Inquiring Owners FAQ
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED? - For the convenience of our renters and maintenance personnel we have chosen to be near the center of Las Vegas. Our address is 4033 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89102. We are located on the southwest corner of Charleston and Valley View in the Westgate shopping center.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE? - Our rates vary from 5%-15% with 10% being the most common. There are several factors that would determine the percentage charged, such as amount of rent to be collected, type of property, number of units or properties, etc.
AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE A PROPERTY MANAGER? - Yes and No. Nevada State law requires that you have a representative in the county or within 60 miles of the rental property. Below is an exerpt of the statute:
NRS 118A.260 Disclosure of names and addresses of managers and owners; emergency telephone number; service of process.
- The landlord, or any person....
(a) The name..
(b) A telehone number at which a responsible person who resides in the county or within 60 miles of where the premises are located may be called in case of emergency.
That also means that an owner can not use a 1-800 number or an answering service for "taking calls". An owner doesn't necessarily have to use a property manager. There are two other options. First, the owner can manage the rental themselves if they meet the above criteria of living in the county or within 60 miles of the rental or they can engage someone as an employee to handle the rental. Of course that gets messy with taxes, deductions, workers compensation, insurance etc.
HOW MUCH WILL MY UNIT/PROPERTY RENT FOR? - We base the rental fee on several factors including size, property type, amenities, as well as what other comparable properties have been leased for. We are a member of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors and have an extensive database available through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RENT MY PROPERTY? - Vacancy factors throughout the city are well below 8%. The fastest turn without having a tenant previously lined up has been 1.5 hours. The average time is about 24 days. Many factors influence demand. The biggest of course will be price. Price actually has two faces. Price as compared to other similar properties, and price in and of itself. If the subject rental is $2,500.00 per month, there is a much smaller market from which to draw a qualified tenant than for a property priced below $1000.00 per month. This means that usually it will take longer to rent a property with a higher rental price.
WHEN OWNERS GET THEIR CHECKS? - Owners funds are directly deposited into your account electronically on the 10th of the month. Sometimes tenants are late with their payments. For those properties we have a second round of payments that are made on the 20th of the month. It is always good for owners to keep their mortgage payments paid at least one month in advance in the event that a tenant does not pay on time or there is an eviction.
CAN YOU PUT THE MONEY STRAIGHT INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT?- Absolutely! We are set up to use electronic bank deposits (ACH) as long as the routing number and bank account number are provided.
DO YOU PAY ALL THE BILLS? - We will pay as many bills as you want us to handle and are comfortable with. Many owners want to handle it themselves... we're flexible. If you want us to pay your mortgage bill we require a minimum amount equal to one mortgage payment be kept in your account with us as a reserve... just in case the tenant does not pay, we will have the necessary funds to still make your mortgage payment.
WHO PAYS THE MORTGAGE WHEN THE PROPERTY IS VACANT? - You do.
HOW MANY VACANCIES DO YOU HAVE? - The rental market is strong as long as you are priced properly. The vacancy factor is influenced by many factors including general economy, interest rates, and current impact of terrorist threats. As interest rates decline, more renters can buy. When tourism is negatively impacted, there are job layoffs and less spending, renters and their families move in together... that weakens rental demand.
HOW SOON CAN YOU START MANAGING MY PROPERTY? -If you are not currently involved with a licensed management firm we can start immediately. Just call our office (725-244-4777) and we will be happy to get you a management package. If you have a manager currently you will need to discontinue their services, according to your agreement, before we would be able to become involved and manage the property for you. We can help you with that as well.
DO I GET A WRITTEN STATEMENT? - Of course, YES, every month! Most owners prefer to get their funds and documents delivered electronically. That way you always have everything at your finger tips and can print any invoice or statemtn out as often as you need to.
HOW DO I GET RID OF MY CURRENT MANAGER? - We can provide you with a professional letter that you can forward to your current manager. After that is sent out and received, we normally can get involved and complete the transition right away.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU KEEP IN THE OWNERS TRUST ACCOUNT FOR REPAIRS? - We would like to have a minimum of $300.00 per property and/or a minimum of $50.00 per unit. This of course will vary with the total number of units involved. Many owners keep much, much more.... we're flexible. If repairs must wait because of insufficient funds then the tenants will suffer. In the long run an owners profits may suffer because tenants will move when repairs are not completed in a timely manner.
DO YOU SELL REAL ESTATE TOO? - Yes. However, 98% of what we do centers around Property Management. We do not actively seek sales. When the time comes most of our owners will request that we either find them additional investments or list their existing rentals. Since we have had a long term relationship these owners are comfortable with our recommendations.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE TO GET A NEW TENANT? -We charge between $125.00 and $500.00. We guarantee the new tenant for up to ½ of the lease term. If the tenant should vacate before that time then we will not charge a placement fee when we put the next tenant in. Of course, the owner will always be charged for out of pocket advertising, and any referral fees paid to other MLS Brokers that refer a tenant.
WHO HOLDS THE TENANTS SECURITY DEPOSIT? - We do. In Nevada the Broker is always responsible for the money. Below we have retyped the Nevada Statutes regarding this matter.
NRS 645.310 Deposits and trust accounts: Accounting; commingling; records; inspection and audit.
- All deposits accepted...
- Every real estate salesman...
- A real estate broker shall...
If a broker receives money, as a broker, which belongs to others, he shall promptly deposit the money in a separate checking account in a bank in this state which must be designated a trust account. All down payments, earnest money deposits, rents, or other money which he receives, on behalf of his principal or any other person, must be deposited in the account unless all persons who have an interest in the money have agreed otherwise in writing. A real estate broker in his discretion may pay to any seller or the seller's agent the whole or any portion of such deposit. The real estate broker is personally responsible and liable for such deposit at all times. A real estate broker shall not permit any advance payment of money belonging to others to be deposited in the real estate broker's business or personal account or to be commingled with any money he may have on deposit.
HOW MUCH SECURITY DEPOSIT DO YOU CHARGE THE TENANT? - As a general rule of thumb we usually get a minimum of 90% of the rent. So, if the monthly rent was $1000.00 we would normally take in $900.00 as a security deposit. However, there are many factors that make up the figure. Are there pets, gate cards, pool keys, furniture, garage door openers, etc. Is it a brand new home or is the property made of stone from the dark ages? Why 90%? Because we do not want the tenant, or the courts, to think that it is last months rent. Also it usually only takes 15 days to evict a tenant. Assuming no extensive damage the deposit should cover most of the expenses and unpaid rent. Extremely high security deposits are great if you can get them.... but they also keep good tenants from being able to afford the overall move-in.
DO YOU WORK WITH SECTION 8? Not currently. This may change if HUD changes its accounting policy.
HOW DO YOU CHECK OUT PROSPECTIVE TENANTS? - In addition to verifying their current residence, payment history, and employment status, we complete a detailed credit check. We are able to get a credit rating from anyone no matter where they have lived in the past. If we need to we will demand pay stubs and/or reference letters. We only take cash or the equivalent of cash at move in.. no bounced checks thank you very much... we've seen the movie Pacific Heights.
ARE YOU LICENSED? -Yes. We have a real estate brokers license and property management permit (#33384) and business license (#M01-04734-4-064054) through the state of Nevada and City of Las Vegas respectively. In addition, we are members of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Relaters.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE EVICTIONS? - The eviction process in Nevada when compared to other areas of the country is fast. We normally begin the eviction process on the 6th of the month by posting a 5 Day Pay or Quit Notice at the property. When the mandatory time has expired and the tenants have still not met their obligations we will file the appropriate paperwork (Affidavit of Complaint, Order for Summary Eviction, Instructions to the Constable etc.) with the Justice Court and Constables office. Usually between 2-4 business days later the tenants will be physically removed from the property and the locks will be changed. The entire process averages about 15 days
HOW DO I GET MONEY THAT IS OWED AFTER A TENANT LEAVES? - There are basically two ways. If you know where the x-tenant is, you will have to sue him in court for either damages, rent, or both. Suing for damages can be difficult since proving who caused them after the tenant has moved out is challenging. If you don't know where the tenant is, which is usually the case, then the account can be placed with a collection agency. They will attempt to collect any outstanding balances and usually charge up to 50% of what is collected as their fee.
WHO PAYS TO ADVERTISE THE PROPERTY? - Ultimately, in any pricing structure, with any company, the owner does. We decided to charge less to place a new tenant than most firms do but pass through any advertising costs. In the long run this usually saves the owner money. Why? Because in many cases we don't have to advertise at all. Why pay a firm ½ of the first months rent and they absorb the advertising costs. There is a possibility that you're paying for nothing. On the other hand, if it is a difficult property to rent and needs extensive advertising, it shouldn't be the property managements obligation to absorb those extra expenses. We keep it simple.... you're charged for exactly what you get. We give you a copy of the advertising bill from the newspaper and they break down all the charges by property.
WHAT EXPENSES WILL I INITIALLY INCUR WHEN CHOOSING YOU? - We normally do not have any costs, however your situation or property may require some expense if it is not ready to rent. Many owners, as the first act of business, need us to evict a tenant. Of course there will be eviction and court costs etc. that will need to be funded before we get involved. Or possibly, the property needs a major overhaul requiring plumbing work, landscaping, roofing, painting, new carpet, fixtures etc. In those instances, since we have never been involved with the property before, we charge 15% of the renovation costs to handle getting the property ready to rent. If your property is basically ready to go, then there are no up front fees.
HOW LONG OF A LEASE DO YOU SIGN? - We are open to any length term of lease or month to month rental agreement. Most tenants want a 6-12 month lease. Owners come in all varieties. Some want long term, others short term. We're flexible
WHAT IS THE TERM OF YOUR MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT? - We normally write a 12 month agreement. However, according to the terms, it can be terminated by either party with 30 days written notice. In actuality, we are willing to terminate in 24 hours as long as all outstanding charges have been paid. We do not feel it is in anyone's best interest to hold an owner just for the sake of holding them. However, a property will not be released until all accounts have been rectified and cleared.
DO YOU ISSUE 1099'S AT THE END OF THE YEAR? - Yes. For those properties that grossed $600.00 or more in income.
WHAT SORT OF RESTRICTIONS CAN I IMPOSE ON A TENANT? - Usually when we get this question, an owner is really asking who can I keep out. We follow all government laws and guidelines. If you are going to be in the rental business you cannot afford to biased. It isn't worth it. Every demographic group, rich or otherwise, has it's percentage of problem tenants. However, if you are referring to unprotected classes such as pets, smokers, drug dealers etc., then yes you have a choice. You can always impose any restriction you like that deals directly with the property and not the tenant. Restrictions on alterations to the property, number of vehicles, size and type of vehicles (no planes or tanks), landscaping, wallpaper, painting etc.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THE TENANT WILL MAINTAIN MY PROPERTY? - Being a landlord and having rentals is a 'business'. With any business or investment there comes with it a certain amount of risk. The most realistic answer to the question is that you "can't be sure" of anything. However, you can take the necessary steps to reduce your risk by using a property manager that checks a tenants background, makes them sign a solid lease agreement, and checks on the tenant periodically. Always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It's only a small percentage of people that do major amounts of harm to a property. On the other hand, there is also a small percentage of tenants that will go out of their way to improve the property like putting in landscaping, footing the bill for painting, or putting in a patio or driveway. Most people fall in the middle. There are no guarantees in life.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE WHEN THE PROPERTY IS VACANT? - We only charge a Management Fee on collected rents. Soooo, if a property is vacant there normally isn't any charge. However, that is not to say that you may elect to spend money regarding your rental on making repairs or advertising. But that is up to you.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH YOU. WHAT'S THE FIRST STEP? - It's easy, just give us a call at(725) 244-4777. Give us the particulars of the subject property (rental), and your address where you would like us to send your packet containing the necessary forms and paperwork. That's it. Or we can email you a management package. Just fill out the paperwork and get it back to us and we will get started right away.
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT PETS AND SMOKERS ? - They exist and make up large paying demographic groups. Let's take pets. Tenants know that only a small percentage of owners 'allow' pets. Consequently, many pet owners feel they must deceive a landlord about having a pet. They justify it in their mind because they don't see their pet as being a problem. This means that on occasion you will rent to a person without pets only to find later on that they have a pet. At this point you have a decision to make. Remember, the property is an investment. The question you need to ask yourself is..if the pet has caused damage, and you evict the tenant because of the pet, will you be better off? You will get as much of the deposit as possible to make the repairs and you will have a vacancy.... no income. If you let the pet stay (assuming no more damages), you will still have to make the repairs when the tenant decides to leave, but you will have the income while the tenant is in the property. If the pet isn't causing any harm, it's always better to let them stay. The same goes for smokers. We have had properties where all the carpet had to be replaced, and the unit painted twice, just to get rid of the smoke stains and odors. The choice, from a risk standpoint would be to avoid all smokers and pet owners. The reality is, they're not always going to tell you the truth and you will end up with them anyway. So, maybe it would be better to allow both groups but put up restrictions. It's not an easy question to answer. For the most part it depends on you. It's your property. The more people you exclude, potentially the longer it will take to rent.... and on average the vacancy will always cost more than making the repairs.
WHAT IS THE 'MLS' AND WHAT GOOD IS IT? - MLS stands Multiple Listing Service. It's the computer system that most realtors access to advertise their properties to all of the other realtors. It's free, until you actually benefit from it. Lets say that your property rents for $1000 a month. We normally offer up to $250 referral fee to other realtors who bring us a qualified tenant that is accepted. That means that if by using the MLS your property is rented just 8 days sooner than it would have been otherwise, you've saved yourself money.... ($1000/30=33.33 33.33x8= 266.64). It doesn't cost anything to list and the referral fee comes out of the first months rent.
DO YOU PICK UP THE TENANTS RENT PAYMENTS AT THE PROPERTY? No. Most tenants use electronic banking and electronically deposit their rent into our account. In addition, we are setup so that they can make a rent payment at any 7-11 store. Otherwise, being centrally located they will just stop in or drop their payment in the mail.
DO YOU GIVE A PRICE BREAK FOR OWNERS WITH MULTIPLE PROPERTIES? Yes, but you have to have a lot of properties and/or a lot of units. We usually don't offer a break unless you have a minimum of 40 units.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR APARTMENT BUILDINGS? If the building incorporates a full time, fully functional, onsite property manager, then we charge 5% of the gross rental receipts.
WHEN DO I NEED AN ONSITE MANAGER? We usually recommend some type of onsite at 24 units or more. Some owners and buildings require one a lot sooner. There are different degrees of on-site support as well. We try to cater each building and owners requests to what's best.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TYPE OF MAINTENANCE PERSON TO SEND FOR A REPAIR? We look at the type of repair that is being made and pick the best person that is suited for the job. Many times it also has to do with "risk'. In other words, we don't send a handyman to repair or replace an electrical box or breaker board. The chances of causing a fire are to high, so we would use an electrician. However, we wouldn't use an electrician to change out some light bulbs or replace a light socket or switch, something with little or low risk, we would use a handyman. So, each instance and what is involved is evaluated and the best person is selected based on risk and cost.
IS ANYONE ON YOUR STAFF BILINGUAL? Yes. We have several Property Managers that speak other languages. Currently we can converse in Spanish, Tai, and Lao.
CAN YOU JUST GET ME A TENANT AND I'LL MANAGE THE PROPERTY MYSELF? - Unfortunately no, for a couple of reasons. First, there is the slim possibility that you or the tenant have some sort of falling out and somehow we get dragged into the mess even though the only thing we did was basically show the property. The second reason is that Nevada State Law requires all out of state owners to have a live contact person in the county in which they own their rental. It is illegal for an owner to handle a rental property here without a live representative.
THE PERSON I SPOKE TO ON THE PHONE ISN'T THE PROPERTY MANAGER I GOT, HOW COME? - Handling multiple properties is time intensive. It's extremely difficult to do from behind a desk. Consequently, most of the property managers spend a great deal of time out in the field, at the properties. We have yet to figure out how a Property Manager can adequately show the inside of your property from behind their desk in the office. Consequently, most of the time you will speak to someone in the office that is available to answer your questions, but may not be the best person suited for your type of property. We then assign the property to the person we feel can do the best job.
Current Owners FAQ
I JUST RECEIVED MY MONTHLY STATEMENT BUT THERE WASN'T A CHECK, WHY NOT? - There could be a number of reasons of why this happened. The first and most obvious is that the tenant didn't pay. You need to look at your statements first to determine this. If they did pay there normally would be rent received in the income column of your owner statement. Please give your property manager a call if you have any concerns and they will be glad to answer any questions you might have.
The second most common problem is that your expenses exceeded the income. You should then find one or more receipts or paid invoices in with your statement. In addition there is a listing of expenses paid on your statement in the Expense column.
The final most likely reason is that your funds are being held in anticipation of authorized work being completed. Let's say you need a new roof and instead of you sending $2500.00 to us now, you elect to have the rents build up in your account until there is enough to have the roofing work completed.
I THOUGHT MY TENANT MOVED IN ON THE FIRST, WHY IS MY CHECK SHORT?-The most common reason is expenses. Normally when we take over a new property and put in a tenant for the first time, there could be as many as three separate reasons why your check would appear to be short. First of all would be that we charge a Tenant Placement fee for getting you a tenant. Secondly, there could be a referral fee to an outside broker if indeed another office supplied us/you with a qualified tenant that was accepted. And finally, there is the Owner Reserve amount that is kept in your account for expenses that may occur between receiving rents.
WILL I GET THE TENANTS WHOLE DEPOSIT IF THERE ARE REPAIRS NEEDED? - Sometimes the hardest thing to get owners to understand is that their personal living style can not be mandated unto a tenant. So, if you would replace a mini blind simply because one of the fingers going across it was bent, doesn't mean that would be imposed on a tenant as a deduction from their deposit. The courts look at it more from a reasonable wear and tear standpoint and what might be considered average living conditions. We've had owners replace all the carpet in a unit because of some small stains in one back bedroom and expect the tenants deposit to foot the bill. It doesn't work that way. You can only charge a tenant for damage, and other work that needs to be done beyond what would rationally be considered normal wear and tear.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TENANT HASN'T PAID AFTER THE 5 DAY PAY OR QUIT IS UP? - At that point we file with the appropriate Court for an Eviction. Depending which city the property is located in, it can take from one to three business days to process. After that, the court forwards the signed order to the Constable's office. The Constable then posts a 24 hour Notice to Vacate. That posting can take one to two days. From there, the Constable goes out the following day, with a locksmith, and physically removes everyone in the property. After that it usually takes a day or two to get the new keys from the locksmith.
HOW SOON CAN YOU GET THE ROOF OR A/C REPLACED? - It takes longer to get roof bids than a/c bids. Assuming that there is enough money in your account to cover the expense, we can usually get an entire a/c replaced in 3-4 days, and a roof would take 3-4 weeks.
THE TENANT IS LATE AND I CAN'T MAKE MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT, WHAT DO I DO? - We advise all our owners to not only keep their mortgage payments paid one month in advance, but also to keep enough repair money set aside for new water heaters or air conditioning units. If you don't, you'll end up in a situation where the tenant doesn't pay and your credit is going to get damaged. Short term solutions are to borrow the money. Get an advance on your credit card. The interest you pay is cheaper than the damage that will be done to your credit.
THE TENANTS LEASE ISN'T UP, HOW CAN THEY JUST GET UP AND MOVE OUT?- If written laws, and written "contracts", were never broken, then we wouldn't need police, there wouldn't be any crime, and rarely would anybody need to go to court. Unfortunately, a piece of paper is not going to keep a tenant in the property if he needs to move.
THIS IS THE TENANTS SECOND MONTH, WHY IS MY CHECK SHORT AGAIN? - In addition to all of the possible reasons given above, the most common reason is because the tenant moved in, in the middle of the prior month. When this happens, we make the tenant pay for a full month of rent at move-in, and then pay the smaller, prorated portion the second month. Doing it this way prevents a tenant of say moving in on the 23rd and only paying one week in rent, and then not paying again and we immediately have to start an eviction. So usually what happens is that they pay the full months rent at move-in, from which Referral Fees, Tenant Placement Fees, Owner Reserve etc is subtracted from, then the second month the tenant only owes for a couple of weeks or so, and the check is again less than what an owner will normally expect to receive.
I'M IN TOWN TODAY, WHEN CAN I INSPECT MY PROPERTY? - Hopefully you previously set up an appointment ahead of time with your property manager. If you didn't, and you want to see it today, then the tenant will have to "allow" you in. Otherwise, you have to give the tenant 24 hours written notice.
ISN'T THE TENANT SUPPOSSED TO PAY THE TRASH? WHY AM I GETTING BILLED? - The trash company is one of the utilities that can lien your property if the bills aren't paid. Consequently, it is in your best interest to pay the trash bill out of your account and then we bill the tenant. That way the tenant doesn't get behind and we are able to monitor the utility bills that can directly impact your property. Usually the tenant then reimburses you with their next rent payment.
I THINK I WANT TO SELL, CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THAT? - Certainly. We are a licensed Real Estate office and can handle sales as well as management. In fact, most owners prefer to go through us. If we have been managing you property for some time then we usually will take 2.5% commission and offer 3.5% commission to outside brokers. That extra half a percent makes a big difference in getting offers on your property over other available properties.
I'VE DECIDED TO MOVE BACK INTO THE PROPERTY, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE TENANT? - Assuming that the tenant has a valid lease agreement, and they want to stay until the end of the lease term, you probably won't be able to move back in. If they are on month-to-month, then you will need to go through the 30 day eviction process. Of course none of this will happen if the tenant decides they want to move and just move out. We've seen owners financially help the tenants move. Sometimes this is cheaper in the long run than waiting for them to move and having the owner make other interim arrangements.
WHAT ARE THESE OTHER INCOME FIGURES ON MY STATEMENT? - Usually these "other" income receipts are reimbursements of one kind or another from the tenant. Sometimes they are utility refunds after a tenant has taken over or possibly it is a payment from the tenant reimbursing the owner for utilities, such as trash or electricity, that the owner paid on the tenants behalf while the tenant was getting the utilities transferred over. There are many reasons. Just contact your property manager and they will be glad to explain it to you.
I'VE GOT RENTALS IN CLAIFORNIA, CAN YOU HANDLE THEM? - Unfortunately not. We are only licensed in Nevada.
WHY DID YOU CHANGE PROPERTY MANAGERS ON ME? - We adjust or spread out the work load in an attempt to give a high level of service to everyone. As we continue to grow, at times we will add an additional manager and then adjust all of our current accounts to provide better service for everyone.
MY ASSOCIATION DUES WENT UP, CAN I INCREASE THE TENANTS RENT TO COVER THIS?- Maybe. It depends pretty much on whether there is a Month-To-Month Lease Agreement in place. If there is, then we can issue a 45 day notice to increase rent. Otherwise, if there is a long term lease in place you would have to wait for that to finish before increasing the rent.
THE REPAIR BIDS ARE HIGH. CAN'T MY FRIEND OR THE TENANTS DO THE WORK? - You can have anyone you choose do the work you want on your property. However, if they are not insured you always stand the chance that they could get injured and then they will end up owning your building. We have found that about 95% of the time, using friends or anyone else that is not in the construction/repair business, full-time, is a huge mistake. The work is almost always lacking and rarely is it completed in a timely manner. If you insist on using someone like this, you will be the one ordering the work, inspecting the work, and paying for the work. Since there is so much at risk, we normally will not get involved since we will want to keep an arms length distance from the transaction just in case there is a problem.
We had a situation once where the owner insisted on using the tenant to replace the landing on the second story of a four plex. We warned him of the huge liability he was putting himself in. Sure enough, the tenant had a friend over to help him. The friend ended up losing his footing and stepping between the flooring joist, and then falling through a plate glass window. He of course ended up in the hospital without insurance and they expected the owner to step forward and pay for everything.
I RECEIVED A NOTICE FROM THE CITY TO MAKE A BUNCH OF REPAIRS, WHAT CAN I DO? - The city, in conjunction with the mayors office, is trying to 'clean up' areas of the city. Their methods include using inspectors from the Neighborhood Services Department to inspect and cite properties for code violations. They also work hand in hand with the Fire Department to achieve the same results. If you do not comply with their requests they have the power to shut down your building and eventually demolish it. You of course have legal recourse and there is a system in place where you can take your case before the city council. This is a lengthy process. Keep in mind it is the city that is backing these people.