How to Protect the Personal Data of Tenants

How to Protect the Personal Data of Tenants

As a landlord, you will access lots of personal and confidential information about your and prospective tenants. Highly sensitive information such as photo IDs, social security numbers, bank account numbers, and background checks will be available to you. One of your duties as a landlord is to ensure that this private information is kept secure and out of the reach of prying eyes and criminals. 

Protecting tenants’ private information involves physical and digital safeguards. Increasingly, most transactions and documents are in a digital medium, but that does not mean you can skimp on physical security measures. 

Intelligent doorbells and smart locks are high-tech ways to secure access to your office. Smart locks can alert you on your phone if someone tampers with your lock, while intelligent doorbells alert you if someone rings the doorbell. The mere presence of security cameras inside and outside the office will deter thieves. For even more security, consider getting a 24-hour monitoring service through a company. 

If you accept checks and money orders for payments, consider getting a lock box on your office door with a letter slot on the outside. This will let tenants drop off checks while preventing a would-be thief from simply prying a drop box from a wall.

Physical records such as leases, security deposits, and bank account numbers can be kept in a safe for maximum security. There is also an option of securing sensitive files and information in a safety deposit box at a bank or other off-site location. You should also shred any unnecessary files containing personal information that you no longer need. If you handle lots of paperwork, you can outsource the shredding to a document shredding company that will pick up and shred the files for you. 

Steps to take for digital security include securing your internet connection. Make sure the Wi-fi you use is password protected, and consider using a VPN for maximum privacy and security. Two-step authentication when accessing emails and software programs is a great way to prevent unauthorized access to your tenants’ data. Even if a password is stolen, the two-factor authentication system will prevent the thief from being able to access sensitive information. 

Accepting payment via a credit card may sound appealing and convenient, but it poses a security risk. It is best to accept payments through encrypted networks like PayPal and direct bank transfers if you can. 

Your work computers, laptops, and smartphones will likely store a plethora of tenant data. If they get stolen, that could mean trouble for you and your tenants. Consider installing a software program such as Absolute that will let you track the location, block access, and delete the contents of any stolen computers remotely.

How Property Managers Can Get More Out of Their Taxes

How Property Managers Can Get More Out of Their Taxes

Filing your income taxes as a rental property owner is a little different from filing as an individual. You essentially own a small business, and your taxes will be higher for that reason. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can reduce what you’ll have to pay to the IRS.

Start With Deductions for Property Repairs

You can start to get more out of your taxes by remembering to deduct your repair costs. If you have paid out more than $600 in a 12-month period for professional repair services, you can deduct those expenses on your income tax form. Be sure to keep receipts in case you’re asked to verify your repair expenses.

Don’t Forget Your Home Office

It pays off to use a room in your own home to manage your rental property. As long as you use this room solely for this purpose, you can deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage as a business expense. Be sure your home office is not used for recreation or other purposes, or you may be disqualified from using this deduction.

Add More Revenue Sources

You can increase your income potential by adding amenities and services to your rental property. Consider investing in coin-operated laundry machines, snack and beverage vending machines, and other money-making opportunities. You can also offer services, such as landscaping services, to your tenants. Charge a few dollars over the fee charged by the landscaping service to help you make these services more profitable for you.

Use Schedule-C to Your Advantage

When you file a schedule-C form for your taxes, you can make even more deductions. Under this tax filing method, you can deduct expenses associated with any tasks you perform in the management of your property. For example, you can deduct the gas and mileage used to deposit rental income or to drive to your rental property. You’re also allowed deductions for time spent hanging rental vacancy signs, buying supplies for the property, and performing similar tasks.

If you’re unsure about the deductions and incentives that are available to you, talk to an accountant or tax attorney. A professional can help you prepare your taxes correctly. Additionally, they may know of new tax breaks that are available to you since they will keep up with how tax laws change from year to year.

The Importance of Home Inspections

The Importance of Home Inspections

When you take out a home loan, the bank will require a home inspection to protect their investment. Even if you plan on paying cash for your home, you should still schedule an inspection for any property you intend to buy. While this won’t catch everything that might be wrong with the house, the Inspector will pinpoint problems that may be of major concern.

What Does a Home Inspection Cover?

The home inspection will determine the condition of the major components of the home. This starts with the Inspector visually examining the condition of the roof, foundation, and structure. They will also look at the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. As the Inspector takes a closer look inside the home, they will look at the attic insulation, watch for signs of water damage and mold growth, and check for pest infestations. 

What Won’t the Inspector Do?

There are some things your home inspection won’t cover. In general, you shouldn’t expect the Inspector to look for minor damage that can be easily or cheaply repaired. In addition, the Inspector won’t remove or damage parts of the interior. This means they won’t look behind walls, remove electrical panels, or inspect the insides of chimneys or plumbing pipes. 

What Will the Inspection Report Tell You?

You might be wondering what will happen if the inspection does uncover a problem. Anything the Inspector turns up will be recorded in the final report. When they do find a problem, they will note whether or not the issue will need to be repaired right away. They will also mention whether the problem concerns a safety issue or a major defect. If it’s a minor defect, the report will point that out as well. There may be other issues that don’t pose a problem right away, but the report will recommend keeping an eye on the issue. For example, the Inspector might advise you to budget for a roof replacement even though you don’t need it right away.

A home inspection is a necessary part of the home buying process. It will help ensure you’re aware of the true condition of the house, which will help you make a better-informed decision. Otherwise, you may buy a home that turns out to be an unexpected money pit.

The Worst Cities For First-Time Homebuyers

The Worst Cities For First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a home for the first time is a very important step in a person’s life. Deciding what city your home will be in is a huge part of that decision-making process. There are plenty of good places that first-time homebuyers can choose to live, but there are also some cities that are not such good options.

Bankrate studies of 50 metropolitan areas show the best places in America for people buying their homes for the first time. The locations were decided based on wellness, affordability, safety, employment, and the tightness of the market. Out of those 50 metro areas, Los Angeles, California, was last on this list because its average income for homeowners was so low. Another problem with homes in Los Angeles is that the price is often very high. The number one city on this list is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because even though its average income is about the same as Los Angeles, the housing market in Pittsburgh is much tighter.

According to those studies from Bankrate, the top ten cities that rank as the worst places for first-time homebuyers to live are San Diego for the tenth number place, Orlando, Florida, San-Francisco, Houston, Denver, San Jose, California, Riverside, California, Seattle, Las Vegas, and in the number one spot in Los Angeles. One of the most noticeable things about this list of cities that are the worst places to purchase a home is that so many of these cities are in California. Another noticeable thing is that each city in California ranks at the bottom as far as affordability goes. 

Despite what this list shows, some of those cities that rank at the top of the worst may still have some good qualities. Los Angeles has a high ranking for wellness and culture despite its low ranking for jobs and affordability, so it is possible that some first-time homebuyers could find those advantages to be more appealing. Several of the other cities on this list may have similar advantages that make them more appealing as well. It is very important for first-time homebuyers to do their own research to choose a home in a location that really feels right to them.

A Look into Zoning Laws

A Look into Zoning Laws

A legislative process, zoning allows the government to divide a property into different zones for different uses. These laws regulate the construction and use of structures on the property. Zoning laws are important to determine whether the types of structures that can be built on a property are compatible with its surroundings. They also determine if an existing structure can be repurposed or if a new one can be built. Understanding the various aspects of zoning is important to ensure that the necessary changes are made to improve the appearance and function of the property. Even if these aren’t changes to your property, your neighbors might try to make these changes and, consequently, negatively affect your property.

To protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the people, zoning laws are designed to ensure that the use of land doesn’t affect the people in negative ways. They also try to minimize the impacts of land use on the people by separating incompatible uses and ensuring that the properties’ value is protected. Developing a comprehensive land-use policy allows for the orderly development of the city. Aside from protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of the people, zoning laws also ensure that the city has adequate public infrastructure.

Cities are generally focused on developing industry as a way to stimulate economic growth as well as developing areas for residential use. However, if the two are developed side-by-side, this can cause upset amongst residents. This is the task of zoning, a process imposed by the government that aims to make both parties happy.

The goal of zoning is to create a set of rules that will allow the community to develop a compatible and sustainable use for their land. After considering the various factors that affect the development of the city, it then divides the city into multiple districts. These laws then regulate the use of structures within each district, as well as the types of buildings that can be built within each zone. Because of the law’s recognition that life is not always black and white, zoning laws can also provide the government with the flexibility to accommodate the changes in the city’s development. Although it’s possible to decide for yourself what type of project you want to develop, given the varying jurisdictions of the city and the complexity of the laws, it’s important to consider taking the advice of a knowledgeable individual.

What To Do If Your Shopping Center Is Impacted By Climate Change

What To Do If Your Shopping Center Is Impacted By Climate Change

NASA states, “Direct observations made on and above Earth’s surface show the planet’s climate is significantly changing. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record.”

Climate change is impacting nearly everything on the planet in one way or another, and shopping centers have definitely suffered some of the effects. In fact, shopping in general has been changed forever in just the past decade alone. Today you can order almost anything you want online from your computer or phone, quickly and easily, and get it delivered to your home directly. For many shoppers who love convenience, online purchasing has not only helped them from time to time but has become their dominant and sometimes only method of choice. Others still love to visit brick and mortar stores in person and will probably never stop frequenting them. Right now, one does not need to choose. The economy, along with inventory and prices, may rise and fall but shoppers continue to find a way to get what they need.

One major effect of climate change on retailers is changes or complications in their supply chains. The availability of suppliers, products, energy sources, raw materials, and other essentials can be altered or even cut off altogether, so it is instrumental for companies to be prepared. According to BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), “There is a clear business case for companies to reduce these risks and strengthen supply chain performance by building the resilience of operations and communities along supply chains.” Their report includes information on 99 companies that reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 551 million tons of carbon dioxide and also saved $14 billion via climate change related alterations and improvements.

Businesses that take no action in the consideration and preparation for climate change and other environmental issues are at risk of huge losses. It is predicted by CDP - Global Environmental Impact that by 2030, approximately $4 trillion in assets are in danger due to the earth’s changing climate. Companies that brace for future success focus on sustainability, conscious consumerism, social and environmental responsibility, positive values, best practices, fair labor, cruelty-free products and operations, and other earth-friendly procedures and goals. Along with the ease of online shopping, an increasing number of consumers are conducting research and becoming more concerned with the characteristics of the company behind the product or service, rather than the item itself. Climate change effects are forcing shoppers to organize, prioritize, and choose wisely when they search for their goods.