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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[blockquote signature="—David M., owner of a single family home"]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.[/blockquote]