Managing Tenants and Employees.
Loss Control.
Disaster Prep.

GDI Your Property Management Resource

Our agency can deliver the strategies, tools and resources that will help you own and manage your properties with ease.

Our Means for Your Success

Our agency has the resources to assist you in all your property management needs. We address much more than just bricks and mortar.

Protecting Your Property
We have the resources to assist you manage mold exposures, prevent fire dangers and protect against other disasters that could potentially cause significant damage to your property.

Manage Tenants with Ease
Let us help you manage tenants, whether you own a commercial or residential property. We have the tools to help you do so.

Know the Laws
You are responsible for understanding the laws that apply to property ownership, such as Ordinance and Law Coverage. Let us educate you on those laws to avoid penalties.

Residential Property Management selecting tenants

Owning residential property is one of the best investments that you can make for your future, as real estate typically grows in value. Yet, a bad tenant can really put a damper on your experience. Consider these recommendations when looking for tenants for your rental property:

general suggestions

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Monitor the first impression that potential renters are giving you. Are they well-dressed? Is their car well-maintained? Are they polite and well-mannered? These details can provide inkling into the type of renter that they will be.

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Ask for a holding deposit while you conduct a credit check and rental history.

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Ask that potential tenants complete a rental application form. This will provide information on their income, credit history, employment, references, etc. These forms also let you know if they have children, pets, whether they smoke, whether they own a car, etc. This application should outline the length of the lease, terms of the rent and the deposit required. Tenants should also be informed that their credit and references will be checked, in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

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Properly screen all applicants to determine their credentials. Do not rely on their word to validate their background and credit history.

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When renting out your property, make all tenants sign a Tenancy or Letting Agreement. This document should be accompanied by a full inventory and condition of the rental property. Include the insurance requirements of the tenant, such as the landlord's responsibility to insure the building and premises and the tenant's responsibilities to insure all contents. Also outline who will take care of snow removal, maintenance duties, lawn care, etc.

For reference use only. Not intended to identify all hazards, or reflect all requirements of federal, state, or local law.

For additional loss control assistance, please contact us!

Content © 2009-2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


Commercial Property Management selecting tenants

Selecting a reliable, trustworthy tenant to occupy your commercial property is one of the most important parts of owning investment real estate. To select tenants who will treat your property with respect, consider the following suggestions:

general suggestions

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Keep your property in good condition. Make sure it is clean, tidy and that everything is in good working order. This will attract more reliable tenants.

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Ask for rent that is comparable to other similar properties. Asking too much for your property may deter quality applicants.

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Hire a property manager who can conduct background checks, screen applicants and keep the property in solid working order. This will take some of the burden off you and will make the manager the point person once the property is rented.

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Remain patient as you screen potential renters. Since removing bad tenants is quite costly, remaining patient for a good tenant is worthwhile.

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Properly screen all applicants to determine their credentials. Do not rely on their word to validate their background and credit history.

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When renting out your property, make all tenants sign a Lease Agreement. This document should be accompanied by a full inventory and condition of the rental property. Also include the insurance requirements of the tenant, such as the landlord's responsibility to insure the building and premises and the tenant's responsibilities to insure all contents. Also outline who will take care of snow removal, maintenance duties, lawn care, etc.

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Consider the impact on the current tenants or neighbors of renting to a potential tenant. Will the potential tenants cause a noise disturbance? Pollution? Conflict business with current tenants?

For reference use only. Not intended to identify all hazards, or reflect all requirements of federal, state, or local law.

For additional loss control assistance, please feel free to contact us!

Content © 2009-2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


Commercial Property securing the premises

Protecting your property against theft, vandalism and damage is one of the best measures you can take in preserving your investment. First, conduct a building survey to identify the areas in which you could be vulnerable. Then, install deterrents to protect your investment, such as perimeter protection, gates and locks and alarm systems. Consider these safeguards when determining how to best protect your property:

commercial property crime prevention

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Install security cameras to view outside openings (doors and windows) and connect that to a recorder. Opt for closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring that can survey the site around the clock.

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Consider hiring guards and/or a mobile patrol service to conduct drive-by checks of the building.

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Install an alarm transmission system that triggers when someone enters the building without permission. There are several options to choose from including: direct wire, derived local channel system, McCulloh transmitter, multiplex or radio system.

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Install perimeter protection, such as fencing, around the entire property. This provides your first line of defense, and a physical barrier against vandalism and/or theft. Consider wood stockade fencing, barbed wire or chain-link fencing to deter intruders.

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Limit the number of entrances or gates that individuals can use to enter your property.

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Place a combination or key-operated lock on all gates. Security padlocks should have a covered shackle to resist bolt cutters and sawing, and should lock on both sides of the shackle.

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Place lighting along the fence line to ensure that intruders have no cover in darkness when trying to infringe on your property. Lighting should be placed on all four sides of the property.

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Install good interior lighting that is illuminated 24 hours a day.

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Place padlocks that can resist hammering, cutting and sawing on cellar doors. Also, design cellar doors made of metal that are impossible to smash open.

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If possible, opt for a pitched roof instead of a flat one. A flat roof provides cover for an intruder and is easier to walk on. Also, be mindful that an intruder can remove mechanical equipment placed on the roof (air conditioner, for example) and enter the building through the opening. To deter theft, chain this equipment down to the roof.

 

For reference use only. Not intended to identify all hazards, or reflect all requirements of federal, state, or local law.

For additional loss control assistance, please contact us!

Content © 2009-2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.



Commercial Property fire prevention

Owners and managers of commercial and business facilities have an obligation to maintain safe conditions for employees and occupants. The most common causes of commercial residential fires result from negligent cooking, improperly discarded smoking materials, negligent candle burning and faulty electrical equipment. To reduce the risk of damage and injury at your commercial property, there are three main objectives that should be satisfied: install proper prevention equipment, inform tenants of risks and establish an effective evacuation plan.

fire prevention equipment & planning

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Check with local authorities to verify building code and fire codes for your premise. If a sprinkler system is not required, the National Fire Protection Association recommends installing a sprinkler system for safety and liability. To ensure that the system works properly when and if a fire arises, routinely inspect, and conduct maintenance and testing.

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Equip building with a fire alarm system and smoke detectors, both in units and common areas; check detectors regularly and change the batteries at least every six months.

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Place fire extinguishers in common areas of the building.

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Provide adequate emergency lights and exit signs. These items maintain a sense of order and reduce panic in the event of a fire. Routinely inspect these safety materials for damage and reliability.

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Establish an evacuation plan for your tenants. At each exit and on a posting's board, display a floor plan of your building with the exits and a primary and secondary escape routes clearly marked. Provide this information to your tenants when they move in, renew their leases or semi-annually as a reminder.

tenant safety recommendations

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Never leave cooking food unattended.

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Exercise caution with smoking materials. Discard them in ash trays and never throw the ashes in the trash. Instead, flush them down the toilet.

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Never leave burning candles unattended. Always place candles in proper holders on a sturdy surface away from children, pets and materials that could catch fire.

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Unplug appliances when not in use.

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Place space heaters at least three feet away from items that could catch fire. Always unplug and turn them off before going to bed.

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Check smoke alarm at least twice per year and change the batteries

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Practice a safety evacuation plan and be familiar with the building's exits.

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Never use an elevator during a fire; always use the stairs.

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Keep a fire extinguisher in their unit.

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Never paint any fire sprinkler, never hang anything from any part of a fire sprinkler system, never stack items close to fire sprinklers (at least 18 inches below fire sprinkler heads); and always report damage to any part of a sprinkler system immediately.

     

For additional resources, please contact us!

Content © 2009-2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


Commercial Property sprinkler system maintenance

To help ensure a fire sprinkler system operates properly, routine fire sprinkler maintenance and testing is required and recommended by industry organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

general inspection

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Check control valves weekly to verify they are in the open position.

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Inspect all sprinkler heads regularly to verify they are free of dust, paint, residue, etc.

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Check to ensure storage items are at least 18 inches below sprinkler heads to allow adequate discharge. Some newer sprinklers require 36 inches clearance. To verify your sprinkler requirements, check the manufacturer's instructions.

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Inspect all piping to ensure that nothing is hung from it and it is well supported.

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Inspect fire department connections to verify the connections are both accessible and visible.

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Verify caps or plugs are in place and undamaged.

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Verify adequate heat is maintained to prevent freezing.

maintenance

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Keep replacement sprinkler heads and a replacement wrench on hand.

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Perform operational testing on a regularly scheduled basis. This includes testing water flow devices, sprinkler valve tampers and the main drain for each sprinkler system.

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Maintain testing records for file review.

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A full sprinkler system inspection should be performed quarterly by a knowledgeable professional. Some states and cities require more frequent inspections. Most sprinkler contractors offer economical, long-term service agreements. These contractors can provide you with test certificates, which will comply with your insurance company and local fire department inspection requirements.

For additional assistance, please contact us!

Content © 2009-2010 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Managing Mold Exposures

The explosive growth in toxic mold damage claims since 2002 has led to an almost universal exclusion of mold-related claims in commercial property and general liability policies. To close this gap, consider a customized environmental insurance policy, which specifically addresses mold as a covered cause of loss.

Transferring Risk

For those in the building industry, a contractors pollution liability (CPL) policy is specifically adapted to address mold as a pollutant. CPL insurance was originally developed in the 1980s for hazardous waste firms before mold was a pollutant of concern. Today, CPL is commonly purchased by those performing environmental and mold remediation work, but any contractor that constructs or works in buildings occupied by people should have a modified CPL endorsement to cover its mold-loss exposure.

According to environmental risk management experts, there are over 100 different manuscript environmental insurance policies available, and most can be adapted to cover toxic mold. With so much to consider, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. can assist you in designing a policy that meets your business-specific needs.

Contract Provisions

Anyone entering into a real estate, construction or other kind of contract concerning real property should consider whether or not the risk of future mold claims and remediation should be allocated by contract and, if so, how. For instance, construction contracts and real estate leases may include indemnity language specifically intended to:

  • allocate liability for mold-related personal injury claims;

  • include representations and/or warranties concerning absence of mold; and
  • name the party(s) responsible for identifying and remediating mold.

If you are entering into a contract, be sure to read the contract language carefully to gain a clear understanding of your portion of the liability.

Managing Exposures

In addition to transferring risk through insurance and contracts, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. has the resources to help you develop protocols to identify, prevent and remediate mold. If there is an established standard operating procedure for prevention of mold and water intrusion, underwriters will weigh that favorably. We can provide information to help you to:

  • determine if a mold problem exists;
  • establish prevention methods; and
  • correct the problem through remediation.

The environmental insurance market is constantly changing to meet the needs of the marketplace. We are committed to developing solid relationships with top-rated carriers who are experienced in environmental liability coverages. Contact us today to learn more about how our expertise can benefit you. ◊

This Coverage Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.

Protect Your Property with Ordinance and Law Coverage

Do you own an older building or is your building subject to significant building code changes, if it needed to be rebuilt? If so, then you may need Building Ordinance and Law coverage.

Most insurance policies are written to allow a building owner to rebuild to the condition it was in prior to the loss. If an ordinance requires more, such as being brought up to code if it sustains more than 50 percent damage to the entire structure, an owner could be facing significant out-of-pocket expenses, which may range from slight modifications (installing hard-wired smoke detectors) to vastly more complicated and expensive modifications (installing fire sprinklers). To combat the cost of these projects, building owners can purchase Ordinance and Law Insurance. This protects an owner or association against losses resulting from the enforcement of new laws or ordinances, or changes to existing laws.

Ordinance and Law Insurance also protects against losses after a disaster. It serves to cover the following losses:

  • Covers losses for rebuilding a portion of a structure when part of it is damaged from a fire.
  • Covers losses when new building codes require that a partially damaged structure be torn down and rebuilt, versus repaired after a loss.
  • Covers losses when associations must install improvements that were not part of an existing structure before a disaster.
Coverage Details
  • Demolition Coverage: If the undamaged portion of a structure must be demolished to rebuild the entire structure to comply with building codes, this coverage pays for the cost to demolish the undamaged part of the structure.
  • Loss of Value: If the undamaged portion of a structure was not technically "damaged" based on the verbiage in a typical fire protection policy, then this coverage pays for the loss to rebuild the undamaged part of the building.
  • Increased Cost of Construction: Coverage pays for increased expenses for getting a building up to code, or to repair a damaged building that currently met building codes prior to a loss.

Ordinance and Law Insurance is excluded from a typical Property Insurance policy but can be added as an endorsement for a reasonable premium. It is common sense that owners of older structures with greater exposures should purchase this policy to cover "losses" for repairs. To determine if you need this coverage, review your policy and contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. to discuss your exposures. We're always here to help!

This Coverage Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.