Property Management Blog

Essential Tips for First-Time Landlords

Pinnacle Property Management - Saturday, January 2, 2021

Entering the rental property industry is an exciting affair as you’ll receive passive income and increase your wealth portfolio over time. However, becoming a landlord isn’t easy. You must learn some basics in order to avoid costly errors. 

As a first-time landlord, it’s important to learn about rental management as much as you can. That’s why, in this article, we’ve compiled our top essential tips to help you as a first-time landlord!

1. Brush up on landlord-tenant laws.

Initially, it may sound boring to read through state and local laws and ordinances. However, remember that by doing so, you’re protecting your interests. You want to avoid penalties and lawsuits from unintentional violations. Some of the crucial laws to learn are:

2. Put all paperwork in order.

Stay organized by creating an efficient system. Properly store your receipts, statements and leasing agreements. Make sure you have extra copies so when tax season arrives, you can find important documents easily.

  • Digital paper trail – it’s a good idea to have scanned copies of your files. This can be useful when someone loses their physical copy or when you need to check on important data in the future. 
  • Bookkeeping – use a reliable system and invest in good software to review your finances quickly. This will also make tax filing more efficient.
  • Accountant/s – consider hiring a professional so that you don’t have to spread your time too thin managing people, ledgers and the property. It’s best to find an additional expert in the finance field.

accountant and bookkeeping

3. Find opportunities for additional income.

When you have a rental property, it’s clear that your main source of income is the rent. However, there are ways to receive additional income by offering extra services to your tenants.

Here are some additional ways to make more income: 

  • Additional services – you can offer babysitting, pet sitting, laundry, cleaning or gardening services to your renters.
  • Rent out extra spaces – charge extra for the use of a storage room, garden shed or parking area.
  • Install a vending machine – if you have a multi-family rental property, you can earn more by selling convenient items on the side.

4. Make sure your tenants can reach you especially during business hours.

Strengthen your customer service by being reachable. When urgent matters arise, the renter must be able to contact you. This way, you’re aware of what’s going on in your rental property.

  • Provide contact information – ensure that tenants know where to contact you. If you change your number or make a separate business email, update your renters.
  • Strive to respond immediately – when you receive a message, try to reply within a 2-3 hour timeframe. If you can’t attend to the matter right away, inform the sender of an appropriate time you’re able to get back.

landlord making a call

5. Treat your rental property as a business from day one.

Make all decisions with an entrepreneur’s perspective. Here are some things we recommend: 

  • Collect late fees – as a new landlord, you may feel uncomfortable or hesitant to remind a tenant of late or pissed rent payments. Make sure your leasing agreement contains a late charge stipulation. This prompts your renter to pay on time, as well as generates an extra income for you.
  • Pay attention to your business reputation – focus on elevating your customer service. Online reviews matter. When people have good experiences, they talk about it, and vice versa. As a new rental owner, you want to earn more good reviews from renters.
  • Stick firmly to your policies – all the rules in your lease agreement should be followed. If you let the tenant break certain rules, they won’t take any policies seriously anymore. They’ll just bend the rules whenever they feel like it.
  • Act professional – since your rental is a business, you must appear respectable in front of your tenants. Avoid gossiping and using disrespectful language.

6. Learn the importance of documentation.

When it comes to the topic of money, disagreements can arise quickly. This is very common when it comes to the security deposit. Calculating for property damages can be easier when there’s clear evidence to justify the deductions.

  • Tenant move-in – prior to the tenant occupying your rental unit, conduct an inspection to check the property details. Maybe there are existing damages that a tenant must not be charged for. Have the damages fixed before a tenant moves in. Support your inspection with clear photos and videos.

property home inspection

  • Tenant move-out – once the lease expires, walkthrough the property and assess if there are property damages. This is where the initial documentation can support any repair costs that are deducted from the security deposit. This method prevents disagreements.

Bottom Line

As a first time landlord, managing people and the rental property can be challenging. Additionally, building skills and knowledge might prove to be overwhelming for you. 

If this is the case, consider hiring a property manager. At Pinnacle Property Management, our property managers are here for you. Contact us today at (310) 530 0606 for more information. 

What is "Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment"?

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

implied covenant of quiet enjoyment

Whether there is a lease in place or not, federal, state and local laws give tenants certain rights. One such law is the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.” 

It’s a foundational concept built into every tenancy agreement. It guarantees every tenant the right to live in their rented premises in quiet and peace, free from any unreasonable noises, disturbances and nuisances from landlords, their agents, or even fellow tenants. 

As a landlord, it goes without saying that understanding this Covenant is essential to running a successful rental investment. That’s because failure to do so could mean several potential consequences. 

Some potential consequences include:

  1. Your tenant may halt paying rent: Some state or municipality laws allow tenants to legally withhold rent when the landlord has breached their right to quiet enjoyment. 
  2. Your tenant may decide to move out without further obligations to the lease agreement: Generally, tenants can terminate their lease or rental agreement if the landlord:
    • seriously breaches the terms of the lease agreement; or
    • refuses to fulfil their landlording obligations. 
  3. Your tenant may decide to sue you: Most cases involving breach to the covenant of quiet enjoyment end up in a small claims court.

With that in mind, here are answers to some frequently asked questions involving the “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.” 

What does “Implied Covenant” mean? 

An implied covenant is an agreement that is not specifically stated in a contractual agreement. So, it doesn’t have to be expressly stated in the lease or rental agreement. Also, as a landlord, you cannot force your tenant to waive this covenant. 

landlord tenant law handshake

What does “Quiet Enjoyment” mean? 

Generally, tenants have two basic entitlements under the lease or rental agreement. That is:

  1. A right to live in a safe and habitable dwelling; and
  2. The right to live in peace and quiet.

Defining the term “quiet enjoyment” isn’t easy. That’s because no two situations are ever the same. Also, the terms “quiet” and “enjoyment” are relative. 

According to Nolo, a legal online resource, the covenant of quiet enjoyment simply means that landlords must do everything possible not to disrupt their tenants’ reasonable and peaceful use of their rented premises. 

A lease or rental agreement gives a tenant a right to:

  • Reasonable peace, comfort and privacy. As a landlord, you must do everything possible to make sure you don’t interfere with your tenant’s peace, comfort and privacy. 
  • Exclusive use of the property. The only exception to this is in circumstances where you need to access the property to carry out important landlording responsibilities. For example, repairing or maintaining the unit. 
  • Safe and secure premises. As a landlord, it is imperative that you have security measures in place before renting out your property. 
  • A habitable rental unit. Among other things, your property must have essential utilities such as heat, electricity and hot water. 

When can a landlord enter rented premises? 

About 50% of states have laws specifying when and under what circumstances a landlord can enter rented premises. Usually, a landlord can enter in any of the following situations: 

  • To inspect a unit when a tenant moves out. A move-out inspection helps a landlord document any damage that has occurred to the unit. 
  • To keep the property habitable by performing needed and requested repairs. 
  • To make aesthetic changes or improvements to the property. 
  • When looking to provide services that have been requested by the tenant. 
  • To issue an eviction notice to the tenant, only if accompanied by a law enforcement officer. 
  • In the event the property has been abandoned. 
  • Under court orders. 
  • To show the unit to prospective tenants, lenders and buyers. 

interior house

Some states also specify when a landlord can enter rented premises. Generally, this is usually between 9AM and 6PM or any other time that is agreed upon by both parties. The only exception to this is in times of emergencies. For example, when there is a gas leak, flooding, or fire at the property. 

What are some common violations? 

Some of the common violations to the covenant of quiet enjoyment include:

  • Entering the rented premises too often or without serving proper notice. 
  • Snooping through the tenant’s property.
  • Failing to keep disruptive noises, nuisances, or behaviors under control. 
  • Harassing a tenant either in person or over the phone.
  • Terminating or restricting essential services like electricity and hot water. 
  • Failing to provide items and services that were promised in the lease or rental agreement. 
  • Failing to repair things that affect the tenant’s safety and habitability. 
  • Prohibiting the tenant from enjoying the property, like entertaining their guests. 

What are some common examples of acceptable disturbances to a tenant’s peace and quiet?

Below are some common disturbances that don’t necessarily violate a tenant’s peace and quiet so long as they aren’t done repeatedly. 

  • Knocking on the door or calling the tenant to demand due rent. 
  • Outside noise from wildlife such as birds and crickets.
  • Carrying out important landlord responsibilities, such as repairs and maintenance tasks. 
  • Footsteps from neighbors who are living above them.

Is your tenant obligated to follow noise ordinances? 

Like every other citizen, your tenant also has an obligation to follow civil laws and noise ordinances. As such, they cannot, for instance, infringe on their neighbor’s right to quiet enjoyment. 

That said, since there is no lease existing between you and the neighbor, the disturbance is simply referred to as a nuisance. Consequently, the neighbor could decide to call the police and make a nuisance complaint. If the issue continues over time, the city may decide to sue you for the disturbances. 

neighborhood homes

Need Help?

As a landlord, it’s important that you respect your tenant’s peace and quiet of their rented properties. If you are just getting started or have more questions, please consider hiring expert help. Pinnacle Property Management is here for you. 

Becoming a DIY Landlord? 8 Property Management Mistakes to Avoid

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, November 10, 2020

diy landlord mistakes

Owning a rental property is great way to generate some extra income. If you’re the hands-on type, it can be fulfilling to know the ins and outs of the rental management industry. You get to build on your skills and expand your knowledge. 

If you’re considering buying investment property, keep on reading! In this article, we are going to provide you with potential errors self-managing landlords usually commit. In doing so, you’ll be able to steer clear of any of these common mistakes. 

1. Accepting the First Tenant

Sometimes property owners will automatically accept the first tenant who applies for the rental in order to fill the vacancy quickly. 

While it’s important to fill your units, you must screen multiple prospective renters to find the best quality one for your property. 

Review the background of the potential renter, and ask questions such as:

  • Do they have any previous references?
  • What’s their source of income?
  • Are they currently employed?

These questions are important so you won’t suffer from problems down the road. 

2. Lack of Automation

In a fast paced world, it’s important to adapt to challenges. Time is valuable, so make sure you are saving time by taking advantage of available technology. Software automates make processes easier! They’re worth the investment. 

Some areas you can automate are maintenance requests, rental collection, bookkeeping and accounting. By automating these tasks, you won’t have to spend time arranging meetings, manually collecting rent payments and organizing financial records.

It’s imperative that you adjust to make your business operation efficient. This way, your customer service won’t be sacrificed. Automated systems will make it convenient to market a property vacancy, receive rental payments and trace reports.

3. Reactive Maintenance

Oftentimes, expensive repair can be the result of negligence. Paying attention to common damage-prone furnishings or areas of the house will save you money. It’s important to focus on preventive maintenance.

rental property repairs

Make a list of items that need to be checked frequently, such as heaters, ventilation, air conditioning units and plumbing, and then check these areas regularly. 

It’s best to have a regular schedule and know your rental property is in top condition. 

4. Inferior Customer Service

Your tenants are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, steady returns are impossible. This highlights the importance of prioritizing customer service.

When tenants come to you with requests and complaints, listen attentively. Resolve issues and make life easier and more convenient for them. It’s much harder to deal with frequent turnovers due to poor service.

As a self-managing landlord, you’ll have to juggle several tasks such as conducting maintenance and regular inspections. However, never lose sight of delivering outstanding customer service. There are no excuses when it comes to serving the people who are the biggest factor in your business success.

5. Lack of Social Media Presence

Marketing your rental property business online can be strategic. This is where people can find out more about your rental space and the kind of services you offer. 

Many free social media platforms exist. When conducting social media marketing, you can choose to pay small fees to boost your postings.

Social media is great because you can post images and videos that will attract tenants. You can also use social media to connect with prospective tenants and answer their questions more quickly than you could offline.

When using social media, it’s important to be active and show your presence.

social media marketing

6. Skipping a Move Out Property Inspection

When tenants move out of your rental, it’s essential to conduct a move out inspection to prepare the unit for the next renters. 

Here are some of the things you can do inside and outside the rental property:

  • Clean the rental unit thoroughly.
  • Fix or replace damaged items.
  • Make sure that appliances are functioning at full capacity.
  • Check all the major and minor items.

When you turn over a rental unit that’s in its best condition, it will set a standard for the next occupants. They’ll strive to maintain the level of upkeep in contrast to leaving them with a substandard level. 

7. Failure to Screen a Contractor’s References

Self-managing a property can be time-consuming, so you may consider hiring a contractor. That said, there are key things to pay attention to. When hiring a contractor, make sure to check the credentials. 

It’s necessary to check the contractor's previous work. This way, you have a fair idea of the professional result. Otherwise, you can experience stress when your expectations are unmet.

If you want a superior job, make time to double-check references. You want to maximize your time and resources by collaborating with the right contractor. Some may overpromise and underperform, so you want to make sure that you find those who can really deliver. A contractor should be worth the money you’re paying!

8. Inaccurate Accounting 

To know how your rental business is performing, your records must be accurate and reliable. How can you measure your profitability if your accounting books aren’t in order? 

Using accounting software or hiring an accounting expert will benefit you a lot. You’ll be able to track your major expenses and reduce your costs in certain areas. This is an essential aspect of running your rental business.

financial reporting

Bottom Line

As a DIY landlord, these are things you must continually watch out for. If you’re short on time, you can always engage the services of a professional property manager. Contact Pinnacle Property Management today at (310) 530-0606 and check out our property management services at www.pinnaclepmc.com.

How to Retain Long-Term Renters

Pinnacle Property Management - Wednesday, October 14, 2020

When having a successful rental business, it’s crucial to find the right tenants. Good tenants always pay rent on time. They also take the initiative to contact you when necessary and are considerate in the treatment of your property. When you find a good tenant, it’s best to retain them long-term.

What are the benefits of having long-term tenants? 

  • Unit turnover and property maintenance expenses are lower 

  • Time and money saved by not needing ads and prospective tenant screenings 

  • Peace of mind in knowing your tenant for quite some time

  • Best of all, you're able to enjoy a regular rental income

High unit turnover is very costly for landlords. Most of the time, tenants move because they find a more affordable property in the same location. Others relocate because of work requirements, or when they find good schools for their kids elsewhere. The tenant's reasons are often beyond the landlord's control.  

But there are still some things you can do to find and retain good tenants. In this article, you will learn useful tips on how to achieve this.

How to Attract Long-Term Tenants

1. Offer a Reasonable Rental Price

Finding the best rental deal is often the priority for tenants. Properties largely being advertised online mean that many options are accessible to them. As such, competition is high to find tenants for properties. Setting your rental property at a reasonable price will attract more prospective tenants than nearby competitors. 

2. Make a Good First Impression with Tenants

First impressions are vital in finding a long-term tenant. To make a good impression, treat all potential tenants with respect. Being polite and courteous makes a big difference. By doing this, you’ll show your tenant that you're professional and approachable. 

3. Keep the Property in Top Condition 

Potential tenants are looking for a well-maintained property that they can call home. By keeping your property in top condition, you'll be able to attract more tenants. You don't have to spend a huge amount to improve your property's look either. There are a few simple things you can do to make your property more attractive:

  • Repaint your property with attractive colors

  • Invest in a new kitchen countertop and floorings

  • Have your property professionally cleaned

  • Update the cabinets and other built-in furniture

  • Include essential appliances like washer and dryer

4. Provide Essential Amenities

By researching trends in amenities most tenants want, you’ll find the best options to make your rental property appealing. You don’t need to install all of them, but it will help if you provide some amenities that tenants prioritized. The type of amenities often depends on the age and lifestyle of the tenant. For example, most tenants look for a property with high-speed internet. They also want a unit with soundproof walls, appliances, large walk-in closet, and a balcony.

5. Screen Potential Tenants

It’s essential to know if prospective tenants plan to stay long-term when screening them. Asking lifestyle questions when you interview potential tenants can help determine this. For example, tenants with kids tend to lease long-term more often than single tenants.

How to Retain Long-Term Tenants

Once you’ve found a good tenant, you need to put in the effort to retain them long-term. You can follow these tips to best achieve that: 

1. Regularly Upgrade your Property

All properties show signs of wear and tear after some time. One way to upgrade your property is by adding fresh paint. You can also consider replacing the backyard’s old fences. If you regularly upgrade your property, your tenants will be appreciative. Tenants who feel looked after will be encouraged to stay long-term. 

2. Allow Your Tenant to Make Changes to the Property

Allowing tenants to customize the property’s interior will make them much happier. These changes don’t have to be major. You can allow them to make alterations as long as it won’t cause long-term property damage. For example, you can let your tenants change wallpapers or create a small outdoor garden. If they're allowed to personalize the property, they will be encouraged to stay long-term.

3. Encourage Tenants to Have Extended Lease Terms

Providing a reduced rate can encourage tenants to sign a long-term lease. For example, if your tenant renews yearly, you can ask them to extend it to two years at a lower rate. It's a win-win situation for you and your tenant. The reduced rate can be an incentive for them while you receive a guaranteed rental income.

4. Promptly Respond to Requests

Responding promptly to your tenants’ property maintenance requests encourages tenants to stay long-term. Aim to respond to your tenant's requests within one business day. However, there are some requests that you need to address immediately. Examples of these requests are broken bathroom fixtures or busted electrical wiring. Your tenant will feel valued if you’re quick to take care of them.

5. Explain the Contract to Your Tenant

Meet with your new tenant and go over the contract together. The tenant will appreciate you answering their questions quickly, should they have any. By doing this, you can also verify that the tenant understands the leasing terms and conditions. Whenever you make changes to the contract, you should discuss it with your tenant in person.

6. Take the Initiative in Lease Renewals

Remind your tenant at least 90 days in advance when their lease contract is about to end. If you do this, you will know your tenant’s plans and listen to concerns they may have. It would also give you enough time to find a new tenant if they decide to move out.  

7. Ensure the Safety of Your Tenant

Tenants prioritize finding a property that is secure. They won't stay in a place where they don't feel safe. Because of this, you need to make your tenant's safety your main priority. For example, you can change locks, install security cameras and provide outdoor lighting.

Taking action will help you to attract and retain long-term tenants. Ultimately, having long-term tenants provide many benefits such as being able to save on costs and have regular rental income.

How to Increase Your Income Without Raising Rent

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, September 1, 2020

how to increase your income without raising rent

Do you want to boost your rental income?

You can get more creative than raising the rent! Sudden hikes in rent may be illegal in your area. Even if it's allowed, doing so multiple times may result in a higher tenant turnover rate as well.

Having an entrepreneurial mindset is useful for landlords. It’s possible to make more money without touching the monthly rent amount. Stay open-minded, and you’ll find exciting ways to create additional streams of income.

In this article, we're going to list the top ways you can increase your rental income without having to make changes to the rent payments. Try these approaches and see if they're a good fit for your financial goals.

1. Put Home-Sharing Platforms to Good Use

Empty rental units generate running expenses while providing zero income. Fortunately, you can use home-sharing platforms like VRBO and Airbnb to rent out your unit between tenants.

A great thing about these platforms is that you can tap into the market for holiday and short-term business rentals. The cost per night can be much higher compared to having regular tenants in your property.

2. Provide Space for a Cell Phone Tower

Did you know that you can earn extra money by leasing out space for erecting a cell phone tower? The average rent amount you can ask for this varies between $1,200 to $1,500. In some areas, the income could be even higher.

make space for a cell phone tower for extra income

Significant figures are getting paid to landlords who lease space to telecommunication companies or other institutions. Just keep in mind that having a cell phone tower next to your rental unit could affect its perceived value.

3. Install a Vending Machine

Add an automated vending machine to the common area of your rental property. Storage or laundry rooms work great too. Make sure it carries basic conveniences like snacks, toiletries, sodas and sports drinks.

Brand new machines are expensive. However, you can always purchase a used vending machine. Buy the items in bulk and charge up to 50% more than what you bought them for.

Decent traffic around the vending machine can lead to enjoying a decent income stream. Once everything is up and running, ask people for feedback. Maybe you missed some of the desired products that could sell like crazy.

4. Enforce Strict Late Fees

The enforcement of strict late fees prevents the situation from causing you to leave money on the table. Ideally, your tenants won’t delay their rent payments. Though, if it does happen, collecting the associated fees is an extra income on top of the monthly rent.

5. Get Solar Panels

Installing solar panels to your rental property creates numerous ways you can earn additional income.

  • You can sell excess energy to a company that agrees to pay for it.
  • You can charge your tenant for using the solar-powered electricity.

Check with your local institutions to see if the installation of solar panels entitles you to any financial benefits.

6. Charge Pet Fees

The majority of households in the U.S. have pets. When you haven't designated your rental unit as pet-friendly, you miss out on additional income. Allow pets on the premises to open new ways of making money.

rent to pet-owners to charge pet fees

Pet fee and pet rent are two of the most common approaches. A pet fee is a one-time expense for your tenants. However, pet rent is usually a monthly fare. Additionally, you could offer dog walking services to your tenants.

7. Offer Storage Space

Rental properties often lack enough storage space. If your rental unit is different, take advantage of that unique opportunity. Put the attic or basement space into use for paid storage.

This is an especially lucrative option when you own a multi-family property. Your renters are likely to take up the offer regarding extra space to store their personal belongings. It’s even possible to provide some storage room for non-tenants.

8. Provide Paid Upgrades

Offering extra services could get you the desired additional income. Say you have a rental unit with a lawn. You can then maintain that lawn by providing lawn service to keep everything tidy.

Providing these services doesn’t mean that you have to do the hard work. Instead, you can charge the renters for finding and maintaining the relationship with a qualified professional. That could get you $10 or $20 on top of the monthly rent amount.

9. Rent Out Your Rental’s Garage

Limited parking space in your property's area creates new income opportunities. The particular amount you’ll get from this venture depends on where your property is situated. Expect extra income anywhere between $50 and $250.

10. Purchase a Laundry Machine

Get a coin-operated laundry machine if you have a condo or apartment complex. Some landlords have seen returns of about $750 to $1,500 when they respectively had three and six units in a building.

generate income by having a coin-operated laundry machine

However, you may not have a multi-unit property. In this case, you can provide a combination of washer and dryer amenities. Ask a monthly charge for this. You could get up to $350 per year for that set-up.

In a Nutshell: Increase Your Income Without Raising Rent

Being a successful landlord is all about growth. While most rental owners want to increase rent, you can explore other avenues for income boost as well.

Here are some of the top ways to increase your return on investment:

  • Offer storage space in the basement or attic
  • Enforce strict late fees whenever a tenant is late
  • Use home-sharing platforms during tenant turnovers
  • Install a coin-operated laundry machine in multi-unit buildings
  • Designate a pet-friendly rental and charge pet fees
  • Lease out space for a cell phone tower
  • Provide paid garage space for anyone in the area
  • Install solar panels and sell the generated energy

Should I Allow Tenants to Paint My Rental Property

Pinnacle Property Management - Monday, August 10, 2020

Have your tenants inquired about painting your rental?

As a landlord, it’s likely that you have opted for colors in your rental units that are as neutral as possible. Gray and white are common favorites among rental owners. Even though these colors are neutral, you may still encounter tenants who find these colors off-putting.

As a result, your tenants may propose to undertake a paint job in your rental property. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at what options you have in order to find a solution in these scenarios.


Should Your Allow Tenants to Paint Your Rental Property?

Your tenants may want to paint the walls by themselves instead of having you do the paint job for them. This means that all the expenses regarding tools and paint will be paid by your renter.

Now, if your renter asks you to paint the rental, you have three main responses that you can opt for:


1. NO – They Can’t Paint the Rental


You can always reserve your right to completely oppose your tenant’s idea. However, even though you are disapproving of their plans, you can do so in a friendly and polite manner. 

You can also offer other alternatives. For instance, you can propose that they install removable wallpaper, or “renter’s wallpaper.” 

In theory, this type of wallpaper should come off easily and leave behind zero marks. However, you must be careful. Sometimes, after stripping it from the walls, the renter’s wallpaper may still leave unsightly stains.

You want to make sure your renter buys high quality removable wallpaper.


2. YES – But There are Certain Conditions


You may allow your renter to paint the property under certain conditions.  

One of the basic conditions is agreeing on the colors beforehand. Otherwise, you could find your rental to be painted in a color that has no popular appeal. This outcome will likely lower your property’s value until it’s repainted again.

You are also able to set clear boundaries regarding the suitable rooms and areas of your rental property for painting. For example, you can tell your tenants that woodwork and natural stone are off-limits.

Another condition is charging your tenants a repainting fee. This fixed fee would pay for any costs that result from the painting job when their lease finishes. It’s important to check whether this fee is legal in your particular jurisdiction.


3. YES – They Can Paint the Rental


This is a simple way to move forward, but you should definitely weigh the pros and cons of saying yes. As already outlined, it pays to take a precautionary approach and set a few conditions for your rental’s repainting.

Saying yes doesn’t mean that you have to skip a discussion with your renter. You can still try to understand their plans and offer your personal opinions and preferences on how the final outcome should look.

Agreeing to the painting project does have its risks, but it comes with advantages as well. For instance, saying yes can foster a better long-term relationship with your tenant. When the market is tough, it makes perfect sense to focus on these aspects too.


Rules Surrounding Repainting the Property


As a rental property owner, you have to be ready for a variety of situations. You could find yourself being asked to repaint your entire rental or a part of it. The reasons behind this could range from dissatisfaction with the current colors to finding the paint too faded.

You are definitely not required to proceed with a painting job. At the same time, it’s smart to remember that your local area could have requirements for your rental’s paint job. For instance, there are localities in the States that require you to repaint the living quarters every five or seven years.

Similarly, there are rules and regulations in place that govern the tenant-landlord relationships when the paint in the property contains lead. In most cases, your renters can ask you to eliminate the paint that contains lead and repaint the walls.

These requirements are not based on aesthetics but on public health considerations instead. This means that when your tenants want the walls to be repainted based on aesthetic preferences, they are not going to have any legal justifications to back them up.

Sometimes these situations take a wrong turn. For example, you may discover that your tenants have painted the property without notifying you of the changes. In such a case, you are likely to have the right to deduct the paint removal and repainting costs from the security deposit.



In a Nutshell: Allowing Tenants to Paint My Property


When your tenants want to paint your property, you have three major options.

  • Allow them to paint the unit without conditions in order to foster a long-term relationship.
  • Let your tenants paint the property after disclosing a set of conditions.
  • Politely disagree with the idea so as not take any risks with the paint job’s quality.

For further inquiries, contact us today!

How to Write a Good Property Listing

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

To attract the best quality tenants available, you need to grab their attention from the initial marketing of your rental property. By writing a good property listing, you can achieve this. It’s your first introduction to a prospect and therefore, your chance to impress your target market. 

This introduction should be done in a way that awakens their curiosity and makes them want to know more. Your property listing should lead them to schedule a property showing with you.

There are effective strategies that you can follow to help execute a great property listing. Here are some brilliant tips you can apply:


1. It’s all about the details.


Since a prospect has not seen the property up close yet, you must fill their imagination with rich details. An image is not sufficient to gauge a room’s air of space. You can then state the measurements of a room. 

Mention brands to provide concrete information and provide descriptions of amenities. Does your property include a pool, parking garage, garden, terrace or patio? Include these features and describe them using simple and detailed words. 

Talk about the proximity of the rental property to parks, schools, airports, transportation hubs, grocery stores, hospitals, malls, libraries and community centers. These are facilities a prospect notices and finds significant.


2. Communicate about features that make your property stand out from the rest.


This is where the power of observation comes in. Study your property and similar properties around the neighborhood. What features does your property have that others don’t? 

You should be able to find distinguishable traits from the others. What do you offer that’s an important consideration for a renter? Those features could even act as an extra source of income, benefiting you alongside your tenants.


Think about what your property offers in comparison to others


For example, if you have a large garden space then you can promote that. This will attract those who appreciate horticulture. You can make this one of your central selling points in your property listing to earn a wider pool of prospective renters.


3. Post listing online.


There are hundreds of property listing sites. Choose the most popular ones. Additionally, you can start accounts on different social platforms to expand your market reach. 

It’s easier to network online since you don’t have to travel far and some of your contacts can refer you to their contacts as well. Your priority is to be visible. It’s easier to connect and develop an awareness of your rental property when it can be seen online.

People want more convenience now, so digital marketing is a preferred method. It’s also easier to track inquiries, provide feedback and get in touch online. 

It's also important to monitor your accounts. You don’t want potential renters to get frustrated because your response is too slow. Furthermore, you want to keep their contact information in case you can help them find other properties for which they may be looking.


4. Quality images draw the eye.


In a property listing, the attached photos should look professional and attractive. Before scanning for more information about a rental property, a prospect initially browses for pictures. 

If one catches their eye, that’s the time they’ll pause to take in more text details. So, the power of a quality photo should never be discounted. 

Before you take a photo, make sure there’s good lighting and the surroundings are pristine. If need be, schedule a professional cleaning service beforehand. 


Possibly schedule a cleaning before shooting the property


Your photos should include details of the features stated in your property listing. Use the proper lens and professional camera equipment to capture the best angles for your photographs.


5. Avoid exaggeration.


Even if you’re tempted to use exaggerated language, resist the urge. It might draw interest initially, but then turn people off. Level the expectations and avoid over-promising.

Use simple words and be wary of using cliché phrases. Some of these are “within walking distance”, “state-of-the-art”, “near transport” and other vague descriptions. 

Strive to use accurate measurements. How near is the property in terms of kilometers? Walking distance is subjective for most people who have different paces in walking. 

Include brands, furnishings and what kind of facilities you offer instead of simply resorting to saying, "state-of-the-art." This paints a clearer picture for the prospective tenant.


6. Don’t forget to proofread.


Review your property listing. A good photo is not enough. Your words have to be grammar-free using a friendly professional tone. 

Read your copy over and over again and note if it sounds natural. Weed out words that are ineffective, superfluous and too complicated sounding. 

Check for spelling errors that might alter the ad and make your copy humorous. You don’t want that kind of embarrassment and sloppy unprofessional message. 

Also, review the Fair Housing Act and make sure that there are no discriminating words included in your property listing. This can attract negative feedback. You can also ask an editor to review your market listing before posting it to a public platform.


7. Exercise transparency.


On the property listing, be truthful when it comes to fees. A prospect will be able to gauge if he can afford the rent and extra charges. This saves a lot of time, rather than keeping it hidden and letting a prospect know during the property showing. 

Be transparent about rent cost and fees

Being transparent opens the door for a great rapport at the start. Some renters only have a specific budget for renting and are not willing to go above for any extra fees. 


Bottom line


Creating a good property listing is the first step towards effectively marketing your rental unit. Make sure it emits honesty, detailed presentation and careful review. Take advantage of online marketing and maximize your exposure opportunities by using professional images, accompanied by well-crafted, descriptive texts.

If you need an excellent property manager with a long-term experience to market your vacant property, contact Pinnacle Property Management. With over 3 decades of experience, you can trust their expertise. Visit their website, https://www.pinnaclepmc.com or call them at (310) 530-0606. You can also email them at pinnacle@pinnaclepmc.com.

Tips to Prevent Tenant Damages

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, June 5, 2020


As a property owner, you want to protect your investment and keep it damage-free. That said, property damages caused by negligent tenants are a common scenario. 

Floor scratches and marks, broken furniture, gaping holes in the walls and chipped wood are all common examples of damages you may experience in your rental property. As a result, you will have to spend a lot of money to get everything repaired. 

In this article, Pinnacle Property Management will provide you with solid ways to prevent tenant damages.

1. Be Cautious when Screening Tenants


Before accepting a tenant to fill your units, check with previous landlord for references. 

Here are some of the questions you can consider asking:

  • Has the tenant damaged the preview property? 
  • How was the condition of the previous rental unit when the tenant left?
  • Did the tenant get back the full refund of his security deposit? If not, why?
  • Does the tenant perform his property maintenance duties?

In asking these types of questions, you’ll be able to better determine whether your prospective tenants will cause damage to your units. 

Never let the immediate gratification of earning income right away lead you to skip necessary tenant background checking. Otherwise, you might suffer from the resulting stress of dealing with major damages to your property.


2. Create a Clear Leasing Agreement


If you outline the tenant’s duties and responsibilities in the lease agreement, they will be more accountable and more likely to follow the policies. 

Be clear and inform your tenants about your expectations in terms of the property’s maintenance. Outline what you permit, and what you discourage.  

Also, tell your tenants to report any property issues so that maintenance and repairs can be conducted right away. 

Make sure your tenants understand the repercussions if violations occur. 

signing lease


3. Have Thorough and Regular Inspections 


Before a tenant moves in, it’s best to document the property’s condition through photographs and videos. This is helpful to assess the extent of damages when a tenant moves out. 

In addition to the move in and move out inspections, you should also consistently monitor the property condition. In doing so, you will be able to notice any small damages and prevent them from getting bigger. 

Here are some areas that you should be regularly inspecting:

  • Roof
  • Gutters
  • Basement
  • Plumbing
  • Toilets


4. Collect a High Security Deposit 


A security deposit can act as a great incentive to help your property stay damage-free. 

By setting your security deposit too low, you’ll risk a tenant not caring about getting it back. Thus, it’ll be more likely that the renter is negligent in the property. 

However, if you set it high, a tenant will want to get his money back in full. This means that he will perform his responsibilities by reporting damages and taking care of the property. 


5. Implement a Long-Term Maintenance Plan


It’s best to design a strict schedule when it comes to maintenance and repair of your property. Not all tenants will report minor damages, and this will result in major damages long-term.  

Outline your inspection schedules. Consider various types of inspections including seasonal and annual inspections and drive by ones. Be consistent and exercise the same for all units, even if you have long-term tenants.

Preserving the value of your rental property needs consistent effort and evaluation. If you catch damages early, you’ll be able to improve the condition of your unit and lessen future maintenance expenses.


6. Be Conscious of the Presentation of your Home


As early as the tenant moves in, it’s advisable to set a good standard. Your rental unit must be neat, orderly and all things must function well. This will demonstrate your expectations for the unit’s presentation.

If you don’t present a clean and organized rental space, it sends a negative message to the tenants. It will make them feel that they don’t need to exert effort in keeping the rental unit well maintained. Therefore, it’s a good strategy to hire professional cleaners at least once a year for deep cleaning. 

living room presentation


Keeping the property clean is also important when photographing the space for property listings for new, potential tenants, which is covered here.

7. Cultivate a Good Relationship with your Tenants


Act professionally and establish a solid relationship with your tenants. You’ll find it much easier for them to adhere to the leasing conditions and house policies when they respect you.

Also, if they are comfortable with you, they’ll bring maintenance issues to your attention in a timely manner. Keeping your tenants happy is one of the crucial parts of preventing tenant damages. 


Bottom Line


As an overview, here are the main ways to prevent tenant damages:

  • Screen prospective tenants thoroughly.
  • Implement a clear lease agreement.
  • Regularly inspect the unit.
  • Collect a high security deposit. 
  • Schedule regular maintenance visits.
  • Set a good example.
  • Build a strong landlord-tenant relationship.

With these tips, your property will remain in good condition!


Best Practices for Landlords During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Pinnacle Property Management - Monday, May 4, 2020

Are you looking to improve your rental safety during the coronavirus outbreak?

As a rental property owner, it’s normal that you will face many difficulties during this pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 requires you to follow new laws and regulations, implement strict hygiene protocols, and increase ongoing communication with your tenants.

Regardless of your individualized circumstances, there are universal practices that landlords can use to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. In this article, we are listing the top ways you can continue to succeed as a property owner during this crisis. 


Provide First-Rate Communication

Quality communication is key anytime, but especially now during this pandemic. You want to be friendly, open, and proactive whenever you connect to your tenants online or offline.

Reach out to your tenants. Let them know that you will continue to deliver essential repairs and maintenance. Emphasize that you will offer support and assistance during this time.

Your renters will also likely be concerned about their safety and health. That’s why you should explain to them that you will take all the safety precautions to protect them against the virus.

Additionally, your tenants may feel stressed about potential emergency situations. Send out a clear message that you will quickly respond to any emergencies. Fires, serious gas leak, flooding or any other situation that puts your tenants at risk will be taken seriously and dealt with quickly. 

Finally, emphasize that you will always do your best to answer your renters' emails, messages and phone calls. Since the current times are full of confusion and doubt, it's important that you show your tenants you are there for them. This will also help foster a strong landlord-tenant relationship. 



Check for Changes in Laws & Regulations

The COVID-19 pandemic is updating and changing laws and regulations daily in order to reduce the social and economic consequences of the outbreak. You may find new stipulations or revisions on federal, state and local levels. Check with various official sources to obtain the latest information.

It’s important that you stay up to date with all the changes. You may also consider reviewing your lease agreement to ensure it complies with the new laws. 

If you’re worried about navigating this new territory, consider hiring a professional property management firm.


Be Vigilant about the Information You Encounter

When you are browsing the web for COVID-19 information, you'll find a lot of websites and social media channels sharing news and updates about the virus outbreak. However, not all of these media outlets are sharing quality content. 

You should avoid information if: 

  • You’re unable to verify their claims and information
  • Their findings feel too extreme
  • You’ve never heard about the blog or social media channel 

Sharing useful tips and relevant news with your tenants is a great idea, but make sure that it is coming from a credible source. 

Your best option is to consult and share information that comes from the authorities. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) and your local health organizations for new updates and guidelines. 


Create and Follow a Stringent Hygiene Protocol

Practice high standards of hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic. Enforcing strict rules is the only viable way forward.

You should considering weighing the pros and cons of delivering non-essential maintenance and repairs. As long as you comply with the legal regulations, you may be allowed to conduct some of the services at a later date.

When you do enter your tenants' homes, make sure to disinfect and clean all surfaces using EPA-registered disinfectants. Surfaces can include light switches, tables, touch screens, keyboards, sinks, and remote controls.

In a rental unit, you should also always wear disposable gloves. Discard your pair of gloves after every procedure and upon entering a new rental unit. 

As for masks, these are only useful for caregivers and infected people, or for anyone who has reason to believe they are infected. However, the CDC has recommended that everyone is encouraged to wear cloth face coverings. These won't protect you from the virus, but they will prevent you from spreading COVID-19 should you be infected.



Finally, always wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Use hand sanitizers only if you have no water and soap available.


Frequently Go Over Your Plans

Resilience is the key to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Adapt to the shifting circumstances in order to create stability in your own life and investments.

Definitely consider creating a contingency plan. Revisit your long-term strategies and build alternative future scenarios. As a property owner, you’ve already had to expect the unexpected - this is just another challenge in your list.


Consider a Professional Property Management to Help You

Self-managing is a difficult task during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a property owner, you have to deal with an ever-changing legal scenery, safety issues, and possible tenant financial troubles. 


Pinnacle Property Management can help you covers your rental property management needs. Our experience extends over 30 years. This means that we are an experienced, reliable, and knowledgeable partner to care for your property investments.

By partnering with us, you can enjoy a stress-free lifestyle. Contact us today to find out how you can benefit by working with us during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond this critical period.

Should I Rent my Unit Furnished?

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, April 3, 2020


To furnish or not to furnish? This may be the question you are asking yourself as a property owner. 


Here are some questions you should begin to consider: 

Do you want to make more money, or reduce the risk of tenant damage? Would you prefer offering your tenants convenience, or offering them flexibility? 


More importantly, based on your needs, your experience and your rental units’ target demographic, you must consider which path is best for your rental business. 


In this article, Pinnacle Property Management will lay out the advantages and disadvantages of furnishing a rental unit. You will then be able to be make the best decision for your business.



Pros of Renting a Furnished Property

1. You can charge a higher rent

Renters who are interested in furnished units are willing to pay higher rent. This is because they understand that they are not only paying for the space, but also for the furnishings and appliances that are included. Typically, the rent for a furnished property can be up to 40% higher than an unfurnished one. This difference can be as much as $400 a month in some locations. 


2. You will have more prospective tenants 

Furnished properties are in greater demand than unfurnished ones because renters want to keep their options open. Furnished units often attract young tenants and business workers who are constantly moving around. So, if an unfurnished property is vacant, it will likely stay on the market for longer than a furnished one.


3. You can charge a higher security deposit

Since the unit is filled with furnishings and appliances, you can charge a higher security deposit. This means that if the tenant causes damage to the property, or anything in it, you will have more money to spend on repairs. 


4. It is more convenient for the tenant 

For a renter, it is easier to move into a furnished property as all the furnishing and appliances are included. It saves the tenant the burden of having to find, purchase, transport and set up furniture. 



Cons of Renting a Furnished Property

1. It is expensive and risky

Furnishing a unit, depending on its size, can cost up to $10,000. In addition to the money, time and effort invested, every dollar spent represents an additional risk that the owner takes on. The possibility of damage is vastly increased when you furnish a unit. You must ensure that you are sufficiently covered by the rent, the security deposit and the lease agreement.


2. Renters are often short-term 

Furnished units often attract short-term renters. So, there will be a higher turnover rate. Here are some of the downsides that come with this:

  • There's a greater chance that your unit will be vacant, and a vacant unit means a loss in rental income.
  • You must spend more money on maintaining, preparing and cleaning the unit between tenants.
  • More money is spent on marketing the property after each tenant moves-out.


3. You need to spend additional money on storage

Sometimes, you won’t be able to keep the furniture in your rental unit. As a result, you’ll have to rent warehouse spaces and storage rooms to store the furnishings. This can be quite costly. Not to mention, moving furniture is not an easy task. 


4. Greater possibility for tenant damage 

If your rental property is furnished, the tenant doesn’t own the furnishings that are in it. And, as humans, we often take better care of our own possessions. So, tenants may be less careful with the belongings in the property. This means that there is a greater likelihood for severe wear and tear or tenant-caused damages.  



The Rule of Thumb

Here is a general guideline that you can use to help you decide whether or not you should furnish your rental unit:


Rent unfurnished if the properties are large:

  • Large properties target families and older renters who are usually established. These kinds of renters have typically accumulated many personal belongings over the years. People become attached to their possessions and are unlikely to give them up.
  • Also, families want the privilege of being able to design the space they live in. It gives them a sense of ownership and makes them feel more comfortable.


Rent furnished if the properties are small: 

  • Tenants who rent small spaces are usually at a transitory stage of life, such as younger individuals. They are likely to make life-changing decisions that will force them to move out. As a result, they don’t want to invest in furnishings that they can’t take with them. 
  • So, if your business model is to target short-term leases of 6 to 12 months, and your units are small, you should furnish them. 


Another option is to partly-furnish your unit:

  • This option offers the pros of both furnished and unfurnished units.
  • It offers the greatest flexibility because it allows you and the tenant to decide what furnishing should be included with the property.
  • Finally, with this option, the renters also get some freedom to customize the space as they want.

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Pinnacle Property Management
CA BRE # 01905815
22700 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Ph: (310) 530-0606
Fax: (310) 626-9786
Email: pinnacle@pinnaclepmc.com

We are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm M-F.

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