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…

KTS Legal Questions July 2016

Posted: 11th July 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,
 

FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region

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)

Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on -
1.    Question:  I have a month-to-month rental agreement with a tenant and have given a 60-day notice to vacate.  Since the service of the notice, the tenant has not paid the rent so I served  him with a 3-day pay rent or quit notice.  Did that void the 60-day notice?
Answer: The 3-day notice would not invalidate the 60-day notice unless you asked for rent that went beyond the 60-day period.

2.    Question: The present rental agreement is for two tenants. One has passed away.  Do I need to write a new rental agreement with the remaining tenant?
Answer:  You are not required to write up a new lease, the current tenant is still responsible for the full rent and other lease terms.

3.    Question: We rent our detached in-laws quarters in the back yard of our property.  Can we specify in the “house rules” that no visitors are allowed on the property?  Also, can we specify “no smoking” in or around the unit?
Answer:  You could prohibit smoking, since it is a health and fire hazard. Restricting visitors would most likely violate the tenant’s constitutional rights of freedom of association.

4.    Question: We have a tenant who gave us verbal notice to vacate the premises. How do we calculate the rent owed?
Answer:  A verbal notice is of no legal effect. The time begins to run when the written notice was served.

5.    Question:  Can you require that a guarantor for a rental applicant own property or be on the title to real property?
Answer:  Since you do not have to accept a guarantor, you can subject the guarantee to conditions such as requiring the guarantor to own property in California, and/or live in the city where the rental is located.

6.    Question:  I have tenants whose lease ends at the end of this month. Can I begin to show prospective tenants the unit while my current tenants are still under a lease?
Answer:  You can show the property to prospective tenants at any time during the lease, upon giving reasonable written notice of intent to enter (24 hours is presumed reasonable under the law) and the entry is done during normal business hours.

7.    Question:  If one tenant moves from one unit to the other unit within one building, can I deduct the security deposit to cover the damages and fix up for the old unit, then ask them to redeposit the amount of money to make up the security deposit for the new unit?
Answer:  Yes, and hopefully your lease clarifies this right.  If the tenant fails to pay, you can serve a 3-day notice to perform conditions and covenants or quit.

8.    Question:  I have recently purchased a 20-unit apartment building.  Must I have an apartment manager on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Answer:  California law requires that you have a manager, janitor, housekeeper or other responsible person reside on the premises representing the ownership when there are 16 units or more. They do not have to be working 24/7.

9.    Question: We had two tenants move out and deduct their security payments as a last month’s rent. We have accrued expenses for damages and cleaning. What can we do? Answer: If you can locate the former tenants, you can sue them in small claims court to get a judgment which is valid for 10 years.  As an alternative, you can turn the matter over to a collection law firm that is experienced in collections against former tenants.

10.    Question:  How long does an unlawful detainer judgment stay on the tenant’s record? Answer:  As with all judgments, it is valid for 10 years as far as collection goes, but the credit reporting agencies keep this information for seven years. The judgment also accrues interest at 10% per annum, and can be renewed for an additional 10 years.

11.    Question: I represent an owner of several buildings who has a few tenants that are past due on their rent.  Instead of evicting them, he is offering the tenants a payment plan, if they are willing to sign a promissory note detailing the arrangement.  If the tenant defaults on the promissory note, will he have to start a new eviction proceeding with a 3-day notice?
Answer: A promissory note would not be recommended. Once the tenant signs a promissory note, the rent is deemed “paid” for unlawful detainer purposes and the owner would not be able to serve a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit and proceed with the eviction. Instead, he would have to sue on the promissory note and then try to collect.

Ms. Management July 2016

Posted: 6th July 2016 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags: , , ,
 

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’m a regional and totally looking forward to NAA Education Conference until receipt of the memo from our company regarding what classes and social events I am expected to attend. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard? Back me up on this would you?
A. You’re probably not going to like my response but I know that a lot of money goes out in order for you and others to attend a national conference. Should a company expect accountability for your attendance; should they expect a thorough coverage of the available workshops and; should they want a strong recognizable branding at some of the general assemblies and/or social events? If the answer is yes to any or all of these then organizing beforehand might be a way to accomplish. Some organizations have a game plan to meet up at the conference and there divide up the team according to specific needs and/or preferences. Others go a step farther and include a written synopsis requirement from each attendee so that the best ideas come back to the company. Finally, “best practices” usually include a group evaluation to determine what was gained at the conference combined with the value and/or cost by the support effort “back at the ranch” in order to process continuing value. The conclusions of this process should also be shared with NAA to help with future conference planning.

Q. I’m an apartment manager and have been for quite some time. I followed a regional from my last company. I think this individual has been a great mentor and initially I was so glad to be reporting to him again that I really just trusted in his choice of this new company. To my surprise he was just fired. Help!
A. We often work for people instead of companies so it’s understandable that you might be confused and concerned with this unexpected turn of events. First, I suggest that you view this as a good thing. I say that because your career is yours to manage. A supervisor that has been a mentor to you is something to be grateful for and now it’s time to explore what’s next in your career. You have an opportunity to step forward and confront your fear of the unknown. Address with your mentors supervisor how you were introduced to the industry and your new company. Express your surprise at the termination and your concern that maybe you are viewed as someone too involved with someone that has been terminated. Will it be possible to survive and thrive inside this new company because of this history? Can you be managed on the merits of your work? You have gained from your past mentor and look forward to a new chapter of growth. Be grateful while owning your career. You may be pleased to find that this confrontation clears the air and becomes your first real day at YOUR new company; best of luck.

KTS Legal Questions June- Part 2

Posted: 29th June 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,
 

FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region

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)

Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on -

12. Question:
I have a prospective tenant whose company will pay his rent as a perk to his job. Who must
sign the lease?

Answer:
It is our strong advice to have both the company and the individual sign the lease. If the
employment is terminated you would have a stranger in your unit without a signed lease.

13. Question:
If a guest causes problems or damages the property, what is my recourse?

Answer:
The tenant is responsible to pay for the repair of any damage caused by their guest’s
negligence or intentional act. If they fail to pay a 3-day notice to perform conditions and
covenants or quit can be served.

14. Question:
If someone owes late charges and NSF check charges, do I give them a 3-day notice to pay
rent?

Answer:
The 3-day notice to pay rent or quit should only include rent – no late charges. A separate
notice to perform covenant for late charges can be served at the same time as the notice to pay
rent is served.

15. Question:
How often can I legally raise the rent?

Answer:
Unless you are under rent control or a state or federal subsidy program, there are no restrictions
as to the number of times you can increase the rent.

16. Question:
One of our tenants is moving out in three weeks. She has refused to allow any prospective
tenants to see the apartment. Is there any way we can force her to let us in since the law says
we have the right to show it?

Answer:
You can serve her with a 3-day notice to perform conditions and/or covenants or quit requesting
that she give you reasonable dates and times for entry. If she fails to comply, an unlawful
detainer action can be filed.

17. Question:
Three roommates signed the lease. If one roommate pays the rent every month from his
checking account, does that mean he is responsible for the rent instead of the other three
roommates?

Answer:
No, each resident is presumed to be “jointly and severally” liable for the breach of any of the
provisions of the lease. This means they are individually, as well as collectively, responsible for
all payments, including rent. Most leases state this in the body of the lease so there is no
question.

18. Question:
If a rental unit is broken into and there is subsequent damage, who is responsible for the
repairs?
Answer:
If the damage is to the rental property as opposed to the tenant’s personal items, the tenant
could be held responsible if the landlord could prove the tenant was negligent for instance by
leaving their doors or windows unlocked. Otherwise, the landlord would likely be responsible to
fix the repair, but would not be responsible for the tenant’s personal items.

 

Were you at the NAA Education Conference in San Francisco this week?

Maybe you can take a moment to read the June issue of the San Francisco Metro monthly publication of Landlord Management Magazine. Since 2007 Rent Sense is a syndicated column and /or blog respected and enjoyed monthly in the state’s 11 major regions by 125,000 subscribers that control 3 million rental homes, condos and apartments throughout California. The vast majority are independent rental owners, serious real estate investors and industry professionals.

In this month’s issue RS authors Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco discuss why renting is the choice of about half the population for a myriad of financial and lifestyle preferences. Residents are savvy consumers that readily research rent rates. Charging the millennial customer above or below market only creates mistrust, unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement. Rental ownership is a business and market rentals are essential to each region’s socio-economic infrastructure. As always, Neil and Chris are discussing what they know from more than four decades of RE investment, operating rental properties and the real estate related businesses that support quality housing. They still possess the passion that drives their daily involvement with people and property.

Click the image to view the full magazine!

landlord

KTS Legal Questions June Part 1

Posted: 8th June 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,
 

FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region

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)

Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on -

1. Question:
I have a two bedroom apartment rented to two roommates. One roommate always pays the
rent on time. The other roommate is habitually late. Can I do an eviction based on a partial
payment even though the month is not over?

Answer:
Both tenants are responsible for the entire amount of the rent so long as they are on the same
rental agreement/lease. You should serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit for the balance
of the rent and name both roommates. If they do not comply, commence an unlawful detainer
action naming both.

2. Question:
I believe that when a lease is expiring no notice of termination is required. Is this correct?

Answer:
Yes, unless your fixed term lease requires a notice of intent not to renew, you do not by law
need to serve a notice of termination; however it is a good idea.

3. Question:
How much can I raise the rent legally?

Answer:
Unless you are under rent control or a state or federal subsidy program, there are no limitations
on the amount of rent you charge. You cannot unilaterally increase the rent unless your
agreement is month-to-month. In that event, you can serve a written 30-day notice (or 60-day if
the increase is greater than 10% within the last 12 months) to increase the rent. Otherwise, you
must wait until the lease expires.

4. Question:
How can we determine if the roaches in the apartment were the result of bad housekeeping? Is
it our responsibility to get rid of the roaches?

Answer:
Ask your pest control professional to give his or her opinion on how the roaches came into the
apartment unit. The court will rely heavily on expert testimony in these cases. If you can prove
the tenant was responsible for the infestation, they are responsible for the cost of removal.

5. Question:
If our tenant sublets, and the sublessee defaults in the rent, do I give a notice to the tenant or
the sublessee?
Answer:
You serve one notice with both of their names on it to both. They should be evicted in the same
action.

6. Question:
What should I do if I suspect drugs are being sold out of one of our apartments?

Answer:
Call the police and report the incident. Ask the police for any further direction. Document all of
the calls and what you said, did and observed. Finally, contact an attorney to determine
whether or not you have enough evidence to proceed with an eviction.

7. Question:
If a tenant does not give a 30-day notice of intent to vacate, can the full security deposit be kept
by the landlord?

Answer:
You can only deduct for any unpaid rent up to 30 days from the date the tenant vacated if the
tenancy is month-to-month or until the premises are relet, whichever occurs first.

8. Question:
I have signed a lease for one year with a tenant and now he wants to leave after four months.
What is my recourse?

Answer:The tenant is responsible for the rent up to the date the lease expires or the date that you release
the property, whichever occurs first. You must use due diligence in trying to re-lease the
premises.

9. Question:
We served a 60-day notice of termination of tenancy on a renter. We have not received a rent
payment yet, so we served her a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit. Do you recommend that we
start eviction proceedings now or do we wait until the notice expires?

Answer:
You should proceed immediately with the eviction; if they do not have enough money to pay
you, they may not have enough to move out.

10. Question:
A couple moved into our rental unit one month ago. Since they moved in, we have received
eight complaints from the neighbors, who are now at the point of wanting to vacate because of
these complaints. What should I do?

Answer:
If the disturbances are major and continuous, the court may grant an eviction based upon a 3-
day notice to quit, but the disturbances to the quiet enjoyment of the neighboring property must
be severe, and there must be witnesses to prove your case in court if the case is contested.

11. Question:
If you state in the month-to-month contract that rent is due on the 1st of each month, but there is
not a late charge until after the 10th, can the resident pay every month on the 10th?

Answer:
The rent is delinquent the day after the rent is due. Provided that the day the rent was due was
a business day, a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit can be served the next day, even though the
late charge is not yet due.

 

2016-06-01 14.01.00

Ms. Management June 2016

Posted: 3rd June 2016 by Melissa in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
 

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’m a regional manager and have been with my company for several years. We have been active in our local association serving on committees, attending events and educational programs. Recently one of my team was approached by one of our competitors and left our organization. We have all been approached by the competition sometimes at association functions. The owner of the company went ballistic threatening to end all involvement with the association. Help! What can I do?

A. This is becoming more and more an issue especially with all the new multifamily construction around the country with a limited pool of industry talent. We are going to have to get creative and go outside our industry; example the hospitality industry.

Let’s address what you can do to resell your owner on the benefits of membership. Such as your team becoming more professional because of the educational programs which affects the bottom line. Networking often clarifies what is really going on as far as trends. Expanding your list of reputable suppliers is among the numerous benefits I’m confident your owner can agree are important. The reality is people will always do what works best for them at the time. To believe otherwise is not realistic. Most professional organizations are governed by a Code of Ethics but who enforces this? I think everyone recognizes this can’t be the responsibility of the association staff. It puts staff in an awkward position. Some organizations use a committee to govern this responsibility but this extra layer has rarely been popular or effective. This might sound like there are a lot of grey areas and, in fact there are. Everyone has a different perception of what is ethical. So unless there are contracts between management companies what we’re left with is some version of the “golden rule.” The best we can hope for is that members respect boundaries.
Companies and associations need to foster an environment that encourages people to stay. Sir Richard Branson said it best. “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they won’t want to.“

KTS Legal Questions May 2016 Part 2

Posted: 25th May 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , ,
 

FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region

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)

Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on -

11.    Question:
We have added a number of clauses to our Rules & Regulations Addendum and wish to have our tenants sign the new form, as well as signing the CAA addendum about mold.
Answer:
If you are on a month-to-month tenancy, you can unilaterally require they abide by the new terms by properly serving a 30-Day Notice of Change of Terms of Tenancy and attaching the mold addendum to it.  If they are on a fixed term lease, you must wait until the lease expires for them to renew and sign a new lease with the mold language contained therein.

12.    Question:
We are terminating a month-to-month tenant who has rented the property for over fifteen years. We gave the tenant a 60-day notice and the tenant acknowledged this and initially thanked us for giving them more than thirty days notice.  Now the tenant is demanding an additional thirty days due to their new residence not being ready in time. We have already made other commitments for the property. We stated we cannot extend more time. The tenant states that they are entitled to the extension because they have rented the property for over ten years.
Where do we stand?
Answer:
They are wrong, you are right.  If the notice was properly filled out and served, you can commence eviction procedures immediately upon termination of the sixty-day notice.  Do not accept rent beyond that date.

13.    Question:
How must a notice be posted on the door? I have had three different methods used by three different management companies in a sealed envelope adhered to the door, folded and stapled and adhered to the door, and open-faced adhered to the door by taping on all four corners.  Can all methods be used legally?
Answer:
The law requires the notice be posted in a conspicuous place. We therefore recommend you post all four corners with thumbtacks or tape, so long as it is secure, and mail the other copy the same day by normal mail. We also advise to turn the notice to face the door for privacy concerns.

14.    Question:
We normally keep original rental agreements, however, when would a copy not suffice?
Answer:
The court requires the original unless it is lost; so you have to either produce it or testify under penalty of perjury that the original was lost without fraudulent intent.  Court action is the main reason why you should keep originals.

15.    Question:
One of our tenants had a problem with the garage gate at a complex we manage.  Apparently the gate closed on his car without notice. We suspect that what he is telling us is true because we have experienced a similar problem ourselves.  Is the property owner liable to pay to have his car repaired?
Answer:
If the gate malfunctioned, the owner of the property is liable for the damages. The tenant would be required to prove that it was the malfunction of the gate and not his/her own negligence in order to prevail in court.

16.    Question:
We have been asked if the applicants have three days to change their mind after signing a lease without being penalized, but we do not know the law on this matter.
Answer:
There is no grace period in California for residential tenants to change their mind. Once the lease is signed, they are bound.

17.    Question:
An applicant listed on his application that he had been convicted of transporting illegal drugs. Can I reject the applicant on the basis of this disclosure?
Answer:
Yes, landlord/tenant law allows you to turn down an applicant with a past conviction for manufacture or distribution of illegal controlled substances.

18.    Question:
A resident is suspected of violating their lease agreement by having an unauthorized occupant and does not want to add that person to the lease. What is the best method of verifying the unauthorized person’s residency?
Answer:
You should require that they fill out an application and apply for the unit.  If they are approved then they should sign the lease.  If they refuse, a 3-Day Notice to Perform Conditions/Covenants or Quit should be served and if they still fail to comply, commence the eviction process.

19.    Question:
We have problems with tenants requesting repairs on the appliances. We inspect the appliances before the tenants move in and they are in working condition.
Answer:
Part of the responsibility of providing a habitable residential unit is to provide for working appliances.  However, they are required to maintain the property in good repair and order.  If the resident is to blame for a non-working appliance, they are required to pay for the cost of repair  or replacement.

20.    Question:
What if the first of the month falls on a weekend?
Answer:
Under California law, Sunday is automatically considered a holiday. So if the first is a Sunday, a notice to pay rent or quit can normally be served on the following Tuesday (unless Monday is also a holiday in which case you have to wait until Wednesday).  However, Saturday is not automatically treated as a holiday.  It is only treated as a holiday if the tenant needs to access their bank in order to pay their rent and their bank is closed on Saturdays. Unless the landlord knows the tenant’s bank is open on Saturdays, the safe approach is to treat Saturdays like a holiday and give the tenant through Monday to pay (unless Monday is a holiday).

Legal Questions May 2016 Part 1

Posted: 18th May 2016 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: ,
 

FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region

 

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).

 

Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball to weigh in on -

Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers
Ted Kimball, Esq. May, 2016

1.    Question:
How long do I have to mail the tenant the itemized security deposit?
Answer:
You need to send an accounting for the use of the security deposit within 21 days from the date you took back possession. If you do not have all of the amounts or receipts in time, you should give the tenant an estimate and then send the final amount within 14 days after you receive the final amounts and/or receipts.

2.    Question:
I have a lease with a tenant that terminates next month, and he has been given notice that the lease is not being renewed.  If he does not vacate, do I serve a 3-Day Notice to Quit for Breach of Covenant?
Answer:
You do not have to serve any notice to quit for a tenant who holds over on a fixed term lease unless you have an automatic renewal clause in your lease.

3.    Question:
Is there a state law that requires a landlord to professionally clean a carpet prior to reoccupancy?
Answer:
No, however the tenant is obligated to leave the premises in the same state of cleanliness that the carpet was in when she moved in.

4.    Question:
Can I give a rent increase anytime during the month or just on the first day of the month?
Answer:
If you have a month-to-month tenancy with the tenant, you can serve a written 30-day notice (or 60-day notice if you are increasing the rent more than 10% within the last 12 months) to increase the rent at any time of the month.

5.    Question
We are planning on selling a rental house. The tenants said they do not want a lock box put on the front door.  Can we do it anyway?  Do we still have to give them notice that someone is coming by to see the house?
Answer
We do not advise our clients to allow lock boxes because of potential liability.  Moreover, California law requires a reasonable written notice be given to the tenants before entering. Twenty four hours is presumed to be a reasonable time.  Oral notice is also available if it is given within120 days from the time the tenant was first notified of the property being for sale including a statement that the landlord may be giving oral notice to enter the premises.

6.    Question
If someone says we cannot enter his unit unless he is present, what would happen if we entered anyway?  Could he sue us?
Answer
A court may consider this a violation of the right of the tenant’s privacy and allow for statutory and actual damages as well as a restraining order. The tenant may also claim broken or missing items.

7.    Question:
I have a tenant who caused a fire in an apartment which resulted in a substantial amount of damage. The fire department concluded the tenant was at fault.  Can he be liable for my deductible?  And, can I take it out of his deposit?
Answer:
Yes, in fact he is responsible for all losses suffered (your insurance company may want to pursue him).

8.    Question:
I have renters who recently informed me that they are moving. The lease does not end for another six months. Now what happens?
Answer:
The tenants are liable for the rent up to the date the lease expires or the date the premises are relet, whichever occurs first.  You are under an obligation to attempt to relet the premises, in order to hold the former tenants liable.

9.    Question:
What is the first step to take if I want to evict a renter for non-payment of rent?
Answer:
You should serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit for the rent.  If they fail to comply, you can start an unlawful detainer action, but make sure not to accept rent after the action is commenced.

10.    Question:
What are we allowed, by law, to charge a tenant as a security deposit?
Answer:
You are allowed to charge up to twice the amount of the monthly rent as a security deposit so if the rent is $1000, you can charge up to $2000 for your deposit. If the property is furnished, you can charge three times the amount of the rent.

 

 

 

Rent Sense: California Rental Housing Works
By Neil Fjellestad & Chris DeMarco
FBS Property Management
Renters throughout California choose to rent for a myriad of financial and lifestyle preferences. Thinking through their alternatives from their perspective, few would argue their prerogative to rent for the foreseeable future. If they buy now – what they can afford requires draining their bank accounts; mortgaging themselves to the max; compromising many of their pre-conceived measurements of financial success. More importantly, many fear being shackled to local property ownership with its unexpected expenditures while the expanding economy and/or employment opportunities bid them to quickly pick up and relocate.

Renting Is a Choice
Their financial requirement under a long term rental lease is straightforward; to make payment on time. We provide technologies to accomplish even if they are on the other side of the world when the first of the month rolls around.  Even an exception can be anticipated, confronted and handled. The “millennial generation” is our largest, most educated and mobile. As a renter the only other requirement is to report a condition that needs to be resolved, repaired or noted. It is someone else’s responsibility to follow through and/or take action. A growing number of “boomers” that were owners before the great recession are returning as “renters by choice” and they love this part.

Residents are Savvy Customers
Renters rightfully believe that the amount they are charged for rent should be the market rent. They can readily research rental rates and they will. We can be challenged in this regard by our rental customer. We should be charging a reasonable rent and need to prove it up if we want to retain good customers. Millennials are indeed the savviest consumers. Some owners are tempted to underprice their rentals to avoid any confrontation or to be perceived as good to their tenants. However, charging a sub-standard rent is not a good idea as it doesn’t translate into a better renter. This is a historic notion that is not relevant in an economic super power like California.
In today’s economy it often creates an environment of unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement. Often this condition includes a lack of clear communication (transparent and direct) by both the rental customer and rental business operator.  When a customer doesn’t pay a competitive rent they often also don’t pay on time. Nor do they feel obligated to pay late fees. Expect to encounter violations to their lease like extra guests and pets. Since they have been excused from paying the market rent they feel entitled to ignore other contractual requirements as well.

Rental Property Ownership is a Business
Similarly, requests for repairs are neither reported nor responded to in a business-like fashion. Whether due to lack of awareness or motivation the property appearance goes unattended and/or the underlying financial risk liability grows.
The method of operation often becomes “survival practices” and market rent value becomes compromised.  The cycle is now predictive:  rents are stagnant, property improvement is non-existent. This parcel of real estate finds property value from external factors only.  Independent rental owners begin to believe that instead of holding a long term business investment they need to sell.
If the rental business operator has lost their awareness, perspective, motivation or resources to resolve outstanding issues they might jump at the chance to sell while they can. The rental property is usually NOT sold for its current operation or condition. Rather it is sold for its “potential” to another investor with fresh capital.
It must be recognized that a sub-par rental property normally can be turned around with professional management. Fresh capital is often optional but regardless should be provided by the existing owner.
It is imperative to employ “best practices” management planning to the operation and value improvement of any business. Local neighborhood rental property is an essential business.  Real estate enjoys underlying value but requires a business approach to accomplish investment potential. Rental property ownership demands motivated capital and management expertise because it remains subject to the risk of a free market system.

Market Rentals are Essential to Infrastructure
Competitive market rentals are essential to each region’s socio-economic infrastructure. Transportation, utilities and public safety will continue to painfully stretch public budgets.  Government can neither afford nor is the public willing to provide rental housing. Therefore, public officials must be careful “first to do no harm” that will thwart private long term rental property business ownership. Instead they must encourage these businesses that solve essential infrastructure problems. It certainly is in the public interest to partner with these housing providers: better tax incentives, zoning density flexibility, more attention to the cost and time delays being piled on top of local rental housing.
Like in any business endeavor some rental owners will employ best management to their business while others will stumble. The long term wealth creation and retirement income will follow investors that improve and retain their independent rental ownership.

To summarize, local small individual rental ownerships provide the vast majority of rental housing throughout the state. This alternative satisfies the financial and lifestyle requirements of residents while providing themselves and their families with investment equity and retirement earnings that will stay local as well. While not perfect, this system comes close.