Landlord / Tenant Questions & Answers

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Ted Kimball, Esq., Partner, Kimball Tirey & St. John LLP

  • Question. I was told by my tenant that my notice of increase was bad because it was less than 90 days and was over 10%. I thought it was 60 days for rent increases. Is my tenant correct?
  • Answer. Yes, the tenant is correct in this instance. Beginning in 2020, the Civil Code changed to increase the amount of time from 60 days to 90 days for a rent increase of over 10% within the last 12 months. If you mail out the increase within the state of California, you need to add 5 days for mailing for a total of 95 days’ notice.
  • Question. In our lease agreements we require tenants to pay their rent on the first of the month. If the first falls on a holiday, such as Labor Day, do you have to give the tenants until midnight on the second to pay the rent or can you still enforce the late fee as of midnight on the first?
  • Answer. Rent is not delinquent unless one business day has expired from the date the rent is due. So, if the first is a weekend or holiday, the rent is not late until after one business day has expired.

“ASK KARI”: Professional Know-How for Landlords: Empowering You to Handle Karen Tenants

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, SKY Properties, Inc.

  • Dear Kari, in one of your previous “Ask Kari” articles, you shed light on the challenging dynamics of “Karen” tenants. Well, it seems I’ve got one of those in my building who has a liking for threatening legal action at every turn. Now, I’m left wondering: What’s my best course of action here?

[Editor’s Note: In case you missed the previous article, a “Karen” is a pejorative term used as slang typically for someone who is perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal.]

In the world of property management, having a firm grasp of both tenant rights and landlord responsibilities is absolutely essential. When you’re well-informed and diligently follow the legal framework, you can face your “Karen” tenant’s threats with confidence. Here are just some things you need to do to empower you to confidently handle your interactions with your difficult tenant.

Be informed on Tenant Laws

Over time, tenant laws have really changed a lot, leaning more and more towards looking out for renters. Lately, many have been talking a lot about things like keeping rent reasonable, making sure people don’t get kicked out of their homes too easily, and keeping tenants’ personal stuff private. So, it’s super important to keep up with what’s new with the ever-changing landlord and tenant laws. You can do this by going to webinars, joining landlord groups, reading local trade magazines or talking to legal experts when you’ve got tricky questions. After all, in the face of challenging tenants like Karen, knowledge is your most formidable ally.

Mastering Senate Bill 721: California’s Balcony and Deck Inspection Law

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

A Comprehensive Guide for Property Managers and Owners

By Paul J. Watrous, President, National Roof Certification and Inspection Association

The revolutionary lyrics of Sam Cooke, “It’s been a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come,” preceded the reforming Civil Rights Act in 1964. Just a few short decades ago, life looked different. Travelers didn’t have to pass through TSA to board a plane, we didn’t have to wear seatbelts, and children didn’t have car seats. Homes are no longer built utilizing lead and asbestos-based products.

Reforming laws are typically passed due to unfortunate and tragic incidents and are in place to better serve the community, promote the safety of its citizens, and protect their most basic inalienable right, life. These things have now become part of everyday life. Many may not think twice about it because we understand and support the greater objective. Sam Cooke’s lyrics still ring true today however, the change is here, and the time is now.

Now, you might be asking what this has to do with California’s Senate Bill 721 (SB 721). In the ever-evolving world, staying informed about the latest legislative developments is essential, especially in the real estate industry. California’s SB 721, commonly known as the Balcony and Deck Inspection Law, has significantly changed the landscape of multi-family investments, property maintenance, and safety. The 2015 tragic incident in Berkeley, California, served as a catalyst for SB 721, and three years later, the bill was enacted in 2018, aiming to take preventative measures in efforts to prevent such incidents from happening again. 

People have the right to life. By ensuring property owners regularly assess and maintain their buildings to promote a safe living environment for their tenants and the public, all Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE) must be periodically inspected and maintained. Initially, changes can sometimes be abrasive and difficult to navigate. But let’s approach this law with the positive mindset that everyone should have the right to life, a safe one at that, without worrying about history repeating itself. This law has far-reaching implications that will only continue to develop over time. 

Naturally, being headquartered in Southern California, this inspection law caught the team’s attention at The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA). Since 1995, the NRCIA has been known for trailblazing the roof inspection industry with best practices and processes. Through research, crafting educational and training courses, and developing tools and resources that target the inspection industry, the NRCIA is committed to promoting safety, transparency, and excellence within the real estate community.

Recognizing the importance of SB 721 compliance, California stakeholders have been inquiring about this training which commenced the development of NRCIA’s newest educational content. “Mastering SB 721: The Comprehensive Guide to California’s Balcony and Deck Safety Law” is designed to assist service providers, property managers, and owners navigate the intricacies of this new law.

After countless hours of combing through the legislation and talking with the parties involved, from building owners to city officials, the NRCIA was able to compile a three-hour course covering the history of SB 721 to understand the law and processes on a deeper level fully. The course comprises modules covering the inspection terminology, requirements, timelines, compliance, procedures, and proper documentation. Upon completion of this course, students will gain insight and sharable knowledge and be equipped to confidently navigate the SB 721 process, adding value to the services they offer. Additional field resources are provided, keeping the course details and the law at your fingertips.

SB 721 represents a significant step forward in ensuring the structural integrity and safety of exterior elevated elements in multifamily buildings throughout California. Property managers and owners must be well-informed and prepared to comply with this law. NRCIA’s course, “Mastering SB 721,” is a valuable resource for staying ahead in this evolving landscape. By prioritizing safety and compliance, property managers and owners can protect their real estate investments and the well-being of both their tenants and the public. 

Berlin, in South Orange County, points out the stereotypical landlord mindset: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Breaking long-time habits or strategies can be challenging, especially when it consumes more time, expertise, professional services, and financial resources. After the initial inspection cycles, this law will subsequently edify the property owner’s mindset, shifting from reactive repairs to preventative maintenance, ultimately creating a better life for their tenants. 

As with most changes, friction can occur, and SB 721 is no different. Beyond the initial frustration of another landlord requirement, locating a qualified industry professional to perform these inspections is the first challenge. Only firms who are licensed in California as an architect, engineer, or contractor (“A,” “B,” or “C-5,” who has at least five years’ experience in constructing multistory buildings) or a building inspector affiliated with a recognized association are allowed to perform these inspections.

Due to the additional expectations on inspectors, only a limited number of qualified individuals will offer the inspection service. As we get closer to the January 1, 2025, deadline, these certified inspectors will be overwhelmed with the large number of inspection requests, and finding an available inspector will be a challenge. Most qualified individuals we questioned choose to forego offering the inspections and only perform the more lucrative restorative work.

Bridging the gap from the inspector to the contractor lies another speed bump that could cause delays, which is the financial component. With the typical mindset of “if it aint broke, don’t fit it,” routine preventative maintenance repairs often get deferred, resulting in more extensive and expensive resolutions. Once the initial SB 721 inspection report is delivered, the required restorative repairs need to be determined by a licensed contractor to become SB 721 compliant.

Depending on the condition of the Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE), the extent of the scope of work may put unexpected financial stress on the building owner. After receiving the report, the law permits 120 days to obtain proposals and to pull a building permit; then the restorative work must be completed within 120 days from permit issuance. Scheduling inspections early and utilizing the timeframes properly will allow landlords to budget their time and gather funds for these required repairs before the January 1, 2025, deadline. 

With anything required by law, there are consequences for non-compliance. There are a lot of intricacies to this law, and it is important that building owners or their designated agent consults a trained and certified inspector to perform these mandated inspections to get SB 721 compliant before 1/1/2025. Fines can range from $100-$500 per day until the repairs are completed. In addition, a building safety lien can be filed on the property with associated costs incurred. Complying with SB 721 law may assist in preventing personal injuries and potential lawsuits.  

Ultimately the implementation of the CA SB 721 law and knowing how to navigate the process efficiently will elevate the demand for professional property management and inspection services.For more information about NRCIA’s “Mastering SB 721” course and how it can benefit your property management efforts, visit Stay ahead, stay safe, and stay SB 721 compliant for a brighter future in California’s multifamily housing sector. 

Paul J. Watrous is president of the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association. As a fourth generation in a family of builders specializing in roof systems, he has completed more than 12,500 inspections. He has assisted in developing educational courses, exams, and web-based reporting software to share knowledge and tools to promote transparency and expertise in the inspection industry.  For more information, contact: Paul Watrous,

Rental Red Flags: Preventing Fraud In Property Management

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Fraud prevention is always a priority in property management, but it’s an even bigger issue now that many (or most) interactions occur online. Plus, fraud is more common than some people realize. According to Kent Simpson, industry principal of screening and fraud solutions at Yardi, about 1-4% of applicants provide fraudulent identification and 4-10% submit fraudulent proof of income.

“One slip can waste your time, money and damage your reputation. The average eviction costs $7,500 per instance,” he said.

Fraud prevention: you only know what you know

Another Reason to Stay Debt Free in a 1031 DST Exchange

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By Dwight Kay, Founder & CEO, Kay Properties and Investments

It seems like everyday there is another reason showcasing the reason why more and more investors are choosing to stay debt-free when investing in Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) properties in a 1031 exchange. 

Headlines Show Dangers Surrounding Leveraged Real Estate

Just look at any business or real estate-related publication, and you will see the headlines are full of examples of real estate firms that have been forced to relinquish assets because they succumbed to the lurking liabilities of leverage. In many cases, these firms were led by highly skilled executives with years of experience and files of successful transactions. However, even these world-class real estate firms are creating a case for staying debt-free.

Here are just a couple of examples in the news to illustrate the point:

California’s mental health system has been overhauled. What impact will this have on property owners when there are mentally ill people in their midst?

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Whenever there is mental illness, addiction, and crime, it will inevitably spill into and around properties and so although we practice landlord-tenant law, these societal issues are entwined.

Several merchants in San Francisco’s historic Mint Plaza have expressed their horror stories and are groping for solutions in an ongoing email thread in which we were included. Like encampments happening every night on a restaurant’s patio, and another restaurant losing a buyout deal because of the heavy drug use.

Freedom – not density – should drive land-use decisions

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SACRAMENTO – California has in recent years embarked on a remarkable legislative journey that has seen some of the state’s most-onerous land-use regulations rolled back. Lawmakers have recognized that government restrictions are the key reason housing prices have reached absurd levels of unaffordability. Various new laws have provided streamlined “by right” building approvals. They don’t go far enough, but change is welcome.

I’ve called out conservatives, who have often fought housing deregulation measures even as they vow support for property rights and freedom. For example, Huntington Beach’s conservative council majority, in its lawsuit challenging state housing reforms, has trotted out every NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and environmentalist platitude one expects from the Left.

“Ask Kari!”

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Dear Kari, Someone Suggested That I Should I Give My New Tenant a Welcome Gift – What Do You Think?

First Impressions Matter: The Power of a Thoughtful Welcome Gift

By Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer, SKY Properties, Inc.

Have you been looking to add a special touch to your move-ins? Consider the impact of a thoughtful welcome basket. A warm welcome basket not only leaves a fantastic first impression but also helps your tenants settle into their new home with ease. It’s a small but meaningful gesture that shows you value and care for them. Plus, it can go a long way in making them feel at home in both their new space and neighborhood.  Moreover, if you do it right, it can save you money. Here are some questions you need to answer when putting together the perfect welcome tote bag:

Consistency Is Key: 5 Ways to Help Property Management Teams Work More Effectively and Efficiently

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Brittany Benz

Between showings, lease signings, maintenance, and renewals, there are myriad carefully coordinated tasks that must be completed on-site every day. To be as successful and efficient as possible, property management teams need to operate like well-oiled machines. Unfortunately, most property management teams aren’t working that way today.

In a survey of more than 1,000 property management professionals, 62% cited “operational efficiency” as one of their most pressing challenges. More specifically, they cited the need to ensure smooth handoffs between team members in multi-step processes and to free teams from labor-intensive tasks as particular pain points.

Opinion: “Justice for Renters” Would Obliterate Reasonably Priced Local Housing

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By Lauren Oliver, Opportunity Now

Californians will vote next year whether to pass the Justice for Renters Act, which would reallow rent control ordinances statewide (they’ve done so well in SJ, right?). Here, Daniel Yukelson—Executive Director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)—pinpoints why “stabilizing” landlords’ rents would drive up housing scarcity, making home offerings lower quality and rent much costlier for already-struggling tenants. An Opp Now exclusive.

Opportunity Now: The Justice for Renters Act purports that California’s ban on rent control prevents local governances from addressing housing market crises. But you assert the contrary. How can something as innocuous-sounding as “stabilizing rents” actually be harmful for Bay Area cities?

Daniel Yukelson: Rent control and layers of related renter protection regulations literally obliterate the investments in income property made by private citizen owners, who had purchased these properties to own what had traditionally been a secure investment and a means to provide stable income when they retired.