As a new landlord, you’re still in the learning phase. You might have learned the fundamentals of property management, from law to property upkeep, but nothing compares to advice given by seasoned property owners.
An especially pertinent piece of advice for landlords of Sacramento property is being careful with tenants who grow cannabis. There has been an uptick in need for cannabis appeals and cannabis attorneys, because property owners are getting slapped with six-figure fines for their tenants’ illegal cannabis growth. Many times, these property owners had no idea their tenants were growers.
New landlords of Sacramento properties should also be aware of these 3 time-tested tips for finding success:
1. Document the unit before move-in and move-out
Before signing a lease with a tenant, walk through the unit with them and take photos or video proof of the current condition. This protects you from potential disputes of tenants claiming damage was there before they moved in. They might say the carpet was already stained, the walls scuffed, the cabinet handles loose or broken, etc.
To make sure nothing’s left undocumented, keep a checklist on you as you go through the property with the tenants. When they decide to move out, do a final walk through with them and document issues that will need to be repaired, and the costs that will be withheld from their security deposit.
2. Keep open communication with tenants to keep tabs on the unit’s condition
California law forbids landlords from conducting general inspections. You can only enter in emergency situations, to carry out repairs, or with your tenants’ permission. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for tenants to call you when they need repairs. Tenants might feel intimidated or scared to bring up property damage or malfunctioning appliances.
To help tenants feel more comfortable, keep open communication with them through email, text, or offer certain time ranges for them to call you. Ask them if there are any issues with the unit, and list specific events. For example, is the plumbing running smoothly? Are the toilets flushing okay? Are any lightbulbs burned out? By being specific, you tell the tenants that should the following ever occur, you would expect them to speak up.
If you want to inspect a specific part of the unit that is vital for a habitable environment, such as the plumbing or electrical wiring, you must provide a written notice 24 hours in advance. In these cases, you’re prohibited from inspecting other areas of the unit. Otherwise would be violating the tenants’ right to privacy.
3. Protect yourself with the proper insurance
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover your tenants. Check with your insurance provider to see how far your insurance extends. You’ll likely need landlord insurance for wider coverage, including property and liability protection. Property protection covers the cost of repairing after damage from weather and climate, while liability protection covers the legal and medical fees if somebody gets injured on your property.
Additional coverage options include acts of nature (or “acts of God”) protection. This covers major natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, and is recommended for property in at-risk areas. Rent loss protection is another option, which provides financial support if your rental property becomes unlivable for some time.