Fair and Accurate Water Billing for Apartment Home Residents

 

What is the most fair and accurate method for water billing in the multi-family industry?

 

There are several methods for billing utilities to residents as fairly as possible.  When an apartment building was built, for one reason or another, meters could have been installed for each apartment, or as is common, a single meter per building, or even one meter for the whole community.  Each community is different depending on the time it was built.  So at the end of the month, when the Property Manager receives the utility bill from the gas, water or electric authority, how do they know how much each resident should pay?

 

Let’s focus on Water Billing.  We have many methods to fairly bill these utilities by a common ratio to all residents ranging from simple division to complicated functions.  Of course, having direct sub-metered reads of the water used is the best way to know that residents are paying the correct portion of the water used by everyone in your community.

 

We receive most of our meter reads by digital transmission from the actual meter, which is registered on the main data collector on the property.  Accuracy is obtained because Resolve Partners is directly receiving the meter reads digitally.  Many of the properties that we bill are set up to have the meter reads sent to us daily for each resident.  By seeing the residents’ daily meter reads and usage, we can pinpoint exactly when a potential break occurred; or most commonly, when an abnormal consumption was measured that causing a spike in the bill.  The most common cause for an increase in consumption is a running toilet which can consume about 200 gallons per day – most apartment homes use 50 to 150 gallons per day, so ignoring a running toilet is a sure way to double the residents’ water and sewer bill.  Similarly, a dripping faucet will consume about 10 gallons per day – not as dramatic, but that will still add possibly an extra 300 gal to the billing for that month.

 

If you suspect your toilet is leaking but don’t hear an audible running sound near the toilet, it may be a slow leak from the tank, running into the bowl.  Property Managers can provide a tip to everyone –  simply drip some food coloring into the reservoir tank, wait a little while, and see if that coloring has leaked into the bowl.  Financial and environmental savings!

 

Sometimes a high water bill surprises the resident.  Could they have possibly used so much more than normal in just one month?  Assist the resident by reviewing the billing dates first. They are not always 30 days.  Couple that with other factors like having guests for for a few days, spring cleaning, excessive laundry day and even pet cleaning or shampooing of the carpets can all add to usage in surprisingly consumptive ways.  Most likely, the reading is actually an accurate read.  But if anyone from your staff to the resident has any questions, our dedicated customer service team is happy to help answer any questions. If we find further investigation is needed with your meter reads, we will contact your property manager and work to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

 

Contact us today at 844-315-5494 or email us here for more detail.  Thank you to all our terrific clients and partners.  We appreciate you very much.

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

 

Background Checks Benefit Everyone in Your Rental Community

 

Background checks benefit everyone in your Rental Community because they increase the residents’ feeling of safety throughout the entire Community.   What better way to wake up in the morning or go out after dark then knowing that each person in your neighborhood has successfully passed a background check which includes criminal activity searches.  Those living in a single family neighborhood do not necessarily share that same high level of comfort and security.

 

As a Property Manager, the ability to validate claims made on the application for criminal and income histories are done through the background check.  Need to see eviction records?  Of course, and the background check is the way to get the exact information needed to see how the resident paid their previous landlord.

 

A background check will include these and other features to help you provide a safe place for residents to live in peaceful enjoyment of their apartment homes:

 

  • Credit Reports include payment history, but also OFAC summaries and fraud alerts.  Of course, the credit report does much more than that, but in a safety discussion the focus is on how it can be used as a tool to discover acts and intentions that would cause harm to others.
  • Sex Offender searches will ousts registered offenders.  It is important to know that registration into the registry is completed by the offender, not the court.  Your criminal report will include the conviction history as well as the subsequent registration.
  • Felony and Misdemeanor with optional traffic violations if you so desire.  Theft, violence, drugs, etc.  Know, share and brag about your criminal record policy to all new applicants as well as reinforce them with your existing tenants.  This will build the sense of safe Community and well-being; which will incidentally lead to increased renewals and decreased damages.
  • Evictions that you can avoid by a thorough screening will lead to a more stable Community.  Not only are evictions processed for non-payment, but also for violations such as drugs, hording and dangerous activities.
  • Additional verification of rental and employment history also add to the stability of your Community and a background check can include these searches for less than you may think.

These benefits are a direct result of the background check.  For just a few dollars, you can safely protect your Community.  Don’t we all want that?  And the renewals are always nice, too.

 

Email us at Resolve Partners today or call us at 336-217-1005 or 865-304-9059 for a quote and further detail about our Background Checks.  As always, we sincerely want to thank our Clients for making everyday possible for us and we appreciate you deeply.

 

Mike Dolianitis

Chief Compliance Officer

Resolve Partners, LLC

 

Drug Tests Evolving to Meet Synthetic Threat

 

Recently we spoke about synthetic marijuana as a growing threat.  These products pose dangers in both the familiar manner of addiction and in a new manner in which drug testing has lagged behind the detection of the chemical structure of the drug.

 

All drugs have negative effects on the brain and body from THC to the most potent of instantly addictive hard drugs.  Synthetics bypass this linear understanding by its’ vary nature of being a chemical creation that is not consistently produced; much like Crystal Meth.  For example, cigarettes and alcohol are made on production lines, one just like the next, over an over.  Also, prescription drugs and even over the counter pain relievers have potency usually measured in “mg”, again one after the other.  Even Marijuana is measured in THC levels and in some states it’s labeled and sold accordingly to percentages and even delivered via edibles.

 

There are many types of synthetics – Methoxamine (another PCP synthetic), MDMA (bath salts, Molly), 25B-NBOMe (synthetic LSD).  What puts synthetic marijuana in this most dangerous class is the chemical combination and it’s true nature.  In short, there is nothing natural about the product, each batch can be made wildly different from any other batch and it performs more like Angel Dust, known also as PCP and Whack.  These new synthetics have their own slang including K2, Spice and Incense.

 

Technically, the drugs produce dis-associative cognition by disrupting nerve cells in the brain.  What users and abusers refer to as the “rush” is a body writing a check for more dopamine that the brain cannot cash.  That is translated into damage to the brain, memory loss, anxiety and addiction.  Let’s not forget the instant death that may occur if the batch created is overloaded or misrepresented.

 

 

What is provided today is an evolution of the drug test to include the ability to screen for synthetic marijuana.  This advancement has been a few years in the making and is thankfully available now to combat the scourge of this chemical menace.  Adding Synthetic Marijuana to your Drug Test panel search is a highly recommended upgrade that every employer and volunteer organization; as well as any parent or custodian should seriously consider.

 

Future areas of concern are the infusion of Salvia Devinorum into the chemical cocktail of Synthetics.  Legal in most states, a plant in nature used by New World natives for hundreds of years in rituals and a low addiction rate; the concern is that manufactures will use these as positives to sell their garbage.  Infusion also sounds next-gen and our youth run the risk of being easily impressed by this window dressing.

 

Be careful and diligent in your drug testing.  Contact us today at 336-217-1005 or email here to learn more about how to create or modify your drug testing panels for maximum coverage.

 

At Resolve Partners, we care about you, your business and your people.  Thank you for letting us be part of your day.

 

Mike

 

email Mike

336-346-3095

Synthetic Marijuana – more dangerous than you might think

 

Every drug has street names and synthetic marijuana is no exception.  Known as K2, Spice, AK-47 and others, the chemical combinations that create this dangerous concoction vary ever so slightly between “batches” that predicting the outcome of consuming these cannabinoids is difficult.

 

The dangers of overdose and bad reactions are exponentially greater as a result.  You never know what is being ingested or how the body treats these intoxicants.  There are hundreds of chemical variations in this drug; both legal components and illegal ones.  To add to the initial dangers of taking unknown chemicals that vary every time, the number of chemicals (and their associated variations) only continues to climb each month and year throughout the United States.  Deliveries from Asia add even more risk to life and health.

 

In essence, while the drug promotes interaction with the identical cell receptors as does THC; the synthetic product is created and behaves more like a Methamphetamine then like Marijuana.  How could it not?  Synthetic, chemically variant per product, nothing natural involved and chain reactions that are totally new & unpredictable compounds.

 

common synthetic cannaboids

Image courtesy of http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/

 

But there is good news in the fight against this destructive man-made horror show.  Drug-Testing has caught up and continues to evolve in the detection of these chemicals by understanding that the base of their creation is fairly consistent.  By testing for these as markers, Employers, Volunteer organizations, parents and others can test for these items.

 

At Resolve Partners, we provide such services for Employers and Volunteer organizations throughout the nation.  Contact us today to create or modify your Drug Test Panels to include Synthetic Marijuana.  This product kills.  Together with detection and education we can provide a future for those tempted to engage in this drug.

 

Email us here or call us at 336-217-1005 for more information.

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Billing – Conservation Solutions

 

Water Billing in the Multi-Family industry is a critical part of of the world-wide issue of water conservation.  Over 70% of the earth is covered in water, but only a remarkable 3% is drinkable fresh water.

 

A collaborative effort between nation, industry and consumer is the only way to assure that fresh water is readily available on a global level and in every local community.  According to the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), over 110,000,000 Americans occupy rental housing.  That’s 1/3rd of the entire population and the number continue to grow.

Multi-Family managers have a number of choices to provide conservation based relief to this global crisis. An assessment by the EPA study shows that a sub-metering solution in our industry will result in nearly a 20% reduction of fresh water waste.

 

Not only does waste reduction vital to our future, it also allows Property Managers to recover a greater percentage of their water and sewer cost.  There are 3 primary methods of water billing; depending on state law and preference, that these Managers can employ to recover their cost:

 

  1. Sub-Metering.  Each unit is fitted with a sub-meter for complete capture and billed accordingly.
  2. RUBS.  An allocation based on factors such as occupancy, square footage, etc.
  3. Hot Water Allocation.  Conversion of hot water usage to account for the addition of cold.

MasterMeter_FAMPOLY-FAM3G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The investment in sub-metering is the most accurate method possible and will be viewed by residents as fair as well as a positive Green Initiative by your Community.  However, any of the 3 choices you implement will encourage conservation – shorter showers, full load washing only, turning off taps when possible, and as important – calling in leaks.  Quickly detecting and repairing leaks alone will lower your Property water bill.

 

Call us today at Resolve to discuss the right solution for your Property.  We’re at 336-217-1008 or email here for more information.

 

Mike D.

336-346-3095

email Mike

SCOTUS to decide Affirmative Action Case

 

As SCOTUS prepares for Summer Recess, they have a critical Affirmative Action case scheduled for decision.  Fisher v. University of Texas was argued in December, 2015.  This was actually the second time the High Court heard arguments in as many years from a University of Texas case where two Caucasian females challenged the University in its admissions usage of racial preferences after being denied acceptance in 2008.  The case has an unusual phenomenon as recent cases are being heard by 8 Justices after the death of Chief Justice Antonin Scalia; however, Justice Hagan has recused herself in as she performed earlier work on the case as the US Solicitor General assuring an odd number of 7 and a definitive vote.

 

As mentioned, this is the second look at this 14th Amendment case for the Court.  Earlier, the case was returned for UT to scrutinize and tighten its’ admission policies after both the District and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the University.  These two lower courts, in general terms, leaned toward the defense of the school saying that all admission policies were conducted by the official and technical definition of the requirement of “good faith”.  In other words, no malice was intended as it would be impossible to evaluate each applicant from different schools with 100% precision as the quality of their education, outside activities and leadership all vary.

 

As Property Managers and Employers, I’m sure you can all relate to the confusion and difficulty this case symbolizes.  How do you guarantee, with 100% surety, that each applicant is granted the full and complete measure of an equal opportunity without the use of any interpretive, suggestive or perceived judgment of their qualification, interview and even test performance.  These tests may be employment skills assessments, or even something as natural as the background check.  On the one hand, the demand is to treat everyone equally, but recently a turn toward Disparate Impact (also decided by SCOTUS) makes this more difficult to achieve then ever.  Individual Assessments, Ban the Box, elimination of credit and other pushes in federal, state and even laws put the employer or property manager in a dilemma if they do not have the professional assistance from a reputable Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA).

 

Resolve Partners is such an organization.  Our Compliance to legislation, regulation and court edicts live to perform one singular and critical role – keeping our Clients safe.  Data is one thing, price another, and service yet another part of a strong CRA..but those that do not have Compliance in mind can never provide you a report that will cost you less than the price of going to court.  And who wins in court?  Lawyers.

 

Let Resolve Partners help you today.  Call us at 336-217-1005 or email us at info@resolve-partners.com.

 

Thnk you,

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

FTC Guidance to Employment Screening Companies

 

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a guidance to employment screening companies, also known as Consumer Reporting Agencies, to clarify statutory requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Being published on the heels of the Supreme Courts decision in the Spokeo v Robins case; this Guidance offers a clear insight to the requirements in a concise manner.

 

The Guidance provides actions that CRA’s must perform to remain compliant within the FCRA:

 

  • Following reasonable procedures to assure maximum accuracy. This is directly from §607(b) of the FCRA.  These company policies must identify and execute on the methods used to provide such a standard.  They must assure such measures are taken and completed on a consistent basis and they must be done before the information is released to the Employer as accurate information (which is very narrowly defined).  The correct person, the correct disposition of a crime, etc will reflect the truth.  All other information does not meet the requirement.
  • Client certifications are also mentioned in this Guidance so that Employers will always be reminded of their duties when receiving critical and confidential information from the CRA via the Consumer Reports. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that a Consumer Reporting Agency may not provide a report for employment purposes unless and until it receives certain certifications from the End-User, including:
  1. Certification that the end-user provided a “clear and conspicuous” written disclosure to the applicant/employee that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes,
  2. Certification that the end-user obtained written authorization from the applicant/employee to perform the background check,
  3. Certification that the end-user will provide a copy of the report and “Summary of Rights” to the applicant/employee before taking adverse action, and
  4. Certification that the employer will not use the report in violation of any equal opportunity laws or regulations. See 15 U.S.C. 1681b.
  • Disclosure forms that provide information to both Employers and assistance to Consumers are required. Those are the “Notice to Users of Consumer Reports” and “A Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”; respectively.
  • Allowing for disputes to be registered without undue strain on part of the Consumer.  The CRA’s must provide the opportunity for a re-investigation upon dispute of the Consumer data and resolve such disputes within the specified time frame allowed.

Overall, the Guidance is a great reminder of the required specifics.  As both the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) both work with CRA’s; these Agencies provide much needed information on industry practice and compliance.

 

Thank you all for your business and opportunity to serve you here at Resolve Partners.  Call us anytime or email us for more information on how we can help your business grow.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

 

Spokeo, Inc v. Robins simply translated

 

On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled on the Ninth Circuit appeal of Spokeo v. Robins.  In a 6-2 vote, they ruled in a favor of Spokeo asserting that the respondent in the case, a gentleman named Thomas Robins had not suffered damages from the compiled data provided to an employer by Spokeo.

 

A few question arose from this case that began years ago.  First of all, if Spokeo was actually a Consumer Reporting Agency was on the table.  If they were a “CRA”, then they would be responsible for following the Fair Credit Reporting Act which demands that CRA’s “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy”.  What is being discussed here is in the context of what a CRA does – consumer reports.  SCOTUS is treating them as a CRA, so the FCRA would apply to them.

 

Next step.. the statutory violations performed by Spokeo.  SCOTUS was very clear that the Ninth Circuit failed to prove that the statutory violations should be put into a class action suit.  To add insult to injury, they also said the Ninth Circuit failed to establish the actual validity of the Class because the case was primarily about Robins assertions only.  That meant that Robins’ claims were allowed to be reviewed (centiorari); but not the others.  Also, the lower court failed to meet the injury-in-fact requirements on Robins himself.

 

Finally, and the part that drives everybody crazy about our legal system and the whole series of these trials is that Spokeo supplied inaccurate data that made Robins looks BETTER to the employer.  For example, he didn’t have the advanced degree Spokeo claimed.  He actually got the job!  He was not harmed or damaged in any way; but decided that statutory violations should be brought to light on behalf of a Class Action instead of dealing with his new job.  The High Court is leaving the definition of “harm” to the lower courts going forward; however; even in her dissenting vote, Justice Ginsburg stated she saw no benefit in returning the Spokeo case to the Ninth Circuit.

 

To be clear, if Spokeo had handled it better up front, then we may not have had all this legal wrangling and waste of time & money.  They fought the “CRA” designation and played it too loose for any good to come of it. it’s doubtful they were concerned about the FCRA as they fought against it’s inclusion as the primary audience – a CRA.

 

At Resolve Partners, we have a dedicated Compliance group that takes Consumer Reports seriously and within the legislation & regulations provided by all jurisdictions – Federal, State and even Local.  We ARE a Consumer Reporting Agency and do the work properly.

 

We thank our valued clients for allowing us to serve them every day.  We are thankful for your business and feel free to call on us to offer any information about the FCRA, et al; guidance updates from HUD and EEOC and the changing state laws.

 

Thank you again,

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

 

 

The 3 M’s of Water Billing

 

The benefits for a Property Manager to bill for water usage at their Community span across a wide spectrum of advantages from the improvements to Net Operating Income to conservation.  Take into account that recovery of the city water bill also gives Property Managers the opportunity to avoid or delay the need to raise rents, which result in the property having a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

 

I was talking with a newly signed client yesterday who put it as about succinctly as it could be when she said the following:

  • Meter
  • Measure
  • Monitor

So true and I thank her for being so right about how billing for water pays off today and also is the gift that keeps on giving.  How?  By Metering, you are able to capture the cost of your city water bill.  By Measuring, the property can equitably distribute those costs to residents who are using the water.  What could be more fair?  The ongoing gift is in the Monitoring aspect.

 

At Resolve, we will monitor the usage of each meter and sub-meter.  Our analysis reporting identifies units where usage is not being recorded, allowing for a review, repair and replacement of the sub-meter or the transmitter.  We also can most quickly identify and stop leaks.  This alone will contribute to your conservation efforts, improve Resident Relations and avoid a mess on your property.  Another advantage is our detection of low or high usage which we compare against your Move In-Move Out report looking for any anomaly before it becomes a problem.

 

Contact us today at 336-217-1005 or email us for more information concerning how we can provide you with an install quote or how; if you sub-meter already, how our low price guarantee also guarantees each Client will experience a service well beyond their expectations.

 

As always, thank you to our fantastic clients.  You make every day possible and enjoyable for us.

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike

 

 

Change to a Better Utility Billing Company

 

It happens everyday at Apartment Communities across the country and it causes problems from angry residents to lost revenue.  What is it?  Poorly run Utility Billing Companies.  Not only that, but inconsistencies and a lack of service is enough to simply drive you crazy.  But hey..what can you do about it..they’re all the same, right?

 

Not at all.  They are not all the same and below are the indicators to look for if you want to investigate or suspect that you are not being served properly by your Billing Company:

 

  • Unexpected changes in the billing fees
  • Lack of managing your PUC filings
  • Crossing bills with previous and new residents
  • Voice mail..voice mail..voice mail. Pick up the phone!!!
  • Same for emails.
  • Estimated bills due to dropping the ball on broken meters
  • Lack of an audit or inability to read and measure for leaks in real time
  • Out of compliance with state regs

 

Resolve Partners has a long standing reputation for providing expert and professional service to the Multi-Family industry and as Billing Provider, Tenant Screener or Debt Collections Consumer Reporting Agency; we are committed to maintaining satisfaction at all levels 365 days a year.

 

So exactly how can Resolve Partners provide this billing service so well where others have failed?  Our professional memberships, expertise and experience are all designed to proactively address points of concern before they arise.  For example, a Pre-Bill will identify broken meters well before the next months’ Meter Analysis.  We consider that a valuable resource and will examine the Pre-Bill not only for accuracy; but PRECISION.  Not only do “the numbers match”, but the “right numbers match” and we advise you of any oddity in the billing.  You approve hundreds of items a month, and the least we can do it assist in your monitoring of this one thing.  No surprises, good day!

 

Price, product and service delivery are at the cornerstone equation of Value that we promise each client every single month.  So don’t hesitate in calling us for a complete quote of services and if you do not have meters in place today; we also provide the installs.

 

It would be a great day to hear from you at 336-217-1005 or email us here for more information.

 

Thank you to all our existing clients and testimonies are available!

 

Mike

336-346-3095

email Mike