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Property Management Blog

Property Manager's Required Disclosures For a Tenant's Death

Wayne Hartigan - Thursday, November 3, 2016

Property Managers deal with a lot of demanding issues, but one of the saddest situations is a death on the premises. This is obviously a tragedy on an emotional level. In addition, from an operational standpoint, there are complex regulatory procedures and disclosures you will have to address. One question many property managers have asked over the years: are you required to disclose to future tenants that someone previously died in a particular property?

According to California Civil Code 1710.2, a death in your rental property is classified as a “material fact.” That means it is a detail that would impact a prospective tenant’s willingness to rent the property, or influence how much that applicant would be willing to pay for the property.

You, as the landlord or property manager, are obligated to disclose if someone passed away within the premises of your rental property. Usually, the deceased in question is your tenant. However, it could be anyone; you’re required to disclose even if the person who passed away was a co-occupant, a guest, a vendor or someone who wasn’t invited – for example, an intruder.

The law is specific that you disclose deaths which occurred within your specific residence. In other words, if you own a condominium unit, and someone passed away in the pool house, that’s not a mandatory disclosure it because it didn’t happen inside your residence. Likewise, if you have a duplex and someone died next door, that’s not within the specific rented premises. “The premises” is defined as the residence itself: the living unit enclosed by its four walls.

CCC 1710.2 requires that you provide this disclosure for the at least three years following the demise. You should include the information in your marketing material and during your application process, but you don’t initially have to go into tremendous detail. For example, you can say in your advertising that “specific information applies regarding the property’s history; applicants should ask for details.” Once you have an acceptable applicant, you should make sure that they understand there was previously a death on the property. You should also provide a clearly-written disclosure in the rental contract. It is important that you have documentation that the tenant has been made aware of the necessary information per CCC 1710.2.

If an applicant or tenant asks about the specific circumstances of the death, you are obligated to be thorough and accurate. You have to tell them the general circumstances of the death, for example that it was a heart attack, a suicide or some violent act, as the individual situation warrants. Bear in mind that people will talk. Your new tenants would likely get details from the neighbors anyway. You must be clear and thorough in your response because, if you do not disclose, the tenant or applicant could be entitled to “damages.” Damages could include the difference between what they are presently paying for rent, compared to what the rent SHOULD be given the circumstances that the property could be considered “tainted.” Calculating that difference in value is complex, and it could be get expensive if experts, witnesses and litigation result. You certainly want to avoid that, so DISCLOSE.

There is a special, somewhat unique provision in the civil code. If the deceased passed away as a result of an AIDS-related condition, you CANNOT disclose that particular information. You still have to disclose that someone passed away within the past three years, but you cannot say the cause was AIDS-related.

The death of someone in your property has serious implications; it can be complicated and challenging. Contact a professional property manager for assistance. If you have any questions about this issue or any other topic, please contact us at info@arrowmanagement.com. We would be happy to help.

Rental Applicants: Time is of the Essence

Wayne Hartigan - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Not only is this true in sales, time is of the essence in today's rental market.  If you're an applicant in search of your next home to rent, then you need to be prepared to act quickly when you find it.

For example, recently I received a phone call from an angry "almost-applicant."  They felt as though they were cheated out of renting a house for which they submitted applications.  I call them an "almost-applicant", because they hadn't submitted a complete rental application package and paid the application fees, prior to another set of applicants being approved for renting the property.  These unhappy folks had first viewed the property a full week prior to today.  They took the weekend to probably look at some other properties and think it over.  Well, since the day they looked at the property, I'd shown it to 4 or 5 other prospective tenants, and 3 or 4 others before they looked at it.  Just last night, one of those prospective tenants became an applicant, by submitting a complete application package and paid their application fees. 

So, first thing this morning, I screened them and sent their approval. Subsequently, the "almost-applicants" faxed in their final paperwork, then called me to confirm I received everything.  I acknowledged what I had received, but then told them I had just approved another applicant, so they may want to consider whether to pay their application fee.  I offered to call them to let them know if the other person backed out, then the phone call ended.  A few minutes later, they called back to hopefully speak with a manager and complain, but I'm the manager and owner of the company, so they commenced to explain they would tell everyone possible to never rent from my company.  OK, thanks!

On the first page of my rental application, it states, "Application must be completely filled-out, with all documents, and application fee paid, prior to screening."  Can it get more clear than that?  If an almost-applicant wants to take a full week to think about it, compile the necessary documents, then finally pull it all together, then there's a big chance they're not going to be the first one to submit an application and get approved. 

Time is of the essence, renters.  Don't wait around.  If you want to rent a property, then take the required steps as quickly as possible.  If you have any questions on this or any other topic, please contact us at info@arrowmanagement.com. We would be happy to help.

Bed Bugs are No Laughin Matter In the Property Management Business

Wayne Hartigan - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bed bugs are no laughing matter in the Property Management Business

This is one of the most problematic issues that you can deal with as a property owner. It doesn’t matter if your tenant makes $30,000 a year or $300,000. It can happen to someone who travels the world or never leaves. Bed bugs can be brought into your residence by a number of means and once they’re there, they have to be eradicated.

Unfortunately for the tenant, they are often responsible for causing this problem even though they didn’t intend to. As the property owner, because of the warrant of habitability, you are required to provide a number of things. One of those things is a property free of vermin. You don’t necessarily have the ability to say this is the tenant’s responsibility and then wait for the tenant to take care of it. As the property owner, you need to be sure you have it covered.

If you have a multi unit building; an eight-plex or a unit in a condo with adjacent units, you also have a responsibility to adjacent units. You cannot allow this problem to get any worse than it already is.

Fixing the bed bug problem is not inexpensive. At Arrow Management, we have been dealing with a property recently that has bed bugs. We initiated the extermination service because it was a condo and we wanted to stop the damage right away. Fortunately, there were no problems with the adjacent units, but we did have to deal with the unit that we manage. It was an expensive project. We arranged a situation where the owner paid the costs of the service so the job would get done immediately. Now, the tenant is paying off the cost over a course of several months by making payments. Unfortunately, they caused the problem and they need to meet their obligations.

As a property owner, there will be instances when you have to make sure the problem is taken care of immediately and then negotiate with the tenant to hold them accountable.

Property management, while enjoyable and challenging, is not simple. We are here to help you make it simple. If you have any questions concerning how to handle this problem, please contact us via E-mail: : wh@arrowmanagement.com or Phone: (626)796-4926.

What Kind of Insurance Should Landlords Get?

Wayne Hartigan - Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Kind of Insurance Should Landlords Get?

When you become a landlord, you need adequate insurance coverage to take care of your investment property and protect your investment interests.  We recommend that you work with a good, experienced insurance agent who can keep you protected.

Renter's Insurance

You should require your tenants to get a tenant policy, which covers their belongings and their own liability.  These policies are extremely reasonable.  Ask that their policy includes you as an additional insured.  This will give you some extra protection that you need.

Landlord Policy

When you purchase a landlord policy, make sure it covers your building structure as well as your own liability.  You don't need anything that covers the tenant's personal possessions because that is the tenant's responsibility.  It's important that you have an all-risks provision in your policy and that you are covered for anything that might happen.

Lost Rent Protection

Protection against lost rents protection is very important.  Some agencies automatically provide it, but some don't.  Make sure it's included in your policy in case something happens that affects your rental income.  For example, if mold is discovered  and during the period of cleaning and repairing, the tenants have to move out, you aren't collecting rent.  Make sure your lost rent is covered, so you get your rent paid, even though the tenant is not in the property.

Liability Coverage

Review your liability coverage.  For just an additional $30 or $40 a year, you can increase the standard $300,000 policy to a million dollars in coverage.  That's well worth the cost.  You also need to make sure that you have coverage for any damage caused by your tenants.  In addition, ask your insurance about an umbrella liability.  Usually, they are quite reasonable.

You should meet with your agent and review your policy every year.  Get good, responsible service from your agent and make sure your insurance policy serves your needs. If you have any questions on this or any other topic, please contact us at info@arrowmanagement.com. We would be happy to help.

Property Inspections Are Important - Pasadena

Wayne Hartigan - Thursday, August 18, 2016

Regular inspections are important to the proper maintenance and management of your rental property.  Whether you just drive by the property to see how it looks from the outside or schedule an appointment with your tenant to enter the home and do a detailed interior inspection,  you need to evaluate its' condition periodically.

 

Preventive Maintenance

One important point of a property inspection is that it is a great opportunity to take care of preventive maintenance.  Check to see if there's any work that needs to be done.  Check the plumbing under the kitchen and bathroom sinks for leaks. Water can cause a lot of damage, if undetected.  Ask the tenants if anything is broken or needs to be repaired.

 

Lease Violations

When inspecting a property, you can be alerted to potential problems and lease violations.  It will help you evaluate the condition of the property and if your tenants are truly taking care of it.  You can also determine if the tenants have  moved in unauthorized people or unapproved pets.

 

Drive-By Inspections

A Drive-By will will let you evaluate the exterior condition  of the property.  There might be some deferred maintenance that needs attention.  Keep you inspections on a regular schedule so you can be sure the tenants are following the lease and properly maintaining the property.

Inspections are an important part of managing a property and should be conducted routinely.  If you have any questions about what to look for during inspection, please contact us at info@arrowmanagement.com  


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Wayne Hartigan
CERTIFIED PROPERTY MANAGER ®
Arrow Management Company

Phone: 626-796-4926
Fax: 626-796-3375

Our Address:
107 S. Fair Oaks Ave., #324
Pasadena, CA 91105
wrhartigan@gmail.com

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