President's Message

A Thanksgiving

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Over the years, I’ve seen Thanksgiving celebrated in a number of different ways. The Thanksgiving holiday was pretty traditional at our house when I was growing up. My parents or my aunt and uncle would host dinner, and between our two families plus grandparents, it was a pretty full house.

The dynamics changed when all the kids started to get married. There were new faces at dinner, and along with them came new foods and traditions. Things changed even further when friends joined and the meaning of Thanksgiving expanded beyond our close knit family. It also expanded past being just about the traditional meal and a nice visit when some friends would stop by after they had been to the local homeless mission to serve Thanksgiving dinner to people who were struggling in ways that we never had to.

I’ve come to see Thanksgiving as all of these things. It gives everyone a chance to give thanks for all that they have, whether it’s family, friends or food. It also gives us all a chance to give thanks by extending our hands to others.

Can we embrace this idea of being generous and giving to others as land lords? I think so. I think it’s just as important for us to be generous business people as it is for any local business. In fact, we have the opportunity to make our giving more personal than most businesses, if we direct our efforts toward our tenants.

However you choose to do it, I think you’re doing a wonderful thing any time you make the effort to give back to your community. That’s a tradition we should never change. To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is the low-stress holiday. It’s a day about family, friends and community with minimal commercialism. It’s my favorite holiday.

Upping Our Game

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As I start to wrap up my second and last year as President of the Board of AACSC, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my term—what went well, what didn’t and what direction I’d like to see both the organization and our businesses as landlords move toward.

Our future depends on a couple of simple ideas really. We need to keep upping our game by becoming more professional as landlords. We need to unite as never before, to counter the organizations that are trying to use our tenants against us to promote their rental business-killing agendas.

We’ll have better, more successful rental property businesses if we run them like pros. Professional property managers do a great job and whether or not you use one to manage your properties, you need to be just as smart. Don’t use exclusionary language in your advertising. Don’t ignore your before and after property condition check lists. Don’t rent to anyone without doing your due diligence. Do send your last tenant their remaining security deposit with full accounting within the required time frame. Do document all communication with your tenants. Do take the time to educate yourself on a regular basis so that you stay up with any new regulatory changes.

I see the day coming when we’ll all be required to take continuing education classes as a condition of accepting rental payments for our properties. Don’t look at this as a negative. It will be a big positive for you if it keeps you from making a costly mistake due to ignorance.

Our need to unite as landlords is expanding now to include builders and Realtors because the tenant exploiter groups are trying to damage their business just like they are trying to do with ours.

We work in a wonderful industry. It’s hard work, but over time, we’ll do very well owning property. You can meet, and make friends with a lot of interesting people, from other landlords, property managers, service providers and yes, your tenants. Finally, if you do it right you’ll have something of great value to pass on to your children. Let’s make sure we do it right.

Plans for the Future

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Late summer and early fall are typically busy times for us landlords. When you’re busy building your rental business or maintaining a smooth running business, it doesn’t give you a lot of time to think about the future. For those of us who have spent their working careers doing what we do and are at the point of finally being able to slow down a little, either because of retiring out of the business or turning over day-to-day management to our children or property manager, you have the luxury of reducing your stress levels and thinking about the future.

The future and how you can support the industry that sup ported you and your family is what I’d like to talk to you about. To the point, I want you to consider AACSC in your estate planning. As we go through life, we are supported in a number of ways. We get support from family, church, close friends and schools to name a few. Many of us also try to help the less fortunate through charitable giving.

If you worked for a major company like Boeing or GE, you’d probably never think about adding them to your list of beneficiaries and donating to them after you retire. When you are in our business, organizations like AACSC work tirelessly to help you succeed in your real estate business asking nothing in return—no share of your monthly income or profits from a property sale. You send AACSC dues that are used to provide you with services or to fight legislative battles for your benefit. That fight is ongoing. AACSC has been around for over 90 years.

AACSC has been helping landlords long before any of us got into the business and will be doing the same long after we’re gone. If you decide to leave your property to your children, to the church or to anyone your care about, they will be the ones needing AACSC’s help. AACSC could really use your help. Your beneficiaries managing your property will need our help. Can we count on you?

Trade Show Plans

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Summer is sailing by. I hope everyone is enjoying it and has taken some time off. It’s about to get busy again with people moving around for new jobs, college kids getting settled in for the new school year, etc. Make sure that you mark your calendars for AACSC’s 49th Annual Trade Show on Thursday, September 28th at the Long Beach Convention Center (Arena). This is such an important event for our members and prospective members. Make a plan now for what you want to accomplish at the Trade Show. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use the Trade Show as a recruiting tool and invite your landlord and vendor friends that aren’t yet members to attend with you. AACSC will have an area set up with staff that can talk to your friends about the importance of membership. Either drop by or call in advance to make an appointment so that you can introduce your friends to Executive Director Johanna Cunningham and her staff.
  2. Use the Trade Show to meet new vendors and to say hello to the vendors you currently work with. Last year we recruited vendors with new, cutting-edge products to help you up your game. Check our website to see who’s going to have a display and select the interesting ones for your first few stops.
  3. Use the Trade Show to educate yourself on important issues. AACSC makes sure that it schedules speakers for topics that will be of great importance to landlords. Review the speakers and topics ahead of time so that you won’t be late for their scheduled talks.
  4. Attend the Trade Show’s 22nd Saluting Our Stars Awards Breakfast. Every year AACSC honors property management staff members who have made a tremendous effort to excel in their profession. See who the top property management firms are and the individuals that work for them. The breakfast is open to all AACSC members and guests who are interested in knowing who the players are in our industry and want to use this great opportunity to do some networking. Make your reservation for the Awards Breakfast today!


A quick note about education: I’ve commented on this subject for a while now, but I feel that I need to keep driving home the point that we as landlords need to be better and more educated about our business that ever before. AACSC offers classes throughout the year on topics that are extremely important. For example, don’t make a foolish mistake by doing something inadvertent like violating a fair housing law. That could easily cost you your business. Make a commitment to yourself to take one or two different classes every year. It’s pretty cheap insurance and I’ll bet you’ll learn something new!

Take Action

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TAKE ACTION!! Those are the words on the button you select on our new Voter Voice Email system to help us harness the power of landlords to defend against unwise proposed anti-housing and anti-landlord state legislation.

A quick recap: AACSC has joined with ten (10) other local apartment associations to form California Rental Housing Association (CalRHA). Through CalRHA, we have developed a very effective tool to voice our opinions on proposed legislation to our elected representatives called Voter Voice Email.

Here's how it works: You register on the CalRHA website. Once registered, you will begin receiving periodic Red Alerts that will make you aware of proposed legislation, give you detailed analysis on the issue and the ramifications of passage, and finally, direct you on how to voice your opinion by hitting the "Take Action" button.

Take Action gets you to the page that shows the intended recipients of your email and prepares a measured, well thought out response. If you agree, then send the message. This is a tool that landlords have needed for a long time. It's fast and easy to use, gets your opinion out there, and with enough of us using it, we will do a much better job of helping to protect our businesses and the nice living spaces we offer to our tenants.

I mentioned this last month, but I need to bring this up again: we have to become better educated landlords to earn a living in this business today. My goal is to never hear of a single instance where one of our landlords lost a case in court or lost money because they weren't knowledgeable about a specific issue that they should have been able to manage with the proper education. There are plenty of books you can read or you can attend a variety of AACSC classes for a nominal fee.

Why not be proactive? Attend a $59 class taught through AACSC or pay a $2,500 judgement for not following the law. You choose. AACSC land lords are going to be the best educated landlords in the business and will have the best run apartments out there. Tenants are going to understand the difference and will rent from you first.

On a lighter note, we're in the middle of a great summer. Weather is perfect as usual. Our Summer Social is July 27th at the fabulous Hotel Maya. Come and have some fun with us and meet your fellow landlords. Don't worry you might not know anyone there—we're all landlords. You'll have a lot in common and plenty to talk about!

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333 W. Broadway St., Suite 101
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(562) 426-8341

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