|How do I locate suitable homes for
Answer: A real estate agent such as
myself, will work with you to discuss your
needs, provide you with listings, and show you
properties that meet your requirements (price,
size, location, etc). Browsing properties
on-line will help you narrow your search and
come up with a final list of homes for viewing
in person. My home search page is here and
includes available homes for lease in all
Orange County, CA.
|Back to Top
there a cost involved if I use a real estate
|Answer: Usually not. The commission
is typically paid to the agent (or agents) by
the landlord, so there is no cost to
you, the prospective tenant.
I apply for the lease?
|Answer: Once you have located a
suitable home you will need to:
out a lease application form. This
is a brief, two-page form that asks
you questions about your employment,
residence history, credit, bank
references, personal references,
number of occupants, pets, and number
out an authorization to run your
credit report. The landlord and
his/her agent will need to review your
FICO scores, payment history, debts,
and obligations. Landlords look for
applicants with good credit, and your
application may be rejected for on the
basis of your credit report.
3. You may
also be required to provide things
like a copy of your driver's license,
a tax return, pay stubs, and past
references, although these items are
not usually requested.
will provide you with the lease
application and can also arrange to
run your credit report
showed me a great home for lease but I'd like
to know what else is out there. Let's look
|Answer: There is a natural tendency
to always wonder if the" grass is
greener" at the next house, but if you
shop endlessly, you may well lose a perfect
home that you already saw. The lease market
has become very competitive for nice homes.
I'm often finding myself competing against
multiple applications when I submit a tenant's
paperwork. My advice is that if you find the
right home, apply for it and stop looking over
your shoulder. Don't assume the home will
still be available later!
shown me some homes in this city. I'd like to
see some homes in these other cities too.
|Answer: You should really decide
where you want to live before contacting a
Real Estate agent. Drive around each area and
look at homes, schools, parks, shopping,
commuting time, etc. We will be glad to assist
you in this decision by sending you listings
and providing you with information, but we're
not tour guides. Our job is really to help you
find a home for lease in the area of your
choice. All of our expenses (including fuel!)
are our own, so please help us help you by
narrowing down your choices.
bad, or less than perfect credit. Should I
tell you before we look at homes?
|Answer: Yes, definitely! You will
save a lot of time and heartache by doing so!
There is nothing
worse than finding the perfect home, only to
be rejected on the basis of credit. It's
discouraging and a waste of time for both you
and your agent. Credit issues are not fatal,
but they do require special handling on the
part of your agent, who may need to check with
potential landlords before showing you homes.
Don't try to hide your credit issues. The
truth will come out eventually, so allow your
agent to run your credit report right away. Be
up front and let your agent know about credit
issues before you go out to see homes. You
will save a lot of time and your agent will be
in a much better position to locate a lease
home that will accept your application. One
solution is to use a co-signer or lease
guarantor. Visit my specialty page leasing
with bad credit. You should also consider getting
professional help repairing
will I need to sign once my application is
|Answer: First, you will sign the lease agreement.
This is the document that spells out all of
the terms and conditions of the lease,
including the monthly rent, late fees, length
of the lease, amount of the deposits, and
other expectations of both the tenant and the
landlord. It is a legally binding
contract, so be sure you read it, understand
it, and agree to all of the terms before you
You may also be
expected to sign other forms such as agency
disclosures (which describe your agent's
role in representing you with this
transaction), certain state & local area
disclosures, smoke detector and water
heater compliance, mold disclosures, etc.
These are not contracts in the usual sense -
Just legally required documents that tell you
things you might want to know about the area,
the home, the neighborhood, etc.
you move in, your agent will accompany you on
a thorough inspection of the home and will
help you complete a move-in inspection document.
This form protects both you and the landlord
by noting all existing damage or items needing
repair, and ensures that you will not be
charged for any existing damage to the home
later, after you move out.
negotiate the lease cost (monthly rent)?
|Answer: Yes, you may negotiate
the monthly rent or any of the other cost
(deposits, utilities, etc). This is not to say
that you will always be successful, but it's
certainly worth a try. See my entire article can
you negotiate a lease? here.
change the length of the lease?
|Answer: Some landlords may agree to a shorter or longer lease
term under certain circumstances. Most
leases are for 1 year. This is usually
the most desirable situation for the
landlord, plus it gives you a full
year of a guaranteed monthly rent
without a rent increase. If a Landlord
does agree to a shorter term (6 month
leases are common) he/she may ask for
a rent increase to compensate for the
On the flip side, you may be
able to get a lower monthly rent by
signing a longer lease. If you
want a lease that's less than 1 year,
be prepared to look at several
properties until you find one that
will agree to the shorter term. An
agent with experience in negotiating
leases such as myself, can assist you
in negotiating the terms of the
my total costs to move in?
|Answer: Typical costs include
first month's rent and a security deposit, but
may also include a pet deposit, key deposit,
or other charges. The total amount to move in
should be clearly spelled out to you by your
agent, plus it will be printed on page one of
the lease agreement. You will normally
need to provide a cashier's check at the time
that you sign your lease.
Back to Top
How is the
security deposit calculated?
|Answer: There is no set rule on how the security
deposit is calculated - Landlords set this
amount arbitrarily. However, there is a maximum
amount that they are legally allowed to
charge, as follows
1. A maximum
security deposit equal to two months rent
for an unfurnished home
2. A maximum
security deposit equal to three months rent
if the home is furnished
Usually the security
deposit is less than two months rent, but the
actual amount may vary. Be aware that there
may also be additional deposits if you have
pets, plus the landlord may charge for keys,
remote controls, etc. All of these deposits
are perfectly legal and fully refundable, as
long as the home and all property are returned
in good condition. In any case, no matter what
the deposits are called, the total of
all deposits must still fall under the limits,
above. One exception is that an additional
deposit may be requested when a tenant
maintains a waterbed in an unfurnished
property. The waterbed deposit cannot an
exceed an amount equal to one-half month's
rent, and the deposit does not have to be
included into the maximum permissible security
deposit limits, above.
Do I have
to pay the security deposit up front? Can I
break it up into two payments?
|Answer: I get this question a lot and with few
exceptions, the answer is "Yes" and
"No". Think about it this way. If
you were selling something and a potential
buyer said "please don't sell it to
anyone else. I'll pay you in a month".
Would you do it? Most likely not. What
guarantee would you have that the buyer would
come through? And would you want to turn down
other buyers during that month? Of course not.
The same goes for leasing a home. The security
deposit reserves the home for you and gives
the landlord the security to be able to take
the home off the market. You must pay the
security deposit up front, even if you are not
moving in for a month.
deposit? Don't ask!. It's a sure sign that you
really can't afford to lease the property.
Will I be
dividing monthly expenses like utilities and
lawn maintenance with the landlord?
|Answer: Usually you will pay for all of your own utilities
(including water) while the landlord pays for
items like gardening service, pool
maintenance, and homeowners association dues.
While this is a typical breakdown, it may vary
somewhat for each lease. For example, water
and lawn maintenance may be paid for by the
association (and therefore, the landlord) in a
condominium complex. The
tenant/landlord breakdown of all monthly
expenses must be clearly stated in the lease
agreement, so you should take extra care to
read this section of the lease contract
the landlord charge me for gardening? HOA
dues? Pool maintenance?
if it is agreed upon in advance and written
into the lease contract. It is typical for the
landlord to pick
up these expenses and for the tenant to pay
the rent and all utilities. However, the
parties could agree to have the tenant cover
some, or all of these expenses, as long as it
is clearly stated in the lease agreement or
make changes to the home?
|This is a very common question.
Many tenants want to paint a room, add a
doggie door, install a child-safe pool fence,
etc. The most important thing to understand is
that any changes to the home must be
approved by the landlord. When requesting
changes, always follow these guidelines:
1. Discuss the
change with the landlord and get agreement
in writing (e-mails may suffice). If you
know beforehand that you are going to want
changes to the home, have your agent write it
up as part of a lease contract addendum.
Otherwise, get permission from the landlord in
2. Be sure to
go over all plans with the landlord, including
paint samples, plan diagrams, holes that will
need to be drilled, etc.
who is paying for it. Some landlords are
OK with paint or modifications if the tenant
pays for it. For larger modifications or
improvements, the landlord may wish to share
in the cost (or pay all of it) since he/she
may be the long term beneficiary of the
4. Unless you
are a skilled contractor, get all work done
by professionals. Amateur paint jobs and
do-it-yourself carpentry are a
"no-no", and you are asking for
trouble later, when the landlord docks your
deposit because of sub-standard work.
5. Keep good
records. Save all letters, e-mails, and
invoices in your "lease file". Good
documentation will help you avoid
misunderstandings or disputes later.
6. Last, and
very important. Make sure you and the
landlord have a written agreement on what will
happen with the change(s) when you leave. For
example, are your paint colors staying on the
walls or will you have to re-paint? Is the new
pool fence remaining in place? Make sure you
are on the same page regarding the "exit
need insurance or am I covered by the
|Answer: You should take out a Renter's Insurance
Policy. In most
cases, a landlord's insurance covers only
structural damage to the building itself—and
many landlord policies don't even go that far
if the damage is caused by a tenant. A
Renter's Insurance Policy is reasonably
affordable and will protect your furniture and
personal belongings in case of fire, theft,
vandalism, floods, etc. It also provides you
with liability coverage in case of accidental
damage or injury to persons. For example,
don't assume that the landlord's insurance
will cover all of the repairs when your 100
gallon salt water aquarium suddenly springs a
leak. You may wind up being liable for much of
the damage! Get a renter's policy.
landlord enter the home?
|Answer: Yes, but only for emergencies. For example,
suppose you are renting a condo, and a bathtub
overflows in the condo above yours. The
landlord could check your unit for water
damage even if you were not home.
can enter your home for certain other reasons
as well, but only after giving you a 24-hour
written notice and only during normal
business hours. For example, if you plan
to move, the landlord has a right to show the
apartment or house to prospective tenants. Or,
the landlord might want an electrician to
check the wiring.
must give you a 48-hour written notice to make
a pre-vacancy inspection of your unit.
be responsible for repairs?
||The landlord has the
responsibility of keeping the home in
good condition, so repairs and
maintenance of the structure,
appliances, air conditioning system,
plumbing, etc are the responsibility
of the owner. However, if a specific
problem is caused by the tenant, then
the tenant is responsible for getting
it repaired and for paying the bill.
For example, if your child breaks a
window in the home, you are
responsible for replacing the window,
not the landlord. Sometimes it's a
fine line. A leaky faucet is the
responsibility of the landlord, but if
you (the tenant) clog a sink, get it
fixed yourself - don't call the
landlord promptly regarding any needed repair,
and never order a repair without his/her
permission. Always allow the landlord to
choose the repair company and order the
is almost up. Can I extend it?
|Answer: Most lease agreements allow for an automatic
month-to-month tenancy following the
expiration of the lease (typically after the
first year). In effect, the lease reverts to a
"rental". While you might
appreciate the fact that you are no longer
locked into a lease, there are certain
disadvantages as well. The first is that your
landlord could terminate your agreement with
only a month's notice, in which case you would
have to leave (in haste). The second is that
you are no longer assured of stable rent for a
year. The landlord could theoretically
increase the rent each month. Because of these
things, many people prefer to negotiate a new
lease with the landlord rather than continuing
with a month-to-month rental arrangement.
break the lease ?
|Answer: If your landlord fails to hold up his end of
the lease agreement, you may have legitimate
grounds to terminate the lease. Otherwise,
remember that when you sign a lease you are
signing a legally binding contract. Therefore,
this question cannot be answered with a simple
"yes" or "no", as there
are numerous legal and financial
ramifications. Things happen however, and
sometimes a job transfer, illness, or
financial circumstance forces your early
termination of a lease. Unfortunately the
subject is too complex to be covered here, so
I will refer you to the following articles as
a starting point. If in doubt, get legal
advice from a qualified attorney.
a lease and leaving early
I break a lease to take a new job?
your lease - California tenant law
Back to Top
I get my deposit back and will there be any
|Answer: Your security deposits are fully refundable,
and must be returned to you within 3 weeks of
leaving the home, as long as:
1. The home is
returned to the landlord in the condition it
was when you took possession (allowing for
normal wear and tear)
2. All keys,
remotes, and similar items are returned.
3. There are no
unpaid late fees or rents.
4. You have
fulfilled all of your contractual
obligations (e.g., getting the rugs
shampooed after you leave)
will inspect the property when it is vacant
and may take deductions from your deposit, if
warranted. All deductions must be justified
with proper documentation, and must include
reasonable estimates for repairs or
replacement of lost items, in writing.
||In the event of a claim by
the landlord, don't assume that your
deposit will cover everything! It is a
widely-held myth that the landlord
cannot charge you more than the amount
of your deposit. WRONG! In fact,
your lease contract typically states
that you are financially responsible
for damage, lost items, cleaning,
delinquent charges, etc., regardless
of whether the amount exceeds the
amount of the security deposit.
you get paid to show us homes?
no, wish we did! All of our expenses including car,
gas, etc., are paid by us, and we only get paid if
we complete a lease! This is why we are a little
more thorough in making sure you are serious and
qualified for a lease before taking on any
am looking at homes with you this afternoon and then
later, at others with different agent
we work with you. we ask that you work with us exclusively.
We work very hard for you and expect that you
will reciprocate by showing your loyalty to us and understanding that
we cannot get paid unless we complete a lease.
Showing homes to you while you are working with
other agents means that we often work for nothing!
We will refuse to work with clients who expect us to
it possible to buy the home after we lease it?
It really depends on whether the landlord is
interested in selling. You can always contact the
landlord and ask. A lease-option is a possible
solution. For information on lease-options,
please visit my page here: http://www.ronforhomes.com/leaseoption.htm
soon should I be looking for a lease?
lead time is 30 to 45 days, maximum. It is
unproductive to see homes if you are leasing further
into the future because the landlords and their
agents will not usually reserve a home for you more than 30
days in advance.
are looking to lease but have two dogs. Where shall
best source is my "pet-friendly" lease
page here: Pet
we ask for a lower monthly rent?
Many landlords are willing to do some negotiating.
Just keep it reasonable. For example,
I have had some clients who have asked me to submit
an offer far lower than the asking rent ($1,000,
$1,500, or more). Tenants do need to realize that
the home owner (landlord) does have expenses like a
mortgage payment, property taxes, HOA dues,
gardener, etc. Because of this, there is a limit to
what you can realistically expect.
if you have poor credit, please don't ask for a rent
reduction! The challenge will generally be to get
you accepted for the lease. Asking for additional
concessions like a rent reduction will surely get
you rejected! For more on negotiating a lease, see
my page here: Can
you negotiate a lease?
what basis can I be rejected for a lease?
for a few reasons including pets, smoking, water
filled furniture, etc, but largely on the basis of financials.
You cannot be legally rejected on race, religion,
marital status, political leanings, and other
personal matters. "Financials" may be a
fairly broad brush however and may include items
such as your credit, FICO scores, employment
history, income, past rent payments, bankruptcies,
past landlord references, etc. In California, a
landlord does have the right to know that you are
qualified for the lease and that you have the
financial wherewithal to make the monthly rent
payments. They can legally request documentation to
ensure that they are satisfied in this regard. Also,
they may choose not to accept you if you have pets,
if you are a smoker, or have a water bed (i.e., they
have the right to ensure that their property is kept
clean and undamaged and they are allowed to specify
many homes can we see?
practical purposes, we try to keep it to three to
five homes, maximum. We will always send you
listings by e-mail of many homes for lease. It is
really your job to browse these listings and select
a cross-section of homes for viewing. If none of
them fit or if they have the wrong criteria, we will
be glad to correct this and send you a new set.
Almost all of the listings have photographs and
descriptions that should help a potential tenant
decide if this is a home they would like to see.
When clients want to see more homes after a viewing,
they have usually failed to correctly outline their
preferences or they may be shopping in the wrong
working with you, we are also shopping for a lease
on Craigslist. Is this a problem?
Answer: We feel it is a
"problem" for several reasons, and we would highly discourage you from shopping for
a lease on Craigslist. First, we will not be able to
work with you or show you homes if we find out you
are also using Craigslist, as we only work with our
clients exclusively. Second, while
leases on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are
well controlled by licensed Realtors, I would
characterize lease listings on Craisglist as
completely uncontrolled (the
"Wild West if you will). While some
listings may be legitimate, many agents use
Craigslist as a "lead generator" and often
post listings that are not their own. Also, many of
the listings may be for lease "by owner".
While this may sound appealing, consider:
Are you certain that the person you are contacting
is in fact the owner of the home?
Some homeowners in distress (foreclosure, short
sale, notice of default, etc) will lease out their
home to collect some cash before abandoning it (this
is occurring quite frequently in Southern Calif).
The owner then disappears with your rent and deposit
money, while the bank comes knocking on the door.
Is the homeowner using all of the standard
California Association of Realtors lease and
disclosure forms, or is he/she "winging
it" by using forms from a stationary store? Do
you really want to risk your deposit and legal
all of that, we would ask that you avoid Craigslist
as a source of lease listings and stick to using a
professional team of Realtors and the MLS to find
your web site list all of the homes for lease in
Orange County or just your listings?
Answer: All of the
homes for lease in the Orange County Multiple
Listing Service are listed on this web site, with
the exception of homes for lease under $2,000 per
month. Except for special cases, we are not able to
work with lower cost leases or leases that are short
term (less than 12 months). We also cannot work with
lease listings that pay a sub-standard commission.
An example of this would be low, "lump
sum" commissions that are occasionally offered
by property management companies or agents in
certain areas of Orange County.
if a home for lease is also for sale? Will I have to
show it or could my lease be terminated?
Answer: If a home is simultaneously
for lease and sale, it does not mean that you
will have any issues if you lease it. Once the
owners decide to go with the lease, the listing
agent will usually remove the "for sale"
listing and the owner must honor your lease
agreement including all terms. Note that this does
not mean that the home cannot be sold while you are
leasing it! An owner always has the right to sell
the home. However, the owner must also honor your
lease agreement and they cannot ask you to leave the
home if you have a lease agreement with a specified
if I find out that the home I'm renting is going
into foreclosure? Do I still have to pay the rent?
- See new California rental laws for 2013, bellow
this type of situation is happening more and
more. Home owners who are losing their homes to
foreclosure will sometimes lease or rent the home
out to collect some cash before the bank takes the
home away. I have spoken to a number of tenants who
believe that they should no longer pay the rent if
they find out that the owner of the home has not
been making payments to the bank. While this type of
situation is complicated, here are some facts that
you, the tenant need to consider:
you still living in the home? You undoubtedly signed
a contract to lease the home, and under this
contract, you are obligated to pay a monthly rental
fee for every month that you are legally occupying
the home of this landlord. The bottom line is, as
long as you are living in the home, you must still
pay the rent --You could be sued for breach of
contract if you do not!
Regardless of your frustration, there is no clause
in the lease contract that the landlord must pay the
mortgage on the home. The landlord can technically
do whatever he/she wishes with your rent money. They
can pay the mortgage, put it in the bank, or flush
it down the toilet. The point is, it is not up to
you to dictate what the landlord does with your rent
main concern of the tenant is often, the disposition
of their security deposit. This is a legitimate
concern, for if the landlord is in foreclosure,
chances are the security deposit will probably not
be returned. This is further complicated by the fact
that the standard California lease agreement forbids
the tenant from using the security deposit as a
monthly rent payment.
do find yourself in this situation, I would
recommend the following:
Contact the landlord immediately and express your
concern. Ask if it will be OK to work out a deal,
where perhaps you pay a bit less during the month or
that the landlord will allow you to apply your
security deposit to the rent.
any agreements in writing! Verbal agreements are
worthless. Get the landlord to sign off on the terms
you agree on.
paying the rent and wait it out. The foreclosure
process could take months.
the bank or lender does take the home back, do not
pay any further rent to the former owner! Work
instead with the lender. They will contact you after
they foreclose on the home and will provide you with
options. They may also offer you "cash for
keys", which is a financial incentive to move
out by a certain date.
sure on your next lease or rental that your Realtor
checks for 1) existing notices of default 2) unpaid
property taxes, and 3) the equity position of the
home (i.e., making sure the rent payments can
reasonably cover the existing mortgage). If tenants
would insist that the steps are taken before they
lease the home, they could spare themselves a lot of
recap, it is a frustrating and confusing situation
when you find out that you are now renting a home
that is in the foreclosure process. Avoid handling
the situation emotionally. Instead, keep your cool
and handle the situation in a business-like
is the law as far as giving notice ? (both landlord
Answer: For a month-to-month rental, a tenant may give the landlord 30 days
notice to terminate at any time. The landlord
must give the tenant 60 days notice. Should
you (the tenant) receive 60 days notice, it does not
mean that you can avoid paying the remaining rent or
that they are allowed to use your security deposit
in lieu of rent! If you are on a
lease, your term really ends based on the terms of
the contract. As you approach your last 30 days, you
may mutually agree to extend the contract via a
month-to- month rental, draft an new lease, or, the
landlord can ask the tenant to terminate the rental
I use my security deposit for the last month's
(unless this was agreed to in the
lease agreement). On the standard California
Association of Realtors lease agreement, it is
specifically forbidden to use the security deposit
in lieu of rent. The purpose of the security deposit
is to provide the landlord with reasonable fund for
repairs if there are damages to the home after a
tenant vacates. Any documented damages may be
deducted from the deposit by the landlord after an
inspection. In the event that a tenant were to use
this deposit in lieu of rent, the landlord would
then lack funds for repairs, should they be needed.
The landlord's recourse would be to seek damages in
court for either the last month's rent or for
are some of the possible "red flags" on my
lease application ?
a doubt, the number one "red flag" is poor
credit (low FICO scores). It is hard to overcome low
or very poor FICO scores through other means. Your
income, job history, and bank reserves are also very
important. The landlord will want to be sure you
have adequate income to pay the rent, including
sufficient reserves. Job history is also
a factor. If you have only been in your job for a
short time, the landlord may not feel secure enough
to lease the lease the property to you. If
they have questions, you may be asked to provide
proof of your income, reserves, or job history, using
recent bank statements, pay stubs, a letter
verifying your employment, or a tax return.
Another factor that
often results in tenants being rejected is, too many
pets. Although there are many
"pet-friendly" homes available for lease,
you may be rejected if you have multiple pets or if
your pets are very large. You may also have issues
if the landlord feels your pet(s) are in any way a
potential liability (e.g., certain dog breeds).
the standard California Association of Realtors
lease application includes check boxes for questions
such as "have you ever filed bankruptcy within
the past 7 years?", "have you ever been
convicted or pleaded no contest to felony?", or
"have you ever been evicted (asked to leave a
rental)?". Obviously, checking "yes"
on any of these will also be a red flag to a
landlord, but it is important to be upfront and
honest about it. Falsifying an application could
result in immediate eviction if discovered.
are not ready to lease yet, but would you show us some homes so that we can see what is out
be surprised how often we're asked to do this!)
Sorry, no. We have to cover all of our own expenses,
plus we only get paid when we close a lease. Because
of this, we prefer to show homes only if you are serious about
applying for a lease in the immediate future. What
I can do is start sending you lease listings by
e-mail. That way you will be able to browse homes
for lease in your price range.
a Realtor reject us based on our credit rating ?
Answer: Yes and no - Technically, it's the landlord that either accepts or rejects applicants. The
listing Realtor may screen applications however, and may reject it if the landlord's
credit threshold is known. Also, the
landlord is perfectly free to establish this
threshold. For example, some landlords may not feel secure about leasing
their home to someone with a FICO score of 650 or
below and they are free to reject your application
on that basis.
want a lease soon. Can I e-mail you with my
Answer: Yes, that's a
great idea! Start with price range, how many
bedrooms, and what cities you are interested in. Let
me know also what your projected move in date is.
You can also add things like pet-friendly, number of
garage spaces, minimum square feet of the home,
one-story, two-story, view, etc. We'll try to send
you listings that match up as much as possible to
your requirements. Please note that we are somewhat
limited as to what we can search for. For example,
we can't search for things like "upgraded
kitchen", "large patio", "wood
floors", etc. You'll have to review the photos
of each home we send you to see if the home includes
some of the features you are looking for. Send all
of your requirements to me at Ron@rondrealestate.com
am short-selling my home with another agent. Can you
still help me find a lease ?
Answer: I could, but you
should really request that your short sale listing
agent helps you to re-locate. I feel strongly that
the agent that gets your short sale listing should
also take the responsibility of helping you find a
home for you to lease (see my blog article, here ). It often comes down to commission. Many agents
are more than willing to take the sales listing, but
are hesitant to help you with a lease, because
leases typically pay very little. Whenever I am
approached by someone who is looking for a lease
while short-selling, I always ask that they speak
with their short sale listing agent first. My
opinion is that your agent has a duty to help you
with the whole transaction, not just half of
the landlord increase my rent and how much notice
will I be given?
Answer: If you are under
a fixed term agreement such as a lease, the monthly
rental amount is usually fixed for term of the
contract (unless other conditions were specifically
added to the lease). Once the lease term
expires, and assuming you would like to continue
living in the property, you will either sign a new
lease or switch to a month-to-month (or periodic)
tenancy. The landlord does have the option at that
point, of modifying the monthly rental amount. If
the landlord increases the rent, you must be
provided with 30 days notice if the increase is for
10% or less of the lowest rent amount you paid
during the previous 12 months. If the increase is
greater than 10%, then the landlord must provide you
with 60 days notice.
the homes that we'd like to see, you said one can't
be shown because it pays a low, "Lump Sum"
commission? What's that about?
Answer: Most homes for
lease pay a fair commission to the tenant's agent.
This is typically a percentage of the first year's
rent. However, some leases offer to pay the agent a
low, fixed fee, often called a "lump sum"
commission. I have seen lump sum offers like $500 on
a house leasing for over $5,000/mo. Also, figures
like $300 to as low as $50 for a single family home
leasing for $2,500/mo. This is insulting to all of
us who are hard-working real estate agents, as it
often doesn't even cover our expenses. While you
might like the home, we hope you will also realize
that we (like you) have to be paid fairly for our
work. That is why we will not show you any homes
that do not pay a reasonable commission.
areas of Orange County, CA are notorious for paying
low lease commissions. For example, the city of
Huntington Beach seems to have a "culture"
of paying low, lump sum commissions to tenant's
agents. It's so prevalent there that I have excluded
this city from all of my lease searches and I urge
clients to look for leases elsewhere. While it is
prevalent in Huntington Beach and often in
neighboring Fountain Valley, I have also seen low,
lump sums in many other cities, though only
sporadically. It's my belief that this
"culture" is really perpetrated by the
agents and property managers who agree to take these
low paying listings!
home we are leasing supposed to have smoke alarms
and CO2 detectors?
all homes are required to have working smoke
detectors in the home and CO2 detectors on every
level of the home. All bedrooms are required to have
a smoke detector installed in the room. The home
should also have smoke detectors in hallways. There
are also supposed to be working CO2 detectors on
each level or floor of the home. Generally speaking,
a CO2 detector on the upper level should be in the
hallway between the bedrooms. On the lower level,
the CO2 detector is often placed closer to the
garage entrance or to the kitchen. For specific
information on these devices, see the links below
and consult a professional.
you are leasing a home without smoke or CO2
detectors or if they are not working property,
notify the landlord or property manager immediately!
are California's Requirements for Carbon Monoxide
is the California building code for smoke detectors?
New California rental laws
for 2013 affecting tenants and landlords
Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective
Tenants: Starting January 1, 2013, every landlord who offers
for rent a residential property containing
one-to-four units must disclose in writing to any
prospective tenant the receipt of a notice of
default that has not been rescinded. This disclosure
must be made before executing a lease agreement. If
a landlord violates this law, the tenant can elect
to void the lease and recover one month’s rent or
twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is
greater, plus all prepaid rent. If the lease is not
voided and the foreclosure sale has not occurred,
the tenant may deduct one month’s rent from future
amounts owed. The written disclosure notice as
provided by statute must be in English, Spanish,
Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. A property
manager will not be held liable for failing to
provide the written disclosure notice unless the
landlord has given the property manager written
instructions to deliver the written disclosure to
the tenant. This law will expire on January 1,
Bill 1191 .
Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After
Foreclosure: Effective January 1, 2013, a month-to-month tenant
in possession of a rental housing unit at the time
the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day
written notice to terminate under California law.
For a fixed-term residential lease, the tenant can
generally remain until the end of the lease term,
and all rights and obligations under the lease shall
survive foreclosure, including the tenant’s
obligation to pay rent. However, the landlord can
give a 90-day written notice to terminate a
fixed-term lease after foreclosure under any of the
following four circumstances: (1) the purchaser or
successor-in-interest will occupy the property as a
primary residence; (2) the tenant is the borrower or
the borrower’s child, spouse, or parent; (3) the
lease was not the result of an arms’ length
transaction; or (4) the lease requires rent that is
substantially below fair market rent (except if
under rent control or government subsidy). The
purchaser or successor-in-interest bears the burden
of proving that one of the four exceptions has been
met. This law does not apply if a borrower stays in
the property as a tenant, subtenant, or occupant, or
if the property is subject to just cause rent
control. This law will expire on December 31, 2019.
This new California law is similar, but not
identical, to the 90-day termination notice
requirement under the federal Protecting Tenants at
Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201, et seq.) (as
extended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and
Consumer Protection Act), which is set to expire on
December 31, 2014. Assembly
Bill 2610 .
May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than
$700: Commencing January 1, 2013, the total resale value
of personal property left behind by a tenant after
termination of a tenancy that the landlord must sell
at a public auction (rather than dispose of or
retain for his or her own use), has been increased
from $300 to $700, if certain procedures are
followed. This law, however, also prohibits a
landlord from assessing any storage cost if the
tenant reclaims personal property within 2 days of
vacating the premises. The statutory notices of
Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property have been
revised to reflect these changes. Furthermore, a
landlord’s notices of termination of tenancy and
pre-move out inspection must contain specified
language that former tenants may reclaim abandoned
personal property left on the premises, subject to
certain conditions. Assembly
Bill 2303 .
laws for 2016