Archive for April, 2010

Watch out for that tree… root!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

Just a reminder for anyone who holds out hope that the City of Los Angeles is fixing that broken sidewalk in front of your property.  They aren’t…  at least not any time soon.  Perhaps in 10 to 20 years, when I last checked with the City of Los Angeles Special Project Division:

Repaired sidewalk which had been broken by tree roots

In fact, money is so tight, that the person who picked up the phone said that the next time I call she may have been replaced by an answering machine.

So why should you care?  We recently fixed the broken sidewalk in front of one of our buildings and just in time. I watched as a tree on our property created a crack across the sidewalk that grew from a small thing into a 2” tectonic face in just over a year’s time. Ironically, once we decided to start getting bids to repair the sidewalk (a 30’ x 5’ sidewalk cost us $2,500) at least two people tripped on the sidewalk, one of which demanded that I pay for her emergency room visit.  Don’t wait for the City to fix a tripping hazard.  At the very least you may be able to grind down that crack and avoid writing a check for the emergency room visit.

Do we really want to go there?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

I’ve noticed in recent weeks that landlords in Los Angeles, more specifically in Westwood, have begun to lure prospective tenants into signing leases by lowering move in costs.  Typically, move in costs consist of first month’s rent and security deposit.  One can only lower rent so much, so landlords have begun to lower the security deposit requirements.  On average, our property management company charges from 1 ½ to 2 times the monthly rent for security deposit.  I am now hearing from prospective tenants that they guy down the street wants 1x the monthly rent, some even less.  This is a race to the bottom that could end badly.  Some will argue that a large security deposit invites a tenant to skip on their last month of rent; others just shrug and claim that there usually isn’t that much damage.  As I have said before in previous postings, the security deposit protects you and your investment.  Don’t skimp on this “insurance”. Rather, try and work out a payment schedule to ease a tenant who is cash poor into paying a suitable amount of security deposit.  You won’t regret it.

Pay Attention to the Big Picture

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

HighsmithI read recently that the Fox and Bruin theaters in Westwood Village were in danger of closure.  Fortunately, Regency Theaters stepped in to avoid what might have been a conversion to retail space or an outright demolition.  I can just picture the local residents and architectural preservationists fighting tooth and nail had this matter not been concluded as it was.  Having the benefits of a strong community where people can spend their free time in a place like Westwood Village should not to be taken lightly.  I grew up in Westwood and watched many  movies in those two theaters. Had we lost the Fox and Bruin theaters to the laws of highest and best use, we would have lost yet another piece of our history, as well as a reminder of why we chose to live in West Los Angeles.  It is easy to get caught up in the day to day of property management.   The property you own or manage may be “your world” but do not forget that it was the greater community which lured your customers (i.e. tenants) to live in your building in the first place.