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 Sept 2014

Posted: 16th September 2014 by Melissa in Legal Questions
Tags: , , ,

Kimball,Tirey & St.John LLP
Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers
Ted Kimball, Esq. September, 2014

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?

You can serve a 30-day notice at any time in 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.

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 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?

No. A 3-day notice for breach of the lease can be served on any day. 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.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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:
The money judgment I received in my unlawful detainer (eviction) case does not include physical damages made to the apartment. Since I already filed a money judgment, will that prevent me from getting a judgment for the damages made to the apartment later?

The unlawful detainer judgment only allows a judgment comprised of rent up to the time of possession, or if a trial, up to the date of trial, court costs and attorney’s fees. Any other item owed by the tenant can be pursued in small claims court.

This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. Ted Kimball is a partner with Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP. The law firm specializes in landlord/tenant, collections, fair housing and business and real estate, with offices throughout California. Property owner’s and manager’s with questions regarding the contents of this article, please call 800.338.6039.
© 2014 Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP


San Diego Property Management 92129, 92130 – Rancho Penasquistos, Carmel Valley

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 Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley neighborhoods (92129, 92130). FBS fills more residential vacancies, collects more rent and supervises more property maintenance in 92129, 92130 than any of the 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 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 San Diego, CA 92129, 92130 or a renter looking for the best rental housing alternatives within 92129, 92130: Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley there is one property manager that stands out – Fjellestad, Barrett & Short (FBS).

The 92129 and 92130 ZIP codes encompass the neighborhoods of Rancho Penasquitos and Carmel Valley, and are a result of the development of San Diego’s north county along I-15. Getting its name from the Spanish description of the rugged-rim terrain overlooking the canyon preserve running along this community’s southern border, Los Penasquitos (92129) was built out as a master-planned community consisting of approximately 10,000 acres including Black Mountain Regional Park with 51% designated for residential development; 34 % is designated for parks and open space; with just 2% designated for commercial space. Black Mountain is the area’s most visible landmark, rising to 1,500 feet. The topography separates the area from the rest of the city. Beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through the ’70s and ’80s mid-range tract homes, multi-family communities, neighborhood malls, golf courses and office parks were added until now, when the ZIP code supports a population of over 50,000; nearly 28% are rental households. Carmel Valley came on its heels as another master-planned community that reaches all the way from the westerly edge of Rancho Penasquitos toward the coast to Del Mar. Carmel Valley (92130) is populated with over 40,000 (about 23% renter households) housed in upscale individual and multi-family developments. These communities provide exceptional schools, numerous parks, new shopping, business, and corporate centers, Both ZIP codes are located less than 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

On a map, 92129 and 92130 are both located on the west side of I-15. 92129 is bounded on the north by Black Mountain Ranch and Rancho Bernardo’s southern neighborhoods; on the east are the neighborhoods of Sabre Springs and Carmel Mountain Ranch; to the south is the Canyon Preserve with the sprawling community of Mira Mesa on the other side. Carmel Valley is bordered on the north by neighborhoods of Del Mar, Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe; on the west by I-5; to the south is Sorrento Valley.

The neighborhoods within these communities of Rancho Penasquitos and Carmel Valley enjoy easy access to main thorough fares. Ongoing I-15 expansion improvements (north and south) along with the continued extension of SR-56 which runs east and west through both these ZIP codes offering relief for commuters and finally providing residents with easy access to the coast.

Rental options in Rancho Penasquitos and Carmel Valley include several large apartment communities; individual condos within established condominium communities as well as a growing selection of single homes for rent sprinkled throughout these 92129 and 92130 neighborhoods.


3rd Quarter FBS Property Newsletter for Independent Rental Owners & Serious R.E. Investors

“ All Economic Indicators Look Good for Long Term Ownership in Certain Regions of the U.S.”

Rent Sense by Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco


We often get asked whether it is viable to purchase an individual condo or detached single home as an investment operating the property as a rental home. Then there are those that are currently in this position as they move from their current residence. Should they rent it out or go ahead and sell even if the sale won’t achieve their goals? Their real estate agent is often recommending a sale and the owners are concerned whether this investment strategy as a rental can work over the long term.

FBS has over four decades of real estate experience. This experience and expertise gives us a unique perspective which is straightforward, direct and transparent. Well located real estate should be owned as a long term investment since it is the safest, most productive method for average people to build wealth. We also believe that property should be kept rented in order to make long term ownership possible since rent collected is helping to keep the property well maintained and paying down loan principal. Eventually the property will be debt free and the rent can become an excellent safe source of additional retirement income for the investor. We have taught and utilized this realistic real estate doctrine for decades while keeping our clients on track with comprehensive advisory services and “best practices” property management.

So keeping our experience in mind and the fact that FBS currently operates rental property in 69 zip codes throughout the SD region we are encouraged by the latest findings coming out of the research department of Zillow. The following was published on August 15, 2014:

Homeowners are faced with two options when choosing to move up the property ladder: sell the old home or rent it out. According to a new report from Zillow, homeowners might want to think twice before selling if they live in these 10 cities

“When deciding if they should sell their home or rent it out, most mom-and-pop landlords are primarily concerned with whether or not they can cover their mortgage payment each month – they simply can’t absorb monthly losses like professional investors,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“However, the greatest returns are actually in markets like San Jose and San Francisco where there are short-term monthly losses, but the long-term earned equity makes them the best markets to invest in,” Humphries added.

Nationally, the Zillow Rent Index has increased 2.5% since June 2013 and 9.1% since June 2011.

And on a local level, the Zillow Rent Index has gone up as much as two to three times that amount over the past year in rental hotspots such as metro Chicago (6.3%) and San Francisco (11%).


These are the top ten markets in the country identified as those most likely to incur long-term financial gain (long-term monthly profit is defined as follows: This includes home equity gains, tax benefits and the difference between monthly rental income and mortgage payments after holding onto the property for six years on the median home)


10. Honolulu: $2,512

9. Sacramento, California: $2, 694

8. Seattle: $2,861

7. Boston: $3,009

6. New York: $3,179

5. Riverside, California: $3,659

4. San Diego, California: $4,165

3. Los Angeles: $4,328

2. San Francisco: $6,078

1. San Jose, California: $8,927

Please shop and compare; not just price but services and expertise. We have built a healthy San Diego business out of advising independent real estate investors, acquiring and managing rental properties for clients while providing superior housing alternatives for qualified renters. We’ve accomplished all of this daily for longer than four decades and currently operate rental properties (houses, condos, apartments and commercial) in 69 zip codes throughout the region. Our rental vacancies change daily. Take a peek today www.fbs-pm.com/rentals

If you’re a qualified renter you deserve to be treated like the preferred customer you are.

Educate yourself www.RentSenseBlog.com

If you’re a local rental owner now you hold a winning ticket if you want a preferred retirement. A preferred retirement includes a personal residence plus rental properties held without debt and managed by professionals. This financial condition allows you some important lifestyle choices where you live and how you live. The ONLY challenge according to Warren Buffet? Comprehensive and constant professional management of your rental business. The solution in San Diego is complete property advisory and management services by FBS.

Consumer Bob- Renter Insurance

Posted: 4th September 2014 by Melissa in Uncategorized

Ask Ms. Management

Posted: 4th September 2014 by Melissa in Ms. Management
Tags: ,

Q- I am a new regional director for a company expanding into the local market.  Right off we have several positions unfilled at several of our apartment communities.

Moreover, as we expand our local operation and evaluate existing onsite staffs I’m anticipating an ongoing need for recruitment, interviewing and hiring activity. What advice do you have for a newcomer that needs to succeed?


A. First of all, I congratulate you on your new assignment. Also, taking a hard look at your current and future personnel needs is the right step in order to establish a strategic plan that you can initiate, lead and sustain.

Your candidates will generally come in (3) varieties:

One variety is the young graduate of vocational training and/or institution of higher education. These candidates have character and interest but no experience. You might be their first employer and as such they will need the most basic office training. Their attitude is not one of entitlement but rather they are a product of hard times. They are willing to work hard but they need interesting work with growth and they need detailed training. Catch yourself and others when they say, “but everybody knows that”. Don’t take anything for granted.

Your recruiting approach can be as a guest speaker in a related class and/or club meeting. Utilize social media to create awareness and initiate interest about the career track you are offering. Maybe you can bring groups of students to your apartment community for a career night. Don’t forget to communicate among your residents.

Your hiring practices need to emphasize learning quickly, demonstrating compliance proficiency and incorporating knowledge into property routines.  Create an expectation of testing for knowledge and demonstration of skills within specific time frames. Examples include: understanding the lease, fair housing and other details before stepping onsite. The challenge is to create an onboarding and initial 90 days that establishes what you have in each employee and the steps necessary to raise individual performance. I recommend a detailed checklist that tracks experiences with weekly meetings to assess real understanding of processes and procedures.

The next variety are the candidates that meet the minimum education requirements you have set but have experience in another field that might translate into the property management and/or maintenance skills you are looking for.

These often have higher expectations for responsibility and reward than you believe is warranted due to no industry experience.

Again, it is important that both the candidate and you have a clear understanding of behavioral experiences they have had and the transferability of skills. The interview questions must be calculated and designed to establish transparency on these points.

Onboarding and initial training is generally the same but must be direct and transparent about expectations. You must engage this employee to establish what they bring and how this has value in specific ways. They must initiate this process and prove value along the way but you must create the environment for this to happen.

The third variety are those candidates that come from within our industry; maybe even among your competitors. Maybe someone has been out of the industry for a time. The challenge in recruiting people from your competitors is the reputation you will need to live down. Then there are the benefits and downfalls that come with their experience. You might assume they can “hit the door running”. Surprise! Surprise! You must be careful not to assume or short cut the training process. You need to fully engage this employee during onboarding and initial training. Otherwise, you can get outward acceptance of your way of doing things but when left alone these employees might fall back into habits you didn’t intend to hire.

I think you get the message that no matter which variety of employee you recruit, interview and hire, there are challenges and risk. You might experiment with all of the above and spread your risk.

Ask Ms. Management

Posted: 26th August 2014 by Melissa in Ms. Management
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Q- I’ve been with the same company for five years. I started here as an assistant manager, moved to community property manager within the first year and for the last two years I have also supervised a sister community. I like my company but I want a regional manager assignment. After some months of making my desire known and continuing my industry education to further my preparation for such consideration I became aware of a regional manager opportunity at another good management company. Long story short: I went on an interview which went very well and I have an offer letter which I have accepted.

Now here’s my dilemma. I gave notice to my existing company but I was unprepared for their response. I was told that unknown to me a regional manager position was opening up and I was offered this job if I would choose to stay. I don’t know what to do. Should I stay or should I go?

A – I’m glad you have a dilemma. You have not mentioned once which company offered you more money and/or better benefits. Good for you. It’s obvious that you work hard and want the opportunity to work harder; which is what you can expect with the Regional Manager assignment. This assignment is different than what you expect. Regardless of your job decision, please continue your industry education toward the CAPS designation.

Now to the specifics of your dilemma. You took an important step when you interviewed and represented yourself as someone ready, willing and able to be hired as a Regional Manager. Even more important, a new company listened to you and agreed. As an employer myself may I give you a perspective that might not be clear to you. I take the hiring process very seriously and when we put our offer in writing to clarify the particulars of expectations and understanding on both sides it’s a big deal. This formal process prepares all parties for clear communication going forward. Let me ask. Were you excited about the prospects of this new assignment? Was your mind filled with thoughts about this opportunity?

Now, let me ask you. When your existing company came to you with the information and proposal they did what did you think and how did you feel? Were you excited with their counter offer or just validated that your existing employer finally took your goal seriously? If it is the latter, then they have given you a great going-away gift because we should be able to make such important decisions out of excitement; not guilt.


While the forecast for the economy is positive, the outlook for the housing market has deteriorated as housing activity lost momentum and near-term indicators only suggest minor improvement, Fannie Mae said in its latest economic outlook report.

“The August outlook supports our expectation that the economy will grow in the second half of the year at slightly above trend and push full-year growth into positive territory, albeit still weak by historical standards,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

But when it comes to housing’s contribution to the economy, Duncan said, “We have downgraded our outlook following the disappointing housing activity seen during the first half of the year.”

“In the first six months of the year, total sales have run below last year’s pace,” Duncan said. “Additionally, on the demand side, there appears to be a conservatism among consumers and their willingness to take on big-ticket purchases, such as homes.”

And next year does not look to be too much better. “We currently estimate that 2014 will finish lower in total sales figures than 2013 – and that 2015, while stronger than 2013 and 2014, will not be the breakout year some are expecting,” Duncan continued.

Despite housing’s lack of contribution to the overall economy, improvements in consumer spending, inventories and employment helped support an upward revision in growth expectations to approximately 3% for the second half of 2014, raising the forecast for all of 2014 by four-tenths to 1.9%.

Rent Sense in Apartment Magazine

Posted: 19th August 2014 by Melissa in Uncategorized

Rent Sense: Where Your Home Matters is the August message to thousands of existing Rental Owners and R.E. Investors all over California. Don’t miss the straight forward advice and the stories that illustrate this advice coming from the unique insight of Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco.






Long-term profit vs. short-term profit

Brena Swanson

August 15, 2014

Homeowners are faced with two options when choosing to move up the property ladder: sell the old home or rent it out. According to a new report from Zillow, homeowners might want to think twice before selling if they live in these 10 cities

“When deciding if they should sell their home or rent it out, most mom-and-pop landlords are primarily concerned with whether or not they can cover their mortgage payment each month – they simply can’t absorb monthly losses like professional investors,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“However, the greatest returns are actually in markets like San Jose and San Francisco where there are short-term monthly losses, but the long-term earned equity makes them the best markets to invest in,” Humphries added.

Nationally, the Zillow Rent Index has increased 2.5% since June 2013 and 9.1% since June 2011.

And on a local level, the Zillow Rent Index has gone up as much as two to three times that amount over the past year in rental hotspots such as metro Chicago (6.3%) and San Francisco (11%).


Top ten markets for long-term financial gain (long-term monthly profit: This includes home equity gains, tax benefits and the difference between monthly rental income and mortgage payments after holding onto the property for six years on the median home. This is only realized after selling)

10. Honolulu: $2,512

9. Sacramento, California: $2, 694

8. Seattle: $2,861

7. Boston: $3,009

6. New York: $3,179

5. Riverside, California: $3,659

4. San Diego, California: $4,165

3. Los Angeles: $4,328

2. San Francisco: $6,078

1. San Jose, California: $8,927

Legal Questions August 2014

Posted: 13th August 2014 by Melissa in Legal Questions
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Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers

Ted Kimball, Esq. August, 2014


Question: My tenant claims that since she moved out on day three of the 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, she is not responsible for any rent. Is that true?

That is false.  Your tenant cannot “benefit from her breach.”  She is still responsible for the remainder of her lease term or until you re-rent the property, whichever occurs first.


Question: I have three roommates on a lease. One of them moved out.  Do I have to refund his portion of the security deposit?

No.  The security deposit remains with the apartment.  You do not need to provide the security deposit accounting until everyone vacates.  You then have 21 days to do so.


Question: One of my resident passed away over the weekend. What happens to the lease now?

If the resident was on a lease, his estate is still liable for the rent until that lease expires or until relet, whichever occurs first. If it was a month-to-month tenancy, then the lease is terminated as of the end of the period last paid for by the tenant.


Question: The guest of one of my residents broke the window of the unit. Our lease states that residents are responsible for damages caused by them and/or their guests. The resident is refusing to pay and said she is not responsible as the damage was caused by her friend. The resident is adamant that I must first attempt to sue/collect against the friend (who I do not have any contact information for) before I can try to come after the resident directly.  Is that correct?

The resident is responsible for the conduct of their guests. There is no legal requirement to try to locate or sue the “friend” first.


Question: I rented a unit and forgot to have the resident sign a lease. The resident moved in a pet cat without my consent.  I never explicitly told the resident “no pets” but I do not want any pets in the building. What can I do?

Without a written lease which included a “no pet” provision, you cannot immediately require the pet’s removal.  However, if the oral tenancy is month-to-month, you can serve a 30-Day Notice of Change of Terms of Tenancy to institute a “no pet” provision. (Note: Many local rent control or other ordinances may prohibit unilateral changes to the tenancy and may restrict a landlord’s ability to pursue this option.)


Question: Can I post a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit on the door of the apartment without knocking first? I would rather avoid seeing the tenant face-to-face?

California Code of Civil Procedure §1162 requires an attempt of personal service at the residence (or place of business, if known) before resorting to alternate methods of service.  You should therefore, always knock on the main entry door at the unit before posting and mailing a copy.


Question: If I miss sending a security deposit disposition with 21 days as required by law, must I return the entire deposit rather than deduct amounts owed such as outstanding rent?

The law is silent on this point.  As a result, some judges do and some judges do not allow the landlord to make a deduction from the deposit if not property accounted for in accordance with California law.  However, this does not mean that the damages to the unit, necessary cleaning and unpaid rent are not owed.  In any event, the landlord can pursue any monetary claims they have against the former tenant in small claims court notwithstanding they failed to properly account for the use of the deposit.


Question: I served a 60-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy last month, now the tenant has not paid rent for this month.  Can I serve a 3-Day Pay Rent or Quit without invalidating my 60-Day?

Yes, so long as you do not ask for rent that goes beyond the 60-day notice period.


Question: The resident claims there’s mold in his apartment but now won’t let my maintenance person in to inspect for or make repairs. What can I do?

You can serve the resident with a Notice to Perform Conditions and/or Quit requiring them to provide reasonable dates and times for the entry.  If they fail to comply, you can commence an action for unlawful detainer (eviction) and apply for a court order allowing you access to the unit to make necessary repairs before possession of the unit is returned.