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By Neil Fjellestad | Property Manager in San Diego County, CA
  • FBS Condos & Apartment Homes For Rent in Rancho Bernardino 92127

    Posted Under: For Rent in Rancho Bernardo, Rentals in Rancho Bernardo, Investment Properties in Rancho Bernardo  |  January 11, 2013 11:01 AM  |  1,100 views  |  No comments

    Rent Sense: Preventative Legal is an Ongoing Requirement (part 11)

    I have asked Ted Kimball to regularly share some of his legal insights on important issues that arise in the ongoing operation of rental properties (single homes, individual condos and apartments). These responses should not be construed as legal advice until your specific circumstances are considered. Our Property Management firm has effectively utilized the legal counsel of KTS for years to keep ourselves and our rental owner clients out of trouble. We operate rental properties in 69 zip codes throughout the region. Neil

    Question: Our tenants were supposed to move out in two weeks. However, the house they were moving into is not completed and they need to stay for another fifteen days. I have no problem with this, but my question to you is what if they do not vacate on time?

    Answer: You should have them sign an extension of their lease so if they fail to vacate you can proceed with an action for unlawful detainer.

    Question: When you return a security deposit disposition to the vacating tenant, what is the statute of limitations if they do not agree with the deductions and wish to sue in small claims court?

    Answer: If your rental or lease agreement was in writing, the statute of limitations is four years. If the agreement was verbal, it is two years. The time starts to run from the date of the alleged breach.

    Question: My renter was backing downstairs carrying a 38-pound bag of clothes and fell and broke her wrist. Can I be sued and a judgment obtained against me?

    Answer: You would only be liable if you were negligent in the way you maintained the stairs and your negligence was a proximate cause of the injury. You should notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible.

    Question: Our window was broken by a golf ball hit by the tenant of a neighboring property. They admitted
    they owed me for a new window but moved away before I could collect on it. Is the owner of the property responsible because it was their tenant?

    Answer: The owner of rental property is not normally responsible for the unforeseeable acts of their tenant. In order for the owner to be liable, you would have to prove that the owner knew or should have known his tenant would have caused physical damage to your property, and the owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect your property from harm.

    Question: One of our residents admitted to breaking a window in his unit. Our management company wants to make the repair and deduct it from his security deposit. Please give us your opinion if our management company is using proper procedures.

    Answer: A resident is liable for damage to the unit caused by any resident or their guests and invitees. The owner/manager, however, can make the repairs and require the resident to reimburse them for the costs of repair. The owner/manager can either deduct the amount from the resident’s security deposit or serve the resident with a 3-day notice to pay for the repair. If the resident fails to do so within 3 days, the eviction process may begin.

  • FBS Property Management eNewsletter for Rancho Bernardo 92127

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Rancho Bernardo, Rentals in Rancho Bernardo, Investment Properties in Rancho Bernardo  |  January 5, 2013 9:19 AM  |  1,122 views  |  No comments

    Best Practices for Independent Rental Owners – The New Year is Your Opportunity

    By Lucinda Garland, CPM®, GRI®

    FBS Property Management

    Many rental properties are owned and operated by independent owners. Though their rentals are subject to evolving market requirements and demands of a new generation of renters some owners manage their real estate under the philosophy that they are in the best position to decide their operating practices. They choose who and how daily management, leasing and maintenance are done. These can be decisions of commission or omission. The question is two-fold: are best practices being employed? How does an independent rental owner identify best practices?

    For answers to these questions and more we have asked FBS Vice President, Lucinda Garland, to present a series of articles “Best Practices for Independent Rental Owners” that will be available in various publications from time to time and become a regular feature at Rent Sense.

    Lucinda is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI). Her 25-year distinguished property management career has been refined with earning these internationally recognized professional designations. Ms. Garland is an industry leader currently serving as a board member for the local chapters of two of the most influential national trade organizations within the real estate industry; the National Apartment Association and the Institute of Real Estate Management. She is an expert on “best practices” and therefore an indispensable resource to our independent real estate investors. Neil& Chris

    Part one of a series

    When you own rental property, the beginning of the New Year is an opportune time to study where you have been and decide if you are making the right decisions to get you where you want to be – have you been postponing that deferred maintenance because you can’t figure out how to pay for it? Is it time to think about making some improvements to increase the value of the asset? Have you put off the conversation with your property manager about how your objectives have shifted? Have you taken the time to reconcile your stated objectives with your real goals? Is it time to make a fresh start with new staff and/or Management Company?

    To prepare for a New Year of managing rental property a written strategy should be drafted: budgets are drawn and discussed, staff is evaluated for effectiveness, historic occupancy is challenged, Net Operating Income is re-forecast, and expense is analyzed to assure your money is spent in the “right” places. And knowing that your management team is on the same page and operational decisions flow from an approved game plan. Understanding what you want your property to do in the coming year is the necessary first step. A strategy to achieve can be drafted for consideration, evaluation, and approval. A written plan can be implemented and quantified for incorporation into monthly reporting.

    Back to step one, take some time to evaluate what you want:

    Do I intend to keep this property long term or am I looking to sell in the next 24 months?

    Comment: Being able to relay this information to your management team empowers them to make decisions on your behalf that work toward your priority goals.

    What is more important to me – making sure the rents are reflective of the market or sitting with the status quo and keeping my building fully occupied?

    Comment: Sometimes, having 100% occupancy is not the best decision – each dollar lost on market rent has an adverse effect on the value of the property as a whole.

    Is my management team maintaining the building and grounds?

    Comment: Have they become complacent with the appearance of the property due to age of the structure or lack of funds for improvements. It doesn’t cost much to assure a property is maintained in a clean condition. You cannot make an older asset new, but you can certainly keep what you have in clean condition. There should always be a short term and a long term physical plan. Example – long term might call for complete exterior paint while short term routines include power washing and touching up the main entrance.

    Are my financial needs/goals being met?

    Comment: Much of the answer to this question needs to be related back to the answer in #1. Unless your management company knows what you want, they can’t get you there, unless by happenstance. If your management team knows your goals but cannot seem to turn these into practical milestones it is time to make a change.

    Often times, we continue to do what we always have because we aren’t aware that there are other options or because we fear change and what might happen. And remember, if we continue to do the same things, we will continue to get the same results. Is that what you want? Definitely 2013 can be a great year to own rental property but only if you employ Best Practices.

  • FBS Rent Sense for Rancho Bernardo 92127 Property Managers

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Rancho Bernardo, Remodel & Renovate in Rancho Bernardo, Rentals in Rancho Bernardo  |  December 29, 2012 9:51 AM  |  1,171 views  |  No comments

    Rent Sense: Brighter Future for Property Managers
    By Neil Fjellestad and Chris De Marco
    FBS Property Management

    Though rarely considered the most prestigious professional choice within the real estate industries property management has long been considered by insiders as the backbone where the heavy lifting is done on a daily basis: operating profits, customer service, sales and marketing, risk and financial control, people and priority skills. RE management has evolved as regional and national companies have gotten into the game with the result that RE management has emerged as the career of choice for those seeking the complete practice of business management. The successful executive and/or entrepreneur in this field will require mastery of the essential skill sets (financial, operational, marketing, people and technology) and will seek commensurate opportunities.

    There is a well-developed career ladder in property management with good salaries.

    The relative value of RE management has been felt during the downturn. There are current real estate practitioners in brokerage, mortgage finance and development that are re-evaluating their ability to survive another cycle and/or a prolonged flat economy. While development and transaction volume may not regain their pre-recession levels for many years, both new and existing buildings have to be managed resulting in steady demand for professionals in property management.

    The millennial generation is as large as the baby boomer generation and they have been stalled in their natural rental pattern. It is thought that they will remain renters longer and/or choose a rental lifestyle. Anticipating continued growth in multifamily the largest apartment operators as represented by the National Multi Housing Council have begun a concerted hiring campaign.

    On the commercial side, business has been stalled in a natural expansion after a recession and the composition of this demand for office, retail and industrial space is changing as well.

    Finally, southern California is generally considered one of this hemisphere’s mega-centers for population, business and employment growth and development.

    These dynamics point to a unique generation of opportunity for re-tooled professionals and better educated business graduates that want to challenge the status quo which historically has rationed entry and/or advancement (an estimated 80% of replacement workers come from competition) within traditional real estate careers.

  • FBS Homes For Rent Found in 69 Zip Codes Throughout San Diego Region

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Rancho Bernardo, Rentals in Rancho Bernardo, Investment Properties in Rancho Bernardo  |  December 21, 2012 11:49 AM  |  1,104 views  |  No comments

    Need a home for the holidays? Take a quick look at this rental home in east county with easy access to all major freeways and a reasonable commute to most of the region's major employers, military installations and universities Neil

  • Rancho Bernardo 92127 Property Management Companies: FBS eNewsletter

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Rancho Bernardo, Rental Basics in Rancho Bernardo, Investment Properties in Rancho Bernardo  |  November 25, 2012 4:48 PM  |  1,055 views  |  No comments

    Rent Sense: Rent is due, now what?
    By Neil Fjellestad & Chris De Marco
    FBS Property Management

    So, what happens if you lose your job, you have been living from paycheck to paycheck and rent is due on the first? You need an action plan.

    ·         Prioritize outstanding financial payments. Your rent payments are probably your largest household disbursement.

    ·         Failure to meet this obligation can have short- and long-term negative implications. Examples include: late fees plus eviction costs; moving costs; bad credit that will haunt you for years leading to the inability to qualify for rental housing, utilities and major purchases in the future. All of these are probably harder to fix than a job loss.

    ·         A real estate lease is a legally binding document and is taken very seriously by credit providers so figuring out how you’re going to meet your obligation deserves your priority attention.


    Now, here’s the good news. Unlike many of the providers of goods and services (banks, utility companies and national accounts) the rental owners, operators and managers to whom you pay your rent are local people that you can sit down with, they are more likely to understand your situation and are mutually motivated to keep you in your lease.


    ·         Lay out a plan to pay your rent and present it to the same people that you already know - do this sooner than required (don’t make them start chasing you for the rent before you step forward). This says that you recognize your responsibility and are being proactive to confront the current situation. If this plan calls for a series of installment payments, be specific and realistic about the amounts and payment schedule. If you can provide a guarantor for this plan supply specific qualifying information about this individual as well. Offer to sign an addendum to your lease that spells out the specifics of your proposal and live up to every term.

    ·         Don’t be bashful about indicating that - as long as you perform as agreed - you would like assurance of a positive rental reference when the time comes. This demonstrates that you respect the lease and your continued good credit.

    ·         If you need to terminate your lease early or need to consider relocation after a period of efforts to find new employment don’t hesitate to telegraph this information early. This gives you a point of reference should you need to confront this alternative later.

    ·         Rental owners, operators and property managers are generally realistic about expectations and particularly so in the current time. Show them the respect of transparency and straight talk and you will gain an ally in making the best out of a difficult situation. 

  • Condos for Rent in San Diego North County 92128 from FBS-PM.com

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Rancho Bernardo, Rent vs Buy in Rancho Bernardo, For Rent in Rancho Bernardo  |  November 15, 2012 4:22 PM  |  1,893 views  |  No comments
    This might be just the rental home you are looking for the holidays

  • Important New Year for Rental Owners in Rancho Bernardo 92127

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Rancho Bernardo, Rentals in Rancho Bernardo, Investment Properties in Rancho Bernardo  |  November 10, 2012 2:03 PM  |  1,115 views  |  No comments

    New Year Brings New Laws for Rental Property Owners

    Posted on Oct 31, by Ryan Green Category Property Management

    This is a lot of information and it is abbreviated. Please spend some time and look up the new laws to discuss with your counsel. Update necessary forms. Be prepared for these realities: the current regulatory climate in the local jurisdictions throughout the state is gridlock; there is also a generally sympathetic attitude among California lawmakers toward renters; a growing frustration is apparent due to the inability to properly execute existing laws against consumer predators; finally, there exists a perceived notion that there are fees, taxes and other state revenue being left on the table. These realities make independent rental ownership a tougher business but in our view also increase the income producing and wealth accumulation opportunities as well.  

    At FBS we review all new and modified laws, regulations, etc. and make sure our forms, policies, procedures, routines, associate training, communication with rental owners, renters and the public are consistent with local, state and federal changes. This takes time and resources away from the business priorities of running our company and staying on top of the challenges of daily property management operations while we keep pace with the growing requests for advisory and management services as independent rental owners recognize that we can help. We generally schedule times during the month and months during the year to devote to these kinds of projects. In addition, we maintain valuable connections with important industry resources and retain the professional advice of specialists to prioritize these outside changes and focus our approach to them.
     Neil Fjellestad


    January 1, 2013, there are new laws that go into effect in California which property owners and managers must be aware of. The laws discussed here are not meant to be an all-inclusive list, should be viewed as a summary – not a detailed explanation.


    Senate Bill 1394 Smoke Alarm Requirements for Home Improvers and Landlords: Starting January 1, 2013, for properties rented or leased, an owner is generally responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms in an apartment complex or other building. Beginning January 1, 2014, this also will apply to a single family residence. Also beginning January 1, 2014, the property owner will be responsible for installing additional smoke alarms as needed to comply with stricter building standards going into effect in January 2016. Owners should also prepare for January 2014 when all dwelling units intended for human occupancy for which a building permit is issued in excess of $1000; the issuer will not sign off on the completion of the work unless the owner demonstrates that all smoke alarms are approved by the State Fire Marshal. To be approved, a smoke alarm must display the date of manufacture, allow a place for the date of installation to be written, incorporate a “hush” feature, incorporate an “end-of life”warning, and, for battery operated devices, contain a non-removable 10 year battery.

    Note: Starting in January 2013, landlords will be responsible for the smoke alarms in apartment complexes but not in single family homes until 2014 which is when the larger portion of this bill takes place. However, there is quite a bit involved in the 2014 requirements, so it would behoove a conscientious landlord to start early!


    Senate Bill 1191 Landlord must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants: Starting January 1, 2013 every landlord who offers to rent a residential property containing one to four units must disclose in writing to any prospective tenant the receipt of a notice of default which has not been rescinded. This disclosure must be made prior to executing a lease agreement.

    The written notice must be made in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalong, Vietnamese and Korean. If a landlord violates this law, the tenant may elect to void the lease and recover one month’s rent or twice the amount of actual damages – whichever is greater- in addition toall prepaid rent. If the lease is not voided and the foreclosure sale has not occurred, the tenant may deduct one month’s rent from future amounts owed. Property managers will not be held liable for failing to provide the written disclosure unless the landlord has given them written instructions to deliver the disclosure to the tenant.

    Note: This law pertains to landlords operating single family homes or small properties only– not larger complexes – yet. The law also applies to prospective tenants. There is no mention of a requirement to notify current tenants.


    Assembly Bill 2610 Tenant Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After Foreclosure:

    Starting January 1, 2013 a month–to–month tenant in possession of a rental housing unit at the time the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day written notice to terminate. For tenants who have a fixed term lease, the tenant can generally remain until the end of the lease term with all rights and obligations under the lease surviving the foreclosure, including the tenant’s responsibility to pay rent. There are, however a few conditions when a landlord may give a tenant on a fixed term lease a 90-day written notice to terminate including (but not limited to) when the new owner will occupy the unit or when the tenant is the borrower, his spouse , child or parent.


    Assembly Bill 2303 Landlord May Dispose of Abandoned Personal Property Less than $700:

    Starting January 1, 2012, the total resale value of personal property abandoned by a tenant after termination of a tenancy that a landlord must sell at public auction has been increased from $300 to $700 dollars – if specific procedures are met. This law also prevents a landlord from assessing storage fees if the property is recovered by the tenant within two days of vacating the premises. The landlord’s notices of termination of tenancy and pre-move out inspection must contain specific language that former tenants may reclaim abandoned personal property left on the premises, subject to certain conditions.

    Note: Personal property abandoned by tenants valued at the new $700 limit means that that property valued over $700 must be sold at public auction rather than disposed of or retained at the property owner/manager’s own use. As before, certain procedures must be followed so be sure to contact your own counsel. Owners and property managers should review and update termination of tenancy notices and pre-move out inspection forms for 2013.


    Senate Bill 1964 and Assembly Bill 2386 Anti-Discrimination Protections for Religious Grooming and Breastfeeding: Starting January 1, 2013 the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has been expanded to require employers and other covered entities to make reasonable accommodations for an individual’s religious grooming or dress practices.

    Additionally, The FEHA protection against sex discrimination has been expanded – not changed– to require reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding or medical conditions relating to breastfeeding.

     Note: Segregating an individual is not a reasonable accommodation!

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