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Mesa Properties Blog

9 Ways To Be Successful In Renting Out Your Southern California Home During COVID-19

There is a lot of uncertainty in our world today. With the outbreak and rapid spread of Coronavirus, the entire world economy has all but shut down.

Due to the shelter-in-place order in California, the real estate sales market has basically ground to a halt. Sellers are pulling their properties off the market or changing them to a hold status. Open houses are prohibited, making it very difficult for buyers to view properties they are interested in.

Some of the worst case projections indicate that the next few months could show a massive correction to the real estate market. So even if you hold off and wait to sell your home when everything calms down, it could be worth significantly less than it was at the very beginning of the year.

But what about homes for rent? What kind of impact has all this had on rental properties and landlords?

One thing will never change: people will always need a place to live. Whether they own the home they live in or rent it, the need for housing will not change.

California is also still in a housing crisis with a demand for housing still outpacing supply. Coronavirus hasn’t affected that at all.

As a full service real estate company with a substantial property management division, we deal a lot with rentals and what we are seeing is a slight slowing in activity but homes still renting in a matter of a few weeks. This is true even considering the shelter-in-place order and decreased ability to show homes. This is logical; people are much more likely to rent a home “sight unseen” than buy one.

If you have a vacant home right now, whether you were considering selling or renting it before everything happened, you are probably pretty stressed and wondering what to do. Selling may seem to be the worst option given the unknowns (and inability to even make the transaction happen) so renting may look more appealing.

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11 New Laws Affecting California Landlords in 2020

2020 is a big year for legislative changes affecting landlords and tenants. In fact, with the passing of statewide rent control, it may be one of the most significant legislative years yet.

Staying up to date and compliant with new laws is one of the most important responsibilities of a landlord. Failure to do so can result in unnecessary legal exposure.

Here are 11 new laws that we have identified as being significant to California landlords in 2020:

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How Much Should You Raise the Rent?

When a lease is two months away from expiring, you should start thinking about whether or not you should to raise the rent. Deciding how much the new rent should be is always a hard call to make. Making this decision is walking a fine line between leaving money on the table and raising the rent so much that the tenant leaves.

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California Statewide Rent Control Is Here

California has passed statewide rent control this month (AB 1482), ignoring the will of the people who voted 62% to 38% against a different piece of rent control legislation (Proposition 10) just under a year ago in November of 2018.

While Prop 10 sought to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which would have allowed individual cities in California to enact their own forms of rent control, the AB 1482 form of rent control creates a just cause requirement for tenancy terminations and an annual cap on rent increases.

This law was signed by Governor Newsom on October 8, 2019 and goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

So what does AB 1482 mean for you as a California landlord? We're going to break it all down right here for you.

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5 Responsibilities For Landlords That Have A Property Manager

Hiring a property management company to deal with your rental can feel like a major weight has lifted from your shoulders. No longer are you the one who has to take those tenant phone calls, deal with maintenance issues, show your vacant property or be the point of contact. This was the best financial decision you've made in a long time!

This feeling of freedom is wonderful and one of the main reasons many landlords hire a property manager to begin with. They just don't want to deal with that pesky rental anymore!

If you are a landlord that has hired a property management company, you may be wondering what you are still responsible for. While the property management company can take most of the headache out of owning your rental, they aren't the owner or the principal and are limited in the decisions they can make.

So what are you still responsible for? Here are 5 things that landlords still need to keep in mind, even after hiring a property management company.

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Rental Properties and Marijuana

Today, the Associated Press, came out with an unsurprising story. The headline reads, "Marijuana use by US college students up, highest in 35 years." According to the story, nearly half of full-time college students admitted to smoking marijuana in the past year. There are currently 11 states in the union that have fully legalized recreational marijuana. Due to these policy changes many landlords will receive (if they have not already) a requests from tenants to use marijuana in their rental properties. Here are some thoughts on this predicament:

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Are Property Managers Worth Their Fees?

If you've done a Google search for this question or a similar one, you've probably encountered tons of contradictory information.

The Bigger Pockets forums and other investor networking sites are full of self-managing owners proclaiming their horrible experiences with property managers and the waste of money that they are.

You can also find the self-managing landlord turned property manager promoter telling of their horror stories when they tried to do it themselves. They would never go back to self-managing based on their experience with a great property manager and the fees they pay are more than worth it.

Then there's blogs and property management websites (like this one) written by property managers trying to justify why they're worth the cost.

So which do you believe? The multiple-property-owning-investor who has successfully managed his own properties for years and never had an issue? The horror-story-owner singing the praises of their property manager that swooped in and saved the day? Probably not the property manager (of course we're going to promote ourselves).

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5 Mold Myths Affecting Landlords

Mold Video


The mold hysteria is way overblown. From my point of view, some mold remediation gimmicks have the potential to be one of the largest scams facing modern day landlords. In this article, I will examine five mold myths that feed the hysteria.

1. Mold Remediation Companies

You've seen them before. They drive around in their flashy vans warning everybody that mold is going to kill them! You take a closer look, and this is what you see:

"Licensed Professional - Mold Certified"

Which leaves you to believe that because they have a license, and because they are certified, they must be the only qualified person to take care of the issue.

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How to Return a Tenant's Deposit in California

The time has come for your tenant to move out. They've been great, but they have decided to leave the cool air of Southern California to pursue job opportunities elsewhere. Many landlords forget that the day a tenant moves out, a clock starts counting down. That "clock" is called the 21 day disposition, and failure to abide by it can result in heavy legal fines.

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Why Move-In/Move-Out Inspections are Vital

Your tenant is moving out, and you notice that the carpet you just put in is trashed. It looks like they ran a doggy daycare in your living room!

But don't worry, their security deposit will cover it... right?

Well, when it comes time to withhold money from a security deposit many tenants threaten to sue. This situation is not helped by the fact that many small claims court judges are anti-landlord. The result is a large number of unprepared owners losing in court.

Let's face it, we live in one of the most litigious states, and California law is written in favor of tenants. The most effective way to counteract this predicament is to have good, unwavering evidence of tenant wrongdoing that will stand up in a court of law.

What is a Move-In/Move-Out Inspection?

Move-In/Move-Out Inspections are photo based reports taken when a tenant moves into and out of a property. If a tenant causes damage to the rental, these reports provide evidence that they caused the damage.

Without these reports, the tenant can just claim,"It was like that when I moved in."

These reports are very detailed and provide the best possible evidence of tenant caused damage. If a proper inspection report is utilized, most disputes won't even make it to small claims court.

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Should You Do a Tenant Occupied Inspection?

It's been about six months since your tenant moved in. The rent comes in on time every single month, and you think to yourself, "life is good."

In reality, you have no idea what your tenant is doing. You have no idea how the house is being treated, or even how many people are living in the home. At this point you essentially have two choices:

1. You can turn a blind eye and hope that everything is fine

2. You can give yourself some peace of mind and do a simple safety inspection.

Here at Mesa Properties, we recommend most rentals get a thorough tenant occupied inspection, or safety inspection as we call them, every six to eight months. Yes, we do check for illegal activity and unauthorized occupants, but we also check for the more common hazards such as leaking sinks and faulty smoke alarms.

Unfortunately, most tenants do not care for the rental as much as an owner would. Therefore, it is necessary to implement safety checks to ensure that your property is being properly maintained.

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Should You Fire Your Property Manager?

Imagine this, you've got a great tenant that always pays rent on time. Life is good. In fact, life is so good that you often forget about your tenant. Your only reminder is the owner's statement that comes in every single month. Except every time you see that statement, you see the management fee. And this causes you to ask yourself,

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