Property Management Blog

Tips When Buying Investment Property in Torrance, Ca

Pinnacle Property Management - Saturday, January 12, 2019

Buying an investment property can be a lucrative strategy for many people. It is for this reason that so many people are attracted to real estate investing.

You’ve probably heard “location, location, location,” when it comes to buying an investment property. As cliché as it may sound, choosing the right location can make the difference between a thriving rental business and a struggling one.

The city of Torrance, Ca has become one of the most desirable cities in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. In fact, the city has consistently been recognized as one of the safest communities in the greater Los Angeles area.

Aside from being tagged as safe, Torrance also offers good schools, a variety of parks, and a beach close-by. All these and more, make the city attractive for families to live in as well as a place for tourists to visit. And as more and more people move there, property investors see this as a good opportunity to invest in rental housing as well.

So, in today’s article, we are going to share with you some tips for buying an investment property in Torrance, Ca.

7 Tips When Buying Investment Property in Torrance, Ca

Tip #1: Look at the Metrics

When wondering what to study when investing in rental properties, consider its wealth potential. Things like demographics, population growth, historical growth trends, employment opportunities, and vacancy rates can help you with this.

You also want to lookout for red flags. For example, job cuts from a major employer in the community spell disaster for rentals.

Lastly, you want to predict the kind of tenants who may be searching for a home in that particular neighborhood. For instance, consider retirees, families, or young professionals. By doing this, you’ll have an idea on the type of home to invest in.


Tip #2: Perform a Rent Survey

Basically, a rent survey helps ascertain competitive market rents in any particular location. The survey will help you decide how much rent you need to charge so that your property is cash-flow positive.

Determine what comparative properties in that neighborhood are charging for rent. Next, check to see whether the demand exists for the kind of properties you are considering investing in.

Tip #3: Inspect the Property

When looking to buy real estate, inspecting a property can help you decide whether it’s worth pursuing or not. Are the appliances in working order? Is the roof in good condition? Does the basement have a musty odor, or does it flood after a rain?

Additionally, you’ll also need to assess whether the plumbing is up to code and if the electrical system meets local building codes.

Unless you’re an expert, it pays to hire professionals to evaluate the home for you.


Tip #4: Judge Cash Flow Properly

“Cash flow” – and for good reason – is a term that comes up in most conversations on real estate investing. Cash flow can mean the life or death of your Torrance rental business.

But what is cash flow? Simply put, it’s the amount of money, cash and non-cash, moving into and out of your business. In this case, the rent is the money travelling into and property expenses are the monies travelling out of your rental business.

It goes without saying that for your rental business to be profitable, the rent amount needs to exceed your property expenses. Examples of property expenses include property management fees, repairs and maintenance, taxes, mortgage, and insurance. 

Tip #5: Assemble a Team of Real Estate Professionals

Being a landlord is a team effort. To be a successful one, you need to have a team of reliable professionals that will be there when you need them.

The team can include these professionals:

  • Property Manager: A qualified manager can manage tenants, handle maintenance, and pay the bills. In fact, if you hire the right one, he or she may be the only professional you’ll need.
  • General Contractor: You need someone who can handle maintenance and property emergencies when they occur in your property.
  • Property Inspector: You need someone who can alert you to structural problems and code violations that require attention.
  • Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent is familiar with the local market and can help you, among other things, set rent prices.
  • Real Estate Lawyer: Yes, legal issues may not crop up often. However, when they actually do, you’ll need someone to file the paperwork and represent you in court. 
  • Certified Public Accountant: A good accountant will help you keep your files in order and your tax return accurate.


Tip #6: Have an Exit Strategy

Buying the right property at the right price in Torrance, Ca is key. Be that as it may, it’s only one part of investing. The other part is planning an exit strategy. As the name suggests, an exit strategy is a plan to remove yourself from an investment deal.

It goes without saying that implementing a sound investment strategy is crucial to success. It will result in minimal risks and maximized profits.

Popular real estate exit strategies include:

  • Lease Options
  • Seller Financing
  • Buy And Hold Real Estate
  • Flipping
  • Wholesaling

Sure, none of the strategies mentioned is right or wrong. Even so, the exit strategy you choose should depend on two important things. One, your level of experience, and two, the amount of cash you want to invest in the project. 

Tip #7: Establish Your Options

There is still a chance that your exit strategy may not work. Just when you were thinking of selling, the bottom might fall out of the Torrance real estate market. And, the local rental market might be flooded at the same time as well.

You’ll be glad you researched your exit strategies before purchasing the rental property. If you can’t get the desired cash flow and the property isn’t selling, you might offer a buyer a lease-purchase deal, for instance.

Or, you can opt for wholesaling and offload the property to another investor, albeit at a reduced market rate. Sure, the profit may be smaller. But this may enable you to cut your losses in monthly carrying costs.


Buying an investment property or investing in real estate rentals is in no way an exclusive matter. Any person can do it. But success is what’s exclusive. To be a successful real estate investor in Torrance, you need to learn the ropes of the business. Hopefully, this article has helped you in that regard.

What to Include in Your Torrance, Ca Rental Agreement

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, December 14, 2018

As a landlord, your lease or rental agreement is probably the most critical document you work with, so it needs to be spot-on.

It’s not easy being a landlord in today’s rental market. Landlords must deal with a plethora of issues ranging from rent collection to property inspections and maintenance.

As a landlord, you’ve worked tirelessly to acquire your rental portfolio and want to offer good homes to deserving tenants. 

When you believe you’ve landed the perfect tenant, you must then issue them with an all-inclusive lease agreement that details all of your expectations, rental rules, and policies from the get-go. 

A lease agreement is a legally binding document. When properly drafted, it can safeguard you from a whole slew of nasty surprises that renters can throw at you. From property damage to rent-related issues – and plenty more random issues. 

This article covers some of the most crucial items to cover when drafting your Torrance, Ca rental agreement. Let’s get started, shall we? 

1.   Lease Term

Simply put, a lease term is the period of time during which the terms of the lease are enforceable. It’s usually expressed in terms of months or years. 

The type of lease agreement is dependent on the type of property. If you are leasing a vacation rental, you’ll typically need to draft a rental lease contract that runs for short periods of time. Usually, days, weeks, or a month. In the case of months, it would be wise to give a monthly rental agreement

If leasing a single-family home, you’ll need to draft a “fixed” lease. 

Whether you need to draft a short- or long-term lease, the lease term needs to be defined. It’ll help protect you from “holdover” tenants. These are renters that overstay their welcome. 

2.   Early Lease Termination 

An early termination clause is a statement within some lease agreements that give renters an option to break the property’s lease agreement if they need to. 

When establishing this term, consider the following things:

  • Will you permit subleasing/subletting of the property? If so, do the new renter require screening as well?
  • What are the fees to market the property again?
  • What will the resident be responsible for?

3.   Tenants’ Names

Your rental property lease agreement must also state that all adults living in the rental unit must sign the lease or rental agreement. This includes couples that are married or unmarried. The more individuals there are listed on a lease, the more likely you’ll be paid. 

This is because you can legally seek rent from any of the listed individuals. This requirement also makes it possible to terminate the rental contract in the event any of them violates the lease terms. 

4.   Occupancy Limits

Make sure to indicate that the rental property is the residence of the tenants mentioned in the lease. This helps limit the number of occupants as well as guarantees your right as a landlord to regulate who dwells in your property. 

This means that you can evict anyone who sublets the property without your consent. 

5.   Landlord Entry

Renters have a right to quiet enjoyment of their property. This basically means that the landlord must not interfere (or allow anyone else to interfere) with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property. 

To avoid claims of violation of privacy rights or claims of illegal entry, your rental lease should clarify your legal rights to access the property. For example:

  • Pursuant to a court order
  • When the renter has abandoned or surrendered the premises
  • To inspect the unit before a departing tenant vacates it
  • In case of an emergency
  • To show or exhibit the unit to potential renters, contractors, or buyers
  • To make necessary improvements, alterations, or repairs

6.   Repairs and Maintenance

Clearly setting out each party’s responsibility for repair and maintenance in your Torrance, Ca property is your best defense against rent-withholding hassles and other problems. 

Among other things, you should include:

  • Restrictions on renter repairs and alterations. For example, painting walls, installing a burglar alarm system or adding a built-in dishwasher without your permission.
  • A requirement that the renters alert you to dangerous or defective conditions in the rental property.
  • The tenant’s responsibility to keep the rental premises clean and sanitary and to pay for damage resulting from their carelessness.

7.   Deposits and Fees

Security deposits are oftentimes a source of conflict between tenants and landlords. To avoid any misunderstanding and potential legal issues, your lease or rental agreement should be clear on:

  • The security deposit amount. In setting up the amount, make sure it’s within the state’s limit.
  • The use and return of the security deposit.
  • Conditions necessary for its return at the end of the lease term.
  • Any legal nonrefundable fees, such as for pets or for cleaning.

8.   Rent Rate

Your Torrance, Ca rental agreement should also be clear on the rent-related issues. For instance, the rent amount, when it’s due, how it’s to be paid, and late fees, if any.

9.   Protected Classes

In drafting your standard lease agreement, make sure you adhere to local, state and federal rules on fair housing. 

Fair Housing Rules state that landlords should give tenants an equal opportunity regardless of their familial status, disability, sex, national origin, religion, color, and race. 

In addition, California has its own set of protected classes. They include:

  • Genetic information: Landlords in California cannot base rental qualification on genetic tests and genetic tests of an individual’s family members. 
  • Age: People over the age of 40 are also protected. 
  • Source of income: Landlords cannot factor in how tenants make money in their decision to lease their property. 
  • Ancestry: Landlords cannot also consider a renter’s family’s ancestral roots in the housing process.
  • Medical condition: In California, no medical condition can disqualify tenants from access to housing. 
  • Marital status: Whether single, married or widowed, tenants are protected under FEHA. 
  • Gender identity and gender expression: Enacted in 2012, California’s Gender Nondiscriminatory Act protects transgender and gender non-conforming people from employment and housing discrimination.
  • Sexual orientation: The LGBT community is protected from housing discrimination in California. 

A well-written lease agreement will resolve most foreseeable disputes between you and your tenant. If you have questions or need help drafting one, please contact a competent Torrance property management company. 

What You Need to Know About Breaking a Lease in California

Pinnacle Property Management - Thursday, November 8, 2018

In California, as in many states, leases are legally binding contracts. Once you sign one, you must stay for the entire lease term, which is usually one year. But, what are you to do if you are unable to pay rent? Or, when you need to move closer to your new job? 

In such instances, despite your best intentions to stay for the full lease term, you may need to break your lease early.

But first things first – what is breaking a lease? 

Breaking a Lease in California

Simply put, breaking a lease is leaving before the expiry of a fixed-term agreement.

Breaking a lease carries a number of consequences. They include:

  • Difficulty renting a new place. Most landlords ask for rental references or review prospective tenants’ credit reports. With information like an eviction, poor payment habits, or breach of contract on your report, getting a new place to rent might prove challenging.  
  • A judge can issue a judgment against you. A credit judgment is an order to pay a debt, and after hearing your case, he or she might issue one against you. 
  • You may face a civil lawsuit. Sure, a divorce, an illness, or a job loss can negatively impact your ability to pay rent. But sadly, in the state of California, these aren’t legally justifiable reasons to break a lease. In most cases, your landlord will win the lawsuit and a judge will order you to pay off the lease balance. 

Tenant Rights and Duties When Signing a Lease in California 

Usually spanning one year, a California lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party. 

Under a typical lease, unless the lease itself allows it, a landlord cannot raise the rent or alter other terms. Also, the landlord cannot force you to vacate the premises before the lease expires. The only exception is if you breach the terms of the lease. For example, if, for whatever reason, you are unable to continue paying rent. Or, you breach another significant term, such as disturbing the peace of the neighborhood by hosting raucous parties. 

But even supposing these breaches do occur, the California landlord-tenant law requires landlords to adhere to the lease laws when ending the tenancy. For nonpayment of rent, your California landlord must give you a 3-days “pay or quit” notice. Essentially, the notice gives you two options: either to pay due rent or simply move out of the premises. If you fail to do any of these things, the landlord can file for an eviction lawsuit against you in court. 

For illegal activities within the property, California’s rental law requires your landlord to hand you a 3-days’ unconditional quit notice. Unlike the previous notice, this gives you only one option – to leave. 

Once you sign a lease agreement, you are lawfully bound to pay rent for the entire lease term. Here is an example to better illustrate this. Suppose your monthly rent is $1,500 and the lease runs for twelve months, this means you owe a total of $12,000 for the entire lease period. 

Now if you break your lease, say, on the ninth month, you’ll end up still owing your landlord $4,500. 

However, this is not always the case. Not all renters who break their lease in California have to pay the remainder of the rent due under the lease agreement. It depends on whether the reason for breaking the lease is legally justified or not. 

When Breaking a Lease Agreement is Legally Justified in California

1. Your landlord agrees to it 

This is the most ideal way to legally break a lease without facing any consequences. Some landlords may prefer this route as opposed to taking their renters to court. The court process can be expensive, time-consuming, and utterly frustrating for landlords.

2. You are a victim of abuse

If you are the victim of some form of abuse – be it elder abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and so forth – you may terminate your lease early so long as specific conditions are met. 

3. The unit is considered illegal

For a rental property to pass building codes and be considered a legal rental unit, it must meet specific criteria. 

For instance, attached rooms, garages and other types of units that were previously used for another purpose but have been converted to rental units may be deemed illegal if they don’t meet code. 

Likewise, there are many basement apartments that don’t incorporate specific traits and are therefore deemed illegal units. Doesn’t matter if there may already be tenants living in them. 

4. Your unit is deemed unsafe as per California rental law

Under California rental law, a rental unit must be considered safe for habitation. If not, you can break the lease on the basis that your landlord is providing uninhabitable housing. 

Examples of things that can cause a home to be considered uninhabitable include:

  • A high level of criminal activity in the building;
  • Obnoxious noise from neighbors
  • Pest infestation
  • Nauseating smells

5. Your landlord is harassing you 

As per California landlord-tenant law, your landlord cannot just barge in on you whenever they feel like it. As a renter, you have a right to the quiet enjoyment of your home. Before entering the property, your landlord must give you adequate notice of entry. 

Similarly, your landlord cannot harass you. For instance, by changing locks on you or shutting off your electricity. 

6. You are starting active military duty

Federal law permits terminating a lease if you enter active military service. You must belong to the “uniformed services.” That includes those serving in the:

  • Activated National Guard
  • Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
  • Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Armed forces

Once you get the change of station orders or military deployment, you’ll then need to notify your landlord of the same. Your tenancy will then terminate thirty days after the rent is due next.  

Both landlords and tenants have mutual responsibilities under the contracted agreements of a lease. If you must terminate the lease, understand California’s rental law first. Hopefully, this article has helped you in this regard. 

Guide to the Security Deposit Law in California

Pinnacle Property Management - Monday, October 15, 2018

In the state of California, a good number of rental agreements and residential leases require a security deposit. The deposit is a lump sum of money paid upfront by a tenant prior to them moving into a rental unit. 

For a landlord, collecting a security deposit from your tenant offers many benefits. They include:

  • Help cover for unpaid utilities upon move-out. During the lease period, most - if not all – the utilities will be in the tenant’s name. Should they fail to pay them, the California security deposit law entitles the landlord to appropriate deductions from the tenant’s security deposit. 
  • Help cover excessive cleaning costs. Most leases make it clear that the tenant must leave the premises in the same condition they found it less some normal wear and tear. Sadly, not all tenants do this. If the tenant leaves the property in extreme case of uncleanliness, landlords have the right to make deductions from their deposit. 
  • Help cover loss in rent payments. Nonpayment of rent is a breach of the rental contract. It’s probably one of the most common problems experienced by landlords in California. Should this situation occur, landlords are entitled to part or all of the tenant’s security deposit. 
  • Help cover for lost rental income. Your tenant may simply choose to abandon the property. He or she may also choose to break their lease early. To recover losses associated with any of these situations, landlords may need to deduct the appropriate amounts from the tenant’s deposit. 
  • To cover excessive property damage. For example, unauthorized paint colors, holes in the walls, chipped countertops and broken or chipped tiles. 

Here’s a Guide to California’s Security Deposit Law 

1.   California Security Deposit Limit

Most states limit how much a landlord can charge a renter for a security deposit. In the state of California, the security deposit limit depends on whether the said residence is furnished or not.

When furnished, the limit is capped at a maximum of three month’s rent. When unfurnished, the limit is capped at a maximum of two months’ rent. 

In addition, if the tenant has a waterbed, the law permits landlords to charge an extra 50% of the rent. 

2.   Nonrefundable Fees 

By definition, all deposits are refundable. However, some states allow landlords to charge non-refundable deposits as well. An example of a nonrefundable fee could be a fee for having a pet in the property. 

So, does the state of California allow non-refundable fees? No, it doesn’t. All deposits are refundable to tenants at the end of their lease term. 

3.   Storing a Tenants Deposit in California

Some states may have rules regarding how landlords should keep a tenant’s deposit. For example, in Florida, landlords can choose to post a surety bond for the amount of deposit. They can also choose to keep it in either an interest or non-interest-yielding account. 

However, in California, there are no specific rules that landlords must heed to when storing a tenant’s security deposit. 

4.   Written Notice after Security Deposit Receipt

California landlords are not required by law to write a notice to their renters regarding receipt of their deposit. 

5.   Reasons to Withhold a Tenant’s Security Deposit in California

Under certain conditions, landlords can keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit. In the state of California, common reasons include: 

  • To replace damaged or lost furniture or personal property
  • To make repairs
  • For the purposes of cleaning the unit
  • To compensate for unpaid rent

Although, in accordance with California’s renters’ rights concerning security deposit the landlord cannot keep the deposit to cover conditions that existed before the tenant moved into the unit. Ordinary wear and tear should not be included in reasons to deduct from the deposit. Examples of normal wear and tear include:

  • Fading paint from sunlight
  • Cracks in the walls caused by settling
  • Scratches and light watermarks
  • Dirty grout surrounding the tiles

6.   A Walk-Through Inspection

A walk-through inspection is required under California landlord-tenant law. The inspection helps to check the property's condition. Prior to conducting the inspection, California landlords must give the tenant 48 hours' written notice. 

7.   Security Deposit Refund in California

California’s security deposit law state that once the tenant vacates, landlords have 21 days to return all or part of the tenant’s deposit. If there are any deductions, the landlord must provide an itemized list of deductions alongside the returned deposit. 

8.   Change in Property Ownership

The outgoing landlord has two options in this regard:

One, to return the deposit amount, fewer deductions back to the renter. Then, he or she must notify the incoming landlord of the same. 

And two, to transfer the deposit to the new owner. The outgoing landlord must then notify the renter in writing of the same. In addition, the notice must state the name and contact address of the new owner. 

There you have it. A guide to the security deposit law in California. Need more help? If so, please contact a qualified California landlord-tenant attorney. 

Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in California

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, September 14, 2018

Landlord-tenant laws help protect both parties involved in a rental agreement. In California, these laws are outlined in the “Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities.”

They are very detailed and can be even more complex in cities that have rent-control laws. 

By understanding these laws, both landlords and tenants should be able to deal with many legal questions and issues without requiring a lawyer. 

An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in California

1. Tenant Privacy and California Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling

The landlord can only enter the tenant’s premises for specific reasons. Such reasons include:

  • Pursuant to court order
  • When the tenant has vacated or abandoned the premises
  • To show the rental to prospective renters, mortgagees or purchases
  • To make agreed repairs
  • To make the necessary repairs
  • In an emergency

In California, landlords have the right to enter the tenant’s premises during normal hours and only after notifying the tenant. 

2. The Condition, Maintenance, and Repairs

It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep their rental units habitable. But what exactly is a habitable premise? Here are some characteristics that fall under habitable premise in California property laws:

  • Conforming locks
  • Floors, stairways, and railings in good maintenance and repair 
  • Adequate receptacles for garbage
  • Building, grounds, and appurtenances clean and free of vermin at the time of renting
  • Electrical, lighting and heating facilities are up to code and in good condition
  • Water supply up to code and provides hot and cold water
  • Plumbing is up to code and in good condition
  • Effective weatherproofing of the roof, exterior walls, and unbroken windows

3. California’s Housing Discrimination Laws 

California’s rental law prohibits housing discrimination against renters based on certain characteristics. 

According to the Fair Housing Rules, it’s illegal to discriminate against a renter based on disability, the source of income, gender identity, gender, sexual orientation, medical condition, familial status, age, ancestry, national origin, marital status, sex, religion, color or race. 

Besides the federal Fair Housing Rules, the following are state laws that landlords must adhere to: 

  • Unruh Act (Civil Code 52-53)
  • Handicapped Rights (Civil Code 54)
  • Senior Citizen Housing (Civil Code 51.3)
  • Fair Housing Act (Rumford) Govt. Code 12955)

4. Security Deposits

California only recognizes a unitary security deposit. The law doesn’t distinct between the types of deposits. Pet deposits, rental deposits and more all get grouped together. 

In California, a security deposit is defined as any advance payment to the landlord to be used to:

  • Fix damage to specified landlord personal property in the custody of the renter where the rental agreement so provides. 
  • Repair damage to the property exclusive of normal wear and tear.
  • Clean the premises upon vacation by the renter.
  • Remedy defaults in rent payments.

5. Required Landlord Disclosures

California’s landlord-tenant laws state that at the start of the tenancy, landlords must make certain disclosures to renters. This should be in the form of writing, usually printed in the lease agreement. 

The disclosures are as follows:

  • Landlords of single-family homes and multifamily properties (4 units or less), who have received a notice of default for the rental property that has not rescinded, must disclose this fact to potential renters before they sign a lease.
  • If the landlord prohibits or limits the smoking of tobacco products on the rental property, the lease or rental agreement must include areas where smoking is allowed.
  • Landlords or their agents who have applied for a permit to demolish a rental unit must give written notice of this fact to prospective tenants, before accepting any deposits or screening fees. 
  • Prior to signing a rental agreement, California landlords must provide written disclosure when they have reason to know, that mold exceeds permissible exposure limits or poses a health threat. 
  • Prior to signing a rental agreement, landlords must disclose whether gas or electric service to tenant’s unit also serves other areas. Also, they must disclose the manner by which costs will be fairly allocated. 
  • Landlords must include the following passage in their rental agreements: “Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via

6. Renters Rights to Withhold Rent in California

If a landlord fails to take care of important repairs, tenants have several options. For example, they can:

  • Exercise their right to “repair and deduct”
  • Call state or local health inspectors
  • Sue the landlord
  • Move out without notice
  • Withhold rent

7. Small Claims Lawsuits in California

Conflicts over security deposits are fairly common. Issues often arise against landlords who have failed to return the deposit at all or who unfairly withheld it from their renters. 

California tenants have the right to sue landlords in small claims court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $10,000. 

Please note that this summary is not intended to be legal advice. Neither is it exhaustive of all relevant California Landlord-Tenant Laws. 

A Guide to the Eviction Process in California

Pinnacle Property Management - Friday, August 3, 2018


Evicting a tenant is an unfortunate part of being a landlord. The eviction process is time-consuming and often times costly. But sometimes, it’s the only way to get rid of a troublesome tenant. 

In California, the law requires you to legally terminate a tenancy before evicting a renter. This means “self-help” evictions should not be practiced. You must follow California’s eviction process. Even if the tenant is months behind on rent, without a court order, you cannot:

  • Change the locks;
  • Remove outside windows or doors;
  • Cut off the utilities, like water or electricity;
  • Lock the renter out;
  • Get rid of the tenant’s personal property; or worse of all
  • Physically remove the tenant. 

What’s the Eviction Process in California? Well, Here’s a Guide.

The Rationale for the Rules

When evicting a tenant in California, landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required under the state’s rental laws. If not, the eviction lawsuit may fail. While the eviction process can seem burdensome to you, the rules and procedures are there for a reason. 

Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause

A California landlord can evict a renter for various reasons. Such reasons include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Property damage
  • Violation of the terms of the lease agreement
  • “Holdover” tenant
  • Illegal use of the property
  • Illegal drug manufacturing
  • Causing significant disturbance to other neighbors and tenants

Prior to terminating the tenancy, you must first serve the tenant with an eviction notice.


The type of eviction notice used is determined by the reason for the termination. Generally, there are three types of eviction notices given in California. They are:

  • 3-Day Notice to pay due rent. This notice gives the renter two options: to pay or leave. If the tenant doesn’t act within three days, then you can file an eviction lawsuit against them in court. 
  • 3-Day Unconditional Quit Notice. Unlike the first notice, this one doesn’t give the tenant an option to remedy the lease violation. It simply requires the tenant to leave. If the renter doesn’t leave within three days, then you can file an eviction lawsuit against them in court. 
  • 3-Day Notice to Cure. This notice gives a tenant three days to correct a lease violation. For example, to cease causing disturbance to other tenants. If the tenant doesn’t do so within three days, you can file an eviction lawsuit against them in court. 

Notice for Lease Termination Without Legal Cause

Without a cause, procedures for terminating a lease depend on the length of the tenancy. If it’s a monthly lease, the landlord-tenant laws in California require you give the tenant a 30-day notice to end their tenancy. 

If the term of the lease is fixed, you must wait until the lease period is over to end the tenancy. Both notices must inform the renter that you won’t be renewing their lease for another term.  

Tenant Eviction Defenses in California

A defense is a reason why you (the petitioner) shouldn’t win the case. A tenant may claim;

  • You waited far too long to file the lawsuit against them
  • You refused to take rent
  • Monthly rent being requested isn’t the one on the lease agreement
  • You overcharged the rent
  • The property wasn’t habitable

Removal of the Tenant

If the renter fails to act on an eviction notice within the time specified, you can go to the court and file an unlawful detainer suit. To successfully file the lawsuit, you will require the following forms. 

First, you need an unlawful detainer complaint, a civil case cover sheet, and a prejudgment right of possession form

Next, you will need to serve the tenant with the summons and compliant. In California, the tenant has five business days to file a “response” to the court to challenge the lawsuit. 

If the tenant doesn’t respond, then you may win by default. In California, if the tenant does respond, then they have the right to a hearing date. 


At the hearing date, the judge will give both you and the renter a chance to present your cases. As such, you should collect as much evidence as possible. For example, records of violations, eviction notices, and the lease agreement. 

If you win, then the court will issue you with a Writ of Possession. This document gives the sheriff the power to forcefully evict the tenant out of your California property if they fail to move out voluntarily within five days after the judgment. 

Depending on the circumstances and the lease agreement provisions, the court may also order the renter to pay a $600 penalty, attorney fees, and any unpaid rent. 

Sometimes, the renter may leave some personal belongings behind. In some municipalities, you may need to notify your renter of the items. In others, though, you may sell or dispose of them. 

The California eviction process isn’t as easy as just telling your tenant to vacate your property. You must follow a certain defined process. Hopefully, this guide has been informational in this regard. 

If you have specific questions, hire the services of a qualified California attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company. 

10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Property Manager

Pinnacle Property Management - Monday, January 4, 2016

Once you have invested in a rental property, the responsibility of maintaining and running the property can quickly become overwhelming. For many Owners, the logical solution is to hire a Property Management company to oversee their rental property. But is this the right decision for you? Here are the top 10 reasons to consider why you should hire a property management company and how the benefits far outweigh the costs.

1) Rent Collection: A professional property management company  have systems and strategies to improve rent collection and on-time rent payments. This allows you to ensure swift and consistent rent collection.

2) Local Knowledge of Rental Rates: Property Managers have extensive local knowledge of rents and the ability to determine the highest rental rate possible for your property. With the internet and the ability to do large scale searches for rental properties, potential tenants know if your property is overpriced, even by $25. Overpriced properties sit empty while other properties get rented. Knowledge of rental rates is a key factor to fast rentals and quick cash flow.

 3) Tenant Screening:
A Property Manager requires a detailed written application from each adult with photo identification. Additionally, property managers will run criminal, social security and public notice (bankruptcy or judgments) searches to determine if the application is accurate. Property Managers will also call past and present employers, landlords and other references. Property managers have set requirements and standards for accepting or declining an applicant and thereby ensuring you comply with fair housing rules and other local and state regulations.

4) Marketing Expertise: Property Manger's have years of experience in how to best market your properties so they are rented in the quickest time possible. PM's use both offline and online marketing to maximize your properties' exposure and find qualified tenants quicker. Most Property Managers utilize 10, 20 or even 30 different techniques to rent a property quickly which reduces your carrying cost of a vacant property.

5) Property Law and Regulations: Property Manger's have extensive and up-to-date knowledge of property laws and regulations and will assist you in making sure you are in compliance with your local, state and federal rules and regulations. These rules and regulations include complying with fair housing regulations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable local, state and federal laws. Avoiding one law suit will more than pay for any PM's fees many times over.

6) Tested and Reliable Professionals: Residential property management companies will already have vetted numerous vendors, suppliers and contractors to make sure they provided good quality work at reasonable prices. Failure to properly vet these professionals can be a costly mistake. Many owners overlook this function because they do not know how to do it or because it is a time consuming and laborious process.

7) Inspection Reports: Property Mangers perform property inspections before, during and after a tenancy. Additionally, most PM's will perform routine property inspections at least every 180 days. Your PM should be responsible for preparing frequent written inspection reports for each of your properties. Faults in your property that are found quickly can be resolved before they become expensive items of disrepair.

8) Financial Records: Property Mangers will provide detailed income and expenses reports as well as cash statements every month saving you the bookkeeping headache. 

9) Emergency Calls and Shield You from Tenants: A property management company will shield you from emergency maintenance calls and tenant headaches. Imagine never having to deal with late night plumbing calls.

10) Low Costs:  Most Property managers charge around 6% to 10% of the monthly rent collected. Assuming a monthly rental rate of $1200 per month that is a fee of $72 to $120 per month. Having a management company will only cost a few dollars a day.

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

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

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