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Jim Rutkowski • Feb 03, 2020

Keeping abreast of changing laws in property management湖北福利彩票

Rental property owners throughout the Bay Area have a host of laws to contend with, on the federal, state and local levels. In the past 18 months or so, we have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of information that landlords have been forced to digest. This is not the most fun topic to discuss, but one that has to be broached in order to stay compliant and avoid costly legal mistakes that can be detrimental – if not catastrophic – to your real estate business. 

Staying on top of these ever expanding regulatory regimes is difficult for even seasoned, hands-on landlords who invest an enormous amount of time and energy into the day-to-day activities of their rental business. Keeping abreast of the laws is all the more vexing for “accidental” landlords whose heart is not into their enterprise because they didn't want to play landlord - they fell into this role. If this sounds like you, we painted the plight of the accidental landlord, felt your pain, and had a frank conversation with you earlier.

Here’s some considerations from 40,000 feet.

Rent & eviction controls

Many municipalities throughout the Bay Area have passed ordinances that limit how much rental housing providers can charge tenants, spell out how often the rent can be raised, and enumerate specific reasons why a tenant can be evicted. Still more protections are carved out in these hodge-podge of ordinances, such as minimum lease terms, relocation payment assistance, special notice requirements, buyout agreement regulations, mandated mediation in landlord-tenant conflicts, and other safeguards that
are best journeyed with a property management company that deals with these issues on a daily basis.

What about statewide rent control, anyways?

There are questions that abound concerning The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB-1482), a law that went into effect January 1, 2020. For those of you with rental properties situated in jurisdictions with more onerous, protective rent control and “just cause” eviction rules, you are unfortunately bound to follow these local ordinances. We are speaking to landlords in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other cities with a more comprehensive set of regulations.

Although this topic is tricky, our broker of record, Attorney Daniel Bornstein, recently hosted a webinar that broke down the new state law in an easily digestible fashion.
Daniel will be tailoring another educational webinar reserved for valued Bay Property Group clients in the near future - please check your inbox for more
details as they become available. 

Rules surrounding security deposits

California has some of the most rigorous security deposit accounting rules in the nation. This process entails a carefully choreographed series of steps with a fiduciary duty on the part of the landlord, carrying with it specialized notice requirements, unforgiving deadlines, and many rights that tenants enjoy.

You can rest assured that one of the first things on the minds of outgoing residents - even before they figure out how to navigate a corner to move a monstrous sofa down the stairs - is when and even if their security deposit will be returned. This is why security deposit disputes are the most common reason landlords are dragged into small claims court.

By letting Bay Property Group manage the relationships with your tenants from the cradle to the grave, you can feel at ease knowing that our meticulous professionals are intimately familiar with the myriad rules surrounding security deposits and you do not have to fret about them.
Compliance with fair housing laws

California defines discrimination much more broadly than federal law, as an ever-expanding pool of rental applicants and tenants are considered to be
part of a “protected class.” Take, for instance, source of income - California makes it illegal for blanket bans on Section 8 tenants.

Local ordinances can also craft their own categories of vulnerable or protected tenants that are entitled to increased safeguards against discrimination or displacement.
As a recent example, Oakland City Council has enacted an ordinance that, with some exceptions, prohibits landlords or their agents from conducting criminal background checks. As a sidebar, Berkeley is expected to vote on a similar measure in February. Following such a wide array of housing laws may not be something you would expect to do in the ordinary course of your rental business, but it's essential information you need to know to survive and thrive. At Bay Property Group, we are heavy consumers of the laws that impact our industry and take the guesswork out of the equation.

One final thought on this point is that most violations of fair housing laws come in the form of ads that invite certain groups to apply for a rental listing, or dissuade another sub-set of tenants from applying, through the select use of words, phrases, symbols, visual aids and other media. These personal preferences are wrongful discrimination under the law, but can be avoided by hiring a professional property management company that can stay far away from these common blunders that haunt landlords down the road.

In parting thoughts

While we’ve only scratched the surface here, suffice it to say there are many perilous legal issues best approached with experienced property managers who know the lay of the land.  Add in the many disclosure requirements, the prospect you may have to submit your units to a local rent registry, and lawfully transitioning tenants out of the rental unit if the relationship fails, among other potential pitfalls, it’s easy to see why owners can be daunted.

Bay Property Group can remove the uncertainty.



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By Jim Rutkowski25 Feb, 2020
Our broker of record, Daniel Bornstein, was privileged to host a webinar recently on the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB-1482), a law that applies to all residential properties throughout California unless exempt. This list is not exhaustive, but here's some key takeaways: Certain disclosures must be embedded in the lease and if these disclosures are not included, there are several consequences. This stresses the importance of getting the best leases possible. Since tenants are entitled to certain protections only after 12 or more months of occupancy, the owner can engage in a trial period with a month-to-month lease or signing a 10-or-11 month lease and when this expires, the owner can revisit the rental relationship. When properties are located in jurisdictions with more stringent protections, state law will have little impact because these local rules must be followed. Although buildings constructed within the past 15 years are exempt from the statewide rules, this is a rolling target and after this 15-year anniversary, buildings will attrition out of the exemption. While the tenant can be transitioned out of the rental unit through no fault of their own, these vehicles come with many caveats. You can watch the recorded webinar here.
25 Feb, 2020
As winter comes to an end and springtime is ushered in, it’s probably prudent to check the roof assembly to see how it has held up so far and whether it can stand the season ahead. There are a couple of different stressors on your roof during this transition, so let’s go over them. During the winter months when tenants crank up the heat, all of that extra moisture rises up to the roof, where it is greeted with colder temperatures of outside air. This rapid cooling creates immediate condensation and with no other place to go, this moisture soaks into surrounding materials. This becomes a breeding ground for rot, mold, insects and other unsavory side effects. Your roof can’t wait for the storm to pass As if your roof did not take enough abuse in the wintertime, there is still another month left in the state’s rainy season. We’ve had a dry spell so far , but please don’t get a false sense of bravado. Our parts are notorious for its unpredictable weather, and we are reminded of the wet “Miracle March” conditions in years passed. Nothing can put a damper on your rental business more than leaking roofs and the havoc water intrusion can inflict on your property. The more stories to your building, the more harm can be done to your investment - water can damage every floor down to the ground. It’s better to be proactive and get a roof inspection and free estimates on repairs now, than to deal with damage and tenant complaints if the water comes. To add even more urgency to act soon, roofers will soon enter their busy season and may become inundated with jobs. By reaching out to them now, you can be the first in line.
By Jim Rutkowski03 Feb, 2020
Sometimes people are cast into the role of landlord without really seeking it out. They didn’t say, “when I grow up, I want to be a landlord.” But accidents do happen. Maybe they went through hell and back with rehabbing a property, or their renovation budget went off the rails with delays, expensive results, and/or poor workmanship that oftentimes comes with inexperience and were unable to list the investment property for top dollar. Still other unwitting owners find themselves playing landlord because they have been transferred because of work, or because they have inherited a property with suffocating mortgage payments. Whatever led them to filling these shoes, the heart of the incidental landlord is not into it. If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to elicit the help of a property management company. Landlording has many perks, including a steady stream of income, tax deductions that can be availed to offset costs, and the appreciation of the property in our red-hot real estate market in the Bay Area. This romance, of course, can be soured with leaking roofs, late night calls to fix toilets, noise complaints, tenants who don’t pay their rent on time, getting impromptu visits from code inspectors, and many other less endearing aspects to the job. Once you are fried to a crisp after the day-to-day work in operating a building with implanted tenants, you’ll have to deal with security deposit accounting when transitioning out departing tenants and ink leases with incoming tenants, but not after an exhausting search to find them and clean/paint the unit to welcome them into their new surroundings. Have we mentioned the responsibility to keep abreast of constantly changing laws? Even for seasoned owners who are “career” landlords, what’s all involved in this occupation is a little like taking a drink out of a fire hose. It’s even more harrowing for the incidental landlord who doesn’t embrace this role, hasn’t asked for it, but is forced to play the part. If you determine it makes sense to outsource this task, Bay Property Group welcomes the opportunity to lighten the load by overseeing the property to ensure you get steady-drip income without the headaches.
By Jim Rutkowski02 Feb, 2020
In an effort to save some coins, do-it-yourself landlords choose to roll up their sleeves, make their own repairs and handle the day-to-day maintenance of their property. We are hard-pressed to find many owners who enjoy plunging toilets or having their slumber disturbed late at night when a frantic tenant reports a broken water heater, but for those who possess the gift of an inner Bob Villa, they will attest it comes with the territory. Whether or not you can fill the shoes of a DIY landlord, of course, requires taking personal inventory of what your time is worth to you and making an honest assessment of your plumbing and electrical abilities, along with other skill sets when a job calls for more than a handyman. We pose a provocative question: Are you penny wise and pound foolish by going it alone?
By Jim Rutkowski01 Feb, 2020
It’s not too late to reset any botched New Year’s resolutions and make an altogether different one - join an industry trade group. As we close the curtain on the first month of 2020, perhaps it’s time to take inventory on whether or not we have followed through and accomplished our New Year’s resolutions. Whether it was joining a gym, the cessation of vaping, losing weight, saving money, or whatever the commitment we have promised, a provocative question is looming - have we kept this pledge to ourselves? We do not want to be downers, but Forbes reports some rather grim statistics on the number of people who have made progress. We are here to tell you that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives, and it is never too late to make improvements in all aspects of our personal and professional orbits of life. We’re rooting for you, but at this late date, might suggest a goal that is easy for property owners to accomplish: join an industry trade group to get up to speed on the latest laws, access updated forms and documentation, network with like-minded owners, and learn best practices for the rental property industry. Bay Property Group, in concert with our legal partners at Bornstein Law , has made it a mission to educate rental housing providers on how to optimize their real estate investment, but we do not work on an island. There are several groups we actively engage with and invite you to become part of the fraternity. This list is by no means exhaustive, but represents some groups we consider to be ambassadors. East Bay Rental Housing Association Over 15,000 members strong, the EBRHA serves rental property owners and managers throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Small Property Owners of San Francisco An exciting educational & legal advocacy organization made by and for small property owners, dedicated to overcoming obstacles to ownership and profitability. California Apartment Association For over 80 years, the CAA has been the definitive voice for owners, investors, developers, managers and suppliers of rental homes and apartment communities based in Sacramento with strategic hubs throughout California. Berkeley Property Owners Association A grass roots trade organization representing rental housing providers in the city of Berkeley. San Francisco Apartment Association A rental housing resource dedicated to educating, advocating for, and supporting the Rental Housing Community so that is members operate ethically, fairly, and profitably. Asian Real Estate Association of America The AREAA is a nonprofit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market. California Rental Housing Association Useful educational opportunities, updated legal forms and contracts, legislative support and the facilitation of business relationships. It's been said that people in glass houses should not throw stones. We have shirked on some of our resolutions, but on this one, we are pretty solid.


By Jim Rutkowski01 Feb, 2020
When it comes to establishing fair market value for a rental unit, many novice investors “wing it” by trolling through Craigslist or another portal to find similar apartments in the neighborhood, or pick up a newspaper to browse through ads if anyone does that anymore in the digital age. Coming up with the just-right number to charge is part art and part science, though, involving more than perusing ads of other owners. While snooping on other listings may satisfy your curiosity and help you arrive at a ballpark figure, now is not the time to trust your gut and simply pick a number out of the sky. You know the simple arithmetic - if your mortgage payment is $900 a month, you add expenses on top of that and once those costs are penciled in, one dollar over that amount puts money in your pocket. Yet exactly how many more extra dollars to charge tenants should be a deliberate process, unclouded by emotion. You are in the rental business to make money - you are not in it for the fun of it. While you want to maximize income and realize a healthy return on investment, you don’t want to do so at the risk of pricing out renters, so this can be a delicate balancing act. It’s not entirely about YOU.
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