Archive for January 5th, 2010

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ITS COLD ARE YOUR VACANT UNITS READY?

January 5, 2010

IT’s COLD!
By Lorraine Cyr 

Frozen Pipes cause lots of damage

 

Broken water pipes, NO heat calls and snow in the forecast!  How well does your management company handle the winter? With all the foreclosures happening in the market place does your management company keep track of who owns a unit, who is paying the bills and has the bank left the heat on?  

When the Bank and HUD take back a home all their instructions tell them to close the home up.  Turn off the utilities and lock it up.  How well this gets done is hit or miss it seems.  I have heard horrors that friends have gone through because of their management company’s lack of concern. One time HUD turned off the water to a 57 unit condo building because they foreclosed on one unit.  Another time an absentee landlords tenant moved out in the summer, left the window open and the heat off…it was still in that condition when the weather dropped to 24 degrees out.  Water pipes froze, then thawed out and caused thousands in damages.  To the bank the foreclosed unit is a home and not always a condo unit where the water can’t be turned off and the heat has to stay on. 

There are several ways to make sure this does not happen to your Association. 
1) COMMUNICATION! COMMUNICATION! (secret number 1)
 2) Site visits with personal calls and visits to members who are behind in payments.
 3) Contact with mortgage companies on delinquent accounts
 4) Signs posted in buildings with management companies contact information 

It is important that there is communication with the Association Members and the Board, with the Association Members and the Management Company, with the Management Company and the Board and yes even with the Mortgage Companies.  Banks will call a loan in default for delinquent condo payments even if the mortgage on the unit has been paid.  The help that a bank can provide an Association is overlooked a lot!  The Banks require that Condo Associations and even Cooperatives have professional Property Managers with the expectation that the Management Company will let the bank know when a member is in default of their condo payments.  It is actually a requirement in most loan documents.  It is also important that the Management Company let the Mortgage Company know if an owner subleases their unit.  By letting the Bank know the status of a delinquent home owner your Management Company gains several things. First the bank now has a contact person in cases of foreclosure and second in some cases the Bank will pay the back condo fees to keep the Association from filing liens.  The other important thing that happens when there is good communication is that neighbors start looking out for each other.  You are no longer the family down the hall.  People will know when someone strange is in the building.   If you know that the family in 310 moved out last September and the windows are still open and it is winter now, maybe they will call a Board Member or the Management Company so it can be checked out.  If everyone even the Property Manager takes the attitude “It’s always open and no one does anything” soon the whole building will have a major problem.  FROZEN AND BROKEN WATER PIPES!  And don’t let your management company say “we could not do anything about it. We did not have keys” No one….the bank, HUD or even the absentee landlord want the cost of fixing and replacing thousands of dollars in damage because of lack of communication. 

If your Management Company is not getting the job done give Lorraine Cyr Management Group a call at 202-669-0605, we can work with your Board and Management Company to improve the level of service or we can quote you a price for our services. 

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