People often ask us why they should hire a professional property manager and whether there are drawbacks to doing it themselves. There are actually many drawbacks. Property management was a lot less complicated 20 years ago. You could write a lease out on a piece of paper and it would be legally enforceable. You could do a lot of things that you thought were right and you’d get by okay. You could screen just by getting a feel for the people you meet and making a few phone calls. Things have changed. It’s become complicated. The majority of homeowners who want to rent out their properties themselves don’t have the resources or the experience to handle all the different things that come at you as a landlord in California. San Diego in particular has a lot of local laws.
Laws are a big part of being a landlord. You have to know them to protect yourself and your property. It’s important to respect the rights and responsibilities of all landlords and tenants in California. These laws change every year and as a property owner, you are required to be on top of it all. You’re responsible for knowing the laws that govern the landlord and tenant relationship.
The most difficult part for the DIY landlords we encounter is keeping the rental property as a business. There are quite a few self-managing landlords who have a difficult time keeping the relationship with their tenants strictly business. It might start off that way and then after some time, landlords will establish a personal relationship with the tenant. From there, it gets worse and worse. A year later, the tenants are six months behind on rent and you have to evict the tenant who has become your friend. This is a bad situation. Business decisions can be difficult when you are emotionally involved; you may have trouble knowing when to raise the rent or complete maintenance on the property. Making upgrades or changing due dates, adding occupants or pets can all get complicated. You have to stick to your lease and all these things require a professional business relationship.
Another big mistake that’s made by DIY landlords is improper screening. With the Internet, you have more resources; you can check someone out online. However, there are things people aren’t aware of, such as how to search for local court records. The credit report is the most important part of screening tenants. You don’t need to focus on the credit score but you need to evaluate the entire report. Effective screening gets you a quality tenant who pays on time and takes care of the property. It’s Important to ensure you’re properly screening. It can be a nightmare when you have a bad tenant.
Move Out Process
The move out process can be simple, but if you don’t know the legal requirements, you could find yourself in trouble. The law requires that the security deposit has to be returned within 21 days of a tenant leaving. Before the tenant moves out, you must offer a pre-move out inspection. If you don’t do that, the tenant cannot be charged for damages from the deposit. If you don’t send out the deposit within the legal timeframe, you are subject to punitive damages up to double the amount of the security deposit plus their entire deposit. So, you can have broken windows, damaged floors and walls with giant holes, but you have to give the security deposit back when you don’t follow the rules.
There are a number of benefits to having a professional handle your property. You can save yourself a lot of time and a lot of money. Please contact us at American Heritage Properties if you’d like to learn more.