01 Jul 4 Best Tips for Landlords in Los Angeles – Property Management Advice
In today’s blog, we are talking about the best tips for owners who want to manage properties on their own. This is more complicated than most people think. We have learned through experience how frustrating it can be for landlords because many owners come to us after having tried it. They feel vulnerable because property management is more litigious than ever before.
This is a business. It’s not a hobby; it’s a full time vocation. Owners sometimes take on one property and they get it under control, and then something happens and they realize it takes a full time focus to do this business the right way. Rental income is important for owners and you don’t want to jeopardize that. The business requires great attention to detail. It’s far more complicated than it was 10 or 15 years ago. A landlord has to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can’t really take time off from the emergencies that come up from time to time.
It’s important that the landlord understands tenant law. This is the biggest pitfall that comes up for owners. The law is dynamic and changing on a regular basis. In California especially, the law is far more tenant friendly than it is landlord friendly and you have to know the details of the law. Owners often hire us because tenants are building cases against them, and we find ourselves backtracking to make up for what should have been done already. It’s like swimming upstream. With the proper attention and consultation with our legal advisors we can get owners back on their feet. For example, a lot of confusion comes with rent control. There are three separate jurisdictions for rent control in the areas we cover, and each has a separate set of rules for properties and tenants.
Another thing a landlord needs is a strong pool of vendors. It’s not good enough to have a single handyman who tries a number of different trades but isn’t an expert at any of them. It’s necessary to have more than one good electrician and plumber. Landlords need a deep pool of skilled, qualified vendors you can call at any time. You need to know if the work requires licensing and if the vendor needs to be bonded and in possession of liability insurance. Often, an owner will hire the cheapest labor to get the job done; not realizing the exposure it creates to have an unlicensed person doing subpar work. It’s also important to understand whether you need permits for specific work. That changes who you select to do the job.
Keep the interior of the property in a condition that’s as good as the exterior. Sometimes, landlords will focus on paint and the roof but not go inside to visit on a regular basis like we do. Inspections will help you ensure the tenant is taking good care of the property. The tenant may not be reporting things of concern to the landlord. You need to know if the smoke detectors are operating properly and the filters have been changed on the air conditioning system. If these things are not checked regularly, it may lead to equipment failure which can be costly.
Property managers like us can keep the landlord removed and out of the emotional drama that can occur without having someone in between themselves and the tenants. We offer that advantage, which a lot of property owners find very valuable. If you have any questions, or you’d like additional advice, please contact us at Metropolitan Property Services.