10 Things You Should Do Before Your First Move-In

Jan 30

Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, wants its clients to be protected. We have put together a list to help you remember what you should be doing to prepare for your first move-in. Always remember, that maintaining good and professional relationships with your tenants can help you down the line.

  1. Purchase general liability insurance. A comprehensive landlord insurance policy will protect you from out-of-pocket financial responsibility for any losses, damage, or injury that occurs on your property. Protection typically ranges from fire and vandalism damage, to injuries or losses suffered by tenants or visitors on your property.
  2. Switch over utility bills. Put the utilities in your name and make sure they are turned on before the property is shown and occupied. Marketing a rental unit without power does not usually go well. Once the unit is rented out, the utilities can be switched to your tenant’s name.
  3. Call the tax collector. You want to make sure that your tax and water bills are sent to your correct address so that you don’t miss a payment and end up with interest charges, late fees, or a lien on your property.
  4. Service the rental property. Make sure that the rental property and appliances are properly repaired and in good working order. Ignoring repair and maintenance will cost you more in the long run and you may be violating the law if you fail to provide habitable rental property.
  5. Pay special attention to water heaters and oil tanks. Have your water heaters tested and cleaned regularly, if this falls within a vacancy period or not.
  6. Buy new appliances if necessary. A full set of appliances is a great marketing point for any rentals, especially if they are new. Plus, there are some great energy-saving models available nowadays. Although new appliances are not necessary, appliances should be in good working order before anyone moves in.
  7. Connect with current tenants. If you have just purchased your rental property and a have a good tenant that occupies the property, it is best to continue that relationship. You should also get all records, especially tenancy and maintenance documents, from the previous owner of your new rental property.
  8. Organize good record-keeping systems. Keep track of all information relevant to owning and managing your rental property, such as a general ledger of all rents paid and owed, tenant complaints, and tax deductions available for landlords.
  9. Learn about Landlord-Tenant laws. California State Law covers every aspect of renting a property, including choosing tenants, the standards of habitable living, collecting and using security deposits, and more. If an issue arises, consult with an experienced Landlord-Tenant attorney.
  10. If necessary, contact an agent to list your property for rent. You may be able to handle the unit marketing and tenant screening on your own and save yourself money. But you’ll also have to spend time showing the property and running tenant background and credit checks. Whatever you choose, make sure to have clear and legally accurate rental agreements ready when you do find a suitable tenant.

If you have questions or concerns regarding rental properties or tenant eviction in Southern Califonria, click here or call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation at (800) 985-9885.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.

When Should a Landlord Hire a Lawyer?

Jan 28

Many landlords own or manage only a few rental properties, so they are unlikely to have an eviction attorney on staff. You shouldn’t really need to have a lawyer on retainer or constantly consult one, but you should be able to recognize situations in which an attorney experienced with the eviction process is necessary even for advice.

At the end of the day, landlords are still business owners– they aim to make their business profitable while avoiding liability. In certain situations, the advice and guidance of a lawyer can help you achieve these goals more efficiently. One of the most common scenarios that benefits from a lawyer’s input is eviction.

In California, an eviction lawsuit takes much less time than regular civil cases. But in order for the process to take place quickly, landlords must follow extremely strict and detailed rules, from notifying the tenant about the lawsuit to filing the correct paperwork and forms. In addition, many judges will set the bar very high when it comes to the tenant’s home. It is always a good idea to seek the help of an experienced eviction attorney if:

  • this is your first eviction
  • the tenant is fighting the eviction with a lawyer
  • the tenant is an employee you are letting go
  • the tenant is filing for bankruptcy, or
  • you must comply with rent control or housing program rules for eviction.

 

When you are in need of an experienced eviction attorney in Southern California, call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation at (800) 985-9885 for a FREE consultation.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.

Don’t Lock Out a Tenant—It’s Illegal

Jan 21

Landlords and property managers are sometimes tempted to take the law into their own hands…DON’T DO IT. When it comes to California Unlawful Detainer law, threats, intimidation, utility shutoffs, or attempts to physically remove the tenant can be dangerous and are illegal.

Despite the fact that the tenant didn’t pay rent, left the property damaged and messy, and verbally abused managers and neighbors- Don’t Lock Out A Tenant. As a landlord, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit for trespassing, assault, slander, libel, and wrongful eviction. Defending this kind of lawsuit will be far more costly than evicting the tenant through legal means.

When a tenant sues after being locked out, they can gain actual money losses (the cost of temporary housing, utilities, spoiled groceries, etc.) and they can also sue for penalties such as several months’ rent. Tenants may even be able to remain in the premises after damages awards. Landlords who lock out their tenants can often find themselves sued over the tenant’s valuable possessions, also. The tenant will claim that their possessions were lost or stolen when the landlord locked them up or removed them.

If you are in need of an eviction attorney in Southern California, contact Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation. Our dedicated staff can be by your side every step of the way to protect your rights. Click here or call us today at (800) 985-9885 for a FREE consultation.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.

FAQ Terminating a Lease or Rental Agreement

Jan 17

Most eviction lawsuits are significantly shorter in time and length when compared to regular civil cases. It is important to note that there are strict protocols which are followed in order to make this possible. If you are seeking an eviction lawyer with experience and trustworthiness, call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation. Alternatively, we have a frequently asked questions page which you may utilize.

What are the rules about returning security deposits?

Landlords are allowed to make deductions from a tenant’s security deposit, provided they have good reason and proper documentation. In California, landlords must provide renters with written notice before taking any deductions out of the security deposit. And, according to California state law, a landlord must return a tenants deposit within 21 days of regaining possession-  an itemized statement of deductions must be sent to the tenant.

What if a tenant breaks the lease?

Generally, the tenant is bound to the length of the lease unless the landlord significantly breaks the law or violates the terms of the lease—e.g. by failing to make necessary repairs, etc. California provides that victims of domestic violence, or those starting active military duty the legal right to break a lease contract.

A tenant who breaks a lease contract without good cause will be responsible for the remaining rent due in the lease term. It is required that the landlord must employ reasonable effort to find a new tenant—rather than charge the tenant for the remaining rent.

Can a landlord legally terminate the lease and therefore the tenancy?

The most obvious reason a landlord can choose to terminate a lease contract is if the tenant disobeys or violates the rules in the lease or the law. A landlord must first send proper notification to the tenant stating that the tenancy has been terminated and the tenant must leave. Laws regarding eviction are very specific, so make sure to study them beforehand.

 

For more information regarding evictions click here or call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation at (800) 985-9885.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.

10 Terms to Include in Your Lease Agreement

Jan 15

A lease or rental agreement is the contract signed between the landlord and the tenant which sets out the rules and regulations they both agree to follow. As well as being immensely practical, a lease agreement is also full of crucial business details such as leasing time length, property rules, and repair disclosures. Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation wants you to be aware of some the most important items to include in your lease agreement.

1. Names of all tenants/occupants. Every adult who lives in the adult, including both members of a married or unmarried couple, should sign the lease agreement. This makes the tenant legally and financially responsible for their damage to the property as well as other terms in the agreement. This also means that any one of them can be held responsible for the entire rent and if one tenant violates a term of the lease agreement, you can terminate the tenancy of all the tenants on the lease.

2. Limits on occupancy. Your lease should clearly state that the rental unit is only the home of the tenants who have signed the agreement and their minor children. This gives you the right to determine who lives in your property and evict a tenant who moves in a friend or relative, or sublets the unit, without your permission.

3. Term of the tenancy. Every agreement should state whether or not it is a rental agreement or a fixed-term lease. Rental agreements usually run month-to-month until cancelled. Leases, on the other hand, typically last one year, six months or however long you want the tenant to stay and how much flexibility you want.

4. Rent. Your lease should be explicit with regard to the amount of rent, when it is due, and how it is to be paid. Remember to include:

  • acceptable methods of payment (such as personal check or certified funds)
  • if there are late charges, the amount of the late fee, and whether there is a grace period
  • any charges that incur if a rent check bounces.

5. Deposits and fees. The use and return of security deposits is a frequent source of dispute between landlords and tenants. This tension may be relieved if there are clear details about the security deposit included in the lease agreement, including:

  • the dollar amount of the security deposit
  • how you may use the deposit (e.g. for damage repairs)
  • when and how you will return the deposit and account for any deductions
  • any legal non-returnable fees, such as for cleaning or pets

6. Repairs and maintenance. In your lease agreement, clearly set out your and the tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs in order to avoid disputes and rent-withholding.

7. Entry to rental property. To avoid tenant claims of illegal entry or violation of privacy rights, clarify your legal right to access the property—for example: to make repairs, in an emergency, etc. And if it is known, state how much advance notice you will provide the tenant before entering- 24 hours notice is required by law.

8. Restrictions on tenant illegal activity. Avoiding trouble from your tenants and disputes with neighbors can be as simple as including an explicit clause in your agreement prohibiting disruptive behavior such as excessive noise and illegal activity.

9. Pets. Be clear on whether you do or do not allow pets. If you do, set clear rules or special restrictions in the lease.

10. Other restrictions. Be sure that your lease agreement complies with other state laws and ordinances including rent control ordinances, health and safety codes, occupancy rules, and anti-discrimination laws.  There are also state laws regarding security deposit limits, notice requirements for entrance without permission and other laws.

 

Drafting and finalizing a lease agreement can be complicated and confusing. It is always a good idea to seek the help and advice of an experienced attorney. Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation is just a click or call away (800) 985-9885.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.

10 Tips for Landlords

Jan 13

Being a landlord can become difficult task! Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, has these helpful tips for you:

  1. Screen your tenants. Check credit history, references, and background before consideration for housing. This helps eliminate renters who are prone to late payments, damaging property and/or breaking the rules of the lease agreement. Use a written rental application to efficiently screen your tenants.
  2. Get it in writing.  There is no question that a lease or month-to-month rental agreement should be written. Include when and how you handle tenant complaints and repair notices, as well as notice to enter a renter’s apartment, etc. Not sure what to else include? Call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation at (800) 985-9885.
  3. Properly handle security deposits. Establish a system of collecting, holding and returning security deposits. Inspecting the rental unit before the tenant moves in is crucial to avoiding disputes when the tenant moves out.
  4. Stay on top of repairs. Make repairs when they are requested. This helps to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse and if the property is well maintained, you will attract good tenants and avoid disputes.
  5. Provide secure premises. Honestly assess your property’s protection and security. Make sure your property is not an easy mark for criminals. Maintaining proper lighting and trimming landscape are some of the easiest ways to prevent break-ins and trespassing.
  6. Provide notice before entering. Respect your tenant’s right to privacy. Notify your tenants whenever you plan to enter their rental unit and provide as much advanced notice as possible- 24 hours is require by law.
  7. Disclose environmental hazards. Tell your tenants if there is a hazard such as mold or lead. Landlords are increasingly being held responsible for tenants health problems caused by exposure to toxins.
  8. Supervise managers. Choose and oversee your managers carefully. If a manager commits a crime or is incompetent, you may be held legally and financially responsible. Just like choosing a tenant, complete a thorough background check and set clear responsibilities to prevent problems.
  9. Obtain property insurance. Purchase enough liability and property insurance to protect you from the possible threat of lawsuits, fires, burglary and vandalism.
  10. Resolve disputes. If you have a conflict with your tenant over rent, repairs, noise, or some other issue that does not immediately call for an eviction, meet with your tenant to see if the problem can be mended informally. If that does not work, contact a neutral party or an eviction attorney at Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation.

 

For more advice and information regarding landlord/tenant laws in California, click here or call Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation at (800) 985-9885.

 

 

This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article or on this website is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with an attorney. You further understand and acknowledge that Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation strongly encourages you to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Eviction Group, A Professional Law Corporation, or any other firm.