Happy September everyone. Fall is just around the corner, and we’re here to usher the last quarter of the year in with some news and updates related to our business and the property management industry.
Come November 05, 2024 there will be a general election ballot which aims to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995. This Act limits how states can impose rental restrictions on private property owners. Currently, when there’s a vacancy, a homeowner can raise the rents to market levels, whether that’s in a single-family home or a multi-family complex. Repealing this measure would allow states and local municipalities to implement stricter control over how and when a property owner can increase rents. More developments to come on this, as advocacy groups will hash out which method (more or less rental restrictions) really makes housing more affordable in the long-run.
Things to keep in mind during state emergencies.
State emergencies, such as wildfires and flooding, often come with restrictions on how much prices can be raised at any one time for goods and services, including rental housing. For instance, recently southern California experienced heavy rains and flooding due to a hurricane. The governor has the authority to declare a state of emergency in various areas effected by increase consumer demand. For instance, these states of emergencies cap price increases at 10%, that goes for rent too. Please keep this in mind, as the Monterey Peninsula is no stranger to experiencing natural disasters that can effect the livelihood of its residents (fires, heavy rains and winds, etc.) as we saw in late 2022 and early 2023 with the storms we received.
As the manager of property, we often encounter some push back from tenants when it comes to charges to a security deposit. Often, but not always, charges are disputed and questioned by a tenant after they move out and receive their security deposit disposition. Oftentimes what occurs is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how and why a security deposit is charged when someone moves out. The adage of “return the property to its original condition upon move-in, minus any wear and tear” still holds true to this day. Property owners and managers have a depreciation schedule to follow to determine appropriate ways to charge a tenant for damage/repairs to most all items in a home. For instance, a bad practice would be to charge tenants for the entire cost of a new paint job after vacating the property after 20 years of successfully renting. A good practice would be to charge them for the wall hanger holes that remain in the walls after they removed their pictures. Paint fades naturally over time (no one’s fault), but nail holes in walls don’t appear naturally – someone put them there deliberately. All in all, our goal is to push tenants to fully understand how and when we charge a security deposit. To mitigate any confusion, we make sure folks understand the following:
- Read and Understand Your Lease Agreement: Before moving in, thoroughly read and understand your lease agreement. This will outline the specific conditions and expectations for returning the property at the end of your lease term.
- Document Property Condition: Take detailed photos or videos of the property’s condition before moving in. This will serve as evidence of the property’s initial state and can be compared to its condition when you move out.
- Report Maintenance Issues Promptly: If you notice any maintenance or repair issues during your tenancy, report them to your landlord or property manager promptly. Addressing problems as they arise can prevent them from escalating and potentially affecting your deposit.
- Follow Proper Move-Out Procedures: Follow the move-out procedures outlined in your lease agreement. This may include giving proper notice, scheduling a move-out inspection, and adhering to any cleaning requirements.
- Thorough Cleaning: Clean the property thoroughly before moving out. Pay special attention to the kitchen, bathrooms, floors, carpets, and windows. Remove all personal belongings and dispose of trash properly.
- Repair Damages: Repair any damage caused during your tenancy that go beyond normal wear and tear. This could include fixing holes in walls, repairing broken fixtures, and addressing any damage caused by pets.
- Restore Original Condition: Return the property to its original condition as closely as possible. For example, if you made changes to the property (e.g., paint colors or wall hangings), restore them to the way they were when you moved in.
- Check Appliances and Systems: Ensure that all appliances and systems are in working order. Replace any missing or damaged items, such as light bulbs or smoke detector batteries.
- Landlord Walk-Through: Schedule a walk-through inspection with your landlord or property manager before moving out. Discuss any concerns and address any issues they identify.
- Provide Forwarding Address: Provide your landlord with your forwarding address so they can send you any communication or your security deposit refund.
- Return Keys: Return all keys, access cards, or remote controls associated with the property.
- Settle Outstanding Bills: Pay any outstanding utility bills, rent, or fees before vacating the property.
- Attend Final Inspection: If possible, be present for the final inspection to address any questions or concerns your landlord might have.
- Communicate: Maintain open communication with your landlord or property manager throughout the move-out process. This can help clarify expectations and ensure a smooth transition.
- Keep Copies of Documentation: Keep copies of emails, photos, and any correspondence related to move-in, maintenance requests, and move-out to provide evidence if any disputes arise.