Today we are talking about some of the most common mistakes we see landlords make, and how to avoid them.

Tenant Screening

At Action Properties, we believe a thorough tenant screening is one of the most important things landlords can do to ensure their properties are well protected. You need to know who is moving into your home, and the best way to do that is by conducting a complete background check. You want to get a credit report, run a criminal check and look for eviction histories. You want to talk to employers and verify income and you want to get references from prior landlords. If you don’t have the resources to do this yourself, hire a professional property manager or contract with a service who can gather this information for you. Make sure you screen every tenant the same way. If you aren’t consistent, you run the risk of violating fair housing laws.

Move In Inspections

Conducting an inspection prior to a tenant’s move in is essential. You need to complete a detailed report and document that inspection with a number of high quality pictures. Landlords who make the mistake of not conducting an inspection prior to move in will have a very hard time deducting anything from the security deposit at the end of the tenancy. You cannot prove damage unless you have a record of how the property looked before the tenant moved in and how it looked after that tenant moved out.

Enforceable Leases

Some landlords will download any sample lease they find online and they think that will be enough to protect themselves when a tenant moves into their property. A rental contract must be compliant with all California laws. The law favors tenants in most cases, so you want to be sure the lease you have in place protects you and your property. Instead of using any sample lease you find online, get a reliable one from a property management company or an organization such as the California Apartment Association.

Unlicensed Vendors

When your rental property needs major repairs or basic maintenance, you need to hire someone who is licensed and insured. Doing the work yourself or hiring someone off the street might seem like a great way to save money, but you’ll end up paying in the long run. It’s a mistake not to think about the long term; an unlicensed vendor who makes a mistake or gets injured on your property will get you into a legal and financial mess.

Improper Evictions

There is a specific process that landlords must follow when they’re evicting a tenant. You are not permitted to change the locks and sell off a tenant’s belongings just because rent is late. If you are not up to date on the eviction laws in California, you need to work with a qualified attorney before you try to evict a tenant. Your Three Day Notice must be filled out perfectly and you need to follow all established timelines and procedures in order to make your eviction legal. Don’t try to do one without all the necessary information.

These are just a few examples of mistakes that inexperienced landlords tend to make. If you’d like some help avoiding these errors, please contact us at Action Properties, and we’d be happy to help you take good care of your rental property and your tenants.