Here are 10 Must-Know Tips for Los Angeles landlords renting out their homes, apartments and properties
1. Learn About and Abide By Anti-Discrimination Laws
Before joining the ever-growing list of Los Angeles property owners and landlords, you must get acquainted with the region’s fair housing laws. These laws will educate you on the legalities involved when choosing tenants. Upon reviewing them, you’ll learn about the right way to advertise your rental property, the kind of questions you can ask when interviewing a potential tenant (or on the rental application), etc.
As a resident of Los Angeles, you definitely have the right to reject an applicant based on factors like negative references provided by previous landlords, poor credit history, unacceptable past behavior (this may include failure of paying rent on time, etc.). However, the law governing the city doesn’t allow you to discriminate against a potential tenant based on his or her religion, race, sex, nationality, marital status, or any mental/physical disability. These categories are protected by the federal Fair Housing Act issued in 1968.
In addition to the above categories, landlords in L.A. are also required to abide by the Californian statute that marks discrimination against a prospective tenant based on his/her gender identity, sexual orientation, and receipt of social or public assistance as illegal.
2. Remember Written Rental Lease Or Rental Agreements Are Required
A rental or lease agreement signed by the landlord and tenant forms the contractual foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship. It includes a series of crucial business info such as the amount to be paid as rent, the duration for which the tenant is allowed to occupy the apartment or rental property, etc. In other words, a rental or lease agreement should feature all rules and regulations you require tenants who occupy your property to follow.
Many landlords owning Los Angeles rentals make the mistake of adding illegal clauses to rental agreements. Doing so can help you make some initial gains but would definitely cause serious legal issues for you down the road. That’s why it’s always a good idea to clearly inform your tenants about your offerings and educate them on their rights and responsibilities.
3. Make Required Disclosures
California law requires Los Angeles landlords to make some specific disclosures to their tenants. These disclosures should ideally be made in the rental or lease agreement itself. Examples of some required include: whether the rent paid by the tenant includes paying any other tenants’ utilities, whether the property in question has a history of mold growth, and so on.
The lease agreement should also include disclosures required by the federal law. Most importantly, your disclosures should state whether or not lead-based paint has been used in your apartment. If you fail to make the required disclosures you will be subject to severe financial penalties. Contact LBPM Los Angeles rental property management experts for renting out your property at convenience.
4. Respect Your Tenants’ Privacy
Landlords in Los Angeles are required to give tenants notice of at least 24 hours before entering a rental property (owned by them) for showing it to potential tenants or making repairs. On the other hand, serving 48 hours’ notice is a must for the very first move-out inspection. To ensure that there’s no chaos regarding your entry, you can include a clause in the rental or lease agreement complying with the local, state, and federal law. This will inform your tenant about your right of entering the premises of the rental property. In addition, you should also keep written account of every single request you make for entering the rental units.
5. Never Retaliate When Tenants Exercise Their Rights
As a landlord in L.A., you are legally prohibited against a tenant exercising his or her legal right. For instance, you cannot evict tenants or increase the rent just because they complained about a hazardous living condition. For avoiding such issues along with false claims of retaliation, make sure the rental agreement between you and your tenant elaborates on policy and protocol for managing repair works and all other crucial aspects of a landlord-tenant relationship.
6. Study of California Rental Laws In-Depth
As a landlord, you must always make sure that your tenants are paying rent on time, but without too much fuss. If you are looking to increase the rent or have plans of evicting a tenant for not paying rent, you should first check what rules you are required to follow in the state of California when conducting these procedures.
The law of your state regulates a number of rent-related matters. These requirements include the minimum time (three days) you are required to give your tenant (if he/she fails to pay the rent) for paying up the entire rent due and moving out, the maximum amount you can charge if a check bounces (in California, the fee amount is $25 for the very first bounced check and it increases to $35 for all the following ones), and so on. Landlords in Los Angeles should also have a look at local jurisdiction since it’s one of the 15 Californian cities that have rent control.
7. Follow Eviction and Tenant Termination To A Tee
The law in California specifies how and when a landlord can terminate the tenancy. For example, the state requires landlords to give at least three days’ termination notice to tenants taking part in illegal activities on the property’s premises. If you fail to follow those laws there might be a significant delay in the eviction process.
8. Read Up On Security Deposit Protocol
It’s very common for L.A. landlords to enter disputes with their tenants regarding matters related to security deposits. For avoiding these issues, it’s crucial for you to get acquainted with the California rules and restrictions. For example, you must know the state’s deposit limit. It’s usually 2 to 3 months’ rent based on whether the apartment, home or any property you are renting out is furnished or not. You have the right to take an additional amount (half a month’s rent) as a deposit if your tenant wants to have a waterbed.
9. Carry Out Interior Inspections To Ensure Your Property Is Habitable
Both federal and state law requires landlords in Los Angeles to keep their rental premises habitable and hazard-free. In fact, California has a legal doctrine titled the Implied Warranty of Habitability. According to this civil code, if landlords in the state fail to carry out required repair works on time, tenants have a number of options, which include withholding the rent or making the necessary repairs and then deducting the amount from the rent. Additionally, the tenants are aptly protected by California law in the case of injuries caused by hazardous conditions ignored by landlords.
Thus, it’s mandatory for landlords in California’s largest city to frequently carry out inspections of their rental properties and take care of any reported repairs in a timely manner. Instead of having your focus just on easily visible areas like the outer walls of the house or the roof, you should also check the interiors for damages and defects. For example, it’s important to check whether all smoke detectors are working or whether an A/C filter needs to be replaced. To make the process easier, you can seek assistance from the reliable property management companies in Los Angeles.
Keep in mind that regular inspections will also allow you as the landlord to check whether or not your tenants are taking ample care of your property. There are times when tenants don’t always inform landlords about damages caused to the rental homes and apartments.
10. Hire A Strong Third-Party Team
For seamless and hassle-free Los Angeles property management, you’ll need a strong team of vendors to back you up. There’s no use just hiring one or two individuals for completing a number of maintenance jobs and tasks. Instead, you must rely on a steady team of professionals and experts. Make sure you have multiple plumbers and electricians available for serving you or your tenants when required. These people must be skilled, qualified, and experienced in order to ensure quality upkeep of your property over the long-term.
Do you have any questions about Los Angeles property laws or other local jurisdiction that can affect the management of your Los Angeles rentals? Don’t hesitate to contact LBPM today at 818 918-3967for all the Los Angeles property management know-how you need!