Welcome!

Posted: 4th January 2012 by Melissa in Uncategorized
 

Welcome to the FBS Rent Sense Blog. We will be posting weekly Rent Sense Articles written by Neil and Chris. These articles can also be seen in major publications such as the San Diego Union Tribune. Our goal is to bring quality information to help counsel those already in or interested in the industry. Check back each week to see what is new and exciting in the Property Management world.

“Nearly half of all the housing in San Diego is offered for rent. This condition has existed locally for decades and will continue for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that rental owners and rental residents respect the other for their important role in the essential segment of our local economy. The more informed each are about their respective rights and responsibilities as well as changes in the marketplace the more realistic are the expectations. That just makes good sense; Rent Sense.” – Neil,  2008

Where your home matters…

Legal Questions April 2017

Posted: 25th April 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
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FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
A new tenant signed a six-month lease. Now, he claims he feels unsafe because of an incident at the property and wants to terminate the lease. The tenant claims he has a 72-hour period to rescind the lease after it is executed. Is this true?
Answer:
There is no 72-hour right of rescission for residential leases.

2. Question:
Is there a law on the length of time a resident must reside in an apartment not to be charged for paint or carpet when they move out? What are the guidelines?
Answer:
No, the tenant can always be charged for painting or carpet cleaning and/or replacement that is beyond ordinary wear and tear.

3. Question:
I served a three-day notice on my tenants and they paid $300 of the $1050 that was due. Do I have to serve another three-day notice to start the eviction? Should I have accepted payment? Answer:
You did not have to accept partial payment but since you did, you must start over with a new notice.

4. Question:
We have a one-year lease with a tenant that will expire in four months. If we sell the house now, and the buyer wants to move in, would we be able to break the lease?
Answer:
The buyer “steps into the shoes” of the seller and the lease is binding upon the new owner.

5. Question:
I allowed a tenant to move-in and pay the security deposit in several payments. They are not able to make the final payment. What can I do?
Answer:
You can serve a three-day notice to perform conditions or covenants or quit. If the tenant fails to pay the deposit within three days from legal service of the notice, you can commence the eviction process (unlawful detainer).

6. Question:
Is the procedure for evicting a tenant from a garage any different than for a tenant who lives in a residential unit? Is delivering a notice to a post office box legally acceptable?
Answer:
The eviction process is the same. The notice should be mailed to the post office box and another copy attached to the door of the garage the same day. Even though it may not be delivered, send another notice via mail, same day to the garage, since the code literally requires mailing and posting to the rented premises.

7. Question:
Is there any way to impose a rent increase on tenants with a lease or do you have to wait until the lease is expired? Can you raise rents on specific units and not all units?
Answer:
You have to wait until the lease expires unless the lease term contained an automatic rent increase. If there is an objective business reason, you can raise rent on some units and not others, as long as it does not violate fair housing laws. Many owners increase the rent on the tenants’ anniversary dates.

8. Question:
I have a tenant who has been late with the rent on a number of occasions. I charge him a late fee and he pays it. When his lease expires, do I have to renew?
Answer:
Generally you are not required to show cause to not renew a tenant’s fixed term lease and do not need to have or state a reason for non-renewal. This general rule may not apply for subsidized housing, or if the unit is subject to rent-control or if the unit is in a just cause jurisdiction.

9. Question:
We want to give notice to vacate to a renter of a garage who has been in occupancy for over one year. Can we give a thirty-day notice or does the sixty-day notice rule apply for garages as well?
Answer:
You can give a thirty-day notice. Sixty-day notices are only required for residential property when the tenant has been in possession for one year or longer and the rental agreement is month-to-month.

10. Question:
My tenant fixes his motorcycle in the living room of his apartment. I have warned him that he did not have a right to use our apartment as an auto repair shop. He says as long as he leaves the apartment clean, he has the right to work on his motorcycle. What should I do?
Answer:
You should review your lease to see if he is breaching any particular condition of promise. If not, and you are on a month-to-month tenancy, you could threaten to serve him with a thirty-day notice to quit, or to change the terms of tenancy. If you are not on a month-to-month tenancy, you must find a breach and serve a three-day notice to comply. If he fails to meet the demands of the notice, the eviction lawsuit may be filed.

11. Question:
Are the laws any different between “motels” and “apartments”? Where could I get a booklet or more information on this matter?
Answer:
The laws are significantly different between motels and rental housing. For instance if a motel customer fails to pay, the police can be immediately called to remove the customer. In a residential rental dwelling such as an apartment, however, the owner must go through the tenant eviction process to regain possession. You may be able to obtain information from the California Lodging Association and the California Apartment Association.

12. Question:
I have been asked by another property manager if a former tenant of mine caused any problems and if I would rent to him again. I suspected that he was a drug dealer or at least a drug user but I cannot prove it. What can I tell her?
Answer:
If you are unsure, you should remain silent. From a legal point of view, it is always safest to say nothing. However, if you choose to do so, you should only reveal information, if any, that you know to be true and can be documented. When making a recommendation, you are always running the risk that the person you are referring to believes you are defaming their good name. Making timely notes of what you said and who you spoke to, will be valuable if you are questioned about the conversation in the future. Discuss only facts that pertain to compliance with your lease or rental agreement.

13. Question:
I suspect there are at least five people living in a one-bedroom apartment in one of our units. The lease only allows three persons and they have not paid rent. I want to serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, but I do not know all of their names. What should I do?
Answer:
If you serve a three-day notice, address it to the occupants for which you have the names and also to “all others in possession.” If they pay the rent, however, you may have agreed to the additional people living there. If you do not intend to allow their occupancy, you could also serve a three-day notice to perform conditions and/or covenants or quit requiring that the additional people vacate within three days. If either or both of the notices are not complied with, you can commence with an eviction in court.

14. Question:
A tenant of three years recently vacated with only a verbal two-week notice. Can she be charged for unpaid rent? She did not have a lease agreement and never signed anything stating that she would give a thirty-day notice.
Answer:
If the rent is paid monthly and there is no term stated in the lease, written or verbal, the law presumes you are under a month-to-month agreement which requires a thirty-day written notice to terminate. If no written notice was given, the former tenant owes rent up to thirty days or until the time you relet the premises (you have to try), whichever occurs first.

15. Question:
What happens when a renter’s children turn 18? What steps should be taken by the management office?
Answer:
It is important to have all occupants 18 or older sign the rental agreement. When a minor child turns 18 during the tenancy, you could serve a thirty day notice of change of terms of tenancy naming the new adult as a tenant which will be binding if your lease is month to month. If the lease is for a fixed term, you can add the additional adult occupant upon renewal.

Our Fair Housing Practice Group can review your documents and assist in developing a customized Fair Housing Policies & Procedures Manual for your company. Please contact Lynn Dover at (800) 338-6039 for more information.

Ms. Management

Posted: 21st April 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
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Ms. Management

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q: I spent 3 years at the same property for my old company. I proved myself as a maintenance tech for more than a year becoming an assistant maintenance manager nearly two years ago. They knew I wanted my own property and I was told months ago that It would happen. Finally, I mentioned to a friend of mine at another company that I had been waiting but wondered if I should look elsewhere.
Fortunately, he found me something at his company. I have my own property but the new company is not as good. Now I learn that at my old company they promoted several people into maintenance supervisors. I guess I could have been one of those promoted. I’ve never been lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Any advice for me?

A: Hey not-so-lucky, maybe a fresh look will change your future. You sound like you’re great at maintenance; maybe not so much as an accomplished manager? Why would I believe that? Well, a manager looks for opportunities to take charge, direct communication, confront situations and control results.

You were given opportunities to grow and take charge at your previous company. Your maintenance skills were recognized and rewarded. Your employer was demonstrating a company goal to encourage your career path while motivating you to be patient until the best fit for you and the company that knows you well could be lined up. They have been providing people support which happens at good companies.

If I can be direct and you did ask; it’s you that dropped the ball! Your career is your responsibility to manage. Accomplished managers understand this. Now it appears that you would rather complain to an offsite friend instead of managing expectations at the company that supports your career. An assertive manager would direct communication by inquiring about your performance in the assistant role while getting specific suggestions about improvements necessary to groom your ability to “hit the ground running” in the new manager post. You had an “inside track” to stay up on the progress and/or stumbling blocks to your career path.

Going forward please remember what accomplished managers learn. Transparent communication and direct confrontation will give you the upper hand to control results. Though I wish you luck with your career, I would remind you that “luck is what bystanders observe when preparation meets opportunity.”

Ms. Management

Posted: 19th April 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags: , ,
 

Ms. Management

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q: I started as a weekend leasing person at the apartment property where I lived with college roommates. I enjoyed it so after graduation I took a full-time leasing position at another property. That was 2 years ago and I’m the assistant manager now. Recently my family and graduating friends are asking why this is what I’m doing now that real career opportunities are available. So here’s my question. What kind of career is viable in property management?
Don’t misunderstand, I still enjoy coming to work every day; well, mostly. However, the job market seems to favor my generation and I’m energetic, good with people and love solving problems.
“Should I stay or should I go” was the song that my Dad used to sing to me when I was growing up. I guess I’m singing that stupid song now.

A: I love that song! I also applaud you asking the question. You need to ask to sort out your options. If you add purpose to a job that you enjoy, you’re more likely to establish goals and achieve objectives. These are the foundations of a satisfying career which is usually a major part of a happy life.
It sounds like all your experience has been onsite at two locations with one company? Let’s begin with asking your career question to those around you starting with your manager, others that supervise and support within your company. Add several questions to extend your quest for enlightenment.
Examples: Who else do you think I should ask about property management as a career? Is there an event, class and/or site I can check out?
The point is this. Do I believe that property management offers satisfying careers? Absolutely! I have enjoyed an amazing career that is filled with experiences and people I cherish. I have also had the privilege to meet, teach and coach within the industry all over the U.S. so I know the caliber of countless others that have enjoyed careers beyond their initial scope of expectation.
Look around your work place with your “career face” on. You are providing essential housing and personal customer service. You are accomplishing team building, financial accountability and operational management routines equivalent to a substantial retail store. Soon if your company is keeping up with “industry best practices” you will be enhancing residential services with additional convenience and more sensitivity to the environment. Multihousing will operate smarter through more connectivity. The natural progression within our industry demands career professionals. You are at the beginning, not the end. So, maybe you stay and get going?

Ms Management March 2017

Posted: 22nd March 2017 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags: ,
 

Ms. Management

Carol Levey, writer and creator of Ms. Management also appears as a guest blogger on Rent Sense. Her insights appear in dozens of other industry publications across the country. Carol is a regular presenter at the annual AAMD Education Conference, has served as MC Host for Award Events, and consistently over 35 years of volunteerism taught & authored curriculum for AAMD Education. She has been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution as an Industry Supplier becoming the recipient of the Jack Shapiro Award Winner twice; in 1987 & 1990.

Carol Levey is perhaps more recognized at the national level as an educator in the real estate industry. She served as one of the original team that produced the National Apartment Association coursework leading to the respected NALP designation. Her company Levey Enterprises has provided temporary leasing specialists, site managers and marketing offsite personnel to major apartment community operators throughout Colorado and across the U.S. Her business was founded on decades of experience in property management and executive leadership as a third-party leasing and corporate housing provider.

Read on for this month’s Ms. Management Q and A!

Q. I manage an apartment building for a large institutional ownership. I report to a regional that maintains a working relationship with the asset manager who reviews portfolio operations quarterly including my building. I’ve never been in this loop other than to provide research and/or documentation to my regional as requested.

Last quarter my regional was called out of area and away from her normal routines. Thus, was not readily available to the asset manager so he picked up the phone asking me directly to provide documentation on several line items including references in the quarterly narrative. He was very complimentary and I was happy to respond right away. Then it got a little weird as he asked me several direct questions after which he declared something like … “finally, timely straight answers from the source… guess I know where to come when I need the truth.”

My pride turned to embarrassment. Had my interaction uncovered something wrong with how my regional does her job? How is she going to feel about my communication this time or in the future with this asset manager? I’m not sure who to talk to or what to say. Help.

Reply. Quality operations and timely reporting require teamwork which demands direct and transparent communication. Sounds like you took the time and energy to respond to the asset manager but with unforeseen consequences. You “stepped in it” when you didn’t anticipate what could go wrong and/or control communicate inside. You also failed to manage expectations outside.  It also illustrates that grabbing centerstage by yourself might feel productive for a minute but can backfire requiring damage control. So, what now?

First, get hold of your regional and rehearse the situation. Explain that you were taken off-guard and thought you were doing a good thing. You realize the asset manager was just trying to make you feel good. However, because you don’t have the relationship depth that your regional does you found his kind words were a little unsettling like you were trying too hard to impress. What should be done to make sure he knows that I had been directed to get what is needed under unusual circumstances?  What methods should be expected by the asset manager going forward? Also, express that you would appreciate some direction and/or coaching from her on this kind of “what if” circumstances.

What you are doing here is getting back to clear communication protocol, direction from your team leader and re-establishing managed expectations all around.

Meet Neil and Chris….

Posted: 14th March 2017 by Melissa in Video
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Meet Neil and Chris, the authors of Rent Sense. Let them introduce you to their company as they did in this recent television network interview. This brief clip might also introduce you to the $9 billion annual rent collected in the region as an essential industry mostly composed of small independent rental ownerships like yourself.

Neil Fjellestad and his wife Cheery founded a real estate investment company built on the unique requirements of individuals wanting to create wealth and financial independence. Neil had been Director of Brokerage Services for a statewide real estate company since his graduation from SDSU three years before. This company specialized in apartment and commercial transactions throughout California; particularly 1031 exchanges. The young couple had already acquired a small personal portfolio of apartments besides their first home. Neil had discovered a continuous flow of real estate investors came from the adult classes in R.E. Law, Investment Analysis & Taxation he taught for the SD Community College District in the evening.

In business, as in families there are generations. Generations of hard work, education, excellence built upon integrity. Beginning in 1972, hundreds of aspiring professionals built that initial generation bearing the Fjellestad brand of brokerage, consulting and management.

Chris DeMarco joined the Fjellestad companies in 1989 with a unique combination of small business acumen, property & people skills, a famous mid-west work ethic; a practical passion that after time became the driving force for a needed change; the beginning of our 2nd company generation. Still active in the company, Chris & Neil alongside four other key leaders including those from our 3rd company generation make a multi-generational executive team blessed with 125 years of combined experience to ground them while navigating the demands of today’s unique millennial growth.

FBS operates single rental homes and condos, apartments and commercial buildings in 69 zip codes. May we help with your property?

 

Legal Questions March 2017

Posted: 9th March 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
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FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1. Question:
I recently purchased a triplex, and the escrow will be closing in a couple of days. The tenants are currently on a month-to-month rental agreement. Do I have to wait until the end of the month or can I serve a 30-day notice as soon as I take possession of the property?
Answer:
You can serve a 30-day notice at any time during a month-to-month tenancy. You do not need to wait until the end of the month. You are also entitled to rent for the 30-day time period. If all of the tenants in the unit have been a resident for more than one year, a 60-day notice is required to be served.

2. Question:
I have heard five different answers from five different people. Please, tell me what I can legally deduct from my tenant’s security deposit.
Answer:
Rights and obligations regarding a residential tenants’ security deposit are governed by California Civil Code Section 1950.5. It is clear that you can use the deposit at least for cleaning, delinquent rent and damages above ordinary wear and tear. What is considered ordinary “wear and tear” is subject to a variety of opinions by judges. In order to convince a court that the damages were extraordinary, check-in and check-out records of the condition of the apartment, pictures, receipts and opinions from those who did the work make the job of determining ordinary wear and tear easier for the court to decide.

3. Question:
I have filed an eviction against one of my residents for failing to pay rent for the last two months. I served the notice on a Saturday and someone said I had to serve it on a business day. Are they right?
Answer:
No. A 3-day notice for breach of the lease can be served on any day of the week. The tenant has three full days to comply, but the last day of the notice must end on a business day.

4. Question:
I am a manager of a 56-unit complex. One of the tenants informed me that his girlfriend moved in. I gave him an application and told him to have her fill it out and then return it to me. It has been ten days and I have not gotten it back.
Answer:
If the lease prohibits the assigning or subletting of the premises without your permission, you can serve a 3-Day Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit, detailing the violation. The notice should require that they either turn in the application or she must vacate the property within the 3-day period. If they do not comply with the notice, you could commence eviction procedures.

5. Question:
I served one of my tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. He did not comply so I served a 30-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant does not move out by the 30th day, should I call the sheriff to evict him?
Answer:
The sheriff will not evict your resident unless you have gone through the unlawful detainer lawsuit and produced a judgment for possession. You could have filed the unlawful detainer action after the 3-day notice expired; you did not need to give the tenant an additional 30 days.

6. Question:
I recently received an application from a young married couple. He is twenty but she is only seventeen. I told her she was too young to sign the rental agreement and he had to qualify on his own even though she was working. She said because she was married, she was qualified to sign. I never heard of this law. Is she right?
Answer:
California recognizes an individual’s right to enter into binding contracts if they are eighteen years of age or older, in active duty in the military, married, or are emancipated by order of the court. You therefore should treat her the same way as you would any other adult applicant.

7. Question:
A couple recently applied for one of our vacant units. They have jobs but do not quite qualify for the unit (they need to make three times the amount of the rent). They said that his father would be willing to co-sign as a guarantor in order to qualify. How should I work this arrangement on the lease?
Answer:
Guarantor agreements are separate and distinct from the lease and may be rendered void if the lease is modified without the knowledge or consent of the co-signor or guarantor. Carefully drafted guarantee agreements can eliminate this risk.

8. Question:
One of my two tenants on the lease moved out due to a job transfer. The remaining tenant would like to stay and pay the entire amount. Do I need to write up a new lease or simply prepare an addendum stating the remaining tenant is solely responsible?
Answer:
You can either have the tenant sign a new lease or just keep the current one in place. There is no need to have a new lease drawn up unless you are changing some of the terms and the current resident is in agreement. Each resident is already obligated to pay the entire amount of the rent under most leases if they have a clause that states the residents are “jointly and severally liable” for all requirements under the lease including the payment of rent.

9. Question:
What are the guidelines for landlords regarding bedbugs? One of my tenants moved in and found a bedbug infestation after a week. She claims the unit had them. I maintain there were none and possibly her furniture became infested in storage. Who is responsible?
Answer:
Liability would fall on the tenant if the landlord can prove there were no bed bugs in the unit prior to the tenant moving in. This could be done with circumstantial evidence such as testimony from

the prior tenant. A pest control expert could also be hired to render their opinion as to the cause of the bed bug infestation.

10. Question:
Due to a slow leak resulting in water damage, I have had to move my tenants out of the unit. I understand that I have to pay to put them up in a hotel. How long do I have to pay for a hotel? Answer:
Generally speaking, state law only requires residential landlords to relocate residents while work is being performed if the unit was not habitable due to the negligence of the landlord for failing to maintain the plumbing properly. If the leak was no one’s fault, then the landlord cannot charge them rent during the time away from the unit and must pay for the repair but they are not required to find and pay for temporary housing. If it were the tenant’s fault, the tenant is legally obligated to pay for the repairs as well as the rent. Keep in mind local rent control ordinances may have different requirements. If you do have to pay for temporary housing, it is best to arrive at an agreeable “per diem” payment and allow them to find suitable housing.

KTS Legal Questions- Feb 2017

Posted: 9th February 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
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FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1.    Question: Can I accept rent after serving a notice for an issue other than payment.  For example: an unauthorized occupant notice.

Answer: You should always check with a knowledgeable attorney to determine whether you should accept rent or not if the notice served was for something other than payment. Often times accepting rent after serving a notice can waive the notice.

2.    Question: At what point does my property require an onsite resident manager?

Answer: If your property has 16 units or more, you are required to have a person onsite who represents the owner.

3.    Question: A resident at my property was taken to the hospital and passed away.  Since the lease requires a 30-day notice, what is the law as far as reimbursement of the deposit?
Answer: When a tenant passes, the month-to-month tenancy is terminated 30 days from the date of the decedent’s last rent payment. Therefore, you have 21 days from that date to account for the security deposit assuming that you have taken over possession of the unit. If anyone else is claiming a right to possession, you would need to go through the eviction process.

4.    Question: We rent garages out to our residents. One of the residents moved a bed and some furniture in the garage and we believe someone is sleeping there. What can we do to make sure we do not have any issues with the use of the garage as a bedroom?

Answer: If you have a separate month-to-month agreement for the garage, you can choose to terminate the garage rental with a 30-Day Notice, or you can serve a Notice to Perform Conditions or Quit if the garage was to be used for storage purposes only. This could be more difficult to prove in court.  If the garage rental is part of the tenant’s residential lease, then you can serve a Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Covenants or Quit, requiring them to stop using the garage for residential purposes.  If they fail to comply, you would need to prove that they were in fact using the garage for an unauthorized purpose. The use of the garage as living quarters would also violate local and state laws, which could also be used as grounds for eviction.
5.    Question: I served my resident a 30-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy on the 15th of the month.  My resident says I have to wait until the end of the month to serve the notice, is that correct?

Answer: No.  Under California law, either party can serve an appropriate 30-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy any day of the month.  Your notice will expire 30 days from the date you served the notice, so make sure you do not accept rent beyond that point.

6.    Question: My lease states that the rent is due on the first of the month. If the first of
the month falls on a weekend, can I require my tenants to pay rent on the weekend if my rental office is open on the weekend.

Answer: No. If the rent is due on the first, and the first of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, pursuant to California law, the tenant has until the next business day to pay the  rent. For example: If the first falls on a Saturday, the resident has all day Monday to pay the rent (assuming Monday is not a holiday), and you cannot serve a 3-day notice until Tuesday at the earliest.
7.    Question: I served a 60-day notice that expires on the 15th of the month. How much rent should I accept for the month in which the notice expires?

Answer: You can only accept 15 days of rent for that particular month.  You calculate the pro-rated daily value as follows: (1) divide the monthly rent by 30 (days), (2) do not round up or down (in other words, clear the calculator screen), and (3) multiply the daily value by the number of days.  For example, you calculate 15 days of rent for the monthly rent of
$1000.00 as follows: $1000.00 divided by 30 is $33.33; then multiply $33.33 by 15 days; and your pro-rated rent for the 15 days would be $499.95.

8.    Question: Per the rental agreement, rent is due on the first day of each month and, if rent is not received by the 5th day, then a late charge will be incurred by the tenant. If my tenant fails to pay rent, do I have to wait until the 5th day of the month before I serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?

Answer: No. You can serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit the following day after the rent is due. Be aware that if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, you must carry the due date to the following first business day.

9.    Question: I have heard that if the condo I rent is uninhabitable the tenant can withhold rent. What constitutes uninhabitable?

Answer: A residential rental unit is uninhabitable if there is a condition on the premises which substantially interferes with the health or safety of the residents and occupants. However, it the tenant was the source of the uninhabitable condition, they are still obligated to pay the rent.

 

1. Flushable baby wipes and sani-wipes: No matter what’s on the label, “flushable” wipes do not disintegrate in water as quickly as toilet tissue does. Test it for yourself. Put a flushable wipe and a piece of toilet paper in water for an hour. You’ll see that the toilet paper quickly breaks apart while the wipe stays intact. That means it can lodge in sewer pipes and clog the toilet.

2. Dental floss: Waxed or unwaxed, dental floss becomes a veritable seine net catching all sorts of debris, clogging toilets and sewer pipes. When septic systems are involved, dental floss winds around moving parts and burns out motors.

3. Kitty litter: Some manufacturers say their kitty litter is flushable, but Agugliaro does not recommend flushing it down the toilet. “Today’s water-saving toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush. That’s not enough water to keep the kitty litter moving,” he explains. Plus, it adds more “stuff” that water purification plants need to remove.

4. Dried poop from a litter box: Toilets are designed for water-soluble waste. When cat poop sits in litter, it gets dehydrated and becomes hard as a rock. These “petrified poops” can get lodged in the labyrinth of pipes exiting the toilet and cause a clog. So, from now on, bag up your litter — poop and all — and dispose of it in the garbage.

5. Hair: Hair will never dissolve in water. In fact, it floats and easily gets caught on its way out the toilet, snagging whatever comes its way. So, don’t clean a brush and toss the hair in the commode. And if you wear hair weaves and one falls in the toilet, fish that lock out or you could face a big repair bill.

6. Condoms: Condoms will clog toilets and septic tanks. Toss them in the wastebasket. Period.

7. Bleach: Bleach is a very harsh chemical that does not belong in sewerage lines or septic systems. “The toilet bowl doesn’t need to be cleaned with bleach or an industrial cleaner. It has a glazed finish, so just swish it with a toilet brush to clean it,” says Agugliaro. “If you want to use something stronger, try white distilled vinegar. Toilet bowl stains are caused by the minerals in the water and not from human waste,” he adds.

8. Cigarette butts: Cigarette butts belong in the trash, not the toilet. They can clog the toilet and wreak havoc with a septic tank — especially filtered or plastic-tipped smokes.

9. Diapers/sanitary napkins/paper towels: Think about it. These are made to absorb water, not break apart in it. Dispose of all of these items in the trash.

10. Chewing gum: Chewing gum never dissolves in water and, worse yet, it can adhere to other flushables to form a clog. Wrap it in paper and toss it in the trash.

11. Cotton balls/swabs: These items are not going to dissolve in water. Instead, they’ll clog your toilet, especially swabs, which can easily lodge in pipes and create a logjam.

12. Food: Some may argue that food is biodegradable, and it is. But it can lodge in plumbing and create a stubborn clog while it’s decomposing. Never flush it down the toilet.

13. Grease: It might be liquid when it enters the pipes, but as soon as grease cools it solidifies and creates one powerful clog. It takes a professional to remove this kind of blockage.

14. Fish/snakes/little critters: Flushing live animals down the toilet is not only inhumane, it is stupid. Find a home for unwanted pets instead. About those dead animals: there’s no way they’re going to disintegrate in the toilet water and there’s a good chance they’ll create a clog. Give them a decent “burial” in the garbage can or yard.

15. Medication/Illegal drugs: Toilet water cannot destroy the active ingredients in medicines or illegal drugs. What you toss in the commode has to be extracted from the water in order to recycle it safely. That means your local water treatment facility has to invest in the technology and equipment to do this.

To get rid of old medicines, bring them to DEA-sponsored collection sites. The exception to this would those drugs that the FDA placed on their list of medications. These drugs can be lethal to people and pets and therefore should be flushed down the toilet.

Bottom line: The toilet was invented to dispose of human waste. Using it for any other purpose can not only damage your plumbing, it can also pollute the community’s water supply. Flush smart.

Legal Questions Jan 2017

Posted: 9th January 2017 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , ,
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1.    Question: The non-payment of rent notice I served on the tenant has expired. The tenant is now trying to pay the rent, but I do not want to accept payment and would like to return it. How can I return their payment?
Answer: You can return the tenant’s payment by personal delivery or sending it by regular mail. You are not required to send it by certified mail. It is important to return the payment as soon as possible.

2.    Question: I have an ongoing unlawful detainer against one of my tenant’s but he/she is continuing to create a disturbance at the property. Is there any way that the unlawful detainer can be expedited?
Answer: Unfortunately, no.  However, a restraining order may be available in extreme cases. If the tenant is engaging in a serious or criminal disturbance, call the police.

3.    Question: My tenant was just evicted and the majority of his/her items are still in the unit. Do I need to give him/her another notice to retrieve their belongings?
Answer: If you went through the court eviction process and the Sheriff conducted a lockout, the Sheriff would have notified your tenant of their rights to their personal property.

4.   Question: One of my tenants attempted to tape record our conversation explaining that they have a right to do this for legal purposes.  Is that true?
Answer: Your tenant has no legal right to tape record you without your express consent in places that you have an expectation of privacy, such as your business office.  Further, surreptitious tape recording – tape recordings without your knowledge – is a misdemeanor under California state law.  Contact your attorney if you learn that you have been surreptitiously recorded.

5.    Question: I had a police officer visit my rental office and request information such as social security numbers, addresses, and birth dates on three of my residents.  I told him that I would be unable to provide this information, as it was confidential. Was I correct in denying a law enforcement officer this information?
Answer: You did the right thing.  California law protects against the disclosure of an individual’s information, based on the right to privacy.  Therefore, if law enforcement is requesting information on a former or current tenant, management should not disclose any information absent a subpoena.

6.    Question: We have a limited number of parking spots in our apartment community so we decided to limit the parking to residents only.  Is this legal?

Answer: Yes, you may restrict parking at your apartment complex to residents only.  Make sure you have complied with the requirements of Vehicle Code Section 22658 so that unauthorized vehicles can be towed according to the rules of the code section. Also, be sure that your lease or rules have been appropriately modified so that this policy is enforceable as a condition of tenancy.

7.    Question: One of my tenants has notified me that she has filed for bankruptcy.  She has not paid her rent this month. Can I proceed with an eviction?
Answer: Once a tenant files for bankruptcy, he or she will be entitled to an automatic “stay” of any legal proceedings against him or her. This includes an unlawful detainer action.  You will be required to file a motion for “relief from stay” before serving any notices or bringing an eviction action.

8.    Question: I have an applicant who wants to bring her cat with her to the apartment.  Can I require her to de-claw the cat before bringing it onto my rental property?
Answer: No.  California law prohibits a landlord from requiring a resident to have a pet de- clawed or de-vocalized as a condition of occupancy.
9.    Question: I have had numerous problems with residents who smoke tobacco, including complaints from neighbors, damage to the rental unit, etc… Can I institute a policy that my rental property is smoke-free?
Answer: Yes. California law permits a landlord to designate their property as smoke-free.

10.    Question: After serving a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, does the day of service count towards the three-day period?
Answer: The first day of service does not count towards the three-day period. The first day to count is the day after service of the notice was completed. The tenant must have three full days after service before filing the Summons and Complaint.

11.    Question: May I demand a late charge in a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
Answer: No.  Do not demand any other fees or charges other than the tenant’s past due rent in a 3-Day Notice.  For example, do not include utility charges or interest in the notice even if a written lease or rental agreement states you are entitled to these payments.  A separate 3-Day Notice for all other fees owed may be served along with the 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.

12.    Question: Am I entitled to use a deceased tenant’s security deposit?
Answer: You are entitled to use a deceased tenant’s security deposit to cover unpaid rent, pay for damage beyond normal wear and tear, and to perform necessary cleaning to the unit.

13.    Question: We evicted one of our tenants and obtained a monetary judgment.  Now we find that they have moved to Arizona.  Can I collect against them since they moved out of state?

Answer: If you have a judgment against a former tenant and they move out of state, you can have the judgment recognized by that state as a valid judgment which would allow you to proceed to levy against their bank accounts or garnish their wages in the state they now live.

14.    Question: Can an owner/property manager require that a tenant secure renters insurance? Answer: Yes, to protect the property and assets, landlords can require the tenant obtain renters insurance as a covenant and condition of the lease.

15.    Question: A tenant has delivered a payment but the 3-Day Notice has already expired.  I don’t want the money at this point.  I do want possession of my unit back.  Should I return the payment?
Answer: If you do not return and reject the payment, an argument could be made that the payment has been accepted and the 3-Day Notice has been waived.  You should therefore return and reject the payment.

16.    Question: A tenant has left a lot of personal property after vacating.  How do I know if the value of the items left behind amount to $700.00?
Answer: You can call a third party appraiser.  Alternatively, you can research what comparable items sell for in the community.  Remember that it is replacement value, not the cost of purchasing a new item. Accordingly, online resources such as Craigslist can be used to help substantiate a value assigned to an item.
17.    Question: My company policy is to have the computer system print Notices to Pay Rent or Quit that just state who is to receive payment, but there is no blue ink signature.  Does this make them invalid?
Answer: California law requires that a person be named as agent for receiving payment in person on the notice, the address, telephone number, and hours/days of availability of this person be provided, but there is no requirement that this person sign the notice.  However, it is a good idea that the notice be signed to give it the personal touch and show the tenant that the information has been reviewed and is accurate.
18.    Question: I served a 60-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy, but they have failed to pay their rent.  Can I now serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or will that invalidate the 60-Day? Answer: As long as the Notice to Pay Rent or Quit does not demand rent for a period of time after the expiration of the 60-Day Notice, the 3-Day Notice does not override the 60-Day Notice, and you can file the eviction as soon as the 3-Day Notice expires.

19.    Question: I served a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on a tenant and they paid with a personal check. The check has since bounced. Do I need to serve another 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
Answer: The bounced check is not payment, so you can file on the original 3-Day Notice.

KTS Legal Questions Dec 2016

Posted: 13th December 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , ,
 

FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com

As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John)
Ted Kimball, Esq. weighs in:

1.    Question: I understand a security deposit refund must be postmarked within 21 days of my former tenant vacating the premises. Is that correct?
Answer: Yes, the security deposit must be mailed within 21 calendar days after the tenant vacates the unit.

2.    Question: I have a maintenance worker who was terminated and was given seven days to vacate his apartment.  He has not left, and I would like to know if I need to send him through the eviction process or if there is anything else I can do to get him out.
Answer: You need to send him through the eviction process. If he was purely an employee, you may be able to immediately file the unlawful detainer action.

3.    Question: Is it illegal for an owner to charge for his own labor (as long as it is the going rate for that type of work) and deduct that amount from the tenant’s security deposit?
Answer: No, it is not illegal to deduct for your own labor from the tenant’s security deposit.  You can charge a reasonable hourly rate and you must state the time and rate in your security deposit disposition statement.

4.    Question: I have a tenant that I strongly believe is selling and using drugs. What actions can I take without having any evidence?
Answer: In order to use the illegal drug activity as a basis for eviction, you have to prove that the drug activity is going on; otherwise if you are on a month-to-month tenancy, you can serve a 30 or 60-day notice without cause unless you are in a rent controlled area.  You should also call the police.

5.    Question: Our tenants have just informed us via telephone that their rent check will bounce, they don’t plan to cover it, and they intend to vacate the premises by the end of this month. They want us to use the majority of their security deposit as last month’s rent. If we don’t give a 3-day notice to pay or quit and proceed with an eviction, are we leaving ourselves more vulnerable?
Answer: If you do not proceed with a 3-day notice followed up by an eviction, you could find that the tenants decide to change their minds and not move out after all, prolonging their time in possession without paying rent. The extra “motivation” is often worthwhile.

6.    Question: I served a 60-day notice of termination because I am going to sell my home. Since then, one of the two residents moved out and is asking for his half of the security deposit. Am I responsible to pay the security deposit before the second person moves out?
Answer: The security deposit is normally not returned until the owner recovers possession. The tenant who vacates should work that out with the tenant who remains. It is not the responsibility of the landlord to account for the deposit until he or she recovers possession.

7.    Question: We served a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. What is the latest date we could start an unlawful detainer without our 3-day notice “becoming stale” and having to be re-served?

Answer: It depends on the facts of any given case, but the longer you wait, the more of an argument you are giving the tenant.  I would, in general, not wait more than one week.

8.    Question: There is a very loud tenant in the apartment building across the alley from our rental. I have asked them to quiet down on numerous occasions and have even called the police. They keep playing their music late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. What else can we do?
Answer: You should continue to contact the police when unreasonable disturbances occur and consider contacting the owner of the property to inform him or her of the situation. The owner may not be aware of the problem and may be in a position to take legal steps to remedy the situation if the loud tenant does not quiet down.

9.    Question: After a lease expires and it is month-to-month, how much notice must a tenant give me in order to legally terminate the lease? He says one week.  Is this true?
Answer: In California, 30 days or 60 days written notice is required to terminate a month-to- month tenancy and can be served by either party at any time during the tenancy.  If all of the tenants have been in possession for one year or longer, you must serve a 60-day notice.  Keep in mind the tenant can also serve a 30-day notice notwithstanding how long they have resided in the premises.

10.    Question: Someone told me that if a resident is committing a crime on the premises they can be evicted in 3 days. I have never heard of this law and I rent to someone I suspect is dealing in drugs.  Can you tell me more about it?
Answer: California law does allow an owner or manager of rental property to serve a 3-day notice to quit the premises based upon the commission of an illegal act on the property. The illegal conduct must, however, relate to the rented property.  If your tenant was dealing with or possessed illegal drugs on the premises, you could serve the 3-day notice.  If the tenant failed to quit, an unlawful detainer action could be filed in court to recover possession.

11.    Question: One of our tenant’s guests broke a window of the recreation room by throwing a ball through it. The host tenant claims he should not be responsible because the damage occurred outside the apartment and while they were playing catch in the common area. My tenant also refuses to give me the name or any information about his guest who caused the damage. What can I do?
Answer: In California, tenants are liable for the negligence of their guests while on the premises. The premises not only include the actual rented unit, but the common area as well. Therefore the tenant and the tenant’s guest are jointly liable for the damage to the window.

12.    Question: I have a tenant who is on a long term lease. Recently, however, the tenant brought in a roommate and has been out of town for over 30 days. I am concerned that the roommate intends on staying and that my original tenant may have moved out for good. What are my legal options?
Answer: If you have a clause in your lease which prohibits the assignment or sublet of your lease agreement, you do not have to consent to the roommate.  You could ask the roommate to fill out an application to rent and thereby identify who the roommate is.  Once identified, you could choose to either allow the roommate to live there if he meets your qualifications, and sign

the lease or start eviction procedures based upon the breach of the assignment and sublet clause of your lease.

13.    Question: I want to rent out our condominium (we are buying a new house) and I need to know how much I can charge for a security deposit. Can I also charge a cleaning, pet and key deposit?
Answer: California law limits the amount of a residential security deposit to twice the amount of the monthly rent if unfurnished, or three times the amount of the monthly rent if the property is furnished. The legislature recognizes all deposits as a security notwithstanding how the parties are identifying it. All deposits, taken together, cannot exceed these limits.

14.    Question: The lease for one of my tenants expires at the end of this month.  He told me to take the month’s rent out of his security deposit because he would leave the apartment clean and in good repair. He told me since it is his deposit, he has the right to deduct rent out of the deposit. What should I do?
Answer: California law requires the owner or manager to account for the use of the deposit no later than 21 calendar days after the tenant vacates the unit. The law also provides that the deposit shall not be used without the owner’s permission until after the tenant vacates.  Since the tenant has failed to pay rent, a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit may be served.  If the tenant fails to comply, an eviction may commence to produce a judgment for possession and monetary losses.