Holiday May

The month of May is chalked full of holidays! We start the month with May Day on the 1st. Originally a pagan holiday, the roots of the modern May Day bank holiday are in the fight for the eight-hour working day in Chicago in 1886, and the subsequent execution of innocent anarchist workers. In the months prior to this date workers in their thousands were drawn into the struggle for the shorter day.

Then we celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Literally “the Fifth of May”, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. It was short-lived, as the French army regrouped and continued; eventually taking Mexico City, but the euphoria of an unlikely victory against overwhelming odds is remembered every May fifth.

On May 11th we celebrate Mother’s Day – a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society . Be sure to send your mother a gift or card – or at least give her a call – and let her know just how much she means to you.

We close out the month with Memorial Day on the 26th. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.  There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace. Regardless, it is a day to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice providing the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis.



Easter Eggstravaganza

2014 Easter EggstravaganaPlease join us tomorrow, Saturday, April 12th from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for our Annual Easter Eggstravaganza!! Children and parents alike are sure to have a blast at this event!! This year we will be doing a bit more than just an Easter egg hunt. Following is a schedule of all the events we have planned:

  • 8:00 a.m. – Families arrive
  • 8:15 a.m. – Easter Egg Hunt begins (please be sure to bring a basket, bucket, bag, or whatever you can fill with eggs for each child)
  • 9:00 a.m. – Easter egg hunt prizes will be given to the winners!! There will be 10 ‘prize’ eggs hidden around the courtyard
  • 9:30 a.m. – Egg & Spoon Race, for this game players will be given and egg (hard-boiled) and a plastic spoon. Players will hold their egg in their spoon and must get from the starting line to the finish line without dropping the egg.
  • 10:00 a.m. – Bunny Hop Race, for this game players will hop like a bunny from the starting line to the finish line.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Pin the Tail on the Easter Bunny. This game is just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey! Players will be blindfolded, spun around a few times and given a tail to pin (tape) on the Easter Bunny.

We will also have a candy buffet set up for everyone to enjoy! You can never have too much candy at Easter, right?! We are really looking forward to this family-friendly, super fun Easter Eggstravaganza!! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office at 239.995.1008

Country View Garden Homes Preventative Maintenance Program

Preventative Maintenance by Apartment

Country View Garden Homes firmly believes in creating a quality leasing experience by maintaining a proactive stand on maintenance issues within our community.   Sounds heavy, right?  To make it simple, we want to make sure that any inconveniences that could happen to you are limited by preventing an issue before it starts.  We have developed an intensive plan to help us do just that.  Periodically or, once a quarter to be exact, we will enter your apartment for  a property inspection.  During this inspection, we will be inspect your water lines, air conditioner, screens, and appliances.  We will also take this time to document any areas of concern, such as damages or housekeeping issues.  So, it sounds like we just through the whole “limiting inconveniences” deal right out the window, huh?  The truth of the matter is that it makes it easier for us to maintain your apartment.  It also helps us to keep costs at the community down, helping us to keep your costs down as well.

An easy example is your air conditioner filter.  A clogged filter will cause your air conditioner to work longer to cool, increasing your electrical cost and shortening the life of your air conditioner. The air conditioner filter is only one part of our inspection, and if that can save you 5% of your a/c electrical cost each month, imagine what happens when we happen to find and correct multiple issues.  That can result in substantial savings!  Most problems, like anything else, don’t just show up overnight.  They accumulate over time.  Think about this, most people change the oil in their vehicle every 3 months/3,000 miles.  Do you absolutely have to?  No.  But the longer you go without that “proactive” maintenance, the higher the risk of further damage being incurred.

Now that we understand the proactive maintenance, let’s discuss the inspection of the property for damage and housekeeping.  In the lease agreement, it states that you are responsible for any damages that you may be found liable for.  This includes doors that have large holes,  walls that have been damaged, broken blinds, and cracked windows or screens.  This also includes housekeeping issues such as bags of garbage left inside or anything that might cause a pest issue.  If we find that the there is a resident  caused issue in the apartment,  you will receive a notice from us. This notice will normally be in the form of a 7-day notice to cure noncompliance letter, unless the situation poses an immediate health/safety concern.  This notice will lay out what violations were found and the steps to remedy the situation.  If you chose not to remedy the problem or the situation persists, this can be grounds to terminate your tenancy.

To sum this up, our proactive maintenance program is intended to not only make your life easier and our workload smaller so that when an emergency does happen, we can dedicate all our efforts towards that situation.  We love being here to assist all of our resident’s as professionally and efficiently as we can.  If you have any questions about our maintenance department or any input in regards to it, please bring it to us by leaving a comment below!  Thank all of you for being resident’s at Country View Garden Homes!

I really love my apartment, I just wish it would grow!

Remember that feeling when you first walked into your own place.  New carpets, fresh paint, clean windows, and sparkling appliances.  Then it happened…  You moved in, bought furniture, big screen t.v’s, and a huge California King Bedroom set.  You swore it would fit and by George, you made it fit.  Then you came to a conclusion… Your gonna need a bigger place.  Not so much to house you, but to house all of your belongings!  You don’t have to move out, just move over.  At least, move into another apartment within your community.  We that are hip to the lingo in this business call this a Unit Transfer.  This means that you collect all of your belongings, move all of your items to another apartment, an begin a new lease there.  Sounds great, and like any great plan, there are details to performing a Unit Transfer that must be followed.  I will discuss our rules for performing a transfer and when it is an acceptable option for Country View Garden Homes.

The first point that we would like to make is that WE allow transfers.  This means that it is at our discretion to perform this action.  It is not a means to get a new apartment each year, just because you want that “new paint” smell or a different view.  We incur a certain cost each time you transfer and most of the time, the cost of turning the apartment is more than the amount that we collect in transfer fees. Please rememer we perform a property inspection before we create the option to transfer.  If you have created heavy damages to the apartment to the point where we have to replace flooring, cabinetry, or other items., chances are we are not going to offer the transfer to you.  This is another good reason to keep your apartment in “like new” condition.

Secondly,  we allow transfers to increase size, not equal to or less than, (unless extenuating circumstances exist).  We do not transfer you from a 3.2 to a studio simply because your roommate left you with an apartment you can’t afford.  We understand its frustrating, but it is equally frustrating for us.  We will have to incur the cost of production for two different apartments and lose income from the rental of a smaller unit.  When a resident transfers to a larger apartment, the income increases assuming the apartment has not been damaged beyond normal wear and tear.

Downsizing apartments

Lastly in regards to allowing transfers.  There are fees associated with a transfer that must be paid Prior to you performing the transfer.  If we are going to extend an offer to transfer to you, we expect the fees to immediately be paid.  We always act on a first come, first serve basis.  If we notify you of a unit coming available the end of the month and you attempt to wait until the end of the month to pay your transfer fees, the apartment could very possibly be gone before then.  This means that you would have to wait until the next one comes available.  Currently there is a three hundred ($300.00) transfer fee that is associated with any on-site transfer.  This amount is meant to off-set the cost of the transfer, (new toilet seats, minor wear, etc.).  Deposits and fees stay with the apartment.  This means that when you transfer, you must pay a new security deposit as well as any other fees, such as pet fees, satellite deposits, electrical transfer, cable transfer, and water/sewer billing transfer.  Here is an example.  You moved into a one bedroom apartment six months ago, decided to get a roommate and move into a 3 bedroom.  You have 2 cats, paid a security deposit of five hundred ($500.00), and decided to go with Satellite, incurring another deposit of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00).  For your current apartment, you have paid One Thousand fifty dollars ($1050.00) in deposits and fees.  Prior to transfer, you would have the one thousand fifty dollars (1050.00) plus an additional three hundred ($300.00) transfer fee that would need to be paid before move in.  Assuming no damages or unpaid rents on the previous apartment, the refundable deposits (security and satellite)  would be sent back to you within 15 business days.

“But what if I have to move into a smaller apartment?”  There is one other way to transfer apartments and that would be a move-out/move-in.  You can elect to turn in a completed Notice of intent to move out of your current apartment and apply for another apartment.  This situation can be used to move into a smaller apartment.  One thing to take into consideration is we will perform a complete background check (credit and criminal).  If our criteria has become more strict or if your background information has changed, this could potentially lead to a denial and a retraction of any offer to renew from us.

Transfers can benefit all parties involved if they are regulated and controlled.  This post should help to familiarize all residents with the process and make it easier to understand.  We work to make sure that we can provide a quality rental experience for all residents at Country View Garden Homes!  If anyone still has a difficult time understanding what a transfer is, please feel free to speak to the office staff.  We love to help!

fair housing logo

Yikes! What do you mean I have three days to pay my rent or surrender my apartment?!

Time is money

If you have ever rented and had an emergency where you needed to pay your rent a little later than usual, you may have received one of the these notices.  A Three-Day Notice to Pay or Surrender Possession serves a double purpose.  It gives you a final opportunity to make your rental payment and prepares the property for the eviction process if that payment does not come in.  I’ll let you in on a secret, no property manager enjoys forcefully removing a resident from their home with an eviction process.  Sometimes it is necessary, but never enjoyable.

So let’s say you have received one of these letters, either by hand, or left on your door;  what do you do?  The obvious response is pay your rent, silly!  You will notice that the letter clearly indicates the amount of rents that are currently owed, including any late or accrual fees(such as $5.00 per day after the 6th day of the month).  As long as your payment is made in full before the end date on the notice, the issue is solved and you are in the clear.  If for some reason you are not able to make the payment in the three day window, it is still recommended that you contact the office and discuss the issue.  It may not stop the complaint for eviction being filed, but at least all parties have full knowledge of what is going to happen and maybe a resolution can be reached.  Communication is the key in all of this.

“So does this mean if I surrender my apartment, I am free to leave without penalty?” 

The short answer is no.  The long answer is found in the Lease Agreement in  Section 11 on page 2, which states that you will still be responsible for the apartment until either the unit is re-rented or until the lease ending.  When you move out without paying rent in full for the entire lease term or renewal period, at our demand because you are in default, or have an eviction completed, you have breached the contract and are subject to the penalties of it.

The policy for rent has always been the same with Country View Garden Homes.  All rents are due on the first of every month.  We allow a grace period up to the fifth of the month.  Rent is officially late on the sixth of the month and a $50.00 late fee will be assessed to all outstanding accounts.  A similar policy is used across many different types of payments and the results are always the same. Credit cards, car payments, and mortgages all assess fees when you pay late.  Why would renting be any different?

fair housing logo

The Future of Apartment Living (Infographic)

Today, only 12% of renters are leaving to buy homes, and that number is expected to continue to decline. Renting has become an economic and lifestyle choice for more than half (57%) of those under the age of 34 and 46% of those under the age of 45. It seems the United States population favors apartment living, and according to the National Apartment Association (NAA), that will be the case for decades to come.

In the future though, apartment living won’t be a sacrifice; instead we imagine self-repairing appliances, alternative energy sources, and adjustable square-footage for city dwellers everywhere. Take a look at what we believe just might be the average standard of living in a city.

Apartment Of The Future - Infographic


What is sub-metering?


“Utility Sub metering is the implementation of a system that allows a landlord, property management firm, condominium association, homeowners association, or other multi-tenant property to bill tenants for individual measured utility usage.”

In March 2013, Country View Garden Homes beganincluding a letter that explained to all renewing residents the following information in regards to their renewal.  Anyone who has entered a renewal or a new lease agreement since March of last year was notified up the upcoming sub-metering event.  The following two paragraphs is the same information included in the letters:

“While water and sewer are currently included in your rent, we are sending out this notification to all new renewals regarding sub-metering at Country View Garden Homes, which will be scheduled to begin later this year. In trying to make this transition as smooth as possible, we are notifying every person who will be renewing during the upcoming year.

There hasn’t been much information received on how this process will work or an exact date as to when we will begin. As more information becomes available, we will pass it on to the residents. You may bring any questions to the office and we will answer what we can. Thank you for being a resident at Country View Garden Homes. We do appreciate all of you. “

We have included this letter in each renewal for a very specific reason.  We wanted every resident that would be renewing with us to have an understanding that sub-metering would be something that would be coming to Country View Garden Homes in the future.  We wanted to make sure that there was transparency on any up-coming changes.  On Monday, December 9, 2013, we broke ground and installed our first water meter.  The proposed completion of all installed meters will be December 20, 2013.

Change and development is always difficult to implement, regardless of the situation.  We have made every attempt to ease the transition into sub-metering for the property.  According to the most recent Marketing Survey of Lee County, Country View Garden Homes is one of only 12 apartment communities left in the county that pays the water bill for the entire community.  Most properties have already made the transition.  Those that still “include” the water and sewer, (not really an inclusion, rather the community pays for your water usage) will eventually follow suit and begin sub-metering.  Some of those communities have even begun setting a limit on how much the property will cover of your water usage.  (i.e, up to $50.00).

Country View Garden Homes strives to remain competitively priced with all other communities in our area.  Our market rents have remained steady, as we have not seen an actual market rental increase in over 4 years!  In those years, we have seen increases in our expenditures such as maintenance, amenities, and utilities.  We have maintained all of this for the residents of Country View Garden Homes.  What this really means is that we have been taking on the financial responsibility for you to take a shower, flush your toilet, or wash your dishes.  When you think about it like that, has it really been that fair to all parties? Even without sub-metering, the increase would eventually happen, more than likely as a hidden charge in a rent increase. You have the ability to control part of the cost of your water usage, however you would have no control over a property-wide rent increase (which would include a hidden charge of water usage).  Currently no one realizes the amount of water you use because you can’t see the bill. So, you add a high flow shower head and take a half hour shower twice a day, you run your dishwasher 3 times a day at half capacity, or maybe you use the toilet as a trash can, throwing a small piece of paper and the flushing it down with over a gallon of water? Why not do this? I mean, you don’t have to pay for it.   We, the property, think differently.  We purchase and install low flow shower heads and high efficiency toilets.  We also use low-flow aerators on water outlets in the home.  We do this to help bring down the cost.

So honestly, how often have you considered the amount of water you waste?  It probably comes up about as often as you think about how much you throw away in the garbage.   Did you know the average person uses approximately 100 gallons of water per day, every day.  (this information can be found at here.)  Around sixty percent of that is wasted water.

So to answer the big question; “What does this mean for the resident?”  The short response is that yes, you will have a water/sewer bill that will become due each month.  No, we will not discount your rent to offset your water bill, as it was never “part” of your rent in the first place.  Also, the property does not have any interference with the actual water bill.  All usage is monitored by an un-biased 3rd party.  Like the electric Company, the water company will set the prices.  This bill will be paid directly to the water service company, not to Country View Garden Homes.  The only time that Country View Garden Homes will be involved is for non-payment of services.  The amount of the water bill will be assessed to the current monthly rent.  This will follow our current formula of unpaid assessments against the rental property.  For anyone that is unfamiliar with this information, you are able to refer to your lease agreement on Page two, Article 7: Utilities, second paragraph which states;

“Where, lawful, all utilities, charges and fees of any kind under this lease shall be considered additional rent, and if partial payments are accepted by the Landlord, they will be allocated first to to non-rent charges and to rent last.”

Country View Garden Homes will continue to remain competitive with the surrounding communities and welcome any changes that help keep us the best apartment living community in North Fort Myers, Florida!  We are here to answer any questions that anyone may have about sub-metering and why it is necessary.  Thank you!

Water tap closeup


Welcome to Country View Garden Homes!

Hi everyone, welcome to Country View Garden Homes!  This page is intended to keep residents and guests up to date on everything going on at Country View Garden Homes!.  Here, you can find everything from Lease information, DIY maintenance, Apartment design ideas, and much more.  This blog will  be continually evolving so if there are any questions or suggestions for us, we would love to hear them!  Please drop by the office or send us an email today.  You can find all our contact information by opening the contact us tab at the top of the page.

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