Utility Issues with Rental Properties, by Troy Rappold, Rappold Property Management


When a rental property that is occupied by a tenant is sold to a new owner there are many details that require diligent attention. One of these areas is the utility billing and interim billing. Interim billing is one of the first things that you would want to cancel because an Owner doesn’t want to accidently pay for bill that isn’t their responsibility. This ensures proper and accurate billing. As a general rule, the tenant is responsible for all utilities for a single family home. In this case nothing changes if ownership changes and the tenant stays in place.  If the house is located in a city where the population is over 100K, the owner is responsible for the garbage service. In this case, the garbage bill is changed to the name of the new Owner.

 

As a local property management company, we have the garbage bills mailed to our office and we pay it out of the rental income on behalf of the owner. That way the charge will be reflected on the monthly statement. This is important because this expense is a tax write-off for the home owner. If the new Owner is going to move into the property, and the tenant is going to move out, then all utilities will be a prorated amount based upon the move out date of the tenant. If the tenant moves out on the 18th of the month, then they are responsible for 18 days’ worth of electricity, water, sewer, garbage and natural gas. As the property management company for the house, we track this and make sure all these charges are distributed correctly.

 

We also manage condominiums and often times the owner/investor will pay the Condo Association fees that include water, sewer and garbage. These charges are also a tax write off and can be tracked for the year. Although none of this is difficult to manage, it does need to be watched carefully so all parties involved pay only their share. This careful attention to detail is what we do here at Rappold Property Management.

 

Rappold Property Management, LLC

1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201

Portland, OR 97214

Phone: 503-232-5990

Fax: 503-232-1462

Surprisingly, Underwater Borrowers Say Owning Beats Renting, by Nick Timiraos, Wsj.com


new survey shows that Americans are generally taking a dimmer view of homeownership, even as a rising number say they believe it’s a good time to buy a home.

The survey from Fannie Mae reveals lots of interesting insights like this one: homeowners who are underwater, or owe more than their homes are worth, are more likely to view housing as a safe investment than renters. Almost three out of four mortgage borrowers, and nearly seven in ten underwater homeowners, say that housing is safe, compared to just 57% of delinquent borrowers and 54% of renters.

Overall, the number of Americans who say that homeownership is a safe investment has declined—to 67% in July, from 70% in January and 83% in 2003.

While more people believe that it’s a good time to buy and a bad time to sell, the number of Americans who say they’re likely to rent, rather than buy, their next house has increased slightly since January, to one third of those surveyed. (Columnist Brett Arends offers his list of 10 reasons to buy.) Respondents also expect rents to grow much faster than home prices over the next year.

The report shows some worrying trends for banks and mortgage investors. While three-quarters of borrowers consider their mortgage payment to be their most important debt obligation (that hasn’t changed since January), the number of delinquent borrowers that count their mortgage payment as their most important has fallen, to 50% in July from 57% in January.

The vast majority of Americans still disapprove of borrowers stopping their mortgage payments. But the number who say it’s acceptable to default if a borrower is underwater has increased slightly, to 10% from 8% in January.

A few other findings from Fannie’s survey (view the full results, in pdf):

  • Nearly half of all borrowers, and more than half of underwater borrowers, think their lender is likely to pursue other assets in addition to their homes if they were to stop paying their mortgage. [The ability of the lender to do this actually varies from state to state.]
  • Underwater and delinquent borrowers are also slightly more optimistic about the amount of time it will take for their credit scores to recover after a mortgage default. Around one in five of those borrowers say that it would take one to three years to wipe a mortgage default from their credit report, compared to one in seven for the general population.
  • A majority of Americans also believe that borrowers are more at fault than mortgage companies for having unaffordable loans. Nearly 56% of borrowers—and 60% of underwater borrowers—say that borrowers, not banks, have greater culpability for being in over their heads with respect to affordability.

separate survey from the Pew Research Center found that 19% of those polled said it was acceptable to walk away from a mortgage, while 59% said it was unacceptable and 17% said it depended on the situation.

Democrats were twice as likely to say that it was acceptable to walk away from a mortgage (23%) than Republicans (11%), according to the Pew report.

Follow Nick on Twitter for more housing and mortgage news: @NickTimiraos