If I’m interested in any properties available through DeDe’s Rentals, what do I do first?
This website is one of your best primary resources. It includes detailed entries and useful information about properties presently ready to rent. Typically, along with a “virtual tour” of photos and/or video, each listed property offers a map showing its specific location. We encourage you to drive by the advertised property, to determine whether the residence and surrounding neighborhood seem to meet your needs. If you decide you’d like to view the inside, our “self-showing” service might allow you to immediately view the property. Most, but not all, properties use this service, which is explained in greater detail below.
How can I arrange to see the interior of any available property?
Most of our properties are now equipped with a high-tech “at your convenience” showing system. With a smartphone and a major credit card, you can subscribe through Rently, our affiliate provider. Once signed up, you will receive a special code allowing you one-time access to see any specific property. There is a minimal charge (less than a dollar) associated with this transaction, and there are scheduling restrictions. Typically, showing times are aligned with daylight hours; we do not grant access to vacant units after sunset. Some properties do not qualify for the Rently program, please call our office to schedule viewing of those properties or to obtain more information.
Are there any available low-income tenant programs to help with paying rent and do you accept any of them?
We are familiar with many programs – HUD, VASH, “Section 8” – and we are willing to accept tenant financial assistance from any or all of them.
^THIS^ is the answer you should expect from ANY California housing provider. In 2020, a statewide law was passed that established that these assistance programs are considered “source of income,” which is an FHA-protected class. You should never again receive a blanket “no” – from anyone – in answer to that question.
However, while the simple answer is “yes,” the more complicated answer is that you, as an applicant, must still qualify on your own merits, specifically for those criteria that would not be provided for by the assistance program. Furthermore, whatever program you’re working with must provide you with very specific documentation that you can then deliver to DeDe’s Rentals when you initially submit your rental application. If that documentation is missing, or is not prepared properly, we wouldn’t be able to process your application until and unless it IS provided.
Please contact us if you have questions on this process.
Do you allow residents to have pets in your rental properties?
DeDe’s Rentals is known for often being more accepting of pets at our properties than some other firms in Sonoma County. However, the decision to allow pets – of any particular species, breed, size, age – is always established by the individual property owner.
We recognize that “assistance” animals (which may be known by a variety of similar terms) are not considered pets, and by law, ANY property is going to accept a properly-qualified assistance animal from a properly-qualified applicant.
We use a third-party internet-based screening service to help us establish whether or not to accept any particular pet at those properties that DO consider pets. This same service allows us to establish a reasonable formula for increased deposits associated with the acceptance of pets. Most importantly, this service helps us properly screen and identify “assistance animals,” so we remain legally compliant with ADA and the Fair Housing Act. You can find more information on our pet screening process here.
Are there any restrictions related to non-resident guarantors (aka co-signers)?
It is the discretion of each particular owner whether they will or will not accept cosigners. In those instances when a cosigner is possible, there are certain restrictions and requirements. The cosigner must be a homeowner, must have a suitable credit score, must have provable income and/or assets of a certain amount, and must be able to document sufficient stability to assure financial ability to pay tenant’s rent without duress. Even in instances where there are multiple tenants in residence, only one cosigner will be considered – in other words, there would not be two or more cosigners, with each responsible only for their own “assigned” tenant. One co-signer would be responsible for the performance of ALL residents.
What is the lease term?
Each property, each property owner has established their own lease terms. Some may be classified as month-to-month. Some may be a fixed-term lease of just a few months, or a length of time exceeding a year. The terms of tenancy are usually clearly identified in our marketing information.
However, even for those properties that are classified as “month-to-month,” we’re in search of long-term residents. We don’t intentionally offer short-term rentals of thirty or sixty days. Our clients sometimes classify their rentals as “month-to-month;” that’s a classification made for strategic business reasons, not because we’re marketing a short-term or vacation rental.
Once I’ve been accepted, what happens next?
Once you’ve been notified of acceptance, you will be required to pay the entire balance of move-in costs, which will initially be classified as a “holding deposit.” The funds received will eventually be applied toward the security deposit and rent of the property you’ve selected. You will need to sign a preliminary “Deposit to Hold” agreement, which will clarify the remaining steps and obligations involved in finalizing the rental transaction. The “Deposit to Hold” funds must be delivered to DeDe’s Rentals within one business day of having been notified of acceptance, and must be paid by cashier’s check or money order.
After I’ve paid the costs involved and signed the contract, what happens next?
DeDe’s Rentals manages many, but not all, of the properties that we represent for rental. During the application and acceptance process, we will be sure to indicate whether your continuing relationship is going to be with the staff at DeDe’s Rentals, or whether the property owner will be your primary connection after the contract has been signed. If you will be paying rent to the owner and contacting them for any future concerns, we’ll be certain to provide you with all necessary contact information.
Is advertised information about “available properties” accurate and up-to-date?
This website is maintained to be both comprehensive and informative, including providing accurate current availability of properties marketed for rent. Our current rental listings are also syndicated to numerous other industry platforms, including Zillow, Trulia and similar sites. While those other sites seem to be reasonably efficient at promoting new properties when they become available, the sites are not always as timely in REMOVING listings that are no longer on the market. Accordingly, we always recommend THIS site as the most accurate and up-to-date representation of our available properties.
Even on our own site, information can be inaccurate, but that’s much less likely or frequent. A listing seen this morning may no longer be available this evening, or even three hours from now. New listings are marketed frequently, and because of our syndication partner relationships, are promptly and widely marketed for rent. Please be aware that property availability status can change rapidly; we encourage you to check our website listings often, subscribe to our twitter feed, or call a DeDe’s associate for recent listings and showing arrangements.
I’ve seen the interior and want to apply. What is required?
Each intended adult resident (18+) is required to complete a separate application, providing all information requested. Underage co-occupants should be listed as such on a qualifying adult’s application, and do not require an independent application submission. The processing fee is $40.00 for each individual adult applicant or co-signer. Through this website, you’ll find “Apply Now” buttons for each available property. If you click that button, you will be guided to submit your application entirely online, securely and efficiently. DeDe’s application process is governed by our “Policies and Procedures,” referenced both within the application instructions and under “Rental Resources” elsewhere on this website.
Once you’ve submitted your online application, a DeDe’s Rentals representative will contact you directly to verify that all information has been provided, and to answer any questions you may have about the process.
Alternate submission processes are provided as a reasonable accommodation when appropriate; contact a DeDe’s representative if your circumstances warrant.
Do you accept tenants that do not meet all rental criteria?
No. We’ve established consistent screening criteria that allow for a wide range of individual circumstances. We have formulas to require higher security deposits for higher risk applicants, we sometimes allow guarantors or co-signers for applicants without sufficient history, we have processes to serve as many qualified applicants as we can.
However, if we accept applicants that genuinely do not meet screening criteria, we potentially put our residences and our communities at risk, and we certainly expose ourselves to legal liability for inconsistent application of our screening criteria. So the simple answer is “no.”
Are there restrictions on the animal breeds permissible at your rental properties?
Many properties may have limitations on the type, size or number of pets that will be considered. In addition to size restrictions, there are certain dog breeds that preemptively will not be considered. The list of dog breeds that would prevent an applicant from having their pet accepted is intended to be consistent with the breeds that would prevent a pet owner from being able to obtain insurance. This list of restricted canine breeds includes (but is not limited to): Akita, Alaskan Malamute, chow chow, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, American pit bull terrier, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Siberian husky, Staffordshire bull terrier and wolfdogs, also known as wolf hybrids. Lists of restricted or “dangerous” dogs also include animals that are mixed with any of the aforementioned breeds.
Assistance, therapy, service or emotional support animals are not classified as “pets,” and are regulated by somewhat different screening and qualification processes. DeDe’s Rentals uses an independent third party service provider to screen both pets and assistance animals.
How is the amount of the security deposit calculated?
Like the interest rate you would pay for a car loan or a mortgage, the amount of your security deposit is closely linked to the information obtained from your application. Our standard security deposit is 1.5 x rent, subject to increase depending upon qualifications. For applicants with complications in any one of the factors used to determine risk-worthiness, the security deposit would be adjusted accordingly. In some instances, where the property owner is willing to accept risks associated with an applicant whose risk-worthiness is objectively problematic, the security deposit could be higher than 1.5 x rent. Also, if the property owner is willing to accept one or more pets, the security deposit would automatically be increased. However, under no circumstances would the amount of the security deposit exceed two times the quoted monthly rent for an unfurnished residence.
If I submit an application, how soon will I know if I have been accepted?
DeDe’s Rentals makes every effort to have an initial evaluation and response available for you within two to four business days, if not sooner. Our ability to confirm your provided references and other information is crucial to the speed of our ability to qualify your application. If you haven’t yet heard back from us within 96 hours, please feel free to contact us.
What will my rental contract include as far as terms and conditions?
Each contract is custom-created to suit the needs of the resident, owner, and individual property involved. Some contract terms and conditions are found within the details of each advertised listing; for example, you’ll be able to identify whether the rental contract will be month-to-month or on a fixed term by reading information published elsewhere on this website. Other terms are “standard contract provisions”; for example, one clause stipulates that tenants are not to make alterations to a property unless granted prior written approval by the landlord. Some contract clauses are mandated by federal or state requirements – lead-based paint disclosures, Megan’s Law notifications, and Proposition 65 advisories are included by statute. A sample rental contract is available on this website, if you would like to preview a “typical” agreement. However, mock-up contracts will rarely if ever be absolutely identical to any genuine contract created on your behalf. Ask a DeDe’s representative if you have any questions.
Why is DeDe’s website address burned onto rental pictures?
The answer below was written fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, the circumstances haven’t dramatically changed since…
…There have always been criminals looking to separate honest individuals from their hard-earned money. The capabilities of the internet have expanded opportunities for theft, raising scams to complex new heights. In early 2006, DeDe’s was dismayed to discover that at least four of our individual listings had been “hijacked” by one or more hackers. These criminals had lifted pictures, descriptions and enough general information to create and post falsified listings on nationally-known rental databases. The basic information was mostly accurate, the pictures matched the actual property, but the advertised rent was always ridiculously low. The scammers used this “bait” to lure unsuspecting applicants into wiring thousands of dollars (the alleged “security deposit”) to an off-shore location, using an almost plausible cover story to lower applicant defenses.
DeDe’s was able to remove those individual fake listings. However, there’s no doubt that there will be similar attempts in the future. By watermarking personal data in our photos, we hope to lessen the likelihood of further “thefts.” However, to our potential applicants, we cannot stress highly enough: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s unlikely you will find a 4 bedroom house offered at $1250, for example. In addition, NEVER put down any “significant” amount of money on a property that you have not seen personally! DeDe’s has worked hard for years to gain and retain the trust of our clients and customers. We are committed to doing our part to make your internet “home-shopping” experience safe and satisfying, wherever you find yourself.
Can I choose my rent due date?
No, sorry. Rent is due on the first, considered delinquent if not received by the end of business of your grace period. Even if a holiday occurs during that grace period, it doesn’t impact the underlying due dates.
NOTE: If you have a specific ADA situation which justifies a “reasonable accommodation” regarding when you pay rent, please communicate with your property manager. We always strive to abide by the various laws that impact resident rights, even if they result in an exception to established rules.
I want to break the lease, what do I do?
We sincerely hope your circumstances don’t force you into this situation, because breaking a lease can often be complicated and costly. We wouldn’t tell you it’s IMPOSSIBLE to break a lease, because we have an underlying responsibility to treat you with fairness and equity, even in these situations. However, if you want to break a lease, there should effectively be no net effect to the owner – they should neither financially benefit nor suffer a loss resultant from your decision.
That means that you could be liable for an amount realistically equal to daily rent until another qualified occupant moves into your residence, even if you’ve moved out. You’re responsible for the cost of utilities and landscape maintenance during any transition period. You could be responsible for “incidentals,” like the rekeying of the property, for the new resident’s security. And you’d be responsible for paying to DeDe’s Rentals the tenant acquisition and screening commission and costs that the homeowner would otherwise be liable for.
Breaking a lease is not a decision to take lightly; when you originally signed the rental contract, you agreed to certain expectations of performance. Breaking a lease disrupts those expectations, and has to somehow be accounted for fairly – fairly to you, and fairly to the property owner.
How do I submit a maintenance request?
Immediately after you execute a rental contract with DeDe’s Rentals (as long as we are actively managing the residence), you’ll be invited to establish a “tenant portal.” This will provide you access to a variety of resources – the ability to pay rent online, a repository for rental contracts and other documents – AND it will allow you to submit and track the status of work order requests.
If, for whatever reason, you prefer NOT to initiate your own online tenant portal, you can submit maintenance requests via a variety of other methods. We have standardized forms in our office that you can use; you can send an email to your property manager, or you can call. We HIGHLY recommend that you use one of the WRITTEN options as your default; it’s definitely to your benefit, and ours, that we have a paper trail for work requested.
Many of the inconveniences that we all tend to suffer – jammed garbage disposals, GFI-related power outages and the like – can often be resolved without outside intervention. We’ve compiled a library of useful videos here.
What happens if I do not pay my rent?
If you’ve never previously been late, we usually presume that something unexpected has happened. We wouldn’t immediately start sending you threatening letters and notices.
If you’ve never before been late, we’re going to try to reach you by phone, text, email, whatever works, and find out from you what the situation is, and what your plans are.
We have a company policy that every resident is granted ONE waiver of late fee, because we realize life happens – someone gets sick, the car breaks down, you leave town unexpectedly. However, we can offer that waiver ONLY ONCE, because we have to treat every resident with the same consideration and accountability. We can’t offer repeated waivers to one resident without doing the same for all.
If we don’t hear from you, or you haven’t paid when you said you would, or if you are repeatedly and consistently delinquent month after month, we’re most likely going to create and post a “3-Day Notice to Pay Rent.” Ignore this notice at your own peril, because if rent is still unpaid at the end of that period, the property owner is legally authorized to start an eviction.
NOTE: laws and regulations associated with COVID-19 have impacted our approach to the processing of unpaid rent and notices served. Rent is still due, but our response if it’s delinquent may temporarily be altered.
My friend/relative wants to live with me, but I do not want them on the lease, is this okay?
No, it’s not okay. DeDe’s Rentals has been in business for a very long time, and we’ve navigated many challenging situations. Some of the most challenging have involved these types of situations.
In the state of California, that friend or relative that you “don’t want on the lease” can easily gain tenancy rights – possibly without you even realizing it. With tenancy rights, they can make legal claims to the property, and even though you may have imagined it would be easy to ask them to leave, it becomes nearly impossible – not without putting your own tenancy at risk.
This is why our rental contracts include clauses referring to “no assigning, no subleasing, no unauthorized guests” in excess of a specific number of days. It’s important to protect your own tenancy, your own control of sole residency.
While we wouldn’t presume that your personal friend or relative might wind up being difficult, we’ve seen it happen far too often, and we wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
What is considered an emergency?
“Fire, flood or blood.” For anyone who has worked in property management, this seemingly glib statement is actually a concise summary of what would constitute an emergency, with one or two additional caveats.
Let’s address the caveats first. At DeDe’s Rentals, we would add “home security” to that short list. If your garage door is stuck OPEN, or if your front door won’t close, or a window is somehow missing, the security of your home is jeopardized. Your safety, the protection of your belongings can’t be assured. We consider that an emergency.
The second caveat: if you live in a home with only one bathroom, and your toilet is inoperable, that’s also an emergency. If you’ve got more than one bathroom, the impacted function of only one doesn’t constitute an emergency. Yes, it’s a problem, and yes, it needs to be resolved ASAP, but it’s not an emergency situation.
Referring then to “fire, flood or blood:” your first responsibility, especially with either fire or blood, should be to call 911. Make sure you and those in your household are safe. THEN call us. Even if an incident occurs after our office has closed, we have emergency operators who can help direct your call to an appropriate representative.
With “flood” situations, you may or may not be able to take remedial action, helping to minimize the impact and damage. If the flood is an overflowing toilet, turn off the angle stop at the toilet base. If it’s something else associated with the pressurized water lines to the house, turn off the supply at the main shutoff. (Videos are available on our “Residential Maintenance 101” page of this website, to help you navigate basic steps.)
If it’s a roof leak, or a dripping drain line under a sink, or something else of the sort, please put a bucket underneath, or something to catch and contain the leakage.
Then, again, please call our office immediately.
There are certain types of “flood” issues for which, while definitely emergencies, you won’t be able to do anything to mitigate potential damage. Homes in west county, especially on the Russian River, are subject to potential flooding; similar flooding could happen at a variety of other locations, given a specific set of circumstances. There’s little you can do in such a situation other than to make sure your valuables are secure to the extent it’s safe to do so, get yourself and those in your household to a safe location, and once again, call our office.
There are many other types of inconveniences that occur, far too often at the most frustrating time for our residents. Ovens fail the evening before a holiday, cars get trapped INSIDE your garage when you’re on a deadline, you are locked out of your house because the keys are on the kitchen counter. These are certainly inconvenient situations, sometimes seriously so, but rarely do they rise to the level of emergency. A genuine emergency presumes that, even if it’s the dead of night, the middle of a weekend or on a major holiday, immediate and urgent dispatch should be authorized. Not every problem that occurs will rise to that standard.
How do I get the best rent for my property?
Your property manager will be able to help guide you through that process, in order to prepare and promote your property at its most desirable. It’s an unfortunate fact that your OPERATING COSTS on any property do not have any reflection to what the RENT VALUE will be. Market rent is determined by many factors: time of year, age of the property, condition of the property, even how many other rental units are available at a given time. It’s always going to be our goal to rent your property at an attractive price, within a reasonable period of time, to qualified residents.
What predictable and possible expenses should I expect?
We encourage our clients to expect that approximately 11% of their gross income will be directly expended on maintenance and repairs. This doesn’t mean that every month will bring constant outlays, far from it. However, you might go many months without significant expense, and then need to replace the roof or install a new central gas heating system. It’s sensible to be prepared, to set aside reserves, and to anticipate that maintenance costs will average out over time.
When you have a vacancy, you have to anticipate that there will be costs associated with “turning” the unit – and the longer it’s been since the property was last vacant, the greater that expense will likely be. We adhere to industry-established amortization and replacement schedules for components like carpet and paint; it’s sensible to expect that some costs will be incurred in preparing your unit for its next residents. It’s important to consider that the refurbished condition of the property will directly impact both the rent you can command and the quality of applicants you will attract.
Also while a property is vacant, some of those costs that would otherwise be borne by residents will be reassigned for the housing provider to maintain: gas, electric, water, sewer, landscaping. Maintaining these services is critical, both allowing vendors to prepare the property, and maintaining the condition of the property in preparation for marketing.
Do I have to allow pets at my property?
The simple answer to this question is “no.” But there is a much more complicated answer, which may give you reason to reconsider.
Anecdotally, approximately 30-35% of housing providers will allow pets. But as great a percentage as 65% of residents (both renters and owner-occupied) HAVE pets, mostly either cats or dogs. If you refuse to allow ANY pets, you could be severely restricting the pool of otherwise-qualified applicants who might be interested in your home.
We subscribe to an internet-based software solution to help us screen pets, and to help us establish whether any individual animal – based on breed, age, weight, vaccination history, prior behavior – is a heightened risk. We’ve established a “sliding scale” of increased security deposits, based on the specific results of this screening. The process has allowed us to, in some instances, be much more accommodating with pets, while still protecting your interests.Notwithstanding, you may still be disinclined to accept pets, and you are within your rights to do so. However, there are specific classifications of animals that are NOT considered “pets;” you cannot refuse a resident to have one of these animals even if you have a “no pets” policy. Whether identified as “service,” “assistance,” “companion,” “emotional support,” or any similar term, a resident’s right to have one of these particular animals is protected by the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. A housing provider can’t refuse permission, can’t increase rent, and can’t increase the security deposit to offset real or perceived risk.
We’ve had plenty of experience with these types of animals, and the variety of documentation that residents provide to support their pet’s classification as an “assistance” animal. Honestly, there has been rampant fraud in this arena; it’s not fair, because people who genuinely DO need assistance or companion animals are often distrusted and discriminated against, due to the behavior of those who are unjustly trying to take advantage.
Fortunately, the same internet-based software solution that helps us screen applicant pets ALSO has been tremendously effective at differentiating between valid and inappropriate requests for assistance animal accommodations. Modern problems require modern solutions.
Do the tenants maintain the lawns and gardens?
This decision is entirely at the discretion of the property owner. Including a gardener ultimately is an investment in the property; you’ll have a greater degree of confidence knowing the property is being cared for by a professional. Our rental contracts DO explain a resident’s obligation if they’re responsible for landscape maintenance. Unfortunately, there are inherent risks associated with residents doing their own yard maintenance; no matter how closely the residents’ care might be supervised, the effort and cost involved in “bringing it back” due to proper care can be extensive. Conversely, it’s difficult to build the cost of landscape maintenance into increased rent. Ultimately, providing professional landscape services is best considered as a residential insurance policy.
Who holds the security deposit?
In California, it’s permissible that EITHER the homeowner or the property manager can hold the security deposit. DeDe’s Rentals has made it our practice to hold the security deposit; the majority of our clients appreciate this, since the funds are always readily available if ever they’re needed. Furthermore, as mentioned in answer to another question, vacancies come with their own substantial maintenance expenses ON TOP OF the security deposit refund. Most owners prefer NOT to have to fund multiple thousands of dollars at once, if some of that obligation can simply be set aside at the commencement of tenancy.
How much notice does my tenant need to give if they are vacating?
Residents must provide at least a 30-day notice of intent to vacate. Even if they provide a shorter notice, or vacate prior to the expiration of the 30-day period, they are legally liable for rent during that final 30-day period.
Notice should always be given or received in writing. If your resident informs you by phone of their intent to move, insist upon a written notice. While text and email are convenient for most communications, do NOT assume a texted notice to vacate is enforceable. Furthermore, if you have multiple residents, make sure ALL have clearly indicated their intent to vacate in writing.
What happens if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?
Rent is due on the first, delinquent if not received on the fifth. If any rents are unpaid at the end of day on the fifth, we affirmatively attempt to work with and reach out to our residents, especially those who haven’t had a prior history of delinquencies. We contact them by email, phone, and/or text, in order to try to negotiate a payment strategy. In the event we’re unsuccessful within a very short period of time, we create and post a “3-Day Notice to Pay Rent,” as established in the answer to the question “What is the eviction process?”
NOTE: At present, there are statewide regulations related to COVID-19, which severely limit a landlord’s ability to collect delinquent rent or institute most evictions. In such instances, we STILL do our very best to protect your interests and assets.
When can I go to the property?
That may be a glib and somewhat perfunctory response, but we encourage our clients to limit personal excursions to the rental property, especially while it’s occupied. Even if you once lived in the home yourself, it’s no longer the “family homestead,” it’s now a business, and the rules are significantly different. It’s far too easy to complicate your relationship – and OUR relationship – with residents by engaging with them, potentially complicating the efforts of the property management firm you’ve hired to act on your behalf.
If you have genuine need to visit the property, we can arrange access for you on your behalf, and will attend with you. Property visits should be performed during normal business hours, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
How often will I receive the net proceeds, and when will I receive monthly statements?
As long as your particular trust account has funds to release, you can reasonably expect to receive net proceeds from DeDe’s Rentals once a month. CONTRACTUALLY, we affirm that we’ll release payments on or by the 15th of the month. Historically, we’ve made every effort to release funds on the 12th or 13th, depending on the calendar and bank holidays.
What financial obligations can DeDe’s pay on my behalf?
For some of our clients, we pay condominium association dues, insurance policy premiums, mortgage payments, even property taxes. We’re equipped and prepared to pay almost any obligation that directly relates to the costs and keeping of your investment.
Who maintains the smoke alarms?
This is becoming less of a concern as the months and years pass. In 2014, California passed a law requiring all newly-installed smoke detectors to be equipped with 10-year non-replaceable batteries. The initial implementation of this law did not require all detectors to be immediately replaced; only those that were inoperable had to be switched for the new design. However, the “classic”-style smoke detector has a functional lifespan of 7-10 years. We recommend that any classic-style detectors be replaced when the next reasonable opportunity arises.
With the new 10-year detectors, there is no longer a concern about “maintenance.” We have all been trained with the strategy to replace batteries twice a year, when we adjusted our clocks. That’s no longer necessary. However, residents SHOULD be reminded to inform the owner promptly in the event that any smoke detector fails to function properly, whether it’s a new or old model. Almost every detector comes with factory recommendations to test on a monthly basis; residents should also be reminded that this monthly chore IS their responsibility.
Who is responsible for pest control at the property?
We provide “self-help” information and recommendations to our residents, including on this website, covering many topics. “Pest control” is one of those topics. There are many types of pests that can infest a rental residence – ants, bees, cockroaches, bedbugs, rodents and more. Ant infestations are frequent and somewhat benign, and can typically be resolved by residents using common household solutions. Other infestations might be more challenging for a resident to “self cure.”
In almost every state, including California, housing providers are required to adhere to an “implied warranty of habitability,” which sets out those minimum requirements that must be delivered for a home to be considered habitable. One of the listed items is a requirement to ensure that the residence is “free of vermin.” Accordingly, the housing provider is ultimately required to ensure that necessary pest control is performed. However, the case often can be established that a specific resident’s behavior or housekeeping instigated the infestation. In such instances, the housing provider would be justified in holding their resident accountable for all or a portion of the pest control invoice incurred.
What can the security deposit be used for? And how is the amount of security deposit calculated?
CCC sections 1950.5 and 1940.5(g) provide the complete answer to both of these questions. In California, there is no such thing as a “non-refundable” security deposit. If residents return the property in appropriate condition, they are legally entitled to receive the entire security deposit that they’d paid at move-in.
The amount of security deposit cannot be more than two times the monthly rent for an UNFURNISHED property, and no more than three times the rent for a FURNISHED property. DeDe’s Rentals has established a “sliding scale” for security deposits, dependent upon applicants’ combined credit scores, and whether they have pets. The range is typically no less than 1.25 times the rent, and no greater than 2 times the rent.
Security deposits can be used ONLY for unpaid resident obligations – delinquent rent, for example – and for damages to the property inflicted by the residents IN EXCESS of normal wear and tear. This is one of the most challenging aspects of a housing provider’s role, and potentially rife with conflict. Be thorough and conscientious in your analysis. Any deductions taken from a resident’s security deposit should be – must be – supported with written documentation. The residents should be provided a written accounting along with their remittance check.
How much notice do I need to give my tenant if I want them to vacate?
This is a bit more complex of an answer. The easiest part of this answer is that, if a tenant has been residing in most premises for less than one year, a 30-day written notice to vacate must be served. If they’ve lived in the property for MORE than one year, at least 60 days’ written notice must be provided, and it cannot conflict with an existing lease.
That’s the easy part of the answer. If your investment is a multi-unit residence, or falls within certain other very specific parameters, your ability to intentionally request that a tenant vacate is more restricted. In 2020, California passed a state-wide rent control ordinance, which limits a landlord’s authority to vacate their premises only to “just cause” circumstances after the tenant’s first year in possession. If you believe that you are facing such a situation, please contact us directly for advice and assistance.
What is the eviction process?
Evictions are actually rare, but given our many years of experience, we know well how to navigate the process.
Evictions, also known as Unlawful Detainers or UDs, may be instituted for financial or behavioral violations of the rental contract. Unpaid rent is the most predominant type of FINANCIAL eviction. Behavioral violations could be any of a variety of breaches, but are often much harder to prove and prosecute than unpaid rent.
Your management team will typically handle any initial steps without contacting or disrupting you. A resident who has not paid rent will be served with a “3-Day Notice to Pay Rent.” A resident who has some other behavioral issue will be sent one or more written violation notices, which may include a formal “3-Day Notice to Cure.”
Only if the resident doesn’t correct the behavior within the allowed time would we contact you – because if they FIX it, they’ve done what was requested. There’s no great reason to concern you if we’ve successfully resolved a problem.
If the resident DOESN’T correct the behavior – if they don’t pay the rent, if they don’t remove the unapproved co-tenant (for example) – we will promptly contact you and discuss strategy. It is rarely to your advantage to be cavalier in these types of situations. One month unpaid rent can quickly compound; bad behavior can conceivably get worse, impacting adjacent neighbors, your rental property, and even your legal exposure to liability.
If it’s appropriate to proceed, and with your approval, we’d act as your advocate, interacting with attorneys, representing you in court proceedings, keeping you fully informed, and effectively treating the case as if it were our own property being impacted.
NOTE: At present, there are statewide regulations related to COVID-19, which severely limit your ability to institute most evictions. In such instances, we will STILL do our best to protect your interests.
What happens if I want to sell my property?
Of course, you can sell your property at any time. That’s a right that even the California state legislature can’t take away from you. However, there ARE many complications associated with the sale of a rental property.
If you own a single-family residence or condo rental, and your tenant is on a fixed-term lease, you may either have to sell the property subject to the existing lease, wait until the end of the term to vacate the property, or entice the tenant financially to vacate prior to their lease expiration.
Alternately, if you’re considering the sale of a multi-unit building (two or more units), it may be more complicated. California’s rent control laws, which went into effect in 2020, limit an owner’s right to vacate one or more units in a multi-plex, and could require the owner to pay tenants substantial incentives. However, most multi-unit properties are bought and sold by investors, who typically prefer to have the units occupied and generating income. Vacating multi-unit properties occurs much less frequently than SFRs in anticipation of a sale.
DeDe’s Rentals takes a very conservative approach to our continued management of properties being marketed for sale, especially SFRs and condos. We’ve had many experiences over the course of years; when tenants, sales agents, inspectors, sellers and buyers are all thrust into the organized chaos of a sale listing, it can become complicated. Different parties have different rights and interests, and without substantial oversight, patience and preparation, it can become exceedingly disruptive.
If you are considering the sale of a property that is presently under management, contact your property manager to discuss potential processes and strategies.
Maintenance and Repair
Slow Drain in Bathroom?
This is almost always from hair. Buy a plastic “zip” cleaner with barbs at the store or Amazon, or use a wire coat hanger. If that doesn’t clear it, please let us know and we will send someone. But, if we send someone, you may be charged.
Garbage Disposal Not Working?
First question: have you checked the red reset button under the garbage disposal? If so, but it pops when you reset it: something is in your garbage disposal that is blocking it. If we send someone and that is the reason, you will be charged the service call. For a few dollars you can buy a disposal wrench at your hardware store, grocery, or Amazon, that goes in the “flywheel turning wrench hole” in the bottom center of garbage disposal. Insert wrench and move back and forth. Push reset button again. Is it working? If not, please let us know asap and we will send someone to investigate. (Tip: You should never put anything down your garbage disposal that you would not put in your mouth).
Refrigerator Not Working?
Does the light turn on when you open the door? If not, try plugging something else you know works (lamp, hair dryer) into the outlet where the refrigerator is plugged. If that doesn’t work, check your electrical breaker to see if it is tripped: Take a flashlight and open the circuit breaker panel so you can see the circuit breakers. Each breaker has three positions: on, off, and a center position. Look for the circuit breaker with the switch in the center position. Flip the switch to off, and then flip it to on. Wait a moment to see if the switch stays in the on position. If it does, the circuit breaker is reset and power is restored. If that is not the problem, let us know.
Electrical Outlet is Not Working? (not related to GFCI)
Turn off all the lights and unplug everything in the affected room or rooms. Take a flashlight and open the circuit breaker panel so you can see the circuit breakers. Each breaker has three positions: on, off, and a center position. Look for the circuit breaker with the switch in the center position. Flip the switch to off, and then flip it to on. Wait a moment to see if the switch stays in the on position. If it does, the circuit breaker is reset and power is restored to the room. If the switch doesn’t stay in the on position, it indicates a serious wiring problem—let us know and we’ll get our electrician out there right away.
Electrical Outlet is Not Working? (with GFCI circuit)
See videos in our “Residential Maintenance 101” page on this website for information on GFCI breakers. GFCI breakers provide extra protection around wet areas like sinks since they are more sensitive than the regular breaker on the circuit. A hair dryer and curling iron plugged in at the same time can trip this. If you don’t see one in your bathroom or kitchen, it could be that there is one in the other bathroom, or it may be in the garage or laundry room. There should be only one GFCI test switch per circuit.
A/C is Not Working?
It may seem like an impertinent question, but do you HAVE an air-conditioning unit? While you’re a thermostat may have a setting for “cool,” that does not guarantee that there is actually an AC compressor for your residence.
Garage Door Won’t Close?
Is something sitting in front of the safety eyes sending a light beam across the bottom of the garage door? Could be a toy, or spider web or dirt on one of the sensor eyes. Or, something may have bumped the sensor out of alignment—try moving it back to line up to the other sensor across the garage. Did that work? If not, let us know right away.
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If you are in need of property management services, looking for a rental property, or would like to learn more about DeDe’s Rentals and how we can help you, please contact us today!