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…

Rent Sense in Landlord Magazine

Posted: 20th May 2015 by Melissa in Rent Sense
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In addition to their following in southern California Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco have a strong presence in northern California as well. Rent Sense, their syndicated industry column has been picked up by Landlord Property Management Magazines. Their monthly publications are mailed directly to 43,000 apartment owners, managers, property management companies, and leasing offices – reaching over 1,000,000 units throughout Northern California. For over 50 years, Landlord publications have been dedicated to helping and providing information to the owners and managers of multi-housing units, income properties, residential rentals, and commercial properties throughout California. Currently, Landlord offers four distinct magazines throughout Northern California: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, East Bay, and Greater Sacramento. They have chosen to include Rent Sense in each.

SDCAA Past President’s Column

Posted: 13th May 2015 by Melissa in Rent Sense
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As of April 2015, Neil Fjellestad will create a monthly column to appear in the San Diego County Apartment Associations Rental Owner Magazine. Each month will focus on a different theme. As a member of the Apartment Association you have access to an extensive amount of resources. Including this monthly publication! Click on the picture below to read more!

sdcaa april



Rent Sense in Apartment Magazine

Posted: 12th May 2015 by Melissa in Rent Sense
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apt“Rent Sense” is a syndicated column that has become a respected authority to 80,000 rental property owners throughout southern California representing 2.5 million rental homes, condos and apartments.  Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco discuss what 2015 looks like to investment owners, this is part two of the two part series. Rental ownership is absolutely the investment of choice for individuals that have the stamina and the sense to buy and hold. Long-term rental ownership requires professional management as well. Neil and Chris are teaching 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 on the image to read the publication!


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KTS Legal Questions May 2015

Posted: 4th May 2015 by Melissa in Legal Questions

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 rent out a three-bedroom home with a covered patio that I have turned into a fourth bedroom. There are four individual people renting. My question is, can I call it renting rooms or am I renting a house to four different people?

It is better if you rent the house to all four under one lease with each tenant being “jointly and severally” liable, meaning they are individually responsible for the lease, as well as collectively.

2.    Question:
We have a policy of allowing prospective tenants who have poor credit to qualify if they have a qualified guarantor sign the lease. We want to change that policy. Do we have to do anything legally speaking to modify our policy?

Answer:  Be sure to document the details of the new screening policy in your files, including the business reason for the change in policy and the effective date that it will be implemented. That way, if someone claims they were given different screening criteria than someone else, you have documentation to show there was a good business reason for the policy and when the  new policy came into effect.

3.    Question:
In order to screen prospective tenants, I want to establish a standard of income/debt vs. rent. Is this legal in California?

Many landlords use a formula to determine qualification of residents based upon their financial stability.  The industry standard is to establish a rent-to-income ratio (for example the combined household income must be at least 2.5 times the monthly rent).  Debts are usually included as part of the credit standard rather than the income standard.  If you decide to include debt in the income v. rent ratio, be sure to set clear and objective criteria about the standard and how it will be applied to avoid potential claims of discriminatory treatment.

4.    Question:
The previous owner of an apartment building I recently purchased allowed the tenants to pay half a month’s rent on the first and the other half on the fifteenth of the month. The lease, however, says it is all due on the first and I want to enforce the lease. What, if any legal problems do I face?

California judges may find that there has been a modification of the payment terms of the agreement by “mutual consent and execution” of the new payment terms. Many leases have a provision which states that one waiver of strict enforcement of the terms does not constitute a continuous waiver for subsequent breaches.  If the agreement contains this clause, the court should rule that the rent is all due on the first of the month.

5.    Question:
One of our tenants is complaining about the carpet and says it is California law that the carpeting must be changed every seven years.  Have you heard of any law on this subject?

California law does not require landlord to replace carpeting, unless the condition of the carpet creates a health hazard or risk of injury.

6.    Question:
When tenants give notice that they will be vacating the residence, is it permissible for me to give them a notice stating that I will be advertising the vacancy and will be showing their apartment?

Unless the tenant agrees to another arrangement, you would be required to give reasonable notice (24 hours) in writing for every entry.

7.    Question:
I have a “Guarantee of Rental Agreement” from the mother of a tenant. The tenant is twelve days late with the rent. Do I have an obligation to notify the mother and give her the chance to pay? What is my recourse against her if she refuses to live up to the guarantee agreement?

Notifying the guarantor may be a requirement depending upon the language of the guarantee agreement.  You may want to advise the guarantor in any event and send her a courtesy copy of the three-day notice before taking action.

8.    Question:
Is it necessary that a notice to perform or quit be for three days, or can I choose to give an otherwise good tenant more time to solve the problem?

You can give the tenant more time to respond to a breach, but it should end with a three-day notice.  You could write the tenant that you are going to allow them to cure the breach by a certain date and if not cured by then, a three-day notice to perform will be served.



FBS Property Management is excited to announce the advancement of Jay Scheinok to the position of Accounting Manager. In his new role Mr. Scheinok will depend greatly on his years of experience in the firm’s property management operations but also his college education. This combination serves him well in this vital company position which includes: timely financial reporting to clients, residents and suppliers; continuing the company’s accounting excellence by creating a larger department to fully implement new procedures & policies that safeguard financial compliance; and providing operating teams with metrics to improve individual productivity and company performance.

Jay started at FBS in 2011 as a Property Coordinator at the company’s north county office in Rancho Bernardo. He was promoted to Property Supervisor and managed a large portfolio of properties for over three years. Jay became known inside the firm for his organizational skills and attention to detail. Last year Jay was nominated and won top honors in the industry at the San Diego County Apartment Association (SDCAA) Mark of Excellence Awards. He serves as a volunteer on both the SDCAA Membership and Golf committees.

Jay, a native son, was a four-year scholar-athlete and basketball team captain at Mt. Carmel High school. He continued his education at San Diego State University in order to pursue his interest in local real estate business. His degree in Business Finance, with an emphasis in Real Estate makes him perfect for positions of responsibility at one of San Diego’s oldest real estate firms. Jay was highly involved in the Real Estate Society at SDSU. This elite professional society is a testament of the history, tradition and commitment to teaching real estate at San Diego’s leading university since 1958.

“It is always a pleasure to be able to reward preparation, drive and accomplishment especially when found already inside your company” said Neil Fjellestad, FBS President on behalf of company’s executive team. “Providing a career path for outstanding employees is a primary objective at FBS.”

When not working, Jay enjoys cooking, hunting and fishing. As if a promotion wasn’t enough, 2015 continues to get better for Jay. Later this year he will marry his high school sweetheart. We congratulate Jay on his success, personally and professionally!jay


FBS attends SDCAA Education Expo

Posted: 29th April 2015 by Melissa in Uncategorized

On April 28th the San Diego Apartment Association hosted the 41st annual Education Conference and Expo! FBS attended in full force, present for educational sessions on Maximizing your investment, 1031 exchanges, Legislative updates, investing in rental property and many more. Neil Fjellestad joined by two other colleagues kicked off the event at the first session of the day. Delivering an epic PechaKucha presentation on Rents, Vacancies, Growth and Development! Chris De Marco was asked to speak on behalf of FBS to introduce the speakers for the session on maximizing your investment!

Lucinda Lilley and Melissa De Marco co-chaired this event that saw thousands of attendees, hundreds of exhibitors and all of your FBS favorites! Check out all the pictures from the event!




Lucinda and Melissa opening the expo floor!

Posted: 29th April 2015 by Melissa in Uncategorized

Posted by San Diego County Apartment Association on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ms Management

Posted: 28th April 2015 by Melissa in Ms. Management

Q.  I’m a leasing specialist that loves what I do; for my customers, my team and company. So, I give an excellent tour last week to a couple of roommates and it looks like a perfect fit. They have another property to visit but I’m not worried. I follow-up the next day and I sense the tone of their dialogue has definitely lost enthusiasm. I’m told that they have chosen to go a different direction. I prod a bit to discover the reason and they tell me. It’s because of several bad reviews of our property and our team. When I get off the phone I go to two review sites and read the remarks. I’ve been taught that these sites are populated by the rantings of a few unreasonable people. It just goes with the nature of the job and I shouldn’t take it personally. Well, now I know for sure that the remarks I shouldn’t take personally have just cost me a lease and there’s probably others. My value as a leasing specialist is judged by the leases I produce so I do take this personally. Plus, I’m passionate about what I do every day for people. This is why I’m good and I don’t like how these remarks make me feel. Am I wrong or am I in the wrong career?

A.  You are right to take your leasing profession seriously.  Obviously you are not going to allow someone that states their opinion on the internet to jeopardize what is likely one of your best adult decisions; to go to work every day and do what you love.

However, as a professional you will need to take such reviews as seriously as any objection expressed to you during a tour.  Let’s review your leasing training about handling an objection: first, acknowledge it; don’t be defensive, get it out in the open.  Second, explain it; as important as not being defensive it is equally imperative that you have done your homework and put this objection in perspective with a knowledgeable explanation. Third, reverse it; you are going to attempt to show, how or under what circumstances this objection could actually benefit this particular customer.

Okay, now back to a bad review on the internet. Each and every bad review needs to be confronted like an objection. First, admit or acknowledge that this bad experience happened, at least in the mind of this reviewer. If possible, reach out to the reviewer to clarify the details from their perspective and to acknowledge, apologize, explain and attempt to reverse it.

Do your research and you might find out that some unusual circumstances surrounded this reported experience that no longer exist. Maybe other events similar to what the reviewer experienced caused a policy change, a condition was improved, or the offending person is no longer there.  You might be able to explain to the reviewer that due to their diligence a better result is now possible. To this reviewer such a result might become the reversal of the original opinion.  Regardless, once you have personally confronted this review with the real person you have something to say in a written online response.  Let’s say that this process does not make it better for the actual reviewer, or you can’t confront the actual reviewer because they remain anonymous, or you have information but can’t physically contact, or the reviewer actually is totally unreasonable and the attempt creates another round of ranting, or you cannot verify that the events or people described ever really existed.

Here is where the written response is still useful.  As you illustrate a willingness to confront in a productive fashion other readers see a reasonable approach to a difference of opinion. Whether you satisfactorily acknowledge, explain and reverse for everyone you will likely succeed to get to either a positive or neutral outcome for those you are working with personally. Regardless, you can see how this process makes you more passionate about being a professional.

FBS wins Best Property Management Company!

Posted: 24th April 2015 by Melissa in Property Feature

To see the full coverage pick up the latest issue of the La Mesa Courier, or view online here!

la mesa courier