Property Management Blog

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


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.

Top Tenant Complaints and How to Solve Them

Pinnacle Property Management - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Most landlords have been tenants at one time or another. If you’ve never rented, maybe you’ve experienced life from the perspective of a tenant when you travel. Remembering what it feels like to be a renter is important in helping you provide the best service to your tenants as their landlord.


The key to keeping tenants happy is to put yourself in their shoes. Think about what would make you happy as a tenant. Doing this is not about being nice; it is good business sense. Putting yourself in your tenant's shoes means you’re putting your rental ahead of the competition. You will build your reputation as the local landlord that all tenants want. In this article, we examine the most common complaints from tenants and how you can resolve them.


Landlords who are never within reach.

Landlords who don’t answer the phone, return calls or reply to emails is top on the list of tenant complaints. All landlords are very communicative when looking for a new tenant. If you suddenly become difficult to reach after the tenant moves in, they will likely get frustrated at this. Your tenant may interpret this to mean that you only care about the money. It is discourteous and makes tenants feel insignificant. 


That being said, you may not intentionally miss your tenant's attempts to contact you. Maybe their call came at a time when you were busy. Whatever the reason, you should establish rules for how and when you should be contacted by your tenant when you sign the lease agreement. You should also give your tenant an alternative in case there is an emergency and you are not responding immediately. 


landlords never in reach

Indifference to maintenance requests.

Regardless of the cause or cost of damage, it is never a good idea to ignore a tenant's request for repairs. In the long run, this will cost you. Attending to maintenance requests promptly makes tenants happier and will save you money. Even when the requested repair is not your responsibility, it is still wise to respond. By paying attention to the issue and explaining why you cannot fix it, you keep the door open to future tenant requests, even if you cannot solve them all.


To ensure you can attend to the tenant's repair requests in a professional manner, you need to establish a maintenance system. You should have clear guidelines on how tenants should raise repair requests. You should ensure that requests are not left unattended longer than twenty-four hours. Guidelines give tenants confidence in the process; it is professional and shows that you do care. 

Uncertainty about the refund of the security deposit.

You should accept the security deposit with the intent to give it back to your tenant in full. The deposit serves as a check against irresponsible behavior. The hope of getting their money back is the tenant's incentive for being responsible. When a tenant feels they will not get their money back, they have no reason to keep your property in good shape. This may result in excessive damages to your property that you will have to repair. 


To reassure tenants that they will get all or part of their security deposit back, you need to be transparent about it. You should take a complete survey of the state of the property before tenant move-in, accompanied with photographs, and have the tenant sign it to ensure you’re in agreement.


security deposit refund clarity


You should do another survey of the property’s condition after the tenant moves out.  When it comes to returning the security deposit, you can use these two records to compare the state of your property and determine if you need to deduct from the deposit. Then you can forward this to the tenant so that they’re clear on the deduction process. 


Invasion of privacy. 

If you live in the same property as your tenant, they may feel like they are constantly under watch. This feeling is exacerbated if you have the tendency to interfere with the tenant’s lives. Even if you have the right to protect your investment, you cannot do this in violation of the tenant's privacy rights. 


You should take the time to draw up a comprehensive behavior code of behavior for you and your tenants. You should schedule any inspections or cleanings well in advance so that you can give occupants no less than 24-hours notice. This ensures that they do not feel that you are violating their privacy and personal space.


Failing to solve neighbor disturbances.

Other occupants of a building or neighbors in nearby properties can cause problems for your tenants. Neighbor disturbances can include loud parties, animal sounds, noisy quarrels, or cigarette smoke seeping into your property. If a neighbor causing the problem also your tenant, the problem is usually easier to solve. But if you have no legally-binding connection with the neighbor, there is not much that you can do.


To alleviate your tenant’s frustration, you can reduce outside noise by soundproofing your property, installing carpets, and planting additional noise-blocking shrubbery outside. In the case of cigarette smoke, you can block gaps to the outside between switches and other crevices. You can also report this to the homeowners association in the area if talking with the neighbor does not help solve the issue.


landlord solving neighbor disputes


Persistent pest infestations and issues.

Pest infestations are probably the worst complaint on this list. With other issues, tenants may still feel safe living in an apartment. When dealing with pests and rodents, however, some renters only feel if they vacate your property.


Don’t delay acting on this problem, even if you blame the tenant’s unsanitary conditions for it. Have an exterminator treat the property periodically. Also, make sure the lease agreement specifies the tenant's responsibility to maintain a minimum level of cleanliness.


Conclusion


In summary, you can solve most tenant concerns fairly easily so that they don’t develop into major issues. You must maintain basic rules to ensure that you keep a good relationship with your tenants. These include courtesy, attentiveness, responsiveness, and constancy. These will prevent small issues from degenerating into big problems that will result in lawsuits or the tenant leaving the property.

Tips to Find Great Tenants for Your Torrance, CA Property

Pinnacle Property Management - Thursday, January 30, 2020

Property investors in Torrance, CA face many challenges. 


One particularly difficult goal is finding quality tenants that pay and stay long-term. This is because lowering the turnover rate is necessary to get the best return on investment.


Empty rental units bring zero income, but simply filling the vacancies with random tenants may backfire sooner or later. Plus, failure to conduct proper tenant screening increases the risk of unknowingly signing a contract with problem renters.


In this article, we'll go over the top tips for finding great tenants for your Torrance rental property. 


Showcase high-resolution images

Many people looking for a home ignore ads that have low-quality photos. It's a knee-jerk reaction, because images with bad quality raise the following concerns:


  • Is the image low-quality on purpose? Maybe the owner is trying to hide something.

  • Does the lack of care in advertising reflect the owner's overall attitude and home maintenance?

  • Is there any point in visiting a property that you can't clearly envision beforehand?


Visual communication is an important part of advertising your property. Bad image quality raises serious doubts, making people less likely to come see your property.


You can hire the services of a professional, or use a high-resolution camera yourself. When taking pictures of the rental unit, refrain from using flash. Instead, let as much natural light enter the rooms as possible.


Sometimes, even the right angles and plenty of sunlight won't be enough to make the property look as good as possible. In this case, you can use a photo editing software to touch up your images. Many apps on the market today are intuitive and easy to use.


rental property Torrance



Maximize the potential of the internet

The internet is a great tool to spread the word about your Torrance rental property. You can upload information and photos of your place on various listing websites, such as Apartments.com, Craigslist, and Zillow.


Creating attractive listings on rental sites is great, but you shouldn't forget about the influence of social media. Use popular social media platforms to boost the online presence of your property.


Here are some practical ideas for social media marketing:


  • Join Facebook groups that gather local rental property offers.

  • Use paid social media advertising to reach the right people, if possible.

  • Create original and engaging posts that organically reach a lot of people.


social media marketing Torrance


Use a word-of-mouth approach

Online presence is important.  As you upload, post, and comment, however, there's something much easier that could have great results as well: spreading the word in your social circles is a powerful marketing tool.


In fact, many property owners forget how word-of-mouth marketing can work wonders. Your extended social network includes family, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.


Let the people around you know that you are looking for a quality tenant. You may not have enough time to discuss the matter with everyone, so you can call some of the people in your circle instead.


You could make this approach even more efficient by setting a commission reward. By doing this, people will be more motivated to find you a great tenant. The commission could be a fixed amount or a percentage of the rent.




Provide plenty of details

Provide as many details as possible in your online listings, flyers, social media posts, and anywhere else. Take a look at the following recommendations on what to cover for maximizing your advertising:


  • What is the property's approximate location?

  • How many square feet is it?

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the property have?

  • What is the monthly rent and price structure?

  • Is there a discount available for longer leases?

  • What is unique about this rental property? What sets it apart from the others?

  • How much storage space can a tenant expect to have?

  • What direction does the unit face?


Sharing many details raises interest in your Torrance property. Prospective tenants differ in their wants and needs. That's why it's a good idea to describe a lot of aspects about your property. 


tenants in Torrance California


The bottom line: Find Great Tenants for your Torrance, CA Property

Finding great tenants is a challenge for all property owners. Fortunately, there are some practical steps you can take to make the search easier. Here are the top tips for quickly filling an empty unit:


  • Utilize online marketing, including listing portals and social media.

  • Provide many details that pique interest and curiosity.

  • Tell your co-workers, friends, and family about your vacant property.

  • Use only high-quality images that bring out the best from your rental home.

What to Do With a Tenant's Possessions After an Eviction?

Pinnacle Property Management - Thursday, January 9, 2020

tenant-eviction-possessions

As a landlord in Torrance, California, it is important that you have a tenant screening process. It is not all too uncommon that even great tenants can struggle with their rent payments.

In such cases, as a landlord, you also need to consider your bottom line. Tenants should not be allowed to live in a property with several arrears. There will be scenarios where they will need to be evicted.

There are times that an eviction can be as simple as asking your tenants to leave. Other times, the process has to go through the formal eviction process and can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year.

Once the eviction process has been fully implemented and the tenant leaves your property, the question now becomes what happens to their possessions after an eviction?

After the landlord has acquired an order from the judge, the sheriff can now evict the tenant from the property. Note that it is only the sheriff that can do this. When this occurs, the tenant is required to leave the property immediately and cannot take any personal property with them.

In most cases, the tenants are given 72 hours to return to the property to get all their personal belongings. The landlord can choose to extend this amount of time.

clock-time

If the renter is unable to remove their belongings within the agreed-upon time, then the landlord now has the legal right to dispose of their things.


What to Do With a Tenant’s Possessions After an Eviction?

We at Pinnacle Property Management, have outlined exactly what happens to a tenant’s belongings after an eviction and the process they need to follow:


1. Contact the tenant 

Regardless of how the tenant left the property, as a landlord, it is also your duty to do due diligence and contact the tenant.

There must be a reasonable effort to get in touch with the client by sending multiple written notices of their abandoned belongings. These notices must include the inventory and itemized list, deadline for claiming, location of the stored property and any charges, details on disposal of the abandoned property if left unclaimed.


2. Inspect their belongings

Your tenants may have left different types of things behind. Upon inspection, you may throw away any garbage. For any fixtures that the tenant has installed, they become part of the property and do not need to be returned.

You will have to follow a due process, and possibly get the local government involved depending on the total value of the abandoned property.

If they left behind a car or any type of motor vehicle whether operational or not, will be handled by your local police. Coordinate with them regarding the details of the vehicle such as its license plate and parking location. They will determine whether it has been abandoned and will have it towed.

parking-towing-tenants

Once you have inspected what belongings they have left behind, create an inventory with descriptions of their state. It is better to document everything with pictures and videos to protect yourself from any possible liabilities.


3. Store these items securely

As a landlord, you are not required to keep their belongings. This is especially true if you are getting it ready for another tenant. You are, however, required to store them safely.

Track down any expenses incurred during removal and storage so that it can be added against the tenant’s security deposit or from the proceeds if these belongings are sold.


4. Dealing with the items

If the tenant claims the property within the determined timeframe, it will need to be available to retrieve them at a reasonable time. Landlords have a specific time to return belongings once the tenants claim them. For example, small items such as clothes, appliances, electronics, and personal items should be returned within 72 hours. For larger items such as furniture, the landlord and tenant should agree when they can be claimed.

The costs for removal and storage should already be determined before the tenants retrieve their belongings. This can be paid by the tenant or deducted from the security deposit.

If the tenant does not claim their belongings after the specific time frame and does not respond to the notices sent, the landlord can then make arrangements to dispose of the property. This can be done either through a public or private auction. The landlord also has the option to donate it or keep it in the unit for the next tenant to use.

calendar-donate-pig

You can keep a reasonable amount from the sale of the belongings to cover expenses incurred such as sending of notices, removal, and storage fees. 


The Bottom Line

One of the inconveniences of being a landlord is having to deal with evictions and all the events the come after such as dealing with tenant’s belongings. The landlord cannot just simply throw things out or sell them.

By following these steps when it comes to dealing with an evicted tenant’s belongings, you will save yourself from any legal disputes and future inconveniences.


10 Tips to Successfully Rent to Tenants with Pets

Pinnacle Property Management - Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Looking to attract more tenants? 

Allowing pets in your Torrance rental property is a great way to cut the vacancy rates, as a lot of households have pets.


Moreover, allowing pets may justify a rent increase. This means that you can boost your cash flow in addition to enjoying an increased interest in your rental property.


But having tenants with pets does come with certain risks. In this article, we will cover useful tips that can turn your pet-friendly rental property into a personal success story.


Tip #1: Verify pet references

Check the references from previous landlords. Call the landlords and ask them about your prospective tenant's pets. You could focus on the following questions:


  1. Did the pets cause any trouble? Were there complaints from the neighbors due to noise or damage?
  2. Can they describe the pet's personality and behavior?
  3. How would they assess their previous tenant's responsibility as a pet owner?


Did the potential tenant fail to provide references? You should be cautious in these scenarios. There might be an underlying reason for their reluctance to list references.



Tip #2: Highlight the legal restrictions

Not all owners know the legal regulations regarding pets. You should spell out the relevant restrictions, such as prohibited exotic pets and the maximum number of pets allowed in a property.


Can you find any Health Code specifications about hygienic pet waste disposal? Make sure to include these major points in the rental agreement as well, as it will benefit both you and your tenant in the long run.


Tip #3: Examine the pet's personality

As an owner of the rental property, it is a good idea to meet animals that will stay there. First-hand assessments are best. They provide you with much more information than written or oral accounts.


See if the pet is well-socialized. Also consider the fact that your property needs repairs and maintenance on a regular basis. An animal that is aggressive toward strangers could potentially be a deal breaker.


Tip #4: Charge a pet deposit

When charging a security deposit, you should factor in the additional risk resulting from a pet staying on your property. 


However, calling the charge a pet deposit is still considered a security deposit under California law. In total, your security deposits cannot exceed the worth of two months' rent.



Tip #5: Consider pet rent

In California, you can charge pet rent in addition to the regular rent amount. Some areas in California have rent control. You need to make sure the total rent will not exceed the rent-controlled limit if your property is in such an area.


The difference between pet rent and pet deposits is simple: pet deposits are refundable after you make sure that the pet did not cause any damage, but the pet rent is not refundable. For example, pet rent could cover these costs:


  • More wear and tear compared to properties without pets
  • Additional air duct maintenance services
  • Carpet cleaning services to remove allergens


Tip #6: Inspect the property

Regular property inspections are a good idea in any case. But when you have pets living in your rental property, the need for the inspections is even more urgent.


Not keeping an eye on the state of your property could end in expensive surprises during the move-out. The price of repairing the accumulated damage could far outweigh the pet deposit.


When planning a property inspection, make sure to follow all the state and local regulations. Every entry to the property needs to have proper legal grounds.


Tip #7: Limit the type of pets and breeds

As a landlord, you are allowed to limit the weight, type, and breed of animals permitted in your property. This is completely legal under California law. 


The SB 1229 law in California states that there are certain requirements that are unacceptable: for example, the devocalization or declawing of pets as a requirement is illegal.


Tip #8: Provide a pet-friendly space

You can take practical steps to make your property pet friendly. Consider the following options that benefit both you and your tenant who owns a pet:


  • Erect a fence that is high enough to restrict the type of pets allowed in your property.
  • Add feeding stations and other pet-friendly amenities.
  • Remove carpeting and replace it with tiles (which are much easier and cheaper to clean).
  • Ensure any water features are safe for pets.
  • Opt for aluminium fittings instead of wooden ones.
  • Inform the maintenance crew or any other contractors about the pets.


Tip #9: Spell out the pet rules in your written agreement

Every rule considering your tenant's pet should be made clear in the rental or lease agreement. In case of any problems, both sides will have a legal document they can reference to defend their rights.


Tip #10: Remember that not all animals are pets

You should not treat emotional support or service animals as pets. Your tenant may have a legal entitlement to keep an animal regardless of any policy that prohibits pets in the rental property.


The Bottom Line

Allowing pets in your Torrance rental property is likely to raise tenant interest. You could receive more applications after designating your property as a pet-friendly space.


But every decision needs risk management. Here are the major points to follow when renting to tenants with pets:


  • Restrict allowed pets by type, breed, and weight
  • Meet the pet to understand its behavior
  • Consider making changes for opening up a pet-friendly property
  • Lower the financial risks by using pet deposits and pet rent

How to Successfully Advertise Your Torrance Rental Property

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, November 8, 2019

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It’s important to understand how to successfully market and advertise your Torrance rental property. In order to find quality renters, you need to ensure that you are providing a quality place and you are conducting the necessary screening involved prior to accepting new renters. When it comes to advertising, there are many different ways one can go about it.

You can advertise through word of mouth, through a property management company, or on a variety of listing websites. Maybe you want to advertise your Torrance rental property in as many places as possible. The more you market and advertise, the more chances of finding renters, it’s that simple. 

Here are a few ways to successfully advertise your Torrance rental property:


Take a look at the market and figure out the price range. 

Try to come up with a competitive rent price that would entice prospective tenants. Take a look at similar rental properties in your area to get a better idea of what the prices are.

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If you want renters fast, choose a price slightly below market value. Don’t overprice your rental property or else it can be on the market for a long period of time. Be realistic from the start because if people see that a property has been on the market for a while, they may start to assume that something is wrong with the it.


Figure out a payment strategy and how often you want to be paid. 

This depends on the type of rental property you are offering. If you have a short-term rental, you will likely be paid more often then if you have a long-term rental. Again, it depends on the listing sites you use as each one has a different payment structure.


Use good photographs! 

If we can give you one important piece of advice when advertising your rental property, it would be to use high-quality photos when showing someone your listing. If someone comes across your property online but the pictures are not clear and of quality, they will most likely continue with their search. 

You want to create a positive experience from the very start. If someone comes across your property and you have high-quality pictures, it’s a great way of accomplishing just that.


A good description is just as good as a quality photograph. 

If your description is lacking quality and does not give the potential renter enough information regarding your rental property, they might move on to the next listing. Make sure you are as descriptive as possible to make prospective tenants want to come in for a showing.

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What would you like to read on a listing? 

Look at other listings with an abundance of reviews and take notes. You want the opening line of your property to be very compelling and engaging. You don’t have to solely talk about your property in the listing, talk about the community surrounding it and why the potential renter would want to rent your property versus other ones in the area.


Determine your target market and what that generation would want out of your property. 

If you think that buying something extra would increase your sales, make the investment. If allowing pets seems to be what people need, maybe look into this and allow it. It all depends on what time of renters you are after.


What makes a good and a bad listing description?

Howsy.com had a great example of a good and bad listing description:

Bad description:
Two bedroom flat with double bedrooms, close to XXXX school and available immediately. Kitchen is lovely and spacious with really big lounge to the front. Walking distance to XXXX station and high street.
 
Good description:
Two double bedroom top floor apartment located 0.2 miles from XXXX station and XXX High Street. Internally the property offers a bright and spacious front living room, opening up through double French doors to the open planned kitchen. The kitchen consists of a Bosch branded washing machine and SMEG fridge freezer.
 
Upstairs the apartment offers two double bedrooms with double-glazing to both windows and a modern fitted bathroom with a shower unit over the bath. Externally the apartment offers communal grounds and an allocated parking space. Available XXXX.


The bottom line

Figure out the listing sites that have the most traffic and pay to advertise on there. If you hire a professional property management company, they will do all this for you so you don’t have to worry about having a bad listing. 

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With their experience in property management, they know the difference between a good and bad listing and what you need to include in order to attract a quality tenant to your Torrance rental property.


How to Establish a Great Relationship with Your Torrance Tenants

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, October 11, 2019

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Rental properties come with great monthly income, but being a landlord also comes with a lot of stress and responsibilities.

As a landlord, it is easy to start seeing your tenants purely as an income source, but you also need to build a healthy relationship with them. Connecting well with your tenants and being a great landlord has many rewarding benefits, including smoother tenancy and low tenant turnover.

Being a great landlord doesn’t have to be complicated: it is all about common courtesy, kindness, and good manners.

In this article, we will cover tips on how to be a great landlord in Torrance, California. 


Tip #1: Thorough tenant screening

Before accepting a tenant for your Torrance property, it is critical to perform an advanced tenant screening.

Who are quality tenants?

They are renters that pay rent on time, do not damage your property, and do not create expensive legal problems.

When screening tenants, look at factors like their credit and rental history. You also need to check their income stability to establish whether the tenant is able to pay rent on time and will be responsible in your property.


Tip #2: Be a responsible landlord

Being a landlord does not mean that you just sit back and relax while waiting for the rent check to arrive. It requires a lot of hard work, including marketing, bookkeeping, property maintenance, and strict adherence to Torrance landlord-tenant laws.

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It’s for this reason, that landlords consider hiring a professional property management company to take on many of the responsibilities for them.


Tip #3: Customize the lease

For a tenant to rent your property, they must sign a lease. A lease is a legally binding document that outlines the rules and regulations you and your tenant must follow during the course of the tenancy. Standard terms that should be indicated in the agreement are the security deposit, the rent, property maintenance, and lease termination.

You can also customize the lease to include any special policies you may have, such as allowing pets and rules on property modifications. 

A detailed lease will help you minimize conflicts with your tenant. Consider hiring the services of a good property management company if you need help drafting one.


Tip #4: Charge the right rent

Did you know that the right rent will attract the best, most qualified number of prospective tenants? 

This means that it is important to always start by charging the right rent, which translates to a stable income and low turnover costs.

It is advisable to research the marketplace and assess rental amounts for properties like yours. You may also want to hire a competent property management company in Torrance to help you.


Tip #5: Know the laws

As a landlord, it pays to know that each state has landlord-tenant laws that cover things like security deposits, rent, tenant rights, and evictions. It is in your best interest to understand that these laws can help prevent potential issues with tenants in the future that could possibly cost you a lot of time, effort, and money.

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For example, under the Torrance landlord-tenant laws, you must provide your tenant with 24 hours’ notice before entering the premises. Failure to do this could result in your tenant suing you for harassment.


Tip #6: Keep the lines of communication open

The key to a successful tenancy is communicating with your Torrance tenants. The security they will feel in knowing they can easily reach their landlord to deal with any issues will help them feel comfortable being your tenant. 

Define your communication channels and times you are most frequently available and let them know how you will respond. Managing your rental will be much easier when you stay in touch with your tenants.


Tip #7: Listen to the tenants’ concerns

Listen to your tenants’ feedback and complaints. This is essential if you want to enjoy long term tenancies and be a great landlord. When you communicate with them, listen attentively, and do your best to resolve issues, they will feel valued and appreciated.


Tip #8: Align with the Fair Housing Rules

As a landlord, you need to be aware of the Fair Housing Act that prohibits discriminatory practices in housing. This states that you should never discriminate against tenants based on certain protected classes: familial status, disability, national origin, sex, religion, color, and race.

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Be careful about what you write or say, whether on your lease, advertising, in person, on the phone, or anywhere else in your business. The last thing you want as a landlord is to be fighting a tenant discrimination lawsuit in court.


Tip #9: Take care of those repairs 

One of your responsibilities as a landlord is to keep your rental property in good condition. When a tenant calls with repair requests, make sure you respond as quickly as possible. Take note that you will also need to give your tenant adequate notice before entering the property. Most laws require landlords to give their tenants at least 24 hours prior to entering rental premises.

The tenant may choose to withhold the rent or exercise the right to “repair and deduct” if you fail to repair the issues on time. The tenant may not consider renewing their lease for another term if this becomes an ongoing issue.


The Bottom Line

Being a landlord in Torrance, California can be challenging and demanding. It is a job that requires you to provide exceptional customer service and spend time building a good relationship with your tenants. 

Nevertheless, by following these nine tips, you’ll be able to establish a great relationship with your Torrance tenants. Your renters may end up staying and extending their lease as a result, making your experience as a landlord more stress-free and profitable.


5 Easy Ways to Get More Rent for Your Torrance Home

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, September 13, 2019

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As a property owner in Torrance, one of your goals is to get more rent for your investment.

Let’s take a look at some ways to raise the rent.

One simple approach is to ask for more rent. Nonetheless, every rent adjustment demands a solid reason. For example, adding extra value to the property before a new tenant moves in enables you to set the rent based on these improvements.

Many landlords assume that adding value to the property requires expensive or time-consuming developments. While some updates certainly command a premium, there are also some cost-effective ways to get more rent for your home. Sometimes boosting the value takes a modest time investment and less than $500. 

From applying a fresh coat of interior paint to boosting the curb appeal, there are many simple solutions available. In this article, you'll learn about five easy methods that allow you to increase the rent on your Torrance home.


#1: Improve the curb appeal

Boosting the curb appeal is one of the simplest ways to raise your property’s value. You can update the curb appeal by carrying out regular landscaping duties:

  • Fertilize and water the plants and trees to encourage growth
  • Regularly trim and prune the greenery to keep it tidy
  • Frequently cut the grass to maintain a nice length

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Driveways play a large part in curb appeal but often get overlooked. Check for any cracks or other issues with the driveway. A driveway commonly acquires oil spots that need cleaning on a regular basis.

Another important step concerns the home exterior. Cleaning procedures depend on the particular building materials. For example, brick houses need pressure washing to nicely bring out the color. Any cracks and chipped areas will need further attention and repair.

In the case of a wooden exterior, check how the paint is holding up. Too much flaking or chipping means it’s time for a fresh coat of paint. The updated result can work wonders on the property’s perceived value.


#2: Opt for professional cleaning

End-of-tenancy cleaning gets your property ready for showings. The best approach is to pay for a professional cleaning service to ensure even the easy-to-miss areas get a thorough scrubbing. Make sure to pick a reputable company that has good reviews.

Sometimes you may face the challenge of lingering smells that haven’t cleared after the cleaning. Baking soda absorbs smells, so you can put some in an open tray and leave it for a few days in places that have a strong smell. Avoid spraying any synthetic or even natural fragrances; some people are sensitive to strong scents or may be put off by a specific one.

People are especially observant of cleanliness in bathrooms. It is important to get rid of any rust rings, hard-water deposits, and soap scum. Also, make sure there’s no mildew growth around the shower cabin or a bathtub.


#3: Invest in new appliances

Provide better amenities and you’ll see that people are willing to pay more rent. A brand-new washing machine adds more value to the home than a washer that sounds like a jet engine.

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Adding quality appliances is one of the basic ways to upgrade your amenities. For example, new kitchen appliances come with useful features that make life much easier. Your tenants will find the whole property more attractive when seeing the latest gadgets installed.

Upgraded amenities also add value. They are more energy-efficient than their older counterparts and as a result, your tenants will cut their energy use.


#4: Repaint the surfaces

Applying fresh paint is a simple yet highly effective way to raise the rent. Chipped, cracked, and worn paint lowers the property’s value. You might have state-of-the-art appliances and great landscaping work done around the home, but an expired paint job still demands lower rent.

When you plan the paint job, check for painted surfaces both inside and outside the property. Inside the home, it’s best to use only neutral colors in order to appeal to the widest selection of potential tenants.

Exterior colors are at their best when they complement the surroundings and blend in without being dull. Pick colors that are inviting and make you instantly feel comfortable when viewing the building from a distance.

When you notice that the painted surfaces are free of any marks, chips, and scuffs, applying new paint won’t necessarily increase the home’s value.


#5: Increase the rent incrementally

So far, we have covered tips that work best for updating the property between tenants. Incremental rent raising is a smart approach when you wish to increase the rent while your tenants still occupy the property.

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Forgetting to add the incremental rent increase capacity in the rental agreement is a common issue. When landlords have long-term tenants, the charged rent may start falling out of sync with market rates. A sudden rent increase to reflect market conditions could create resentment or even result in tenants leaving.

For this reason, adding the rent raise policy into the agreement is a savvy way to keep the rent competitive.


The bottom line: get more rent for your Torrance home

Raising the rent helps to make the most out of your Torrance investment. In most situations, you’ll have to put in a little bit of time and money to justify the higher price.

The easiest approaches? 

Invest in better amenities, such as new kitchen and bathroom appliances. Give the home’s worn interior and exterior a paint job to boost its perceived value. Finally, consider the changing nature of rental market rates and incorporate a rent raise policy into the rental agreement to allow for incremental rent growth.

If any of this seems daunting to you, consider hiring a professional property management company to help guide you through the process.


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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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