How Do Rental Property Management Companies Work?

How Do Rental Property Management Companies Work?

Congratulations, you’re one of the savvy investors who’s purchased a rental property!

With the availability of homes for sale and rent in California at an all-time low, keeping your property occupied should be relatively easy, right? But what about all the tasks that come with owning a rental property?

Some property owners choose to manage their own properties; perhaps they like the hands-on aspect of propertye maintenance and choosing their own tenants, or they’re concerned that the cost will affect their bottom line. Rental property owners who know they don’t have the time, resources or desire to do it all themselves may choose to hire a professional property management company.

How do you decide?

Review these 8 things rental property management companies do to help you decide whether you should hire a property management company or D-I-Y it.

1. Deals Directly with Prospects and Tenants

This includes finding tenants, screening applicants, managing leases and setting appropriate rent levels in compliance with state and municipal laws.

Finding tenants

A skilled rental property management company will know where, when and how to advertise your vacant property to get you the high quality and quantity of prospective renters needed to minimize property vacancies. They can even write and post your ads so that they appeal to and reach the target market for your property.

Screening applicants

Effective screening of rental applicants can yield reliable tenants who pay on time and stay in their leases longer. Thorough screening of prospective renters includes running credit checks, verifying employment, checking references and performing criminal background checks.

Managing leases

For newer property owners, it may seem that you can create a standard lease agreement for the ages–easy enough, right? Not so fast. Managing leases can be a full-time job in itself. An experienced property management company will:

  • Draft rental agreements that have the necessary legal clauses to protect both landlord and tenant
  • Consistently review rental agreements to ensure language is accurate, up-to-date and legally compliant
  • Determine and document security deposit amounts
  • Execute leases, which means that all parties involved have signed, dated and received signed copies of the agreement
  • Modify leases when terms have changed, e.g. when rents go up or down
  • Terminate leases
  • Renew leases in a timely manner

Some property owners will try to save time and hassle by letting leases lapse into an “automatic” month-to-month term. Renewing leases allows you to plan and budget for periodic property updates, avoid having vacancies during low-leasing seasons and show renters you care, which can result in happier, longer-term tenants.

Setting rent levels

Setting proper rent levels can make the difference between earning a healthy income on your property and pursuing an expensive hobby. A qualified property management firm can provide insight and analysis on your specific market and help you set competitive but profitable rates.

2. Collects and Deposits Rent

Collecting timely payment from customers is a challenge in any business. Experienced property management companies have systems in place for collecting and depositing rent payments, security deposits and late fees in an efficient and timely manner.

3. Handles Maintenance and Repair Issues

Regular, ongoing maintenance is necessary to protect your property value and keep tenants happy. Rental property management companies have the experience and resources to get the job at hand done, including handyman services, contractors, and staff. And don’t forget the unscheduled maintenance requests that come in, often at night or early morning, when tenants lock themselves out of their units or have a clogged toilet. Many property management companies provide 24-hour on-call maintenance service.

4. Responds to Tenant Complaints

Tenant complaints can range from complaints about noise and pest infestations to concerns over potentially hazardous conditions like toxic mold, faulty wiring, lead paint and carbon monoxide. A good property manager knows how to handle these complaints in a professional, timely and non-emotional way.

5. Handles Move-Outs

Move-out duties include returning (or not returning) the security deposit, cleaning the property and making any repairs. In the unfortunate circumstance of an eviction, these tasks can become especially tedious.

6. Keeps You Compliant

Good rental property management firm managers have an in-depth knowledge of state and national laws governing the rental property industry. They’ll help to keep you legally compliant and minimize your risk exposure when it comes issues ranging from safety and environmental compliance to discrimination and eviction.

Safety

Local, municipal and State of California laws are designed to protect tenants from health and safety risks that can result from everything from inadequate heating and property deterioration to unsanitary conditions and inoperable hallway lighting. Inspection by enforcement agents can occur anytime and–if violations are found–result in misdemeanor charges which are punishable, imprisonment or both. Having a qualified property manager who knows and complies with state and local laws can protect the owner and the tenant and help mitigate costly legal situations.

Environmental

Rental property management firms actively look for and remove any potential environmental hazards to tenants, including toxic mold, asbestos, carbon monoxide and lead.

Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability. The State of California also abides by the Unruh Civil Rights Act which further protects consumers against discrimination based on ancestry, age, medical condition, genetic information and sexual orientation. Inexperienced property owners can unknowingly violate discrimination laws by simply using the wrong word in an advertisement, rental application or conversation, leaving them exposed to lawsuits and penalties.

Eviction

Evictions can be costly, time-consuming and even dangerous. If you find you need to evict a tenant based on non-payment or other lease violations, it’s important that you follow specific procedures for legal action and documentation. An eviction in California can take as little as three days or up to several months depending on factors like tenant cooperation and availability of proper documentation. A reliable property management firm can save you time, hassle and potential lost revenue by handling the eviction process for you.

7. Manages the Budget and Maintains Records

A property management company can assist you with tedious record-keeping responsibilities advise you on which deductions you can claim, and even file taxes or the property. Note: Property management fees themselves are typically tax-deductible.

8. Supervises Property and Personnel

Qualified property management companies will supervise and manage maintenance and security personnel to ensure they do their work in full and on time. In addition, they can provide 24/7 protection of vacant properties against theft and vandalism.

Deciding Whether a Rental Property Management Company Is Right for You

Knowing these 8 things that rental property management companies do can help you make the best choice for your situation. You’ll also want to weigh your available budget, time and resources to know what’s right for you. Whether you choose to hire a rental property management company or manage your rental property yourself, we have the tools and information to help keep you from getting in over your head.

Check out our blog at or call us at (310) 310-8063 to learn more.

Understanding the Value of Real Estate Property Management in Today’s Market

Understanding the Value of Real Estate Property Management in Today’s Market

If we were to ask you how much you think the total value of all U.S. homes are, what would you answer?

A. $10 trillion
B. $20 trillion
C. $30 trillion.

If you answered A or B, sorry, you’re wrong. C is the closest – with the actual answer being a whopping $31.8 trillion!

Now, who would want to tap into that kind of market? The thing is, real estate property investments aren’t only about having money for making such large purchases. To succeed in this industry, investors need someone to manage their properties. This is where real estate property management services come into play.

But how exactly does professional property management work? Don’t worry. We’ll show you the ropes in this post.

So, keep reading to learn the value of experienced property managers and the difference they can make!

The Rise of Property Management to Stardom

To understand how partnering up with a qualified property management company can benefit you, it pays to have some background on this sector first. Here’s something to put things in perspective:

The property management sector is now worth $77 billion. It has shown a steady increase of 4.4% from 2012 to 2017.

Why do you think so?

For the simple reason that more investors are putting their money in real estate. But to make the most out of their investments, they need the services of professional property managers (a more in-depth explanation below). The dips in rental vacancy rates, which shows that demand for rental properties is on the rise, fueled this growth. In fact, a Pew Study showed that the number of residential property renters grew to 36.6% in 2016. At the time of this writing, the latest Census Bureau report shows that owner-occupied households in the U.S. stand at 64.2%.

Indeed, homeownership is still a major part of the American Dream. Many individuals, however, find renting more cost-effective. That goes for both residential and commercial (offices) consumers.

It’s for these reasons (and more) that real estate property investments continue to grow. At the same time, the heightened competition (for investors like landlords and commercial property owners) highlight the need for effective property management.

The Core of Property Management

The role of property management services is to basically oversee all aspects of managing a piece of real estate property. Be it residential or commercial, an apartment or a 5-bedroom house, a condominium unit or an entire office building. Simply put, the property management company acts on your behalf – as the owner – to retain the value of your asset. At the same time, help you generate a steady stream of income. The responsibilities of property managers don’t just begin when you already have a tenant. They can even help you with this task. They’ll ensure that you get into a contract with only respectable renters.

Where Effective Property Management Starts

Say your property is all “Ready for Occupancy” (RFO). Now, all it lacks is a tenant. To find the right tenant though, you need basic marketing skills and knowledge. After all, you’d have to advertise your property and make people want to live or work in it. You also need to have knowledge of federal, state, and local property laws. What “reasonable” rental prices are. As for how long you’ll find a tenant, there’s too much variation. Consider this though:

A credit check for prospects alone can already take up to 10 days. Combine this with your other tenant-hunting tasks (like advertising, interviewing, etc.), and you’re looking at weeks of finding a potential renter.

Even if you do find a prospect, your search shouldn’t end with a phone call from a single applicant. You need to screen your potential tenants first.

As the property owner, you have many other things on your mind, such as looking for more assets to invest in. You want to find a tenant ASAP, but locating the right one takes a lot of time. But you can’t just bind yourself to a contract with the first prospect.

Remember, the quickest way to see your investment property’s value is to let bad tenants occupy it.

They can neglect or modify it without your permission. They can even use it for unlawful activities. They may also be constantly late in their payments.

Worse, they can just leave without paying their delinquencies or the rest of the lease!

This is where one of the many other benefits of working with expert property managers come into play.

With their skills and knowledge of both the market and tenant behavior, they can help you locate the best tenants. Tenants who’ll not only pay their dues on time but take care of your property like their own.

Dealing with the Hard Part of Turning down Applicants

Just as hard as verifying source of income, checking credit, and reaching out to references of an applicant is turning unqualified ones down. You have every right to say no to an applicant who doesn’t meet credit standards or has a history full of payment delinquencies. But what’s more difficult is knowing when it’s legal to turn them down. Remember, there are laws surrounding fair housing, and you can face legal consequences if you fail to comply.

From Rental Collection to Property Inspection

Property managers won’t just help you find the right tenant. They’ll also ensure timely rental collection. Yes, hiring a seasoned manager helps you prevent getting into a contract with habitual late payers. But there are some situations wherein payment defaults can still occur. Don’t worry though. The property manager will still take full responsibility for dealing with the delinquent tenant. He/she will also assess late fees and interest as indicated in the contract. Property managers also carry out inspections before tenancy, as well as during and after a tenant leaves. During tenancy, it’s normal for them to conduct inspections at least every six months.

Ready to Benefit from Professional Real Estate Property Management?

All the above-mentioned benefits of working with real estate property management professionals is for your own peace of mind. With these experts’ help, you can rest assure your tenants aren’t damaging your property. That it maintains its value, or better yet, appreciates.

So, if you’re ready to reap all these benefits and more, feel free to connect with us. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with quotes and answer your inquiries about effective property management!

How Apartment Property Management Can Improve Tenant Retention

How Apartment Property Management Can Improve Tenant Retention

America is a country full of incredible investment opportunities. Standing out among those opportunities is owning rental properties. As a matter of fact, almost 40% of the country are renters meaning ample income potential for those willing to take the leap and become landlords.

Unfortunately, there’s more to renting property than making an income.

There are laws you need to keep up with, fixes you need to manage, and of course, there are tenants.

Without tenants there’s no money and finding good ones is costly and time-consuming. An apartment property management and home property management agency can help to that end.

With a property management agency by your side, you can be sure your retention rate of quality tenants will improve big time!

Here are a few reasons why!

1) Timely Maintenance

Let’s face it, if you’re managing your rental properties and your personal life, it can be hard to get around to tenant requests. The longer you take, the more likely a tenant is to take their tenancy elsewhere when their lease/rental term is up.

With apartment property management and home property management, all tenant requests will go directly to the property management team. These teams already have contractors they work with lined up and ready to come out to service units as soon as the same day.

That immediacy means more satisfaction for your tenants and more time they’ll spend in your property.

2) Good Pricing

Pricing your property correctly is a difficult task. You need to take into account market conditions, demand, what comparable units are going for in the area and more.

If you’re maintaining steep, noncompetitive pricing in a down market, tenants will almost certainly move to a nearby rental more in line with current conditions. A good property management agency is an expert in the area they operate in.

They can immediately deduce the most opportune pricing and when it comes time to re-up lease/rental agreements, adjust the rent to get you the maximum value and keep good tenants in place.

3) Background Checks

Checking credit and criminal history are both important factors of the rental process. Tenants with negative history often pose a greater risk to your property and are at higher risk to move around more often.

Fortunately, apartment property management and home property management agencies know how to pre-screen tenants in a way that makes sure only quality, qualified people make it into your home.

That means your tenants will be more likely to stay for longer periods of time from the moment they sign their lease/rental agreement.

4) Modern Payment Processing

More and more, payment is going digital. As a matter of fact, half of the millennial population have never used checks at all.

Because of that, being able to offer things like online portals or mobile payments is becoming imperative. Keeping up with technology may not be a strong suit of yours. A good apartment property management company though is always on the cusp of what’s new.

The amount of payment options offered through property management to tenants increases convenience. That leads to more timely rental payments. It also lowers the chance tenants will vacate looking for a rental property that more closely accommodates their needs.

5) They Communicate

When tenants have questions or problems, they want to speak to someone right away. If you’re not dedicating 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to being available to answer your phone when your tenant needs help, that’s a problem.

More often than not, tenants will look for a property owner who offers them immediacy when they have needs. If you can’t be that person, in today’s competitive rental market, someone else will be.

With property management, your tenants have someone they can contact regularly. That means a reduced risk of tenants needing to wait for someone to get back to them and a higher level of tenant satisfaction.

6) They Keep Your Property Looking Good

Even when your tenants aren’t asking for an emergency maintenance, there are still things that need regular maintenance to keep your property looking good.

Groundskeeping, for instance, will require a regular visit from a gardener. Carpet changes will require tending to every few years so. Walls may need touching up.

You get the picture.

With a property management company in your corner, they will always have their finger on the pulse of the condition of your property. That means, even without being asked to do so by an upset tenant, they’ll take action to keep the condition of your space sharp.

That consistent care for your apartment or home will instill in tenants the feeling that you care about them and their living conditions. That will translate into a longer tenancy.

Summarizing How Apartment Property Management and Home Property Management Can Improve Tenant Retention

There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in renting properties. There is also a tremendous amount of responsibility.

A property owner’s ability to handle responsibilities surrounding their tenants in a timely manner will have a profound effect on tenant turnover.

To keep good tenants in your property for as long as possible, we recommend hiring a property management company.

They’ll perform maintenance quickly both by request and as it’s needed over time. They’ll keep your pricing competitive. They’ll also background check and be available to address tenant questions and concerns.

That full-service combination will noticeably reduce your need to seek new tenants and lead to more consistency in your income!

Do you own a rental property/properties in the West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, or Brentwood areas? If you do and are looking for a reputable apartment property management and/or home property management agency, look no further than Westside Property Management.

At Westside, our family owned agency has been helping property owners reduce rental related headaches and increase their revenue for nearly two decades.

Let us do the same for you!

Contact us today about your property needs and we’ll let you know how we can help!

How Can Property Management Services Help You?

How Can Property Management Services Help You?

Owning an investment property doesn’t have to be time-consuming or stressful. If you’re tired of creating ads, finding tenants, maintaining the property and everything else that comes along with running a rental estate, consider hiring property management services to do it all for you. Right now, a property management company is ready to take over all the mundane and stressful tasks of running your property. You can get back to living your dream life as the passive income rolls in.

If that sounds too good to be true, keep reading. There are 10 main benefits to hiring a property management company that you should know.

1. Finding Tenants

Say goodbye to writing ads and waiting for potential tenants who never show up for their viewing. A property manager is trained in marketing your property to attract the best tenants (stable income, clean, long-term, etc.). They will create perfect ads and place them in the best spots to attract the tenants you want. They’ll also handle all the viewings for potential tenants, fielding out which leads are serious and which ones aren’t going to show.

2. General Complaints

No one likes dealing with noise complaints or bickering matches between tenants that don’t get along. Luckily, if you hire property management services, you won’t have to. All complaints and issues are dealt with directly by the manager in a professional and reparative way. Your tenants will be happy because their concerns are addressed immediately, and you’ll be happy because you don’t have to be the one addressing them.

3. Rent Collection

A huge part of the property manager’s job is collecting rent each month and ensuring each tenant is paying it on time. The challenge comes when tenants don’t pay or are consistently late in their payments. The management team is highly trained in the legalities of eviction and enforcing them when they need to. Separately, property managers are also trained in determining the optimal rent to charge based on your property, the area, and amenities, etc. You will get the most money possible for your property.

4. General Maintenance

When you hire a property management services, you’re also enlisting their team of contractors and tradespeople who can carry out general maintenance needs (landscaping, plumbing, electrical, handy work, etc.)
Your property will constantly be in tip-top shape because the property manager will ensure every maintenance task gets done without delay.

5. Improve Property Value

In addition to general maintenance, property management services can assess what renovations will increase your property’s value and bring in more money.
They will assess the cost of various property improvements to determine if the return is worth it. Property managers are also responsible for putting systems in place that prevent major emergency renovations from being needed. Some examples are:Routine checks of the building’s infrastructure

  • Regular maintenance of the building’s heating system
  • Checks for mold and pests
  • Checks for working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

With a property management team, you will save money on future repairs and increase your property’s value now.

6. Employee Management

Property management services include a handful of employees responsible for different aspects of taking care of the property and the tenants.
Not only does that take a load off your shoulders, but you don’t even have to manage those employees because the property manager will.
The manager will take care of employee schedules, training, payroll, concerns, etc.

7. Administrative Duties

This is the really mundane part of operating a rental property: handling all the different forms and administrative tasks that are imperative to your property’s success. Your property manager will be responsible for all these tasks: parking slips, grounds control, safety items, marketing products, computer software, rent receipts, and so much more. These tasks are boring, but they’re crucial to your property’s value and your tenants’ happiness; just sit back, and let your property manager handle everything.

8. Tax Management

When it comes to doing taxes on an income property with multiple tenants and employees, collecting the forms you need can get complicated.
One aspect of property management services is bookkeeping and keeping a record of every rent check received and expense paid. They record, track, organize and store everything you need for your taxes to be done properly. Plus, property managers often know of extra deductions you can claim that you may have never thought of.

9. Legal Knowledge

The Landlord-Tenant Laws go over specific regulations regarding rent, your property, and maintenance. This information is crucial to taking the correct legal steps when necessary to resolve a conflict.
Property managers are trained and knowledgeable in these legalities, so you can ensure each action they take is legal and documented.
This is also helpful for your tenants who want to know their rights. Ideally, they can speak to your property manager to settle any concerns before legal action is needed.

10. You Can Enjoy Your Freedom

The biggest benefit to hiring a property management company is that you can use your time to do whatever you want. These services are perfect for property owners who want to travel or live somewhere far from their investments. You will no longer have to deal with the day-to-day stress of maintaining a property or finding tenants. You don’t even have to deal with the month-to-month duties. Simply hand over the stress and accept the passive income.

Less stress and more time to yourself; what more could you ask for?

Ready to Hire Property Management Services?

There are so many more benefits to hiring a property management company than the 10 listed here. In addition to enjoying more freedom, your property can increase in value and acquire better quality tenants from hiring these services. Your tenants will be happier with someone on-site handling all their concerns and requests.

If you’re ready to learn more and inquire about hiring an exceptional property management company, send us a message on our Contact Page.

7 Benefits Of Using Professional Property Management

7 Benefits Of Using Professional Property Management

There are approximately 43 million renter-occupied housing units in the United States. That statistic sheds light on the fact that more Americans are opting to rent every year and that property owners stand to benefit big time! Owning a rental property can be a tremendous investment. As we’re sure you know though, there’s a lot more that goes into buying to rent than collecting checks.

As a property owner, you need to take care of maintenance requests, screen tenants, and much more. All of those responsibilities can dissuade many that are thinking of investing in rental properties. Fortunately, professional property management can help! A property management team can take care of the day-to-day things involved in renting and leave you to enjoy the benefits.

Our Los Angeles team at Westside Property Management has put together this post to educate you on 7 benefits hiring a management company can provide!

1) Ensure That Your Rent Gets Collected on Time

Collecting rent is the best part of owning a property. It can however also present headaches. Staying on top of tenants to ensure timely payment and dealing with the possibility of bounced checks and other issues can take a lot of time out of your week. With a professional property management team, you don’t have to think about it! A property manager will work directly with your tenants to make sure rents get paid. They will also assess late fees for delayed payments. All you have to do is sit back and wait for your rental income to be deposited in your bank account.

2) Finding The Perfect Tenants

Not all tenants are created equal. Some will hold up their end of the renter/landlord bargain well, taking care of your property and making timely payments. Others can represent a severe liability. Professional property management companies are skilled in the ways of weeding out bad tenants. Credit checks are run, references are checked, income is verified and more to make sure that your investment property stays lucrative and well kept.

3) Staying Abreast on the Laws

Federal, state and city ordinances are changing constantly in rearguard to rental properties. Keeping up can be a job in itself and not keeping up can mean serious consequences. If you own a home that you’re renting and are not maintaining your property or managing your relationship with your tenant in a way that’s up to code, it could equal grounds in which rent can be withheld. Withholding of rent can be troublesome by itself. If the issue is serious, you may even need to show up to court. To avoid legal issues, professional property management companies review regulations constantly to make sure you’re never in violation.

4) Managing Day to Day Activities

When you own a property it’s to be expected that you’ll need to perform routine activities to keep things running smoothly. Things like responding to maintenance requests, running routine inspections and more. If you’re doing this by yourself it could mean needing to field requests from renters and dealing with contractors on a weekly basis. With a professional property management team, they take that work off your hands.

5) Marketing and Advertising

Your rental property only makes money if there is someone in it. That can be a real challenge in today’s competitive housing market. Finding quality tenants can mean launching full-scale marketing efforts locally and online. If the idea of putting up listings, running ads in papers and getting “for rent” signs printed seems daunting to you, leave that task to a property management company.

Property management companies are uniquely versed in marketing efforts that work best in their particular area. You can be sure that they will employ marketing tactics that are appropriate to catch a wide group of potential renters.

6) Setting the Right Rental Rates

Real-estate markets are constantly shifting. Not staying up to date on the changes could mean having a hard time finding a renter or signing a renter to a lease that undervalues your investment. A professional property management team has their fingers on the pulse of the local market. They look at comparable rental properties to figure out a price range you can reasonably get. They then zone in on the perfect price to maximize your income. If eyeballing the ebbs and flows of real estate sounds like a chore to you, leave it to the professionals and hire a property management company.

7) Time

Every advantage to hiring a property manager listed above will add thousands of hours of free time to your life. Time is the only commodity that is finite for all people and because of that you need to ask yourself – Why did you buy to rent in the first place? For most, it was to provide a reliable income stream so you could maximize the enjoyment of your life. Purchasing a property and needing to actively manage it can be counter-intuitive to that end. For the nominal cost a property management company charges in relation to the value they give, hiring one is a no-brainer.

Wrapping Up Professional Property Management Benefits

Owning a rental property can be an excellent investment. It also means a lot of responsibility. If you’re more interested in collecting rent checks than managing your property day in and day out, a professional property management company is the solution you need. And if you’re in the Los Angeles Area, there is no better property management choice than Westside Property Management.

Westside Property Management has been helping property owners lucratively rent their spaces for years. Our family-owned operation takes your investment as seriously as you do. We hope you’ll give us the opportunity to maximize your investment’s value today!

Contact us for a free property management quote!

For more general property information, read more on our blog.

What is Senate Bill 407 and how does it effect my rental property?

Senate bill requires that on or before January 1, 2017, all non-compliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property must be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

It also requires that, on or after January 1, 2017, a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property, multifamily residential real property, or commercial real property disclose to a purchaser or transferee, in writing, specified requirements for replacing plumbing fixtures, and whether the real property includes non-compliant plumbing.

And also, on or before January 1, 2019, all non-compliant plumbing fixtures in multifamily residential real property and commercial real property, as defined, be replaced with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

The Bill also permits an owner or the owner’s Property Manager to enter a rental property for the purpose of installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining water-conserving plumbing fixtures, as specified, and would require, on and after January 1, 2019, that the water-conserving plumbing fixtures prescribed by the bill operate at the manufacturer’s rated water consumption at the time that a tenant takes possession, as specified.

We can help you complete all of the necessary replacements.  Contact us today to get started.