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Company News

Ebola Information Update: Basic Facts To Know

by Michelle N. on 10/15/2014 11:47:34 AM

Ebola Information Update

Posted by Membership Department on Monday, October 06, 2014 -

With all the news and questions about the Ebola patients in Dallas, it's important to know some basic facts. Here is information from official health authorities:

From the World Health Organization:
• Ebola spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
• The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
• First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and, in some cases, bleeding (from the gums, in the stool, etc.).

From the Centers for Disease Control:
• Ebola is not spread through the air or by water. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
• Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients.
• Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
• Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles and medical equipment).

Advice for the Multifamily Industry:

• Ebola is most commonly transmitted through bodily fluids such as vomit, blood, urine and feces. We echo the public health officials by recommending an abundance of caution on any task involving unknown fluids found in common areas or vacated units. Take extra precaution to avoid – or carefully manage – all bodily fluids. We encourage you to visit the CDC website for updated information and safety precaution tips.

• Although most public health officials have publicly stated that Ebola does not survive on surfaces in “real-world settings,” it is always wise to use precaution. If you have any belief that your apartment community has symptomatic people, try to avoid “common touch” areas by using a tissue or handkerchief. Also, wash your hands frequently.

• If a resident is exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, do not direct janitorial or maintenance staff to the apartment. Immediately notify the local health department and contact the CDC for guidance regarding appropriate measures to be taken by maintenance staff.

• You may want to contact a biohazard cleanup provider for advice or services.


If you receive questions from concerned residents or the media about a possible Ebola infection on your property, we recommend referring them to the CDC and health officials, who are better qualified to answer their questions at this time. NAA, TAA and HAA are not health care professionals and guidance should come from the CDC. Here is an example statement provided by NAA for our members, if contacted by the media or concerned residents:


“We understand your concerns. Your questions are best handled by the local health officials and/or the CDC for the most current information. Our understanding is that the

building owner/manager are cooperating fully with CDC/local public health guidance and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all residents. We encourage

you to visit the CDC website for updated information and safety precaution tips. Based on current guidance, we can share that the risk appears to be contained to people with direct

contact with a symptomatic victim, or that person’s bodily fluids, such as vomit, blood and feces.”


If you find yourself involved in an Ebola case with a resident and need additional guidance, please call NAA at 703-518-6141.


More information:
CDC: or

City of Houston Health Department: or 832-393-5169
Harris County Health Department: or 713-634-1000

Dallas County has compiled a set of Ebola fact sheets in more than a dozen languages, including English and Spanish.

We recommend that people take seriously the advice from the CDC and other officials on basic things you can do to remain safe.

Company News

Buyers Access Strengthens Midwest Region

by Michelle N. on 10/14/2014 7:04:25 PM

Denver, Colo., October 15, 2014 – Buyers Access (, the nation’s leading Multifamily Group Purchasing and Cost Control specialist for the multifamily housing industry, announced today it has added Joe Graziano to the Buyers Access Sales team. Joe brings over 15 years of successful account development and management of key business to business relationships. He has a proven history of delivering procurement solutions for a wide variety of distribution products within the Senior Living industry and Group Purchasing Organizations. Most recently, Joe was a Portfolio National Account Manager with HD Supply, where he worked with executive purchasing teams as well as increased savings and efficiency within their Maintenance, Repair, and Operations programs. Joe coordinated efforts with leading companies in the Senior Living marketplace, extended operating budgets, drove compliance through contracted programs, and realized cost savings throughout the procurement process. Joe also spent 8 years with Direct Supply’s DSSI division, where he leveraged the benefits of complex e-Commerce purchasing solutions to senior level procurement teams and integrated the same platform within an extensive supply chain network. In addition, Joe spent 5 years at Lawrence University, a 550 bed facility, where he served as a Resident Hall Director as well as a Coordinator of Resident Life Programming.

Joe holds a Masters Degree in Student Affairs Administration from the University of Central Arkansas.

“We are very excited about Joe coming on board with Buyers Access. We will benefit greatly from Joe’s knowledge in e-Commerce purchasing solutions and integration. We look forward to his contributions as he will be a strong addition to our sales team and will expand our presence in the Midwest market,” Johnathan Hovanec, Vice President of Sales, Buyers Access. “I am very excited to join the Buyers Access team! The ability to offer end to end procurement solutions as well as consultative expertise to effectively implement those solutions is something I have not often seen in my 12 years supporting procurement professionals. Everyone I have met at Buyers Access is committed to the success of our business partners and I consider myself lucky to be part of this outstanding organization," says Joe.

About Buyers Access
Buyers Access is the nation’s leading Multifamily Group Purchasing and Cost Control specialist for the multifamily housing industry. We take an active role as your business partner, and provide full service solutions to help your business maximize the value of your real estate. Since 1986, Buyers Access has helped thousands of properties reduce their operating costs and become more efficient. Through the use of our operational expertise, these properties have added millions of dollars to their real estate value. Celebrating 28 years, Buyers Access looks forward to meeting new challenges in the multifamily industry. For more information, contact Buyers Access at or call 1.800.445.9169

Media Contact:
Michelle Niemeyer
Director of Marketing
Office: 253.517.5540

Company News

Nasty Workplace Germs: Learn To Protect Yourself and Co-Workers

by Michelle N. on 10/14/2014 2:38:24 PM

We have all been there, heading off to work feeling miserable, chills running through our body, with achy bones and a fever. Studies show that about half of U.S workers reported to work ill in the past year. The fear of lost wages, minimal or no paid sick time off, or guilt about missing work is typically the reason for reporting to work feeling so badly.

As flu season approaches, we thought we would share some ways to prevent getting sick from the flu, or other infectious diseases. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, some viruses and bacteria can live for hours, sometimes days, on surfaces like keyboards, desks, and phones. So as gross as it may sound, the co-worker who is hacking and sneezing all over the office can turn your work space into a breeding ground for all infectious “bugs”.

Here are a few ways to keep yourself and co-workers from getting those nasty germs:

• Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. If no tissues are around,
  sneeze or cough into the sleeve, not your hands.

• Wash your hands often during the flu and cold season, but especially

after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and warm water to wash those nasty germs away. It should take you 15-20 seconds to do a thorough job.
Helpful Tip: Don’t want to use a stop watch or keep count, try singing your ABCs or the Happy Birthday song!

Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer around your workstation.

• Use alcohol-based wipes to disinfect your keyboard, mouse, desk, phone, etc.

• Avoid close contact from co-workers who are sick.

• Stay home if you are feeling ill--no need to bring the germ party to the office.

• Get a flu shot.

So, don’t be that sick guy or girl at work and follow these easy tips to protect yourself, and co-workers, from infectious diseases in the workplace.

Company News

Come Visit us at NEAHMA Conference & Tradeshow, Booth #8

by Michelle N. on 10/13/2014 10:56:37 AM



Come visit Diane Van Lear at Booth #8 tomorrow at the NEAHMA Annual Conference and Trade Show.

Learn how your organization can leverage the
Smart Advantage Purchasing Program to improve efficiency, while increasing NOI.

Contact Diane today!

Company News

Fire Prevention Week: October 5 -11, 2014: Cintas Study Reveals Significant Lack of Household Smoke Alarm Testing

by Michelle N. on 10/6/2014 9:11:22 AM

October 5-11, 2014 is Fire Prevention week and we thought we would share results of a survey that Cintas, a Buyers Access National Supplier, recently conducted. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast, so make sure your properties are testing their smoke alarms as often as possible. Working smoke alarms save lives! 

In recognition of Fire Prevention Week and this year’s
theme, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) recently commissioned a study to determine how often Americans test their household smoke alarms. The survey revealed that 90 percent of U.S adults don’t test them monthly.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association, roughly two out of every three fire-related deaths happen in homes where a smoke detector isn't present or working properly,” said John Amann, Vice President of Operations, Cintas Corporation. “Testing a smoke alarm is as easy as pushing a button, and yet, our survey findings suggest most of us still neglect to test these devices each month. This puts us and our families in danger.”

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll in September among 2,013 adults ages 18 and older, revealed that:

    • Some adults (10 percent) test their smoke alarms at least once a month.
    • Nearly half of adults (48 percent) only test their alarms once or twice a year.
    • Almost a quarter of adults (23 percent) don’t have alarms present in their home, don’t test
      their alarms or don’t know how often their alarms are tested.

These findings reinforce the importance of this year's Fire Protection Week campaign and the fact that we still have a long way to go in educating the public about monthly smoke alarm testing.

Fore more information on Cintas fire protection services, visit


To find out more about how you can benefit from being a Buyer Access member and access a national supplier network, please contact us today!

Company News

Preparedness Planning for Your Business

by Michelle N. on 9/30/2014 3:58:58 AM

As Emergency Preparedness Month comes to a close, we thought we would offer one more reminder to review the key steps in making sure you are ready in case a disaster strikes. Please review below how to prepare your business for hazards in and around your property and residents.

Preparedness Planning for Your Business

Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic. Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism. Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.

Ready Business will assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards. This website and its tools utilize an “all hazards approach” and follows the program elements within National Fire Protection Association 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. NFPA 1600 is an American National Standard and has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The five steps in developing a preparedness program are:

Program Management

  • Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
  • Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program


  • Gather information about hazards and assess risks
  • Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
  • Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks


Write a preparedness plan addressing:

  • Resource management
  • Emergency response
  • Crisis communications
  • Business continuity
  • Information technology
  • Employee assistance
  • Incident management
  • Training

Testing and Exercises

  • Test and evaluate your plan
  • Define different types of exercises
  • Learn how to conduct exercises
  • Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan

Program Improvement

  • Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
  • Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
  • Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements

Click here for full article

Company News

Ice Melt Tips for Your Property

by Michelle N. on 9/22/2014 10:12:29 AM

With the winter season is right around the corner, ice melt products are hitting the shelves and ready to be sold out, as usual! Don’t be caught with slippery sidewalks and driveways at your property and make your ice melt purchases now. There are many varieties of ice melting products to choose from, which include: Calcium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, and Urea. No matter which product you choose, below are some great tips for applying ice melt products to your property.

Follow the ice melt instructions on the bag carefully and avoid over applying ice melt. Just because a little bit of ice melt does a good job, doesn’t mean a lot of ice melt will do a better job.

• Shovel away the majority of the snow that has accumulated first. Don’t try to melt away heaps of snow with ice melt alone, it will render poor results.

• Apply ice melt with a push-driven spreader. Using your hands or a cup will make ice melt clump and leave gaps, whereas a spreader ensures the product is applied evenly.

• Spread a light layer of ice melt before snow and/or ice storms. This can have a huge impact and make it easier on snow removal in the long run.

• Seal ice melt container/bag very well when storing. Ice melt can absorb moisture from the air and lose effectiveness over time.

Now that we have shared some tips for ice melt application, it’s time to get ahead of the mad shopping rush and purchase ice melt for your property. Buyers Access partners with a handful of national suppliers that supply great ice melt products. If you are interested in how your property can benefit from ice melt products and more, reach out to our team today. Buyers Access is the “one stop shop” that reduces property workload and provides an outstanding Multifamily Group Purchasing resource in the apartment industry.

Company News

Top 5 Tips For A Stress-Free Budget Season

by Michelle N. on 9/16/2014 8:54:56 AM

Budgeting is here. UGH, is there anyone out there that really enjoys this process? Well to help, below is a great guide to survive the budgeting season!

It’s that time of year: budget season. While it can certainly be a stressful time, there are plenty of steps you can take to ease the process and help you actually look forward to the year ahead! Survive budget planning with these tips:

Get Organized. Everyone’s method of organizing may be different, but the important thing is to set aside time to carefully and thoughtfully work on your 2015 budget. Take a look at the previous year’s budget to see what needs to be updated and what should stay the same.

Prioritize Your Spending. When taking a look at last year’s budget, you may realize that there are areas that can be reworked to minimize spending in the coming year. Before you fret about cutting your budget, though, think of ways to maximize those dollars that you ARE planning for 2015. For example, maybe you feel like your trade show spending was too pricey in the past – so consider cutting a show that is not as essential, or use local staff instead of flying out-of-town team members to the show.

Share the Duty. Let’s face it: planning a budget is a lot of work! With many other responsibilities to handle, you can’t devote all your time to crunching numbers. Consider asking your team to help out by tasking them with researching the areas that they are responsible for. After all, they would know their needs best!

Stay Focused. It’s easy to get distracted, especially since you’re also working on many other projects throughout the day. Reserve some time on your calendar to really tune in to your budget planning, making sure to step away from the phone and email for a reasonable amount of time. Also, try to reschedule meetings if they conflict with your budget planning time – stopping in the middle of a budget brainstorm session to check in at the weekly status meeting may throw off your thought process.

Take a Break. Sometimes, you just need some fresh air! If you’ve been cranking away at your 2015 budget and everything is starting to blur, take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or meet a friend or co-worker for lunch outside the office. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to get back to it!

Each of these steps can lead you to a more stress-free budget planning season, and the best part is, they’re all within your reach. Take a deep breath, find a place where you can be free of distractions, and start planning out those dollars for the upcoming year.

With numbers to crunch and dollars to stretch, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. If you are interested in how to maximize and stretch your purchasing budget in 2015, reach out to the team at Buyers Access. Buyers Access is the “one stop shop” that reduces property workload and provides an outstanding Multifamily Group Purchasing resource in the apartment industry.


Read Full Article here

Brittany Worrell Boyce
Brittany is the Marketing Content Editor & Writer with For Rent Media Solutions, a leader in the multifamily housing industry, providing diverse marketing and advertising solutions to real estate industry professionals.

Company News

Changes Planned for TAA's Lease Contracts and Related Forms Starting in January, 2015

by Michelle N. on 9/8/2014 8:30:48 AM

As a member of the Texas Apartment Association, we would like to share news from the TAA in reference to the changes coming up in January 2015 relating to lease contracts.

The Texas Apartment Association lease contracts are getting a new look for the new year, in their first major overhaul since the 1990s. TAA members can sign up now for one of three free webinars to learn more about the changes planned for TAA’s lease contracts and related formsBusinesswoman-viewing-the-contract-before-signing starting in January, 2015.

The free hour-long webinars are scheduled September 17, October 14 and November 5 at 9:30 a.m. central. TAA General Counsel John Sepehri will instruct the sessions. Register now for one of these free webinars to ensure you and your staff will be ready for the changes.

The TAA Click & Lease program will generate these new lease forms starting January 1, 2015, and printed versions of the new forms will be available then, too. While the revamped forms maintain (or improve) protections TAA members rely on, some key information in the contract has been relocated, some items have been eliminated and the overall document has a noticeably different look and feel.

The two most obvious changes are that the 2015 lease will be eight, not six pages long, and will include a summary box of all the key financial terms on the last page. TAA Click & Lease users have the option to switch now to per-unit pricing, instead of paying by the number of “clicks” (pages) generated. Any site licenses renewed after January 1 will automatically be based on a site license cost and per-unit cost; for more information, contact your local association. You can also call Blue Moon Software at 800/772-1004 for a site-specific analysis of whether or not your property should switch early to the per-unit pricing model, which also gives you access to a new document management enhancement.

The free “Revamped & Transformed: TAA Lease Forms Webinar” will help participants learn:

  • How—and why—important lease information has been relocated within the lease contract to keep relevant and related information in easy-to-locate sections
  • What substantive changes have been included in the reworked documents to better protect property owners and address emerging issues; and
  • How design changes in the new forms will help your staff and residents locate critical information and improve the function of the documents.

The fall issue of Texas Apartments magazine includes more information on planned lease changes, including a chart comparing the current lease with the 2015 version, as well as more information about how properties are using the new document management feature in TAA Click & Lease. This issue will reach members later this month.


Click here to register for FREE webinar.

Read Full Article here.

Company News

Changes to Water Billing Rules Effective September 1st

by Michelle N. on 8/29/2014 6:30:40 AM

PUC takes over authority for water billing effective September 1 
Full rules must be attached to leases as of that date


As of September 1, 2014 the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) will take over regulatory authority of water submetering and allocation from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). For most owners and residents at properties that are currently billing residents for water, the transition should be fairly seamless.

With one important exception regarding attachments to leases, the Public Utility Commission rules are substantively the same as the previous TCEQ rules. The only significant change is that rental property owners previously have had the option of either attaching a copy of the water billing rules or a summary of the rules that had been prepared by TCEQ. The PUC does not currently allow use of a rules summary and any new leases entered after September 1 must have an entire copy of the new water billing rules attached. There are no specific rules regulating font size or formatting of the rules attachment, however, from a common-sense perspective owners should ensure that the document is readable. One other rule change corrects an issue that had previously been unclear.  Owners who submeter and who charge an administrative fee must clearly state that fee on the addendum.  This is consistent with advice TAA previously provided.  Note that properties that allocate water bills cannot charge an administrative fee.

TAA has prepared a formatted version of the full submetering and allocation rules that is available through the TAA Click & Lease program when printing the Water Submetering Addendum. Those members not using TAA Click & Lease can click here for a copy of the rules formatted to be used as an attachment to leases.

In addition, any property that institutes a water billing system beginning September 1, 2014 will register with the PUC instead of TCEQ.  The form is almost identical to the previous TCEQ version and can be accessed here.

The new PUC rules, the Lease Addendum for Allocating Water/Wastewater Costs and the Water Submetering Addendum, and all related articles are currently being updated in the TAA REDBOOK Online, as well.

The PUC’s web pages on this topic will go live on September 1, and TAA will make that link available to members.

During a transition period between September 1, 2014 and September 1, 2015, anyone who visits the prior TCEQ web page for water submetering and water allocation will be redirected to the PUC website.  In addition, PUC staff has indicated that the agency will take a cooperative approach during the transition and work with owners to make sure properties are in compliance with the new rules.

It is anticipated that there will be additional rule changes governing water billing over the next year as the PUC looks to integrate the rules more closely into existing agency regulations.  TAA is maintaining close communications with agency staff during the transition and will be participating in any rulemaking on this topic.  Property owners or managers with any questions or experiencing any difficulties during the transition are encouraged to contact David Mintz, CAE, TAA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, by sending an email to or calling 512/479-6252


 For full article click here.

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