Rental Basics in Culver City>Question Details

Joyce, Home Buyer in Northwest Torrance,...

As a first time landlord getting ready to rent my condo, what necessary documents do I need for the renter to sign.. I do not have an agent.

Asked by Joyce, Northwest Torrance, Torrance, CA Tue Jun 28, 2011

I can not afford to pay for an agent or a broker so I am basically doing everything on my own. Please advise as to what documents need to be signed by the renter. Thanks

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Ponder this advice carefully: Can you really afford to rent your property if you cannot afford an agent? How will you pay to evict the tenant if they fail to pay? What if the air conditioner has to be replaced this summer? Did you know that most states have tenant rights laws? If you as the landlord violate your tenants rights it may cost you in fines and civil action. If you don't know what you are getting into perhaps it would be best to leave it up to professionals until you learn the ropes.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 30, 2011
Hello Joyce, I would highly recommend using a Realtor to list your rental property, they only earn a commission if your property leases and it comes out of the move in funds. Feel free to call me or email me if you have any questions. The Realtor will also run all the prospective tenants credit reports, handle all the paperwork, and handle all marketing of your property.

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 8, 2011
Hi Joyce

That contract you and your tenants will sign, will bind both of you to its terms. So your first step is to make sure that you understand every point and aspect of the document, along with the responsibilities and rights of both parties, the consequences of each party's act, termination, covenants, ect...

If you're not comfortable with this, then you know that you're better off leaving it to an agent. As for what this agent will cost you, why don't you shop around?
A- charges vary depending on the area.
B- the commission is not fixed: it's negotiable between you and the agent
C- some agents now have a fixed fee vs. traditional commission rate

If you want to email me, I'll show you what benefits you get by listing your condo with me.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 25, 2011
Hi Joyce,
You are taking a risk entering into a contract with tenants and not having the proper information. Please do visit this webiste to gain the information you need to protect yourself and avoid liability. It will explain some of the laws pertaining to landlords and tenants.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
Hi Joyce,

The California Association of Realtors has a stock set of rental documents that agents have access to and generic rental applications and contracts can be found for free online. If you're not comfortable with your understanding of these, definitely talk to the appropriate professionals and become better informed.

There's also probably a local housing department that you can contact about your areas specific statutes and regulations regarding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.

Being a landlord is definitely a governmentaly regulated business so you'll need to do all the reasearch necessary to give yourself the best possible experience.

Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 3, 2011
In my opinion, you cannot afford not to hire a property management firm for at least the first year. It's a small price to pay for getting started on the right path, along with what you'll learn during the first year. The hard part will be finding one that is willing to take on a new client with just one condominium.

Best wishes, Rudi
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 30, 2011
The answer below is spot on. I would also suggest asking for references on the application and actually call them and ask unconventional questions they may not be ready for. Check their employment, you can also check their background on the internet background check sites. You will need someone to run their credit, do not accept their copy as it may not be authentic. Also ask for check stubs, tax returns and bank statements. I always approach it as a try before you buy, meaning I will do a 6 month lease first to make sure I want the tenant to stay long term. If I find out they are undesirable I haven't committed to a lengthy lease. An initial walk-through is a must. This way you and the tenant will know about any defects. The forms are available to download online or if you need help I could email you a few things.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 29, 2011
Hi Joyce,

Since I don't practice Property Management in your area specifically, my advice will be general in nature.
However, it should help you out regardless.

1) Make sure you have a rental application filled up completely, this way you can verify income, employment, credit, criminal background..etc..

2) A lease agreement that specifies the terms and conditions of lease... roles and responsibilities of both parties...

3) Inventory and Condition Report for both you & the tenant to fill out... keeps you on the same page in regards to property condition. Have tenant complete before personal items are moved-in, or during your walkthrough.. to avoid any confusion later on.

You might be able to get a company to handle the screening, and lease paperwork.... saving you money on the property management side.

However, I wouldn't recommend the trail and error approach to leasing/property management of your condo... especially in our "sue for everything" society... it may end up costing you money one way or the other.

I truly hope this helps in some way... all the best. Most importantly, cover your "you know what" when being a landlord!

All the best,

Randy Pereira
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 28, 2011
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