Every landlord in LA County has likely heard some terrible tales and horror stories about tenants who made their lives hell. You might have heard about evictions that lasted for months, excessive property damage, and pit bulls that tore about floors and walls. Maybe you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing some of these awful things yourself.
Investing in real estate is an excellent way to build wealth and earn some passive income. However, being a landlord is also full of risk and liability. You need to be prepared, and you need to have the tools and resources in place to recover from catastrophes and surprises.
Today, we’re talking about some of the most common fears that landlords and Los Angeles property managers have when they’re renting out their properties, and how you can avoid horror stories like these.
Unpaid Rent and Endless Evictions
When you and a tenant sign a lease agreement, you’re agreeing to provide a home in exchange for a sum of money every month. It’s a basic agreement. You count on your income to help you make your mortgage payment and meet your other financial responsibilities such as taxes, insurance, and perhaps even HOA fees. If rent is late every month or doesn’t come in at all, you have a huge problem. If this is a fear of yours, you aren’t alone. Most landlords worry that they won’t see rent, and the longer it doesn’t get paid, the more hopeless the situation can feel.
The best way to avoid this dilemma is to screen your tenants thoroughly. Verify that your tenant earns enough to cover the rental payment. When you’re conducting landlord reference checks, ask if rent was paid on time every month.
You’ll also need a clear and consistent rental collection policy. Enforce any consequences such as late fees, and be prepared to start the eviction process sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for a tenant to fall behind for several months.
Evictions can be their own horror stories. In California, they can sometimes take two months or more. But, when you’re prepared and proactive, you can usually avoid evictions and the trauma of a nonpaying tenant.
Tenants Who Damage Your LA County Rental Property
A good tenant will help you maintain your home, and at the end of the lease period, you’ll receive a property that’s in the same condition it was in when you handed over the keys. Sometimes, landlords are surprised when they walk into their home after a tenant moves out and there are broken appliances, large holes in the walls, tubs and toilets that are filthy, and flooring that has been scratched, stained, and torn up.
Make sure you collect a security deposit that will cover any potential damage. If your tenant has pets, collect a pet fee. Conduct routine inspections so you can catch any of these problems before they get out of control. Again, screening can help you avoid these situations. When you’re talking to former landlords, ask if any damage was left behind and if they were able to return the tenant’s full security deposit.
Legal and Liability Nightmares
With the new rent control laws and just cause eviction protections, landlords are finding that tenant relations are more complex. Fair housing claims can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Security deposit disputes can result in the return of a tenant’s deposit and then a punitive fine of up to three times the amount of that deposit. If you try to deny a tenant who needs a service animal because you have a no-pets policy, you’re violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
You need to know the law.
We can help you manage your fears and achieve peace of mind. Contact us at Bell Properties, and we’ll help you have an investment experience that’s free from horror stories and nightmares.