on homes that are spec home s and have no one living in the houses. 
In the past few weeks I have dealt with 3 different banks and they all have an attitude.  The latest one called me and said they want me to begin paying them the rent on an apartment complex. I asked if they had foreclosed on the property and they said no but they have the right to collect the rents because the owner had signed a deed of trust securing future advances. I asked for the  documentation and this arrogant banker said, "You don't need documentation. Just send the rent". Not a very nice way to deal with people, is it?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who would you think would be responsible for replacing/repairing the locks on this house? Here is the situation. Tenant comes home and all the doors have been vandalized and she can not get into the house. She calls us to come fix the locks so she can get inside. She then called the police to report the crime. 

Here is the answer. Since she filed a police report, the owner was responsible for the damage. If she had not filed a report then she would be responsible.

Later on she told me that her ex husband had admitted to doing it but there was no way to prove it since it was her word against his. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Question: What do I do if a  neighbor's tree is hanging over in my yard and it is damaging my car.

The owner of the tree is NOT required to trim his tree off of the neighbor’s yard. You cannot prevent them from trimming it. You are allowed to trim or cut the neighbors tree up to your property line, provided it does not cause irreparable long term harm to the tree. They are NOT allowed to come on your property to conduct the work unless they have an easement. The power company has an easement and can enter your property to trim trees, but the easement is their property, sort of. The power company will usually inform you that they are entering your property, but they are not asking your permission. In addition, you must use know safe trimming practices to prevent further damage to the tree. For example, if your cutting killed the tree you might have a liability issue. Unsightliness is not the issue, only death of the tree. If your tree is hanging on some one else’s property, you are not required to trim it off their property. That was just the way the tree grew. You cannot prevent them from trimming it off of their property.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Update on the rental market in the mountains

Long term rentals- They are picking up and something surprising is that we are renting $1000 a month and $325 a month units. The units in the middle are having a hard time right now. For the first time owners are reduce the rent on an existing tenant in order to keep the tenant in the unit. Tenants are shopping and negotiating lower rents. Please keep this in mind as leases are expiring on your properties. In March we rented 5 properties and just in the 7 days of April we have leased 2 houses and have 4 more applications that will probably become new tenants.

Vacation Rentals-Here is a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about vacation rentals all over the country. This definitely applies to our area. If you can not pull this up then go to and then do a search for 2009/03/20 second-home owners-everyone into the rental pool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Foreclosures are now becoming a problem in the Mountains. Tenants have no rights once a home has been foreclosed. Some banks are being cooperative but not all. Today I had a phone call from a locksmith who wanted to add a lock to a property I handle. I ask why and he said that the bank wanted access to the property. I told him that the property had not been foreclosed so the bank did not own the property and had no right to change the locks. His boss called later and tried to get me to allow the lock change. I still represent the owner and have a fiduciary responsibility to protect his interests. I told the boss NO!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Question:  If the owner/landlord loses the home I rent to foreclosure, what happens to my lease?

Your Professional Landlord's Answer: Unfortunately your lease is no longer valid. The bank now owns the property. In this day and time, the banks are trying to work with the tenants and allow them to stay in the home.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Question: An owner calls up and says, "I want to put a storage building on the rental house that you handle for me. Please tell the tenant that I will be doing this."

Your Professional Landlord's answer. I will be more than happy to contact the tenant and make sure this is ok with them. Remember they have  leased the property and have all rights to it. They will need to give you permission to do this.
Question-Tenant wants to pay 1 year in advance on the rent and get a discount for doing this. Can you do it?

Your Professional Landlord's answer. You can but probably will not want to do this. You are at extreme risk by doing so. First it is harder to get the tenant out if there is a problem. Second, you do not want to pay the owner because if there is a problem and you have to refund the money then you have to go back to the owner who may or may not be willing to give you the money back or worse the owner is in foreclosure.

Question- House is leased and the owner of the home goes into foreclosure. Is tenant's lease still valid?

Your Professional Landlord's answer. No. The tenant has no rights and the lease is not valid.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who would have thought that commuting to work in this beautiful mountains would be so difficult. I moved to the mountains 15 years ago and learned very quickly that it would take at least a year for me to become “Countryfied”. I was still “Cityfied” and I had to learn how to slow down and not let that road rage come into play in the country. One of the first things that I learned was that you don’t honk your horn at other people in cars. They will make that left turn even if they don’t have their bleaker on to show they are turning. They may be driving slower than you would like but you will just have to have a little patience.

 It is hard for “Cityfied” people to understand what it is like to deal with the problems of commuting in the country. Last week I was on my way into work, I had an appointment in 20 minutes and all of a sudden, on Hwy 175, there were 7 deer crossing the road. I stopped. They watched me. I watched them. Other cars stopped and they watched. What a magnificent sight. No where else could you enjoy such a sight. We all waited for them to cross the road and our appointments would just have to wait!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hiawassee/Hayesville Vacation rental market

Property management companies are hurting also in these trying times.
Those of you that are licensed in North Carolina get the North Carolina Real Estate Commission newsletter. When you go to the back section to see the list of "Bad guys in Real Estate"  you may not have noticed that of the 45 violations Property Management had 16 and all others were 29. Most of the violations were related to trust account discrepancy. 

When you look at the way things are now it makes sense but 1 year ago you did not see it coming. I know that I did not see it coming. In large metropolitan areas the rental market is going crazy. In small rural areas where there is no industry and there are NO jobs, it is a totally different situation. 

We do have good news here. Snap On in Murphy is hiring 50 new employees. Young Harris College is hiring Professors and some want to rent before they buy so they come to us.

Mark your calendars for April 18th. Mountain Manager & Associates will be having a seminar for "Investors/Landlords". We will have various speakers that will discuss everything from 
Your legal nightmare-Mold to How to Screen a Tenant.

I must share an amusing story about Lou Anne Reagle, one of our property managers. While Lou Anne was out showing property recently she came in contact with a local who wanted to rent one of our homes. He said that he had chickens and he hoped he could bring them with him.  Lou Anne (still somewhat “City-fied”) said she would have to check with the homeowner's association and see if it was acceptable. He (definitely “Country-fied”) then said, "All I really care about is coming home after work, have a beer and then go outside and fluff my chickens". Lou Anne spent the next couple days talking to local farmers asking them what “fluffing” their chickens was and thinking this was a local slang. As it turned out, he didn’t rent from us.  Our lease has a no “Chicken Fluffing” clause. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hiawassee/Hayesville Vacation rental market

For the past several years the vacation rental market has been tight in Hiawassee, Georgia and Hayesville, N.C. Several factors are involved. First the over supply of vacation rentals from the baby boomers coming to the mountains purchasing cabins and homes to rent. They expect the rental market to be 6-9 months just like Florida rentals. That is not the case. Secondly, the lack of rain in 2007 did not help either. Lake Chatuge was down so far that some homes on the lake did not have enough water for a boat to go into the dock. Guests were not happy. Third the economy has drastically effected people coming to the mountains. Gas prices have not helped either.
The good news is that 2009 the lake is at a good level, gas prices are reasonable and we have some great homes to rent for the summer. Here is a list of the  Chatuge-lake levels
4/05 1921
4/06 1923
4/07 1919
4/08 1921