Santa Cruz Rental Properties

Whether busy with other business dealings or maybe merely desiring more free time, hiring someone to manage Santa Cruz rental properties takes care of either or both situations. Property managers handle a variety of designated tasks from interacting with tenants to accomplishing repairs and performing routine maintenance. In order to ensure that your properties are well cared for and managed properly requires finding an individual or a company who is experienced, organized and trustworthy.

Common responsibilities assigned to property managers include:

  • Rent collection
  • Taking calls from property tenants
  • Tenant selection
  • Arranging for or performing small or emergency repairs
  • Acquiring owner permission prior to allowing major renovations or repairs
  • Overseeing repairs and maintenance tasks
  • Assuming responsibility for sending notices to tenants concerning late or nonpayment of monthly rent, rule violations or other notifications.
  • Inspecting Santa Cruz rental properties as often as designated by the owner
  • Providing the property owner with accounts of all incoming or outgoing financial transactions on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Once hiring a qualified property manager, owners need merely take care of mortgage, insurance and tax payments, though these are also tasks that managers are capable of handling. However, the property owner continues having the responsibility of ensuring that managers are fulfilling any and all needed jobs as per the contractual agreement.

While managers often agree to take on the responsibility of maintenance and repairs as needed, owners must ensure that these jobs are being performed according to expectations. If Santa Cruz rental properties begin declining in appearance, tenants may become disgruntled. Vacancies may not be filled with new tenants. Conversely, spending too much money on repairs or renovations eats profits.

If not desiring to approve of new tenants, owners must set guidelines and establish criteria for tenant selection. Owners might then make the final selection after reviewing a list of possible candidates. Managers should be acquainted with Fair Housing Laws in order to avoid a scenario that might include a discrimination lawsuit.

Therefore it is very important to hire the right property management company in Santa Cruz to oversee your rental properties. Please don’t hesitate to call Distinct Property Management, Inc today to discuss your management needs: 831.420.0202.

Some Of The Pitfalls When Owning Rental Property

When owning rental properties, landlords feel they are usually maneuvering on thin ice as it is known that the state of California has some of the most stringent tenancy laws in the United States. Both landlords and tenants have certain basic rights and responsibilities guaranteed by state law, regardless of whether the lease agreement defines them. Landlords in particular must adhere to these obligations while screening and renting to tenants within the area. In return, landlords are afforded specific rights, to which all tenants have a responsibility to oblige. This is why it is advisable to rely on the help of professionals when managing your rental property. Santa Cruz Property Management company Distinct explains why:

Timely Consideration
In exchange for leasing a property to the tenant, the landlord is entitled to receive rental payments on time and in full each month. A landlord may charge a reasonable fee (“reasonable” determined on a case-by-case basis) for late rental payments or bounced/returned payments, provided the lease defines these provisions.

Performance by the Lease
A landlord has a right to expect the tenant to perform under the terms of the lease, and the tenant has an obligation to the same. The tenant must abide by any rules or restrictions outlined in the lease agreement. If a tenant violates the lease in some way, the landlord reserves the right to evict the tenant.

Appropriate Notice
Whenever the tenant discovers a problem within the unit that needs repair, he must notify the landlord promptly. The landlord has a right to receive notice of damages, defects or other problems as the tenant finds or causes them. If the tenant does not provide adequate notice, he cannot hold it against the landlord for failing to repair the problem. The landlord is also entitled to remuneration from the tenant if the tenant willfully or carelessly causes the damage.

Proper Maintenance
The landlord must maintain the habitability of the property for the duration of the lease by completing necessary repairs and upkeep. Under California tenancy law, every lease agreement–written or oral–offers each tenant an implied warranty of habitability, and the landlord cannot ignore or force the tenant to waive this guarantee. It is the landlord’s sole responsibility to ensure the continued habitability of the property, and a tenant can terminate the lease early without penalty if the landlord fails to do so.

Prompt Repairs
Assuming the tenant provides appropriate notice, the landlord must complete all repairs promptly and properly. The landlord is responsible for the costs of any repairs, replacements or other work the property needs, unless the tenant caused the damage directly. If a landlord refuses to complete repairs, or does not complete repairs in a satisfactory manner, California law permits the tenant to withhold rent payments and use the funds to complete the repairs himself or to hire a qualified contractor to complete the work.

Unbiased Practices
Every landlord has a responsibility to abide by California’s tenancy discrimination laws. A landlord cannot refuse to rent a unit to a prospective tenant using ethnicity, skin color, gender, age, religion, disability or familial status as a criterion. Any screening process a landlord uses must be applied “across the board”; landlords cannot selectively choose to screen different applicants using different criteria.

Many homeowners are intimidated just thinking about managing their own properties, which means, managing peoples exceptions, communicating professionally and addressing all issues in a timely fashion without a vast knowledge of resources. Many of Distinct’s clients felt the same but were relieved when we started assisting them with their management needs. Don’t hesitate and call us today at 831.420.0202.

We are brand new to owning property. We love Santa Cruz and plan to settle there in the future. As we were in Escrow we worked with Distinct and they helped us market our property to our expectations. We rented to a great family before we closed escrow…. at a much better rate than we had expected. Nora helped us with many of the last minute repairs needed, including sitting at the house to see that the repairs were done properly. We have asked 100 “stupid” questions and receive very serious, helpful responses within hours. We could not be happier. We know our home and future are in good hands.They made it so easy, we are thinking we should invest in another property.

—David M., owner of a single family home

Nora Brink acknowledged in Santa Cruz Sentinel for Certification

We at Distinct Property Management believe, that credibility counts with our clients, board members and homeowners. They need a community manager with expertise – someone who can answer questions, offer solid advice and provide solutions. Be the expert they need by pursuing CACM’s certification programs.

Therefore we would like to congratulate Distinct’s own Nora Brink to her accomplishment with this milestone as Certified Community Association Manager (CCAM®) – a certification she received during her continues education with the professional organizations like the California Association of Community Managers. In addition to passing the exam earlier this year, she was acknowledged by her peers in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Tuesday August 13th, 2013. Nora Brink, one of the two owners of Distinct Property Management, a Santa Cruz Property Management firm, not only holds a Broker’s licence, but is additionally certified with the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM) (www.caionline.org).

Professional Organizations like CACM are important to establish guidelines that promote professionalism, provide information, education and resources to all community association stakeholders, including community managers and homeowner leaders. When CACM was founded in 1991, it was created by managers for managers – and their certification programs directly reflect those same ideals.

How to Make Your Santa Cruz Rental Property Feel Like Home to Prospective Residents

Prospective residents aren’t just looking for a place to rent; they are looking for a place to call home. You’ll want to make YOUR rental property stand out and shout “this is your new home!” to these prospects.

To help you following these tips to create a homey rental property Distinct Property Management will be your No. 1 resource. You may end up with more residents than you know what to do with!

Clean and declutter your rental property
Keep your rental property neat and tidy. When your rental property is clean and clutter-free, prospective residents will have an easier time picturing themselves in that home. If you have too much stuff to give the rental a good cleaning, now is the time to look into getting a storage unit, for instance. You might even want to bring in professional help to maintain the level of cleanliness that will make the property appealing.

Add homey touches
Add touches that will help a potential resident imagine what life would be like living in the rental home. If the home is furnished, try little flourishes like setting the table or placing fresh linens on the bed. If the rental property is unfurnished, add warm, homey colors of paint to the walls or install warm lighting. Paying attention to small details can help give off the homey feel that will attract potential residents to your property.

Appeal to the senses
We don’t just experience a home with our eyes. Remember to play to potential residents’ other senses, as well. Light scented candles or spray room freshener to appeal to their sense of smell. Hang some wind chimes on the front porch to suggest someone living there. These details might spark a memory of home for your potential residents.

Remember the outdoors
Keep your lawn well-manicured. This will not only make your home look nice, but the smell of freshly-mown grass could trigger feelings of hominess. Plant some flowers by the house or by the mailbox to give the rental property that extra, well-cared-for touch.

People looking for a rental home are looking for just that… a home. With just a little extra effort and the right attention to detail here and there, you can make your rental property feel like home to potential residents.

How can Distinct Property Management assist you?
A lot of homeowners are overwhelmed with the work involved to get a house ready and prepared as a rental. The quality of your future tenants and the upkeep of your house often rely on how well maintained it appears during the Open Houses, when potential tenants are being shown around. Not to forget that rental rates are heavily influenced by the appeal of your rental property.

Distinct Property Management, the Santa Cruz Property Management company, has extensive  experience in helping homeowners to prepare their home for new tenants. As we are intimately familiar with the Santa Cruz rental market and his seasonal challenges & expectations, we are the best source for you. We can advise and execute for you the final finishing touches that will make your home irresistible to your future tenant. By offering full property management services including tenant placement you will enjoy hassle and worry free homeownership with a secured monthly income. Don’t hesitate to call us today at 831.420.0202!

Nora is managing a property in Santa Cruz for me. Since I live on the Peninsula, I need someone who is ‘full service’. Nora has helped fix up my rental, hiring and managing various people to spruce up the place. She got it in great condition and then found a renter right away!
Nora is extremely easy to work with and very professional. She is organized and wonderful at communicating with her clients. Nora has done a great job and I give her my highest recommendation!

—Tina S., Investment Property Owner

Buying A Condo? – A Santa Cruz Property Management Company Recommends

In the most current newsletter for the Davis-Sterling Act, an immensely reliable source concerning one of the governing laws for homeowner association, advises about questions everybody should ask in the process of purchasing a condo. The majority of these questions should also be of interest when looking at townhomes and other PUDs. We at Distinct Property Management, a Santa Cruz Property Management company, could not agree more as proper information prior to the purchase of the new home or rental property will lead to a much more satisfied and successful homeowner ship.

1.Maintenance. Don’t assume the association takes care of everything, it doesn’t. Find out what your maintenance responsibilities are so you can budget for them. Inspect the common areas. If the paint is peeling on buildings, trees are overgrown, lawns are shabby, sidewalks are tilting–roofs and plumbing are probably in a similar condition. Poor maintenance means you can expect stagnant property values and special assessments as water starts infiltrating common areas through roofs, windows, water lines and drain lines–leading to mold and litigation.

2. Reserves. This is an extension of the maintenance issue. Does the association have healthy reserves so it can repair large ticket items? If not, special assessments are inevitable. Reserves in the 70% to 100% funding range are excellent. Reserves below 50% mean probable future special assessments. The lower the reserves, the more imminent the special assessment. If reserves are below 30%, look elsewhere for a condo.

3. Insurance. How much insurance does the association have? If it’s at bare minimum levels, you face a higher risk of a special assessment in the event a claim is filed against the association. Is the development in an area deemed high-risk for an earthquake? If so, does the association carry earthquake insurance? If not, are you prepared to lose your investment in the event of significant damage?

4. Litigation. Ask the seller about litigation over the past ten years. Also ask for the past two years of minutes. All HOA’s management by Distinct Property Management have all the minutes available online, accessible by the homeowners 24/7. A slip and fall lawsuit is not a problem. If the association has had ongoing litigation with members over the past ten years, run for the exit. The association is dysfunctional. There will be no peace until the litigants all move or die.

5. Rentals. Inquire about the percentage of rentals in the development. A high rental population creates problems for rules enforcement, maintenance and oversight of the property. If the rentals are nearing or exceed 15%, you should be cautious. If they exceed 30%, it does not matter how beautiful the condo is, you’re stepping into quicksand. At 50%, the development is in a death spiral.

6. Pets. If they don’t have pet restrictions, is the property a dog patch? If so, barking dogs at all hours of the day and night plus dog doo-doo in the common areas will be a challenge. If they have restrictions, do you have pets that violate those restrictions? If so, are you willing to give up your loved ones for the condo? If your Realtor tells you the rules don’t matter because the association will never discover the violation, get a new Realtor.

7. Parking. Is there sufficient parking in the development? If not, it will create problems for you and your guests. Visit the property on a weekend when everyone is home and see what parking is like.

8. Noise. Ask the seller about plumbing noise, crying babies, TV and stereo sounds, etc. from surrounding units. If there is a unit above yours, ask about noise from hardwood floors. If all the above can be heard through walls and floors, it indicates cheap construction–a harbinger of future maintenance problems. It also means you won’t get any sleep at night.

9. Finances. Ask for a copy of the budget and annual financial statement–and read them. Ask about delinquencies. A delinquency rate above 15% means that higher dues to make up the deficiency are probable. Also ask about past dues increases. If they proudly tell you that dues have not increased for ten years, it means they kept their dues down by deferring maintenance for ten years. It also means large increases and special assessments are looming.

10. Sales Activity. If you see a lot of “For Sale” signs in the association, you better find out why. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, they might know something your Realtor isn’t telling you.

RECOMMENDATION: It does you no good to sink your last penny into a condo and then lose it the next year when you get hit with a dues increase and large special assessment to cover delinquencies, litigation, artificially low dues and underfunded reserves. Any Realtor can read the MLS and drive you around to look at condominiums. What you need is a Realtor who is knowledgeable of how associations work and respects them. A good Realtor with condo experience will provide invaluable guidance.

I am a homeowner in a complex under the management of Distinct Property Management, Inc. Nora Brink and Rossana Bruni have consistently responded to any and all concerns that have arisen on our properties over the past 2 and 1/2 years since we hired them. Furthermore, Nora and Rossana are both extremely professional when coordinating and conducting our business during the board meetings for our homeowners association, and Rossana is exceptional in her financial oversight. 

What a fabulous duo!

—Cosette T., homeowner in an HOA

Need to revitalize your HOA?!

As the summer approaches and you were hoping that 2013 would bring a change to your HOA, Distinct Property Management, as the Santa Cruz Property Management company can offer some thoughts about how you can make your HOA the community you feel at home at and is the place you had hoped for:

Responsibility. All homeowners should take responsibility for adhering to rules and meeting their financial obligations to the community so they can avoid the costly and unpleasant task of pursuing legal actions.

Sharing. Homeowners should share their ideas, perspectives and concerns so we can all work together to build an even better community. Distinct always recommends for homeowners to attend their regular board meetings and provide their board of directors with input during the homeowner comment section.

Fellowship. Distinct advises to actively participate in the recreational, social and cultural activities of the community.

Involvement. Homeowners should attend association meetings and take the time to review important information about their community. Distinct Property Management provides for online access to all homeowners 24/7 to all pertinent HOA documents and review meeting minutes.

Inclusiveness. Homeowners should actively welcome new residents, making all owners and renters feel part of the community.

Pride. Homeowners are proud to live in their community and recommend it to others who are looking for a good place to call home.

Distinct Property Management, who helps the members of the elected boards to plan for a future well beyond their tenure on the board.

If you feel your HOA is in need of some rejuvenation, call Distinct today! Get the excellent management your HOA deserves now! The time for your board of directors to meet the Distinct Property Management team has never been better.

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