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 Questinos April Part 2

Posted: 22nd April 2014 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , ,


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.


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.


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.


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 includes 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.


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.


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.


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.


What Kind of Real Estate Investor Do You Want to Be? You’ll want to read Rent Sense in the current issue of Landlord Magazine distributed in Northern California (Silicon Valley, Greater Sacramento Area, East Bay and San Francisco Metro). Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco of FBS are the definitive experts on any subject that requires Rent Sense.




San Diego Property Management Vista – 92081, 92083, 92084

Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) is the San Diego north county property management company of choice for residential properties, rental homes, condos, townhomes and apartments for rent in Vista. FBS fills more residential vacancies, collects more rent and supervises more property maintenance in 92081, 92083and 92084 than the other San Diego north county property management companies.

Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) established its complete property management and advisory services in 1972 and has been operating rental properties throughout San Diego for independent rental owners in an exemplary manner that recognizes renters as their preferred customers as well. In the early 1990s, due to a growing emphasis on north county rental homes, condos, townhomes and apartments for rent a central office for the company was established in the heart of Rancho Bernardo that is operated by local staff that specializes on FBS properties north of SR-52 and that have invested their careers at Fjellestad to be leaders in this area of San Diego property management.

The San Diego Better Business Bureau recognizes Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) as an accredited local business and has awarded FBS an A+ rating. Read a BBB reliability report on Fjellestad. Whether you are an independent rental owner needing property management in Vista, CA 92081, 92083 and 92084 or a renter looking for the best rental housing alternatives within Vista or other San Diego north county cities there is one property manager that stands out – Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS).

These ZIP codes feature the expanding north county neighborhoods of the city of Vista located about 7 miles from the ocean and 35 miles north of downtown San Diego along the SR-78 corridor between Escondido and Oceanside. This area enjoys an average temperature of 74 degrees, gentle breezes and rolling hills. Though Vista has a rich 200 year local history, modern suburban growth began after Vista became an incorporated city in 1963. Today this city supports a growing population of 97,000 est. (46% renters) which is primarily concentrated in three ZIP codes that straddle SR-78 while still providing open space for additional growth and public recreation.

These ZIP codes are served by SR-78 which gives access to I-5 and I-15. Vista’s location is nearly midway between SD International Airport to the south and John Wayne Airport to the north. Local public transportation is provided by the North County Transit and the Sprinter which is a modern rail link between Escondido and Oceanside. Much of the traffic is generated within Vista when you consider that the 1200 acre Vista Business Park is home to more than 800 companies with nearly 20,000 employees. On the retail side, Vista has provided incentives for all the major box stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, Wall-mart, and Target Greatland) to locate within its boundaries in order to service the 500,000 people within a 10-mile radius.

Vista Unified School District is committed to new and renewal construction and dedicated to providing technology advantages to staff and students at its 18 elementary schools, 6 middle schools and 6 high schools. Vista provides health-care services to north county residents through its Tri-City Medical Center. Local fire protection is exemplary and law enforcement touts diminishing crime rates due in part to a cooperative community volunteer network. Vista provides a full array of family-oriented entertainment and performing arts.

Rental options in Vista include many housing alternatives from affordable to ultra-luxury. There are large to mid-size apartment communities; small rental properties; individual condos within established condominium communities as well as a growing selection of single homes for rent sprinkled throughout these neighborhoods.

KTS Legal Questions April Part 1

Posted: 8th April 2014 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,


Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers

Ted Kimball, Esq. April, 2014


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

A little FBS love

Posted: 8th April 2014 by Melissa in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Thank you for our final statement.  It’s kind of bitter sweet.  Every word I said is true.  You and Jeannie have been some of the most pleasant people to work with in a loooooong time.  I know I wasn’t the easiest with Jeannie at first, but I finally settled down and let go, letting her finally do what she does best.  I have heard horror stories about property management firms, but if ANYONE ever says anything about FBS in a bad way, first, I will shut them up quickly, and second, I can assure you, it won’t be because of you, it will be because THEY were the hard ones to deal with.  You bend over backwards for your customers and I appreciated everything both of you did for us.  I will really never forget you.  You both got me through a very emotional time in my life, transitioning from taking my childhood home and making it a rental.  Your company helped me get through this with class and dignity.


I hope this is not the last time we get to talk to each other and I am hoping to send people your way when they need a service like yours.  You are at the top, in my eyes.  Please take care!

M.K- Owner

A look at Southern CA housing demands

Posted: 28th March 2014 by Melissa in Rent Sense

Please remember that this is a broad brush representation of what is happening in the San Diego Region. Though this information is useful to understand trends it can be misleading to a specific rental example, type of property or individual neighborhood. FBS operates independent rental properties within 69 local zip codes. In addition, they have cataloged rental data on thousands of rentals in order to maintain their reputation as the definitive management and advisory resource to independent real estate investors/rental owners in the San Diego Region for more than four decades. Neil and Chris


San Diego apartment rents have moderated from their peaks, as increased construction pushed vacancies back up near 5 percent.

A MarketPointe Realty Advisors RentalTrends report stated the average rent — which had been at an adjusted rate of $1,457 per month last September — dipped slightly to $1,445 per month in March. The rate stood at $1,385 per month in March of 2013.

The 4.74 percent countywide vacancy rate this month is a modest increase from 4.45 in September 2013, and an even smaller increase from 4.7 in March 2013.

The vacancy figure reached a peak of 5.26 percent in March 2009 during the recession. A 5 percent level is the industry standard for a balanced market.

Downtown San Diego is a submarket that stands out for having a high vacancy rate.

With its average $1,908 rental rate, downtown San Diego has a 17.3 percent vacancy rate. It means that out of 4,748 units surveyed in the submarket, 821 were found to be empty.

MarketPointe reported that the San Diego Central submarket has some 6,405 units in the pipeline.

While many of these are planned for downtown, many are also planned for points further north. In addition, it is unlikely that all of these will be constructed.

MarketPointe reported downtown San Diego currently has 546 apartments under construction in three projects.

These are the 242-unit 15th & Market Promenade by Holland Partners, the 208-unit Lofts @ 688 Market by OliverMcMillan and the 96-unit 418 10th Avenue project by the H.G. Fenton Co.

The 201-unit Broadstone Little Italy development by Alliance Residential was completed recently.

MarketPointe also included apartment projects under construction that are north of downtown in its San Diego Central calculations.

These include a total of 612 units in northwest Mission Valley called Creekside West and West Park by Sudberry Properties in its Civita masterplan, and three in Kearny Mesa; the 444-unit Broadstone Balboa, the 360-unit Broadstone Kearny Mesa, both by Alliance Residential; and the 253-unit development by Sunroad Enterprises at its San Diego Spectrum development.

An estimated 3,566 units in 11 projects are currently under construction countywide, with many of those projects anticipated to open in late 2014 or early 2015.

Russell Valone, MarketPointe president, said, “I don’t think new releases will all be at once, and the market will absorb them quickly enough.”

Not all the apartments are being constructed in central San Diego.

The 1,800-unit Casa Mira View development by Garden Communities in Mira Mesa continues to build out and lease its units, despite relatively high rents that start at $1,525 per month and range as high as $2,400.

Of the 810 units released there 780 are leased, translating to a vacancy rate of just 3.8 percent. Units in that project first came up for rent in December 2012

Another new apartment development that has also been faring well is ColRich Communities’ Casa Lago EastLake development in Chula Vista.

That 343-unit property — which went up for lease in May of 2013 — had only 13 units available at the time of the March survey for a vacancy rate that, like Casa Mira View, was also 3.8 percent.

Carmel Partners’ 533-unit Carmel Pacific Ridge in Linda Vista — which started its rental program in April 2012 — had managed to lease 371 units by the time of the March survey, but that left 162 vacant.

Carmel Pacific Ridge rents ranged from $1,598 to $3,360 per month.

The UDR apartment investment firm started leasing its 267-unit 13th & Market development in downtown San Diego in July 2013. It still had 209 units vacant as of the March audit. The rents ranged from $1,790 to $3,500.

This March 2014 audit of RentalTrends covered a total of 127,441 units contained within the 850 rental projects, an increase of 1,492 from its previous audit last September.

A total of 12,425 units contained within 60 projects have been identified as future market rate rental housing developments in San Diego County.

Following the San Diego Central’s 6,405 units, the East County, North County Coastal and Highway 78 Corridor submarkets all had fewer than 1,000 units in the pipeline.


Here is another take on the same issue putting it in perspective with a comparative look at the rest of Southern California. Neil and Chris


Population growth in Southern California continued to slow last year, another factor in soft demand for housing.

The populations of the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego metro areas were still growing in 2013, according to new figures released by the Census Bureau on  Thursday, but less quickly than they did in either of the two years prior. Of the six counties in Southern California, only two — Riverside and San Diego — grew faster than the state as a whole.

Housing economists and demographics experts note that fewer people moving and fewer people forming new households have dampened demand for housing since the end of the recession. Thursday’s numbers bear that out locally. While births continue to outpace deaths, net migration was negative, meaning more people moved out than moved in, in five of the region’s six counties last year, according to the census. And while that’s long been the case in Los Angeles County, it’s a newer phenomenon in places like the Inland Empire and Orange County.

Indeed the Riverside metro area, which saw a flood of moving trucks in the last decade as families moved east from L.A. in search of cheaper housing, recorded negative migration last year for the first time since 2009. San Bernardino County, in particular, had nearly 11,000 more people move out than move in and saw the slowest population growth in the Southland. Meanwhile Los Angeles and San Diego counties were losing residents at a far slower pace than during the housing boom.

“The flight from the coast is not really picking up,” wrote demographer William Frey in an analysis of the figures.

But some local experts say that’s already beginning to change. Higher home prices are pushing more buyers east again, said John Husing, a housing economist who studies the Inland Empire. Building permits were up last year in Riverside and San Bernardino. Inventory has picked up in recent months as investors have slowed their activity. And the chance to buy a house for $200,000 less than in Los Angeles County will continue to be a strong draw.

“You’re going to see buyers from the coastal counties again priced out,” Husing said in an interview last week. “They’ll come out here.



San Diego East County Property Management 92019, 92020, 92021, 92022 and 92090 -El Cajon, Fletcher Hills, Bostonia, Crest, Granite Hills, Lake Jennings, Harbison Canyon, Singing Hills, Dehesa, Jamacha

Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) is the San Diego property management company of choice for residential properties, rental homes, condos, townhomes and apartments for rent in El Cajon and adjoining East County communities and neighborhoods – Fletcher Hills, Bostonia, Crest, Granite Hills, Lake Jennings, Harbison Canyon, Singing Hills, Dehesa, and Jamacha. FBS fills more residential vacancies, collects more rent and supervises more property maintenance in 92019, 92020, 92021, 92022 & 92090 than other San Diego property management companies.
Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) established its complete property management and advisory services in 1972 and has been operating rental properties throughout El Cajon and San Diego East County for independent rental owners in an exemplary manner that recognizes renters as their preferred customers as well.

The San Diego Better Business Bureau recognizes Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS) as an accredited local business and has awarded FBS an A+ rating. Read a BBB reliability report on Fjellestad. Whether you are an independent rental owner needing property management in El Cajon, CA, a renter looking for the best rental housing alternatives within El Cajon and adjoining East County communities; there is one property manager that stands out – Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS).

These ZIP codes encompass the municipality of El Cajon (Spanish for Òthe boxÓ) with some adjoining East County communities and neighborhoods. Notable examples include: Fletcher Hills, Bostonia, Crest, Granite Hills, Lake Jennings, Harbison Canyon, Singing Hills, Dehesa, and Jamacha. An aerial view shows this valley surrounded by mountains with Santee and Lakeside to the north; San Carlos, Lake Murray and La Mesa to the west; Mount Helix and Spring Valley to the south; and Alpine to the east. The topography has always provided a slightly warmer (about 15 degrees) alternative to the coast.

El Cajon is one of the leading population centers in the entire San Diego Region. For years El Cajon has been an affordable choice for families, employers and retailers. Currently, El Cajon has a population of over 100,000 (about 50% renters).

There is a renewed effort to make El Cajon the best possible place to live, work, shop, play, learn, and conduct business. This includes a plan to improve and re-establish an urban downtown village environment with a traditional street grid pattern along with incented new development that is more vertical, compact, and multi-use. There is an emphasis on increasing the amount and quality of housing opportunities by making more walkable neighborhoods, open space connectivity and more local mass transit. Currently, assess to I-8 and SR-67 gives commuters the ability to reach a variety of destinations throughout the region.

El Cajon is home to the Grossmont – Cuyumaca Community College District founded in 1961 providing educational services to nearly 30,000 students at two campuses. With 158 degree and certificate programs – 80% of attendees are involved in university transfer-level coursework; 20% are attending vocational courses; and 10% are building basic skills. This is a city that has the capability to provide a life – long learning environment for its citizens.

Rental options in El Cajon include: older rental properties (duplexes to fourplexes), streets of small to mid-size apartment buildings, a wide selection of apartment communities (affordable to luxury). There are also an increasing number of individual condos, townhouses and single homes to rent.

Rent Sense in Apartment Magazine- March 2014

Posted: 10th March 2014 by Melissa in Rent Sense

“Rent Sense is a syndicated column enjoyed by independent rental owners, serious real estate investors, industry professionals and informed renters throughout California. Don’t miss what Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco have to say about the brighter future they envision for property managers.”


How Cool! Check out our newest employees- Spotlight in the IREM San Diego’s March/April 2014 Newsletter


KTS Legal Questions- March 2014

Posted: 5th March 2014 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , , ,
  1.  Question:  Are e-mail communications between tenant and landlord admissible in court?

Answer:  Yes, e-mails can be allowed into evidence, but cannot be used to serve notices.

2.   Question:  I want to serve a three-day notice to pay rent or quit to a tenant who is very late on his rent. The rental amount listed on the lease is $875.00 plus an additional $25.00 for parking. The tenant has paid the $900.00 for the past 24 months. Which amount should be placed on the notice?

Answer: It is safer to serve a separate three-day notice to pay rent or quit, as well as a three- day to perform conditions and covenants or quit for the parking charge at the same time. If they do not pay either one, or both, you can proceed with the eviction process.

3.   Question: When a month-to-month resident decides to vacate after being served a three- day notice to pay or quit, do the owners have the right to charge for thirty days after the move- out to comply with their month-to-month agreement?

Answer:  Yes, you can charge up to the time the premises are relet or thirty days from the date of their departure, whichever occurs first, so long as you make diligent attempts to relet the property.

4.   Question: Our tenant gave a thirty-day notice of termination, intending to move out on the 10th of the next month.  Since the rent was due on the first of the month, can we require the tenant to have given thirty-days’ notice on the first of the month?

Answer: Once you are on a month-to-month tenancy, either party can terminate it by serving a thirty-day notice at any time. They are, however, responsible for the rent up to the date the thirty-day notice expires, so they would owe pro rata rent for the following month.

5.   Question: We have a tenant who has been provoking other tenants so we gave her a thirty- day notice.  She is now very angry and has flooded her apartment and the three apartments below her by inserting a roll (still on the spool) of toilet paper into her toilet and then flushing the toilet over and over. What can we do?

Answer: You can serve a three-day notice to quit based upon this activity.  If she fails to vacate in three days, the court eviction can commence and you would not have to wait for the thirty-day notice to expire.  You can also call the police for vandalism.

6.   Question:  I served a tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. The tenant wrote a personal check that bounced.  Do I have to give another three-day notice?

Answer:  No, you do not have to serve a new three-day notice. You can proceed directly to the next step by filing an unlawful detainer action.

7.   Question: I had to go through an eviction to regain possession of one of my rentals.  I also received a judgment for the rent, court costs and my attorneys’ fees.  How can I collect this judgment? Do I have to go back to court?

Answer: The law provides for a variety of ways to collect the judgment. Wage garnishments, bank levys, attachment of personal property and judgment debtor examinations are formal ways

to collect monetary judgments. Of those listed, a bank levy is the most effective way to collect a judgment. Receiving accurate information on the rental application allows optimal opportunity to collect.

8.   Question: Last Monday I served a resident with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. I served it by posting a copy on my tenant’s door, and then the next day, I mailed a copy by certified mail.  Someone said I have to mail it through the normal mail.  Isn’t certified mail better than normal mail?

Answer: The California legislature has created the procedural laws for serving a delinquent resident with a notice to pay rent or quit.  Unless the tenant admits receiving the notice, the notice is invalid unless properly served.  In this case, the law is specific and requires that a second copy of the notice be mailed, regular mail.

9.     Question: One of my tenants vacated the property and left his roommate behind. Both signed the rental agreement and now the tenant who vacated is demanding his share of the security deposit be returned to him. Is he right? What should I do?

Answer: You are not required to return or account for the use of the security deposit until you regain possession of the property after the tenants have vacated.  California requires the deposit be accounted for in writing and sent to the last known address of the tenants no later than 21 days following the return of possession unless the lease requires an earlier time frame. The tenant who vacated early should work out an arrangement with his former roommate.  You are under no obligation to account for the deposit at this time.

10.   Question: I own and manage a 10-unit apartment building. One of my tenants gave me 10 days’ notice of her intention to vacate.  She wrote that she would not be responsible for rent after that since I have a security deposit and she is on a month-to-month agreement. Is she right?

Answer: Unless you have agreed to a shorter amount of time in which to terminate your month- to-month rental agreement, the law requires a thirty-day notice be served by either the owner or the tenant in order to terminate the tenancy. If less than thirty days is given, the tenant is still liable for the full thirty days unless you were able to re-let the premises before the thirty days ran out.