Our first speaker today was Genie Reynolds of Magic Genie Real Estate & Property Management in Lakewood, Colorado. For her talk today, Genie wanted to discuss other aspect of property management that can be very costly and frustrating. The security deposit and disputes that arise from that can cost landlords a lot of time and money. Security deposit disputes are probably the most common reason that landlords end up in court and not because they want to, but because they are getting sued by the tenants. The story Genie shared with us was the story of a landlord that had when a great tenant turned into a tenant from hell. This landlord’s saga started when her nice, quiet and well behaved tenant had her boyfriend move in with her for the last two months of the lease. The landlord does admits that she made a mistake of consenting to this without doing a background check on the man, who had not only a dog but a confrontational disposition. The other mistake that the landlord made was not doing a walk through with the tenant, instead she “dropped by” while they were moving and then came back alone after the keys had been surrendered. What she found in the unit was a significant amount of damage. Not only was there damage to the walls, one end of the breakfast bar was broken off (someone had tried to glue it back on), there was mud and trash through out the unit and the screen door was totally shredded. All things that would have to be fixed before the unit could be rented out again. So she made arrangements to get the unit cleaned and had her handyman fix all of the necessary repairs to the unit, prior to the new tenant moving in, costing her time away from work and money to each contractor that helped out with cleaning the unit. She, then, made an accounting for the ex-tenant and explained why she would not be returning the security deposit as well as requesting the outstanding balance to cover the other damage. The landlord was in her office when she was served with a summons for small claims court, the tenant was seeking her entire security deposit plus a penalty for wrongful withholding. The first time going to court is always stressful, but when a landlord is going into court they have to wonder is the judge going to take the side of the tenant – the perception is that the tenant is the “underdog” and the landlord is a slum lord. The landlord had to schedule time off of work to go to court as well as a day to prepare all of her paper work and prepare her defense. She spoke to her handyman and carpet cleaner – both were reluctant to get involved with a trial – she ended up subpoenaing them to make sure they made to court. She also got together all of her photos of the damage and receipts for the each of repairs, which she complied in a binder complete with tabs, highlights and a summary in the front. On the day of court the judge ordered her to try to it work out with the tenant. The tenant was there with her boyfriend and when the landlord approached them, they turned their backs to her and would not speak to her. When the judge returned he scolded the landlord for not being willing to work it out and she “wasn’t going to like how this turned out”. Despite the reprimand and discouragement from the judge, she listened attentively to the tenant while she testified. It appeared from her testimony that she had paid to get the carpets cleaned – prior to move out – and was not aware of the damage to the unit, her boyfriend was the last one in the unit and he was the one who finished the move out. The landlord’s problem here is that the boyfriend had not sign any agreement and was not on the lease – therefore he was not responsible for the damage the tenant was. When the landlord’s turn came she presented the court with her summary of expenses and the judge stated “Is this all you have?” That was when the landlord brought out her binder, with all the tabs and highlight, photos and receipts of every item that she had deducted. The judge couldn’t believe it, in fact he went back to his chambers and took nearly an hour looking through the documents. When he came back to the court – he did something unusual – he allowed for every penny of the landlord’s deductions and ordered a judgment against the tenant. This is a reminder for all in property management or those of us who have rentals – always screen every adult who will be living in a rental, add any new adult to the lease – no matter how late in the lease that they move in, either have a no pet policy or collect additional security deposit for those with pets, always walk through a property with the tenant(s) after all furnishing are out and most important only deduct for real expenses – judges are skeptical enough about landlords, just one exaggerated expense can taint your entire case! Keep in mind if you don’t want to deal with the problems of being the landlord give Genie Reynolds a call and she will manage it for you!!
The second speaker today was Terry Gore of Stampin’Up in Golden, Colorado, this was her first speech with her Stampin’ Up business. Terry took her time today to show us the tools of the trade she uses for making the wonderful creations that Terry frequently brings in for display. The only tool Terry passed around the table were a series of punches available through Stampin’ Up. These punches are available it two different types – the first Terry shared with us was the hand held punch – with this model you slide a piece of paper in between two plates one side has the image and the other plate has the knives that cut the paper, with this model you push a handle that forces the knives through the paper creating the shape. The other punch is called the Big Shoot Roll Punch, with this punch the images for your cutout are on a piece of wood with the knives in the shape of your choice and sponges that prevent the knives from ruining the paper or the plates in the Roll. The procedure for this is you place the sheet of paper on the plate and the run both pieces the Big Shot Roller – the pressure created by the rollers force the knives through the sheet of paper. Both series of punches have coordinated punches for each of the images so you are not restricted on size and create coordinating images for not only cards but home décor as well. Terry went on to explain that Stampin’ Up coordinates all of their papers, inks and fabrics to make it easy to work up a theme for a card or wall panel. The company works really hard to make it easy to find those coordinating packages that you can use in a variety of applications – from cards to home décor and even a series of colored vinyl that can be used for door signs. Stampin’ Up also offers a series of vinyl patterns that can be mounted on the wall for a wall accent – these come on a large sheet of plastic and you peel it off and carefully push it onto the surface you want it on. Keep in mind that it can be taken off easily but can not be re-used once it has been removed, so Terry recommends putting on a canvas or in a frame so it can be moved and re-used in any area of your house. Terry also showed off her new business cards that she designed in My Digital Studio – a program provided by Stampin’ Up – and modified for printing by Cindi at Ecographics Printing. My Digital Studio provides not only a graphics program but also allows you to do digital scrap booking to enable you to produce pages the are only limited by your imagination! If you would like to see what your imagination can conjure up give Terry Gore a call and sign up for a class!!