Specializing in Berkeley, Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito, and North Oakland
Questions Frequently Asked by Owners about Leasing or
Renting their Homes or Residential Properties
are the most common questions asked by prospective new clients.
Perhaps by reading these answers you might find out information
you did not know to ask!
What needs to be done to my house before it is ready to
The better condition that a house is in, the better quality
tenant that it will attract. Your home must be left in professionally
cleaned condition as the tenants will be paying a deposit
which they expect to be refunded if left in the same condition.
Your Property Manager prefers to arrange any cleaning to insure
that the cleaning guidelines are strictly followed. The carpets
must be freshly cleaned and all debris and personal belongings
removed from the house.
It is not necessary to paint automatically, but you should
consider painting any room that has dirty or marred walls.
A neutral color is best. Your Property manager will be happy
to discuss any necessary repairs or painting with you. Neutral
window coverings such as blinds should be left, but not curtains
that match a particular bedspread or couch.
A tenant expects to have a stove and refrigertor supplied
as part of the rental. If you leave a washer and dryer, we
explain to the tenant that those are unmaintaned items and
neither the tenant or owner are responsible for repairs or
maintenance of them.
The tenants are requested to maintain the yard in the condition
it is provided to them. Therefore, the yard should be freshly
mowed, weeded, trimmed and the leaves and debris removed.
Do you collect first and last month's rent?
The most common move-in cost for a tenant
in Bay Area is about three times the monthly rent. While you
can collect first and last month's rent and a security deposit
not to exceed three times the rent (for unfurnished), it is
generally preferable to collect first month's rent plus a
security deposit equal to two times the rent. A security deposit
can be used for any owner costs while a last month rent can
only be used for rent. We normally take a refundable security
deposit, the total of which is two times the month's rent.
The security deposit is forwarded to the owner to be held
in a passbook savings account.
Can I say that I do not want any pets or Smokers in the
house? How about children?
Pets and smokers are definitely not protected classes. However,
by eliminating pets you are probably eliminating 80% of the
people in the market for a rental unit! It does not seem to
create a problem to prohibit smokers but we encourage our
clients to be open to the idea of pets, perhaps specifying
"prefer no pets" or "pets negotiable". We have
had good luck with small pets in houses in the past and it
does make your property available to more people. It is more
common to prohibit pets in apartments and condominiums. Since
we charge the maximum secuirity deposit allowed by law (two
times the rent) we can not charge an additional deposit for
pets on top of it. Though having two times the rent for security
is usually more than enough for any problem. However,
if you feel strongly about this issue, we will agree not to
lease your property to anyone with a pet.
Children come under the protected class of "familial status"
and it is not possible to discriminate in this way. Our application
forms do not ask number or ages of any children.
When do I get my money each month?
The rents are due on the first of the month. The rental funds
must have cleared their banks before we can begin disbursing
funds. A reasonable time to wait is two weeks for such clearance.
The statements to owners, along with their checks, go out
between the 25th and 30th. The statement will have all the
activity on the account for that month.
How am I protected if the tenant damages the property?
A security deposit taken at move in is generally adequate
in most cases to handle the minor repairs caused by tenants.
Tenants with excellent credit and references seldom cause
much damage and almost never in excess of the security deposit.
The horror stories you hear about a property being "trashed"
are generally less expensive properties that have been rented
without the normal reference checking.
What happens if the tenant leaves before the end of the
The tenant is responsible for the rent for the term of the
lease. If they are forced or choose to leave prior to the
termination date, they will be charged for the rent until
the property is re-rented to acceptable persons under the
same terms and conditions of the original lease. They are
also responsible for the cost of re-renting the property.
Management is responsible for attempting to re-rent the property
as soon as possible in order to minimize the tenant's costs.
Will I get called in the middle of the night with emergencies?
You would never be called in the middle of the night! All
non-emergency repairs come to us as a work order request submitted
by the tenant through our maintenance phone line. If it is
a repair essential to the maintenance of the property and
less than $350, the repair will be ordered and you will see
an entry for the payment of that bill in your next statement.
If it will be more than $350 or if there is a question of
what should be done, we will call you for direction.
Who does the repairs on the properties you manage?
Can I use my own contractors?
We use a variety of outside contractors depending on what
needs to be done. Our repair vendors have been with us for
years and are available 24 hours a day for emergencies. They
work at competitive rates and guarantee their work. We would
be happy to use contractors that you prefer. You are billed
for exactly the amount of the vendor's invoice; we do not
charge for supervision of normal repairs.
contractors and maintenance people covered by Workers Compensation
property liability insurance does not cover injuries incurred
by persons working on your property. Injuries to individuals
working on your property fall under Worker's Compensation
Claims. We obtain Worker Compensation Certificates from all
licensed contractors which we keep on file. If we hire a maintenance
person or gardener who is not a licensed contractor, they
are covered by our blanket State Compensation Fund insurance
policy. When we pay the unlicensed vendor, we create a charge
for Worker's Compensation Insurance based on a percentage
of the labor cost. Once a quarter we then send a check for
the total of the quarterly charges to the State Compenstation
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