Rentals in Santa Clara>Question Details

Martin, Renter in Santa Clara, CA

Is it better to sign a lease directly with an owner or go through a rental agency? I am looking at a townhouse that an owner is looking to rent out.

Asked by Martin, Santa Clara, CA Sat Jun 8, 2013

Anything specific that I need to watch out for in the lease if I am signing with the owner directly ?

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I don't believe there are any significant reasons to prefer renting from a rental agency or an individual owner. Also the rental agency may or may not manage the property after it is rented.

The most important thing is to inspect the property carefully and put agreements in writing. If the property is in poor condition that could indicate that the previous tenants lived there a long time or that the owner chooses not to keep the property in top condition.

Things to watch out for: who pays HOA dues, who pays utilities, any yard maintenance fees, and other details. Most often there isn't anything special about a lease, just don't make assumptions, get written answers. A landlord won't be offended if you ask them to put in writing what they say they will do.

Oh ... Some garbage collection companies don't care why a bill wasn't paid, they just won't pick up garbage from an address with an unpaid bill.

Santa Clara real estate information at

Juliana Lee
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650-857-1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
That is s Great question Martin. I used to own my owm Property Management firm and from my experience it is about the same. You see a Landlord has certain legal responsibilities to his or her Tenants. Those responsibilities do not change simply because a Landlord is ignorant of the law. The biggest thing is just to make sure that there are NO oral agreements. Everything should be in writing for your protection. Furthermore, regardless of who you rent from, be sure to exercise good judgment and document everything, specially the condition of the property once you take possession. Don't just start moving in. Take pictures or better yet a video. By that days newspaper and include it in the picture/video and document the condition from ceiling to floor and everything in between. Once you do this in detail, notify your Landlord. If you do this after you have commenced to move in the Labdlord may argue you did it while moving in so do it as soon as you get the keys. Happy Renting!!!!

If you change your mind and consider buying, I would be happy to qualify you and coach you.


Eddie W de Leon
NMLS 238369
DRE 01393751
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013

This link will take you to the California Tenant and Landlord Book. You will want to read and understand the lease you are signing.
You should have a written walk through before moving in to show the condition of the property. You will need to leave it in the same or better condition when you move out.
There are required disclosures you are to receive that those should be detailed in your lease.
Make sure you have met with the owner in person and not over the internet. Also, is the owner the owner?

Pay in check so that you have a receipt of your security deposit and rent payments.

All the best to you.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
Likely the rental agency has approved documents that protect you more than Mr Homeowner has so you would more likely be better protected.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
Many rentals are handeled outside of Realtors and directly with Landlords and Tenants. Though, working with a Realtor or rental agency will help in making sure disclosures are done properly etc - it is not uncommon to work directly with the landlord. You do want to make sure everything is spelled out, who is paying what, what is included in the rent, guests with extended stay, garbage / utilities, pet issues etc. If you feel overwhelmed you can hire a Realtor to help you, or have the landlord hire one to facilitate the deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 10, 2013
Hello Martin, do you need RENT vs BUY listings emailed to you to study and compare? Do you have a BK or foreclosure in the last 2-3 years? If not, you may qualify to buy with a minimum 580 fico score from 3.5% down and as low as half percent down payment program up to 417k and minimum 600 fico score up to $729,750 loan amount. You may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent.

I specialize in Under 640 Fico Score Loans and offer credit repair at no cost to raise fico scores to qualify. I can raise fico scores within 3-4 days in most cases. It only takes a few dozen questions to qualify you in minutes and go over your options. Here are some links to study and consider that I offer in RENT vs BUY options.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
A rental agency is required to be licensed and therefore more likely to be up-to-date regarding acceptable leases, disclosures, and general landlord/tenant rules.
We offer property management services and about 50% of our new clients who have already been managing their own property were using outdated and sometimes illegal application forms and leases.
Before signing a lease with an owner, review it with your attorney or a licensed property manager.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
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