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.
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.
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.
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,
It's a landlord's worst nightmare. A solid tenant gets placed in a rental and 30 days later the rent doesn't come in. How is this possible? You placed a doctor with a 900 FICO score!
It's simple really. He's not a doctor, and you've been scammed.
Since our founding in 2009, Mesa Properties has screened thousands of applicants. Every single week, applicants attempt to scam us (key word attempt). We've seen it all. From fake drivers licenses to a boyfriend posing as a landlord, scams happen all the time. Here is a list of the top 5 scams we've seen so far.
Most Californians are well aware of the wildfires that have ravaged the state. They watched the news with a sense of hopelessness as 20,000 homes burned in the last two years. However, most Californians are not aware of the dramatic increase in homeowners insurance that is just around the corner.
Insurance companies often view an entire state as a marketplace. When part of the marketplace is affected by a natural disaster, the entire marketplace suffers.
California is no different. Even if you do not live in areas directly affected by the wildfires, your marketplace is still affected.
At Mesa Properties, we have been watching the insurance market closely. So far, the most dramatic increase seen in our territory is from $400 to $1700 per year for homeowners insurance.
You read that right, an increase of 325%
This is a direct result of the more than $11,800,000,000 ($11.8 billion) that insurance companies are currently paying out.
- National Origin
Over time the Fair Housing Act has been expanded through both legislative and judicial processes. Today the Fair Housing Act has grown to include:
- Familial Status
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
You might not even know what Prop. 65 is, but if you live in California, I guarantee you've seen the signs. They're everywhere! Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, even Starbucks is required to post the warnings.
To me, the signs are nothing but a relentless reminder that I too will die someday, probably from cancer.
You are no doubt familiar with the wording, they say something along the lines of:
" WARNING Certain foods and beverages sold or served here can expose you to chemicals including acrylamide in many fried or baked foods, and mercury in fish, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.Ca.Gov/restaurant"
History of Prop. 65
In 1986, Prop. 65 was voted into existence by Californians. Prop. 65 was deceptively sold to the voters as the "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act." Let me ask you, who in their right mind would vote against safe drinking water?
Few Californians knew that they were voting for warning signs to be posted in every location imaginable. Not too many voters would guess that their vote would force "The Happiest Place on Earth" to post Prop. 65 warnings.
Since being voted on, the proposition has gained power and grown like an unwanted weed in your grandmother's garden. And now, it has somehow grown into the residential real estate market.
Everyone loves a big fluffy Golden Retriever. They're playful, fun, good with kids, and are notorious for damaging rentals. What's not to love?
As an owner of a residential rental property, you have an important question to answer. That question is, "Do I want to allow pets?"
The advantage of allowing pets is that more qualified applicants will apply for your home. You might even be able to decrease the time it takes to find a tenant. The drawback is that by allowing pets into your home, you run the risk of letting in a mischievous dog that will cause severe property damage. The horror stories of dogs destroying homes are everywhere.
To allow pets, or not to allow pets, that is the question.
There are two types of people in this world. Those that make New Year's resolutions, and those that don’t. Some people are making resolutions to lose weight by going to the gym every day. Others could care less about New Year's resolutions because they know that 80% of them will fail by February. If you happen to fall into the second category, don’t worry. The California legislators have made resolutions for you! Here is the Mesa recap of all the new laws and regulations that landlords need to be aware of in 2019.
Rehabs are just a normal part of the rental property life-cycle. You shouldn't have to do a rehab after every tenant turnover, but there will be times when a tenant vacates and you have quite a bit of work to do.
This can range from the standard new carpet and paint to full on bathroom or kitchen upgrades. Rehabs can be pretty pricey, especially if it's been several years since you've done any serious amount of work on the property.
It's also important to note that rehab is above and beyond the normal work you have to do during a standard tenant turnover that may just consist of some cleaning and touch up paint. If you just had a tenant move out after only living there for a year, chances are a lot of the repairs and cost for you to fix stuff that they damaged can be charged to their security deposit. A rehab is usually required after several tenant turnovers or after a long term tenant. After years of wear and tear, you are eventually going to have to do more than swap out the carpet and paint the walls. It will also be required if you get someone who trashes your home.
What needs to be done during a rehab
Every decision you make regarding what appliances, carpet quality, paint, bathroom upgrades etc should be made with the intention of earning a return.
One very important step in renting out a single family home is knowing what to set the asking rent for. Set it too high and your property will sit vacant for weeks. Too low and you won't be collecting as much income as you potentially could be.
So how do you make sure you ask the right amount?
You have a couple of options here, one that involves researching the rental value yourself and one that involves reaching out to a property management professional to help you out.