What Your Landlord Doesn’t Want You To Know

landlord-1Quick question; one chilly morning, the heat goes out in your apartment and in response your landlord brings over a space heater. Do you;

a) Thank him

b) Ask when he/she is going to fix the broken furnace?

Whether you want to be polite or not, the correct answer is b. Sure, you can dole out a quick thanks for the temporary fix but be sure to make it clear that it is only that, a temporary fix.

Sadly, the majority of tenants in Portland are unaware that the landlord is required by the law of state to repair and replace the primary heating unit and the air conditioning as soon as possible. Failure to adhere to the set regulations presents a breach of the rental contract and also poses a risk to the tenants.

So why should you know this? Isn’t it the landlord’s job to keep check of such? Well, welcome to the renting world where it is always up to you to stay alert. Keeping in mind that many landlords aren’t well versed with their legal obligations, you get to understand why you are the only one that can save yourself.

And although housing laws may vary from state to state, here’s what you should know about renting in Portland

> The non-refundable cleaning fee

This is one of the most common forms of exploitation that comes up when paying the upfront costs. While the idea behind paying a deposit is that you, the tenant, get to have the amount back in the future, the included cleaning fee which often ranges from $150-$300, is often termed as non-refundable, this is not right.

> Eviction

Improperly calculated termination dates and the use of ambiguous language in termination notices are quite synonymous with landlords in Portland, reason why you need to be aware of your rights as a tenant during eviction. There are countless attorneys in Portland that are more than willing to explain how the whole process should be and your rights.

The above are just but a few things to keep an eye out for when dealing with your landlord. At the end of the day, if we all stand up for ourselves and right our wrongs, we just might make Portland every renter’s dream.

How do you grow in Portland?

Portland SEO ConsultantsAs a business owner, what do you focus on in order to grow your business?

Customer Service?  That’s a great answer it seems.  You provide a quality product and word will spread, right?  Eventually everyone will know that you’re the guy to go to for your service.

Competitive Pricing!  Hmmm.  That’s a slippery slope.  If your approach to getting people in the door is to always have the lowest price then you’ll always be cutting your margins thinner and thinner.  Additionally, you don’t frequently equate low price with high quality.  Are you sure that’s the perception you want your business to have?

Advertising.  Okay, yes, advertising is good.  But what kind of advertising?  Are you just going to post in the newspaper and hope someone finds it?  Are you going to pay big bucks to the Yellow Pages and expect that people are going to actually open up that archaic door stop of a book and find you?

Okay I give, so how do you grow your business in Portland?

Well, the answer is kind of “all of the above.”  But that’s not good enough and I realize this.

As a business owner, you should be able to focus on priority #1… and that’s providing a great service.  But that doesn’t mean you can overlook the other aspects of your business.  I’m seeing so many local businesses that have no website or if they do have a website it is just an obligatory online business card of sorts.  What good does that do you?

It’s 2014!  Everyone is using their mobile phones and internet to search and find exactly what they need.  If you are not showing up in their searches, they are not going to find you.  They will find your competition and you will slowly go the way of the printed newspaper or the big yellow phone book.

What you need is a solid web marketing plan, and there are great companies in Portland that are SEO expert consultants!  This means they spend their entire day and nights manipulating websites and analyzing search results like a mad scientist so they can get their clients to show up in front of their prospective customers.

So how do you grow your business in Portland?  You provide a killer service, partner up with experts who can help you expand online, and build for the future instead of living in the past.

Cleanest Air in America?

Back in 2005 Readers Digest did a study of the top 50 most populated cities in the country.  They wanted to determine which city was the “Cleanest City in America”.

Portland-OregonTo no surprise for those of us who live here, Portland was ranked the #1 cleanest city in America of the top 50 largest cities.  Yay us!

But is that misleading?  Is our air really so clean that we don’t need to think about air quality?

There was another study done by the EPA where they measured the indoor air quality versus outdoor air quality.  Guess what they found out?

“indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.”

Yikes.  This is an even more sobering statistic when you realize that the amount of moisture, mildew, and mold that we have here in the Pacific Northwest.  That mold and mildew grows in our heating and cooling systems, our vents and air ducts.  So while we may be living in the cleanest city in America, chances are we are in more danger then those who live in drier climates for having polluted indoor air.

So what can we do about polluted air in our homes? Or worse yet, in our business?

Well, you have 2 options.  You can do it yourself, which in reality will only clean about 25% of your problem, or you can hire professional cleaners to do it for you.

Personally, I wouldn’t risk the health of my family to save a few bucks, so I recommend hiring professionals.  And there are a number of great companies in Portland to choose from, so check out reviews online and talk to your friends about who they recommend.  I would suggest that you go with a company that uses truck mounted vacuum systems, as only those are powerful enough to clean your entire system.

I guess there is a 3rd option… get outside and breathe the cleanest air in America!

What’s so weird about investing?

portland investment managementSomething must be weird about investing.  “Why?” you ask… because Portland is full of investment management firms and financial planners.  And you know, everything that Portland does is weird, right?

Okay, so maybe not everything Portland does is weird.  But with that aside, how do you know who to trust with your finances with everyone and your brother-in-law claim to be financial planners?  It’s not as simple as looking in the yellow pages (remember those?) and calling the one with the biggest ad.  I recommend talking to your successful friends and family members, find out who they trust, and why.  Then sit down with more than one investment planner to see which one fits your personality and personal investment comfort levels the best.  After all, you’ll most likely be working with this advisor for many years to come, so you should at least make sure that you feel comfortable talking to them and asking tough questions.

So who do I rely on?  Well my investment manager is in Vancouver, just across the river.  I’ve been with him for 6 years now and he keeps me very informed and up-to-date on the market trends, at least to the level that I’m interested in.  We also share some common hobbies and other things in common.  So for us, it’s a good fit.  I highly recommend you find an investment manager who does a good job, and is a good fit for you and your family.

What’s different about Portland businesses?

Keep Portland Weird

You’ve all see the bumper sticker promoting Portland’s reputation of being just a little bit different.  For a lot of residents, that’s exactly what brought them and keeps them here in Portland.  It’s different, it’s unique, and the people that have created businesses in this town understand this.

There are few towns in America where it is easier to buy a vegan meal, commute around town on a bicycle, and find all the necessary resources to make your own beer.

So I want to focus this blog on local businesses that not only provide a great service, but also understand what’s important to Portlanders.  Like green energy, community involvement, and respect.  But let’s not trade weird for lazy.  We want to recognize those businesses that kick ass at what they do.

So stay tuned, soon we’ll be featuring a local business near you that deserves your attention and recognition for what they’re already doing.