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IT’S THE LAW


Although not required, it may be beneficial to consider some type of incentive program as part of your closing strategy.


how many leases will need to be terminated by use of the statute. Leases will fall within one of three cate- gories: (i) month-to-month leases; (ii) leases with ini- tial terms expiring on or before the closing date; and (iii) leases that expire after the closing date. Leases that are month-to-month can be terminated


by giving the appropriate notice as identified in the lease. In the standard TAA lease, the number of days notice is identified in Paragraph 3. If no amount is identified in the blank, 30 days’ notice is required. Similarly, the notice of termination can be given to those leases with terms that end on or before the closing date. With respect to these two types of leases, the


statute does not need to be used. While it is still ben- eficial to be straightforward with residents as to why their leases are being terminated, there is no need to send these notices to the building and inspection offi- cials nor commit to having these units down for at least a six-month period as required by the statute (even though redevelopment will most likely take more than six months). 3. Notice required by the statute. As indicated


above, the notice required by the statute requires delivery by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the resident as well as to the local health officer and local building inspector. The statute also stipulates that the notice must state that the owner is terminat- ing the tenancy “as soon as legally possible” – howev- er, the statute does not specify how many days’ notice this requires. An issue might arise with respect to the number of days’ notice required. As indicated previously, the more notice, the better.


To minimize arguments, it would be prudent to give at least the number of days’ notice required by the lease in Paragraph 3 to terminate the lease at the expiration of its term. 4. Incentives to residents. Although not required, it


may be beneficial to consider some type of incentive program as part of your closing strategy. Residents will be asked to involuntarily leave their homes. You may have residents who have been there for quite some time, and the thought of relocating may be frustrating and possibly frightening for them. Anything you can do to make the transition less bur- densome will assist you in clearing out the property. Relatively easy incentives may include immediate


or expedited refund of security deposits once resi- dents are confirmed to have vacated their units, or


giving residents the option of leaving before their ter- mination dates and only being obligated to pay pro- rated rent through the date that they vacate. Depending upon available resources, incentives can also include the payment of funds once a resident vacates. It is also beneficial to discuss possible incen- tives that other properties might provide to residents transferring from your property, such as application or move-in specials. Sticking to the philosophy of not giving residents something without getting something in return, whenever a resident accepts a concession, that resi- dent should be asked to sign a cancellation of lease document, which will confirm the date the resident intends to vacate the unit and releases the owner and management personnel from all claims. 5. Communication with residents. No matter what


your closing date is or what incentives you may pro- vide, a key to any strategy is communication with your residents. After notices are sent advising resi- dents of the closing of the property, it is beneficial to make contact with each resident to determine what their plans are and whether there are any specific issues that need to be addressed. Often, residents need face-to-face contact in order to allow them to ask the proper questions and obtain the information needed so they can transition to another property. 6. Evicting holdover residents. Residents who fail to


vacate on or before the termination date identified in their notices will be deemed holdover residents. Holdover residents should be given a notice to vacate, and an eviction proceeding should be filed. Any delay would only set back demolition and redevelopment dates; consequently, the eviction process should be pursued diligently after termination dates have passed and notices to vacate have been given. The eviction process may take up to four weeks or


more in the justice court and then an equal time in the county court (if the eviction is appealed). This additional time will need to be worked into any dem- olition or redevelopment schedule. Of course, conciliation efforts can continue during


the eviction process. If the resident agrees to leave prior to the date that a judgment for possession would be enforced, you may save time with the agree- ment. This has to be handled on a case-by-case basis because each circumstance may be different. I hope this checklist will be of help for those of you looking to pursue redevelopment of your properties.


One more chance to earn your Blue Star in 2012: Criminals are unwelcome on your property. Let them know by earning your Blue Star!


The August class is sold out, but HAA and HPD will offer Blue Star training (for managers of apartment properties in the Houston city limits) again on Thursday, November 8. Reserve your seat today! For details, a course schedule or to register, contact Aimee Arrington at 713-595-0302 or aarrington@haaonline.org.


O O O 12 AUGUST 2012 ABODE


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