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28 New Year’s Resolutions and New Laws for Landlords – by Patricia A. Harris

Posted on 01. Jan, 2018 by in all

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AOA Consultants get calls daily from our members with a variety of problems; some unfortunately after our owners are already in trouble.  Please use the below as a guide to easier management, money-saving ideas and to avoid potential legal problems in the New Year.   Our goal is your continued success!

  1. NEW BEDBUG LAW:  Beginning January 1st, all tenants must have received AOA’s form 157 – Information on Bedbugs.  If you haven’t yet, DO IT NOW.
  2. Have a written, legal Resident Manager’s agreement containing all of the recent NEW LAWS.  (Read Attorney Dale Alberstone’s article in this issue.)
  3. LOW-FLOW TOILET LAW: California has become the first state in the nation to require low-flow toilets in virtually all homes, apartment houses and businesses Owners of commercial property or multifamily buildings have until 2019 to make sure water-saving toilets, faucets, shower heads and urinals are installed in their properties. (SB 407, Padilla. Property transfers: plumbing fixtures replacement.)
  4. Be sure to have your resident manager report their hours in writing to you on a weekly basis.  AOA’s form #119A is designed for this purpose.
  5. FAIR HOUSING POSTER:  Federal Fair Housing law requires every property with four or more units to have a fair housing poster displayed in a conspicuous location on the property.  It must be a minimum of 11 x 14 inches to be in compliance.  If you don’t have one posted, you may order a laminated poster by calling AOA.
  6. Have your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked every six months. Inspect your units regularly for plumbing leaks; preventative maintenance saves you money.
  7. Help us to defeat the new trash hauling monopoly.  Donate to AOA’s Political Action Committee!
  8. Have AOA search credit, eviction and criminal reports on all of your prospective renters.  Always use our low-cost screening services.
  9. Always conduct enter and exit checklist inspectionsuse AOA’s form #131.
  10. Serve 3-Day Notices to Pay Rent in a timely fashion – immediately – the day after rent is due. Any grace period given only refers to late fees, not when rent is due.
  11. Be diligent in collecting your late fees.
  12. Call your AOA advisor BEFORE you make that mistake.  We’re here to help.
  13. Make a copy of proper IDs (license,SSN) on all prospective tenants.
  14. Check rental applications thoroughly – speak with previous landlords, verify employment, etc.
  15. When rejecting applicants, you must do so in writing.  Use the legally required Adverse Action “rejection notice” – form #140, available at www.aoausa.com.
  16. Standardize and write down your rental criteria requirements to avoid discrimination lawsuits. This should be given to each new applicant with your application to rent.  A simple, fillable form of a criteria list has been designed for your convenience and is available for FREE to AOA members at  www.aoausa.com. (AOA Form 100Q).
  17. Keep rejected applicant files for five years and shred when tossing.
  18. Do not advertise for resident managers as “Couple Needed” or “Husband & Wife Team” – this is discrimination.
  19. Hire AOA’s Advertisers who are dedicated to serving our industry.  Always obtain competitive bids to cut expenses.
  20. Educate yourself – attend AOA’s FREEseminars and the Trade Show and Landlording Conferences.  Our next scheduled Trade Show is May 15, 2018 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
  21. Consider accepting pets to expand your rent pool – many responsible pet owners make great tenants.
  22. Use the most updated, current AOA rental forms – toss your old ones.
  23. Call AOA Commercial Brokerage BEFORE you buy or sell an apartment building.  Our professional agents have been serving our members’ needs for over 35 years.
  24. Be sure to offer your vacating tenant the required AB2330 Walk-Through “pre-inspection” (AOA Form 135) no sooner than two weeks prior to the move-out date. AOA members may download this form with all instructions for FREE from www.aoausa.com.
  25. Send back security deposits within the 21 day legal time frame, including the necessary receipts/invoices for each item costing over $125.00. Use AOA’s Security Deposit Refund Letter –form #133.
  26. Update your tenants’ information (current employment) (emergency phone numbers).
  27. If you’re not already a member, JOIN AOA TODAY – get the help you need with your property – up-to-date rental forms, FREE advice, FREE seminars, FREE monthly magazine, low-cost, instant credit, eviction and criminal reports, AOA’s collection services and you may save money with AOA’s Group Insurance Plan.
  28. Tenants left owing you money? Hold them accountable! Use AOA’s new and improved Debt Reporting and Collection Service to collect on those old judgments; it is designed to recover more of your money.

 

The staff at AOA wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

 

Patricia A. Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners News & Buyers Guide.  . This article is a general guide and has no legal representation.  It is suggested that you contact an attorney for legal advice should the need present itself.